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Best Small Wedding Venues in Colorado

Published on February 5th, 2023

rainy wedding day at the maroon bells

Top 10 Outdoor Small Wedding Venues In Colorado

Good news, there is no shortage of incredible small wedding venues in Colorado! While there are SO many to choose from, I’ve gathered the top 10 across the state that have the best views and would make a breathtaking place to have an intimate outdoor ceremony. Heads up this blog post is long, feel free to skip ahead to the small wedding venues you’re interested in. 

  1. Maroon Bells Amphitheatre
  2. San Sofia Overlook
  3. Vail Holy Cross Event Deck
  4. Piney River Ranch
  5. Garden of the Gods
  6. Alta Lakes Observatory
  7. Top of the Pines
  8. Sunrise Amphitheater
  9. Rocky Mountain National Park
  10. Sapphire Point

Defining a Small Wedding

As a photographer who specializes in intimate weddings and elopements, I know the term “small wedding” means different things to different people. For the purpose of the wedding venues I’m discussing, I’m going to define a small wedding as a wedding with 15-50 people. Some of these venues mentioned have a lower guest count.

Do I need to book a small wedding venue in Colorado

While there are many places in nature in Colorado that don’t require a wedding reservation, the answer to this question depends on your guest count or if you like the peace of mind that comes from having a designated ceremony site reserved. Or if you fall in love with a location where this is the only option. For small weddings with 20 or more guests, I recommend booking a ceremony site or small wedding venue.

As a photographer who cares deeply about practicing Leave No Trace principles, I’m also considering the use of the land and the enjoyment of these places for the public. Having a wedding with more than 20 guests in some public spaces can negatively impact the area, overtake the parking, and interfere with others who are there to enjoy the outdoors. This is a huge reason to look into booking a small outdoor wedding venue that will take care of these things while still giving you an immersive experience.

Booking guide for the top 10 small wedding venues in Colorado

Alrighty! Let’s get into it. Here is all the deets you need to know to book and have an incredible outdoor wedding ceremony at venues that are perfect for more intimate guest lists.

Maroon Bells Amphitheatre Weddings

This is probably my one of my favorite small wedding venues in Colorado. This is located in Aspen, Colorado which is such an amazing place to be a home base for a destination wedding. While the Maroon Bells is a popular destination for tourists, the amphitheatre is tucked away in the perfect spot that gives you privacy and there won’t be people in the background. You are surrounded by some of the most incredible mountains while having a beautiful field and lake behind you.

After your ceremony you can take the trails to get better views of the lake with the bells lined up behind. There is also an easy hike around the lake or you can hike to crater lake for a little adventure and some up close views of the unique mountains with another amazing lake. 

How to book a Maroon Bells Amphitheatre Wedding

As you can probably guess, this is a very popular wedding site. This is a location where you’ll need to plan ahead and know your desired date range. They only allow 1 wedding a day and open it up for reservations one year in advance. I recommend this being the first thing you book before even talking to other vendors. As a photographer who specializes in intimate weddings, my calendar does not fill up as far in advance as traditional wedding photographers. I promise you will still be able to book an incredible photographer while waiting to reserve your date. Click here to reserve your Maroon Bells Wedding.

One of the best parts of booking a wedding at the Maroon Bells is that they include parking passes for 5 vehicles. Don’t forget to include your vendors in these! If you have more guests than can fit in the allotted parking passes, there is a shuttle bus you can book that leaves from the ski area. It’s $16 per adult, 10 for children under 12 and seniors. Here is more information on the Maroon Bells shuttle bus.

  • Reservation fee: $200
  • Max guest count: 50
  • Number of cars: 5
  • Has a shuttle option
  • Reservations open from June 7-October 4th with no bookings Fridays and Saturdays June-August and no bookings Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays September and October.  
  • No receptions allowed at the amphitheater but you can book the East Maroon Portal Picnic Site

San Sophia Overlook Small Weddings in Telluride

I know I just said that the Maroon Bells is one of my favorite small wedding venues in Colorado …buuuuuut this one is also especially incredible. First of all, Telluride is just such an amazing town for a destination wedding. The town is historic, upscale yet down to earth, and boxed in with the most amazing mountains that resemble something out of Switzerland. You and your guests would even get to ride a gondola to your wedding! I’m obsessed. 

San Sophia Overlook is at the top of the gondola and overlooks the town, and those gorgeous jagged mountains above. After the ceremony you can take photos up and it gives you an incredible view from the other direction. The ceremony site is easy for all your guests to get to since they get to ride the gondola up to it. Even though it is a popular place to get out and walk around, the overlook is a little bit further up and you still have a good amount of privacy.

As far as parking goes, you don’t have to worry about limiting it to a certain number of cars and can either park in the parking garage in Mountain Village which is right next to the gondola, or park downtown Telluride in one of the garages there and walk a couple blocks to the base of the gondola. 

How to reserve the San Sophia Overlook.

First thing I would do is contact the Telluride Ski Resort events coordinator to see what dates are available at weddings@tellurideskiresort.com . You do have to get a direct quote from them so I’m not able to list pricing here. However you can have up to 200 guests so even though you are having a small wedding, you don’t have to worry about cutting your list down to meet the limit. Don’t worry though, a small wedding of 20-50 people would fit the space quite nicely. Click here for more information about San Sophia Overlook. 

Holy Cross Event Deck Weddings in Vail

Another show-stopping option. If you are looking for a more luxurious small wedding experience, Vail is the perfect place to go. The village is kept so nice, tons of flowers everywhere in the summer and the whole village is made to look like you are in a European mountain town. Very upscale and a very fun place to host an intimate wedding. 

The wedding deck gets you 360 degree views of the Gore Range and Vail Valley. It’s so beautiful. You and your guests also get to ride the gondola to your ceremony which is such a fun way to kick things off. Another perk is not being limited to number of cars allowed.

How to reserve the Holy Cross Event Deck

The event deck is available to reserve mid-June through mid-September. Vail Resort offers specific times for the ceremony so they may reserve multiple per day. The times are 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM, and 6:30 PM. First step is submitting a request for a proposal or emailing groups@vailresorts.com.

  • Site Fee: $2000-$5000
  • Gondola Fee: $21 per person

Piney River Ranch Intimate Weddings in Vail

This is such a cool option and the most like a regular venue for weddings. What I love about it though is that it’s super secluded and there won’t be a lot of other people around. This is the perfect place for an adventure wedding where everyone can stay on site. They have cabins and glamping tents which would not only make for the cutest getting ready photos, but be such a fun place to stay. This would definitely be a more luxurious adventure wedding, but something that would be quite the experience for you and your closest people.

I haven’t even gotten to the views yet! It’s nestled in a valley overlooking a lake with a gorgeous mountain backdrop. It’s unbelievably beautiful. They also have canoes on site which would seriously be so romantic to do on your wedding day. Piney River Ranch also has some other activities on site which would make the wedding “weekend” a bonding experience for all. These include: horseback riding, fishing, stand up paddle boarding, and hiking. You will not be bored here! Not to mention, you can always go into Vail and have access to shopping, fine dining, and a slew of other activities to make your destination wedding even more memorable.

Booking Piney River Ranch as your Wedding Venue

First step is to email events@pineyriverranch.com for pricing and availability. The ranch is open June 21st to the last Saturday of September so it’s a pretty short window for when you can have a wedding. You can have up to 200 guests, so you don’t have to worry about cutting down on your guest list. They include the chairs, cocktail tables, glassware, tables, and basically everything of the sort that’s needed to host a wedding. Even a few yard games!

Garden of the Gods Intimate Weddings in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods is one of the easiest and most beautiful places to have a small wedding. There is free parking, a number of sites that you could choose from, and you don’t even have to reserve it. Another reason I love this as a small wedding venue is because Colorado Springs is an awesome place for a homebase. It’s easy to get to with a major airport right in town, there is so much to do and see, there are a number of amazing options to host a gorgeous wedding dinner for a small wedding. And SO many more reasons! At Garden of the Gods, you get both those desert Moab-like red rocks against the mountains. It’s truly incredible. 

How to have a small wedding at Garden of the Gods

This one is so easy you guys. Do some research about the designated wedding sites, pick which one suits you and your needs best, make a $50 donation if you want, and show up. That’s it! So simple. Garden of the Gods does have some rules for weddings in the park. You must have less than 50 people and you can’t have chairs, arches, or decorations. However, it’s so beautiful you don’t need anything.

Because this park is free and open to the public, you can’t reserve parking or block off sections of the park for your ceremony. You also can’t hold a reception in the park, but since you’ve only spent 50 bones on your ceremony site, you can put more of your budget into throwing a bomb private dinner in Colorado Springs. My favorite places for that are the greenhouse at Kinship Landing and the bar at Almagre.

Garden of the Gods has designated areas to hold a ceremony spot. It might not be the most secluded option, however time of year and time of day play a big role in how crowded it is. Plus, when people see that a wedding is happening, they usually are respectful. Even though there are designated spots the ceremony has to be held in, you can always go to other areas of the park that are more private for photos. 

Garden of the Gods wedding ceremony sites

For small weddings over 25 people, here are your options for ceremony sites:

  • Jaycee Plaza – I love this area because it puts you right next to the main rocks below Kissing Camels
  • Highpoint – This spot has some iconic views of both Pikes Peak and the row of red rocks formations. There is parking right here which is nice if you have people in your group who have trouble walking
  • South Spring Canyon Area – Not as iconic, but there is a lot of space and views of Pikes Peak

For small wedding with less than 25 people you can do any of the options above or these ceremony sites:

  • Sentinel Plaza – Very pretty, can be busy because it’s sort of central to a lot of the main trails in the park. 
  • Three Graces Plaza – This might be my favorite. I love that you are surrounded by huge rock formations. It does tend to be busy but if you nestle yourself a little further from the paved path, there shouldn’t be people behind you. 
  • Scotsman Picnic Area – Not as iconic but probably the most secluded of the ceremony options.

Alta Lakes Observatory weddings in Telluride

Yet another favorite! Gah there are just too many good options! But for reals, this one is SO amazing. If you are looking to have more of an adventure wedding, this is one of the best small wedding venues in Colorado that will give you an immersive experience. This area is fairly private since you have to drive a bumpy dirt road to get up here, but the views are worth it. There are multiple lakes right in front of a huge mountain face and you are surrounded by trees. Because of the position of the lakes, they tend to be magically still and have the coolest reflections of the mountain. 

There are canoes you can use, which you KNOW I’m going to suggest you take advantage of. This is an amazing place to camp, stargaze, and feel so far away. I love this area and Telluride in general. If you’re looking to have a Winter wedding, this is the place. You literally get to snowmobile up to it. Talk about an incredible adventure.

How to have a small wedding at Alta Lakes Observatory

All you have to do is fill out the form on their site to get the ball rolling. You can rent out the cabin with a minimum of a 2 night stay which sleeps 12 people, but you are allowed to have up to 45 guests in the Summer season. And most importantly, you also have to book me as your photographer because this is a DREAM to shoot 😉

Small Weddings at Top of the Pines in Ridgway

Another goodie in my favorite part of Colorado. Top of the Pines gives you the best view of the Dallas Divide. It’s breathtaking. You can rent out the entire campsite area, pavilion, and kitchen prep area for 3 days and two nights for $2500. Hello adventure wedding! 

This is right by some of the most amazing 4WD passes and iconic hikes, you won’t run out of things to do here. Ridgway is a small town, but super cute and has some surprisingly good food. I truly love this area and it would make for an epic destination wedding.

Reserving Top of the Pines for a wedding

Honestly, just click here for all the information you need. They make it super easy with a step by step checklist to reserve your day and to inform you of the rules.

Sunrise Amphitheater Weddings in Boulder

First off, Boulder is such a fun city and would be an amazing place to gather for a small wedding. Endless things to do, very lively, and there are some really cool places to stay. Anyway, the Sunrise Amphitheater is a gorgeous option and one of the most accessible small wedding venues in Colorado. You can have up to 100 guests and it’s easy to reserve. The Sunrise Amphitheater is situated up Flagstaff Mountain and overlooks the whole Denver Metro area. It’s especially gorgeous at dusk in my opinion. 

Reserving Sunrise Amphitheater for a small wedding

For a 1 hour block, you can reserve the Amphitheater for only $150. For a 3 hour block, it’s $400. If you are wanting to install an arch or put up any decor, I would recommend the 3 hour block. There are 10 parking spaces and the daily parking permit is $5.00 each. The City of Boulder has all the information as far as rules and how to reserve your wedding ceremony listed on their site. It’s a super simple process making it a great option for a small wedding in Boulder.

Small Wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park

Always dreamed about a National Park wedding? Well here’s your chance! RMNP offers some of Colorado’s most amazing views and getting married in the park is fairly simple. I love how you can incorporate so much of the park into your wedding day. I’ve written a whole guide that will walk you through all the rules, ceremony sites, and more. If you are interested in this option, check it out because it’s much more in depth.

How to get married in Rocky Mountain National Park

RMNP has 12 designated ceremony sites for weddings with no more than 30 people. My top 3 favorite sites are Sprague Lake, 3M Curve, and Upper Beaver Meadows. This post goes into more detail about the ceremony sites and the rules for each of them. Anyway, you do have to plan ahead if you want to reserve a ceremony site in Rocky Mountain National Park. They open it up a year in advance and allow 60 permits per month May-October and 40 per month November- April. That might seem like a lot, but this is one of the most popular small wedding venues in Colorado. For more information on the rules and how to reserve, click here.

  • Reservation Fee: $300
  • Max number of guests: 15-30 depending on the location
  • Max number of cars: 3-10 depending on location

Small Weddings at Sapphire Point in Dillon

This is the only designated ceremony site you are able to reserve in the Summit County area. I like this option because it’s near town, but also near other really amazing places you could go for couples photos. It’s a short paved trail to an overlook area that has amazing views of Lake Dillon and the 10 mile range. It’s gorgeous. Unless you get married at sunrise, which I’m totally down for, you have to be okay with other people being around. What I like about this option is that you can bring chairs, have an altar, and it’s open year round.

How to reserve Sapphire Point for my wedding

Recreation.gov releases reservations 6 months in advance and offers 4 different 3 hour time slots each day. Chances are pretty good you will get your desired date, especially if you have a weekday wedding. It’s only $120 to reserve your ceremony there. There is parking, but even reserving the space does not mean you get the whole place exclusively. I suggest either have guests plan ahead and get there early so they can wait for spots to open up, or hire a shuttle that can bring up a larger group. The good news is that there really isn’t a lot to do here so people come and go pretty often. 

Ready to book your small wedding venue in Colorado?

If you’ve made it this far, God bless you. You have been given a list of the top 10 small wedding venues in Colorado that will give you those amazing mountain views. Being a photographer that specializes in small weddings and elopements, I understand there are different needs and priorities. I can confidently say the venues in this list would all be amazing places to hold a small wedding. If you’re needing someone to talk things over with, fill out my contact form and we can get the conversation going. I help all my couples with this sort of thing and I would love to help you figure out the perfect solution for your day! 

Meet your Photographer/expert in small wedding venues in Colorado

Colorado Small Wedding Photographer

Hey there! I’m probably a lot like you. An outdoorsy nerd that prefers the grandeur of the wild to almost anything indoors. Being out in nature, especially the mountains, is where I feel most alive and free to be myself. It’s no wonder why photographing adventure elopements and weddings comes so naturally to me. Getting to take adventure-seekers like yourselves to these awe-inspiring places and helping you have an incredible wedding day experience is the best job I could ask for. Between my love for hiking and being a mom of 3 young boys, I was made for this. Prepared for anything, remaining calm, and overloaded with snacks! Let’s grab beer and I’ll help you find the best small wedding venues in Colorado!