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The Ultimate Guide for your Garden of the Gods Elopement

The Ultimate Guide for your Garden of the Gods Elopement

Why You Should Get Married at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is just outside of Colorado Springs; About 1 hour from Denver, Colorado. The red rock and greenery almost have a Sedona vibe – you’ll swear you’re out in the southwest desert but with Colorado weather. If you’re on the hunt for an elopement or wedding ceremony location that is easily accessible, free, full of mountain views and unique rock formations then Garden of the Gods should be on your list of possible Colorado elopement locations.

Keep reading to learn more about this unique park in Colorado Springs!

* NOTE – Guide Updated For 2021 *

Table of Contents

Aleysa & Iosif chose to have a romantic Garden of the Gods elopement during the month of March and it was a fabulous choice
Moody bride and groom pose for the camera in Central Garden at Garden of the Gods for their elopement

How to Elope at Garden of the Gods in 5 Easy Steps

Alesya and Iosif were flexible when our initial plans fell through due to a snowstorm rolling through Denver, and we ended up in an incredibly gorgeous location at Garden of the Gods for this styled elopement! Garden of the Gods is just outside Colorado Springs, and the red rock and greenery almost has a Sedona vibe – you’ll swear you’re out in the southwest desert but with Colorado weather. The snow against the bright sandstone was vividly contrasting Alesya’s black wedding dress, and we pulled it all together with a beautiful floral arrangement in her hair.  Despite the last minute change of plans – I swear these two were made for this place! We couldn’t have been happier with the location and I think Garden of the Gods should be on your list of possible Colorado elopement locations.

Keep reading to learn more about this unique park in Colorado Springs!

1.) Get To Know The Park

To plan your elopement at Garden of the Gods, you’ll first want to know more about the park. It’s one of the most elopement-friendly public parks in Colorado, but that also means it’s a pretty popular place to come across others who had the same idea for an outdoor wedding as you. A weekday morning or evening will be your best time to snag the exact location you’re hoping for, while also getting the best lighting!

2.) Choose a Ceremony Location

Start by choosing where you want to have your ceremony. Below, I’ve detailed the 6 places in the park where ceremonies are allowed – create a list of your favorites! Have a backup, just in case your first choice is taken on the day of your elopement. Garden of the Gods is first-come first-served for weddings and unfortunately there’s no way to reserve your spot. Flexibility is the name of the game with this park, but I think it’s worth it for the beauty and accessibility!

3.) Create Your Guest List

Narrow your guest list to the 25-50 people allowed at your ceremony spot. If you’re open to playing it by ear depending on which location is free on your day – you’ll want to narrow your guest count to 25 so no one ends up unable to attend. Encourage anyone you do invite to carpool! Garden of the Gods has limited parking, and streetside parking is all that is available close to some of the below ceremony locations.

4.) Encourage Minimalism

No arches or decor are encouraged at Garden of the Gods, so you’ll want to embrace the natural scenery as your backdrop. Find ways to personalize your elopement style with a bouquet, clothing, and jewelry choices – be intentional about what few things you do include! You don’t have to feel limited by the lack of decor. Instead, showcase your elopement with vow booklets or other small things that can have big significance. Luna Lynn Creative specializes in custom vow booklets for elopements and weddings, visit her website here to checkout the online shop.

5.) Plan a Reception

To celebrate with friends and family, you’ll want to plan something outside the park! There are a couple picnic areas in Garden of the Gods where you can bring lunch and hang out, but they are far from private and no alcohol is allowed – not exactly the best place to pop champagne. However, the park is only 5 miles from downtown Colorado Springs, where you’ll find quite a few event venues or restaurants perfect for celebrating your elopement late into the night!

Moody bride and groom walk down to central garden for additional photos after their Garden of the Gods elopement

Best Places to Elope in Garden of the Gods

There are 6 main areas at Garden of the Gods where you can have a wedding ceremony with guests. I’ll outline each of these locations below – along with any details you’ll need to know before choosing which is perfect for you! 

These rules apply to all 6 locations:

1.) Ceremonies must be brief and setup/takedown must be fast and environmentally friendly – no chairs or fixtures are allowed, and parking is extremely limited. 

2.) There are no permits available, which means there are no fees. However, you also can’t reserve your ceremony location! To try and avoid crowds on a potentially busy day, a sunrise or weekday elopement would be your best bet.

3.) No alcoholic beverages and no receptions in the park. You’ll want to plan any post-ceremony celebrations at a location outside Garden of the Gods.

4.) Follow Leave No Trace policies and always stay on trail.

 If these rules aren’t deal breakers, Garden of the Gods might be your perfect place to elope!

Wedding Ceremony Locations at Garden of the Gods

1.) Jaycee Plaza

Number of People: 50

Jaycee Plaza is just past the Visitor’s Center to the right when you enter the park. The plaza itself is a circular stone area that is flat and easily accessible to people of all ages and mobility levels. The surrounding landscape is more open than some of the other options – and there can be beautiful greenery during many months of the year.

Bride and groom stand on the wall in a popular ceremony spot called Jaycee Plaza, which is in the middle of Central Garden in Garden of the Gods

2.) Sentinel Plaza

Number of People: 25

Sentinel Plaza is very close Jaycee Plaza when you enter the park (park in the same parking lot). Everything about the two locations is similar, except Sentinel Plaza has a less open feel – the surrounding rock formations are gorgeous but do restrict the number of people you can have in attendance at your ceremony.

Bride and groom say their vows during this winter elopement at Garden of the Gods
Couple poses in wedding attire after their elopement in the middle of Sentinel Plaza at Garden of the Gods

3.) Three Graces Plaza

Number of People: 25

This location is also accessible by flat stone walkways, but it is notably different from the above two options because of the towering red rock formations taller than most others in the park. Standing before these natural pillars creates a dramatic backdrop for a ceremony!

4.) High Point

Number of People: 50

High Point is further into the park – to the left past the visitor center on Ridge Road. This is the only ceremony location in Garden of the Gods with a structure to stand under. The slated wooden roof won’t protect you from any rain, but it can create dramatic shadows during many times of day – so plan accordingly! Stepping out from under the structure, this location has more rocky footing with incredible views of the nearby mountains.

5.) Scotsman Picnic Area

Number of People: 25

The Scotsman Picnic Area is toward the center of Garden of the Gods, and away from the towering red rock structures. Here you’ll find lush green plants, low trees, and 5 picnic tables up for grabs. This location is perfect for an intimate ceremony as there are more places to step away from the most popular trails in the park!

6.) South Spring Canyon Area

Number of People: 50

The South Spring Canyon Area is in the southwest corner of Garden of the Gods and like the Scotsman Picnic Area, it is a more forested spot covered in greenery and farther from the rocky desert-vibes of the first four locations listed here. There are 6 picnic tables at this location – perfect for gathering around if you want to celebrate with family in the park!

7.) Hiking Trails

My favorite one! There are hundreds of acres of land in Garden of the Gods and many different hiking trails that are less crowded. If you have a good pair of boots, no guests at your elopement, and would like a little seclusion then reach out to me! I will take you to my favorite spots (leave no trace friendly of course).

Bride and groom walking on the Siamese Twins Trail after eloping at Garden of the Gods in Colorado
Landscape photo of sunset from Garden of the Gods, Colorado
Bride and groom walking to their elopement ceremony location at High Point in Garden of the Gods Colorado

Eloping FAQ's

This stunning 1,300 acre park sits at 6,400 feet in elevation at the base of a well known 14’er, Pikes Peak. Great news for those who may fear altitude sickness during their visit.

This park is forever free to access, thanks to Charles Elliot Perkins and his family. They donated it to Colorado Springs on the condition that it remain permanently free for everyone to enjoy.

Yes! The park is completely free and does not require a permit or fee to enter or get married.

There are over 21 miles spread across 6 trails at Garden of the Gods. These trails range from 1/3 to 3 miles in length. More information on these trails can be found here.

Yes. The park is also ADA accessible. Parking can be minimal during high traffic times, so plan accordingly.

Sunrise is the best time of day if you are looking for seclusion. The park is busiest in the mid-morning to late afternoon and on the weekends.

Tuesday – Thursday, and avoid weekends if you can.

This stunning 1,300 acre park sits at 6,400 feet in elevation at the base of a well known 14’er, Pikes Peak. Great news for those who may fear altitude sickness during their visit.

This park is forever free to access, thanks to Charles Elliot Perkins and his family. They donated it to Colorado Springs on the condition that it remain permanently free for everyone to enjoy.

Yes! The park is completely free and does not require a permit or fee to enter or get married.

There are over 21 miles spread across 6 trails at Garden of the Gods. These trails range from 1/3 to 3 miles in length. More information on these trails can be found here.

Yes. The park is also ADA accessible. Parking can be minimal during high traffic times, so plan accordingly.

Sunrise is the best time of day if you are looking for seclusion. The park is busiest in the mid-morning to late afternoon and on the weekends.

Tuesday – Thursday, and avoid weekends if you can.

Styled Garden of the Gods Elopement at Sentinel Plaza

Looking for Full Elopement Galleries or Hourly Pricing Details?

Visit my contact page – I’d love to hear about your wedding day!

Starting prices can be found below.

7 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide for your Garden of the Gods Elopement”

    1. Thank you so much, Laura!! That is so sweet. I’m obsessed with this place and it’s hard to believe it’s free to shoot here and so accessible.

    1. It’s hard to believe this place is just a few minutes away from downtown Colorado Springs. What you don’t see in these photos is the 14’er this park sits at the base of.

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