How to Self-Solemnize in Colorado

self-solemnize in colorado

Colorado is one of the few states that allow you to self-solemnize, which is becoming an increasingly popular option for many couples who don’t love the idea of an officiant or for couples who don’t envision having guests present on their elopement day. If you’re looking for a guide to self-solemnization in Colorado to help you plan the intimate and adventurous elopement of your dreams, you’ve come to the right place.

What is Self-Solemnization?

Self-solemnizing, simply put, means officiating your marriage yourselves, and yes, it is a real thing. It is the act, by agreement between two people, of getting legally married without the oversight or signature of an officiant, clerk, or judge. 
Self-solemnization eliminates the inconvenience some couples feel when thinking about hiring a third party to oversee their marriage ceremony on the day of their elopement in Colorado. The simplicity of tying the knot with your significant other your own way in one of the most gorgeous places in the world is the kind of authentic marriage I love to document.

How Do We Legally Self-Solemnize in Colorado?

Great question – the first step in preparing to self-solemnize in Colorado is obtaining a marriage license! To obtain your marriage license, follow these pretty straightforward steps (for a more in-depth look at the process of obtaining a marriage license, check this blog out):

  • County Clerk Appointment – Schedule an appointment with a County Clerks office in Colorado on a weekday (they’re closed on weekends). After making your appointment, fill out an online marriage application on the clerk’s website. This allows the county clerk to complete your paperwork ahead of time rather than you doing so in the office. We love a time-saver. 
  • In the Clerk’s office – You and your partner must appear in person to file for the marriage license. You will both need your IDs/passports and a form of payment. You will be charged $30 as a licensing fee, payable by cash, credit card, or check. Congrats! You just officially obtained a Colorado marriage license. Easy peasy. Please note your license becomes valid on the date it was issued, and it must be signed in Colorado within 35 days from the date of issue.
  • Elopement Day – Once your ceremony is complete, sign the license to make things officially official! You may notice a spot for two witnesses to sign – don’t panic! A witness isn’t required in Colorado, so your and your partner’s signatures are all that’s required. 
  • After the wedding ceremony – You have 63 days from the wedding date to return the certificate to the clerk’s office you filed at. You can send it back via certified mail or use the Clerk and Recorder drop box in front of the clerk’s office. The county clerk’s office will notarize the certificate and return it to you. Congratulations! You are now officially married!

Benefits of Self-Solemnizing

One of the main advantages of self-solemnizing is that it allows you to have a fully customizable ceremony. After all, this is your love story and your wedding day; you get to write and design it however you want. Eloping allows you to plan a special day that aligns with your goals and preferences, and choosing to self-solemnize is just one of many ways to do that.

You have the freedom to do things in the way you’re most comfortable with. The ceremony can also occur during any activity. You can literally choose to have your ceremony mid-hike, off-trail, in a beautiful wildflower-filled meadow with the gorgeous Colorado mountains behind you if you want! As long as you have your marriage license and the proper permits, of course 😉

The ceremony can also be as short or as long as you desire. You can dedicate only a few minutes to the ceremony or center your whole day around it. You are allowed to let your imagination run wild as you plan your elopement. Self-solemnizing is just one of the many ways to have a true-to-you celebration of your love.

A self-solemnizing ceremony can be very intimate and personal, especially if it’s just the two of you. That said, you can self-solemnize and still have friends and family there. 

One of the benefits of marrying yourselves is that you’re free to use the language and words that mean the most to you or feel the most authentic to you and your partner. You can write your own vows without following the usual “repeat after me” script, or opt for a more traditional script online and read from that; the option is 100% up to you.

You’re choosing to start your marriage in your own way, and I think that’s pretty badass.

Why You Should Consider Self-Solemnizing in Colorado

One of the biggest reasons couples choose to elope is because they want an intimate experience – they want to plan a day where they can do whatever they want, all while being completely present and vulnerable with eachother. A self-solemnizing ceremony is the best way to ensure your ceremony plays out exactly how you want it to

If you plan on hiking to your ceremony location, you won’t have to stress over finding an officiant willing and able to participate in the hike.  

 As I mentioned earlier in this post, just because you’re marrying yourselves doesn’t mean you can’t have a few of your friends and family members there. You can still self-solemnize with guests at the ceremony.

What If We Want to Self-Solemnize in Colorado, But We’re Traveling From Out of State?

You don’t have to live in Colorado to self-solemnize! No matter where you’re traveling from, if you choose to marry yourselves here, your marriage will still be recognized everywhere in the country. The ease of self-uniting marriage in Colorado is one of the many reasons couples travel here to get married!

As a wedding photographer and guide, I firmly believe you deserve the freedom and openness an elopement brings. If you’re ready to elope in Colorado, self-solemnization is one of the best ways to truly plan your wedding ceremony to suit your vision, ideals, creativity, and preferences. You can throw traditional wedding expectations to the wind, decide what’s perfect for you, and rest assured that I’ll capture all of the moments as they unfold. 

Ready to self-solemnize in Colorado? Check out my elopement packages here!

  1. Your blog brightens my day like a ray of light. Thank you for spreading positivity through your words.

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