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
Quick reference points:
What you need to know about the Colorado marriage license
Generally, getting married is everyone’s dream. Marriage is the legal union of two people as partners, usually between men and women who publicize and make their relationship official. The entire process of getting legal married may seem to be a disheartening task. However, that is not the case if you know all the requirements of obtaining a Colorado marriage license.
Getting Marriage license in Colorado
Colorado provides a remarkable landscape with natural resources that lure enjoyable memories. Hosting an event in the state can give memorable experiences due to the available recreational opportunities. However, when it comes to getting the Colorado marriage license, things change. The states have a different line of requirements when couples to engage in marriage. During the marriage, all couples are required to apply for a marriage license. The application is done by the county clerk’s office and requires both parties to bring valid identification. The approved identification are passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, and military identification card.
It is recommended that you both go to the courthouse together. However, during the process, one of the couples may be absent and provide an absentee affidavit with a notarized signature. The absent party’s valid identification should accompany this. Also, the state requires couples to be 18 years and above. However, a person with the age of 16 or 17 can marry with parental consent. They should have an approved court order from a judge along with parental consent. The country requires the couples to complete the marriage certificate within 63 days of the wedding date and return it to the country clerk.
Towed in Colorado, the two partners do not have to be residents in the state. The application and fetching of the marriage license are made at the County Clerk’s office. The partners intending to marry are required to present themselves personally at the county clerk’s office and fill out a license application. The process consumes less than an hour, but you can fill out some paperwork online before availing yourself at the clerk’s office, as this saves some time.
Colorado State does not require blood tests or any obscure documents during the marriage license. All that is required are the spouse’s valid identification forms, including a passport, state issued driving license, military identification card, or birth certificates. Information about birthplace and names of spouse’s parents may also be required. It is not a must for the two partners to be present at the County clerk’s office provided that there is a complete and duly signed absentee affidavit accompanied by valid identification of the absent party.
During the application process, the two to-be-wed must provide some documents to acquire a marriage license. In case one of the partners was previously married or widowed, they will have to provide proof. The marriage license does not bear a waiting period; thus, it can be used the same day it is obtained. The marriage license costs only $30, either payable by cash, cheque, or credit card.
A license from any county in Colorado can be used in any other county in the same state only after being filed either by mail or in-person in the county it was issued in. Taking the license in person to the County Clerk’s office is advantageous because it gets filed immediately compared to mailing, where it might take several weeks to be filed. The couple can solemnize their marriage, meaning that they can legalize the marriage by signing the officiant line. After the couple gets their marriage license, they will have to fill in details such as date, time, location, and other relevant information. The filling out of such information is the responsibility of the officiant. However, the county clerk may offer guidance if the couple does not have an officiant.
When planning a small wedding, it’s understandable that you want to stick to a modest budget without sacrificing quality. And, though wedding costs can quickly add up – from decorations, to venue, to food – there are ways to balance your spending so the money you do spend is spent on important parts of the wedding, and not expenses that will quickly be forgotten or thrown away.
I’ve put together this guide on what to skip and what to savor to help you decide which parts of your wedding are most important to spend money on, and which parts you can go without, DIY, or order for cheaper in order to save money in the long run.
SKIP: Expensive invitations
There is an abundance of options when it comes to invitations for a small wedding. There is no reason to spend hundreds on special paper and printing for invitations that your guests will likely toss out as soon as they mark your date in their calendar. Instead, you can DIY your invitations using a photo printing program from a drugstore, complete with envelopes from a craft store, or even send invites via email or phone. Professional language and a few dollars spent to make sure the invites look good (if they are digital or on paper) will go a long way in ensuring your invites don’t seem cheap or quickly thrown together.
SAVOR: A great photographer
If there is a must when it comes to quality, it is a great photographer. Don’t be afraid to spend a good portion of your budget on a highly-rated and recommended photographer, as photos will be how you remember your special day for the rest of your lives. Skipping out on an experienced and professional photographer will make it difficult to capture beautiful wedding memories, which are a must regardless of the size or extravagance of your wedding.
SKIP: An expensive indoor venue
If you are planning a small wedding, one of the easiest ways to cut down on costs without looking tacky is to use an inexpensive outdoor venue such as a beach or mountainside instead of renting a large indoor venue that can cost thousands. For many outdoor wedding sites, such as a beach, the only thing you need to purchase is a permit. This will allow you to have a beautiful, natural wedding without spending a cent on a building rental. Not to mention, outdoor photos often turn out better than those taken indoors, regardless of venue.
SAVOR: Tasty, high-quality snacks
Instead of serving a large, low-quality/inexpensive meal, opt instead for a smaller assortment of high-quality snacks such as fruits, desserts, and cheeses to keep your guests satisfied without breaking the bank. (Keep in mind that, if you decide to serve snacks instead of a full meal, you should let your guests know ahead of time or host your wedding reception at a time that is not traditionally mealtime.) This will allow you to feed guests more expensive foods without using a large portion of your budget on a buffet or large dinner.
Of course, what to skip and what to savor ultimately boils down to your priority list. If you haven’t done our “Setting your priorities” activity, connect with me as I’m creating a FREE simple course/activity for how to set your priorities and stick with them throughout your planning. This activity will help you to determine what to skip and what to savor according to your vision.
Planning your wedding, regardless of how small the wedding may be, is no small task. There are always many things to decide on, from a location, to a venue, to a guest list. It’s therefore no surprise that it’s easy for wedding planning to turn from a fun, exciting task into something daunting as your to-do list grows.
Regardless of how much has to be done before your wedding, there are many “enemies of fun” that can turn the process of planning your wedding into a nightmare. Here, I explain what the top three are, and what you can do to avoid them.
© Photos by Kathryn Kim Photography
Of course, you want your small, intimate wedding to be wonderful. It’s a special day between you and your soon-to-be-spouse, and maybe even close family or friends. It’s a day you will look back on forever, so the need to make it “perfect” can be all-consuming.
However, you can save yourself much stress if you accept from the very beginning of your planning process that your wedding will not be - and could never be - absolutely perfect. Any event that involves people, weather, and lots of planning is bound to come with hiccups, even for the most experienced or hardworking planner. Accepting this early on will give you the freedom to experiment and have fun while planning your wedding, without the unattainable goal of perfection looming over your head.
2. Doing it all yourself.
You want to keep your wedding simple and small, without any bells and whistles. However, this doesn’t mean you need to do all of the preparation yourself. Having a low-key wedding does not mean that it has to be a complete DIY! It is more than acceptable to get help from a professional wedding planner or group of friends/family in planning your big day.
Not only will this relieve enormous amounts of stress for you, but will also give you a chance to make memories with those close to you before the wedding day. It’s easy to plan small gatherings where people can help you prepare decorations, invitations, or food in your own home, while spending valuable time together.
3. Feeling obligated to make it bigger than you want.
Once you’ve gotten engaged, it’s likely that many people you know will come out of the woodwork to congratulate you and, usually, ask about the wedding. Questions about who is invited and how many guests they can bring can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re planning to keep your ceremony small.
While it can feel inconsiderate not to invite people you know and love, it is extremely important that your number of wedding guests fit your vision, budget, and venue. Explaining to friends (and even family) who are not on the guest list that you value them as a part of your life, but are keeping your ceremony small as soon as possible will eliminate a lot of stress as you start planning your wedding.
Above all, remember: this is your day, and it’s okay to cut yourself slack, ask for help, and stick up for the wedding vision you have. After all, years from now, your memories won’t be of the planning process, but rather of the day itself!
As you plan your small wedding, it’s likely that finding the perfect photographer is one of the first things on your list. Whether you’re hiring for first look photos and the reception, or only the ceremony, photography is an integral part of every wedding because it gives you beautiful memories to frame and look back on.
Often an afterthought, though, is videography. It’s similar to photography, but boasts many differences which are worth thinking over before deciding whether or not to splurge on a videographer.
I hear you: your wedding is small, intimate, and anything but extravagant. You may be thinking that a videographer in addition to a photographer is overkill. However, you may find that hiring a videographer to capture a beautiful wedding video is the perfect way to complement the photos you’ll receive following the ceremony, helping you remember your special day for years to come.
I’ve compiled a list of the top benefits of wedding videography to help you decide whether or not it’s right for your wedding.
1. It will capture the moments you don’t see.
On your wedding day, you’re going to be the center of attention. This means that, even if your guest list is short, you’re likely going to be preoccupied and spending your time experiencing the day for yourself instead of watching it unfold around you.
This means that there’s a chance that you will miss precious moments such as your grandmother crying as you walk down the aisle, your maid of honor fixing your veil, or your soon-to-be spouse getting ready in their own dressing room. A wedding video can capture these moments in ways photos simply can’t, allowing you to see all the moments you missed and relive your wedding from a new perspective.
2. A wedding video serves as a timeless keepsake.
While it may be difficult to justify spending large amounts of money on an expensive dress or extravagant decorations that will just be thrown away following the reception, a well-made video is something you can keep - and treasure - for years.
It will allow you to relive your day again and again, and will serve as a constant reminder of your love for your spouse, capturing emotions and loving touches that are hard to see in photos.
Video by Veiled Rose Films
3. Relatives and friends who did not attend can experience the wedding afterward.
Your wedding is small, meaning everyone - from your friend from college algebra to your very distant relatives - may not be able to attend. A wedding video is a great way to allow them to experience the wedding from anywhere in the world after the wedding, keeping your wedding party small but allowing those who want to see you walk down the aisle and tie the knot to do so.
There are countless ways to allow people to view your wedding video, from sending it via email, to uploading it to a social media site like YouTube. This makes for easy access and inclusion for everyone who could not attend.
The benefits of wedding videography go on and on. When considering whether to hire a videographer for your wedding, consider what a video could bring to your special day - and what it could help you take from it.
Here are some of our recommended videographers:
If you and your significant other have decided that a large-scale, extravagant wedding is not for you, fear not - this doesn’t mean your wedding day has to be any less special or romantic.
There are a plethora of ideas for laid-back weddings that will allow you to focus on the person you’re marrying instead of the logistics of an enormous ceremony and reception. Not only will these ideas make planning a breeze, but will allow you to plan a wedding that directly caters to your relaxed style.
1. Have a Backyard Wedding
If you want a wedding that celebrates everything home, family, and closeness, a backyard wedding may be the perfect wedding for you. It doesn’t have to be your own backyard - a family member or friend whose home boasts land that is beautiful and fit to host a small wedding party works perfectly.
There are several advantages to a backyard wedding, including eliminating the cost of an extravagant venue and allowing you to do your wedding your way, without worrying about a venue’s rules or requirements.
Another advantage to a backyard wedding is that, since you’re on private property, you can start decorating and setting up well in advance, eliminating the need for day-of rushing around. This will take some of the stress that comes with wedding planning away, allowing you to focus on the day instead of the logistics.
2. Have a Colorado Beach Wedding
Beach weddings make perfect laid-back weddings for couples who are looking to get married somewhere outdoors and low-key without sacrificing the beautiful scenery that comes with a traditional venue.
Most beaches simply require a permit in order to host a wedding, making it a low-cost option that feels exotic, classy, and natural.
When researching beaches, be sure to make yourself aware of important aspects of the locations you’re browsing, such as how crowded they are, whether or not they allow alcoholic beverages, etc...
And yes - we do have beaches in Colorado! Of course, there’s no ocean. But, we do have lakes and rivers that have shore-side beaches. The bonus, there are usually mountains in the backdrop!
3. Have a Mountain Wedding
Mountain weddings boast many of the same advantages as beach weddings, including beautiful scenery, low expenses, and a natural and elegant experience. Mountain weddings provide for absolutely beautiful photos, and are perfect for couples looking to host close family and friends in a location that is simultaneously cozy and vast.
It’s important to talk to a wedding planner when exploring mountain wedding options, as there are many important things to consider when choosing the perfect place to wed. Though a mountain spot may look beautiful in photos, you will need to know how accessible it is, and therefore how realistic of a place it is to host a wedding before deciding it’s the one. No one wants to hike three miles to a wedding ceremony!
A wedding planner will know of mountainous venues that are perfect for weddings, eliminating the guesswork that comes with planning on your own.
Colorado Laid-back Weddings
Laid-back weddings are perfect for couples who want to tie the knot in a memorable way in the company of close friends and family without the stress of planning an excessive wedding ceremony and reception in a traditional venue.
These ideas prove that there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing a low-key wedding venue that fits your needs - and will help you create memories that last for years to come.
Did you have a laid-back wedding? Do you have ideas for incorporating laid-back elements for your wedding - please let us know in the comments below. Take care - Wendee
Once you’ve decided that a small destination wedding is perfect for you and your soon-to-be spouse, the true planning begins - and, though you won’t be swamped by the task of sending out hundreds of wedding invitations or scheduling a DJ (whewie), there is still much to decide.
One of the most important aspects of wedding planning is choosing the date of the wedding. This is especially important when planning a small destination wedding, as many factors such as weather, holidays, and local events can influence your ceremony.
Weather is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a wedding date. Though it is impossible to know whether it will rain or shine on a certain day over a year from now, it is possible to schedule your wedding during a time period that will cater to your preferences in terms of colors, attire, and season.
Colorado boasts beautiful seasons all year long, but each one is vastly different. The beautiful shades of fall will color photos much differently than a snowy landscape of winter. Knowing this and researching Colorado’s seasons well in advance will put you steps ahead in terms of choosing the perfect wedding date. A good rule of thumb is as follows:
A smaller guest list makes it all the more important that the people special enough to receive an invite can make it. When planning your wedding, keep in mind holidays that will be happening around that time, including those specific to your religion or culture. It is important to ask your families about special anniversaries, birthdays or sadly, dates in which our loved ones passed - though that can also be a time of remembrance and hence celebration.
Even if your wedding does not fall directly on a holiday, it’s imperative to remember that people often travel for holidays, limiting their availability before and after. A buffer zone of a week on each side of major holidays, and a few days for minor holidays will ensure that the people closest to you will be able to attend your wedding without needing to rearrange their schedule. Holidays in Colorado also mean lots of in-state travel, so expect lots of traffic on the roadways and higher lodging rates.
Lastly, being aware of local events that may be happening during your planned wedding date will help you avoid the last-minute stress of needing to switch venues or drastically alter your ceremony, as well as ensure your guests will be able to find accommodations close by.
Before you decide on a date, you should make sure you know about any events such as concerts, parades, sporting events, openings, etc… that may be happening on or around your wedding day at your chosen location. We recommend checking with the local chamber of commerce to find the event schedule.
The good news is that events big enough to cause a serious rift in your day are likely to be planned out far in advance, leaving you ample time to research and plan a date that will ensure the biggest event happening in the area is yours.
By Wendee Vezzetti
Mother, student, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative.