the best COLORADO
Planning a Wedding in Colorado
Wedding planning can be a full-time job. There are so many things to check off your list, like choosing your dress (or suit) and booking a caterer and hiring coordinator and printing your save the dates and invitations, and approximately one million other things. Add to that the fact that many couples tend to take on several major life events at once while simultaneously planning their weddings (e.g. buying a new house, finishing a degree, starting a new job or having kids) and it makes it extra difficult. Don’t worry; we’re here for you. This directory is your one-stop shop for the best Colorado wedding vendors!
In the interest of saving you time and heartache, we’ve compiled this list of the best vendors we’ve had the pleasure of working with since we started photographing weddings in Colorado way back in 2008. Over the years, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly, so we’ve already weeded out the less-than-stellar companies for you, leaving only the cream of the crop. We are one hundred percent comfortable vouching for each and every company on this list and we’re fully confident that you can’t go wrong with any of them.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ve separated this database into each individual wedding vendor category (e.g. wedding coordinators, wedding DJs, wedding florists, wedding cakes, etc.) so you’ll be able to quickly and easily find the types of vendors you’re looking for.
If you have any questions for us regarding booking wedding vendors or anything else related to wedding planning, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. We’re here as a resource for you throughout your entire wedding planning process.
Finally, if you’re still looking for your wedding venue, be sure to check our database of the most Unique Wedding Venues in Colorado as well!
Without further ado, here is our list of the best Colorado wedding vendors!
Finding the Perfect Wedding Planner
After booking your wedding venue, the next order of business is likely finding a wedding coordinator to help you to plan your day. Much like wedding photographers, there are a seemingly infinite number of wedding coordinators to choose from. As a result, it was an incredibly difficult task to narrow down our list of the best Colorado wedding planners, but we’ve somehow managed to do so below. Now you only have 14 to choose from instead of 1,400!
A couple quick notes about wedding planners before you dive in.
Do you think you would benefit from having someone help you find other vendors? If so, go with a full-service coordinator. If you’d prefer to handle that on your own, you’re probably fine just going with day-of.
That said, you’ll be in good hands with any of these Colorado wedding planners and we can absolutely vouch for their professionalism and creativity.
Also, be sure to choose a wedding planner who you get along with and enjoy being around. Your photographer and your planner are the two vendors who will be with you for the entire wedding day – from getting ready in the morning to the final send off at the end of the night – so it’s super important that you like these folks on a personal level. We strongly recommend meeting up with them (or doing a Zoom call) ahead of time to make sure you mesh before taking the plunge and hiring someone. You’ll thank us later!
How Do I Pick a Wedding Caterer?
With the possible exception of the wedding venue, catering is likely to be the most expensive line item in your entire wedding budget.
The good news is that the best Colorado wedding caterers run the entire gamut when it comes to pricing. You can go all out and book a high-end caterer or you can simply decide to book a food truck (or two), which is a cool and unique option if you’re having a less traditional wedding. Either way, you can’t go wrong with any of the companies listed below.
A few other considerations include what type of food you like, what type of food your friends and family like and how important it is to you that you please everyone in the group. There’s a reason that so many weddings give guests two basic options such as chicken or fish, or chicken or beef, etc. These items appeal to the average palate, so they’re a pretty safe bet. But the more wedding guests you’re having, the more difficult it will be to please everyone. One of the coolest weddings we’ve ever been to was an Indian-Mexican wedding (the bride was from India and the groom’s parents were from Mexico). They ended up incorporating the cuisine from both countries, which was a big hit with all of the guests (and us wedding photographers as well!)
Without further ado, here is our list of the best wedding caterers in Colorado.
Picking Your Florist
Colorado is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world, so it’s no wonder the state is such a popular destination for couples looking for a cool and unique place to tie the knot. It’s the perfect mix of high plains desert and Rocky Mountain wilderness. That said, due to the dry climate, we don’t have a ton of color when it comes to native flora. Not to worry! There are plenty of creative Colorado wedding florists in every corner of the state who can add a bit of color to your wedding celebration. Whether you’re looking for an epic, decadent floral display or something a bit more modest and understated, these folks will have you covered.
Though the scenery in Colorado is often enough to impress even the most jaded of wedding guests, your flowers will only help to amplify it.
Work with them to execute your very specific vision or give them free reign to get creative; either way, you won’t regret it.
It’s also worth noting that there are a ton of unique and different alternatives to traditional wedding flowers as well. If you want something that lasts beyond the wedding day, consider doing fabric or paper flowers instead. We’ve also seen our fair share of brooch bouquets at weddings, which make for a really creative and personalized alternative to traditional bouquets. We’ve had feather arrangements, wheat and barley centerpieces, boutonnieres make from wine corks and bottle caps, wreaths festooning the ceremony arch…we could go on. We here at J. La Plante Photo are huge proponents of getting creative with your wedding and injecting as much of your personality as you can into your big day. When it comes to florals, the options are endless.
Do I need a Wedding Videographer?
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when planning your wedding is whether you should book a photographer, or both a photographer and a videographer. I’d estimate around one-third of our couples opt for a videographer for their wedding to better capture the story of their big day. That said, wedding videography is becoming more and more popular every year.
When choosing a company to film your wedding, you’ll want to make sure that they have a solid working relationship with your photographer. Your photographers and videographers will be working very closely and coordinating with one another throughout the entire wedding day, so it’s crucial that their shooting styles complement on another’s. As a result, here’s what we would recommend:
One other consideration when deciding weather or not you’d like a video of your wedding day is that there are some companies who provide both photo and video in one. This is a great way to save money if you’re wedding planning on a budget. However, in our experience, companies that provide more than one type of service don’t necessarily do one thing exceptionally well. It’s kind of the “jack of all trades, master of none” philosophy. If you want top notch photo and outstanding video (and you have the budget for it), we strongly recommend hiring separate companies that specialize in each.
What Does a Great Wedding DJ Do?
We’ve all seen bad DJs at weddings who stand in the corner texting while doing little more than overseeing a playlist. But there are also a ton of really talented wedding DJs in Colorado. These folks read the room and keep the party hoppin’ until the wee hours of the morning. We’ve listed the companies that we think are the best Colorado wedding DJs below. These are folks we’ve worked with numerous times and they always deliver.
This way, the dance floor will never be empty and your guests will leave your party at the end of the night wanting more.
Many wedding DJs also act as emcees to guide your wedding guests through the first dance, toast, cake cutting and dance party, making sure everyone is happy and engaged. This is a huge value add because without having someone to communicate what’s happening next during the wedding reception, it can turn into a bit of a free-for-all, especially if you’re having a large number of guests. This can sometimes be fun, but if you want a bit more structure during your reception, make sure to hire a DJ who will double as an emcee.
In addition to emceeing, some wedding DJs also act as lighting designers as well. They turn your wedding reception venue into a colorful work of art using lighting tools such as gobos, monograms, market lights, uplighting and more. There are also companies who specialize in lighting design alone, but if you’re wedding planning on a budget, you can always save money by hiring a DJ who does both.
There are tons of wedding DJs in Colorado, but we’d recommend starting with these peeps.
Should I Have a Live Band at My Wedding?
Wedding DJs are an awesome bunch (especially the ones on this list), but if you’re looking for something a bit different and you have the budget for it, booking a live band to play a set during your wedding reception is a kick-ass alternative. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best Colorado wedding bands.
There’s an incredibly eclectic mix of styles and different genres of music in Colorado, so the best thing to do is to start by thinking about what sort of vibe you’d like for your wedding reception: bluegrass, jazz, funk, pop, etc. Would you like to hear some originals or would you prefer to stick with the popular cover songs that are guaranteed to get everyone on the dance floor? Either way, there’s something for everyone listed below.
Plus, hiring a live band to play your wedding reception gives your wedding photographer a lot more to work with. We’ve photographed some animated and photogenic wedding DJs over our years shooting weddings in Colorado, but a live band provides a lot more opportunities when it comes to taking new and interesting candid photos.
If you need any further convincing, take a look at Kelly and Chris’s incredibly wild and fun Camp Hale wedding to get an idea of what we’re talking about here. From stage diving to fog canons to the groom singing on stage with the band, this was one of the absolute craziest and most photogenic weddings we’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. And much of the awesomeness was directly thanks to Kelly and Chris’s amazing wedding band, Soul X.
Who Can Officiate My Colorado Wedding?
That said, most couples choose to have someone officiate the wedding to provide a more interesting and structured wedding ceremony experience for their guests. If you don’t have a close friend or family member you’d like to entrust with the honor, you might consider hiring a professional instead. We’ve listed a few of our favorite Colorado wedding officiants below.
There are several considerations to factor in when searching for someone to officiate your wedding ceremony. First and foremost, what type of ceremony would you like to have? Traditional or non-traditional? Religious or secular (or maybe just spiritual)? Are you hoping for a longer ceremony with many different rituals or something short and sweet? There are as many different types of wedding officiants as there are types of wedding ceremonies, so you’ll want to hire someone whose style, personality and credentials are a match with the specific type of ceremony you’d like to have.
Another consideration is whether or not you’d like to write your own vows or if you’d prefer to repeat the scripted words of your officiant. Either way is great, but if you want to go the scripted route, be sure to ask your officiant ahead of time what the vows will be, so you can make sure it’s a match with your personalities.
Finally, just like with every wedding vendor, we believe that it’s of the utmost importance to make sure you hire a wedding officiant you enjoy being around. This person will likely only be present for a small part of your wedding day, but he or she will also be in all of your ceremony photos, so this should be a person you’d like to remember!
Wedding Photo Booths
Unique Wedding Photo Booths
We’ve listed a couple of our personal favorite Colorado wedding photo booths below. These folks do things just a little bit differently from the rest of the competition.
Another thing to consider if you want to have a photo booth at your wedding reception is that some wedding photographers provide this service as an add-on. There are several photo booth companies that do most of their business simply by selling easy setups to wedding photographers who then incorporate it into their photo packages for their couples. There are pros and cons to this. On the bright side, you’re likely to save money in bundling these services, but on the down side, companies that perform multiple tasks on the wedding day tend to be jacks of all trades, masters of none.
When we first started shooting weddings, we offered a photo booth option, but we found that we were spending too much time tending to the photo booth and troubleshooting and, as a result, were missing some of the more meaningful moments that were happening all around us. Of course, some photographers bring along an assistant specifically to handle the photo booth, but this person needs to be paid and fed.
Because of this, we strongly recommend booking a company that specializes specifically in wedding photo booths. It’s their entire career, so you know they’re going to do a great job and you’re going to have a wonderful and fun experience. And if it’s not in the budget, you can always go the DIY route.
Wedding Hair & Makeup
The 5 Best Wedding Hair & Makeup Artists in Colorado
A smoky eye or cherry red lips; up-dos or beachy curls. These artists will take your inspiration photos and your venue into account (windy mountaintop weddings, anyone?). Then they’ll make you look like yourself, just with a little more oomph. Sometimes it’s tough to find the best Colorado wedding hair and makeup artists, but if you start with our list, you can’t go wrong!
We’ve worked with countless hair and MUA companies over the years. Some are outstanding, some are okay and some leave a little something to be desired.
Your hair and makeup artists are most likely the first vendor you’ll see on your wedding day, and since you’ll be spending several hours in their company, make sure you hire someone you enjoy being around. Also, be sure to imbed enough time into your wedding timeline to get everyone’s hair and makeup done in time for the ceremony, or the first look, if you’re doing one. Of course, the size of your bridal party will dictate how much time you’ll need for hair and makeup, as well as whether or not you’d like to do your couple’s portraits before or after the ceremony.
There are approximately one million wedding hair and makeup artists in Colorado, but we highly recommend starting your search with these fine people.
Tips for Picking a Wedding Cake
With the possible exception of trying out the menus from wedding caterers and tasting wines that pair well with the various cuisines, cake tasting just might be the most enjoyable part of the entire wedding planning process. We always joke with our couples that they should bring us along if they need a second opinion. This is a service that we provide free of charge and it’s an open-ended offer (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). There are a bunch of great cake makers in the Centennial state, but here, you’ll find our own personal list of the best Colorado wedding cakes.
Colorado is a super laid-back state and, as you can probably imagine, weddings here tend to be a bit less traditional than those on the East Coast and in other parts of the country. You want your wedding to be uniquely you, so feel free to get creative with your dessert menu. If you love wedding cake, then by all means, feel free to splurge on a big-ass, awesome wedding cake, but don’t feel like you have to do so just because Uncle Joe and Aunt Edna say that it’s what you “have to do.”
Oh, and if you do decide to have a wedding cake, think about new and unique ways you can spice up the cake cutting ceremony during your wedding reception. No worries if you want to keep it traditional, but we’ve seen lots of cool alternatives to the traditional cutting of the cake, including a firefighter’s wedding in which they used and axe and another wedding where they cut the cake with a super cool (and super long) sword.
There are countless bakeries in Colorado, but we’d recommend starting with these folks.
Where to Get Personalized Wedding Invitations
So what is wedding stationery anyway? Do you really need it for your wedding? Wedding stationery can range from simple invitations and “save the dates” to a full suite of printed goods, and many couples even opt for entirely digital invitations. But if you want the real thing and you want it to really wow your guests, Colorado is home so some of the most impressive wedding stationery artists. They can incorporate mountain motifs, your personalized monogram, or anything else your heart desires. We haven’t worked closely with a ton a stationery artists over the years, but we’ve listed our favorite Colorado wedding stationery company below.
From a photographer’s standpoint, the more visual elements you have at your wedding, the better. It gives us more to work with. We here at J. La Plante Photo aren’t big on taking contrived photos of posed details, but we’ve found that focusing on “found” details injects a greater sense of realism into our wedding shoots. For example, instead of propping your rings up on a pine cone, we’ll get a close up shot of the rings going onto your fingers during the ceremony. Instead of taking 50 photos of your dress hanging in the window, we’ll create more natural images of you getting into your dress and epic portraits showing off the dress throughout the wedding day. And instead of posing a series of “flat-lay” images of your stationery, we’ll instead take photos of your guests picking up and reading your wedding ceremony programs to incorporate a human element and show interaction.
So should you purchase stationery and other printed products for your wedding? This is a decision that only you can make, but it’s a matter of looking at your budget and weighing your priorities. And if you’d like to save on paper, you can always have digital stationery and invitations made for you, as we mentioned above. Whichever route you choose, we couldn’t recommend Cristy from Lucky Onion more highly!
Which Wedding Rentals Do I Need?
Colorado is such an awe-inspiring wedding destination, we often joke that anywhere you can pull your car over to the side of the road would make for a great wedding location. From high plains desert to rolling hills to snowy mountain peaks, Colorado has everything you could hope for when planning your wedding. That said, so many of the wedding venues here are remotely located and don’t have the infrastructure necessary to accommodate large groups. We’re talking tables, table cloths, chairs, tents (in case of rain), etc. If you choose one of these venues, you might consider hiring a third-party company to rent these items from. We’ve listed a few of our favorite companies that do Colorado wedding rentals below.
But as I mentioned above, there are a ton of more rustic, “bare bones” venues to which you might need to bring in extra stuff. The list of rentable wedding items runs the gamut and, depending on what type of wedding you’re hoping to have.
A couple considerations when booking a rental company for your wedding:
- What time of year are you having your wedding and at what elevation? In many places in Colorado, you can expect each of the four seasons in any given day, so you might need a tent or umbrellas.
- Will the company deliver the items and set them up (tables, chairs, tents, etc.) or would you rather save money and pick up/drop off the items yourself?
There are a ton of wedding rental companies to choose from in Colorado, but these are a few of our favorites.
Transform Your Wedding with Lighting
Lighting design is a luxury item, but if it’s in the cards, it’s a very cool and unique way to spruce up your wedding day. We’ve worked with several different Colorado wedding lighting designers over the years, but we’ve listed a few of our favorites below to get you started.
Some wedding venues in Colorado already have really cool lighting on-site, but many are more like a blank canvas. If you’re going for something simple and understated, that’s totally fine. But if you want to add a little extra flare to your wedding day, you might consider hiring a lighting designer.
From a wedding photographer’s perspective, a lighting designer is always a solid investment. As we always tell our couples, the more light and color you have at your wedding reception, the more we have to work with. Our favorite DJs are the ones who pump fog onto the dancefloor and put on a light show because it adds another visual dimension for us to incorporate into our images. It’s the same with lighting designers. The more cool and unique visual elements available to us, the better.
It’s worth noting here that some wedding lighting design companies pull double duty and also offer DJ services, wedding planning services, wedding rentals, etc. Then there are others who specialize solely in lighting design. Depending on your wedding budget, you might be able to save a bit of money by booking one of the companies that performs multiple functions. Or, if you want to go all out, it can’t hurt to book a company that focuses all of their attention on one thing.
Designing a Signature Drink for Your Wedding
We here at J. La Plante Photo are huge proponents making your wedding uniquely you and injecting as much of your personality as possible into your big day. There is a myriad of different ways to do this – from selecting a cool wedding dress to cultivating the perfect playlist for your DJ – but one of the under-the-radar items is creating a custom drink menu for your wedding. There are several Colorado wedding drink service companies, but we’re listed a couple of our favorites below.
A lot of couples create their own themes for their wedding drinks, such as two signature “his and hers” cocktails (or “his and his” or “hers and hers”). If you’re big craft beer fans, you can always purchase a keg from any one of the 300+ outstanding microbreweries in Colorado instead of serving Bud Light or Coors Light. Another little-known fact about Colorado is that we have a bunch of wineries (most of which are located in and around the small town of Palisade on the western slope), so if you’re more interested in grape than grain, Colorado has you covered!
It’s worth pointing out here that many wedding venues in Colorado handle drink service in-house, which means that in addition to providing wait staff, they also provide bartenders to mix drinks and serve your guests. But there are also some rustic wedding venues that don’t have the infrastructure necessary to include drink service. At these venues, you might choose to bring in a third-party company to handle drink service. Nobody does it better or more creatively than these peeps.
Wedding Dress Shops
Where to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress
The dress shopping experience will be one of the first things you do that makes you realize, “Oh sh*t, this is actually real!” So you want it to be a good experience. Check out our list of the best Colorado wedding dress shops below. These folks will roll out the red carpet for you and your entourage and help you find a gown that’s perfect for your big day.
You know, there’s just something about seeing a bride in a wedding dress that makes people happy. We like to play a game as we’re walking around with a bride taking wedding photos in which we count how many times we hear the word “congratulations” from passersby. Come to think of it, this would make a pretty great drinking game. Although, we’d be toasted after the first ten minutes.
Keep in mind, though, that your dress should be comfortable enough so that you can dance the night away. And also functional to the point that you can do a bit of walking and/or hiking when you go out to take your wedding photos.
There are tons of wedding dress shops in Colorado, but these are the ones whose amazing dresses we’ve seen time and time again at our weddings. You will absolutely not go wrong with either of these wonderful companies.