Phone: (719) 634-6666
Website: Garden of the Gods Wedding Website
Garden of the Gods is one of Colorado’s most unique and picturesque locations in the entire state and it’s probably one of my top three favorite places to take my photography clients because to me, it just screams “Colorado.” I love that you can get married there if you can keep your wedding ceremony short and simple. This gorgeous place was gifted to the City of Colorado Springs back in 1909 by the children of railroad magnate Charles Eliot Perkins. It was his vision that this incredible park would always be free and open to the general public and to this day we can all enjoy a visit to Garden of the Gods for no entrance fee which is pretty special. Garden of the Gods gets quite a few visitors so if you are looking to host a more traditional wedding with privacy, lots of guests, or a place to host some sort of party or reception afterward then you’ll most likely be better off reserving your wedding at Garden of the Gods Resort or even the American Mother’s Chapel if you want something small, but more private and specifically reserved just for you. You may also find my article about Colorado Springs wedding venues helpful if you are in the beginning stages of searching for where to get married. However, if you are a more free-spirited couple that can handle the stress of changing up plans as necessary on your wedding day, I think you would be happy hosting your wedding at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
The biggest reason why I recommend Garden of the Gods to more laid-back couples is that it is first come, first served so there is no guarantee that the exact spot you have in mind will be open and available for you to get married at. Garden of the Gods elopements are probably best for this busy tourist spot. But, if you have a bit of patience and flexibility with changing your location if needed, they have 6 different sites available for free to get married that can host just the two of you or anywhere between 25-50 people max depending on which area of Garden of the Gods you choose. There are a few rules that I think it’s important for couples to know about getting married at Garden of the Gods which I’ve outlined below.
1.) No alcoholic beverages may be served
2.) No receptions are allowed (except for the Scotsman Picnic Area)
3.) Leave no trace principles apply. This means no bringing chairs except for elderly or disabled guests, no throwing of rice, confetti, birdseed etc...no setting up tables, tents, arches, or other decor.
4.) Blocking off areas is not allowed. This includes blocking off parking. Speaking of parking, it can be quite tricky to find parking at Garden of the Gods especially during the warmer weather months. Unless you plan to elope, you may want to consider hosting your ceremony during winter (the red rocks look stunning with snow on the ground!) if you would like to have guests attend. It might also be worth considering hosting your ceremony first thing in the morning before the park fills up with tourists (or even right before sunset can sometimes work but not always). Getting married on a weekday at Garden of the Gods can also help with the crowds.
5.) No going off trail. (Remember to leave no trace so future visitors can enjoy Garden of the Gods too!)
6.) Tourists and other visitors are likely to be visiting the same place as your wedding location so please be mindful and respectful of their enjoyment of the park too.
7.) Please follow all other park rules.
Garden of the Gods weddings are free! There may be permit fees if you want to get married outside of their handpicked destinations though and you’ll want to reach out to the folks at Garden of the Gods to find out directly from them what is available.
If these rules and the idea of not being able to host as many people as you would like are kind of bumming you out, don’t fret! You can always opt to do your engagement pictures at Garden of the Gods instead. It’s a ton of fun to explore Garden of the Gods and there are a ton of beautiful spots to create engagement photos in the unique scenery at Colorado Springs’ favorite public park.
I thought it might be nice to showcase each of the areas where Garden of the Gods allows quick and simple wedding ceremonies. Some of these locations I don’t have photos or descriptions for just yet, but please check back because I plan to add them as soon as I get the chance.
Jaycee Plaza is located right there at the large main parking area once you enter the park (There is also a large parking lot at the visitor’s center, but I’m referring to once you are inside the actual park). When driving through Garden of the Gods, much of your drive will be along one way roads. This will be the first parking area you encounter if entering the park from the main entrance at Gateway Road and 30th Street. Once you park in this large lot and walk in along the path, you’ll find Jaycee Plaza which is the circular sandstone patio area. Please note, this is probably one of the busiest areas inside the entire park but it’s also really cool looking! Up to 50 people can fit at Jaycee Plaza, but you might want to consider transportation for that many people since it can be tough to find parking at Garden of the Gods.
From the Jaycee Plaza, if you continue along the paved path you’ll come to a fork in the path with another large circular plaza known at Sentinel Plaza to your right (west). I like the Sentinel Plaza a little more than Jaycee Plaza because it’s tucked in between two huge red rock formations to the north and south. Like Jaycee Plaza, this location is crawling with other tourists so you may not have much privacy here unless you opt to get married during the off season or on a weekday and even then you’ll still probably have other people there. You can have up to 25 people attend your wedding ceremony at the Sentinel Plaza at Garden of the Gods.
To the south of the other two plazas is another paved plaza called Three Graces Plaza. Out of the three plazas listed as places you can get married at Garden of the Gods, I like Three Graces Plaza the best. It has a huge red rock jutting up out of the earth which makes for a dramatic backdrop for your wedding ceremony.
High Point is actually one of my favorite places to take my portrait clients when we’re photographing at Garden of the Gods. Sometimes the parking lot is quite busy, but it’s a great spot to get views of the red rocks from a unique angle with some distance between you and the formations to show off more of the dramatic landscape of this Colorado Springs treasure park. At High Point, you’ll find a pergola built into four red sandstone pillars which match the surroundings perfectly. The slats of the pergola are nice for shade but as a photographer they can add weird shadows so that might be something to watch out for at your wedding ceremony. After the ceremony, High Point has a lot of great areas we can use for your portraits before moving along to other parts of Garden of the Gods. You can have up to 50 people at your High Point wedding.
The Scotsman Picnic Area is the only location at Garden of the Gods where you can host a simple wedding ceremony and then have a short and sweet outdoor reception picnic right afterward. However, with this being a free location, there are no guarantees that other visitors won’t try to crash your party or that it’ll be open when you arrive so you’ll need to be flexible on your plans and with timing if you want to do this for your wedding. If you’re an outgoing couple and make friends easily this may not even be a bad thing for you. You can have up to 25 people at the Scotsman Picnic Area.
Last, but not least of available wedding spots at Garden of the Gods is the South Spring Canyon Area which is probably the most off the beaten path of all of the wedding locations so this spot is likely to be your best bet if you care about privacy at all. With privacy, I do think you tend to pay for it with this area not being as picturesque as the others on this list. It’s not far from the Trading Post at Garden of the Gods and you can host your wedding somewhere along the Balanced Rock Trail that leads from the Trading Post Parking lot to Garden Drive. This area isn’t too far from the Siamese Twins trailhead which leads to one of the park’s most unique red rock formations and could be worth the hike to get some fun photos there on your wedding day.
I hope that you have found this overview of getting married at Garden of the Gods to be helpful! I would absolutely LOVE to be your Garden of the Gods wedding photographer too. I have a ton of experience photographing at this park and I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. In fact, one of my early childhood travel memories was of a girl scout trip to Garden of the Gods and I’ve loved it ever since! I’d be happy to share all of my favorite photo spots with you on your wedding day and make it a fun day of exploring the park together. Please take a look at the WEDDINGS page of my site and get in touch to tell me more about you!
Address: 1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904