Are you starting to plan an Aspen Wedding? Engagement season is nearly over, (Valentine’s Day is a very popular day to pop the question) and newly engaged couples are beginning planning for 2019 and 2020 weddings. Regardless if you have been planning the details of your wedding your entire life or if you haven’t thought about your special day at all, planning a wedding can be frightening. There are a lot of aspen wedding vendors to hire and lots of details and logistics to hammer out. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed or caught up in your to-do list. This should be an enjoyable process!
One of the first tasks you should do is choose your wedding date. You can’t really do much else without having this set in stone! While this date may change slightly do to venue availability, having somewhat of an idea in mind is key. Here are some tips for getting started.
Narrow the search: One way to quickly narrow down specific dates is to consider the day of the week you want to choose. Typically, weddings are held on weekends with Saturdays the most popular choice. This is most convenient for guests, but there are no hard rules about this! Fridays, Sundays and even other days of the week.
Decide on your season: There are lots of things that can be determined by the month you tie the knot in. First major factor, (although you can’t determine this exactly ahead of time!) the weather. Do you want a wintry wonderland with snow? Or are you envisioning a warm sunny day? Fall foliage? Spring blooms? Consider the local weather, Aspen obviously has more weather differences then if you were to get married in a more mild climate. Of season weddings can provide some cost benefits and vendor availability will be higher, but you may have to sacrifice things like type of flower due to seasonal availability.
Consider special dates and holidays: 4th of July, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, religious holidays, Father’s/Mother’s Day, etc. are usually not the best choice. While a holiday wedding can still be fun, but guests may not want to cancel their holidays celebrations and traditions to attend your wedding. The cost of travel can also be significantly higher during these times and you may have guests coming from out of town. A plus is that Some holidays fall on long weekends and this can make it more convenient for people to travel.
Other special dates you may want to rule out (or not!) are anniversaries, birthdays of close relatives or friends. You may WANT to choose your grandparents anniversary or the day you met.
Think about timing: Is there a busy season at work that would be impossible for you to focus on your wedding prep? Is there a time of year which is more convenient to take time off? For example, if you are a teacher with summers off this would ideal. If you are an accountant, right before tax day would be less than ideal.
Give yourself plenty of time: You don’t need to rush with the planning process (unless you want to!) Make sure you will have enough time to book vendors you want and figure out all the details. Many vendors book up qucikly and are currently booking for a year or even more ahead.
Be flexible. While you may be set on a particular day i.e. September 22nd, your venue may not be available that day. Have a few dates in mind and if you aren’t willing to compromise, you can choose to prioritize your day instead and find a new venue/vendor etc.
We hope these tips will help you get started on choosing a date for your wedding!
Wedding Date: 08/06/2017 Bride and Groom: Jennifer Murer and Blake Yutuc
Jen and Blake tied that knot on the most perfect beautiful clear day at Maroon Bells in front of 45 of their closest family and friends. Their joy-filled ceremony was special and unique. They exchanged personal vows and had a tree planting ceremony. Their “best day ever” continued at The Westin- Snowmass village, where guests enjoyed interactive pasta, prime rib, and salad bar stations. Everyone danced the night away with a drink in hand and sent the beautiful couple off with sparklers.
Bride, Jen shares more about what made their wedding a special day below!
Where did you have your ceremony? Maroon Bells
How did you decide on this location? When Blake and I got engaged we both wanted to have our wedding surrounded by the beauty of nature. We are absolutely in love with the mountains and Texas kind of lacks in that geographical department. That is when our ceremony location hunt began in Colorado. I searched for weeks for the perfect location and that’s when I found Maroon Bells. I looked at Blake and said “I’m done! This where we are getting married!” He fell in love as soon as I showed him the pictures. The anticipation of reserving Maroon Bells was killing me and I was filled with endless joy when we were finally able to reserve!
Where did you have your reception? The Westin- Snowmass Village
How did you decide on The Westin- Snowmass Village for your reception? We took a trip up to Aspen a year before the wedding to really grasp and feel the vibe of reception locations we were looking at online. Since all our family and friends were traveling to Aspen and had never been to the area, we chose to have our reception at the hotel that all our guests would be staying at. After visiting hotels and their reception spaces we decided that The Westin in Snowmass Village had everything we wanted for our guests and reception. We chose the Garden Terrace Tent that had the perfect view of the Northern Mountains.
Where did you book your accommodations? The Westin- Snowmass Village
What was the mood at your wedding? Our ceremony was extremely personal and full of infectious joy. We decided that we wanted our officiant to incorporate our love story, how Blake knew I was the one, and how I knew he was the one. Sharing how we met and these personal moments with our closest friends and family really helped to deepen the connection we already shared, as they were able to get a glimpse into our relationship from the beginning up to this point in time.
What is your best memory? The reception displayed the general vibe of our relationship and both the love we share for each-other and the love that our guests felt from our relationship. The fact that our guests were able to fully let go of everything else for a few hours and be present in the moment celebrating our love was absolutely beautiful.
Do you have any advice for a bride planning a destination wedding? Give yourself plenty of time to research and research more. Also, receiving suggestions from locals on vendors or restaurants for your rehearsal dinner is best, so join a local Facebook group where you are having your wedding.
Wedding Date: 07/15/2017 Bride and Groom: Susan Lubbers and Mac Weaver
Mac and Susan wanted to tie the knot in a church ceremony with a traditional Aspen feel for the reception. They shared a mutual love of Aspen which is why they chose it as their destination. Bride, Susan shares more of what made their wedding day special and unique below.
Where did you have your ceremony? Christ Church in the West End.
How did you decide on this location? We wanted a church wedding and Mac was raised in the Episcopal church. We met Fr. Jonathan Brice over dinner last winter, and immediately knew that he would be an important part of our wedding.
Where did you have your reception? Hotel Jerome – Library Room
How did you decide on Hotel Jerome – Library Room for your reception? We wanted a traditional Aspen reception location, one that spoke to the history of the town. No better place than the Jerome! We love the Library Room and it was the perfect fit for our small wedding party.
Where were your accommodations? Private homes around town, Jerome
What was the mood at your wedding? Intimate, family-centric. We were surrounded by family and friends with combined marriage terms of over 350 years! Two couples have been married over 50 years. We’re inspired and completely in awe of the example our family has set for us.
What is your best memory? Walking up at Maroon Lake and seeing Mac for the first time, feeling the stress and wedding jitters completely dissipate. I also had my first CO moose sighting on the drive up Maroon Creek to the Bells!
Another special moment was walking down the aisle, having my Mom give me away (Dad is deceased).
Lastly, after all the family and couple photos between the ceremony and reception, Mac and I walked hand in hand across the rugby field from John Denver to the Jerome, just taking in the entire day.
Do you have any advice for a bride planning a destination wedding? Talk to several vendors, don’t be afraid to ask very specific questions and pay attention to details.
Do you have any additional thoughts or photos you would like to share with us?
Mac and I met through work, and the first thing we chatted about was our mutual love of Aspen, so it only made sense to get married there. We planned a very intimate family event (25 people total) so that we could enjoy the weekend and spend time with our closest family members – grandparents, parents & siblings, and godparents.
Wedding Date: 09/10/2017 Bride and Groom: Heather and Jason Ripke
Heather and Jason tied the knot in a gorgeous “dream come true” ceremony at the Little Nell on top of Aspen Mountain. Their guests enjoyed a glass of champagne on their gondola ride up and were welcomed to the ceremony by a string duo. Heather’s father and 5 year old daughter walked by her side down the aisle. Their ceremony was very personal to them. Friend, Mike officiated their wedding and they each wrote their own vows. After the ceremony, guests went to the Aspen Mountain Club deck for cocktail hour.
Bride Heather shares with us below about what made their wedding day special.
How did you decide on this location?
We knew we wanted a destination wedding yet something different from the normal beach wedding. I searched mountain weddings on Pinterest and I came across a picture of a wedding out on the Wedding Deck at The Little Nell and absolutely fell in love. I contacted The Little Nell and we had our venue booked within a day. Getting married at The Little Nell was a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is no other place like it and we will forever be grateful for our family and friends that took time off of their lives to travel to Colorado to experience our special day with us, and to all the vendors and employees at The Little Nell that went out of their way to make our day extra special.
How did you decide on The Little Nell – Aspen Mountain Club for your reception?
We saw one picture of the Aspen Mountain Club and knew that was where we wanted our wedding reception. We (and all of our guests) had to travel to Aspen from Iowa so we wanted to stay on top of the mountain as long as possible to enjoy the atmosphere and view.
What was the mood at your wedding?
Romantic and Memorable. With such a stunning backdrop, we wanted to play up the romance with our floral arrangements. We wanted our guest to have fun and leave with a once in a lifetime experience.
What is your best memory from your wedding day?
We have so many best memories from that day. We decided to forgo a first look, so we saw each other for the first time that day as I walked down the aisle. Writing our own vows also made the ceremony more special and unique to us. Surprising Jason, the Groom, with a Daddy Donkey(what she calls him) cake from Hayden, his stepdaughter, was a special moment. Also seeing our family and friends experience such a perfect day at the most amazing venue we could have dreamed of was amazing.
Do you have any advice for a bride planning a destination wedding?
Do your research and rely on your venue if that’s an option. Leann Katchuk from The Little Nell was spectacular. She was always available and extremely accommodating on everything and anything we wanted and or needed. Pick vendors that you mesh up with well. Robin Proctor was the first photographer that we contacted and we chose her. We spoke with 5 difference florist’s before settling on Carolyn’s Flowers. Listen to your gut and don’t settle, pick what you want.
Wedding Date: 09/03/2017 Bride and Groom: Meg and Zach
(From the Bride)
Zach and I met in Aspen, Colorado. Zach (originally from Orange County, CA) picked Me (Meg) up in the Gant Van from the airport with my mom. What we thought would be a mother-daughter vacation turned into the beginning of a wonderful love story.
After being in a long distance relationship for a year, I moved out to Aspen to be with Zach. We both lived and worked in Aspen until 2015 when we decided to move to California to be closer to family. We decided to have a destination wedding in Aspen because it is so near and dear to our hearts. We had an intimate wedding of 70 guests and had activities throughout the weekend. We had a welcome reception at the Gant Aspen and served vegan friendly options, bison sliders, and more. A selection of Colorado Bourbons (along with full bar) was also hosted at the Welcome Reception. We really liked having the activities planned because it gave our guests a chance to get to know one another before the wedding day. Once the wedding came around everyone knew each-other. The morning after the wedding we went Paragliding with Aspen Paragliding, then embarked on a 3 week honeymoon through Spain, Portugal, and Morocco.
How did you decide on this location? I wanted a ceremony location that was outdoors but had an easy plan for rain, because we all know how afternoon showers can come unexpectedly. I also liked that it was affordable, had a scenic backdrop, and was only a 10 minute walk for everyone from the center of town.
How did you decide on Hotel Jerome for your reception? The Hotel Jerome was a short distance away from the Theatre Aspen. I love how historical the hotel is and it definitely has the mountain chic vibe I was looking for.
Where did you have book your accommodations?The Gant
What was the mood at your wedding? Full of love and happiness!
What is your best memory from your wedding day? Seeing my husbands face when he saw me walking down the aisle (we didn’t see each-other before the wedding)
Meg, Do you have any advice for a bride planning a destination wedding? Plan activities throughout the weekend so the guests can get to know each-other before the big day. I had a small wedding of only 70 guests, but the dance floor was always full. I think the fact that everyone had met almost everyone else by the time the reception rolled around definitely helped. Also, I would advise people to definitely have an open bar! People come from very far and spend a lot of money to witness your marriage – you want them to enjoy themselves!!
Aspen Wedding Vendors Welcome Reception:
Venue: The Ute Terrace at The Gant Aspen
Food: The Gant Aspen
Music:Live music by Mark Nussmeier
Snowy mountain peaks in the background, toasty fires and rich hues make winter weddings in Aspen so gorgeous. While a winter wedding is a magical thing, there are also lots of details to consider to ensure your day goes off without a hitch!
Here are some important things to consider when planning your Aspen winter wedding.
If you are desiring outdoor photos, make sure to have a plan. Dressing warm enough is crucial! You don’t want to be frozen during your vows. Wearing cozy winter accessories like a faux fur coat, scarf, mittens, and many more can be a great way to look fashionable while staying warm.
You (and your bridesmaids) can also wear tights under your dress. If it’s long, no one will even know and you can stay warm and toasty during photos. Watering eyes, chapped lips and skin will not look great in photos, so be sure to have chap stick and tissues on hand.
2. Be wary of the weather. Aspen weather can be unpredictable- sunny one day and then a snowstorm moving in the next. Have backup plans for anything you are hoping to host outdoors. If you have guests coming in from out of town, there is a possibility of delayed or cancelled flights. Make sure they have a little wiggle room and if possible leave a few days between when they fly in and your wedding day.
3. Add seasonal elements. Whether you choose to decorate in “winter white” or a mix of rich, warm tones, adding greenery, plaid, metallics or other winter themed accents is a gorgeous touch. Candles also add a romantic, warm vibe to the room. Even during a dark, stormy winter night.
4. Choose your location wisely. Having both the ceremony and reception at one location is ideal in winter. You don’t want to risk having to drive to a reception during inclement weather. Add in some extra time to travel to your ceremony in case weather is bad.
5. Get creative. Special touches will make your wedding unforgettable. Have a hot chocolate station or blankets to warm everyone up. Serve comfort foods- soup shooters, mac and cheese, grilled cheese. Add a dessert display with your favorite holiday desserts or have horse and carriage or gondola rides to transport your guests to the festivities.
Winter weddings in Aspen are magical! These are just a few of our tips to make sure your Aspen wedding goes off smoothly. Are you having a winter wedding? Share your favorite winter wedding detail below!! Still planning? Find your top wedding vendors here.
Wedding Date: 07/07/2017 Bride and Groom: Jenna Bahl and Thomas Downes
Jenna and Tom reside in Corona Del Mar, CA. The bride is originally from Colorado and her husband is an accomplished skier and heli skier who picked Aspen as a destination venue for their wedding. Tom and Jenna have many special memories in Aspen which made it the perfect spot for their small wedding.
Read on to hear from the bride about their beautiful Aspen mountain wedding day.
How did you decide on this location?
When he was single, my husband spent time skiing in Aspen, a friend of his had a home there. I was born and raised in Colorado. Some of our best memories together are from our trips to Aspen.
Where did you have your reception?
Aspen Mountain Club followed by dinner at the Caribou Club
How did you decide on Aspen Mountain Club for your reception?
We wanted to make it seamless and have our guests feel comfortable eating and drinking while we had all of our photos taken.
What was the mood at your wedding?
Smiles everywhere. It was surreal and perfect.
What is your best memory?
Seeing my mother-in-law beaming with pride and happiness. I am so thankful for her.
Do you have any advice for a bride planning a destination wedding?
Our guests included our wedding party, their significant others and family only. Keep it small. We had a reception back in Newport Beach one week after we got married so we could celebrate with everyone who wasn’t at the wedding and it was perfect.
“I was so lucky that Esmeralda and Donovan found me for their gorgeous Aspen wedding. She was super sweet and it was fun to be able to help her pick her wedding spot! They didn’t know a lot about specific places in Aspen (preferably a lovely and private mountain setting for their small wedding), so I did a bit of research and she decided to go with the Ashcroft Ghost Town, which is AMAZING. It’s just a 12 mile drive outside of downtown Aspen, and it was so serene and quiet and just beautiful.
It was such a treat to be able to photograph a smaller, intimate wedding. While I love weddings of all sizes, it was really special to see such a close-knit group celebrate together. Everyone was either family or just like family, and you could see how thrilled everyone was to be there to witness these two tie the knot. They really made it an adventure as well, as they took the train out from Chicago and then drove over Independence Pass. It was the perfect way to get here and made the trip out even more special.”
Where was the ceremony? Ashcroft Ghost Town. After a short bout of showers, the clouds parted just in time for their first look, followed by the lovely ceremony that took place in the middle of the meadow under the sun.
Family and friends formed a circle with the couple, which made it even more thoughtful and sweet. We took more photos in the very cool ghost town with old, dilapidated buildings as our backdrop – definitely something you don’t see every day! I would have stayed all day to take photos of them in such an amazing location. The leaves were just starting to turn, too, which added that extra touch of color.
What did they want for in a ceremony location?They were looking for a private space in the mountains/nature
Location of Reception? The Limelight Hotel. The group headed back for a celebratory dinner at the Limelight Hotel in Aspen where they dined family-style and shared stories of the couple. Everyone was so kind and generous and treated me as part of the group, and it was such an honor to be there!
What was the mood at the wedding?
Small and intimate
Best memory from the wedding day?
As the photographer, mine was the gorgeous ceremony in the meadow
Natalie and Dustin were planning a wedding in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio when they decided to drop everything and elope! The groom chose the reception location on the day of the wedding. What a special day! Read on for more about their wedding day.
Wedding Date: 07/08/2017 Bride and Groom: Natalie and Dustin
From the Bride: Dustin and I got engaged in Feb. 2017. Immediately after, the wedding planning began! In the beginning Dustin and I planned a wedding with a guest list of 130 people in our hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Everything was planned and set up and we were about to get our invites out when (drop the mic) we pulled the plug on that plan! When they say wedding planning is stressful, now I know every meaning to that saying. Things were getting a little out of hand and I realized what we were doing was not what we really wanted. It was always my dream growing up to get married in a super small and simple setting. That is just not what was happening and it was creating a lot of anxiety for the both of us.
Then the idea of Aspen, Colorado came up and we made the plans within two weeks and we were on a plane. We had some of our loved ones there, it was simple, everything we wanted and more. The elopement was drama and stress free. I look back today and know in my heart that we made the best decision for us as a couple. We also planned a party back in our hometown with all of our family and friends. I loved sharing all of our memories and photos with everyone. It was a great celebration and I could not have asked for a better outcome with the elopement and party! Now, it is off to Hawaii!!!
Where did you have your ceremony?
My now husband, Dustin decided on the location. We flew into Aspen that Friday. Saturday as I was getting my hair and make up done. He went exploring for the perfect location! I had no idea where we were going and I was totally surprised!
Location of Reception? St. Regis, Aspen (where we stayed)- It was just us and two other couples. We all went there after and had a little cocktail hour. Then had dinner reservations at the Little Nell.
How did you decide on your reception location?
Everything was planned day of! After Dustin found the location him and his friend went to the St. Regis for a drink. The bartender actually recommended the Little Nell.
Where did you stay? St. Regis– What an amazing hotel! We had a suite and when we got there they had roses on the bed, champagne, and music! It was so lovely.
What was the mood at the wedding? Unique and different?
Very unique and different. We decided to elope 2 weeks before we went to Aspen after planning a big wedding in Columbus, Ohio. Turns out we did not want that “big” wedding. Our wedding was casual and easy going. I was comfortable and so happy about how intimate it was. I could really focus on Dustin and our relationship – outside of all that wedding day drama and nerves.
Best memory from the wedding day?
When we gave our vows to each other. We married ourselves, Dustin took the lead by starting the ceremony off with a poem that blew my mind and made me smile the biggest I have in my whole life. I loved how intimate the situation was and having our friends there to witness, it brought so much joy to me on that day. The next day, we went paddle boarding as a group! It was the perfect adventure the day after getting married! Then we had another dinner celebration at The Grey Lady.
Any advice for a bride planning a destination wedding?
Try and stay calm. I would get so worked up about the littlest things and my husband would take my hand every time and say, everything is going to be perfect- no matter what.
Lindsay and Raul’s wedding was a beautiful, intimate affair. Their ceremony and reception locations both boasted stunning mountain peak views for an Aspen feel. The couple had delicious food and many fun, personalized details including a Chipotle burrito Groom’s cake representing where they first met. What a perfect day!
Wedding Date: 04/07/2017 Bride and Groom: Lindsay Altenbaumer and Raul Ganzalez
Where did you have your ceremony? St. Mary of the Crown – Carbondale, CO
How did you meet? Raul and I met while I was in law school at the Chipotle cantina and we dated for five years before we tied the knot in Colorado.
How did you decide on this location? We wanted a small Catholic church with beautiful scenery. St. Mary of the Crown was an easy choice, as it provided the small church feel with gorgeous views of Mount Sopris. Also, Father Rick is fluent in Spanish and was able to communicate important portions of the mass to Raul’s family.
How did you decide on The Little Nell – Aspen Mountain Club for your reception? Coming from Texas, we were looking for a venue/location that did not involve as much humidity & heat, and the top of Aspen Mountain was an easy selection for that preference. Plus, The Little Nell accommodated every food request to perfection!
How would you describe your wedding? Intimate with beautiful scenery!
What is your best memory from your wedding day? Having everyone we love joined together in such a great location and, of course, marrying my love.
Lindsay, Do you have any advice for a bride planning a destination wedding? Having everyone we love joined together in such a great location and, of course, marrying my love. Enjoy the benefits of a destination wedding, visit, visit, visit!! It is an excuse to vacation while you plan!