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!
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.
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.
Their Story: "Josh and I met when we were 17 and 19 years old in a small suburb of Chicago at my friend Jimmy’s bonfire by chance through mutual friends. In college we went our separate ways. In May of 2014, I sent him a random message on Facebook looking to reconnect. When he responded, we connected instantly. Our first phone conversation we had after we reconnected lasted 14 hours (we talked through the night and still went to work the next morning!). Colorado is where we found our bliss, and deeply connected to one another. We both feel that it’s the only place where we want to solidify our love and start our journey together moving forward, wherever the world may take us."
Wedding details: Megan + Josh were one of the COOLEST couple's we've worked with. They were all about having fun on their wedding day - a little whiskey, and adventurous spirit for some amazing photo shoots, and a funky tie! After their outdoor ceremony on Flagstaff, they celebrated with #28 of their guests at a Boulder tea house on their garden-like patio that made you feel like it was their own home!
Their Story: David is a police officer; Andrea works for community mental health. They met through mutual friends. David loves Colorado and they were planning to vacation (camp) here over the summer. One conversation led to another, and it seemed to make sense to get married in Colorado,.... then go camping for the honeymoon.
Wedding details: Early in the planning, Andrea mentioned disliking cookie-cutter weddings. And, with a rainbow of parasols and vibrant sunflowers, their's was anything but the standard wedding! They traveled from Virginia with #20 of their closest friends and family to have a personalized celebration: staying at a comfortable-luxury 5-bedroom vacation home, exchanging vows in an outdoor ceremony (a little bit of "Jaws" during the processional), having a friend officiate, overlooking a lake with the mountains in the backdrop, and returning to the home where a chef awaited with a customized meal. Can we re-live this day please?
Their story: "Jason and I were setup by mutual friend. We were both older and had never married, but hoped to find that special person to build a family together. For us, it happened fast! After six months of dating, we found out I was pregnant. We now have a beautiful two-year-old. We love our little family: our motto - "three together!".
Wedding details: Jen and Jason contacted us three months prior to the wedding (yes, we can plan a wedding in as little as 5 days, or 5 months)! Breckenridge has always held a special place for them, having visited on family trips. Their priority was a simple, intimate outdoor setting with a scenic background. Family-focused and small: 6 adults, three kids.
Their story: Family friends introduced Stacey and Monica over a tapas dinner in downtown Austin during fall of 2017. A friendship immediately sparked that evening! Monica is from Orange County, CA where her family still resides and Stacey is from Cambridge, England where his family still resides. "We wanted a small ceremony that our parents could attend as both sides would need to travel quite a ways to attend. We both love ski towns so when we found a company like Custom Weddings of Colorado who could take care of a small style wedding, we were very excited and impressed at the level of service they could provide us. Stacey and I look forward to our small wedding Vail!"
Wedding details: Monica and Stacey were a delight to work with. They have an adventurous spirit and that is what you need for a winter wedding in Vail. We started the day with getting ready photos and a first look..... with bubbly and their family! In Vail style, they boarded a shuttle and then walked through Lionshead Village to board the gondola for a ceremony at the top of the mountain. Yes, the weather at the top can be quite different from the base area - but, we had furs and umbrellas in hand. The snow actually made this experience more intimate. Post wedding, they celebrated at a local restaurant with warm spirits!
Photographer: Andrea Flanagan Photography | Florist: Pink Posey Design
Baker: La Patisserie Francaise | Planner: Wendee with Custom Weddings of Colorado
About the Couple: “Kaleb and I met two and half years ago through our church. We were really good friends for a year before finally dating. He proposed in August while taking me on a hike. We decided to get married in Colorado because we wanted a small, stress free wedding where the focus would be truly on us, and not on pleasing family or friends. We decided that Colorado would make for beautiful pictures and it was somewhere new for both of us!"
Wedding details: Having a wedding done YOUR way with no pressure from family or friends is our type of couple. And, did you notice they are hikers too? Love it! Elaina & Kaleb settled on a wedding at the unique Garden of the Gods. Secretly, the best place to stay and dine is in Manitou Springs. John (my boyfriend) and I go there at least once a year for a couples getaway and to hike the Manitou Incline. We LOVE staying at the Cliff House and going out for dinner at Briarhurst Manor (the feature small pirate dining rooms). Garden of the God’s is a great spot if you want a winter wedding, but you don’t want to get deep into snow often found farther west in the mountains. Elaina’s wintery style and colors popped in the natural environment. Gorgeous style! Though she had 5 bridesmaids, we did a casual “no hoopla” ceremony.
Their story: "Boe and I are high school sweetheart and at the time of our wedding, and were together for over six years. The reason we wanted a small, destination wedding in Colorado because we enjoy traveling and we desire an intimate wedding that is more focused on the love we share more so than on putting on an extravagant show for guests."
Wedding details: their story rings true to our hearts! Genesis wanted a style that is romantic, vintage, and rustic with dark reds, blush, and ivory accented with greenery. Their priorities were to have breathtaking mountain scenery in an unforgettable destination. What better place is Rocky Mountain National Park for a small elopement-styled wedding? They travel to Colorado from Texas with only 12 of their closest family and friends, staying in a vacation cabin near Estes Park, Colorado. Post ceremony, they celebrated at a local restaurant where we delivered and setup a small cake: top tier was Strawberry Charlotte and the bottom tier was Cappuccino Mousse (who says wedding cake has to be boring?!).
Their story: "We met clear back in middle school and blossomed a friendship through our early high school years. We started dating our junior year and we fell in love immediately. Now we’re ready to take the next step in our lives and we couldn’t think of a better place than our favorite travel destination, Colorado!"
Wedding details: Grand Lake, Colorado was the perfect wedding spot in the fall months for Mackenzie's natural woodland style of deep reds, blush coral with accents of yellow and greens. They traveled from Kansas with #26 of their closest family and friends to witness their “I Do’s” in one of our favorite quaint little mountain towns. They all stayed in their individual rooms and a lodge historic lodge and celebrated that evening eating BBQ at one of the best! To compliment the crisp autumn air, they chose Peach Melba (top tier) and Mochal Buttercream (bottom tier) for their decedent cake flavors.
Their story: Michelle and Justin met through mutual friends. A year later they officially became a family when they adopted their first dog, Finn. After dating for two years in Wilmington, DE, the two decided to uproot and move to Denver, Colorado. Their fur family became complete when they adopted their second dog Luna. Michelle and Justin decided on a small CO mountain wedding after much deliberation. The two went back and forth between eloping, and inviting their closest friends and family to a small gathering. After their friends and family insisted on being present for their wedding they decided a small CO mountain wedding would be perfect for everyone!
Wedding details: Honestly, whether they eloped or had their closest friend and family present, we were ready to work with this spirited, fun couple! The fall colors and vibrant sunflowers reflected their personalities and their wedding day! And, like a true Colorado couple, their dogs were not only present, but walked down the aisle to a “You and Me” version by Vitamin String Quartet. The Breckenridge Distillery matched the vibe of their energetic Colorado gathering.
Their story: "Jamie and I started dating about a year and half ago. We don't have a glitzy story - we met online! This our second marriage. We see in retrospect how our prior weddings were about the event; not the marriage. We want want a small wedding that is focused on our two families becoming one, not a wedding that is about "itself."
Wedding details: Oh boy, do we connect with how big weddings can get crazy and the focus of marriage is lost in the event. Katie, you speak our values! There is a reason why I (Wendee here) only specialize in the small intimate weddings and no longer plan the big bashes (said "goodbye" to those in 2012). They made it extra special by having a friend officiate. We planned a "rogue" elopement-style package for them and their 18 guests on top of Vail Mountain, which is when we purchase gondola tickets, ride to the top of the mountain, walk to a private spot, stand amidst nature and exchange vows with some of the most incredible views possible!
Their story: "Zack and I both attended Texas A&M and clicked from the beginning. We want a small, destination wedding in Colorado because we want our wedding to be a memorable experience with our families. Zack has been vacationing in Colorado with his family all his life and has always dreamed of getting married there. Colorado is significant to us as a couple as well because we enjoy driving there for vacation with our dogs."
Wedding details: Did, they say dogs? It's no wonder why we clicked with Ann + Zach. Though we can incorporate our fur babies in the ceremonies, their pooches stayed home on their own vacation. Pretty colors of plum, cranberry, fuchsia and wine added richness to their wedding style. The cake: too gorgeous to eat, but with flavors of ganache (the top tier that Ann so considerately cut into) and mocha buttercream.... who can resist!
Their story: "We met randomly three years ago at AT&T. I think the biggest reason to have a small CO wedding is that we are paying for the wedding ourselves so we wanted something small and affordable. We also wanted the day to be about us with our closest family and friends. We both love the outdoors, the mountains, and adventures so that's what we wanted our wedding day to be."
Wedding details: Like so many of our couples, Laura + Zach match our ideal client: desiring an intimate day in nature with luxury details, yet without breaking the bank! They traveled from Ohio with 28 guests for an outdoors wedding, incorporating modern minimalist and organic details with lots of greens, creams and lavender.
Their story: "When we started planning our wedding, I wanted to elope and he wanted a huge party with like 400 people, so this intimate wedding with just our immediate family is the perfect match. We are having a reception back home, so we really are getting the best of both worlds. He loves the mountains and I love lakes so this site really "spoke" to us. We took one of our first big trips to Colorado right after moving-in together, so it holds a special place in our hearts for many reasons and we're excited to "make it official" there."
Wedding details: Brianne and Eric traveled from Minnesota with 30 of their closest family and friends. Orange is the groom's favorite color, and hers is purple to match her rockin' shoes! They like clean simplicity. So, we incorporated a more structured bouquet with some white elements, that included dahlias, ranunculus and calla lilies.
Their story: it was the second time around for bride and groom + they like camping and hiking + their first trip together was Estes Park. What does that equal? A small tiny wedding (okay, really an elopement with two friends) in Rocky Mountain National Park on a gorgeous lake!
Wedding details: their summer style fit beautifully into a lakeside mountain wedding with a rustic bohemian garden style bouquet in bright colors to include pink, coral, yellow & blue with accents of white created with a mix of locally grown wildflowers and other seasonal blooms. They stayed at a cabin near Estes Park where we started the event by delivering their flowers and cake. After some pre-wedding cheers, we traveled to the ceremony site to exchange vows (and have more cheers - we see a theme here! Post-wedding they celebrated with dinner at Twin Owls Steakhouse.
Their story: "After meeting online, our first date was at a park to introduce our three dogs. The rest is history! We love the Colorado lifestyle and all the outdoor recreation it affords and feel very fortunate to now call this beautiful state home." From day one, Ashley and Michael were on the same page about wanting an intimate mountaintop ceremony with those closest to them in attendance. We are happy to have found this gorgeous couple to help pull it all together for them!
Wedding details: they rented at a large vacation home near Keystone, Colorado, overlooking Lake Dillon and hired a private chef to cook a celebration dinner for their small party of 12 guests. Her bouquet details: a rustic, voluptuous, garden style bouquet in pink, coral, peach, cream hues with accents of blue created with a mix of locally grown garden roses and other seasonal blooms and mixed foliage. Stems finished in rustic “burlap & lace” style.
Their story: "We met at a Thomas Rhett concert in Lincoln, Nebraska while in college at UNL. Kris went up and asked me to dance and the rest was history. We love our cheesy love story! We decided on a small mountain wedding because we both love the outdoors, being in the mountains and enjoy spending time with close family and friends - they get to know each other and spend time together in a more intimate setting. We plan on having an at-home reception in Nebraska two weeks after our ceremony where we will celebrate with 300 of our family members and friends!"
Wedding details: they stayed at a large condo in Keystone, Colorado and decided to have drop-off catering at the condo. This is a fun option for an intimate post-wedding celebration, especially since you can BYO wine! Michelle's color palate of whites with pops of wine, deep pink and lighter pinks, blush, greenery and pops of coral looks amazing with a summer backdrop. With our intimate wedding package, your florals and cake design/flavors are customized to your own unique style.
Their story: "We met through mutual friends, and actually walked down the aisle together at our friends' wedding! Later that summer, we started dating. We both love the outdoors and wanted a small outdoor wedding in a beautiful setting. Sprague Lake fit the bill and then some."
Wedding details: Recreate this summer look with a voluptuous garden style bouquet with pinks, ivories, pale yellow and peach, flowers created with locally grown garden roses and other seasonal blooms with accents of a couple succulents and mixed foliage. The cake: ribbon buttercream texture with artfully matched cake stand.
Their story: "I’ve already done the big, traditional wedding and wanted nothing to do with anything that even remotely resembles my first wedding. Hence our desire for an intimate, immediate-family-only kind of wedding. We wanted to do a “destination” wedding in the Colorado mountains because this is the state where we met and fell in love. Down the road, we will be throwing a party (instead of a reception) in Wisconsin and in California to invite everyone we left out." Luckily and happily, Fred's yellow lab also welcomed Ashley into the family. We are such lovers too for our fur-babies!
Wedding details: After consulting with Ashely and Fred, they chose to get married on the shores of Grand Lake - the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Ashley's style was blues and purples (multiple shades) together, with accents of pinks and white in a wildflower style with a rustic wrap. We did one of the most unique cakes for her: added purple edging to a standard buttercream ruffle design.
By Wendee Vezzetti
Mother, student, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative.
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.