More and more couples are choosing to have a Colorado destination wedding these days, and for good reason! The majestic rocky mountain region that comprises the western half of the state is a sight to behold and there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring mountain wedding venues to choose from.
At the same time, Denver is a major population center and, as a result, it offers all of the spoils one would expect from a metropolitan city: bars, restaurants, breweries, concert venues, museums, parks and, of course, a variety of urban wedding venues.
Whether you’re an outdoors enthusiast or more of a city person (or a combination of both), Colorado has something for everyone. Plus, it’s located near the geographic center of country, which makes it the perfect neutral location if you have friends and family coming from both coasts.
Once you decide to have your destination wedding in Colorado, where should you begin the wedding planning process? Below, we’ve outlined some general guidelines to get you started!
Ask the locals for advice when planning your Colorado Destination wedding
Start with friends, family members, acquaintances, ex co-workers or anyone else you might know who already lives in the area. Ask them what their favorites areas of the state are and the logistics of getting there (travel can be difficult if you’re not used to driving in the mountains.)
If you don’t know anyone who lives in Colorado, that’s okay! Reach out to local vendors: coordinators, wedding photographers, venues managers, etc. These folks have years of experience working in the Colorado wedding industry and are more than willing to offer guidance.
Book your Colorado Destination Wedding early
As I mentioned earlier, Colorado is becoming one of the most popular destinations for weddings in the U.S. and, as a result, wedding venues and vendors book up fast! Especially for peak dates (Saturdays between May and October).
If you have your heart set on a Colorado wedding, don’t hesitate. You’ll want to secure your wedding venue at least 18 months in advance of your wedding date and you should try to lock down most of your key vendors (coordinator, caterer, florist, photographer, DJ, live band, etc.) at least 12 months before.
Another consideration here is that having a non-Saturday wedding and/or an off-season wedding (November – April) will likely give you more flexibility in booking venues and vendors.
Consider elevation when planning
If you’re planning a mountain wedding, keep in mind that you have to be careful at high elevations, especially if you’re not accustomed to spending time in the mountains. Altitude sickness is very real and can be debilitating if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Before your wedding, be sure to hydrate, limit alcohol consumption, eat healthy meals and get plenty of sleep.
Also, consider spending a few days in Denver before heading up to the high country. This will help you acclimate more gradually to the elevation change.
See our related post on planning a mountain wedding for more info on this.
Educate friends and family
As the newlyweds-to-be, you’ll likely be doing your research and due diligence. The next step is to communicate your findings to all of your wedding guests who are coming in from out of town. Your wedding website is a great place to do this. If you’re not planning on doing a wedding website, you can always send out an email to your guest list.
Be sure to include tips for avoiding altitude sickness, driving in the mountains and other basic info such as where to eat, sleep, shop, etc. As I mentioned before, feel free to use your local wedding vendors as a resource for any information you’re not sure of!
Make it yours
Just because you’re having a destination wedding doesn’t mean you have to follow all of the “rules” of the location. Coloradans are super laid back, but if you’re from the East Coast and you want to have a big, traditional wedding with all of the accoutrements, feel free to go for it. Or if you’d rather just have a few close friends and immediate family members, that’s cool too!
If you like Thai food, you can hire a caterer with the skillset and willingness to serve Pad Thai for dinner. If you like bluegrass music, hire a bluegrass band to play live at your reception. If you want to save money on flowers, feel free to skip the florist. Colorado’s natural beauty is stunning with or without floral arrangements.
The point is, do your thing. This is your wedding, so make it you. For more info, check out our post on how to make your wedding unique!
Feel free to reach out anytime if you have questions for us. We’re always here as a resource throughout your entire wedding planning process!