We at Aspen Wedding Guide have noticed over the years that couples can’t get enough black and white photos of their weddings. Especially with the advent of digital photography which allows such ease between both color and black and white options, many brides request them of their photographers.
The locations are peerless: Top of Aspen Mountain, T Lazy 7 Ranch, Maroon Bells, plus several around the town of Aspen. The Aspen Chapel and street scenes we’ve included are popular with couples and our blog readers have seen many others!
The 2014 wedding season is almost upon us so it is time to start planning bachelorette parties. Aspen is such a beautiful place in the wintertime so why not plan a winter weekend getaway for you and your bridesmaids. If you are looking for something fun, unique, and classy a weekend in the mountains with your best girlfriends is an amazing idea.
Welcome the bridal party to your bachelorette weekend with a plaid themed welcome booklet that includes an itinerary with all the details of your weekend getaway. Include a fun photo scavenger hunt in the welcome booklet that you and your girlfriends can do throughout the weekend. Some fun ideas that are unique to Aspen like an urban cowboy, man riding a bike with his skis, or an outrageous ski outfit.
Welcome your bridesmaids to the mountains with a gift bag that is full of things they can use over the weekend. Include matching scarves, hats, and mittens to stay warm throughout your weekend activities and a personalized coffee mug for those coffee and bailey’s you’ll be drinking all weekend.
While a day on the ski slopes is a fun way to spend time with your girlfriends it can also be exhausting which is why a morning at the spa is a perfect way to relax and unwind the next day. Allow yourself to be pampered!
After a morning of relaxation enjoy lunch at one of Aspen’s many fabulous restaurants and take your girlfriends for an afternoon of ice skating at the base of Aspen Mountain.
Aspen has some of the best shopping you can find from high-end designers like Gucci and Prada to unique one of a kind boutiques like the Aspen Emporium on Main Street. After an afternoon of shopping, enjoy cocktails and dinner at one of Aspen’s many hot nightspots. You could enjoy the famous Nobu sushi at Matsuhisa or travel back in time to old Aspen at the Hotel Jerome’s J-Bar.
A great way to end your winter weekend in the mountains is to treat your girlfriends to a sleigh ride to Aspen’s famous Maroon Bells and lunch at the cozy Klondike cabin in the mountains.
There’s nothing better to top off a yummy lunch than s’mores and a chocolate espresso martini!
Your best friends will never forget such an amazing and unique bachelorette weekend in Colorado’s best mountain town!
We love this Aspen wedding with the luxurious style the St Regis and Jane Floyd & Associates is known for. The huppa is definitely one of our favorites that we have seen, designed by the Aspen Branch, very Colorado.
We hope you enjoy these beautiful images bySamuel Lippke Studios
As a bargain-seeking Aspen bride, it’s easy to start economizing with the big-ticket items like wedding ceremony venue and reception site. We hope part one of this blog series helped you with those suggestions. Because there are many more opportunities to save money on your wedding, read on!
Several of our wedding planner-consultants urge brides and couples to think creatively and ask a lot of questions of your various wedding related contacts. We all have notions of how weddings are “supposed to” go, but there is plenty of room for new ways to carry out the event.
Certainly you have visualized the size of your wedding. The bigger the invitation list, the bigger the food, supplies, gifts or favors, decor, and transportation bills. Paring down to your absolutely most loved guests will pare down your costs. Consider a small wedding party as well. A few attendants can be just as meaningful as a large number.
Another of those items that is sensitive to the size of your event is invitations. Erin and Amy at Express Yourself in Basalt offer a very nice selection of invitations printed in their shop. Who knew? Your excitement in announcing your wedding celebrations can be conveyed quite well in this way.
If food is an item you would consider crossing off your wedding must-have list, you aren’t alone. Come right out and state the situation on your wedding invitation and guests can plan accordingly. If you’re concerned that the grandpas, great aunts and little brothers are among those who will need sustenance amidst the excitement, ask caterers about light hors d’oeuvres and request lots of drinks options at the cash bar.
Surely it’s been mentioned by some relative or friend that you can do decor by yourself. We hope you will take that suggestion as an offer to volunteer and delegate the job right away! In Aspen, locals know that The Thrift Shop is a serious source for baskets and vases. The current trend of sustainable or zero-waste weddings is an admirable effort, doing away with decor altogether or using local branches, flowers and other natural props.
Finally, what about borrowing and sharing? The taboo topic you might be hearing first from us is borrowing a wedding dress. Indeed, borrowing and sharing many wedding staples works for some brides. To share the dress cost of your same-size friend marrying in the same year or season could help both of your budgets. Along the same lines, when you are interviewing venues, officiants, or even transportation options, ask if another event is scheduled just before your date. A conference that has just capped off their week with a bash Friday night might leave decor and floral centerpieces that could be enjoyed again Saturday night. Did you know that you may also be able to share the cost of firing up the Silver Queen Gondola? Unofficially, events on top of the mountain that are purchasing the gondola service may carry over to your ceremony. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
We know these are just a few ideas amidst a world of imaginative brides. What are your stories? Have you have succeeded in planning a fabulous Aspen wedding on a small budget? Visit our Facebook page, or leave your comment below!
We are thrilled to feature this beautiful winter wedding of Emily and Alex. This video showcases the beautiful winter landscape of Aspen as well as the emotion of the day and the love shared among the family and friends. See the gorgeous details and ambiance of the ceremony and reception.
Featured Aspen Wedding Guide Professionals: Wedding Planning and Design EKS Events, Reception at The St Regis, Floral and Design by The Aspen Branch, Lighting and Sound by Alchemy, Hair and Makeup by Full Circle.
Wedding Video by Brett Ramker of Photographic Initiative.
Stephen and I met in Denver two summers ago through mutual friends, and we knew soon after we met that something was different and particularly special about the relationship that was developing between us. It wasn’t long before we realized we were spending as much time together as we could and getting to know one another’s families and friends. Stephen proposed while we were on a weekend getaway last December at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, and the resort was very charming with everything decorated for the holidays. He asked and I said yes!
How did you decide on Aspen? Aspen is a very special place to each of us as individuals and together as a couple. I lived in Aspen during my summers in college working as a rafting guide in town, and Stephen came out to Aspen several times before to ski with friends. When we started dating, one of our first weekend trips together was to Aspen. We had each fallen in love with the town before we ever met one another, but then we fell in love with Aspen all over again together as a couple. When we began planning our wedding, we couldn’t think of a better place to have such a special weekend than this place that had become so important to us.
From the moment we began planning the wedding, we knew we wanted a small, intimate affair with just our closest family and friends—people who had known us for most, if not all, of our lives. We chose Memorial Day weekend so that our guests could make a long weekend out of the wedding if they wanted. It was perfect! Everyone came in for the long weekend and it was amazing to have so much time to spend with everyone for several days. Our guests made the most of being in Aspen and enjoyed bike rides, hikes and great restaurants each day.
What advice do you have for someone planning an Aspen wedding? Hire a wedding planner! Windy Gillespie was absolutely amazing and made the whole wedding planning experience so simple. Her advice on various vendors and creative ideas to make the wedding special and unique were invaluable. Having a wedding planner—even just for the day of the wedding—allows you to simply enjoy being with the family and friends you are surrounded by rather than worrying about the details of the day. Everything went flawlessly the entire wedding weekend and I know it was only that way with the help of a fabulous planner.
How did you decide on your ceremony site? We knew that since virtually everyone was going to be traveling in from outside Colorado (some as far as Russia and Australia!), we wanted everyone to enjoy the best views and mountain experience that Aspen has to offer—so we had the wedding at the top of Aspen Mountain. It was magnificent! Not only was the weather perfect but the mountain was open for skiing the day of the wedding, which was so much fun! Lindsay McConnell at The Little Nell did an amazing job with the ceremony and the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, and every single detail was handled perfectly. Our guests loved the cocktail hour on the top of the mountain following the ceremony before everyone headed back down the gondola for the dinner reception. It gave everyone a chance to take in the views and celebrate with the amazing backdrop.
Your reception and after party site? Around the time we had gotten engaged, Stephen and I were eating dinner at The Wild Fig, a restaurant in the heart of Aspen, when we looked at each other and had the same idea—this is the perfect charming setting for an intimate dinner party wedding reception! With its lovely patio and French doors that we left open all night, we had the ideal combination of a formal seated dinner while also feeling casual and laid back. Given that our wedding was small, we tried to incorporate a few personal details to make our guests feel special, such as writing a note to each person that was placed at their seat at the dinner and the canvas map that held the escort cards (and Aspen leaf Christmas ornament favors) showing where each person had travelled from to be there.
The after party at Eric’s seemed the natural choice because it was only steps away from The Wild Fig and there was plenty for everyone to do as the celebration carried on until late that night! Billiards, the lounge and patio, and the Cigar Bar offered lots of different ways to have fun late-night while all still being together in one place. It was a wonderful end to the most memorable celebration that we could have ever imagined!
Brides have a lot of choices to make and a lot to choose from when planning their Aspen wedding. And many of our destination weddings love the local, rustic wildflowers mixed in with beautiful, formal flowers like those seen in our graphic this month: Aspen Wedding Guide’s Favorite Summer Bouquets.
Aspen Branch is a popular Aspen florist who supplies many of our wedding clients. We love these colorful bouquets for summer weddings (or anytime) because they make us happy. Look how colorful and delicious! The names of these flowers will delight you also, from Yellow Billy Balls to Juliet Rose; Dusty Miller to Hyacinth florets; mini Calla Lilies to Pincushion Protea and Lisianthus, Anemone, and Ranunculus.
We know you may not want to scrutinize every flower in every bouquet. (Or you may!) For now, just look at the many glorious and colorful options here and begin to think about what colors and textures appeal to you. Then when you meet with your florist or wedding planner, you can begin to create your own unique bouquet.
For couples seeking a beautiful outdoor Aspen wedding, Maroon Bells is a dream venue. The natural shape of the valley funnels your guests from Aspen toward the magnificent vista made popular by its pleasing aesthetic shape and situation. And it is surprisingly easy to create a perfect wedding day at this setting. Because you need specialized details and advice to pull off your wedding celebration at Maroon Bells, we have it all here for you.
The US Forest Service manages this popular scenic area, providing a lovely private platform (which they call an amphitheater) that overlooks the meadow with Maroon Lake and the majesty of Maroon Bells as a backdrop. Reservations to use the platform for your wedding must be made on the website recreation.gov at a cost of $250. We don’t have to tell you to plan ahead! These slots reserve about a year in advance. There are a few constraints on this heavily trafficked, popular site. Saturday morning or afternoon wedding slots are available from the beginning of June to the end of September and the area accommodates only 65 people. (See our blog on Winter Wedding Tips.) Further, birdseed, confetti, and electrified music are not allowed. With your reservation, five vehicle permits are granted; local bus service is plentiful and easy but most people hire a professional transportation service to shuttle wedding guests find the best companies here. If you are wanting a real rustic reception, the large East Maroon Portal is a group campsite that can accommodate your party and its only yards away from the amphitheater.
Limits, rules, and constraints aside, let’s talk about planning your wedding! And many local wedding planners create fabulous, memorable events every summer. Indeed, Jane Floyd speaks calmly about the task since she has managed so many! “The bride deserves to have the day off,” Jane says. And a wedding planner takes all the details of working with a governmental agency off your shoulders. Our local Aspen wedding planners provide experience and relationships that produce perfect Aspen weddings every time.
Jane Floyd and Associates, a boutique company, as well as many of our other wedding planning professionals know the particularities of Aspen weddings: the unpredictable weather, photography in the harsh sunlight, and the 9500 feet of elevation. They will consider all the difficulties of a Maroon Bells wedding including: choosing the best date and time, the fixing of a reception seven miles away in Aspen at a fabulous hotel venue, the problem of transporting everything a bridal party needs (including her guests!), and the necessities of producing your perfect event outdoors beautifully.
We asked Claudia and Sam to share with us some helpful tips for planning a destination wedding in Aspen.
Advice for anyone planning a destination wedding? Keep it intimate, enjoy every moment and don’t sweat the small stuff!
How did you choose Aspen for your wedding location? Aspen is beautiful in every season. Every time we would visit it seemed more beautiful then the last. In addition to the beauty of seasons and the warmth of the people, Aspen has special significance to Us.
What made you decide on the St Regis? The St. Regis was our easiest discussion during the wedding process. Not only was it the place where we were engaged but the service and staff at the St. Regis has always been beyond amazing.
Continued below images…
How did you decide on a weekday for your wedding? April 1st was the first time me met, we choose that date specifically and it happen to fall on a Monday.
Describe your wedding theme? Our favorite place Aspen, our favorite restaurant The Chefs Club, our favorite people.
What stands out the most about your wedding day? The entire day was so special to both of us. Our photos @ the top of Aspen mountain w/ Robin Proctor, the beautiful ceremony, and our amazing reception, we enjoyed every moment our our day!
Any unexpected moments on your wedding day? An unexpected stop in a present left behind by man’s best friend, at the top of Ajax. We hear it’s good luck.
Tell us about the food/wine and desserts… Sometimes when you dream of the perfect evening you may have to make sacrifices on some points. In our case Tobia Rimkus @ The St. Regis and the Chefs Club by Food & Wine, went above and beyond our expectations! The wine selection by Sommelier Lee Ann Kaufman were amazing, the menu selected by chef Didier Elena was beyond magnificent, and the desert selection created by Chef Thomas Barlow of Icing Aspen-Roaring Fork Club was the perfect end to a perfect culinary creation.
How did you hear about and decide on your wedding band? The Equinox Jazz Orchestra was recommended to us by a friend who happens to be a very talented musician himself. We as well as all of our guests very much enjoyed their lively and entertaining performance. We appreciate so much having them make the arduous trek from Savanna to bring a bit of southern fun to our special day.
The first time my husband and I went to Aspen we fell in love with everything. From the town and the atmosphere, to the scenery and great people.
I was never ones of those brides who pictured myself getting married in a temple, or a having a reception in a traditional hotel. I knew I wanted something different. We went out to Pine Creek Cookhouse one night for dinner, and I looked outside the window, and said out loud at the dinner table, “I could totally get married here”. Michael looked at me and said, “Me too”. That was it, decision made. Now it was all about how we were going to pull this off. Not only was it a destination wedding because we live in California, but it’s a drive to get to Pine Creek Cookhouse, and we would be having our ceremony outside on the woodsy grounds.
With the help of Juliet and Chris and the entire staff at Pine Creek Cookhouse, it surpassed my expectations. We found local vendors and each and every one of them was not only on time but followed through to make the picture in my head become a reality. I could not have asked for a more perfect day!
Thank you to the participating Aspen Wedding Guide vendors: