We’ve had the privilege of seeing some of the most incredible weddings here in Colorado – each filled with breathtaking views, decadent details, and local flair.
There’s no doubt that mountain weddings are beautiful beyond words, but planning a destination wedding in Colorado takes many behind-the-scenes hours of work. And often, pose challenges that other kinds (the non-mountainous kind) of weddings don’t.
But that doesn’t mean a Rocky Mountain nuptial isn’t worth it! Quite the contrary.
We’ve been fortunate to help many couples and their wedding guests experience a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Now, we want to share with you why Colorado is an ideal place for your destination wedding. And to help you plan for such a special event.
There are so many reasons to love Colorado and host your destination here: The open sky and the alpine glow in the evenings. The connection to nature and the landscape. The aspen leaves and brilliant blue skies. The Rocky Mountains as a backdrop!
And the fact that every season offers ample opportunity for outdoor wedding activities.
But don’t just take our word for it!
We asked some of our former couples why they chose Colorado for their wedding. Here’s what they had to say:
“After all that has happened in the past year, we all needed something to look forward to. So we figured we would give our friends and family the chance to celebrate love in one of the most breathtaking places in America.”
“We chose Colorado because it is our home! Adam and I just bought a home in Eagle Ranch, and we cannot wait to keep living our mountain life together and to one day build a family here. It was important to us to wed in the mountains so that we could show our family and friends the incredible life we get to live.”
“Aside from how picture-perfect Colorado is, we picked the elevated altitudes as our wedding spot because we both have memories that tie to this amazing state. Robert grew up spending many family vacations in the mountains with his parents and three sisters, and my parents used to work in Denver, so I spent a few years of my early years there.”
How to Plan for a Colorado Destination Wedding
Do Your Research
Wedding planning involves a ton of research, but even more so when it’s a destination wedding. Not only will you need to look into all the typical things such as venues and vendors, but you’ll also need to think about marriage license laws, weather patterns, altitude issues, travel logistics, etc.
You can spend a lot of time searching the internet for all of the details, but even then, you may not get the in-depth advice and accurate information you need to have a truly successful wedding. That’s why we recommend going straight to the source – a local!
Hire a Local Wedding Planner
There are some things you can research and quickly find answers to on the internet. And then, there are things that only a Coloradoan would know. Or know in a more in-depth way. This is where hiring a local wedding planner becomes a HUGE benefit to out-of-town couples.
For example, sometimes couples want to host their wedding at the top of a mountain – like the Vail Wedding Deck or Little Nell. Both of which are accessible by way of a chairlift/gondola. There might also be specific policies a couple needs to know before getting access to out-of-the-way venues. Such as the individual ticket cost per person to ride the gondola. What its regular and extended hours of operation are. And that it may close due to inclement weather – and what the backup plan is when it does.
Speaking of weather… it’s true what they say – you really can experience all four seasons in a day here. Which, on a day like your wedding, can cause some unwelcome frustration and changes in plan.
For instance, the two major highway passes between Denver and Vail/Beaver Creek can close down due to adverse weather. And may prohibit certain family members or your reception band from reaching your wedding on time.
These are the kinds of issues you may not come across during your destination wedding planning research. But with a local wedding planner guiding you, you’ll have someone who knows what to look for and how to deal with issues as they arise.
Create a Destination Experience
The buildup to a destination wedding is a chance for you to get your guests excited for your special celebration. And by creating a one-of-a-kind experience, the opportunity to design a wedding weekend they’ll be in envy of.
One way to get guests excited for what’s to come is by providing welcome bags. Because who doesn’t love receiving a surprise gift filled with goodies?!
What is inside is up to you. But we advise couples to fill them with personal things, like their favorite sweet and savory snack. And items with a Colorado flair, such as a keepsake gold-dipped aspen leaf from Rocky Mountain Leaf Company, that can be turned into a charm, ornament, or even jewelry.
Another way to create a destination experience is through dining. You might consider a rehearsal (and reception dinner) consisting of local lamb, trout, or beef from a local cattle farm.
Prepare Your Guests
The more prepared your guests are, the smoother and more pleasant their experience will be.
One of the best ways to share helpful tips and tricks with family and friends before they arrive is through a private wedding website (which we can set up for you). It can act as a point of reference that guests can access whenever they need to, which means fewer emails and phone calls to you!
Some key things to include on your website:
- Ceremony Info: Name, address, date, time, directions
- Reception Info: Name, address, date, time, directions
- Hotel Accommodations & Room Block Information: Name, address, contact info, distance from the venue
- Transportation Info: Depending on your wedding location, you may need to arrange special transportation for your guests, especially if the roads are unfamiliar.
- Local shops/cafes/areas of interest to visit
- Misc. Info: dress code, babysitting services, etc.
Also, make sure your website talks about high altitudes and what guests should prepare for. Altitude sickness is a very real thing. And usually comes into effect at elevations around 7,000.
Your guests might experience some altitude sickness symptoms as early as 48-hours. So, if their schedule allows, recommend they come a few days before as a precaution. Most people who experience altitude sickness don’t need medical attention, but just in case, provide your guests with information on local health clinics.
It’s also important to inform guests that alcohol has a more substantial effect at high altitudes and that they may want to take things easy the first couple of nights they’re in town. It’s also crucial that everyone drink plenty of water! This is why we recommend including water bottles – better yet, reusable monogrammed water bottles – in guests’ welcome bags.
Are you ready to pack your Louboutins and head to the mountains?!
We’d be over the moon to help you plan your destination wedding experience. Send us an email, and let’s get your mountain soiree underway!
Wow, this article really showcases the beauty of Colorado and why it’s such a great destination for weddings. As a wedding enthusiast, I can’t help but agree with the author’s points about the stunning mountain views, outdoor activities, and abundance of venues. It’s clear that Kelly Karli Weddings and Events knows Colorado weddings inside and out. I hope to attend a wedding in Colorado someday and experience the magic for myself!