Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Photographers Trail Ridge Road

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Photography Guide

As Rocky Mountain National Park wedding photographers we love to explore and find new locations in Estes Park to take the adventurous couples that we work with. There is nothing quite like a mountain wedding to kick off your marriage.

Below we’ll share some tips and tricks for Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park weddings. A few of the topics we will discuss below are: venues, avoiding crowds, and must-see views. Don’t hesitate to contact us for information more specific to your unique circumstance we love to double as tour guides for your big day.

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Photography Trail Ridge Road Sunset

Rocky Mountain Wedding Photography Planning Guide

As we dive into your wedding planning guide we’ll talk through timing and locations first. It’s true what they say about timing and location. Pick the right location at the right time and that’s how you get the most epic wedding photos.

rocky mountain national park adventure wedding sunset session with mountain views

Wedding Timing

Weddings in Rocky Mountain National Park are all about the timing. For example, you’ll want to avoid Memorial Day weekend and instead consider off-season avoiding both peak tourist seasons and time of day. The good news is that sunrise and sunset are not only less crowded but they’re the most beautiful choice for your photos.

That being said, you’ll want to plan your wedding based on the season as well. Are you interested in a snowy paradise and willing to risk the weather? Or are fall colors more your jam?

Certain areas of the park are only accessible seasonally and note that at those higher altitudes snow takes longer to melt.

colorado winter adventure sessions

Wedding Locations

When it comes to wedding locations in Rocky Mountain National Park, there are more decisions to make than usual. Will you get married in the park at ones of the designated ceremony locations or will you look for a venue that has it’s own wedding ceremony sites?

You may not be able to have your ceremony on Trail Ridge Road but that doesn’t mean you can’t take portraits there. So you may be looking to plan a ceremony site, reception venue, and favorite portrait locations. And yes, Trail Ridge Road should be on that list but note that Trail Ridge Road isn’t open year round. (See that whole section on timing!)

Rocky Mountain National Park Engagement

Wedding Ceremony locations in Rocky Mountain National Park

If you are interested in getting married in Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll want to at least consider a National Park ceremony. If the ceremony sites don’t accommodate the size of your wedding group, then you might be interested in doing couples portraits in Rocky Mountain National Park. Regardless of where you have your ceremony you can do portraits throughout the National Park as long as you obtain the proper permit and follow the rules.

The Rocky Mountain National Park website has all the information you’ll need on ceremony sites and what the accommodate in terns of size, vehicles, and more. You’ll need to apply in advance for a wedding permit. And an experienced photographer can help you plan the rest.

Remember, when planning a wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park wedding ceremony, it’s crucial to check with the park’s authorities for any permits or regulations. Additionally, consider the season and weather conditions, as the park experiences various climates throughout the year. Whether you prefer a lakeside ceremony, a mountain backdrop, or a secluded forest setting, Rocky Mountain National Park has the perfect ceremony site for your special day.

Rock Mountain National Park Fall Colors

Sprague Lake:

Surrounded by mountains and featuring a picturesque lake, Sprague Lake offers a serene and intimate setting for your wedding ceremony. The lake is easily accessible, making it a great choice for couples with varying guest mobility.

romantic rocky mountain national park engagement

Moraine Park:

With meadows, wildlife, and the iconic view of Longs Peak, Moraine Park provides a rustic and charming backdrop for your wedding ceremony. Capture timeless moments with the park’s diverse landscapes.

Bear Lake:

Nestled at an elevation of 9,475 feet, Bear Lake offers breathtaking views and crystal-clear waters, creating a magical atmosphere for your vows. Bear Lake is especially stunning during the fall when the aspen trees turn vibrant shades of gold. The summer months are off-limits for this site anyway and there are no weekend weddings permitted ever.

Upper Beaver Meadows:

Exchange your vows in open meadows with views of the continental divide. Make sure the road will be open, it often closes from mid-Oct to mid-May. Upper Beaver Meadows is one of my favorite ceremony sites.

Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Photographer Open Meadow

3M Curve:

If you’re looking for a ceremony site with panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, 3M Curve is a fantastic choice. Consider scheduling your wedding during sunset for a breathtaking and romantic experience.

colorado winter adventure sessions

Lily Lake Dock or Trail

Lily Lake is a great ceremony spot whether you choose to get married on the dock or alongside the trail. This ceremony site has the benefit of beautiful water and a mountain lake with less crowds than some other ceremony site locations like Bear Lake.

Lily Lake Wedding Colorado Mountains Bride and Groom

Alluvial Fan Bridge

Another busy spot, the Alluvial Fan Bridge would be a great spot around sunrise or sunset with the crowds are thinner.

Hidden Valley

One of our favorite ceremony sites, Hidden Valley boasts a variety of photogenic attributes from the wooden footbridge to the creekside wildflowers. A short hike makes this spot extra adventurous.

rocky mountain national park adventure wedding couple portraits by creek

Wedding Reception Locations in Estes Park

For weddings in Rocky Mountain National Park, you can apply for a permit and choose from ceremony sites depending on the size of your wedding. There are a variety of nearby wedding venues in Estes Park for larger weddings and receptions after the ceremony.

Regardless of your choice of Estes Park wedding venue, consider leaving room in your timeline for portraits in Rocky Mountain National Park. Sunset in the alpine will take your breath away. Once you’re reviewed ceremony site locations, it’s time to look at reception venues.

Before finalizing any venue, be sure to consider the capacity, amenities, and any specific requirements they may have. Additionally, check for accommodation options nearby to make it convenient for your guests. Happy planning!

breathtaking colorado wedding destinations
rocky mountain national park adventure wedding sunrise session with mountain views

Skyview at Fall River (Estes Park) – Our favorite Estes Park wedding venue for the views!

If views are a must even for the reception, check out the Skyview at Fall River. The name says it all and your guests will love it. It even boasts one of the best ceremony locations outside of the park itself.

skyview at fall river village wedding estes park wedding venues

Della Terra Mountain Chateau (Estes Park):

This luxury mountain venue features an elegant chateau with a breathtaking backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Choose from indoor ballrooms or outdoor terraces to suit your preferences. It’s not one of my favorite ceremony locations but it’s so close to the park that you can get great portraits and be back in time for dinner.

estes park wedding venues della terra rocky mountain national park

Black Canyon Inn (Estes Park):

Nestled against the mountains, Black Canyon Inn provides a picturesque setting with well-manicured grounds. The Twin Owls Steakhouse on-site offers a beautiful event pavilion for receptions. It offers one of my favorite ceremony locations!

Black Canyon Inn The Boulders Wedding

Wild Basin Lodge (Allenspark):

Located near Rocky Mountain National Park, Wild Basin Lodge offers a riverside venue surrounded by nature. Accommodate guests in private cabins for a cozy and intimate experience.

Taharaa Mountain Lodge (Estes Park):

With a lodge-style atmosphere, Taharaa Mountain Lodge provides a warm and inviting space for receptions. Take advantage of the outdoor patio with panoramic mountain views.

The Historic Crags Lodge (Estes Park):

Host your reception in a lodge with a historic ambiance and panoramic views of the Rockies. Embrace the rustic elegance of this venue for a memorable celebration.

Marys Lake Lodge (Estes Park):

Overlooking Marys Lake, this lodge offers a scenic setting for your reception, complete with a mountain backdrop. Choose from indoor banquet rooms or outdoor areas for a customized celebration.

Marys Lake Lodge Winter Wedding

The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park):

Known for its historic charm and stunning architecture, The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park offers various event spaces with mountain views. Guests can stay at the hotel, providing a convenient and memorable experience.

Tips for the Best Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Photos

Below are some important tips for the best wedding photos. Beyond timing and location, these tips will help steer you in the right direction. Be warned though, I’m likely to talk more about timing and location!

It helps if you know your guest count and other priorities for the day such as desired wedding month. An adventure elopement will require less planning than a larger wedding as you aren’t limited to an official ceremony site.

Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Photographer Flower Meadow

Avoid Crowds

There are many epic locations to consider as backdrops for Rocky Mountain National Park weddings and elopements. The park is an inspiring landscape, but it’s no secret. One of the challenges to a National Park wedding is avoiding crowds.

Consider avoiding peak tourist season, trying for a weekday, and utilizing venues outside the park. Encourage early reservations. Traffic and parking can be difficult so plan and prepare for that.

Early morning and early evening can be less crowded than the middle of the day. Learn about the weather, terrain, and protected areas so that you can give back to the place that gives us so much.

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Photographers Trail Ridge Road

Hire the Best Estes Park Wedding Photographers

The best wedding photographer will be able to act as a tour guide and ensure you get incredible photos while having a great experience. Our couples always find that getting married in the National Park ensures amazing memories to go along with the day.

Plan an effective timeline and think outside the box. There are plenty of views you can see from the car and some pretty sweet drives to experience. We recommend taking time to get out of the car and hit the trail, that’s how we’ve discovered some of our favorite spots that we share with our elopement couples.

elope in estes park sunset portrait on a rock

Leave No Trace

Despite the crowds, Rocky Mountain National Park is wild and beautiful. To keep in that way it’s important to educate yourself on the environment. There is a fragile alpine tundra to avoid walking on and Elk that just want to be left alone. And you can’t leave flower petals that weren’t already there.

You might also consider eco-friendly decorations and educating your guests, this is a great opportunity to think about the environment while emersed in it. Consider making a donation or participating in park conservation initiatives as a way of giving back.

While capturing the magic of your day, focus on the natural beauty of the surroundings. Avoid excessive alterations or staging that could compromise the authenticity of the park’s landscapes.


To avoid wedding stress, consider how you might be able to simplify the plan for the day. Can you simplify transportation or the timeline or the things on your to-do list. You don’t really need much when it comes to a wedding somewhere so beautiful anyway (with natural flower petals surrounding you) so ease the stress and focus on why you chose Estes Park as your wedding destination.

elope in estes park sunny portraits

Elopements and Rocky Mountain National Park Engagement Photos

If getting married in the National Park isn’t the right fit logistically, you can always elope or do your engagement photos in the park. Engagement photos especially are easier because you can simply get a photography permit and don’t need the additional wedding ceremony permit and reservation.

We’ve even had couples do a wedding portrait session on a different day than their wedding day. They get all dressed up and achieve the photos they want while keeping their actual wedding day more simple.

elope in estes park in summer with flowers

Engagement Photos in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky mountain national park engagements photos are a great wait to celebrate. Couples looking for a dramatic landscape to help tell the story of their love will delight in the accessible views. The same things that make the town great for engagement photos make it perfect for your elopement photography.

Imagine great views, excellent access, and somewhere awesome to celebrate afterwards. We always suggest timing things around sunrise or sunset when the light is beautiful and the locations are less crowded. We can help you find a seclude spot, especially if you’re willing to hike a little.

Boasting epic mountain views and the quaint nearby town of Estes Park, your guests will be delighted with Rocky Mountain National Park. As Estes Park wedding photographers we’re here to help you get those epic landscape portraits while also focusing on your wedding day experience.

colorado empty nester pics

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Photographers

As Rocky Mountain National Park wedding photographers, it’s our pleasure to help you plan your big day with epic views. It’s our goal to focus both on your photos and your experience. Don’t hesitate to let us know your questions or ask us to act as tour guides.

We’ll even send you a map with different pictures from around the park to help you prepare. Be sure to read more about why our clients say we’re the best colorado wedding photographers.

Ready to have your wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park? Looking for other possibilities for your Colorado mountain wedding? Check out these beautiful Colorado mountain wedding venues or our Colorado wedding planning advice.

elope in estes park sunrise portraits on a rock

Recent Rocky Mountain National Park Photography

more on wedding planning:

We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in mountain wedding photography and other adventures.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help with your photography needs!

In the meantime, remember to…

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