Their Story: "The first week we started seeing each other we went on four dates- our mutual favorite bar, a trail run, a long bike ride, and a brewery to play board games with friends. It’s been all of that fun and more ever since. Since we are local to Colorado, we don’t consider this a destination wedding, but we would like to get out of Fort Collins to get married somewhere beautiful in the state that reflects our love for the outdoors and can feel a bit like a weekend getaway for us. Another important element to this is that our families and friends will all have to travel by plane to be with us, so we want it to be more than just gathering at the courthouse. We really want to do a small micro-wedding because though we are both pretty outgoing, we are also fairly private people and not really into the performative feeling of big modern weddings. We really want to honor our love in a way that feels authentic to us with just family and one close friend (+spouse) for each of us.”
Planning Details: We couldn’t agree more that you can do so much more in Colorado for your micro-wedding or elpement than a courthouse signing (though we wouldn't be opposed to it and have some great ideas). We are so glad to have connected with C+M and first started working with them through our Ceremony Site Report - a great place to get started as it is a written consultation in which we not only provide great affordable ceremony site that fit with couples needs, budget, and priorities….. but, we also give planning guidance to make it all flow well. They identified their top priorities as having a scenic mountain views for the ceremony, easy to get to, great photography and seating at the cermeony. Check, check, check.... and almost a check! ⬇️ 🎉
Ceremony Site Selection. The hiccup with their location priorities was the seating. C+M decided to elope in early June, which makes some mountain tops inaccessible. But, Guanella Pass is!.... and with that decision, we couldn't setup our benches at this site. Yes, there are regulations on public lands and we do have to maneuvre around those. But, C+M loved the spot so much, they were willing to have a standing cermeony with their 16 guests on the top of Guanella Pass. More about how to have an elopement-styled wedding on Guanella Pass ⬇️ below ⬇️ as it is often overlooked, but still popular for hiking, camping, and driving tours. And, there are spots that are both accessible and will allow seating. So, if your group needs that feature, it is still possible - just at other micro-wedding spots around the state.
C+M's micro-wedding day on top of Guanella Pass in early June was absolutely magical! The bride and her two closest loved ones got their hair and makeup done at their VRBO in Georgetown while the photographer and coordinator arrived for getting ready and details shots. The groom's mom pinned his boutonniere on him before we departed with the two of them so they could do a first look on the pass. The group then caravanned to the top of the pass together before meeting the officiant in the parking area and walking together to the ceremony site. Char was escorted by both her parents halfway, then hugged them before walking in independently to exchange vows. After the ceremony, they popped some bubbly, toasted, and did some group photos before the rain came in. The group then headed to a restaurant in Georgetown where they cut the cake and enjoyed a lovely dinner. If you're looking for a Colorado elopement-styled package, having a micro-wedding on top of Guanella Pass is a beautiful example of an intimate celebration filled with love and joy.
Guanella Pass Elopement. If you’re looking for a breathtaking backdrop for your micro-wedding, look no further than Guanella Pass near Georgetown, CO. At an elevation of 11,669 feet, the pass offers stunning mountain views, wildflowers, and some of the best overlooks in Colorado. Not only is it a great option for a small intimate wedding, but it’s also an ideal location for elopements, vow renewals, and engagement photoshoots. We’ll dive into what makes Guanella Pass so special and share why Custom Weddings of Colorado is your go-to source for planning a micro-wedding in the mountains.
"Close" to Denver. Guanella Pass is located just an hour’s drive west along Interstate 70 from Denver, making it a convenient destination for couples who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without having to travel too far. Georgetown is your exit and the small town that launches you on to the Pass. There is a courhouse in town, so you can literally arrive (government hours/day), get your marriage license, and then drive up the pass to exchange vows. The winding road to the pass is a scenic drive in itself, but it’s what’s at the top that really takes your breath away. From the overlook, you can see Mount Evans, Mount Bierstadt, and the Continental Divide, as well as a sea of golden aspen trees in the fall.
Ceremony Spots on Guanella Pass. If you’re planning a micro-wedding on Guanella Pass, there are several spots along the drive to have a ceremony. First, on the way up there is a lake that is surrounded by pine trees. There is no officail overlook at this lake, but there is parking and trails so that you can "hike" (really its a walk) to any private spot along the trail to exchange voews. [See Tiffany + Cody's Elopement at the lake on Guanella Pass.} You can drive further up to the top of the pass where there is limited parking available, so carpooling is recommended. On the top of the pass, there is a short trail with a small "overlook". Literally, it can fit only about 15 people. The overlook can get crowded during peak seasons (weekends in summer and fall), so aim for a weekday or early summer or late fall ceremony to have a more private experience. Since the pass is located at a high altitude, it’s also important to be prepared for sudden weather changes, especially in the afternoon. Custom Weddings can help you with that by bringing umbrellas, blankets, shawls and furs.
Micro-Weddings & Elopement Packages on Guanella Pass. Custom Weddings of Colorado offers micro-wedding packages that are tailored to suit your needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for a simple and intimate ceremony or a full-service package that includes photography, flowers, and a champagne toast, we’ve got you covered. Since we've got over 12+ years experience exclusively with mirco-weddings and elopements (we did the big weddings before that with over 20+ years total experience), our team will handle all the logistical planning details, leaving you free to enjoy the scenery and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Seasonal Access. One of the best things about Guanella Pass is that it’s a year-round destination. But hold tight before you get too excited. The road does close around Thanksgiving (dependent on weather & conditions) and usually opens by Memorial Day. So, the "year-round" means that after late fall, to access the top of the pass you'll have to done the snowshoes (yea, that's not for everyone)! The summer brings wildflowers and green meadows, while the fall offers vibrant foliage and cooler temperatures. In the winter, the pass is closed to vehicles, but it’s still accessible for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Imagine exchanging vows in the snow, surrounded by the majestic mountains and crisp air.
Spring: Depending on the weather conditions, Guanella Pass usually opens in late May or early June. Springtime in the mountains means snowmelt, which translates to rushing streams and blooming wildflowers. Additionally, if you're a fan of fishing, be sure to pack your gear and fishing license!
Summer: Guanella Pass is a popular summer destination, often visited by hikers, bikers, and picnickers. The aspen trees turn green, the wildlife comes out to play, and the days are long and sunny. You can pack a picnic and head up to the summit for a romantic lunch with a view, or hike one of the many trails in the area, such as the Silverdollar Trail, which features stunning wildflowers and views of the valley below.
Fall: As the leaves change to brilliant shades of gold, yellow, and red, Guanella Pass becomes a spectacular autumn destination. The road is typically open until early November, so you can enjoy the fall foliage and brisk days before the snow sets in. Consider booking a cozy cabin in nearby Idaho Springs or Georgetown, where you can enjoy the small-town charm and local restaurants.
Winter: Guanella Pass is not accessible by car during the winter months, but if you're a couple who loves snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, you're in luck. The snowshoe trail from the Georgetown entrance to the cabin is a must-do in the winter, and the views of the snow-capped peaks are absolutely stunning. Or, consider staying at a nearby lodge or hot springs, where you can soak in the mineral waters after a day of outdoor adventure.
No matter what season you choose, a micro-wedding on Guanella Pass is sure to be a magical and unforgettable experience. Custom Weddings of Colorado has the expertise and passion to create a customized wedding package that perfectly fits your vision. Contact us today to start planning your dream micro-wedding in the mountains. See you on top of the pass!
Mother, teacher, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative. Wendee has been planning weddings in Colorado since 1995. In 2012, she decided to "go small" and only plans micro-weddings & elopements with 35 or fewer guests. Contact Wendee to get started planning your intimate small Colorado wedding.
I've been planning weddings since 1995 when I moved to Colorado from Iowa. I cut my teeth at Keystone Resort in their wedding department, then then ventured on to planning corporate meetings. But, I kept helping friends and their friends with weddings starting my first full-service company in 2002 (yes - planned the big overwhelming ones). In 2012 with the birth of my son, values shifted and I decided to go small, intimate and meaningful. Please connect with me to make your dreamy, simple mountain wedding come true!
Behind the Scenes
Ever wonder what goes on behind-the-scenes of a micro-wedding day? Jaime L. Barba, one of our talented professional photographers, captured me at work from one of our May 2023 weddings in Boulder, Colorado. Enjoy! .... and yes, she does wedding-day content creation (a great alternative if you cannot afford videography) for couples as well as photography.
What is a wedding day content creator? It’s someone who is there on your wedding day taking pictures on a cell phone (or in Jaime's case, her professional equipement), documenting behind-the-scenes moments, capturing and telling stories, and delivering short-form media content of your wedding day in real-time. Checkout one from our September 2023 weddings ⬇️.