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Monday, June 5, 2017

Colorado Pros' Advice for Saying "I Do"

Words by Courtney Kellar

It’s day one of our Destination: Colorado week and we’re sharing expert advice from professional wedding planners and event designers, as well as features we’ve done here at DID about various destinations and resorts throughout the state.

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Colorado Wedding Planners’ Advice

We asked two of the state’s top wedding planners and event designers to share their insight into planning a wedding in Colorado. Below, find their advice on everything from the best season in which to say “I do,” to the pros and cons of hosting your event in a famous mountain town like Aspen or Vail. 

Bella Event Design and Planning

Q: What are the pros and cons of hosting a destination wedding in a more popular mountain town like Vail or Aspen?

A: Hosting a wedding in Vail or Aspen comes with a plethora of perks and enticing reasons to bring your guests. [One example] is the easygoing and laid-back demeanor locals are known for. Not only will you be able to unwind as you celebrate your big day, but your guests will feel immediately at home and expertly taken care of. 

The challenges of getting married in a mountain town are few and far between, but there are some to be aware of before you book. First is accessibility, for both your guests and your vendors. It’s not uncommon to drive between two and four hours from Denver to reach the destination you’ve chosen, or to be faced with sometimes-expensive shuttle flights to smaller local airports that only run certain times of year.

Another challenge is how popular these towns are. There’s nothing better than a mountain wedding in the heart of winter or the most beautiful week in the summer, but you won’t be the only ones coming into town, which means travel, hotel rooms, and venues need to be booked early to guarantee availability.

Q: What are the pros and cons of hosting a destination wedding at a private home or untraditional venue rather than a resort?

A: Private homes and non-traditional venues, such as ranches and mountain retreats, provide a truly unique opportunity to give your guests a taste of Colorado that they may not be able to get elsewhere. Some, such as Dunton Hot Springs and Devil’s Thumb Ranch, have existing structures and a thematic identity that you can enhance for a celebration your guests will never forget. Looking to lead your guests on a trail ride or spend your rehearsal dinner learning to line dance? You’re in luck! And of course, you can’t beat the intimacy and privacy of a private venue!

As with other more remote places in the state, a private home or untraditional venue does present the challenge of what resources are available. Unlike a hotel, most private venues have very limited options for things like tables, chairs, linens, and dishes, meaning you may end up renting a large number of items. You may also run into challenges with the facilities themselves, in particular power supplies, kitchen and prep facilities, and restrooms. A generator or two, plus luxury portable restrooms, will probably end up on your budget… 

Q: What is your favorite and least favorite season for weddings in Colorado and why?

A: Summer and winter in Colorado are absolutely stunning. We get 300 days of sunshine a year, and whether it’s warm or snowy, that sun really sparkles. In the winter, it does get chilly, but that snow makes for a truly magical setting! Cozy faux furs and cashmere wraps make for beautiful wedding day accessories, and a horse-drawn sleigh is the ultimate getaway vehicle.

The two least popular times of year for weddings are early spring (late April-May) aka “Mud Season” and late fall (the end of October through November). Late fall is really early winter up in the mountains, meaning it could be 60 degrees and sunny one day and we could get a few inches of snow the next.

Q: Is there a destination in Colorado that you feel is perfect for weddings, but flies under the radar?

A: An incredible under-the-radar destination for weddings is Steamboat Springs. Many couples flock to Aspen, Vail, and Beaver Creek, but far fewer head north to the Yampa Valley, even though the ski resort is quite well known. With private ranches and stunning mountain views, plus a quaint mining town atmosphere that’s truly “Old West,” it’s a great location for couples looking to give their guests a relaxed and welcoming taste of Colorado.

Kelly Karli Weddings and Events

Q: What are the pros and cons of hosting a destination wedding in a more popular mountain town like Vail or Aspen?

A: Pros: These two places truly understand guest experience, boast gorgeous mountain backdrops and what’s even better, these areas truly are available to anyone. You can choose to have the most elegant sophisticated wedding at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch or find a wildflower meadow to pronounce your vows surrounded by the closest of friends and family.  

Cons: Traveling to these locations can be difficult at times. I-70, the major interstate, is the only way to get into these mountain towns and sometimes it can close depending on the time of year and depending on the severity of an accident.

Q: What is your favorite and least favorite season for weddings in Colorado and why?

A: “Mud Season” is not the favorite time of year for hosting a wedding. This falls within the time the mountain closes for ski season in April until the end of May. Summer weddings are stunning, but there is something very special about getting married in the winter months. The snow sparkling on the pine trees like diamonds, the smell of a firepit after a long day of skiing, roasting s’mores with a deep colored red wine… 

Q: Can you give an example or two of how a wedding planner might be especially necessary for a Colorado destination wedding?

A: An important thing to remember is many of our venues are on-mountain. There are certain rules in place that each local planner has to abide by in order to run an event. 

DID’s Firsthand Take on the State

Colorado is unquestionably one of our favorite wedding destinations in the country. We’ve covered it quite extensively over our 12 years on the newsstand and below is a sampling of some of our experiences. Each of these articles was written by a member of the DID team after visiting the mentioned destination and resorts, so you can count on an accurate description honest review. 

Colorado Springs

Colorado: View from the Clouds

Rustic Marries Luxury in Colorado

Colorado Springs: Rustic Charm 

Steamboat Springs

Colorado Comfort

Grand Junction

Captivating Views in Colorado 

Beaver Creek

Escape to the Rockies

Beaver Creek: Wildly Distinct

Gateway Canyons

Colorado Wildneress in Gateway Canyons

Vail

Vail: European Inspired

Alpine Inspiration in Vail 

Bachelor Gulch

Saying “I Do” High in the Rockies

Telluride

Mountain Magic in Telluride

Keystone

Keystone: Mountaintop Bliss

Aspen

An Air of Luxury in Aspen

Stay tuned tomorrow for more of our Destination: Colorado week as part of our ongoing Destination: X series. Tomorrow will include awesome travel deals, a firsthand take on Telluride (one of our favorite destinations ever) and a Colorado-based professional wedding photographer’s tips on where to exchange vows.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa (1st), The Broadmoor (2nd), Vail Resorts (3rd) & The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch (4th), Kara Pearson Photography (5th & 8th), Lacie Hansen Photography (6th), Dreamtime Images (7th & 9th) & Sarah Roshan Photography (10th& 11th).

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