CAN YOU MARRY YOURSELVES IN COLORADO?
If the mind-boggling views weren’t enough, Colorado is one of the only states that allow legal self-solemnizing marriages! Colorado lets you marry yourselves - no officiant required, making it the perfect place to self solemnize, without the usual paperwork hassles and governmental roadblocks required to tie the knot! So instead of fixating on the boring legal stuff, you can sit back at sunrise and enjoy the beautiful glow as the peaks light up with beautiful colors. How memorable does that sound?
This guide will tell you all about how to get married in Colorado - what it means, how to solemnize your own marriage, and anything else you’ll need to marry the love of your life amongst some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the United States has to offer.
WHAT IS SELF-SOLEMNIZATION?
Solemnizing a marriage means self-performing your wedding ceremony with or without witnesses - and in most states, you need an ordained officiant (or a clergy member) to do this, and to sign your marriage license. Not only that, but many states also require two witnesses to get married!
However, with self solemnizations, these requirements are cut out, and when a couple gets married here, they can have their own ceremony and sign their own marriage license. This means that you can truly plan the Colorado elopement day of your dreams - when you don’t need witnesses or an officiant, you can have a completely private ceremony. Just you, the love of your life, and the gentle whisper of the breeze or the quiet crunch of snow beneath your feet.
HOW DO I SOLEMNIZE A MARRIAGE IN COLORADO?
There’s a little more to self-solemnization in Colorado than saying “I do.” You’re going to need to do some paperwork, but here are instructions for self-solemnizing your marriage in Colorado!
I’ll talk more about what to do during your ceremony in the next section, but when you fill out the paperwork, all you’ll need to do is sign your names. There will be spaces for an officiant and two witnesses to sign for couples who want to use them, but marrying yourselves in Colorado means you can skip that part! You just need to follow the rules for the local county and state and turn everything in on time.
I tell every couple that Colorado makes it super easy to get married and self-marriage is a huge part of that! Really, every state should have self-solemnizing options but until then, Colorado will continue to be the best option for couples looking for a self-uniting marriage.
SELF SOLEMNIZATION CEREMONY IDEAS
When you self solemnize your marriage, it just means that you don’t need to bring an officiant along for your ceremony! You can do all the same things you would do for any other wedding ceremony, but you can also do so much more. But just because you don't need a signature from an officiate, doesn't mean you can't have a fun ceremony. Some couples might keep it simple, while others add different wrinkles to spice it up.
Here are some fun self-solemnization ceremony ideas:
• WRITE YOUR OWN SCRIPT
While I believe writing your vows is the way to go for any wedding, this is especially true for couples who aren't having an officiant for their elopement. You won’t be getting any of the traditional “in sickness and in health” vows to repeat, so this is your chance to tell your partner how you feel! Don’t worry if you aren’t the next Shakespeare - you don’t need to write the world’s most beautiful wedding vows, you just need to speak from the heart. Your partner will love hearing how you feel about them, and with an intimate ceremony, it’s much easier to get vulnerable knowing you aren’t doing it in front of 100 guests!
• GET MARRIED WITHOUT AN OFFICIANT
This is the obvious one, but without the need for an officiant, you have so many more options for your ceremony.
Imagine trekking through a dense pine forest and emerging at the snow-covered summit amid the peaks - reading your vows surrounded by sweeping views of the valleys below.
Or taking off in a hot air balloon - floating over the rushing rivers and rolling plains, and through the wide-open sky. Gazing into your partner’s eyes and committing to spending the rest of your lives together with miles of peaks beneath your feet.
Or driving a rugged pass through the gnarled branches and rocky trails in the backcountry until you find the perfect spot to self-solemnize in Colorado - the one you’ll remember for the rest of your life as the place where your marriage began,
There are absolutely no rules for your self-solemnizing elopement - and you won’t have to search for an officiant who’s willing to join you for whatever adventure you have planned!
• HAVE A FRIEND MARRY YOU
You don’t need an officiant’s signature for it to be official - but you can still have someone perform the ceremony! If there’s a friend or family member that you want to marry, this can be a really great way to add a personal touch to your self-solemnizing elopement. They’ll know the two of you much better than a hired officiant will, and this way they don’t have to worry about getting ordained.
• HAVE TWO CEREMONIES
I have a lot of couples who self-solemnize by themselves and then have another more traditional ceremony with friends and family later on. This is great for couples who want to share some private vows away from the crowds, while still appeasing their family's wishes of being there for the traditional ceremony. I love this option because couples can focus on each other without having stage fright!
My intimate Colorado elopement package is great for couples looking to do this option!
WHY SHOULD YOU SELF-SOLEMNIZE IN COLORADO?
There are some distinct advantages to self-solemnizing your marriage in Colorado - and here are just a few of them.
• IT’S PRIVATE AND INTIMATE
One of the biggest reasons that couples choose to elope is because they want their wedding day to be an intimate experience. They want to feel free to do whatever they want and to be completely present and vulnerable with each other - without feeling like they have an audience.
A self-uniting marriage is an ultimate way to ensure your day is exactly what you want, and that your ceremony is private and intimate - shared only with your partner, and maybe a few of the people you love most if you choose to invite guests.
• IT’S SUPER EASY
You won’t have to worry about finding an officiant, getting ordained, or the logistics of whether they’re down for the 8-mile hike you have planned. It’s incredibly easy to self marrying your marriage in Colorado, so you can focus on the fun part - getting married, exploring, and starting your marriage off with an adventure.
• YOUR DOG CAN SIGN YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE
If you're anything like me, then you love your dog. Your marriage license will still have space for an officiant to sign - but since you don’t need one, you can have your dog sign instead! Fur real!
Well, your dog probably can’t pronounce anything, so make sure you prepare a few words! And bring an ink pad along so they can stamp their paw print and pronounce you married!
• YOU CAN BE SPONTANEOUS
The fun of eloping is that you can change the plan and go with the flow. Maybe you see a spot that looks like it would be fun to explore, or you stumble across a view that just screams “get married here!” When you self solemnizes, you won’t need to worry about meeting your officiant at a certain time or being in a certain place - you have the freedom to get caught up in the moment and to be spontaneous!
• YOU CAN STILL INVITE FAMILY
Just because you're marrying yourselves, doesn't mean your family can't tag along. You can still self marrying with guests at the ceremony or celebrate with them afterward. Self-solemnizing elopements leave a lot of wiggle room for couples to outline the day exactly how they want!
Read more on how to include your family on your elopement!
• YOU CAN SAVE MONEY
Looking to allocate some cash somewhere else? You can save a good chunk of money on an officiant by choosing to self-solemnize. The truth is, hiring an officiant can be pricey depending on their experience level, how customized you want the ceremony, and the location. The cost of officiant can be upwards of $500, while self-marrying yourselves is free outside of obtaining your marriage license!
DO YOU HAVE TO LIVE IN COLORADO TO SELF-SOLEMNIZE?
Many couples worry that their marriage won’t be recognized if they marry themselves in Colorado. But this isn’t the case at all!
No matter where you’re from, if you self-solemnize, your marriage will be recognized across the country (and in most cases, across the world). You don’t have to live in Colorado to marry yourselves, and a lot of couples travel here to self-marry because of how easy it is!
WHAT STATES RECOGNIZE SELF SOLEMNIZATION?
Most states require an officiant and one or two witnesses - here are a few states that allow self-solemnizations as legal marriages.
- Colorado and Washington D.C. are the only places where you can self-solemnize with no caveats.
- California has a separate marriage license and application system for a “non-clergy” marriage, but you will still need two witnesses.
- Pennsylvania does not require an officiant, but does still require two witnesses - and some counties do not offer these types of marriage licenses, so double-check this before heading to the county clerk’s office.
- Wisconsin and Illinois allow you to self-solemnize if it is in accordance with your religion or denomination. Wisconsin will take your word for it, but Illinois may require proof.
- Nevada, Kansas, and Maine allow you to marry yourselves only if you are a member of the Quakers or Friends, and you get married in a way that is in accordance with their practices.
HOW DO WE MAKE IT LEGAL?
You can make your self-uniting marriage legal just by turning in the paperwork before you leave Colorado! Don't overthink the process: I tell every couple that this is literally the easiest place to get married. You can marry yourselves, you can get married the same day and your dog can sign your marriage license. Just fill out the legal form, turn it in, and you're officially set!
YOUR SELF-SOLEMNIZING ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER
As you can see, it’s a little complicated in many of these states! Self-solemnizing elopements are easy and hassle-free, and the scenery is just incredible. I may be a little biased, but I think self-marrying elopements are the best and easiest- whether you’re a local or traveling from out of state.
Ready to self-solemnize in Colorado? Check out my elopement packages here!
Last Updated on February 15, 2023 by vowsandpeaks