Best Wedding Venues
in Northern Colorado
Planning a Wedding in northern Colorado?
Colorado is the eighth largest state in the nation by area and the wedding venues are spread out throughout every region of the Centennial State. So, when you’re planning a Colorado wedding, where do you start your search for your venue? Below, you’ll find our list of the best wedding venues in northern Colorado.
P.S. Don’t foget to check out our list of the best Colorado wedding vendors as well!
Planning a Wedding in Estes Park
Estes Park is one of our all-time favorite places to shoot weddings. It’s most famous for being the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is one of the most naturally-beautiful and awe-inspiring places on the planet. As a result, there is an absolute embarrassment of riches when it comes to unique Estes Park wedding venues.
The single best tip we can give you for planning an Estes Park wedding is to consider having an off-season wedding and/or a weekday wedding. The town becomes super crowded with tourists on weekends between May and September and wedding venues and hotels charge a premium due to supply and demand. That’s not to say you can’t have a summer wedding on a weekend in Estes, but you’ll have way more leeway when it comes locations on a weekday and/or November through April. Plus, you’ll save money on your wedding venue and some of your wedding vendors as well!
The benefit of Estes Park being such a tourist destination is that the town is absolutely chock full of cool little restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, distilleries and everything else you’d expect from a mountain town. Plus, Estes Park is home to the historic Stanley Hotel, which is famous for being the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel, The Shining.
Regardless of which Estes Park wedding venue you choose for your wedding, we always like to take our couples into Rocky Mountain National Park for photos, either after the first look or after the wedding ceremony. And if there’s enough time in your wedding timeline, taking a drive up Trail Ridge Road makes for some of the most epic wedding photo opps in all of Colorado.
There are a ton of cool and unique wedding venues in Estes Park – far too many to list here – but check out a few of our favorites below and you can’t go wrong!
Estes Park Wedding Venues
Della Terra Mountain Chateau
Della Terra Mountain Chateau is a beautiful upscale hotel that backs up directly to Rocky Mountain National Park. Not only do you get all of the amenities you could possibly hope for, you also have the majestic backdrop of RMNP for your wedding ceremony. It’s the best of both worlds.
Situated just about five miles south of Estes Park, the Dao House is a series of log cabins and event spaces offering retreats, artist residencies, snow-shoeing excursions and, of course, weddings. The primary wedding site is a 15-minute walk through the aspen forest surrounding the venue and gives the feeling of complete isolation. It’s incredibly peaceful, which isn’t a word typically associated with weddings. Also, it’s just a couple-minute drive from Lily Lake, which offers awe-inspiring vistas of the stars on a dark summer night.
Check out Katie and Kevin’s Dao House Wedding to see more!
We couldn’t make a list of the best Colorado wedding venues without including the iconic Stanley Hotel. This beautiful 110-year-old hotel which sits atop the foothills overlooking Estes Park is known for being Stephen King’s inspiration for the 1977 novel, The Shining. In recent years, an array of newer buildings has been constructed around the original hotel, including a concert hall and a state-of-the-art pavilion, which acts as a separate, indoor wedding venue for larger groups and/or rainy days. Add to that the fact that it’s a 10-minute drive from the gates of Rocky Mountain National Park and it’s a photographer’s dream to shoot an Estes Park wedding at this venue. I could probably photograph 50 Stanley Hotel weddings and not take the same picture twice.
Check out Eden and Cade’s awesome spring wedding at the Stanley Hotel to see more!
Black Canyon Inn
The Black Canyon Inn offers beautiful mountain views from the wedding ceremony site, featuring the prominent “Twin Owl” peaks. Also, the on-site Twin Owls Steakhouse offers an array of wild game dishes and is some of the best wedding food we’ve had in our 12 years shooting weddings.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most majestic and awe-inspiring National Parks in the United States and one of the most beautiful wedding venues I’ve ever seen. With so many location options for your wedding ceremony, from Lily Lake to Bear Lake, Upper Beaver Meadows to the 3M Curve, you can’t go wrong in choosing Rocky Mountain National Park for your wedding venue.
Planning a Wedding in Fort Collins
Note: It’s rare that we make it up to Fort Collins to shoot a wedding, but we’ve included our favorite venue in the area (so far) below. As we continue to venture back up that way and discover more unique Fort Collins wedding venues in the future, we will absolutely update this list!
The largest city in northern Colorado, Fort Collins is about an hour and a half drive from Denver and, like a lot of places in the state, is best known for its incredible brewery scene. In fact, every time we’ve headed up north to Fort Collins during our time here in Colorado, it was for one of two reasons: to go to a brewery or to photograph a wedding. Sometimes both! After Denver (and possibly Boulder), I’d say that Fort Collins is the brewing capital of Colorado, which puts it in the running for one of the prime brewing capitals of the entire country. New Belgium is without a doubt the most well-known brewery in town, but there are countless others that are equally as delicious.
Fort Collins is also home to Colorado State University, so there are approximately four million restaurants and bars that are all typically less expensive than similar establishments in other parts of the state.
Fort Collins is also a great place for couples planning weddings on a budget. There are a ton of great wedding venues here and they’re typically less expensive than similar venues in Denver and other parts of the Rocky Mountains. Start by searching for a venue in town if you’re going for an urban vibe. If you want more space and better views of the mountains, head west of town a bit where you’ll find a selection of more rustic wedding venues.
Fort Collins Wedding Venues
First and foremost, the Tapestry House itself is a beautiful old mansion that also doubles as a place for you and your closest friends and family to stay after the wedding reception winds down. The property is also rife with massive old (oak?) trees that make for really cool wedding photos. The reception takes place in a more modern out building with a tent to extend the space and accommodate a large number of guests.
Check out Alli and Shawn’s Tapestry House by Wedgewood wedding to see more!
Planning a Wedding in Longmont
Just north of Boulder, Longmont is a great alternative to the more expensive wedding destinations in other parts of Colorado. It’s a bit out of the way, but still very close to the major population center of the state and there are many unique Longmont wedding venues to choose from as a result.
Regardless of where you get married in Longmont – whether it’s in downtown or out on the surrounding ranch land – you’ll have amazing views of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker in Rocky Mountain National Park to the west. These peaks are approximately thirty miles away as the crow flies, but the way they loom dramatically over the western horizon makes them feel a lot closer. Sometimes, the best views of the mountains are to be enjoyed when you’re not actually in the mountains.
There are a few cool venues in the downtown area that are both stylish and affordable (a rare combination in other cities) and have a cool urban chic feel. But if you’re looking for more of a small-town rustic vibe, you can always venture outside of the city proper where you’ll find plenty of more quaint and rustic wedding venues scattered throughout the surrounding environs.
There are also a ton of great restaurant and brewery options in the downtown area, all of which are more affordable than similar establishments in Denver and Boulder. It’s also a fairly manageable drive to get to Estes Park from Longmont, so if your wedding guests are in town for a few days, it’s always a fun day trip to head up and see the popular tourist attractions the town has to offer, such as the Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Longmont Wedding Venues
The Shupe Homestead is both quaint and also majestic, offering amazing views of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker in Rocky Mountain National Park. This venue was built for sunset wedding photos. Also, the owner, Darla, is an absolute hero. She was kind enough to allow us to fire off confetti cannons for a nighttime photo knowing full-well that her staff would have to clean it up the next day. Oh, and there are horses!
Check out K&G’s fall wedding at Shupe Homestead to see more!
The St. Vrain
The St. Vrain is a sort of urban chic wedding venue directly in the middle of downtown Longmont in northern Boulder County. It has an upscale feel with both indoor and outdoor options for weddings ceremonies. Also, the wedding food is always good at the St. Vrain.
Check out Shelby and Brian’s spring wedding at the St. Vrain to see more!
Planning a Wedding in Lyons
Approximately halfway between Boulder and Estes Park on Hwy. 36, Lyons is a cool little mountain town situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. There are a handful of unique Lyons wedding venues to choose from, but our personal favorites lie along the North St. Vrain Creek. This picturesque mountain river not only provides ample opportunity for awesome wedding photos, but it also adds a nice cool breeze to the air, which feels wonderful during those hot summer wedding days that are so prevalent here in Colorado.
Lyons is a great jumping-off point for day trips to Estes Park, but it’s also close enough to the city that your wedding guests won’t have to drive very far from the airport. This combination of being in the mountains, yet still in close proximity to Denver makes Lyons a “best of both worlds” destination location for your wedding.
Another added bonus is that one of our favorite breweries, Oskar Blues, is located in downtown Lyons and we always make it a point to stop by and enjoy a delicious pint after a long wedding day. They have since opened other locations around Colorado, but the brewery in Lyons is the original location. There’s also a wonderful little distillery called Spirit Hound, for the whiskey connoisseurs in your group. Not to mention, there are a ton of great restaurants in the area since it’s a heavily-trafficked route to get up to Estes Park.
Lyons Wedding Venues
Directly across the street from Planet Bluegrass, River Bend in a picturesque weddings venue on the banks of the North Saint Vrain Creek. It’s a beautiful and quaint location that also provides an awesome “glamping” tent for you and your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen to get ready in. It’s worth noting that River Bend has a nighttime noise ordinance that prohibits loud music, so you either have to hire an acoustic band for your reception or do a silent disco.
Check out Katie and Adam’s River Bend wedding to see more!
Planet Bluegrass is extremely unique in that it is first and foremost, a music festival venue. We’ve photographed several Planet Bluegrass weddings and it’s always a blast. The reception pavilion has a built-in stage, so most couples opt to have a live band, which really brings the dance party to life. Plus, the North Saint Vrain Creek runs through the property, which provides ample opportunity for cool wedding photos.