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.
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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:
Planning a winter wedding? Aspen is the ideal location for a romantic winter wedding.
Many of the couples that choose Aspen as their winter wedding location, do so because they have a connection to Aspen. They often have fond memories of winter vacations skiing and snowboarding in Aspen and they want to share that experience with their family and friends during their wedding celebration.
To help couples plan a winter wedding of their dreams, we asked Windy Gillespie of Events by Windy, to share her Top Ten Winter Wedding Tips and here they are!
This beautiful Aspen Mountain wedding showcases the gorgeous landscape we love and creative wedding details that are popular and unique for a rustic wedding.
Here is what Bluebird Productions had to say about their fantastic couple.
“If every couple were like Megan and Bobby, you would never hear about “Bride-zillas”. Megan and Bobby are the ideal clients. After having their original wedding planned, they learned they had to change their date due to venue construction plans. With a smile, they said “no problem” and told their nearest and dearest to push plans back. These Texas sweethearts chose Aspen, Colorado for their Rustic Chic wedding to escape the sweltering heat of summer in their home in Dallas. Bobby’s family owns a pine tree farm so they made amazing votive holders, escort cardholders and other itemsfrom pine trees. A wishing well took well wishes from guests as their guest book. Chalkboard signs noted the menu, cupcake flavors, specialty cocktail and more! “
I had the pleasure of photographing Jenn and Mike’s wedding on June 2nd, withJason Burns of DL Event Planning. The day started out partly cloudy, then we had the typical afternoon shower that lasted 15 minutes and the rest of the day was gorgeous with mild temperatures, perfect lighting for pictures and incredible surroundings. One of my favorite moments I remember was when Mike first saw Jenn in her wedding gown, he was so excited and expressive, I have never seen a groom so thrilled to see his bride for the first time in her wedding gown, it was beautiful.
The couple decided to have all of the formals taken before the wedding. We had planned for family photos in Ashcroft, but due to the afternoon storm, we switched to Plan B, which was downtown. The session was so much fun!After photos we headed to theAspen Historical Society – Wheeler/Stallard museumfor the wedding ceremony. When I first arrived at the museum I was pleasantly surprised by the peacefulness of this location, it is a beautiful park in the heart of Aspen. The grounds were vibrant green, the trees provided the perfect shading for guests, the flowers were blooming like crazy and a musician was playing acoustic guitar to greet everyone.
I loved the unique white huppa provided by theAspen Branch, it was a creative, contemporary idea. They also did a fabulous job with the tent decor, the chandeliers and candles provided a soft elegant light throughout the evening.
Planning a destination wedding in Aspen can be challenging. We recommend hiring a wedding planner to help you find the perfect location, the best vendors and to handle all of the bookings, details and coordination. We have the best wedding planners in the Aspen valley listed on this site under Wedding Planners. When searching for an Aspen ceremony site, there are many to choose from and most of them offer incredible views of the mountains, aspen trees, streams and valleys. Below are just a few of the many Aspen ceremony sites available.
The Aspen Wedding Deck – Contact a wedding planner or The Little Nell directly for a site visit. The Aspen wedding deck offers a spectacular setting for your wedding. The Sundeck and the Aspen Mountain Club is adjacent to the wedding deck and offers a beautiful-breathtaking reception site for your large or small wedding.
The St. Regis Hotel – Offers a beautiful wedding ceremony site surrounded by aspen trees, conifers and other native Colorado plants. The hotel completely remodeled the large ballroom that can accommodate 600 guests, as well as other indoor and outdoor spaces.
The Roaring Fork Club – Offers indoor and outdoor locations. Including the wedding lawn, the Members’ Lodge and the River Cabin, for a more quaint, rustic style wedding.
The Hotel Jerome – Offers indoor and outdoor locations. The courtyard offers spectacular views of Aspen Mountain and the rich Hotel Jerome history and charm, makes this an unforgettable place for your Aspen wedding.
John Denver Park– Located in the heart of town and along the Rio Grand Trail and its a must for any visit, but to have your wedding here, would be really special. The views are wonderful and the creek is an added bonus. Contact Aspen Parks and Recreation to reserve the park.
Maroon Bells – The most photographed mountains in North America is located in Aspen! Just 10 miles from Aspen up Maroon Creek Rd. Ask your wedding planner, or go to Recreation.gov to reserve the Maroon Bells Amphitheater for your wedding ceremony.
Snowmass Club – Offers breathtaking vistas of Mt. Daly and the expansive Elk Mountain Range. The Snowmass Club is the perfect setting for a wedding of any size.
The Viceroy Hotel – Any time of year is a great time for a wedding. The Viceroy has a beautiful wedding lawn with gorgeous views.
Lynn Britt Cabin -A cozy rustic log cabin near the top of Burlingame lift. Incredible views and unique location.
Pine Creek Cookhouse
Where legendary views of 14,000 foot peaks meet legendary dining. Nestled in a virgin Aspen grove at the base of the Elk mountain range, top quality ingredients and impeccable preparation combine to create an unparalleled dining experience. The Chef sources all ingredients locally and regionally, highlighting the amazing bounty of organically and naturally raised produce and meat available on the Colorado plateau.