Brainard Lake Elopement

Hailey and Bronson | Yellow aspen leaves, an alpine lake, and beautiful mountain views were the setting for this perfect fall Brainard Lake elopement!

Hailey and Bronson wanted a fall Colorado elopement. They were dreaming of a spot with an alpine lake and mountain views, yellow aspen trees, and a spot that was dog friendly. After discussing many locations, we landed on a Brainard Lake elopement!

Brainard Lake Recreation Area located in Ward is the perfect setting for a Colorado elopement. One important thing to keep in mind is that parking permits are required to access this location. You can reserve parking permits here for $14 per vehicle. If you are having an elopement with guests, everyone entering will need a timed entry parking pass! Keeping this in mind, I don’t usually recommend more than approximately 20 guests at this location. It is also a good idea to check with the Forest Service about any additional permits that you may need.

Another important thing to note about Brainard Lake is that while access is open year round, the gate to the lake usually stays closed between late October and late June. Therefore, if you want a winter elopement here, you will need to snowshoe about 2 miles to reach Brainard Lake. If you want easy access to the lake, I recommend a summer or fall elopement.

If you need help planning your dream alpine lake elopement in Colorado, reach out now!

Getting Ready and Details

Hailey and Bronson started their elopement day at a beautiful mountain rental in Black Hawk, CO. They had such stunning details with mountain-themed invitations. In addition, Hailey had the cutest custom Converse! They were embroidered with their wedding date and ‘H+B’. Hailey’s dress was also a dream! The aspen leaves around the house were changing, so of course I had to hang her dress in a tree for some photos.

Both Hailey and Bronson got ready in separate rooms of the house. Hailey’s mom and friend helped her into her dress while Bronson put on their dog’s bow tie bandana. Both of their dogs were going to be part of the wedding too! Finally, Bronson’s mom pinned on his boutonniere and special pin with his dad’s photo in it. After everyone was ready, it was time for first looks!

First Looks

First, Hailey had a first look with her dad. It was so sweet and he was smiling from ear to ear when he saw her. Then, we walked over to the aspen trees where Bronson was waiting to see his bride. The biggest tears immediately filled his eyes when he turned around and saw Hailey. Soon enough, it was time time to make our way to Brainard Lake Recreation Area.

Brainard Lake Elopement Ceremony

On the way to Brainard Lake, it started raining, but the weather cleared up just in time to start walking over to the lake for the ceremony. Even though Bronson had already seen his bride, he immediately teared up again as Hailey walked down to the shore with her dad. It was such a beautiful ceremony in such beautiful scenery! After their ceremony we took family photos. Soon, it started to drizzle again, but that didn’t stop anyone from enjoying all the excitement!

Dog Marriage License Signing

To make it official, Hailey and Bronson signed their marriage license with their dog Ridge as their witness! Did you know that your dog can sign your marriage license in Colorado? This is one of the many reasons it is so fun to get married in Colorado.

Brainard Lake Portraits

Before it was time to head to Nederland for celebrations, we took bride and groom portraits at sunset. After the clouds started to clear from the rain, we got the most beautiful sunset colors! The reflections in the lake were absolutely incredible. Finally, we stopped by an aspen grove for some lantern photos and then made our way to Busey Brews for a mini reception.


Hailey and Bronson reserved the upper area of Busey Brews to celebrate with their family and friends. They enjoyed some food and drinks and cut their beautiful wedding cake that was decorated with mountains. It was the perfect end to their Colorado fall elopement!

Congratulations, Hailey and Bronson!

If you are dreaming of an elopement in Colorado with your closest friends and family, reach out now!

  1. Kat says:

    Great true-to-color captures, and I liked seeing his understated but genuine emotion during the first look

  2. I love the dogs getting ready pics 🥲 Fall in Colorado seems like the perfect time for a wedding! I love the gorgeous autumnal colors and the soft skies!!

  3. Tessa Klingensmith says:

    What a beautiful day you captured! Brainard Lake is such a beautiful location and such a special place for their elopement!

  4. Stacy says:

    Wow! These are gorgeous photos! What an inspiration to elope at Brainard Lake in the Fall!
    I love how you captured all of the details and their emotions.

  5. Sydney says:

    Colorado is one of the coolest states, I LOVE that they had their dog as their witness. Brainard Lake is such a beautiful place to elope.

  6. Daria says:

    What a beautiful location, and such a warm heartfelt ceremony! So cool that they had their dog as the witness, I love it 🙂 You did a wonderful job documenting the day.

  7. Leo says:

    What an incredible location to elope! Great to have your local knowledge for somewhere like this as I would have no idea to register in advance for a parking spot. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Kailyn says:

    Your photos are absolutely stunning! My family and I love Brainard Lake, and you did such an awesome job capturing how epically beautiful this area is! I especially love how stunning the sunset photos are. It looks like they had a great elopement!

  9. Naomi Levit says:

    Brainard Lake is so beautiful, these photos are unreal! What a special day.

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