If you're dreaming of an enchanted winter wedding with snow-capped mountains, then you've come to the right place. Imagine gliding through a winter wonderland on a horse-drawn sleigh, surrounded by your closest family and friends, exchanging vows in the middle of a snowy field or a pine forrest that only a sleigh ride can offer. Sounds magical, doesn't it? Well, buckle up and get ready to plan the most charming and intimate celebration of your life – a horse drawn sleigh ride wedding in the Rocky Mountains! We'll guide you through everything you need to know to turn your winter wedding dreams into a reality, with a touch of fun and playfulness. So, let's grab our mittens, hop on the sleigh, and dive right into the snowy adventure of planning your perfect sleigh ride wedding! ❄️🎩💍
What time of year is best?
Of course the best time of year for a sleigh ride wedding is in the winter, which in Colorado would be late November through mid-March. But, just because December brings on the holidays, it doesn't mean that there will be be deep snow - sometimes we can get wild storms, other years it can be slim. Mother Nature is the one who decides. Therefore, our best advise for some deep powdery fields will be mid-January through February. Regardless, whether you're planning a romantic escape or a unique wedding celebration, embrace the charm of winter and plan your sleigh ride adventure in Colorado during the winter months for an unforgettable experience.
UPDATE 11/25/23: It was over three years ago when I first wrote this article in response to COVID shutdowns. Back in April of 2020, we had 60 couples booked for micro weddings, about half of whom had been planning Sapphire Point Overlook wedding. Throughout the summer of 2020, Sapphire Point maxed-out at 10 people total including vendors. Since many of our weddings were around 20 people (give or take), I scouted and found alternate sites in Summit County for couples to have outdoor ceremonies
Fast-forward to today: the Dillon Ranger District (part of the Wind River US Forest Service), who manages Sapphire Point Overlook, has announced that they will be conducting intermittent construction in 2024/25. They do not know specific dates, and they have also closed the reservation system (as of 11/22/23). This naturally puts a spin on planning 2024/25 weddings at Sapphire Point. There have been no clear plans announced as to what dates will be possible for weddings and when/how booking the overlook will become available. The National Forest Service does have a website in which they will be announcing future plans. But for now, if you have your heart set on a Sapphire Point Overlook wedding, here are several different ways in which you can approach it. I'd be happy to work with you in designing logistics for a Summit County wedding (considering Plan A and Plan B) with my intimate wedding package.
⬇️ Summit County Micro-Wedding Spots that are NOT Sapphire Point ⬇️
There have been whispers of this among wedding planning professionals for a while, but the secret is officially out: wedding content creators are officially on the scene and they are here to stay! This service has become a practical and delightful twist to the modern-day wedding ceremony, and micro-weddings are no exception. Regardless of how you’ve planned your big day, a professional wedding content creator can be an amazing addition to your media team. Before you jump in feet first though, here’s the full scoop on what a wedding content creator offers, why you’d need to hire one for your big day, what to budget, and everything in between!
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.
Your four-legged furry friend is a cherished part of your family. It’s not even a question that you and your partner want to include them in your small intimate wedding ceremony. It wouldn’t feel whole or complete without your trusted pup by your side during one of the biggest days of your life. Besides, the pictures are adorable! But where do you begin sorting through the logistics that come with including pets in a small wedding ceremony? Where would you even start to make sure your pet has a role to play on your special day? Here are some tips and ideas to make your big day a success for both you and your furry friend
If you've been following us for a while and checking out our galleries, you'll quickly observe that we have many couples who choose host their small intimate wedding ceremony a Sapphire Point in Summit County, Colorado. Though it boast some of the most amazing mountain views, overlooks Lake Dillon, and is easily accessible (no hike required!), there are lots of little nuances to consider with planning your wedding at Sapphire Point. Read this article fully so that you know how to approach planning a microwedding at this amazing overlook.
9/26/23 UPDATE! On their booking page, there is an alert that the two overlooks will be under construction in September of 2024 and service may be intermittently interrupted in 2024 and 2025. If this makes you nervous, there are many other great small wedding sites across Colorado, and we can help you find one that fits will with your group size, vision, priorities, budget and needs.
11/25/23 UPDATE! The Dillon Ranger District (who manages Sapphire Point Overlook) is changing their reservations system. Formerly, couples could reserve it on www.Recreation.gov at exactly 6 months out from the wedding date. That is no longer possible. They have not determined a new reservation system and will be posting updates on this website as it becomes available. Here is a press release about the closures in and improvements. If you plan to have a ceremony at Sapphrie Point Overlook in 2024/25, we suggest arrangement a "Plan B" at any of the nearby alternate wedding sites; Custom Weddings of Colorado can help you plan a strategy and logistics. Additional, we updated an article about alternate sites in Summit County for your Plan B.
What to consider when booking a vacation house for your Colorado small intimate micro-wedding or elopement
With a vast number of incredibly luxurious, large vacation homes in Colorado that feature stunning views, it is no wonder this trend has been increasing - especially for small, intimate micro-weddings. But, before you go down a rabbit-hole searching for that perfect AirBNB, VRBO, Vacasa…. Or even send off that deposit, there are a number of things to consider.
I got married in a vacation home with 22 guests in Keystone in 2007, well before the term "micro-wedding" was coined. In my 20 years as a wedding planner, I’ve also helped over a thousand couples with their small intimate weddings, many of whom each year decide that a vacation home rental in the Colorado Rockies as their venue where they can find privacy, freedom, luxury, customization and uniqueness.
This article will explain what to expect when searching for the perfect rental property for your ceremony and/or dinner celebration. And, while it's exhausting trying to keep up with the thousands of home listings, we will highlight some locales and property management companies at the end.
Before reading further, I must dispel a myth that a vacation house wedding is affordable. While that may be true when comparing the cost to an expensive and expansive large event venue, it is NOT affordable compared finding a more off-the-beaten-path ceremony site (which is our specialty for couples) that may either be free or minimal permits (less than $500). The cost in the vacation house may be the minimum night stay required, cleaning fees and if you are in a resort area.... its just plain expensive. But, keep reading from more explanation and ideas as the cost and benefits may be just the right fit for you!
Should you have a bouquet for an elopement? In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY! Your bouquet is often the only decoration piece at your small microwedding. It also pulls together your style, makes your photos "pop", and can add symbolism to your special day, especially if there are family members that cannot be present or have passed-on.
But, elopement florals and decorations don't have to be elaborate. We've simplified ways to add florals without going over-the-top and spending elaborate amounts of money. I recommend starting with the basics and then if your budget and logistics allow, add decoration elements. This article will give you ideas and guidance when planning elopement flowers.
First, consider your vision and style. When consulting, I teach couples to decide your style and vision very EARLY on, and stick with that decision so that everything flows together. We use descriptive words like "organic" or "whimsical" or "romantic" or "vintage" or "country". Whatever your style, stick with it throughout your planning. If you haven't decided on a style yet, contact me for a fun & free introductory course.
When you start planning your wedding, so many questions start cropping up. How many hours you will need a photographer for is one of them. The number of wedding photography hours you book mostly depends on how big your wedding is and how much of the day you want to capture. Micro-weddings are a little different from your average. First, we'll give you some guidelines to help you decide. Then, we'll put our angle on how we approach is with small intimate weddings.
1.5 to 2 Hours:
If you are one of the many couples who will be eloping this year, you won’t need to book a photographer for longer than 2 hours. With this being said, if you would prefer to capture more than just the ceremony and a few portraits, you may want to book an extra hour or two.
Dress changes between the ceremony and reception are quite common for the larger weddings, but is it even a "thing" for a small intimate micro-wedding? If you are considering what to do for your attire so that it is appropriate for elopements, something that you would feel comfortable in, or you simply just need some inspiration, look no future! We will explore the wedding dress changes and how they can bring added excitement and versatility to your special day. Whether you're dreaming of a chic cocktail dress or a more traditional gown, get ready to discover the endless possibilities for dress changes that will make your micro-wedding even more memorable.
What is a first look or a first reveal?
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.
Quick reference points:
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.
You've come to the decision to ditch the stress and overwhelm of planning a big "typical" wedding and are diving into planning a small micro-wedding. Or maybe that's what you've always been planning because honestly, you really don't want to spend the money on an elaborate event to entertain others and would rather just center the marriage around the two of you and your closest family and friends. So, you start to search for small unique wedding venue and quickly find that the search results lead you right back to those typical banquet-hall type of wedding venues built for the big wedding.
If you've read my story, I get it! In 2007, after 10 years in the wedding industry, I was planning my own small 25-person wedding and found that there weren't advertised venues. I had to do my own digging and research which was NOT easy. But, it lead me to an amazing adventure where in 2011, I decided to *only* plan small weddings of 35 guest or fewer, helping those that have similar challenges. Think: elopement, just with a few guests witnessing. Small weddings are different, and so are the venues. Here are 10 types of micro-wedding venues that you won't often see in glossy magazines or on the first .... or even third page of web search results.
Reasons why, tips to make it work, and photo ideas.
More and more brides are opting to forgo the traditional bridal party and not have anyone stand up with them. Whether or not you are planning a large gathering of 150+ people or a small intimate wedding, skipping the wedding attendants (bridesmaids-men or groomsmen-women) is definitely a great option to keep things simple! If you want to skip the formalities of having a wedding party, here are several compelling reasons why and some ideas for how to incorporate your friends and siblings into your wedding day to honor them.
Thinking about writing your own wedding vows? It’s always so romantic when couples do this because they are sharing a piece of their hearts with each other and their guests. It can feel like a huge undertaking, so we’re sharing some of our favorites tips with you!
What to include
Although tipping is not mandatory, it is an expression of gratitude toward the vendor, especially since weddings by nature require extra attention to details and consideration. Additionally, since many vendors operate small businesses, tips offer instant feedback while many times providing needed income.
An alternative to tipping is a rave, detailed 5-star review, if the vendor has earned. Positive reviews are like GOLD in the wedding industry. You put your trust in us, and please let others know about your journey, story and experiences with wedding planning. The most common sites are Google, TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com. Of course, there are areas in which the vendor can improve, please share that directly with the vendor in a kind, constructive manner and avoid blasting it out into the world.
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!
As a newly engaged couple and with all the information available on the internet, you are probably not lacking for ideas to make your wedding unique and special. Take one look at Pinterest alone and it is easy to get lost in the endless surplus of ideas to incorporate into your wedding. Having options isn’t so much the problem as sorting through all of the advice. There are some great ideas out there, but what is going to be the perfect fit for you and your partner? Where does a bride even begin to start?
You could be in any stage of the wedding planning process. Perhaps your partner got down on one knee last week, maybe you’ve had a ring on your finger for a while now, or maybe you’ve been planning but are now changing your direction due to unforeseen circumstances or a change of heart. Depending on what your situation might be, it’s brought you to one place: the micro-wedding. Maybe you have heard of micro-weddings before, but are still on the fence about whether it’s the right decision for you. When deciding if a micro-wedding is the right fit for your big day, here are a few things to consider.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Mother, teacher, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative. Wendee has been planning weddings in Colorado since 1995. In 2012, she decided to "go small" and only plans micro-weddings & elopements with 35 or fewer guests. Contact Wendee to get started planning your intimate small Colorado wedding.
I've been planning weddings since 1995 when I moved to Colorado from Iowa. I cut my teeth at Keystone Resort in their wedding department, then then ventured on to planning corporate meetings. But, I kept helping friends and their friends with weddings starting my first full-service company in 2002 (yes - planned the big overwhelming ones). In 2012 with the birth of my son, values shifted and I decided to go small, intimate and meaningful. Please connect with me to make your dreamy, simple mountain wedding come true!
Behind the Scenes
Ever wonder what goes on behind-the-scenes of a micro-wedding day? Jaime L. Barba, one of our talented professional photographers, captured me at work ⬇️ from one of our May 2023 weddings in Boulder, Colorado. Enjoy! .... and yes, she does wedding day content creation (a great alternative if you cannot afford videography) for couples as well as photography.
Wedding Day Content Creator
What is a wedding day content creator? It’s someone who is there on your wedding day taking pictures on a cell phone (or in Jaime's case, her professional equipement), documenting behind-the-scenes moments, capturing and telling stories, and delivering short-form media content of your wedding day in real-time. Checkout one from our September 2023 weddings ⬇️.
Though we offer "done-for-you" packages in Colorado, if you are wanting to DIY your small wedding, or if your wedding will be out-of-state, join Wendee's online course for couples on how to plan your own small wedding with confidence, focus & ease, saving you time and avoiding overwhelm.
Colorado's most experienced planner for intimate weddings, elopements and micro-weddings. We don't do the big weddings, which means you receive quality vendors and a planner who knows how to pull together your logistics efficiently & easily. Reach out to Wendee today.