Hundreds of couples received alarming news last Thursday regarding the closure of Sapphire Point Overlook, a well-known and popular ceremony site for small intimate weddings and elopements. Though the message indicated that the area may re-open, it is unsettling when planning a wedding. Since we help many couples plan their weddings at Sapphire Point, I took off on Saturday to find equally as beautiful ceremony locations in Summit County to use as “Plan B”. There are other (comparable to a large wedding) affordable places you can officially book a wedding:
In light of Covid19, we wanted to find more private, “rogue” spots on public lands that are beautiful, open, and outdoorsy so as to respect and maintain physical distancing policies.
Disclaimer: my 8-year-old son was the videographer and all the images are from my iPhone. A professional photographer would have done a much better job. But still, the views are pretty darn amazing! Disclaimer #2: I am unsure of permitting at any of these sites and need to research - some may require no permit if under #75 people (of course our weddings are MUCH smaller), others may require a photography and/or special events permit. If anyone knows, please comment!
Finally, if you are planning a wedding as Sapphire Point, I would recommend holding on to the reservation in case it does open. The email states: "If the location remains closed at the start of your reservation, and your reservation falls entirely within the closure period, we will cancel your reservation and provide a full refund.” So, are you reading this the way I am? No harm if you keep the reservation. But, work with your planner to establish a “Plan B”. Here are some of those ideas and sites we scoped out:
Other locations I scoped out, but didn’t like
I hope you are hunkering down and doing well despite COVID-19. It’s hard to believe this is all happening and my concerns and thoughts go out to every one of you. I get the question from every single one of our couples on what is happening in Colorado, what do to, and when things will be back to normal. I know all of you are thinking about travel, your loved ones and their health, how this impacts you financially, your dreams and you just wanting to start married life - all of those are valid!
Let me provide you with some information - legally, its the only thing I can do. I cannot tell you to cancel, postpone or reschedule - those decisions are up to you. *Unless* a venue had cancelled or a government order has been put into place - I can then provide more concrete guidance.
First, you can check the state Department of Public Health and Environment’s website: www.Covid19.Colorado.gov. Additionally, many counties have their own Stay/Safer at home orders and it can vary county-by-county. So, check the county’s website where your event will be held, when accommodations and restaurants are expected to be open.
Then, consider all your options. Here they are:
Postpone: there is a lot of strategy involved with postponing. First, we have to make sure the site, vendors, and restaurant are all available on your desired date. We are very willing to work with you, though there are pieces to put together. Be flexible with your dates and consider a Sunday-Thursday as many couples are postponing to August and September.
Scale back your guest list and go TINY: Currently, many “Safer at Home” orders allow social gatherings of 10 people or less. Yes, this means to count yourselves and count a photographer and officiant in that 10. By keeping your date, you can salvage what you have paid for. We are even working with couples to have a ceremony on their original wedding date whose venue has cancelled, finding alternative scenic “rogue” ceremony sites.
Cancelling. Yes - sadly this is an option too. I’ve taken a hard look at my time planning weddings, the expenses incurred with retaining vendors, and if or how lenient we can be with our contract. The thing we have to consider in businesses is longevity and sustainability. Given that all of us (me, photographers, officiants, baker, florist) are independent business owners and not a large Target or Netflix of this world, we are not recession-proof. Our retainer fee as stated in the contract is non-refundable. I know this is not the outcome that you were hoping. As you all can imagine, it's simply not something I can risk as it would cause us to go under. We have added flexibility in the contract:
Force Majeure or “Act of God” clauses: this clause does not automatically entitle a refund. It means that it is an excuse or delay performance of a contract without penalty. It does not automatically “rescind” a contract (i.e. put the parties back to square one as if it never happened). If expenses are incurred (which there is when you sign the agreement), if items are ordered that cannot be refunded (securing vendors, rentals), and if a lot of planning has been done for the couple (which I do 85% within the first month of booking), then payment is due. What is does mean is that no further payments can be requested; or if a “pay in full” is active, the payments can be delayed. Force Majeur is a way of making sure that the client or we don’t have to do anything else because of the bizarre events of which neither party is at fault.
I am working on a Covid19 addendum to make sure everyone is clear about what steps to take and how to stay healthy. You can download it below.
I hate having to write this article. If there are other options or ideas that you have, please let us know. We are willing, able, and want to serve on your wedding day - even if the original date changes! Please write me and let me know where your thoughts are and what you would like to explore.
Kindly ~ Wendee
If you set a date for your wedding and have had to postpone it due to the current events going on in the world, you’re probably feeling a range of emotions. While It’s normal to feel sad, angry and disappointed, know that you will still have your dream wedding day – there are just a few adjustments that need to be made first. Remember, if you are a couple of ours, we are there with you!
What to consider when postponing your wedding
Get a Professional Involved: If you’ve been working with a wedding planner up until this point, they’re the first person you should turn to at this time. Working with a wedding planner can help take some of the pressure off when you’re already feeling upset about the postponement. The last thing you want to do is make emotional decisions. By letting a third party help you, it will be easier to make logical decisions about what to do next.
Get Realistic About Your Financials: Unfortunately, when there’s a change of plans, it can result in financial losses. You may be able to negotiate with your venue and vendors so that you lose little to no further money. However, it’s still best to have realistic expectations and many of the deposits (rather first payments) are nonrefundable. And, there is a chance that you might lose money or need to pay extra to make the necessary adjustments. To minimize the financial impact of rescheduling, you’ll want to look at 2020 dates using the same venue, vendors, and logistics (more on this below)
Get In Touch with Your Venue: If you would prefer to start looking at new dates, get in touch with your venue about availability. Again, it’s best to have realistic expectations. If your venue is popular, you may need to wait several months for a new date. Alternately, consider non-peak days of the week, for example Sundays through Thursdays. Have several possible dates in mind for when you contact vendors as you’ll want to make sure they they also will have availability. If you don’t want to wait, you can always look at new venues, but consider that you would likely be losing your deposit.
Get In Touch with Your Vendors: Once you’ve been in touch with both your wedding planner and your venue, you can start making arrangements with each of your vendors (your planner may be able to do a portion of this for you). If your vendors can’t accommodate your new date, you may need to start the search all over again. There is also a chance that you may incur some losses here if you need to switch vendors. You may want to work with your vendors and your venue together if you want to have better chances of finding a date that works for everyone.
Send Out Change the Date Cards: Next, you want to make sure that your guests know about the postponement. If you haven’t yet picked a new date, you can simply let guests know that they will find out about a new date soon. If you’ve already picked a new date, include it on your Change the Date cards. The sooner you can let guests know, the better, particularly if they’re traveling from afar. Since I plan small intimate weddings and elopements, many of our couples don’t even send out invitations. Rather, they call their guests. So, get them on the line and make that personal connection that is so needed in these times!
These are the main factors to consider when postponing your wedding. If you’ve already planned your honeymoon, don’t forget to make the necessary arrangements there too. Once you’ve gotten the big adjustments out of the way, you can start looking forward to your big day all over again. I wish you all the best ~ Wendee
Reasons why, tips to make it work, and photo ideas.
More and more brides are opting to forgo the traditional bridal party and when you are planning an intimate wedding this is definitely a great option to keep things simple! Here are several compelling reasons why…
BUDGET: Yes, your bridesmaids would likely be picking up the tab for their dress, travel and accommodations, but think of all the other things that fall on the bride and groom – purchasing bouquets, bridal party gifts and other unanticipated party expenses. Not to mention the money it will save your friends!
FEWER OPINIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISAGREEMENTS: While your friends and family have your best interest in mind, it is simply unavoidable that the more people who are involved, the more opinions you will hear. Not to mention the melding of friends from different chapters of your life can open the door for a less than cohesive vibe.
ELIMINATES THE TENSION OF WHO WILL MAKE THE CUT: Since high school you’ve grown apart from that third musketeer, but there would certainly be hurt feelings if the other one was included, same goes for sorority sisters, or in the awkward instance that you have become close with one sister-in-law to be and not the other. Going sans bridesmaids eliminates those uncomfortable conversations altogether.
SIMPLIFIED LOGISTICS AND PLANNING: If you are trying to achieve that low-key, low stress wedding, one of the easiest things you can do is limit the number of people directly involved in the day. After all, this day is ultimately about you and your partner. It can also take the pressure off of your friends, with no responsibilities, they can fully enjoy your awesome party!
Even without having a formal bridal party, there are still special ways that you can incorporate your friends into the wedding – invite them to get ready with you, ask someone to do a reading during the ceremony, or give a reception speech. All of these things are zero cost and relatively low stress to both you and your friends!
Your photographer can still capture great moments with you and your girlfriends! Be sure to include those people in the shot-list for your photographer, in whatever groupings feel important to you. This will not only give you the photographic memories you’ll want in the future but will also help to make your friends feel included and loved.
At the end of the day, don’t get too hung up on tradition, it’s important that you do what feels right for you and your partner <3
What is a first look?
Gone are the superstitions that couples cannot see each other before the ceremony - there's more to the success of a marriage than that! However, everyone has their own visions for special moments on the wedding day, which is totally okay and the day should express the two of you.
A "first look" is is when the couple sees each other on their wedding day, before the wedding. It can be special, private (or not) and creative! We've had couples read letters back-to-back, and even behind a tree before seeing each other. It is a decision to talk through together.
To do, or not
Though most of our clients opt to do a first look (it makes the logistics), we work with many clients who keep the surprise at the altar.
Consider various aspect of your wedding to help you make that decision: time of year, time allotted for photos, logistics getting to/from the ceremony site, and what is important to the two of you.
If you enjoyed this article, please join me on social! Take care - Wendee
About Custom Weddings of Colorado and Wendee V.
Our purpose is to create small intimate wedding packages and elopements for our clients, offering you ease, peace, fun, quality photography, personal style, and a focus on marriage.
By Wendee Vezzetti
Mother, student, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative.