Self Solemnization in Colorado – A How to Guide

IS SELF SOLEMNIZATION LEGAL 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 self solemnizing a marriage 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. 


A couple exchanging their rings in the mountains of Colorado.

WHAT IS SELF SOLEMNIZATION?

Solemnizing a marriage means performing a wedding ceremony – 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! 

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.


A groom putting the ring on his bride in the snowy Colorado mountains.

 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 to self-marry themselves.


A bride laughing during her elopement ceremony at sunrise.

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 VOWS

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 a intimate ceremony, it’s much easier to get vulnerable knowing you aren’t doing it in front of 100 guests!


A bride and groom laughing during their elopement in Colorado.

HAVE AN EPIC, UNIQUE CEREMONY

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! 


A self solemnization vow ceremony in the San Juan Mountains,.

• 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.


A couple getting married by their friend in Colorado,.

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 really love this option because couples can really focus on each other without having stage fright!

My intimate Colorado elopement package is great for couples looking to do this option!


A couple sharing a laugh during their vow ceremony in the mountains of Colorado.

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.

Self-marrying yourselves is the 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.


Bride and groom celebrating after their elopement vow ceremony.

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.


A groom sharing his vows at sunrise in Breckenridge, Colorado.

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!


A couple and their dog signing their marriage license.

YOU CAN BE SPONTANEOUS

Part of 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!


A private vow ceremony in the mountains of Colorado.

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!


A couple getting married with their families at an alpine lake in Colorado.

DO YOU HAVE TO LIVE IN COLORADO TO SELF SOLEMNIZE?

A lot of 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 solemnizes, 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!


A bride and groom sharing their vows at sunrise in the mountains.

WHAT STATES ALLOW 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.

A couple sharing their vows at sunrise at Lake Isabelle in Colorado

YOUR SELF SOLEMNIZING 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 August 13, 2022 by vowsandpeaks