Boulder Sunrise Amphitheatre – Your Complete Wedding Guide!
Picture yourself overlooking Boulder for miles. You’re surrounded by incredible mountain scenery and you’re about to celebrate one of the most special days in life. You take in the rich scent of the towering pine trees and feel as though you are on top of the world. If this sounds like a dream come true, then Sunrise Amphitheatre could be the perfect place for your love story to unfold. Having shot at this gorgeous location, I wanted to share with you a perfect guide and include all you’ll need to know to have your special day at this venue!
Located on the summit of Flagstaff Mountain, the Sunrise Amphitheatre is available for couples to celebrate their weddings between May and October. This rustic circle amphitheater is made from local stone and was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933-1934. From this vantage point, you can view the entire Boulder Valley while being nestled in ponderosa pines. The Boulder Sunrise Amphitheatre is easily accessible from Baseline Road in Boulder, which is just a 10 minute drive away! This is an easy spot to get to from Denver, Lakewood, Golden, Englewood, Morrison, Thornton, Broomfield and surrounding areas. If you want to get married in the beauty of nature but also want to be close to the city, this could be a great place to consider!
Plenty of loved ones and friends can join you on your special day at Sunrise Amphitheater. The twelve rows of semi-circular stone benches seat up to 100 people. The entire audience faces east and is the perfect spot for early morning ceremonies, hence the name, “Sunrise” Amphitheatre. One of the key features of this location is that it is acoustically designed, meaning that your guests will have an advantage of hearing your ceremony moments.
1 and 3 Hour Time Slots
You can rent Sunrise Boulder Amphitheater for 1 and 3 hour time blocks. If you’re having a wedding with over 25 guests, I highly recommend going for a 3 hour block. Weddings usually take a bit longer than expected with all the last-minute details. Getting your ceremony area set up with decorations, having everyone file in, and shooting lots of group shots and couples portraits go by much faster than you’d think! Having a 1 hour block would be more suited for a very intimate wedding or elopement, with plans for a second (or third!) location afterwards for more portraits, dining and celebrations afterwards!
Next, you’ll need to choose a time of day for your ceremony.
Sunrise Morning: This is great for couples wanting to exchange their vows at sunrise. Depending on the time of year, it may be quite chilly as the sun hasn’t had time to warm it up. And during the peak of summer, you’d have less chance people would get overheated. There’s also less chance you’d be dealing with rain and thunderstorms. At very early hours, there will most likely be more available parking spots. Depending on cloud cover, your audience may be looking into direct sun since the amphitheater faces east. This is generally a great time to capture photos in natural light. Sunlight can be much softer first thing in the morning and Noon: Expect the area to be busier especially on weekends. During spring and fall, the temperature will be warmer and more comfortable at this time than early morning. During the peak of summer, it could be quite hot if there is no cloud cover. In the direct noon sun, lighting can be a bit harsher for photos. Late Afternoon: During spring and fall, this is generally more comfortable in terms of temperature. The sunlight is still directly shining on the stage/platform. Lighting can be a bit harsh unless it’s overcast but you guests won’t be looking directly into the sun during your ceremony. Evening: Light filtering through the pines can be quite spotty on the amphitheater circle. Depending on the time of year, your rental of the Sunrise Amphitheatre may go into the night.
Booking Sunrise Amphitheatre is considered very affordable for a wedding venue! The rental fees range from $100 to $400. You can check out their varying prices on their website. If you’re a boulder resident, you can even get a better deal. Since it is an uncovered ceremony area, you may want to check out their other shelters for rent on their website as well.
Fill out the form, pay the rental fee, and you’re good to go!
The amphitheater only takes a few minutes to arrive on foot from the nearby parking areas. From the parking lot to the Amphitheatre, there is a wheelchair-accessible trail as well as steps leading directly down into the main circle of the Amphitheatre. You can also shuttle guests up there if you have a particularly large crowd. Keep in mind parking spaces are not included or guaranteed as part of reserving this venue. Any vehicle not registered with Boulder County must purchase and display a parking permit and are 5 dollars each. Unfortunately, parking permits do not guarantee availability of parking lots. So I would highly recommend carpooling and shuttling, especially if it’s a large group.
There are so many photo options around the Boulder area and one that is a classic spot for couples portraits after the ceremony is at Chautauqua Park. The stunning views here are just about 5 minutes away and would make for an excellent backdrop, although it is hard to compete with the views at Sunrise Amphitheatre! Lost Gulch Overlook is another stellar location with views that will amaze you. It can be a bit busy especially during the weekends with people looking to enjoy the scenery and relax.
Things to Consider
Although you can book from May to October, you may want to consider that there is often snow in May and a chance of snow in mid to late October.
During the summer, it’s likely that there will be a change of thunderstorms and rain that come through during the afternoon (and possibly evening). So you may want to consider renting a shelter or have lots of umbrellas ready.
The narrow winding roads can be scary or overwhelming for people that are not used to driving in the mountains. The steep mountainside road is even more hazardous if there is snow or ice. This is also why I recommend carpooling or using a shuttle!
During the hot summer months, your guests may feel uncomfortable in the hot direct sun if you rent the facility during the middle of the day. Having white umbrellas will provide your guests with shade and keep them from overheating.
Bring water and stay hydrated. This is especially key for people who are from out of state. The higher elevation, the direct sun, (possibly heat if it’s during the summer) and standing for a long period of time require lots of hydration!
Expect everything to be busier on weekends. More hikers and sightseers on local scenic areas. Less parking. More traffic and therefore possibly more delays
Overview of Sunrise Amphitheatre Rules and Regulations (view in more detail on their website)
No fires or open flames
No tents, canopies or structures of any kind are allowed.
No signs, balloons or any items may be placed to draw attention to your event
No flower petals, confetti, rice, glitter or loose materials may be thrown or used at event
Do not exceed the limit of guests for your event
No releasing animals or balloons.
Drone use is not allowed
Remove your trash afterwards
Do not damage the area
Do not raise funds at your event
All vehicles must have a parking permit and park in designated areas
No food trucks
If you’d like to continue your celebration, I’d recommend taking your reception place elsewhere. There are so many possibilities for couples to have great photo sessions after their ceremony and party the night away! My last couple that had their ceremony at Sunrise Amphitheatre went to Aloft Broomfield Denver after that and held their cocktail hour, dinner, and reception there. Flagstaff House is another local and elegant location for your romantic night to take place. Chataqua Dining Hall has incredible views of the flatirons and allows you to reserve your spot for your event. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a beautiful Boulder restaurant which allows you to have your private event. Make sure to contact your desired restaurant or venue to reserve your spot ahead of time.
As a Colorado wedding photographer who has personally worked at this venue, I would highly recommend Sunrise Amphitheatre to any couple looking for incredible Boulder views. High above the rest of the world, you can feel like you’re in another world while completely immersed in nature on your romantic day. If you are searching for a photographer who has experience working at Sunrise Amphitheatre, I would be honored to capture your day. Reach out on my contact page to have your wedding photography dreams come true.
Hi, I’m Grace, a Colorado wedding photographerand wedding videographer! I’m based in Larkspur, Colorado and I service Denver, Colorado Springs, and beyond! My passion is telling your story through imagery.