Planning an Elopement With Your Dog? This Guide is For You…
Hey, I’m Sydney! Adventure elopement photographer based in Colorado! Short story – I adopted my rescue back in 2021, and have spent the last two years hiking through the mountains with him. Like you, I can’t imagine what it would be like to not include him in my elopement day. If you’re anything like me, your dogs are probably more than just a pet – they are family. I understand how important your dogs are to you, and how special it is that they get to be included on your elopement day.
Bringing your dog along means some extra planning to make sure we can include them – but don’t worry, you’re in the right place!
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Elope With a Dog
I know it can be stressful to elope in a state you’ve maybe only been to a handful of times with your dog – But I’m here to help! Here are some FAQ’s that many of my couples have asked with planning to elope with a dog.
Can I Elope with a Dog in Rocky Mountain National Park?
While there are a ton of places in Colorado I recommend to elope with a dog, RMNP isn’t one of them! Dogs aren’t allowed in the park aside from on paved roads – but, don’t let this deter you from choosing a different Colorado elopement location! I rarely recommend people elope in RMNP (with or without dogs!) because of the strict permit processes and crowds, I have found there are a lot of lesser-known spots that have just as insane views (if not better!) than in the national park.
Is Colorado Dog Friendly?
Yes! There are mountain towns sprawled around the state that love dogs. This can be seen with the pet-friendly lodging, countless hiking trails, thousands of acres of open space, and more that is all dog friendly!
Locations in Colorado to Elope With a Dog
Breckenridge – Breckenridge is the closest of the mountain towns to Denver International Airport (if you’re flying!) and has miles of dog-friendly trails and epic views! Think, alpine lakes, overlooks, and great food! This is the spot for you if you’re looking for a dog friendly elopement adventure just two hours Denver. Check out this recent Dog Friendly Breckenridge Elopement!
Telluride & The San Juans – Arguably the best views in all of Colorado, but also the farthest away! If you’re up for the drive (or flight into Telluride!) you’ll be rewarded with blue lakes, insane mountain views, and very few crowds!
Buena Vista – A quieter town with epic views (and great coffee!) this spot is great for eloping with your dog off-leash, and to get insane views without the crowds! Check out my Buena Vista Elopement Guide!
Crested Butte – Crested Butte is known for its wildflowers and aspen groves! A great spot to elope in the fall, with the most charming mountain town.
Boulder & The Indian Peaks Wilderness – The drive is only about 30 minutes to an hour from Denver! It’s a spot where we can escape the crowds with hiking, so if hiking on your elopement day is your thing, this could be the spot!
Your Dog Can Sign Your Marriage License in Colorado!
In Colorado you can have your dog “sign” your marriage license with their paw print! I always bring an ink pad so that you can get these adorable photos with your pup! The marriage license also serves as a great keepsake and reminder of your dog and the day you shared with them for years to come.
How to Plan an Elopement With a Dog
Step 1 – Choose a Dog Friendly Location
When planning your dog friendly elopement, make sure you are choosing a location that you can elope with a dog at! The rule of thumb is that you can elope with dogs on trails that are marked ‘dog-friendly’, national forests, and in the Colorado mountain towns! Reach out to your
Step 2 – Choose a Dog Friendly Vacation Rental
If you choose Colorado, or another state that is dog friendly (Oregon, Washington, Utah, or California are other great options!) then it will be easy to find a dog-friendly rental. Consider VRBO, as Airbnb banned all events on their properties!
Step 3 – Choose a Dog Friendly Ceremony Location
Once you choose the location you are going to stay in, start figuring out where you want to say your vows and make sure it’s dog friendly! If you plan to elope with a dog in Colorado, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for ceremony location ideas!
Step 4 – Plan Dog Friendly Activities
What does your pup love to do?! If they love to race around forests, consider hiking. If they are big swimmers, let’s say your vows at an alpine lake! If there are parts of your day you don’t want your dog to be apart of, now is a good time to start considering that as well. Plan for a friend or dog sitter to grab your pup from you!
Step 5 – Consider the Context and Training Needed
One of the best ways to reduce stress with bringing your pup is to practice some training before your day! Do you want your dog to pose for pictures? Practice your sit and stay commands. Do you want your dog to be able to hike off-leash? Work on recall!
I always recommend bringing their favorite treats as well as some toys so that your dog can stay busy, and you two stay relevant! This will help reduce stress, and ensure the day isn’t about making sure your dog behaves!
All in all, don’t stress the small stuff. Nothing can be planned perfectly! Keep your expectations in check, and know that there will be bumps with the planning, and just roll with it!
Want me to Help You and Your Dogs Elope in Colorado?!
Get in touch! I can’t wait to help plan your elopement day with your furry friends – I seriously can’t recommend anything better than eloping with your dog! Levi (my dog) and I can’t wait to help!