Garden of the Gods Ceremony Locations
Wedding days look different today than they did even a decade ago. It seems gone are the days of assuming a standard church ceremony and ballroom reception. Now eloping instead of a wedding day isn’t the old Vegas chapel I do’s. Now couples want adventure elopements that have awe-inspiring landscapes with just the two of them. Colorado offers so many of these landscapes all over the Rocky Mountains, including Garden of the Gods Park. Here in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods ceremony locations are plentiful and relatively easy.
Wedding vs. Elopements
Although currently you do not need a permit for weddings or photography in Garden of the Gods, however be aware this may change in the future with the City of Colorado Springs. Nevertheless, the benefits of having an elopement in Colorado are countless. The 300 days of sunshine, the purple mountains majesty of Pikes Peak and red rocks of Garden of the Gods is beautiful year-round. In addition, Colorado is a self-solemnizing state (1 of only 2 states that are) so honestly you can marry yourselves. Or your furbaby could marry you! Make sure you read this post if you need tips on planning your elopement.
Above all, Garden of the Gods ceremony locations and the park are extremely accessible. You can drive through the majority of the park seeing many of the sites from your car. In addition, there are many paved sidewalks through the larger portions of the park to many ceremony sites accessible to even handicap guests or couples.
Below, I list the approved Garden of the Gods ceremony locations that the park has allocated for wedding areas and they’re benefits and any considerations to be aware of. One such consideration applies to all the areas which is that you can’t bring in outside materials for the wedding, like chairs. However, some of the listed locations have natural structures for seating. Moreover, these approved locations are mostly for weddings, where you are having a small number of guests coming to a ceremony. If you are having just an elopement with just the two of you and a photographer, your options are relatively endless. Having a photographer guide, such as myself, that is familiar with Garden of the Gods can take you to spots that are more intimate with the same stunning views.
Jaycee Plaza is probably the best Garden of the Gods ceremony location mainly because it can accommodate a large group. The plaza has an amphitheater type rock structure that works well for seating and a ceremony. Although, be aware that the plaza is very close to the rocks and the larger structures like Camel’s back so it’s difficult with stepping back or a very wide-angle lens to capture the magnitude of what surrounds you. In addition, this location is close to the main parking lot so there is a lot of traffic from tourist that can be in your photo and hanging around to listen to your ceremony. 50 people max is considered the limit for this area. Acoustics are quite nice here.
In the heart of the park this area also is super close to the rocks, more so where you can touch them as well. There are areas that have rock ledges to sit but not in any particular formation really. A much smaller area as well. However, it is a bit farther from Jaycee but not by much and it is still a fairly trafficked area. 25 person limit.
Three Graces Plaza
Not to far from Sentinel (and somewhat similar) is 3 Graces Plaza. However, you can park and walk from Camel’s back parking or you can go around the loop to where it splits at Juniper Way Loop and park at that intersection and it is a much closer walk. If you want to be in the heart of the park with accessibility this is the spot that I would chose. You are able to climb on the rocks here, however, 3 Graces isn’t as large so you can see much more of its formation as well as the other parts of the park behind it. In addition, this location also has a rock ledge seating area but it is not for large groups. Generally 25 is considered the max amount and not all seated.
Considered one of my favorite places for a Garden of the Gods ceremony location whether it is a wedding or an elopement. High Point is not in the bigger loop for tourist and many times gets over looked, however it is the best location to get a 270 degree view of the park with Pikes Peak, Cheyenne Mountain and Garden of the Gods. However, the location has an open very small pavilion of sorts that can be used but has no seating. I prefer the open areas of red rocks to this covered area personally. It is listed for a 50 person maximum but honestly everyone would have to stand or sit in their car in the parking lot which is nearby. It is actually a great location for elopements.
Scotsman Picnic Area
I honestly don’t even have a photo from this area lol.
I rarely see anyone chose this area for their wedding ceremony. Nevertheless, it is a more informal area since it does have picnic benches and seating for a small BBQ reception or wedding that wants more of the greenery to go with the red rocks. This area usually has some limited shade and parking as well, although mostly handicap. Limit 25 people.
South Spring Canyon Area
This is another overlooked area. The area itself isn’t necessarily super scenic. There is a view of Pikes Peak but not as much of Garden of the Gods as it is in a small valley below them. Again, this area I rarely see used for wedding ceremonies. It does have a few benches for picnics, however, they are open with no shade. Though there is ample parking and is where horse trailer parking is for riding in the park. 50 person limit here. I will say however, that within a short hike is another Garden of the Gods ceremony location that I love to use for elopements. It is a bit of a secret one for me 😊
Unnamed New Area – surely to be another location
This overlook is so new that the park doesn’t even list it on their website. Only a few months old and replacing a bathroom building, it is steps from Camel’s Back and the main parking lot in the park. Although the railing is more functional than beautiful, it does a decent job of getting a larger view of the largest red rock structures and a bit of the white ones. A highly trafficked area that I have no doubt will be full of tourists constantly.
For a few more Garden of the Gods spots that I love, take a look at my top 5 photo spots! Although a few secret ones aren’t on there. 😉
And here are a few from a Leap Day sunrise elopement that I love! Kortney & Austin were so photogenic. 🙂
*It’s also important to note that currently Garden of the Gods is open to the public. It is also still allowing portrait sessions as well as weddings (when not sheltering in place). So if you are looking for a location to elope during the COVID-19 pandemic, I would suggest Garden of the Gods.