It may be tempting to skip the application process and head to your favorite place in the park to say "I do." But procedures are in place to protect both the park's resources and visitor experience.
Applying for a Wedding Permit
Anyone getting married in the park must apply for and be granted a special use permit. Folks may be tempted to skip with the application process, however proper protocols must be followed for the well-being of the park and to ensure a positive visitor experience (for yourself and all other visitors as well). Visitors who are found conducting a wedding ceremony without a permit may be subject to hefty fines and removal from the area. For information on applying for a Rocky Mountain National Park wedding permit, visit our page “Applying for a Wedding Permit.”
Maximum Permit Limits
The National Park Service has a cap on how many wedding ceremonies can be conducted in the park per month. Rocky Mountain National Park is a designated wilderness area and these caps are for protection and preservation of natural spaces.
-May-October: 60 per month for all issued permits on a first come/first served basis
-November-April: 40 per month for all issued permits on a first come/first served basis
You will need to have a marriage license to get married in Rocky Mountain National Park. Marriage licenses can be obtained and used in any county in Colorado; you may find that it is most convenient to obtain it in Estes Park at Town Hall. This is by appointment only. Learn more about what you will need to obtain a Colorado marriage license on the Larimer County Clerk and Recorder website. An officiant would not need any separate permit to perform a ceremony within the national park boundaries- your wedding permit through the park would cover that.
Weddings are not permitted in public facilities such as visitor centers, roadside turnouts, parking areas, overlooks, or in special wildlife viewing areas. Weddings are only permitted in approved locations. A list of locations and information about each site can be found in more extensive detail on the “Ceremony Sites” page.
Construction may take place unexpectedly at any time or location throughout the park. Construction is considered a critical need and may impact areas within the ceremony site locations. However, the park staff cannot offer refunds for locations that are impacted by this. If there is construction at the location of your ceremony, contact the Concessions Office at 970-586-1209 to discuss the option of changing the site location.
Wedding Ceremony Size
All approved wedding sites can only accommodate small groups, and so there is a strict cap on how many people can be in attendance and how many vehicles may occupy parking spaces in conjunction with weddings. Generally, the maximum ceremony size for all wedding locations is 30 people, although each site has its own ceremony size restrictions. Those ceremony size specifications can be found in the "Ceremony Sites" section. “Ceremony Size” refers to how many total people are participating in the wedding ceremony- this includes the couple, officiant, photographers/videographers, wedding party including bridesmaids and groomsmen, guests including infants and children, etc. Ceremonies are not allowed to close areas or deny other park visitors access to areas for their ceremony.
Are you looking to include your four-legged, furry friend in your ceremony? Dogs are only allowed to participate in weddings held at Moraine Park Discovery Center Amphitheater and Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater. When filling out your application, indicate that you would like your dog at the ceremony. Read more about pets in the park.
Ceremony sites in Rocky Mountain National Park are located in areas that are open to the public. All locations are outdoors and rustic in nature with minimal or no protection from the weather.
No matter which ceremony site is used or which season it takes place in, the natural beauty of the park provides an already stunning backdrop to wedding ceremonies. With that in mind, the park does not allow extra décor to be added to ceremony sites. This includes chairs, decorations, tents, arches or any other type of décor. The only exception to this rule is that the Moraine Park Discovery Center Amphitheater does allow the use of an arch.
Wedding parties are allowed to wear boutonnieres and hold bouquets during ceremonies. However, items such as flower petals, birdseed, rice, or similar material or items cannot be used, thrown, or scattered. All wedding ceremonies should operate under “Leave No Trace” principles and leave nothing behind.
Amplified music is not permitted in these locations, so as to not disrupt wildlife and other visitors to the park. Any music that is used must be at 60 decibels or less. For context, normal conversation is about 60 decibels.
While many of the wedding ceremony sites are near picnic areas, Lily Lake Southside Picnic Area is the only site allowed to accommodate a picnic or simple food reception. Holding a simple reception at that location requires an additional special use permit.
Alternative to having a reception in the park itself, there are many local restaurants and venues in both Estes Park and Grand Lake that would gladly work with you to host a reception.
Photography and Videography
If you choose to have a photographer or videographer present to document your ceremony, their services are covered under the special use permit and do not need a separate permit. They do count towards your total ceremony size number. In addition to photographing your ceremony, you may also choose to go to other places in the park to take pictures. Please indicate this on your application to be approved on your permit.
Drones are prohibited in all national park service areas, even if the user/photographer is FAA licensed. No exceptions will be made.
The National Park Service and Your Wedding
RMNP does not provide any sort of wedding packages, transportation, décor, nor do they provide an officiant. Questions regarding permits, the application process, and other wedding details can be directed to the Concessions Office at 970-586-1209 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.