A complete guide to Estes Park wedding venues, elopement locations, and everything else you need to know about getting married in the scenic Colorado mountain town right east of Rocky Mountain National Park.
The first time I drove up the windy roads of 36 and saw the Estes Park valley open up in front of me, I fell in love. And if you’re getting married in Estes Park, you might have had a similar experience.
These Estes Park wedding venues have a little something for every couple. From the historic Stanley Hotel to the modern SkyView at Fall River, there’s more to this mountain town than just wood lodges and cabins. You can find small venues, affordable venues, indoor venues perfect for cold winter nights, and outdoor venues for longer summer evenings. If you’re traveling in for an Estes Park destination wedding, it’s the perfect place to give your guests a taste of Colorado. Rocky Mountain National Park draws over four million visitors a year, and for good reason! The mountains here are just better.
So browse through the photos of these Estes Park wedding venues, and start dreaming about your big day in the mountains. Once you have a vision, look through the different venue websites to see what fits your style, then schedule tours or calls with all your favorites. There’s nothing like seeing a venue in person to help make up your mind!
About the Estes Park wedding venues
Wondering where you can get married in Estes Park? As one of the most popular small towns in the Rocky Mountains for destination weddings, there’s something for everyone here, from grand historic ballrooms to rustic outdoor venues. Here are 15+ of the best wedding venues in Estes Park, for ceremonies and receptions both big and small.
The Pavilion at the Stanley
The Pavilion is a new addition to the historic Stanley Hotel. Built in the same style as the original, the Pavilion has an auditorium-style ceremony room that opens up to a pond, an outdoor cocktail hour area, and a large ballroom with balconies that look out over the mountains.
SkyView at Fall River
SkyView at Fall River is Estes Park newest wedding venue, but it’s already built a great reputation since it’s opening in 2018. It has one of my favorite ceremony sites in the Estes valley, on a rooftop deck with mountain views – and an open air canopy to keep your guests safe from whatever crazy weather Colorado throws your way. SkyView also has special elopement pricing for small groups!
Della Terra Mountain Chateau
Della Terra Mountain Chateau is a luxury wedding venue and inn, located right by the Fall River side of Rocky Mountain National Park. With indoor and outdoor ceremony sites, reception area, and high end accommodations all in one, it’s the perfect Estes Park wedding venue for out-of-state couples, or locals wanting to spend their wedding day in the mountains. This is also the easiest venue to combine with traveling into RMNP for portraits!
Black Canyon Inn
Black Canyon Inn sits on the outskirts of Estes Park near the Lumpy Ridge part of Rocky Mountain National Park. Their covered outdoor ceremony site means you won’t have to stress about rain on your wedding day, and they offer on site lodging for you and your guests. Black Canyon Inn is also opening a new reception hall in spring of 2020.
Twin Owls Steakhouse at Taharaa Mountain Lodge
Taharaa Mountain Lodge has everything you need from an Estes Park wedding venue, with outdoor and covered deck ceremony sites, a reception room that can seat up to 120 guests, lodging for your guests, and in house catering from Twin Owls Steakhouse.
Bristlecone Inn is one of the smallest Estes Park wedding venues, which makes it perfect for intimate weddings, and for reception dinners after elopements in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s also one of the most affordable options in the Estes area. And fun fact – it’s a cannabis friendly wedding venue!
YMCA of the Rockies
YMCA of the Rockies has multiple different ceremony sites (both indoor and outdoor chapels) and reception venues, along with on site lodging. Their ceremony sites have some of the best views in Estes Park, and no wonder – they’re surrounded by RMNP on three sides!
Dreaming of an elopement in the mountains, but want your friends and family along for a party? Then the O’Connor Pavilion might be the perfect venue for you! The covered picnic shelter sits up to 140 guests, and the beautiful meadow is perfect for ceremonies both large and small. This is another very affordable venue for couples on a budget. You can also easily go into RMNP for portraits from here. Check out photos from an O’Connor Pavilion wedding here.
Dao House is located about half an hour south of Estes Park in nearby Allenspark. But don’t worry about the distance – they have everything you need for a full wedding weekend in the mountain right on site. The ceremony site sits nestled into aspen trees with views of Longs Peak, making it perfect for catching the fall colors! Check out photos from a Dao House wedding here.
The View at Crags Lodge
The View Restaurant at Historic Crags Lodge is another Estes Park wedding venue with accommodations, restaurant, and wedding reception space all in one! They can also host smaller ceremonies on site.
The Estes Park Resort
The Estes Park Resort has an outdoor ceremony gazebo right on the shores of Lake Estes, and for your reception you can choose from the Lakeside Pavilion and Grand Ballroom, or rent a smaller room that fits groups of 20-30 for intimate dinners.
Looking for a laid-back place to celebrate your wedding or elopement? Elkins Distilling might be perfect for you whiskey-lovers! Their distillery and tasting room (with an outdoor patio) is available for small event rentals.
Mrs Walsh’s Garden
Planning a small elopement with just a few guests, and want somewhere private and cozy to enjoy dinner together after a day in the mountains? Many homes on VRBO allow small gatherings, and come with the added benefit of lodging everyone in one place.
If you want more information about any of these Estes Park wedding venues, start by checking out each venue’s website for detailed info. Then schedule a tour of the venues you’re most interested in, because nothing beats seeing a place in person. Many venues also offer virtual tours, if you are planning your destination wedding from out of state.
Want to see what your options are outside of Estes Park? I also have a full guide of every venue in Boulder County, which includes nearby Lyons, Longmont, and Allenspark.
Do you know of (or work for) a wedding venue in Estes Park that’s not on this list? Please contact me; I’d love to add it to this guide!
Where to elope in Estes Park
Wondering where to elope in Estes Park? Most couples who are planning an elopement in nature in the Estes Park area choose to reserve a ceremony site in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is ideal for smaller ceremonies, as most sites in the park are limited to 15 people total. Some of the wedding venues listed earlier in this post also offer elopement packages for small ceremonies on weekdays and in the off-season. And lastly there are a handful of natural ceremony sites outside of the national park, but as these are still considered hidden gems (and not as strictly regulated by permits), I won’t be naming the exact locations here.
Best AirBnBs in Estes Park
If you’re traveling to Colorado for your Estes Park wedding, I’d highly recommend booking an AirBnB or vrbo instead of staying in a hotel. While there are a few great hotels in Estes Park, like the historic Stanley Hotel that inspired The Shining, AirBnBs usually make for a more relaxing trip. You’ll have more space for having a hair and makeup artist over in the morning, and getting ready separately without seeing each other before the first look or ceremony. And while hotel rooms are often small and dark, making it hard to get good “getting ready” photos, you can find rental homes with plenty natural light which makes for great photos.
There are hundreds of vacation rentals to choose from in Estes Park, but I’ve scrolled through every single listing and put together a short list of of my absolute favorites. Some are small, perfect for just a couple, while others are big enough to host all your friends and family. I’ve specifically picked homes that I think would photograph well, although I haven’t actually shot at most of these homes, so please do your own research on the listing before booking.
Please note that most AirBnBs do not allow hosting ceremonies, reception dinners, or any other wedding-related events at the property without prior permission from the host. If you’d like to use your lodging for more than just lodging, contact the host before booking, be honest about what you’re planning, and be okay with getting a no.
This is where vrbo beats airbnb—they have a search filter called “Events Allowed” that makes it easy to find properties that, well, allow events.
Best hotels in Estes Park
I’ve stayed at quite a few hotels in Estes Park over the past five years of shooting early sunrise and late sunset weddings in the area. Here are my favorites!
- The Stanley Hotel – yes, the one made famous by The Shining
- Della Terra Mountain Chateau – by far one of the nicest places to stay in the area
- The Estes Park Resort – splurge on their jacuzzi and fireplace suites, I promise it’s worth it after a long day of hiking
- The Historic Crags Lodge
- Taharaa Mountain Lodge (also a great place to host small weddings!)
- The Ridgeline Hotel
When to visit Estes Park
What’s the best time of year to visit Estes Park? It really depends on two things: how much you care about warm weather, and how much you want to avoid crowds of tourists.
The tourist season in Estes Park mostly follows the warm weather, with visitation numbers peaking from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Another busy time in Estes Park is the elk rutting / mating season, from around mid-September until mid-October. During this time, large herd of elk can be spotted everywhere, as can the crowds of tourists and wildlife photographers who follow them around. In summer, busy trailheads like Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge often fill up before sunrise, and shuttle buses run nonstop throughout the day.
Personally, I love Estes Park in winter more than any other time. Rocky Mountain National Park is a playground even in the snow, with miles and miles of trails that are accessible for hiking, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing. Trailheads that are overflowing in summer are quiet in winter (especially on weekdays), and you can even get lucky and have a place like Bear Lake to yourselves.
Looking for a wedding photographer in Estes Park?
I’m based in neighboring Boulder County, and love any excuse to drive up the winding roads to Estes Park for work. (And no, I don’t charge travel fees for it.) Check out my wedding photography prices, then reach out so we can schedule a video chat to talk about how I can help you plan and capture the perfect wedding in Estes Park.
About Nina Larsen Reed
Nina Larsen Reed is an elopement photographer based in Boulder, Colorado. She plans and captures adventure elopements and intimate weddings, and has photographed over 200 couples across the Rocky Mountains since 2017.