buena vista elopement guide

Buena Vista (BV for short) is one of our favorite towns in Colorado, especially if you’re hoping to get away from the more crowded areas like Breckenridge or Estes Park. Located about 2.5 hours from Denver and about an hour and 50 minutes from Colorado Springs, BV has a nice historic downtown area as well as a beautiful walking path alongside the Arkansas River.

And if you’re hoping for a more unique elopement experience, this place has several opportunities to make your wedding day one to remember. Check out our Buena Vista elopement guide below for more details!

Reasons to Elope in Buena Vista, Colorado

  1. Buena Vista (where the locals pronounce it like “byoo-nuh” in “beautiful,” not the Spanish word “buena”), is full of great activities: paddling in the river, off-roading in the nearby mountain passes, hiking to scenic views, drinking at the local breweries and distilleries, and soaking in the hot springs at Mt. Princeton — just to name a few!
  2. Fewer crowds than other popular destinations in Colorado. That’s not to say it doesn’t get busy, especially during summer! But if you’re willing to drive a bit farther to get away from the more touristy locations, this spot is well worth it.
  3. Plenty of camping opportunities nearby, including dispersed locations in the nearby national forest areas.
  4. Easy to combine a just-us elopement with a celebration including your family and friends. Want to follow up an elopement with an evening (or a second day) to eat, drink and/or dance at a formal reception? BV has several great wedding venues that make this a real possibility.
  5. Or combine an elopement in Buena Vista with some exploring in other nearby towns and parks! If you visit in summer you can take the mountain pass over to Crested Butte (another one of our favorite places, where they host the annual wildflower festival). You could head north up to Twin Lakes, where you can paddle out onto the water with a kayak/canoe. Or you could head south down towards the New Mexico border, and play in the sand at Great Sand Dunes National Park!
where to elope in buena vista colorado

Best Places to Elope near Buena Vista

While we save the specifics on our favorite hidden-gem locations for couples that work with our photo + video team, here are a few of the main areas to elope near BV:

Pike-San Isabel National Forest

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

Twin Lakes

Taylor Park Reservoir

Gunnison National Forest

Please note: Always reach out to the managing office, ranger district, or other governing municipality about any potential special use fees, events permits, photography/videography or other commercial use permit, and rules that may apply, such as a maximum guest count, before you plan an elopement or wedding in these areas.

how to elope in buena vista

How to Elope in Buena Vista

1. Select a date. Although BV is accessible year-round, many nearby trails and mountain pass highways are not accessible for about half the year in winter. Our favorite months for eloping in Buena Vista are June through October, with snow on the ground still possible at the tail end of spring in May/early June and first snowfall possible around mid-late October. Summertime is beautiful in BV, but keep an eye out for afternoon thunderstorms, which can quickly turn dangerous when you’re above 9-10,000 feet.

2. Find your vendors. As a photo + video team that also helps our couples with unlimited planning assistance, we always suggest reaching out to us first. We have several great vendors in the area to recommend, including hair/makeup artists, florists, food, and more.

3. Reserve lodging. Some of the best places to stay in BV can fill up quickly for busier months, so it’s best to reserve nearby lodging at least a few months in advance. Check out the next section below to get ideas about where to stay in the area.

4. Obtain any permits you might need. No matter the size of your group or date you choose, you’ll always want to get the most recent information available about any potential permits you might need for your elopement location directly from the manager of that location. No one likes getting a fine on their wedding day, so it’s best to be sure you have the right permission to be there.

5. Get your marriage license. The closest courthouse to obtain your marriage license is the Chaffee County Courthouse in Salida, about 30 minutes south of Buena Vista. We’ve also had several couples pick up marriage licenses in other counties on their drive out from the Denver area, including Denver County, Jefferson County, or Clear Creek County. Be sure to reach out to the courthouse about reserving an appointment in advance, and remember that they are not open on weekends or major holidays.

Best Places to Stay in Buena Vista

We’ve put together a few different options when it comes to lodging in BV:

Best Hotels + Resorts in BV

Best Designated Campgrounds/RV Parks

Best Airbnb/VRBO + Private Rentals

buena vista elopement

Where to Eat + Drink in BV

We’ve had food and drinks at several of these local eateries and bars! Here are some of the top local favorites:

Buena Vista Wedding Venues

Other wedding venues in nearby towns:

Reach Out to an Elopement Photo + Video Team near Buena Vista

Whether you’re looking for an elopement photographer to explore the mountains with, a videographer with a drone license to capture your day in the snow from above, or a guide to walk you through the planning process, contact Skyewater Photo + Film!

We help couples plan epic elopements and destination weddings all over the US and we can’t wait to bring your elopement vision to life.

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