St. Mary’s Glacier Elopement
Eloping at St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs Colorado
By far one of my favorite spots for a Colorado Elopement. St Mary’s Glacier is a gorgeous spot just above the treeline. And takes only an hour to get to from Denver. With snow year round from the glacier, it makes for one amazing spot to say your vows. This is an ideal summer location for a Colorado Elopement even though it is accessible year round. Just know if you plan for winter or colder months, you might be dealing with tons of snow and heavy winds.
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Permit Info for St. Mary’s Glacier
This location is a permit free spot. Meaning you don’t need anyone’s permission or to pay any fees besides the parking fee to hike up and elope here. The parking is 5.00 per car and about .5 a mile to the lake, or about a mile to the glacier. While there aren’t necessarily “rules” on who all can come up to witness an elopement here or rules on how many people should or shouldn’t… I do not recommend bringing more than around 15 people max up to this area. When you are going out into nature to enjoy the location and utilize it as your wedding backdrop, it is crucial that you respect the land.
I am a huge follower of Leave No Trace Principles. And in order to do so, having minimal impact on the area is a must. This spot is very heavily trafficked on weekends in the Summer and even some days throughout the week. Weekday early morning or evenings are best for a group with around 5-15 people or so. And I always recommend that weekend days only be utilized if you are eloping with less than 5 people total. As when it is busy it is easier to navigate around and respect other groups of people enjoying the lake without tons of friends or family in tow.
Colorado Elopement: Pack it In, Pack it Out!
Also, be sure and pack everything out that you bring in. If you decide to bring anything in for your Colorado Elopement like this couple did… (a rug to stand on, and a picnic basket with some snacks and drinks) …it cannot be left behind or impact the land in any way. This couple in particular only had their best friends and siblings with them to stand up next to them as the “wedding party” and their officiant, and their parents present. Their parents and everyone else left directly after they signed their marriage license and brought the rug back down to the car for them. While we stayed up and explored the area for their portraits.
What To Expect When Eloping Here
If you are planning a St. Mary’s Glacier Elopement, just be aware that you and anyone you bring with you will have to hike up a pretty steep and quite rocky hike to get there. For many traveling in from out of state who aren’t used to higher altitudes or hiking, getting up to the glacier for an elopement can take a little bit of time and lots of rest breaks. But the view is 100% worth the work in the end.
When you get to the lake, there are many different spots that could be utilized for your Colorado Elopement here. So many areas that are rocky, flat, with great views. Keep in mind this is a public area. Meaning you cannot ask people to move or leave an area to host your elopement.
Weather can change quickly above treeline in any area. So keep this in mind when planning your St. Mary’s Glacier Elopement. Make sure to bring lots of water for the hike up. A light jacket (even in the summer) as you never know when a light rain storm might move through. I always suggest that everyone wear good sturdy boots to hike up in. And any other items you might need while up there such as gloves, hats, or snow shoes in the winter time. You could even bring your outfits and change once you get up there so you don’t have to hike up in wedding attire. (Please note there are no bathrooms at the lake, only port-a-potty style bathrooms at the trailhead. Not recommended to use as a changing restroom)
Jaden and Blaine’s Wedding Day.
Their St. Mary’s Glacier Elopement was perfection to say the least. We got blessed with perfect weather. Warm at first, but then cooled off once the sun started to set. They had a quick 10 minute ceremony with their best friends standing by their side and parents there to watch. Even their dogs came along for the wedding. Once their wedding ceremony completed we gathered them to sign their Marriage License. The coolest thing about Colorado is that you can self-solemnize. Meaning you can marry yourselves with no witnesses and no officiant. Because of this, the state of colorado allows you to put your pets paw print on the witness signature and it is still considered legal. That’s right! Your pet can be your witness at your wedding. And that is exactly what Jaden and Blaine did for their Colorado Elopement.
After signing, their friends and parents headed back to the car and we explored all around the lake for their portraits. We spent a total of about 1.5 hours just hiking around and taking epic photos throughout St. Mary’s Glacier. Including going up to see the glacier up close. Talk about one perfect evening with an incredible couple. Huge shoutout to Mado Photo for having me along on this elopement!