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How To Get Married in Colorado

So, you’ve probably heard that Colorado is a pretty nice state to get married in. I’d consider that an understatement. Call me biased (after all, I got married in Colorado), but our state here out west is one that offers breathtaking scenes that will suit any couple’s vision.

Mountains? They’re here.

Forests of luscious greenery and towering trees? We have them.

Deserts and canyons? Those who have seen them here know how beautiful they are.

Four seasons of beautiful weather? You’ll find that in Colorado too.

But by this point, I probably don’t have to convince you that Colorado is your dream destination for your wedding. You’re not wondering why you should get married in Colorado. You’re just wondering about how to get married in Colorado.

Getting married in Colorado is a fairly simple matter from a legal perspective—it’s a self-solemnization state (meaning no need for an officiant if you don’t want one) and you don’t legally need witnesses to sign for you.

And if you want a big grand affair (because hey, who doesn’t?) then there are plenty of options to choose from as far as venues, vendors, and other professionals.

Let’s take a closer look together on how to get married in Colorado…

How To Get Legally Married In Colorado

The legal side of getting married in Colorado is the first thing we need to address. After all, you can have the ceremony and reception of your dreams, but does any of it really matter if you don’t have the official documentation saying two have become one in the eyes of the law?

As I said, Colorado marriage laws are pretty relaxed. In fact, getting a Colorado marriage license is simple. You can apply for a Colorado marriage license and get it on the same day, no need to send out documents in the mail, endure a lengthy wait time, or have to constantly check your mailbox in the weeks following to see whether your Colorado marriage license arrived.

All you have to do is visit the office of the county clerk where you’ll be getting married—and yes, you must get the marriage license from the county clerk’s office. So for example, if you plan to get married in Denver, you would need to visit the Office of the Clerk and Recorder of Denver County.

If you’re not signing and returning your Colorado marriage license on the same day you’re obtaining it, you should be careful about not getting the license too early. The license has to be signed within 35 days of obtaining it, so if you get your Colorado marriage license too far in advance, it may no longer be good by the time your big day arrives.

Here are the specifics you need to know in order to get that Colorado marriage license:

How To Get a Colorado Marriage License

As in other states, a Colorado marriage license isn’t expensive but it isn’t free either. A Colorado marriage license will cost you somewhere around $30, and you should plan to pay for it in cash.

But money isn’t the only thing you’re going to need. Be prepared to provide some basic information about yourself, including your marriage history. According to Colorado marriage laws, things you’ll need to provide include:

  • Your legal name, including first, middle, and last name
  • Your age and social security number
  • The city/state of your birth
  • Where you currently live, and where your future spouse currently lives
  • Where your parents or guardians currently live
  • Information on past divorces, including the date the divorce was issued and the location of the county that issued the divorce

In addition to all of this information, you’ll need to bring identification. Most people use their driver’s license, but if you don’t have a driver’s license, you could always use a passport or birth certificate. If you want to be extra cautious (and it never hurts to be), you might think about bringing backup ID as well, in case there ends up being any problem with the primary ID you’re providing.

Do You Need An Officiant To Get Married In Colorado?

When you picture a wedding, if you’re like most people, you imagine someone standing up there to lead the wedding with the couple. In some cases, it’s a religious leader like a minister, priest, rabbi, or imam. In some secular weddings, the officiant could be a justice of the peace or even a civil celebrant, like a family member or a close friend.

But if you don’t necessarily want someone up there officiating your wedding for you…well, good news! You don’t need an officiant to get married in Colorado. While the option is still available (because some people want it), Colorado is actually what’s known as a self-solemnization state, meaning couples are able to sign and legalize their own marriage license with no officiant required.

Let’s take a closer look at how self-solemnization in Colorado works…

Self-Solemnization in Colorado

Self-solemnization in Colorado weddings is a viable and popular option, but before you opt to pursue this route, you should understand that self-solemnization does require certain obligations from the couple. The responsibilities usually taken on by the officiant become your responsibilities.

According to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, couples who choose to self-solemnize will be responsible for handling everything related to their Colorado marriage license. You need to:

  • obtain it
  • fill it out
  • sign it
  • return it to the clerk’s office

This should be easy enough, but it’s important to understand that self-solemnization does require official protocol.

However, if you like the idea of an officiant, that option is still available to couples getting married in Colorado. You could choose to have a religious leader, such as one of those previously mentioned, or you could have someone who is legally empowered to perform wedding ceremonies, such as a judge of the court (including retired judges), a court magistrate, a public official, or Indian tribe officials. You could also ask parties to the marriage, such as the best man or maid of honor, to perform the ceremony.

Other Self-Solemnization States

“Hey, I’ve never heard of self-solemnization before,” you might be thinking. “That’s actually something that people do?”

It is! And it’s not as uncommon as you might think—nor is it limited only to Colorado weddings. There are several other self-solemnization states where you don’t need an officiant to perform the ceremony. Self-solemnization states include not only Colorado but also California, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In addition to these states, you can also have a self-solemnized wedding in Washington, D.C.

(But you know, self-solemnization isn’t the only reason to get married in Colorado, right? That makes it convenient, but you’re also planning here for the view. And the culture.)

Do You Need Witnesses to Get Married in Colorado?

So if an officiant is not required, where does this leave you on witnesses? Do you need to have those for a self-solemnized Colorado wedding?

Technically speaking, no, you don’t. Witnesses to a wedding aren’t required in Colorado. So you really could just have both newlyweds sign the marriage license and call it a day. But if you do have witnesses for your wedding and their presence is meaningful to your union, you have the option of having them sign the lines available for two witness signatures on the Colorado marriage license.

Your Dog Can Be A Witness For Your Colorado Wedding!

So, if witnesses aren’t legally required for your Colorado wedding, does that mean you could have a furry, four-legged family member serve as a witness? Absolutely—and many couples getting married in Colorado do choose to do that. Bring an ink pad so your dog can leave a paw print on the marriage certificate, bearing witness as your faithful companion that your union is legit.

Start Planning Your Colorado Wedding

Now it’s time to get down to the fun stuff. After all, we know that acquiring a marriage license is necessary, but it’s not the kind of thing that couples dream about on their big day. Instead, you want to start thinking about the scenery, the venue, and the vendors who will make your wedding special.

When you start planning your Colorado wedding, the first big decision you’re probably going to make is when you’ll have your wedding (if you’re not locked into a date already). Unlike some wedding destinations like the Bahamas (where you can always expect it to be warm) or Yosemite (where you can always expect it to be cold), the state of Colorado gets all four seasons.

While summers are beautiful with abundant wildflowers dotting the wilderness and winters are breathtaking with their blankets of snow, you won’t be the only one wanting to visit Colorado during these times—and the busy tourism industry could make it difficult for out-of-town guests to secure lodging.

On the other hand, spring and fall are slightly unpredictable in terms of weather. Yes, spring and autumn are beautiful in Colorado. You’ll see sunny days, and the changing leaf colors in the fall turn the state’s abundant foliage into dazzling eye-openers. However, it’s not unusual to see early snowstorms in the fall or late snowstorms in the spring, both of which could affect travel. Be conscious of these and how they might affect your wedding while you’re planning.

Colorado Wedding Vendor Recommendations

A beautiful, stress-free wedding day—that’s what every couple wants, right? But these special days don’t just happen on their own. Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of having an elite team of vendors who can work their magic. The vendors I keep within my inner circle are ones I admire for the quality of their work, creativity, professionalism, and attention to detail.

Colorado Event Planning & Design

First and foremost, you need a planner. A planner is the one who coordinates everything, makes the connections, and thinks of all the details that you might not think of yourself.

And I have the perfect planner. Meehan Fee with Telluride Unveiled has years of experience in creating the most spectacular events I’ve seen.

She is the mastermind behind all the details photographed, and all the information you never thought you would need is at her fingertips. Her attention to detail is what turns a simple experience into a magnificent and grand event. Here are just a few images of some of the incredible work she has done!

Colorado Videographer

Finding someone to document your day through the art of videography is an absolute necessity! The combination of photography & videography is the key to any luxury event. There is something truly spectacular about being able to watch your wedding day over and over. Molly & Luke, owners of Love Story Films, are a fabulous couple who capture the emotion and detail of every wedding in the most graceful, stylish, and timeless manner. I’ve admired their work for sometime and working with them recently was an absolute highlight in my career.

Colorado Wedding Venues

Finding the perfect Colorado wedding venue starts with knowing what kind of atmosphere you want. Just as it has four seasons, Colorado also has a variety of scenery, and you should start your search in and around the cities that you know will offer what you want.

For example, if you want those impressive Colorado mountains, look no further than my home base of Telluride. On the other hand, if you’re more of a city person, your perfect wedding venue might be waiting for you in Denver. If you’re somewhere in between and like the allure of a cozy little small town, then Boulder is a great place to start.

If you want a venue with a view of all the spectacular natural scenery that makes Colorado so special, these are two places I highly recommend:

Colorado Wedding Florists

What’s a wedding without flowers? Florals are a necessity if you’re going to elevate your aesthetic from a simple event to special occasion. (And you do want your wedding to be a special occasion, right?)

These two florists have very different styles and I’m proud to highly recommend them both:

  • Dahlia Floral Design: Rachel, the owner of Dahlia Floral Design, is the genius behind installments of all shapes and sizes that continue to amaze me. 
  • Bridal Veil Floral: Emily, the Bridal Veil Floral owner, is absolutely incredible at creating what I’d call a breath of fresh air! Her style exudes pure elegance. Her inventiveness and style are gorgeous and distinct.

Wedding Hair & Makeup in Colorado

You’re putting so much emphasis on the location and decor, but don’t forget that this is a day when all eyes are truly going to be on you. Besides, when you look your best, you’ll feel your best—so finding the right hair and makeup artist is a must. These vendors not only take pride in what they do but also are extraordinary at creating true, glamorous, and natural beauty:

Telluride Weddings & Events

When it comes to your first few steps, don’t forget to connect with the brilliant women at the Telluride Ski Resort Weddings & Events to secure your date and venue.

Your Colorado Wedding Photographer

Telluride Wedding Photographer | Lisa Marie Wright Photography

Last but not least, don’t forget that you need a wedding photographer who is going to capture the beautiful day you’re planning with stunning, emotive shots you’ll want to share, look at, and cherish throughout your marriage.

That’s where I come in!

As an award-winning, published photographer with 15 years of experience, including the past eight in which I’ve focused on luxury weddings here in Colorado, I know that this is the best day of your life, and I want to be there to preserve the incredible experience for you and your soon-to-be spouse.

Finally, please feel free to reach out to me HERE. In the meantime, I’d love to connect with you on my Instagram and Facebook. Cheers to lots of excitement ahead!