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
Fay and Cody met online and fell in love! Cody was ever the gentleman and helped Fay through the death of her grandfather which started their relationship off on a deep and intimate level.
They found they both are an active couple that enjoys the same adventurous things like traveling, ziplining, and going on road trips. Besides their fun adventures, they find fun in their daily lives too. They are able to balance each other out, Fay adding a touch of seriousness and Cody adding a dash of goofiness.
About their relationship, they have said, “We both feel like we are better people together than we are as individuals.”
Before meeting “the one,” Cody never thought he would get married. After four years together, he surprised Fay by proposing on Christmas Eve, a tradition in his family that Fay, as a history teacher, loved!
The Planning Process
The planning process started off a bit rough. Although she knew she always wanted to get married in Colorado, planning from afar meant a ton of Googling without getting anywhere. Eventually, after feeling overwhelmed and a bit paralyzed by decisions, Fay’s googling led her to Custom Weddings of Colorado!
Turns out, they were as happy to work with us as we were with them! They found having someone else to keep detailed, organized lists were able to take the pressure off them. This was especially true as the pandemic hit and their jobs and questions about the wedding from family became overwhelming. Fay said, “I could always say ‘Wendee is taking care of that.’ It calmed me and everyone else down to know I had a professional on my side!
Fay and Cody found they both wanted a small wedding so that they could share their love only with those who mattered the most to them. This opened up space in their budget to splurge on things that mattered most to them and fun activities!
The Wedding Day from the Brides Point of View
“Our wedding was at sunset. Our family and friends arrived the day before so we could all spend time together and turn it into a mini-vacation for them. We all went out on the town the night before. We stayed at a small hotel that has a variety of room types and my mother in law made breakfast for everyone and my mom had brunch snacks in her room, so we all just wandered around room-to-room. Small groups would go shopping, take a small walk away, or went off to play on the beach of the lake where we got married at later.
Everyone was really relaxed and both families were forging new relationship with each other. Celine was our on-site coordinator and she was wonderful. Once she arrived she made sure that everything that needed to happen was going on. All I had to do is sit back and get my hair and makeup finished while drinking champagne. She sent everyone to from the hotel to the ceremony site on time and then finished coordinating with me as my dad drove me to the ceremony. The photographer had met earlier and had the location on the beach and where to take pictures all planned out. She directed everyone where to go and made sure that everything was ready for the first look, ceremony, and cake cutting. The wedding was everything that I wanted it to be! We headed back to the hotel for dinner in their private dining room. We celebrated late into the night and were all able to walk back to our rooms when we were ready to call it a night.
I had been torn on whether to do the first look or not. I tend toward tradition and Cody didn’t seem really excited to see me dressed up. (He says I always look good) We decided to do it and I am so glad we did. The enjoyment I felt walking up behind him and the intimacy of that moment was really special! While he is still being reluctant to admit how special it was, the pictures say it all and we both really enjoy that moment more than I can explain.
Second, when we were taking pictures after the ceremony I dropped Cody’s ring in the grass and couldn’t find it! We were both hunting through the grass and I was panicking. We have always joked that Cody would lose his ring within a week and here I had lost it within the hour! There were some people walking by and they joined in the hunt. Our photographer got some really great candid shots of the incident that I really will cherish. By the way, we did find the ring after about 10 minutes.”
Fay and Cody were beyond pleased with the wedding professionals that were part of their day. The cake was exactly how they wanted it in looks and in taste. After providing the florist a list of what they like and what they don't, the flowers were even better than they could’ve imagined. Fay would change absolutely nothing about the bouquet.
Their photographer, Jenifer, was able to loosen up Cody who typically doesn’t enjoy getting his picture taken; so much so that he was coming up with pose ideas! Afterward, the couple was told by loved ones that those were the best wedding photos they’ve ever seen.
Their officiant was able to include traditions from both sides of the family while matching their values as a couple.
Their secret to a good marriage? Communication! They stress the importance of being honest and getting things off your chest before it snowballs beyond your control. They attribute the fact that they have never had a serious fight to their amazing communication skills
Advice for Engaged Couples
When it comes to advice for newly engaged couples, Fay said “It is totally worth it to have a professional help you! The decrease in the amount of stress alone is worth the cost! Also, I am fairly certain that I saved money by ensuring the quality and value for the price I spent on the vendors. I had my dream wedding and I know it wouldn’t have happened that way if I hadn’t had help.
Many of our small wedding couples still want an intimate dinner celebration - that’s an important part of the overall experience! And though there are tons of different things you can do to make it unique, like speeches, food trucks, creating a DIY photo booth, hand crafted favors, the most common question we get asked: what is more cost effective? Going to a restaurant or having a private chef cook a dinner at our vacation house? The answer is a little more complicated than the simple “option A”. Here are factors to compare when making the choice whether to dine in a private room or open up the house.
Thank you Jeanine Thurston for the images of our vacation home with private chef intimate wedding in Breckenridge. Florist: Pink Posey Designs. Baker: Blue Moon. Chef: Ian Buchanan.
Quick reference points:
What you need to know about the Colorado marriage license
Generally, getting married is everyone’s dream. Marriage is the legal union of two people as partners, usually between men and women who publicize and make their relationship official. The entire process of getting legal married may seem to be a disheartening task. However, that is not the case if you know all the requirements of obtaining a Colorado marriage license.
Getting Marriage license in Colorado
Colorado provides a remarkable landscape with natural resources that lure enjoyable memories. Hosting an event in the state can give memorable experiences due to the available recreational opportunities. However, when it comes to getting the Colorado marriage license, things change. The states have a different line of requirements when couples to engage in marriage. During the marriage, all couples are required to apply for a marriage license. The application is done by the county clerk’s office and requires both parties to bring valid identification. The approved identification are passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, and military identification card.
It is recommended that you both go to the courthouse together. However, during the process, one of the couples may be absent and provide an absentee affidavit with a notarized signature. The absent party’s valid identification should accompany this. Also, the state requires couples to be 18 years and above. However, a person with the age of 16 or 17 can marry with parental consent. They should have an approved court order from a judge along with parental consent. The country requires the couples to complete the marriage certificate within 63 days of the wedding date and return it to the country clerk.
Towed in Colorado, the two partners do not have to be residents in the state. The application and fetching of the marriage license are made at the County Clerk’s office. The partners intending to marry are required to present themselves personally at the county clerk’s office and fill out a license application. The process consumes less than an hour, but you can fill out some paperwork online before availing yourself at the clerk’s office, as this saves some time.
Colorado State does not require blood tests or any obscure documents during the marriage license. All that is required are the spouse’s valid identification forms, including a passport, state issued driving license, military identification card, or birth certificates. Information about birthplace and names of spouse’s parents may also be required. It is not a must for the two partners to be present at the County clerk’s office provided that there is a complete and duly signed absentee affidavit accompanied by valid identification of the absent party.
During the application process, the two to-be-wed must provide some documents to acquire a marriage license. In case one of the partners was previously married or widowed, they will have to provide proof. The marriage license does not bear a waiting period; thus, it can be used the same day it is obtained. The marriage license costs only $30, either payable by cash, cheque, or credit card.
A license from any county in Colorado can be used in any other county in the same state only after being filed either by mail or in-person in the county it was issued in. Taking the license in person to the County Clerk’s office is advantageous because it gets filed immediately compared to mailing, where it might take several weeks to be filed. The couple can solemnize their marriage, meaning that they can legalize the marriage by signing the officiant line. After the couple gets their marriage license, they will have to fill in details such as date, time, location, and other relevant information. The filling out of such information is the responsibility of the officiant. However, the county clerk may offer guidance if the couple does not have an officiant.
When planning a small wedding, it’s understandable that you want to stick to a modest budget without sacrificing quality. And, though wedding costs can quickly add up – from decorations, to venue, to food – there are ways to balance your spending so the money you do spend is spent on important parts of the wedding, and not expenses that will quickly be forgotten or thrown away.
I’ve put together this guide on what to skip and what to savor to help you decide which parts of your wedding are most important to spend money on, and which parts you can go without, DIY, or order for cheaper in order to save money in the long run.
SKIP: Expensive invitations
There is an abundance of options when it comes to invitations for a small wedding. There is no reason to spend hundreds on special paper and printing for invitations that your guests will likely toss out as soon as they mark your date in their calendar. Instead, you can DIY your invitations using a photo printing program from a drugstore, complete with envelopes from a craft store, or even send invites via email or phone. Professional language and a few dollars spent to make sure the invites look good (if they are digital or on paper) will go a long way in ensuring your invites don’t seem cheap or quickly thrown together.
SAVOR: A great photographer
If there is a must when it comes to quality, it is a great photographer. Don’t be afraid to spend a good portion of your budget on a highly-rated and recommended photographer, as photos will be how you remember your special day for the rest of your lives. Skipping out on an experienced and professional photographer will make it difficult to capture beautiful wedding memories, which are a must regardless of the size or extravagance of your wedding.
SKIP: An expensive indoor venue
If you are planning a small wedding, one of the easiest ways to cut down on costs without looking tacky is to use an inexpensive outdoor venue such as a beach or mountainside instead of renting a large indoor venue that can cost thousands. For many outdoor wedding sites, such as a beach, the only thing you need to purchase is a permit. This will allow you to have a beautiful, natural wedding without spending a cent on a building rental. Not to mention, outdoor photos often turn out better than those taken indoors, regardless of venue.
SAVOR: Tasty, high-quality snacks
Instead of serving a large, low-quality/inexpensive meal, opt instead for a smaller assortment of high-quality snacks such as fruits, desserts, and cheeses to keep your guests satisfied without breaking the bank. (Keep in mind that, if you decide to serve snacks instead of a full meal, you should let your guests know ahead of time or host your wedding reception at a time that is not traditionally mealtime.) This will allow you to feed guests more expensive foods without using a large portion of your budget on a buffet or large dinner.
Of course, what to skip and what to savor ultimately boils down to your priority list. If you haven’t done our “Setting your priorities” activity, connect with me as I’m creating a FREE simple course/activity for how to set your priorities and stick with them throughout your planning. This activity will help you to determine what to skip and what to savor according to your vision.
Planning your wedding, regardless of how small the wedding may be, is no small task. There are always many things to decide on, from a location, to a venue, to a guest list. It’s therefore no surprise that it’s easy for wedding planning to turn from a fun, exciting task into something daunting as your to-do list grows.
Regardless of how much has to be done before your wedding, there are many “enemies of fun” that can turn the process of planning your wedding into a nightmare. Here, I explain what the top three are, and what you can do to avoid them.
© Photos by Kathryn Kim Photography
Of course, you want your small, intimate wedding to be wonderful. It’s a special day between you and your soon-to-be-spouse, and maybe even close family or friends. It’s a day you will look back on forever, so the need to make it “perfect” can be all-consuming.
However, you can save yourself much stress if you accept from the very beginning of your planning process that your wedding will not be - and could never be - absolutely perfect. Any event that involves people, weather, and lots of planning is bound to come with hiccups, even for the most experienced or hardworking planner. Accepting this early on will give you the freedom to experiment and have fun while planning your wedding, without the unattainable goal of perfection looming over your head.
2. Doing it all yourself.
You want to keep your wedding simple and small, without any bells and whistles. However, this doesn’t mean you need to do all of the preparation yourself. Having a low-key wedding does not mean that it has to be a complete DIY! It is more than acceptable to get help from a professional wedding planner or group of friends/family in planning your big day.
Not only will this relieve enormous amounts of stress for you, but will also give you a chance to make memories with those close to you before the wedding day. It’s easy to plan small gatherings where people can help you prepare decorations, invitations, or food in your own home, while spending valuable time together.
3. Feeling obligated to make it bigger than you want.
Once you’ve gotten engaged, it’s likely that many people you know will come out of the woodwork to congratulate you and, usually, ask about the wedding. Questions about who is invited and how many guests they can bring can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re planning to keep your ceremony small.
While it can feel inconsiderate not to invite people you know and love, it is extremely important that your number of wedding guests fit your vision, budget, and venue. Explaining to friends (and even family) who are not on the guest list that you value them as a part of your life, but are keeping your ceremony small as soon as possible will eliminate a lot of stress as you start planning your wedding.
Above all, remember: this is your day, and it’s okay to cut yourself slack, ask for help, and stick up for the wedding vision you have. After all, years from now, your memories won’t be of the planning process, but rather of the day itself!
As you plan your small wedding, it’s likely that finding the perfect photographer is one of the first things on your list. Whether you’re hiring for first look photos and the reception, or only the ceremony, photography is an integral part of every wedding because it gives you beautiful memories to frame and look back on.
Often an afterthought, though, is videography. It’s similar to photography, but boasts many differences which are worth thinking over before deciding whether or not to splurge on a videographer.
I hear you: your wedding is small, intimate, and anything but extravagant. You may be thinking that a videographer in addition to a photographer is overkill. However, you may find that hiring a videographer to capture a beautiful wedding video is the perfect way to complement the photos you’ll receive following the ceremony, helping you remember your special day for years to come.
I’ve compiled a list of the top benefits of wedding videography to help you decide whether or not it’s right for your wedding.
1. It will capture the moments you don’t see.
On your wedding day, you’re going to be the center of attention. This means that, even if your guest list is short, you’re likely going to be preoccupied and spending your time experiencing the day for yourself instead of watching it unfold around you.
This means that there’s a chance that you will miss precious moments such as your grandmother crying as you walk down the aisle, your maid of honor fixing your veil, or your soon-to-be spouse getting ready in their own dressing room. A wedding video can capture these moments in ways photos simply can’t, allowing you to see all the moments you missed and relive your wedding from a new perspective.
2. A wedding video serves as a timeless keepsake.
While it may be difficult to justify spending large amounts of money on an expensive dress or extravagant decorations that will just be thrown away following the reception, a well-made video is something you can keep - and treasure - for years.
It will allow you to relive your day again and again, and will serve as a constant reminder of your love for your spouse, capturing emotions and loving touches that are hard to see in photos.
Video by Veiled Rose Films
3. Relatives and friends who did not attend can experience the wedding afterward.
Your wedding is small, meaning everyone - from your friend from college algebra to your very distant relatives - may not be able to attend. A wedding video is a great way to allow them to experience the wedding from anywhere in the world after the wedding, keeping your wedding party small but allowing those who want to see you walk down the aisle and tie the knot to do so.
There are countless ways to allow people to view your wedding video, from sending it via email, to uploading it to a social media site like YouTube. This makes for easy access and inclusion for everyone who could not attend.
The benefits of wedding videography go on and on. When considering whether to hire a videographer for your wedding, consider what a video could bring to your special day - and what it could help you take from it.
Here are some of our recommended videographers:
If you and your significant other have decided that a large-scale, extravagant wedding is not for you, fear not - this doesn’t mean your wedding day has to be any less special or romantic.
There are a plethora of ideas for laid-back weddings that will allow you to focus on the person you’re marrying instead of the logistics of an enormous ceremony and reception. Not only will these ideas make planning a breeze, but will allow you to plan a wedding that directly caters to your relaxed style.
1. Have a Backyard Wedding
If you want a wedding that celebrates everything home, family, and closeness, a backyard wedding may be the perfect wedding for you. It doesn’t have to be your own backyard - a family member or friend whose home boasts land that is beautiful and fit to host a small wedding party works perfectly.
There are several advantages to a backyard wedding, including eliminating the cost of an extravagant venue and allowing you to do your wedding your way, without worrying about a venue’s rules or requirements.
Another advantage to a backyard wedding is that, since you’re on private property, you can start decorating and setting up well in advance, eliminating the need for day-of rushing around. This will take some of the stress that comes with wedding planning away, allowing you to focus on the day instead of the logistics.
2. Have a Colorado Beach Wedding
Beach weddings make perfect laid-back weddings for couples who are looking to get married somewhere outdoors and low-key without sacrificing the beautiful scenery that comes with a traditional venue.
Most beaches simply require a permit in order to host a wedding, making it a low-cost option that feels exotic, classy, and natural.
When researching beaches, be sure to make yourself aware of important aspects of the locations you’re browsing, such as how crowded they are, whether or not they allow alcoholic beverages, etc...
And yes - we do have beaches in Colorado! Of course, there’s no ocean. But, we do have lakes and rivers that have shore-side beaches. The bonus, there are usually mountains in the backdrop!
3. Have a Mountain Wedding
Mountain weddings boast many of the same advantages as beach weddings, including beautiful scenery, low expenses, and a natural and elegant experience. Mountain weddings provide for absolutely beautiful photos, and are perfect for couples looking to host close family and friends in a location that is simultaneously cozy and vast.
It’s important to talk to a wedding planner when exploring mountain wedding options, as there are many important things to consider when choosing the perfect place to wed. Though a mountain spot may look beautiful in photos, you will need to know how accessible it is, and therefore how realistic of a place it is to host a wedding before deciding it’s the one. No one wants to hike three miles to a wedding ceremony!
A wedding planner will know of mountainous venues that are perfect for weddings, eliminating the guesswork that comes with planning on your own.
Colorado Laid-back Weddings
Laid-back weddings are perfect for couples who want to tie the knot in a memorable way in the company of close friends and family without the stress of planning an excessive wedding ceremony and reception in a traditional venue.
These ideas prove that there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing a low-key wedding venue that fits your needs - and will help you create memories that last for years to come.
Did you have a laid-back wedding? Do you have ideas for incorporating laid-back elements for your wedding - please let us know in the comments below. Take care - Wendee
Once you’ve decided that a small destination wedding is perfect for you and your soon-to-be spouse, the true planning begins - and, though you won’t be swamped by the task of sending out hundreds of wedding invitations or scheduling a DJ (whewie), there is still much to decide.
One of the most important aspects of wedding planning is choosing the date of the wedding. This is especially important when planning a small destination wedding, as many factors such as weather, holidays, and local events can influence your ceremony.
Weather is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a wedding date. Though it is impossible to know whether it will rain or shine on a certain day over a year from now, it is possible to schedule your wedding during a time period that will cater to your preferences in terms of colors, attire, and season.
Colorado boasts beautiful seasons all year long, but each one is vastly different. The beautiful shades of fall will color photos much differently than a snowy landscape of winter. Knowing this and researching Colorado’s seasons well in advance will put you steps ahead in terms of choosing the perfect wedding date. A good rule of thumb is as follows:
A smaller guest list makes it all the more important that the people special enough to receive an invite can make it. When planning your wedding, keep in mind holidays that will be happening around that time, including those specific to your religion or culture. It is important to ask your families about special anniversaries, birthdays or sadly, dates in which our loved ones passed - though that can also be a time of remembrance and hence celebration.
Even if your wedding does not fall directly on a holiday, it’s imperative to remember that people often travel for holidays, limiting their availability before and after. A buffer zone of a week on each side of major holidays, and a few days for minor holidays will ensure that the people closest to you will be able to attend your wedding without needing to rearrange their schedule. Holidays in Colorado also mean lots of in-state travel, so expect lots of traffic on the roadways and higher lodging rates.
Lastly, being aware of local events that may be happening during your planned wedding date will help you avoid the last-minute stress of needing to switch venues or drastically alter your ceremony, as well as ensure your guests will be able to find accommodations close by.
Before you decide on a date, you should make sure you know about any events such as concerts, parades, sporting events, openings, etc… that may be happening on or around your wedding day at your chosen location. We recommend checking with the local chamber of commerce to find the event schedule.
The good news is that events big enough to cause a serious rift in your day are likely to be planned out far in advance, leaving you ample time to research and plan a date that will ensure the biggest event happening in the area is yours.
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.
Their story: Christina is a Colorado native and lived in Colorado her whole life. Shaun is from Kentucky and lived there his whole life until venturing to attend Colorado School of Mines in 2012. "We met in 2013 and have been together ever since. We got engaged in September 2017 when Shaun proposed while we were watching my favorite show, Friends. We are both hard workers and put a lot of time and energy into our careers. We love spending time in the mountains and hanging out with our 2-year- old English Bulldog, Q.”
Wedding details: Who wouldn't love spending time with Q? And of course he had to make appearances at their wedding (we love fur-baby ring bears or flower girls)! Christinas style was graceful, airy and lighthearted. The couple and #30 of their guests stayed in Breckenridge, ventured to the overlook at Lake Dillon for the small ceremony site, and then celebrated at the outdoors patio of a distillery, complete with scrumptious food and cake.
Planner/Package: Wendee Vezzetti | Photography: Andrea Flanagan
Their story: John is a project manager for a construction company in Jacksonville, and Shelby is an engineer. "We met at our previous jobs. We want a small destination wedding because our families are spread out across the country. We figured people will have to travel to come to the wedding no matter what, so we might as well have it somewhere amazing. We wanted something intimate where we can enjoy spending time with the people that can come to celebrate with us."
Wedding details: Before Shelby and John chose a site and destinations, they identified their priorities as an outdoor ceremony with some kind of uniqueness, and lodging were groups can stay together and have a central place to congregate. They ended up with an outdoor ceremony at Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs and stayed at a nearby vacation home with killer views! Best of all.... can you believe that patio? Perfect for an outdoor chef! One thing to notice about their wedding flow: after their first look, they scheduled 1/2 hour to hang-out at the house and serve pre-ceremony appetizers and drinks - what a great way to make your guests feel welcome and set the stage for fun!
Their story: “We met in a class in college at the University of Nebraska. Our first date was at the local bowling alley 3 years ago! We started to plan your typical formal wedding and shortly realized that it did not fit us at all. We are super laid back and want our wedding to have that same feeling. Colorado works out very nicely for us, as Kolten’s family is from Nebraska and mine is from Kansas, so it is still within driving distance for both of them. We want our wedding to be easy and simple, so we can enjoy the day."
Wedding details: With Stephanie's expression cutting the cake at the restaurant, I think easy, simple and enjoyable was accomplished! They traveled with #12 of the their guests to Summit County Colorado, staying at a condo in Dillon. After their ceremony overlooking the shores of Lake Dillon, the small party celebrated at a restaurant in Frisco. I can't tell though if Stephanie was more excited about cutting the cake, or the actual cake itself (Chocolate Buttercream was under that white icing - yum!)
Their story: “We met on New Years Eve at a bar! I (Kristi) was DONE dating, but said “yes” anyway. We started our business 2 years ago and it's been a crazy journey. He has 4 kids (29-17) and mine are 7 & 9. Wow! His grandkids are friends of my kids - oh well! It's fun anyway. We wanted to do a Mexico destination, but travel warnings are scaring our parents/siblings. So, we figured: we live here, and let's celebrate in Colorado instead. We can still make it a destination wedding in Vail!"
Wedding details: We started working with Kristi well before she had a date and location in mind. It was important for them to have easy logistics and not have their family trek up on the mountain via a gondola. It was important for them to have family, great food, fun in an informal but nice environment. The entire clan of about #25 guests stayed in a cluster of townhomes in Lion Square Village at Vail. We convoyed out to the ceremony site on Vail Pass, exchanged vows, celebrated with hubby and ate dessert first at the site, then returned to the townhome where a private chef had prepared an amazing meal.
Kevin and Jennifer met online and were instantly attracted during their first date of Mexican food and go-carting. After meeting, Kevin called his brother and told him "I think I just fell in love with a redhead."
At first, Kevin planned to propose on top of a mountain in Zion National Park but once he got the ring, he was too excited to wait. After a workout, he told her he had a present for her and couldn't wait to give it to her, so eagerly in their living room, he proposed and just as eagerly, Jennifer said “yes!”. He later ended up "re-proposing" on the top of the mountain a couple of weeks later.
The Planning Process
Jennifer and Kevin knew they wanted a small wedding because they wanted to celebrate their love intimately with family and close friends. Their goal was to keep the focus on them as a couple and the joining of two people into one, rather than a large event.
Before finding Custom Weddings of Colorado, Jennifer and Kevin struggled to find microwedding packages that weren't cookie cutter and corporate. After finding our team, they were able to sit back and relax as Wendee’s organizational skills and experience enabled the couple’s vision to come true.
Planning during the COVID-19 pandemic was the only hiccup in the planning process as things were constantly changing as to what was allowed. Our team kept in constant contact to keep the couple’s mind at ease and knowing it would all work out.
Wedding Day from the Bride’s Point of View
“The day started off wonderfully with hair and makeup in our resort suite. I got ready in one area of the suite while Kevin got ready in another. We were slightly concerned about the weather since rain was in the forecast, but it seemed to hold off. Our onsite coordinator arrived along with the photographer and we started taking pictures while I was getting ready.
Once I was ready, Kevin and I were ready for our first look. I was so happy I decided to do that as it gave us a very special moment to ourselves before anyone else saw us.
After that, we headed up to and overlook and began the ceremony. About 10 minutes into the ceremony, there was a VERY large gust of wind and it felt like the sky was going to fall at any minute with rain. But low and behold, it didn't (whew!). We had the most beautiful ceremony (complete with a bald eagle flying in the background) and we continued to take the most beautiful pictures. We then arrived at the Breckenridge Golfcourse and had the best ceremony with the best food and drink I could ask for. Our guests had so much fun as we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
All I can say is WOW! The cake was phenomenal, the flowers were breathtakingly beautiful, the photographer was super sweet, and our officiant was a very close family member, so that was an honor for us. We had an incredible team of people on our special day!
I am so grateful for how wonderful everything turned out and couldn't have done it without Wendee and her team!”
When asked what they would do differently, the couple said, “Nothing. Absolutely nothing, honestly. Our day was perfect!”
Jennifer and Kevin stress that during the big day, don’t sweat the little things. Focus on the reason for the wedding, your love and your marriage, and let Wendee’s and her team take care of the rest.
The secret to a successful marriage? To be patient, to think before you speak, and to put yourself in your spouses’ shoes. Include little things to show your love in your day to day life and have fun with your best friend. Always, always, tell your spouse how much you love them.
Their Story: "Josh and I met when we were 17 and 19 years old in a small suburb of Chicago at my friend Jimmy’s bonfire by chance through mutual friends. In college we went our separate ways. In May of 2014, I sent him a random message on Facebook looking to reconnect. When he responded, we connected instantly. Our first phone conversation we had after we reconnected lasted 14 hours (we talked through the night and still went to work the next morning!). Colorado is where we found our bliss, and deeply connected to one another. We both feel that it’s the only place where we want to solidify our love and start our journey together moving forward, wherever the world may take us."
Wedding details: Megan + Josh were one of the COOLEST couple's we've worked with. They were all about having fun on their wedding day - a little whiskey, and adventurous spirit for some amazing photo shoots, and a funky tie! After their outdoor ceremony on Flagstaff, they celebrated with #28 of their guests at a Boulder tea house on their garden-like patio that made you feel like it was their own home!
Their Story: David is a police officer; Andrea works for community mental health. They met through mutual friends. David loves Colorado and they were planning to vacation (camp) here over the summer. One conversation led to another, and it seemed to make sense to get married in Colorado,.... then go camping for the honeymoon.
Wedding details: Early in the planning, Andrea mentioned disliking cookie-cutter weddings. And, with a rainbow of parasols and vibrant sunflowers, their's was anything but the standard wedding! They traveled from Virginia with #20 of their closest friends and family to have a personalized celebration: staying at a comfortable-luxury 5-bedroom vacation home, exchanging vows in an outdoor ceremony (a little bit of "Jaws" during the processional), having a friend officiate, overlooking a lake with the mountains in the backdrop, and returning to the home where a chef awaited with a customized meal. Can we re-live this day please?
Their story: “Our daughters were all in gymnastics and two of them were in the same gymnastics class together. That is where we met and instantly fell in love. I was house hunting and an offer I made on a house was accepted. I eventually told him about it and he knew exactly where the house was, because he owned a house right up the street (which I had no idea). So we became neighbors and best friends. Everything has always been fate between us. Things happen and work out in ways people would never expect."
Wedding details: Working with Janine + Brendan was so easy - they wanted to keep it simple and involve their children. So, part of the wedding was to include a family unity sand ceremony, and of course they had to have their special entrance & song. Her sage, pale pink, peach and blue florals were perfect for an early July celebration. The couple and their immediate family stayed at a vacation home in Keystone, Colorado which came complete with a teepee and fire pit in the backyard. After their ceremony, they celebrated with a taco bar back at the vacation house.
Their story: "Jason and I were setup by mutual friend. We were both older and had never married, but hoped to find that special person to build a family together. For us, it happened fast! After six months of dating, we found out I was pregnant. We now have a beautiful two-year-old. We love our little family: our motto - "three together!".
Wedding details: Jen and Jason contacted us three months prior to the wedding (yes, we can plan a wedding in as little as 5 days, or 5 months)! Breckenridge has always held a special place for them, having visited on family trips. Their priority was a simple, intimate outdoor setting with a scenic background. Family-focused and small: 6 adults, three kids.
Their story: “Justin and I met our sophomore year in high school and began dating end of our junior year. We have been together for 12 years and have a 10 year old daughter and two German Shepherds. We love to go hiking, fishing and spending time together. We choose intimate Colorado wedding because it’s always been a dream to visit and we always wanted small, personal, memorable ceremony.”
Wedding details: Many times we work with couples who have never been to Colorado and their first time is to get married! We love showing off our wonderful state as there are so many activities any time of year. Samantha and Justin already had planned a trip to Central City when they contacted to to plan their Colorado Elopement Package. We met them at their resort and traveled with them to a nearby State Park where we had an elopement ceremony, just the two of them. Post ceremony, we celebrated with bubbly and some cake!
Thank you Kathryn Kim Photography - one of our amazing vendors in our network!
Their story: “John and I actually met online. It was not ideal at first, but now looking back, it was easily the best decision that I ever made :) We both thought we would have a traditional wedding, but looked into possibly doing a destination wedding. I did not expect for it to take off as fast as it did. We chose Colorado, because we both are so in love with nature. We knew that the mountain view was right up our alley!"
Wedding details: Melissa and John took our base Intimate Wedding Package and the added several nice upgrades..... which, can we all agree their 3-year old daughter as part of the ceremony was the absolute CUTEST?!!! Whenever we have couples that want to incorporate their children into the wedding, we recommend they exchange vows with kids and give them a little token - piece of jewelry, nice keychain.... any other ideas? A couple of their other upgrades were chairs, floral ceremony arrangements, centerpieces at their dinner, and extending photography hours into the dancing and departures.
Photographer: Andrea Flanagan Photography
By Wendee Vezzetti
Mother, student, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative.