How to have a dog-friendly elopement in Colorado

So…you’re thinking about eloping, but you just can’t imagine your day without your furry little friend being there. So we’ve come up with 12 ways to include your dog in your dog-friendly elopement day!

How to include your dog in your day:

Couple and their dog hiking along a mountain trail during their Colorado elopement.

1. Go on a hike with your dog during your dog-friendly elopement

This is probably the most popular option for a dog-friendly elopement in Colorado (or if you have a super adventurous cat!!). When looking up trails, be sure to check out if they are dog-friendly! Some National Parks like Rocky Mountain National Park only allow dogs in the car and in parking lots, but not on trails. It’s totally a bummer, we know! But don’t fret, because there are plenty of dog-friendly trails around Colorado.

We recommend checking out the website of the specific National park or forest you are looking to visit or searching on the National Park Service website for more information regarding where your dog is allowed. No matter where you’re looking to elope, we always recommend brushing up on local and federal laws regarding your furry friends!

2. Yes, your dog can sign your marriage license during your Colorado elopement!

Hands down this is the cutest thing you can do on your elopement day (and yes we are totally 100 percent biased!) You’ll have to bring an ink pad along with you so your dog (or cat, or bird) can sign the license. Your pet’s safety is our number one concern, so we suggest looking into non-toxic ink (safe ink exists for people to get their pet’s paw prints for scrapbooking!) for your furry friend to sign the document. 

Colorado is one of the most dog-friendly elopement locations. In Colorado, dogs are legally allowed to sign marriage licenses with their paw prints. Now you may be thinking, this sounds great but how is this legal? This is because Colorado is a self-solemnizing state, meaning no officiant or witnesses are needed for your marriage to be official. All you need in Colorado is to grab your marriage license for $30, sign and fill it out on your elopement day, and return it to the County Clerk’s Office within 35 days (with or without your dog’s paw print).

When wanting your dog to sign your marriage license, never just assume they can. Always call to check with the County Clerk’s office to confirm if your dog’s paw print is an acceptable way to have your certificate signed by a witness!

3. Include your dog (or cat) while getting ready at your Airbnb

If you want to have an adventure elopement without having to worry about your dog the whole time, why not include your dog while you’re getting ready! This way you’ll still be able to include them in your special day and spend some time with them. You can definitely have some furry friend snuggles during your morning!

4. Have a first look with your dog 

When eloping some couples still choose to do a traditional first look, which is super cute and a great way to connect with each-other and share your excitement and love! But why not include your dog in this too, you can either do it separately or together. Your furry friend will for sure be excited to see you no matter what.

German Shepard tagging along on a couple's Colorado dog-friendly elopement.

5. Your dog or cat can be your non-traditional ring bearer

If your furry friend is patient and won’t paw at anything being on them (we all know what that’s like!) then you can attach a little collar/necklace or have them carry a basket in their mouth with the ring box inside. Make sure not to give them the actual rings without a box as this may be a choking hazard.

6. Have them join you at your Airbnb at the end of your elopement day

Sometimes, you want to elope and not have to worry about your dog misbehaving or being rambunctious during your ceremony or elopement hike. So instead, at the end of your day, spend some time with them at your Airbnb. You can snuggle up, play with them, and include them in all the cozy photos!

Couple petting their dog on a dog-friendly trail during their Aspen elopement.
Dog swimming in an alpine lake towards a couple during their Colorado elopement

7. Have your pup walk you down “the aisle”

There usually isn’t an actual aisle in most elopements, unless you’ve reserved a specific ceremony site that has an amphitheater or aisle. This doesn’t mean you can’t have them walk you down a part of the trail until you see your partner for the ceremony. Plus you’ll get such cute reactions and photos from it!

8. Have a dog-friendly elopement ceremony

Whether it’s having your dog walk you down the “aisle” or sharing vows with them by your side, your dog is a part of your family and it can be so meaningful to have them with you during one of the most special moments of your life. Afterwards, you can then have your dog sign your marriage license!

9. Dress up your dog for your elopement

Dogs and cats in cute little bandanas, bowties, or flower crowns may just be the absolute CUTEST thing on the planet. If you’re having your furry friend in any part of your elopement, definitely get them their own wedding attire. It really does make for amazing elopement photos!

Dog looking up at bride during her Colorado wedding.
Bride putting a pearl collar on her dog at an Airbnb for their dog-friendly elopement in Colorado.

How to have a dog-friendly Colorado elopement without them tagging along

10. Watch videos of your beloved pet (funny cat and dog videos will always make you laugh, and it’s even better when it’s your pet!)

Probably our favorite on this short list if your dog isn’t with you. The amount of times we will just sit on the couch and watch videos of our cat doing the silliest things probably numbers in the thousands! So, remembering the smiles they bring to your face and how special they are to the two of you is a great way to include them.

11. Incorporate their name tag or collar into your day: bouquet, pin, necklace

Sometimes, the smallest details mean the most. Incorporating their name tag or collar into your elopement is a great way of including them in your day when they are not with you. 

12. Get custom socks or embroidered Converse with their photo on

One of our favorite trends is when couples embroider their shoes, jackets or socks with elopement details, whether that’s the date or something meaningful like the National Park or your furry best friend.

Tips for your dog-friendly Colorado elopement:

1. Research dog-friendly locations. We’ve found National Forests, State Parks, and BLM land are typically the best dog-friendly elopement locations.

2. Follow “leave no trace”, and make sure to bring doggie poop bags.

3. Don’t worry if you get a little dirty having a dog-friendly elopement. You’ll be outdoors anyway, and what’s a little dirt when you have such fun memories!

4. Make sure they are on a leash or harness and be wary of wildlife.

5. Bring plenty of water and snacks! (and if you let us know what they like, we’ll bring some too!)

Couple embracing in the forest and holding their dog during their dog-friendly Colorado elopement.

Dog-friendly Colorado elopement locations:

Colorado is definitely one of the best states for a dog-friendly elopement! So here are just a few of our favorite locations.

Aspen: An iconic elopement location. It really is. Aspen has plenty of dog-friendly trails and dogs are allowed at Maroon Bells too (just not on the Scenic Loop Trail due to Moose).

Ouray/Telluride: This is one of the more remote Colorado elopement locations on this list, but no less amazing. Jeeping trails, colorful mountains, alpine lakes, and a super fun atmosphere. If your dog isn’t able to hike, definitely consider taking them along on your jeeping elopement. 

Breckenridge: One of our favorite mountain towns in Colorado is perfect for your dog-friendly elopement. The amount of dogs we saw just around town was so cute! There are plenty of trails and overlooks in the area perfect for your elopement. 

Indian Peaks Wilderness: If you want jagged peaks and the closeness to Denver that Rocky Mountain National Park provides, we absolutely recommend Indian Peaks Wilderness for your dog-friendly Colorado elopement. 

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