Personally, we’re big believers that Colorado is one of the best places to have an adventure elopement, and one of the key reasons (aside from the epic mountain views and crazy landscapes) is the fact that you can get married without any witnesses or an officiant present (also known as a Colorado self solemnization elopement).
Yup, you heard that right. Not a single soul needs to be present with a self solemnization elopement. Just you and your partner. Colorado is one of a select few states that allows couples to self solemnize, making it especially appealing for couples looking to have the most intimate adventure wedding possible. Especially with the rise in couples looking to have smaller, more exclusive weddings, the concept of self solemnization is definitely one to consider. But how does self solemnization work? And what do you need to know to make it happen?
The quick answer? Yes, with Colorado self solemnization you still get the same marriage license. When you pick up your marriage license, it will be exactly the same document, whether you have an officiant and witnesses or not. The only thing that varies is the way you fill out the license on your self solemnized elopement day. You and your significant other will simply sign as your own witnesses and sign where the officiant typically would sign. Cool right?!
You can pick up your marriage license for your Colorado self solemnization elopement at any Clerk and Recorder office in Colorado, as long as it’s on a weekday during their open hours. You’ll want to first fill out an application online to speed up the process. If you’re looking to get your license in Denver, you can use this online application.
Once you’ve submitted the application, you can go into the office and pick up your marriage license. Just remember that you and your partner will each need to bring a valid photo ID and you’ll pay a $30 fee.
Your marriage license is valid and ready to be used for your Colorado self solemnization as soon as you get it (unlike some states that require a waiting period before use)! You simply have to sign it within 35 days of acquiring it, and it must be returned within 63 days.
Personally, we recommend getting the license at least a week before your self solemnization, if you’re local to Colorado, because it’s one less thing to have to worry about before you elope.
If you’re traveling to Colorado to elope, make sure you arrive on a weekday to take care of the marriage license pick up process before your self solemnization.
Yes, just because the majority of states in the U.S. don’t allow for self solemnization doesn’t mean your marriage is any less legitimate and legal. Whether you are in Colorado or traveling to another destination in the United States, you are still considered to be married, even if your elopement was a Colorado self solemnization.
Just because you’ve chosen to self solemnize doesn’t mean your Colorado elopement ceremony needs to be completely different than it would otherwise be. You can still say your vows to each other. You can still have a first kiss. All of the things that would otherwise happen at a non self solemnized adventure elopement can happen here.
The only difference is you don’t need an officiant or witnesses. It really is that simple. The nice thing about this type of elopement ceremony? You can get creative with what you do during your Colorado self solemnization ceremony. We’ve included a few ideas below to get you started! Or you can come up with your own unique type of unity ceremony. There are so many options when you’re no longer expected to incorporate typical, traditional wedding standards to your self solemnization elopement ceremony.
In a traditional wedding, an officiant will share a couple’s story with their guests. But with self solemnization you don’t have an officiant. And honestly? We think this is a huge opportunity to really dig in and reflect on your relationship.
You two can take turns sharing your story with each other: recapping first impressions, sharing important moments in your relationship, and letting each other know what the other means to you.
You can create your own unique unity ceremony, jump into an alpine lake after saying your vows, or scream “I do” at the top of your lungs into the Rocky Mountains. Or you can write little notes to each other every day in the week leading up to your Colorado self solemnization elopement, and then read them to each other during the ceremony itself. The best thing about self solemnizations? You get to call the shots and do whatever the heck you want. It doesn’t get more empowering or exciting than that.
Your Colorado self solemnization ceremony doesn’t need to be a short 5 minutes if you don’t want it to be. You can take as much or as little time as you need! We love the idea of taking a few minutes after your elopement ceremony to just throw out a few ideas for a marriage bucket list. This is a great time to set intentions for your upcoming life together.
Unlike traditional weddings that go by in a rushed blur, when you choose to have a self solemnization elopement, you can really take time to be present and in the moment. You and your partner can really think about all of your hopes and dreams for your marriage.
No problem at all. Self solemnization simply means that you two are your own witnesses and that you don’t need an officiant. You just fill out your marriage license differently than you normally would. Self solemnization in Colorado is a nice elopement option for couples who don’t want to have a single person in attendance. BUT there are plenty of couples who know they want to have a small number of guests present at their self solemnized elopement ceremony, but they just love the idea of being able to marry themselves.
Honestly, there’s a bit of excitement and novelty to the idea of self solemnization. Most states don’t let you do it, and Colorado is one of the few that does. There really is nothing more “Colorado” than self solemnizing in the mountains. It’s a unique experience that you can’t really get in many other places. So if you want to self solemnize, go for it, whether or not you have guests present! Your elopement, your rules.
While self solemnizing might seem confusing at first, they’re honestly such a simple, easy, and empowering way to get married. How many other people can you say that they married themselves? That they eloped without any witnesses? It’s pretty incredible, if you ask us. So if you’re considering self solemnizing, we’re here to cheer you on. You’ve made SUCH an awesome and unique choice.
P.S. As Colorado elopement and adventure wedding photographers, we pride ourselves on not just documenting your Colorado self solemnized elopement, but helping you plan out all the little details as well — like helping you figure out the perfect time of year for your mountain elopement ceremony. We’ve been in your shoes with our own elopement, and that’s why we’re in this industry in the first place. We want to help.
Sure, we pride ourselves in taking killer photos of killer people in killer places, but we’re firm believers that your adventure wedding photographer should be so much more than that. They should be a resource and guide to you during the whole adventure elopement planning process. So if that sounds like your vibe, we’d love to chat with you about your Colorado self solemnization elopement.
Check out some of our favorite elopement and adventure wedding planning resources:
The Colorado Rockies are our home. We know these mountains like the back of our hand, and we love helping our couples plan their Colorado adventure elopements. Our land is your land, peeps. so let’s get you mountain married!
We specialize in photographing small adventure weddings in the great outdoors. We believe small weddings empower couples to be themselves on their wedding day, which is what makes us so honored to be a part of them. There’s nothing better.
We like to say we’re adventurers first, photographers second. Which frankly, is what we think makes us good at what we do. We live and breathe the outdoors lifestyle, and we make sure our adventure wedding photos show off your adventurous side too.
Not everyone loves tradition, but that doesn’t make your adventure wedding or elopement any less important.
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