Colorado Wedding Weather: How to pick a date for your microwedding based on Colorado weather by month
One of the most most frequently asked questions I get is.... what is the weather like in Colorado? And let me tell you - its not that easy to answer! Colorado weather varies GREATLY depending on the month, yearly cycles, and regions. I've lived in Colorado for over 25 years (born, raised and educated in humid Iowa), and each year seems to be different. We can be wearing T-shirts in February and snow gear in September, Memorial Weekend! Seriously. This past year (2020) we had a 60-degree drop in temperature over Memorial Weekend that threatened our shrubs, bushes and trees. Our weather can be fickle day-by-day, and at the same time there are trends in our weather. So, I created this guide to help you figure out Colorado weather by month, year-round, average temperatures, and regions.
BREAKDOWN BY REGION: SPLIT THE STATE IN HALF
Okay - this is for our destination couples who have never visited Colorado. If you are a native or "local", you can skip this section One thing that doesn't change is the region in which you want to get married. Explanation here. If you look at the map of Colorado it looks like a rectangle. Draw a line down the middle, top to bottom. Denver and east are the plains. Once you start driving west of Denver, you'll approach the foothills and keep climbing to our mountain regions - the Western half of the state. When climbing in elevations, temperatures drop and the climate changes. So, if you want the dramatic mountain destinations, you’ll be looking a weather that is different from he wether along the "Front Range”.
In following sections, you’ll see a chart where I’ve dived the weather between The Front Range, Denver/Boulder/Colorado Springs and Fort Collins and the Mountains, areas west of of the middle of the state. Custom Weddings of Colorado (I and our vendors) are mainly based long the "Front Range”. However, we mostly service weddings in the Central Mountain regions (west of that vertical line you drew). These will be your destinations like Estes Park, Breckenridge, Vail, Crested Butte, Beaver Creek, Grand Lake, Keystone. Very rarely will we do wedding in the Grand Junction (the "Western" area) and Telluride (“Southwestern” area), so they are not included in the Colorado weather climate guide. Though, expect temperatures to be much warmer around Grand Junction that the rest of the state.
If you’ve never been to Colorado and plan to fly into Denver International Airport (DIA), please know that DIA is really located on our Eastern Plains - about 40 minutes EAST of Denver. So, no - DIA is actually not very close to downtown Denver. We occasionally get the request to have a scenic mountain ceremony site no more than 1-hour from DIA. Well, that will put you in the Foothills, like Golden, Colorado which is my favorite place along the Front Range, but not necessarily the dramatic scenic mouton views the most our couples desire. Please do know though, that Colorado services MANY tourists and we are accustomed to the world traveler. From DIA, if you hop onto Interstate-70 and drive West, in an hour and half, you’ll be deep in the mountains. Another 30 minutes and you’l be in world class ski territory at such resorts like Breckenridge and Vail It seems like a long drive, but it’s EASY, and beautiful. The drive to Estes Park (Rocky Mountain National Park) is just as gorgeous as you’ll travel through famous Boulder, Colorado with refined-natural dining, and shopping - or, skip all that and hike in the Flatirons to stretch the legs before the 45-minute journey to Estes from Boulder.
As an aside, most our couples will host weddings within a 2-hour drive from DIA: Estes Park, Grand Lake, Winter Park, Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs. These are all destinations within the 2-hour drive time. Destinations like Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs, Buena Vista (my favorite) and Aspen are all a little more of a trek (about 3 to 4 hours give or take).
Things to know
The Sun. Please keep this in mind, from a girl born/bred in Iowa. The temperatures in Colorado are *NOT* like what you may feel in other regions of the country. Iowa blizzards are way more brutal than anything I’ve experienced in Colorado. We may get the snowfall and describe it using with different identifiers (powder, pow-pow, cement, slush, crust, dump, cardboard, freshies, black ice, crystal, grains, pellets), but it is nothing like icing cold temperatures of a good-old Midwestern blizzard. With low humidity and thinner air which makes the use more powerful, that means you are at risk of UV exposure, year round no matter the temperatures. So, if the sun is even ¼ way exposed and its 20º, WEAR SUNSCREEN NO MATTER WHAT - trust me on this!
The Humidity. Colorado has a dry temperature. When you take a way the humidity, it feels warmer. And, Colorado experiences over 300 days of sunshine a year, wither they greens of humidity. So, when the sun is out and the skies are blue, the solar energy from the sun can make it FEEL like it is 10º warmer than humid regions. We often plan weddings during the smack-dab coldest months of the year, and if the sun it out - it feels warm. That isn’t to say, it can get down-right cold. But, luckily, those days are few are far between. To prepare for those bitter cold days, we bring feet/hand warmers, and furs for the women - we know how to keep warm!
The Elevation. Since most of our clients are traveling from out-of-state, we often get inquiries for the spring, which are ideal temperature months in Southern state before the summer heat envelopes our Southern states. Though we can have gorgeous spring days along the Front Range, the Mountains are just coming off (or are still *in*) ski season. The elevation makes a HUGE difference in what you’ll experience.
April and May can be “mud season”. The ski resorts are just closing after the first week of April. And, if we happen to have heavy snowfall that season, they’ll stay open as long as they can. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area often stays open the longest, into May and even June. Yes, you’ll ski in pants and no shirt (remember my sunscreen comment - wear it!), but the point being - you won’t be hiking in dry trails. Bring your fleece, waterproof boots and gators if you plan to do any hiking. Don’t let that dissuade you - April and May are the BEST months to find deals on lodging. You might find that since it is off-season, restaurants may close for a month, but there are plenty, especially in our resort communities, that will remain open.
Accessibility. Though we have scouted many sites, there are some that won’t be accessible until the snow melts. This is because not all our roads in Colorado are maintained. So, in an average season when we receive and average of 17 FEET of snow in the mountain areas every season, it has to melt off in April, May and even in to June. However, there are many sites along the Front Range that don’t receive the snow fall amounts that the mountains experience, and they also have great views or unique landscapes (i.e. Garden of the Gods). There are some mountain passes and roads that will also be closed in the winter, like Trail Ridge Road, Independence Pass, and Guanella Pass. If you want that rogue mountain spot that is only accessibly by and unmaintained road, it is best to hold off wedding plans until late June, but make sure you do it by mid-September.
Clothing. No matter the season, always plan for layers. We have ever changing temperature shifts that can feel extreme, even in a 10-hour period. If the sun is shining, you’ll get hot. But, once you hit the shade, you’ll need to done a long sleeve - and yes, this is even in summertime. The days can be bright, but once the sun goes down, it can be chilly. So, always plan layers: base layer, long sleeve and a jacket/coat. Shorts are fine, but you’ll want the jeans or leggings at night sitting by the campfire. Vests are highly popular too for that in-between stage. Warm socks, glove and a hat can make all the difference.
What is the best time to get married in Colorado?
I often get asked that question. And, it's an easy, simple answer. July. Okay, that is my opinion, but here is why I think that. First, it's my birth month. But seriously, the days are warm, it is peak wildflower season, the trails are accessible (hiking, mountain biking), and it is likely before wildfire season (usually August) hits. Of course, we’ve had years in which the snowfall was so deep the ski season prior we were STILL melting and the trails were snow-packed, and we’ve had dry seasons in which wildfires were at their peak in June. And, we’ve had many seasons with NO wildfires - so don’t let that worry you either.
Yes, you’ll have people tell you about our afternoon thunderstorms. Here’s what happens: they roll in quickly, and they roll out quickly. They are SCATTERED. Literally, we’ve done weddings in Summit County where there was a thunderstorm in Breckenridge, and the sun was shining 9 miles away in Frisco. It is something to prepare for, but also know that a 15-minute delay should’t consume your worry. It can happen anytime between 1pm and 7pm. Its not worth the strategizing, over-analyzing, over-thinking - flexibility and trust will win out on this situation. So, honestly, pick a date, pick a time and trust. July is my choice for best month to get married in Colorado.
What is the most popular month in Colorado for weddings?
That is an easy answer - September. This is when the threat of those pesky thunderstorms usually dissipate, the days are warm, and the nights are cool. The aspen trees start changing into their brilliant yellow (yes, unlike the East Coast with their mix of colors, ours is just yellow) at higher elevations the 2nd to 3rd week of September and the lower elevations the end of September. The mountain biking and hiking is still full-on accessible. I’ve literally been on a trails in an aspen groves and it felt like the world was glowing amongst the golden aspens. But here’s another the secret - the first weeks of October are also golden! At higher elevations the aspens will still be ½ on their trees, at lower elevations mostly still hanging on. And, the lodging rates tend to drop slightly from their September peak.
When can we find deals in Colorado for our wedding?
As you may have gathered, there are peak season and off-seasons in Colorado. This is mainly referring to our RESORT (mountain) communities. Areas along the Front Range are busy year-round due to their commerce. Though in mountain communities, for lodging, you’ll find deals in late April and May (“mud” season), and then again in late October and early November (pre-ski-season). Our peak, highest season in the resort communities will be over the holidays - Christmas/Winter break, MLK weekend, Presidents weekend and March. But again, this does’t necessarily ring true to Denver/Boulder and the Front Range. So, if you are looking for the “sweet spot” in which you’ll find a chance of amiable weather, great lodging deals, I would look at:
If you plan to travel during the holidays, spring break or the summertime from June to September, lodging rates will be at their highest. Expect to encounter minimum night stay requirements, especially if you are traveling to resort communities and/or plan to stay in a vacation home.
Alright.... you've made if this far. If you want to download our Colorado Wedding Guide for Weddings....month-by-month, please scroll up and fill out the form at the top of the article. It will breakdown the average temperatures, pros/cons and identify activities in which you can participate both along the Front Range and in the Mountains.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any specific questions. Happy planning, and if you've found any value in this post and resources, please let others know by sharing on social media. Thank you! ~ Wendee
By Wendee Vezzetti
Mother, student, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative.