What to consider when booking a small vacation house for your Colorado micro-wedding
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 is 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.
1. Decide your format
What attracts many couples to a vacation home wedding is the 1-stop-shop idea. Its as all-inclusive as you can get: from hosting all or most the guests overnight to the wedding day getting ready, from the ceremony to the private-chef catered dinner, at the vacation house. It is the epitome of easy….. at first thought.
When considering this format, reflect on the relationships among your guests. If there are any conflicts, like divorces or habits that others may object, it might be a good idea to give people some room and options to stay at their own choice of lodging. Also, if the locale features fun activities and great restaurants, your guests may want to explore and experience what is in the area. Finally, you may get a little cabin-fever if everything is housed at one place.
Therefore, think about mixing-up some of those components. Here are some examples:
2. Variable and Amenities
Vacation home offerings are as unique as the couples we marry. Before you start searching, consider the following and make a list of your negotiable and your non-negotiable.
3. Permits, approvals and fees
Make sure that you are clear with the homeowner about your plans for an event at the vacation house. Many towns have permitting requirements on vacation rentals for hosting events due to considerations like noise, parking, and sewage. And, we wouldn’t want you to put a huge deposits down only to find out it won’t be allowed, thus you having to change your plans. Worse yet, having the fire-department arrive because parking isn’t allowed on the street and then having your event shut down while in the middle of the ceremony. So please be open and clear about your wedding plans with the home owners.
Permitting regulations will likely maximum capacities for the number of people allowed on property. These capacities for permitting can vary depending on the owner and permitting, even within the same town. Additionally, companies like AirBNB have put restrictions on owners for hosting events, especially during the COVID pandemic. Often we see houses permitted up to #25, #35, sometimes #50 guests, and occasionally up to #75.
Most often, we see regulations around parking - so, be sure that you know how many vehicles can park at the house and specifically where they can park. And, even if the house accommodates more parking, consider the time of year: it can be more limited due to snow removal in winter than what would be available in summer.
When having conversations with the homeowner, be up front about any furniture moving or rental deliveries. They may not allow this because they don’t want scratches or dents in any flooring or furniture. Also be honest about dancing as heels and cowboy boots it can ruin custom wood floors. Thus, home owners may charge an event fee or ask for more of a damage deposit. Be understanding that this isn’t an opportunistic fee, there are expenses incurred by the owner such as additional cleaning, additional security in case of damage, and even additional trash removal.
For micro weddings where your guests counts may be less than the maximum occupancy of the house (for example #12 guests when the house accommodates up to #16), permitting and approvals may not be necessary. But, we believe honesty is the best policy and be very clear with owners on what your event plans entail. Regardless of any allowances, regulations, parking situations or permitting (or not), it is absolutely essential to get approval in writing from any homeowner or property management company if you plan to host an event at the vacation home.
4. Booking Expectations
In Colorado, we experience high, low, and premium seasons. Each one will have different sets of fee structures and minimum night stays. While we’d like to give you exactly what those might be, it varies from owner-to-owner during different season and regions across the state. For example winter may be peak season in ski-resort communities, in other areas of the state where there aren’t ski resorts, it may be low season. Generally summer season is our peak and the shoulder seasons are in April & May, and then again in November.
Depending on the season, you could see 2-night minimum night stays in low seasons, 5-night minimums in high season, and 7-night stays in premium seasons (like around the Holidays). Finally, make sure to ask about all fees: cleaning fees, pet fees, damage deposits and occupancy taxes - along with those event fees that we mentioned above.
5. Property Management Companies
We recommend working through a reputable property management company rather than an owner-source such as AirBNB, VRBO or Vacasa. Property management companies usually respond to any kind of service or maintenance requests immediately. Also, if something happens to the house (like a sewage leak), they have other properties in which they can move the group and the staffing to assist with the move. We once had wildfire breakout near a vacation the couple had rented - strict evacuation orders were called out TWO HOURS before the couples ceremony. The group had just enough time to pack their belongings before we were scheduled to depart for the ceremony. The property management company moved the group’s belongings while they were getting married.
Now, that isn’t to say that you won’t receive they same kind of service with an AirBNB, VRBO or Vacasa as many property management companies will post their properties on these sites. And, many owners also have connections and are extremely responsive to their client’s needs. So, read the reviews carefully, ask questions and build rapport with the owners.
This may seem like a lot to consider before selecting a property and sending off a booking fee. With a little conscious, thoughtful decisions, you’ll have a good plan and know what to expect when searching for the perfect wedding home rental:
I would love any comments or questions - what did you decide? Will you books a vacation home for any portion of your wedding weekend? Have you already hosted your event? If so, please let us know how it went. ~ Wendee
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.
START WITH THE BOUQUET
In our elopement packages, we include a fresh floral custom designed florals for the couples and matching florals + greenery to decorate the wedding cake. When looking through Pinterest, save bouquets that match your style in the following ways:
After you have picked out several bouquets, all of which are similar in style, shape and color, start thinking about accoutrements. Embellishments Ideas: add a floral crown or floral hair comb, an arrangement spilling out of a backpack or picnic basket And, if it is a true elopement where Mom and/or Bestie won't be there, have their local florist deliver them an arrangement on your wedding day - same colors/style.
Working with a Florist. We ask couples to give us at least three photos of florals they like which are similar in shape, style and colors. Then, our florist custom designs a bouquet pulling those elements together with locally-sourced seasonal flowers. Our onsite coordinator is the one who picks them up from the florist and delivers them to the couple's getting ready location. If you don't have a professional onsite coordinator, then have friend or extended family member (but not your besties) pickup the flowers for you.
ADD FLORALS FOR ATTENDANTS
Many of our small wedding couples will have attendants - bridesmaids/men, groomsmen/women, a MOH or flower girl, ring bearer. Its is a good idea to add florals for them to carry and/or wear. Also, think about any other people that will be part of your wedding ceremony, like an aunt who will be officiating or your father who will be escorting you. Mothers often like wearing a corsage - just make sure to ask if they would rather have a wrist corsage or a pin-on (sometimes florists will use a magnet to not ruin clothing) lapel corsage.
And, don't forget your fur-babies - there is nothing more sweet than adorning your pooch with a floral necklace.
There are alternatives to bouquets and fresh florals for your wedding party, such as holding paper parasols, carting lanterns or other items like signs or ring boxes. But, our florist includes a bouquet vase. Thus, you can place the bouquets around the restaurant for re-purposed decorative pieces.
CEREMONY FLORAL DECORATIONS
There are hundreds of ideas on ceremony floral pieces. Before getting too far down the Pinterest and Instagram rabbit-hole collecting ideas, there are a several of things you need to identify FIRST:
You can also add non-floral elements like rugs to stand on during the ceremony, or lanterns (no open flames please, use fake candles) - though we think those look best accented by fresh florals.
SMALL RECEPTION FLORALS
One of the reasons we like restaurants for celebrating your small intimate wedding is that they are already decorated - the interior of restaurants is not like a blank-slate banquet hall. They often will have unique seating, decorative china and glassware that fills the tables. Very little decorations, if anything, needs to be done at restaurants.
However, if you want to carry-on your style, small arrangement, greenery, and candles are all that you need. Avoid large centerpieces that will block the guests view from across the table. Or, set a larger arrangement on a pedestal stand.
To double-dip, small to medium arrangements from the ceremony (idea: placed beside the seating down the aisle) can be transported to your restaurant.
Whatever you decide for your elopement decorations and florals, download this free planning guide to give to your florist.
How Many Hours Do You Really Need to Book a Wedding Photographer For a Small Wedding?
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.
3 or 3.5 Hours: This is our sweet-spot!
If you'll be planning a micro-wedding or small intimate wedding (which we quality as 35-guests or fewer), this is just enough coverage to capture a few getting ready photos (simply dressing & putting on jewelry, pinning boutonnieres), the ceremony, post-wedding group photos, couple photos (like a mini-photos shoot with just the two of you), and getting you to the restaurant for cutting of the cake and a toast.
5 to 6 Hours:
This is the ideal number of hours for intimate weddings with less than 50 guests. These 6 hours will give you enough time to capture important moments such as getting ready, the ceremony, family photos, the first dance, and cutting the cake. Our photographers will likely be able to get a few details and decor shots. There won’t be enough time for many photos of the end of the night though.
This is generally the average number of hours that couples book with their wedding photographer for a typical wedding over 50 guests. It provides enough time for all the moments mentioned above. But there is also additional time available for bridal party photos and photos of your guests at the reception. You will also need at least 8 hours if your ceremony and reception will be held at different venues.
If you hate being rushed and want as much time as possible for all the shots you have in mind, book at least 10 hours with your wedding photographer. This also leaves more than enough time for detail and prep shots, a first look, and a photobooth, and a grand reception exit.
It’s very rare for couples to need more than 10 hours of photography time on their wedding day. However, don’t forget to ask your photographer whether their travel time is included in those hours should you be planning a destination wedding.
How did this article help you? What did you end up deciding for your wedding. Please comment below as I'd love to know. ~ Wendee
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.
1. (my favorite) Out in Nature
This type of wedding venue is as unique as they come! Its not an official site - simply anywhere out in nature that holds either a special meaning the two of you, or boasts incredible views. Pro tip: AllTrails.com - great for hikers, but even better for finding unique places, reviews of the surrounding trails, and directions. Best of all, many trailheads *don't* require a big hike, so that means Mom & Dad can be there!
© Photos by Andrea Flanagan
Think of all the great places vacationers like to tour in the destination you'd like to marry. Often, there will be observation decks associated with parks, observatories, scenic sites, and points of interest. Pro Tip: go to Google Maps for the region in which you'd like to say your "I-Do's" and simple search "deck".
3. Adventure Elopement
The hiking elopement is super popular right now. And there are many planners and photographers that know of incredibly beautiful scenic backdrops. There are a couple considerations though: yes, you'll need to hike, .... and, yes, your guests would need to as well. So, this by default means your wedding may be super super tiny - even just the two of you. But, if that is your vibe, strap up the boots, pin up the hair (and dress), and hike on!
4. The Vacation House
Okay, this is my other number 1 favorite. There are literally millions of vacation home options across the United States. Of course I'm biased, Colorado hosts some of the most stunning! If you want ultimate luxury complete with hiring a private chef, you'll never regret memories made at the vacation house. There are things to consider with this option, so please checkout the article I wrote on how to host a vacation house intimate small wedding.
© Photo by Jeanine Thurston
True, many mansions are commonly advertised to host your typical large wedding. But, there are many other smaller, unique mansions managed by historical societies that will be open to hosting small intimate events. Check out your local organizations. Many of them will have nice grounds and gardens too!
And, that brought me to of course.... your local botanical gardens. Again, think small. For example, in Denver the Denver Botanical Gardens is a premier spot for hosting weddings, and the price tag comes with it. But, think more local to find those sweet, accommodating and affordable small wedding gardens. Here's a give-away and example/alternative: Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, or the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland, CO
7. City or County Parks
Our city parks are totally underrated. They are AMAZING places to host events. And, many of them will have gazebos and shelters that are reservable for smaller groups. Another give-away: Denver City Parks has many unique properties - I'm wanting to do a wedding as Inspiration Point (is there anyone game for that? - please email me!)
Okay, city parks aren't the only sweet spot. Our State and National Parks have designated group spots. Many of them have built-in amphitheaters (for example Staunton State Park's Marmot Burrow Amphitheater and Maroon Bells Amphitheater). Please note: you do have to obtain permits in State and National Parks, and National Forrest Land. So please, be kind users of our natural resources.
9. Historical Properties
These are a GEM! Seriously. Historical properties can range from mines (Lomax Mine in Breckenridge) to mansions (Fleming Mansion in Denver), to former homes of famous people, to even chapels (America Mother's Chapel in Colorado Springs).
10. The Outrageous (best intentions here)
As cool as saying you "I do's" while jumping out of an airplane, it simply isn't something I've planned (but, I do have referrals to send if that's your gig). My style of outrageous (rather, my normal) is to say your vows on the ski slope, or on a snowcat/snowmobile ride. What do you love to do together? Is it running marathons?
BONUSES: the Bed & Breakfast Elopement, or the dude ranch, or the hot springs
I can't forget these options. Oh, there are so many! Let me know if you have any fun ideas for different for different types of places to exchange vows. I'd love to hear your stories, experiences and connect with you. And, of course if you are wanting to host your small intimate wedding or elopement in Colorado, please....
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.
There are some sample reviews that our past wedding couples have posted. And, on our “Gratitude” page of our website, these are thank you notes that our past couples have sent to us, which is also another option. So, point-being, there are other creative and heartfelt ways of showing your gratitude other than handing over cash.
Along with almost 20 years of planning and coordinating Colorado weddings, I have researched several resources to create the tipping guidelines listed below. In general,….
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.
Intimate Wedding Package | Photography: www.VillaniPhotography.com
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.
UPDATE: Planning a "Simple" Backyard Wedding
Backyard weddings were popular even BEFORE Covid-19 forced many couples to scale-back their larger celebrations due to venue closures and capacity restrictions. As simple as they may seem, there are some logistics, preparations, and details you need to consider before your (or your family's home) become the site to hot and event. Isabella Caprario wrote and excellent article for Porch.com titled "The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding". I encourage you to to consider all the elements before committing your abode to a venue. We've done many weddings either at a vacation rental property, backyards at private homes, or even family ranches. So, with careful consideration and preparation, it can be done!
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
UPDATE (5/23/21): Planning a "Simple" Backyard wedding
Backyard weddings were popular even BEFORE Covid-19 forced many couples to scale-back their larger celebrations due to venue closures and capacity restrictions. As simple as they may seem, there are some logistics, preparations, and details you need to consider before your (or your family's home) become the site to hot and event. Isabella Caprario wrote and excellent article for Porch.com titled "The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding". I encourage you to to consider all the elements before committing your abode to a venue. We've done many weddings either at a vacation rental property, backyards at private homes, or even family ranches. So, with careful consideration and preparation, it can be done!
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.
Nicole + Dusty | Boulder Colorado Micro Wedding Package | Planner, Photography, Florals, Cake, Officiant and more
Their story: Nicole and Dusty met through work at a health organization here in Denver. They became great friends, he helped here get out of several horrible Bumble dates, and she had always thought of him as just a friend. But then he quit his job and decided to make a move on Nicole. The rest is history! Nicole and Dusty decided to exchange vows in Boulder overlooking the Front Range - the place that they call home. Update Spring of 2021: our sweet couple welcomed their first child - congratulations!!!! You'll be wonderful parents.
Wedding details: Nicole and Dusty wanted a rustic style - rugged, natural and outdoorsy with a balance of soft elements with blush, grey, dusty rose and blue. They lodged in historic cabins at the base of Chautauqua Park where they had their intimate first look. Many of their pictures were before the ceremony up Flagstaff Mountain with views to the West of the Continental Divide. That way, after the ceremony they could do formal shots with #34 of their closest family and friends before heading down Flagstaff Mountain for dinner.
Photography: Kathryn Kim Photography
Florist: Pink Posey Designs | Baker: La Patisserie Francaise
Planner: Wendee Vezzetti
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
At Custom Weddings of Colorado, we love love and what better way to express your love than by writing your own vows. Of course if you're a more traditional couple, you can combine your own vows with traditional ones and have the best of both worlds.
Either way, we want your wedding to exceed your expectations. Reach out to us for help with planning your colorado elopement or micro wedding.
Small Inclusive Colorado Wedding Package | Breckenridge, Colorado in August 2019
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
Small Colorado Microwedding Package | Garden of the Gods, Colorado in August 2019
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!
Planner/Package: Wendee Vezzetti | Photos: Andrea Flanagan
Stephanie + Kolen | Intimate microwedding in Colorado | Small wedding venue with mountain views
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!)
Planner/Package: Wendee Vezzetti | © Photos: Kathryn Kim Photography
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.
Planner: Wendee Vezzetti | Photos: © Kathryn Kim | Chef: Dustin Brandt
By Wendee Vezzetti
Mother, student, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative.
Colorado's most experienced planner for intimate weddings, elopements and micro-weddings