Wedding Blog

Winter Wedding in Aspen


Winter weddings are always special but this one had even more meaning because of the unique story behind the day.  This beautiful couple had been married once before and, after having three children,  decided to divorce.  After a few years of being apart they did what every child of a divorce dreams of …. they got back together!  Their wedding was at the Aspen Chapel on a festive New Year’s Eve with just their immediate family.  Although the freshness and joy of a new beginning was evident there was also a high level of comfort and ease between the couple that one doesn’t always see on the wedding day.  The love between the bride and groom was tried and true and the children, once again, had their family together and whole.

Michele Cardamone – Wedding and Portrait Photographer

See more of Michele’s work at

Wedding Flowers by: Mountain Flowers of Aspen

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January 23, 2015 |

Guide to Perfect Wedding Audio by Alchemy Concert Systems


 Here is your guide to ensuring perfect audio for your wedding or event.

                  Capturing the speeches, wedding ceremony, and music is not always thought of as a priority for many brides and grooms during the planning process. However, audio is just as important as the images. Watching a video of your wedding ceremony would be disappointing if you cannot hear anything.

With the help of Eric Blomberg, Logistics Coordinator at Alchemy Concert Systems we have laid out a few of the most important details to consider when planning out Audio/Visual needs for your wedding.

More Images :

Melvin Gilbert Photography

Why should I hire a professional for audio/visual?

Hiring someone with technical knowledge and experience working weddings in the Aspen area is important. The details that go into planning the specifics for audio/visual can be complex. Having someone with experience in this area will ensure your wedding will run smoothly and that your vision will be executed flawlessly.

“When planning a wedding we obviously believe that hiring a professional AV company such as ourselves to operate the AV of a wedding is very important. This is the most important day of the Bride & Groom’s lives and hiring us to provide the audio and visual aspect of a wedding guarantees a professional and beautiful outcome that will not only be memorable for the Bride and Groom but also to all that attend the wedding.” (Eric Blomberg, ACS)


What can an Audio/Visual company (such as Alchemy Concert Systems) help me with?

A professional AV can assist with many logistic details, including design, implementation and operation. No matter your budget or needs, a professional will help everything go smoothly.

Eric shares, “We have done everything from high-dollar elaborate weddings where we have used every piece of equipment that we own to events that have a smaller budget where we have made due with a few speakers and some lights and still managed to make it look fantastic.”


More Images :

Melvin Gilbert Photography

What do I need to consider regarding audio/visual for different aspects of the wedding?

The Ceremony: Everyone wants to hear the bride and groom during the ceremony. With no microphone, no matter how intimate your wedding is, even the loudest voice will be hard to hear and even harder to capture on camera. Wearing wireless microphones is important for anyone speaking during the ceremony. This can include the officiant, readers, and the bride and groom. As the bride will have no place to wear a microphone, the groom can wear one to pick up both of their voices.

It is important to have loud, clear voices for the video recording. One thing to consider is having the sound turn off from the Groom’s microphone after the “I Do’s” and before the first kiss. You won’t want to hear smooching on the wedding video!

If you have readers during your ceremony have them wear a wireless microphone, and then turn it on when it is their turn to speak. Another option would be to use a hand held microphone and have it ready where they will be standing.

Music: Hearing the sounds from your band or DJ is obviously important. For a live band make sure that people will be able to hear it. Always make sure your DJ/Band has tested their sound systems and equipment. Make sure microphones are working and that the speakers are positioned properly for the best sound. Having a backup in case of equipment problems is always a great idea.

If you are choosing to “DIY” the music, using a smartphone/MP3 device a professional technician can help you set up sound systems.

The Reception: There are many factors to consider for the reception portion of your wedding. If you are having toasts, you will need to plan on having microphones. Speakers will also need to set up in the areas where you want music. If you are choosing to show a slideshow with pictures or a video you will need to have sound and a screen set up for viewing.

Outdoor Weddings: Outdoor weddings can offer a challenge for wedding audio. With outdoor weddings comes background noise and wind. If you are in a public place, keep in mind that there could be young kids running or yelling, barking dogs, cars, birds, people talking etc. Make sure that even if there may be background noise that your sound system will allow all of your guests to hear what is going on.

Remote Locations: If you are getting married in a remote location or even a backyard wedding, one thing to consider is how to get enough power for the sound system, lights, DJ, etc. Make sure to plan for this, because without power the event will not run smoothly. Many times people may try to simply use the power from their home, but this can overload the system and cause safety issues, fire risk, and power failure.

Having a generator can help provide the power needed. However, many generators can be extremely loud, not exactly the sound you want to hear during the silence of the first kiss! A professional can help you with solutions that are perfect for weddings. They will have options for generators that can power up everything you need, but are quieter. Eric adds, “By hiring us the Bride and Groom will have no reason to worry about any issues regarding the AV portion of their special day; even if any issues occur we are quick, quiet and extremely competent making them relatively unnoticeable or concealing them all together.”

Venue Restrictions: Make sure to ask your venue manager what sound restrictions there are for your venue. There could be specifics including power supply, sound amplification, time restrictions (i.e. no music after 11pm), etc.

An important aspect to consider when hiring us would definitely be location and timing. Due to the mountainous region that we live in some venues are definitely more difficult than others for us to work in. We will work together with the planner or Bride and Groom to make their dream reality however we need to. But certain venues have electricity constraints that make it more difficult and therefore sometimes more expensive to operate in.” (Eric Blomberg, ACS)
Noble Photography

 Hiring a professional AV company to help with these aspects of your wedding will help your wedding run smoothly. No matter if your wedding is large or small, high cost or low cost, indoor or outdoor, utilizing the skills of a professional AV will provide peace of mind. You will beautifully capture the most important parts of your wedding, (the vows, toasts, guest messages, dancing, music….) and be able to relive your day over and over again with a video that has captured the sounds and memories of your day.

Special thank you to Eric Blomberg from Alchemy Concert Systems for sharing his expertise. For more information, please check out / / 970-927-0515

Are you still looking for a premier audio and visual professional? Check out all of our recommendations here.

January 17, 2015 |

Top 10 things to do in Aspen with your Bridesmaids


How to make you and your friends feel at home before the big day… 

We asked Aspen wedding and event planner, Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions, what her top ten ideas are for brides to do with her bridesmaids in Aspen.  She had some great ideas to share.

 1. Take a Ride up the Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain for an amazing view of this magical little town.

2.  Enjoy one of Snowmass’ Thursday night free concerts

3. Get dressed up, and go out into town to enjoy one of Justice Snows signature cocktails.

Jason and Gina Photography

 Bryce Covey and Laura Murray photography

4. Sit back, relax and enjoy a Rocky Mountain Ritual treatment at the Remede Spa at the St. Regis.

5.  Enjoy a ladies lunch at Mawa’s kitchen! Either have her cater it for you or combine it with a fun cooking class.

6.  Take a hike up around the Maroon Bells and enjoy one of the most scenic views Aspen has to offer – don’t forget to pack a picnic.


   Robin Proctor Photography and Laura Murray Photography  Robin Proctor Photography 

7. Make sure to take a bicycle ride down the Rio Grande Trail, and stop for a refreshing Margarita at the Woody Creek Tavern

8.  Go out and enjoy a show at the Belly Up

9.  Throw on your wetsuits and enjoy an adventurous Blazing Adventures raft trip down the Upper Roaring Fork River

10. Explore the Aspen Saturday Market to see and enjoy some of Aspen’s best vendors for local food and crafts.

Robin Proctor Photography

Special thank you to Virginia Edelson from Bluebird Productions for sharing her inspiring ideas.  For more information check out

To find out more about Things to do in Aspen, check out Things to do in Aspen and Recreation Activities in Aspen

Photographer Credits are not in order:  Bryce Covey Photography, Laura Murray Photography, Jason + Gina and Robin Proctor Photography

January 7, 2015 |

Recreation Activities for a Wedding Weekend in Aspen


Are you planning a wedding in Aspen or visiting the area? Planning recreation activities while you are here should be on your list!  Enjoying some quality time together in the beautiful outdoors gives family and friends from both sides time to bond and can help relax and de-stress the bride and groom. From fishing to hiking to rafting there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Here are some ideas for fun activities you can plan for your family, friends or your wedding party.

For the adventurous: Raft down the river or take a jeep tour

Renée Fleisher, Director of Group Services from Blazing Adventures shares that “rafting and jeep rides are very popular with guests who come here to celebrate a wedding. It is a great opportunity for the two families to get to know each other.”

rafting in aspenTaylor pass, blazing adventuresThere are a variety of rafting trips and jeep tours for all levels of experience and interests.

For the explorer: Plan a guided fishing trip or horseback ride

If you are looking for a way to create amazing memories, plan a breakfast group horseback ride or enjoy a half or full day of fishing. Your group can enjoy the surroundings all year round, with beautiful snowcapped mountains in the winter, brilliant foliage in the fall, and wildflowers in the spring and summer.

For the outdoorsman: Take a scenic hike or bike ride

Enjoying a hike is a wonderful way for your guests to bond and also see the stunning views of Aspen. Matt Kuhn, Trails Manager for the City of Aspen tells us, “There are also many hiking opportunities around the area, and one of our favorites is the Ajax Trail. Hikers traverse the base of Aspen Mountain with great views of town and Smuggler Mountain. Those willing to venture out of a bit can explore trails around the Maroon Bells and other public lands in the valley.” These hikes are not for the faint of heart, with the Aspen Mountain hike taking about 2 hours and bringing you up to a height of 3,000+ vertical feet. Another trip up, Little Nell Run, takes hikers from the gondola to Spar Gulch at the top. This is the perfect spot to enjoy lunch on the sundeck and take in the breathtaking views.

(Aspen Mountain, 675 E. Durant Avenue call 970-925-1220 for more information)

Other beautiful hikes include American Lake and Cathedral Lake. These trails are difficult as well rising over 2,000 feet through groves, boulder fields and switchbacks. The trip will take you about 2-3 hours and is about 6 miles roundtrip. Pack water, snacks, layers and wear hiking shoes. After taking in the scenic views, your group can head to Pine Creek Cookhouse for lunch.

(Pine Creek Cookhouse, 11399 Castle Creek Road call 970-925-1044 for reservations)

hiking in aspen  biking in aspen colorado

For those that prefer biking, there are a number of trails for visitors to enjoy. Matt Kuhn shares, “One of the most popular bike rides in the valley is to rent a bicycle in Aspen and ride along the Rio Grande trail. Cyclists can ride from Aspen as far as they are comfortable, and one of the most popular destinations is to ride to the Woody Creek Tavern which is about 8 miles one way from Aspen.”

For the sports enthusiasts: Enjoy 18 holes Do you have golfers in your group? The semi-private, par-72 Snowmass Club golf course is a great place to play. Book tee times for your group and begin your day at the practice area. After tackling the bunkers, challenging greens and sculpted fairways, visit the Black Saddle Bar and Grille for something to eat.

(Snowmass Golf Club, 0239 Snowmass Club Circle, call 970-923-5600 for tee times)

For the fitness fanatic: Battle the stand up paddle board

Book an instruction class for the newest passion in Aspen, stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Whether you are looking for instruction on still water or the river, it is a great workout and thrilling activity to try. The Aspen Kayak and SUP academy offers full and half day lessons as well as kayak expeditions on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers for beginners and advanced paddlers.

For the foodie: Enjoy local cuisine

Foodies in the group will enjoy sampling local cuisines through a food tour or cooking class. Renée shares, “Another option for weddings is to take over either our small, less expensive Sunset Dinner at Burlingame Cabin or the version at the Lynn Britt Dinner that accommodate 60-65 (guests) and more with a tent. In the past many people have used these venues for their Rehearsal Dinners.”

At the Burlingame and Lynn Britt Cabin’s you can spend the evening by the campfire, enjoy conversation, live music, and s’mores under the stars. What a great way to kick-off your wedding weekend!

These are just a few of the many options for recreational activities those getting married in or visiting Aspen can participate in. Whether you choose rafting, hiking, biking or even a hot air balloon ride, any of these adventures will be an unforgettable experience and create great memories for everyone!

A special “thank you” to Matt Kuhn and Renée Fleisher for their input. To find out more about the specific recreation packages available at Blazing Adventures, visit their listing here. Click here for a complete list of Aspen hiking and biking trails.

December 23, 2014 |

Intimate Mountain Wedding in Aspen


Congratulations to Cara and Austin!  Married July 12, 2014 in Aspen Colorado.

Cara shares her wedding story and tips for a bride planning a destination wedding in Aspen.

Our Story:  Austin and I met our freshman year of high school, started dating in college and after 8 years we got engaged on a trip to New York City.

How we decided on the Ceremony location:  We took our time planning, even played around with the idea of a large, traditional wedding, but in the end we knew we wanted something less conventional. After a weekend vacation to Aspen, in particular Maroon Bells, we knew we had found the perfect place for an intimate mountain wedding. We invited 15 guests and it set the tone for the entire wedding process – everything felt very stress-free and comfortable.

Maroon Bells Amphitheatre is one of the most picturesque places we both have ever been. With snow still on the mountaintops, tons of wildlife (we even saw a moose) and a crystal clear lake, it was majestic and magical, the perfect location. During the months leading up to the wedding we worked with our amazing officiant to personalize the ceremony. It was a process we really enjoyed and we felt like in the end we were able to truly make it our own. One of the ideas we incorporated was a passing of the rings ceremony. Austin’s brother started the ring ceremony by sharing a blessing. We asked each of our guests to share a few words as the rings were passed from one person to the next and it was something we both will never forget as we laughed and cried with everyone’s sweet comments. We also incorporated a tree planting ceremonial, where we planted two Aspen trees after the ceremony to symbolize our growing relationship. It’s something we can always go back and visit during our future trips to Colorado.

Austin’s family lived in Colorado for many years and it’s a place that has a lot of meaning to him. We vacation there every year and always find ourselves wishing we were in the mountains. Having our destination wedding in Aspen was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made and everything else came easy after that. We also knew immediately that we wanted Stewart-Hunter Photography to be there. I’ve been a bridesmaid in weddings they have shot before and after seeing how beautiful their photographs were, I couldn’t wait to ask them to photograph our big day.

Our Reception:  We decided on the Limelight Hotel because they had the perfect space for us – a balcony that seated 15 people perfectly. We wanted the reception to have a cozy, intimate feeling, which is why we all sat at one table together surrounded by candlelight. We had a fire pit nearby to sit by afterwards and lights strung around the balcony. The customer service at Limelight was amazing, which made it an easy decision.

I’m lucky to have a very creative family who helped with a lot of the decorations. My sister hand-made the napkins and herringbone table runner and my dad cut a tree down at the family farm to create the name card and candlestick holders. I was really excited about the calligraphy too. We incorporated it everywhere we could – name cards, menus, small and large signs, etc. And finally, I wanted the florals to look natural with extra foliage and wispy stems added in, almost as if you picked them there. I was thrilled with how it all came together and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setup.


Best Memory from the wedding day:  During the months leading up to the wedding we worked with our amazing officiant to personalize the ceremony. It was a process we really enjoyed and we felt like in the end we were able to truly make it our own. One of the ideas we incorporated was a passing of the rings ceremony. Austin’s brother started the ring ceremony by sharing a blessing. We asked each of our guests to share a few words as the rings were passed from one person to the next and it was something we both will never forget as we laughed and cried with everyone’s sweet comments.  Our second favorite memory would be having our first dance at the base of the mountain. A close friend played the guitar and we danced to Jack Johnson’s Better Together.

Advice for brides planning a destination wedding:  We had quite the scare that bad weather would force us to move our reception location inside, but it missed us by an inch and left us with an amazing rainbow and even better sunset. The day went exactly how we had hoped – intimate and memorable. My advice to brides would be to have a plan B – just in case and to not overthink the weather. It’s out of your hands. Just enjoy your day and know everything will work itself out!


Ceremony Location: Maroon Bells Amphitheatre
Reception Location: Limelight Hotel
Cake: City Market
Macarons: Franck Thirion Bakery
Cookies: Paradise Bakery
Flowers: Mountain Flowers of Aspen
Photography: Stewart Hunter Photography
Calligraphy/Invitations: Caitlin Welsh of Charlie Whiskey
Bride’s Dress: Nicole Miller
Bride’s Shoes: Anthropologie
MOH’s Dress: Mod Cloth
MOH’s Shoes: Anthropologie
Groom’s Suit: Banana Republic
Shirt, tie, tie clip: J. Crew
Best Man’s Suit: Nordstrom

December 12, 2014 |

Liz and Chad: Summer Aspen Mountain Wedding


Aspen Weddings
Liz & Chad Gardner’s Aspen Mountain I Do’s!

Liz shares her wedding story:  We all know Colorado weather is unpredictable but as we all say, “if you don’t like the weather, wait 20 minutes.” Upon waking up the morning of our wedding to pouring rain, we were certain it would clear by 5 pm. Heading up the gondola in rain clouds at 4 p.m. we were starting to lose confidence our Wedding Deck ceremony would take place. But just in the nick of time and thanks to someone up above, the clouds finally started to part at 4:30 and with 170 guests wrapped in fleece blankets, we said our “I Do’s” with an incredible backdrop of clearing clouds and mountains behind us.

With the rain coming back in, we moved inside the Sundeck where the 11 piece band, Soul X, kept the party going and the dance floor packed the entire night. Guests noshed on late night sliders and fries, made their mark on our antique ski guestbook, and captured the evening in the photobooth.

  bride and groom aspen mountain black and white

  Tips and Ideas from Liz:

How did you decide on your ceremony location?

We live in Denver but have spent a lot of time in the Aspen Valley over the years. Having exchanged our first “I love yous” in Aspen, the town has become very special to us and thus we knew we wanted to say our “I do’s” there.  After looking at a number of the amazing Aspen venues, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to wed on the magical Aspen Mountain Wedding Deck. Anyone that steps foot up there knows how incredible and memorable of a spot it was for us and all of our guests.

How did you decide on your reception location?

With family and friends coming to Colorado from all over the country, we wanted to give them a one-of-a-kind reception experience. We knew that dancing the night away at 11,000 ft. would be unlike anything else people had experienced! Plus the service and quality of The Little Nell was truly second-to-none.


Little Nell, Hotel Aspen & Molly Gibson

bride and bridesmaids walking in the rain aspen gondola in the clouds groomsmen aspen wedding aspen wedding deck summer aspen wedding deck summer wedding

What was the mood at the wedding?

We wanted our wedding to truly be an event full of love, joy, lots of laughter, and a whole lot of fun!! From starting the weekend off with a Mexican themed rehearsal dinner at El Rincon to our wedding ceremony officiated by our brother-in-law, the wedding was all about fun and family.

Any advice for a bride planning a destination wedding?

Work with great vendors. We absolutely loved working with The Little Nell, Robin Proctor, Full Circle, Harrington Smith Florals and Jane Floyd and Associates. They helped to make our vision a reality and were so calming throughout the entire wedding day, despite the weather challenges. We would also advise to pick and chose your priorities. You could go crazy and spend endless hours on detail after detail that no one might ever notice. Decide what is most important to you for your wedding day and make those items your planning priority!!

 Best memory from the wedding day?

As we already heard the weather wasn’t exactly perfect for most of the day but just as we said our final “I dos”, kissed and made our way up the aisle to the sounds of cheers, for the very first time all day the sun broke through the clouds and beamed down on us. It was truly like our loved ones that could not be there with us in person were smiling down on us and giving us their blessing!!

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  aspen-sundeck-wedding bride and groom dancing
 Aspen Wedding Vendors Include:
Wedding Planner – Jane Floyd and Events    Ceremony and Reception Venue – The Little Nell     Photography – Robin Proctor Photography    Flowers and Decor – Harrington Smith
Hair and Makeup – Full Circle   Lighting and Audio – Alchemy   Wedding Band – Soul X
December 8, 2014 |

Winter Wedding Bouquets for a Mountain Wedding


We asked our local Aspen wedding florists what the winter wedding bouquet trends are for this winter, as well as helpful advice for a bride deciding on what to have for her winter wedding bouquet and how to care for it. 

Winter Mountain Wedding Trend: 

Here is what Beth Gill, owner of Aspen Branch Studio had to say . “For this upcoming wedding season, many bride’s are celebrating with an abundance of foliage vs an abundance of flowers. Garlands are very popular. Making the looks very much like a “Winter’s Night Dream”

white winter wedding bouquet robin proctor photography 1

Choosing flowers for a winter wedding bouquet:

Many brides see gorgeous wedding images and floral inspiration on Pinterest and other wedding magazines, but often, the bouquets you see were from summer or spring weddings.  Those flowers may not be available during the winter months. 

Here is expert advice from Wendy Scott Blakeslee of Mountain Flowers of Aspen

“Pick a color palette instead of a specific flower.  The florist will know what is available at the time of your wedding and will be able to choose the best options available for your wedding”

“White and cream is popular as well as, blush, silver and gold with some added Dusty Miller foliage.   Add special elements like white feathers, rhinestones, jewels, brooches, pins, or something sentimental.  Frosted pine cones are a great touch for a mountain wedding.


For a “Green” winter wedding bouquet

If you want only locally grown Colorado flowers and greenery, here is an idea from Ashley Krest of Field Florals  “Using dried material mixed with fresh evergreen and winterberry/rosehip is a nice way to try and stay local and in-season for a winter wedding!”


lavendar bouguet photolove

Image above shows lavender bouquets, the flowers in the next bouquet is all freeze dried with added pine cones and grass. Lavender image by and freeze dried bouquet by Smoky Mtn Woodcrafts

pink winter wedding bouquet robin proctor photography 4

How to care for your wedding bouquet:

Flowers are very delicate and don’t do well in the freezing cold.  Whenever possible, keep bouquet indoors with the ends in water.

Expert advice from Eileen Harrington, owner of Harrington Smith Inc.  Floral and Event Design Studio

“For our brides that prefer beautiful seasonal blooms over foliage and berry bouquets, we recommend providing two bridal bouquets. If the ceremony or photos are to be outside during the winter, a second bouquet will remain fresh and beautiful when the event moves inside.”

cream and white winter wedding bouquet robin proctor photography 2

 Images by Robin Proctor Photography except the dried floral bouquets.




November 24, 2014 |

Inside Aspen – an Aspen Wedding


Go west, young couple, for a perfectly cosmopolitan wedding in a stunning mountain setting

 “There’s no sales pitch required for Aspen Wedding,” a friend says when I mention I’m writing a story on the picturesque mountain town. “It sells itself.”

They’re right, of course. What with the postcard-perfect 360 views, too-cute-to-be-true downtown, world-class year-round activities and—my personal favorite—some of the best food in the state, Aspen isn’t exactly an undiscovered destination.

But somehow, when it comes to weddings, it’s still overlooked.

Maybe it’s the distance; if you’re not one of the town’s 6,600 permanent residents, it’s likely going to be a destination wedding. Or the perceived cost; it’s true that Aspen isn’t going to crack any top 10 lists for budget vacations. In reality, planning a wedding in Aspen is a whole lot easier than you might expect. And with myriad options across a variety of price points, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Or it can—this is Aspen after all.

“Whether you want a wedding in a private club, at an elegant estate or with a mountain vista, Aspen has it all,” explains Jane Floyd, event planner and owner of Always Aspen. “There’s something here for everyone.”

JoLynelle Farina, a Texas-based bride, knew she wanted a destination wedding but wasn’t sure where to go. As soon as a friend mentioned Aspen, “I instantly knew that’s where we needed to have it.”

Location, location, location

st-regis-room 1


Although the town itself is a mere 3.5 square miles, Aspen has wedding-day options ranging from rustic to extravagant. Farina chose the St. Regis, equally famous for its location at the base of Aspen Mountain as it is for its luxurious amenities.

“I love the entire hotel and the feeling of glamour and elegance,” Farina says. “I wanted a wedding outside, and being out in the tented courtyard with candlelight was so romantic and cozy. It was truly magical—the snow even began to fall as I walked down the aisle!”

From flowers to décor to guest amenities, the St. Regis leaves nothing to chance. Menu consultations are held with Executive Chef David Viviano to ensure the couple is completely satisfied with their dining decisions. Both the Mountain Plaza and the Fountain Courtyard (where Farina said ‘I Do’) are stunning outdoor venues, while the Grand Astor Ballroom is a stately indoor option capable of accommodating up to 500 guests.

Farina wanted a refined, elegant ambiance for her wedding, and the St. Regis gave her exactly what she was looking for.

“None of our guests had been to a wedding quite like ours,” she says. “There’s so much for your guests to do even when it’s not time for ‘wedding things.’ The town is so cozy, and you’re always just around the corner from someone else in the wedding party.”

Another posh option is the Little Nell, Aspen’s singular five-star, five-diamond hotel. As the only hotel with ski-in, ski-out access to Aspen Mountain’s 64 miles of trails, it’s the perfect choice for those looking to hit the slopes in between festivities.

The Little Nell also boasts exclusive access to the mountain’s summit—and its unparalleled views. An idyllic setting for an outdoor wedding, guests arrive by gondola and enjoy the ceremony on a terraced lawn at 11,212 feet. You can keep the party going on the summit or, for the altitude-averse, host your reception back in one of the Little Nell’s many indoor venues, with spaces designed to accommodate anywhere from fifty to five hundred guests.



Hotel Jerome is another upscale locale and one of the few Aspen venues on the National Register of Historic Places. Wanting to rival the luxury and hospitality of European hotels, Jerome Wheeler built his namesake hotel in 1889. Fully restored to its original splendor, this Victorian Eastlake-gothic design lays claim to the Grand Ballroom, which holds up to 500 guests, features16-foot ceilings and provides sweeping views of the Elk Mountain Range. The Jerome’s Wheeler Room and Antler Bar offer a taste of historic Aspen and also provide more views of the surrounding Rockies.

For the couple who’s a little more modern, the Aspen Meadows Resort has great style. Perched on 40 acres in Aspen’s West End, the Resort offers 22,000 square feet of event space and fourteen unique venues, including the al fresco Aspen Park and striking McNulty Room. Designed in the modernist Bauhaus style, the Resort features on-site art installations bathed in sunlight, fresh air and unassuming elegance. All 98 guest suites come equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, meaning unfettered views of the mountains for everyone.

If environmental responsibility is a top priority, Aspen’s Limelight Hotel makes going green super chic. The Limelight prides itself on reducing its impact on the planet via eco-conscious projects like their restaurant composting program, photocell-controlled exterior lights and the use of local, organic ingredients whenever possible. Aspen’s “newest” hotel isn’t really so new – past incarnations include a rowdy dinner theater and nightclub in the 1950s. Razed and rebuilt in 2005, the Limelight now offers a contemporary but intimate setting for smaller weddings, with locales ranging from the lively lounge to a pool-side courtyard. Its central location makes it easy for everyone at the wedding to get around town.

Just three miles outside of Aspen’s city center is the T-Lazy-7 Ranch, the area’s oldest working ranch. Operated by the Deane family since 1938 and tucked away near the base of the Maroon Bells (North America’s most photographed peaks), the Ranch provides raw beauty in an intimate surrounding. The Wedding Meadow, the Ranch’s sprawling outdoor wedding venue, rests in a rolling, tree-lined pasture with an impressive view of Pyramid Peak – a 14,018-foot marvel.

The Deane family works with couples to create their dream weddings, from cozy, indoor spaces warmed by stone fireplaces to twinkle-lit outdoor galas. Guests love staying here for the plethora of year-round outdoor activities, including horseback riding and snowmobiling. A bonus: T-Lazy-7 is the only snowmobile operation permitted to offer rides in the White River National Forest right up to the Maroon Bells.



It’s the Little Things that Thrill

Of course, the ceremony and reception venues are just part of the equation. What about all the other details to which every diligent bride must attend?

“Don’t worry,” says Floyd. “Aspen really has it all. Every need will be met.”

For flowers, Harrington Smith offers designs and inspiration ranging from mountain chic to modern beauty, with everything else in between. Another option is the Aspen Branch, which not only provides beautiful blooms but also lighting, furniture and other props.

While most Denver-area photographers are willing to travel, Aspen-based Robin Proctor knows her home territory better than most, having photographed at all of the major (and not-so-major) venues.

Perhaps the best thing about Aspen—in addition to being one of the most scenic spots in America—is the food. Aspen has a big city restaurant scene in a cozy mountain town; their restaurants will impress even the most discerning foodies.

While the Caribou Club is known as Aspen’s exclusive, members-only dinner and evening club, it also offers full-service catering for non-members. And for those looking for a non-traditional, yet intimate, reception or rehearsal dinner, Matsuhisa—known for its fusion of South American and Japanese cuisine—has three private dining options for up to seventy guests.

Piñons, owned by Culinary Institute of America graduate Rob Mobilian, serves up locally-driven classic American fare with sophistication (think buffalo tenderloin with boursin potatoes and herb-crusted rack of Colorado lamb).

Also check out Mawa’s Kitchen. Whether you’re planning a casual bridesmaid luncheon or a formal wedding reception, their full range of catering services has got you covered. M&M also offers private jet catering for hungry jet-setters.

It’s as easy as, well, cake, to select an exquisite dessert.In addition to designing beautiful cakes, D’Elissious Cake Studio of Aspen uses wholesome, natural ingredients to remind its customers what a baked-from-scratch cake tastes like. Owner Elissa Buckley has impressive baking chops, having honed her skills at the Little Nell and Boulder’s Spruce Confections.

But back to my friend’s point: you don’t need a sales pitch. No matter that Aspen is chock-full of gorgeous hotels, mouthwatering food and everything you’ll need for unforgettable nuptials. It’s Aspen. It sells itself. – Jessica Lara




Aspen Meadows Resort



Limelight Hotel



Hotel Jerome



St. Regis



T Lazy 7 Ranch



Little Nell




Harrington Smith



The Aspen Branch




Robin Proctor







Caribou Club



Mawa’s Kitchen







d’Elissious Cake Studio



Event Planning

Always Aspen



wed mag cover 2

September 23, 2014 |

How to hire a live band for your Aspen wedding!


One way to have an Aspen wedding your guests will never forget is to hire a killer live band!

The best way to choose the right band for you is to know what questions to ask before booking.

Party Singers is here to help! Below we have listed the most popular and important questions to ask when booking a band.

The answers have been provided by us based on the answers we would give for our own vivacious variety dance band, Rockslide (Just named one of Denver’s Top 5 Cover Bands by CBS)!

Q: Where is Rockslide based?
A: Denver, Colorado

Q: Does Rockslide travel?
A: Yes! Rockslide travels all over Colorado, the United States and select international countries.

Q: How many pieces are in the band?
A: TEN! Lead & Supporting Vocals- 1 Female and 2 Males,  Keys, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, and three-piece HORN section: Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone.

Q: Can I reduce this number?
A: We like to keep the integrity of the sound of the band intact so we always keep Rockslide ten pieces for Saturday night bookings. Having an event on another night of the week? Let’s talk.

Q: Where has Rockslide played?
A: At fine hotels and event venues across Colorado and the southwestern U.S. region.     Aspen locations include: The Hotel Jerome and  St. Regis.
Q: Can I see them live?
A: YES! You can see them live at our Think Pink event on October 1, 2014. Details here: ROCKSLIDE LIVE


Q: Does Rockslide perform at wedding ceremonies?
A: Our incredible guitar player, Tim, is a classically trained guitarist and can perform at ceremonies solo or with a Rockslide vocalist.

Q: What songs does Rockslide perform?
A: See Rockslide’s Extensive Song List      We highly recommend choosing MEDLEYS!

Q: Will the band learn songs for me?
A: YES! The band will learn up to three new songs for each wedding or event booking if they are not already on their extensive song list.

Q: How does pricing work?
A: We offer competitive pricing for this 10-piece band. Rates also include EARLY ARRIVAL for sound check / set-up and professional SOUND ENGINEER and state-of-the-art SOUND EQUIPMENT.

Basic lighting is also included. Please contact us to find out more!
Q: How do we make it look great?
A: ADD LIGHTING!  Here is a list of Aspen based companies on Aspen Wedding Guide

Q:What’s the communication like?
A: The Party Singers office will take care of all contracting and get all important information to the band. Our clients also have the option to discuss details with our bandleader, Dave. These meetings, phone calls or Skype dates happen at Denver’s StudioWed or Trulife Studios three months prior to wedding or event and again four weeks prior.

Q: How will they know how to introduce my wedding party and which songs to play when?
A: We request our clients to fill our ONLINE RECEPTION MUSIC FORM no later than four weeks before the wedding. All info needed is ultra-clear.

Q: What do I have to  provide?

A safe, secure stage or performance space at least 20’ across X 16’ deep (20’ X 20’ is preferred.) A raised stage is ideal so your guests can see the band.
A holding room or green room for Talent at Event Venue. Room will include:
Private space for Talent to change into event dress and enjoy breaks
Chair(s) for Talent for breaks
Security to leave personal belongings
Restrooms that must be relatively close to the holding room
Sufficient amount of drinking water and non-alcoholic beverages. (Tea, coffee and/or cold sodas are much appreciated.)
Power for sound and light equipment: Four (4) dedicated (not sharing with other elements) 20 amp circuits

*If event is outdoors, electrical generator may be necessary at Client’s cost.

Hot vendor meals for the band and sound engineer to be served after sound check and before their first set.

Gratuity is encouraged but in no way required.

Q: Are there travel fees within Colorado?
A: Up to 49 miles from Denver is FREE!

50+ miles incur travel fees.


For more information, please check out /  / 1-877-716-7464


August 24, 2014 |

Wedding Gratuity Guide – Expert Advice from Aspen Wedding Planner, Gold Leaf Event Design & Production


 When to Tip?

The various details can be overwhelming when planning a wedding, as it is often unclear which vendors are supposed to be tipped and when.  Keep in mind gratuity is optional, a tip should reflect the quality of service one provides and doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary.  It is appropriate to tip anyone who went above and beyond to execute your event seamlessly. 

Brett Butterstein


Here you will find Gold Leaf Event Design & Production’s wedding gratuity guide:


Check your contracts! Some gratuities are already included. It’s likely the catering, floral, lighting and audiovisual companies have already built these charges into their proposals for you.


The contract will typically include gratuity. If it does not, it customary to tip 15-20% of the total catering costs.

 Wedding Coordination:

Wedding planners do not expect gratuity.  However, if your coordinator bent over backwards, beyond the scope of their contract to ensure your day was perfect, it is standard to give them up to $500 or a nice gift.

    Some of the thoughtful gifts the Gold Leaf Event Design & Production team has received include:

·      A one-year subscription to Birchbox or a Wine of the Month Club.

·      A case of Veuve Clicquot

·      Spa treatments

·      Gift certificates to local Aspen restaurants

Jason and Gina Photographers


Hair and Makeup:

One should tip 20% for helping you look your best on such a special day. However, if the stylist or artist you’ve hired owns the company or salon, guidelines state tipping is not expected.



If gratuity is not included in the contract, tipping drivers 20% of the total cost (not including tax) is recommended.  This is to be split evenly between the drivers.  


It is appropriate to tip each musician $50 for ceremony and cocktail music, and $100 per musician for entertainment at the reception.


Photographer/ Videographer:

These vendors help provide the gift of reliving your special day over again as the years pass.  Once the tent has been broken down and your bouquet has dried out, photos and videos will be there to help bring your memories back to life.  A $50-$100 to per each photographer and videographer is highly recommended.


If a Pastor, Rabbi, Priest or member of a religious clergy is officiating the ceremony, a donation to their affiliated church or synagogue of $100+ is suggested. Whereas civil officiants’ receive a flat fee, and are not allowed to accept gratuities.  If an officiant is traveling to a destination wedding, it is standard for the host to cover costs of their travel and lodging accommodations, invite he/she to the event and gift them with a non-monetary item.

 Alternative ways to tip:

Gratuities are to be decided at the event’s completion.  As we mentioned, perks don’t always have to be monetary.  If the wedding budget doesn’t permit for monetary gratuities, we have additional ideas for you!

                Send a thank you note with the following:

·      A bottle of wine (left over from reception or purchased)

·      A small, thoughtful gift

·      Great review on Yelp, WeddingWire, or LinkedIn

·      Referrals to future potential clients

·      Handwritten, and thoughtful letters


Find more information about Gold Leaf Event Design & Production

Photo Credits in order:  Brett Butterstein Photography, Bryce Covey Photography, Gregory Paul Fine Art Wedding Photography and Jason and Gina Photographers

July 25, 2014 |
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