Colorado Wedding Planning Tips

Colorado is a stunning place to say “I do.” Here are Zola’s favorite tips for planning a Colorado wedding.

By The Zola Team

Colorado Wedding Planning Tips
Photo by Teresa Woodhull Photography

The First Look ✨

  • Colorado is a popular place for destination weddings. The terrain has a little bit of everything from mountains, to deserts, to urban landscapes.
  • Colorado is also known for its altitude, and altitude sickness can cause problems for many people—including your wedding guests. Plan appropriately.
  • Some of our favorite wedding venues in Colorado include rustic, ski lodge, mountain view, and trendy city celebrations. State and national parks also make lovely wedding venues.
  • From finding a perfect Denver venue to a fabulous caterer in Boulder, Zola can help with all your Colorado wedding planning needs.

Colorado is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, sightseers, and couples seeking a unique wedding experience. It’s home to a wide range of terrain, weather, activities, and landmarks. These fine qualities mean that everyone can find an ideal match for a Colorado wedding.

Before you book your flight and zip off into the mountains to say I do, there are several important aspects of Colorado weddings that you must consider. Because it’s such a popular destination, weddings in Colorado are quite expensive. Weather, transportation, and altitude can also impact your plans.

We’ve put together this guide to give you the ins and outs of Colorado weddings, including:

  • The Terrain, Landmarks, and Weather
  • Delicious Food
  • Wedding Trends
  • Tips for Pulling off Destination Weddings in Colorado
  • How Zola Can Help Make it Go Smoothly

First, let’s get acquainted with the Centennial state.

Get to Know Colorado

If you’re considering a wedding in the lovely state of Colorado, it’s a good idea to get to know a little more about it. Consider this the profile you read before agreeing to go on a date with someone—although we can assure you that we’re only including accurate information, not the exaggerated descriptions you get from an online dating app.

Terrain

No matter what terrain you’re looking for, Colorado probably has it—with the exception of an ocean, that is. You can choose your own wedding adventure, including:

  • Mountains: Perhaps what Colorado is best known for, if you’re a mountain aficionado, you’ll have plenty of options for stunning wedding destinations.

  • Canyons: If you prefer winding country roads, deep canyons, and rolling plains, you’ll find them here too.

  • Desert: For sand dunes and unique plants and wildlife, you can travel to Sand Dunes National Park and host an intriguing ceremony with fascinating views.

  • Forests: If you equate the great outdoors with cool, green forests, don’t worry, Colorado has plenty of towering trees and pine-scented breezes.

  • Hot Springs: For the couple seeking a spa getaway, the many hot springs across the state will give you a relaxing, romantic atmosphere for your wedding.

As you can see, Colorado really does have it all. Along with gorgeous natural terrain, you can choose from countless memorable landmarks.

Special Spots

Colorado is home to many famous locales where you can host an amazing outdoor wedding, including:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Mesa Verde
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Garden of the Gods
  • Pikes Peak
  • Breckenridge
  • Vail
  • Aspen
  • Telluride
  • Denver
  • Boulder

Weather

The dazzling landscapes and stunning spots for your wedding come with one caveat—the weather. It’s important to research what the typical weather is around the time of your planned wedding day.

Once you’ve done this, you should be sure to have contingency plans to accommodate your wedding guests in case there’s a last-minute snowstorm or other weather-related incident. It’s also important to keep your guests in the loop about expected temperatures, precipitation, and more, so that they can bring the right clothing and make other necessary preparations.

This is where your wedding website will come in handy. Think of the website as the go-to place for all the information your guests need. When you use Zola’s free wedding website builder, you’ll find easy to use, customizable templates that you can match to your overall wedding theme. You’ll keep everyone informed so that you and your guests have the best experience possible.

Altitude

Along with the weather, you must account for the altitude if you’re going to get married in Colorado. Much of the state is located well above sea level. In fact, the average altitude in Colorado is 6,800 feet above sea level. If you live in the state or in another high-altitude locale, the altitude won’t affect you. However, if you or your guests live at a lower elevation, you’ll need to keep the altitude in mind.

What’s Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness occurs when you go from an area of low elevation to a higher elevation where the barometric pressure drops and there’s less available oxygen. You might start to:

  • Feel dizzy or nauseous
  • Develop a headache or sore muscles
  • Feel extremely tired or have low energy
  • Have shortness of breath
  • Not be able to fall asleep
  • Lose your appetite

None of these symptoms are ideal for a couple preparing to get married or their guests. You can alleviate the discomfort by:

  • Arriving several days before the ceremony to give your body a chance to acclimate
  • Taking aspirin daily while at elevation
  • Drinking extra fluids and eating more carbohydrates

Keep in mind: The higher the elevation, the more at risk you are for experiencing discomfort. Prepare accordingly.

Altitude and Alcohol

The bad news is that alcohol and altitude aren’t a good match. This isn’t to say you can’t serve alcohol at your Colorado wedding. Instead, you should warn your guests that alcohol will hit them much harder at elevation than it does at sea level. Two drinks in the mountains will be more potent than the same at a beachside wedding.

Giving your guests a heads up and reminding them to pace themselves will help prevent some rough times at, and after, the wedding.

Local Flavors

As long as you and your guests can imbibe in moderation, Colorado is a haven for:

  • Craft breweries
  • Distilleries
  • Wineries

These can double as both drink providers and attractive, hip wedding venues.

Cost

With all the natural beauty, renowned national parks, and stunning cities, it comes as no surprise that a wedding in Colorado can be quite expensive. While the price of your wedding will vary widely depending on the location, number of guests, and more, aspects that will significantly influence the final price tag include:

  • Transportation to Colorado
  • Wedding venue prices that are higher in peak seasons
  • City weddings in trendy areas
  • Length of the stay in Colorado
  • Accommodations, food, and drink choices

While it’s possible to pull off a budget wedding in Colorado, many popular options won’t come cheap.

Wedding Trends

You might be wondering what other couples who spring for weddings in Colorado are doing. Well, we’re here with answers. Some of the most popular wedding trends in Colorado include:

  • Rustic, western, and ranch themes
  • Winter skiing escapes
  • Glamourous Colorado mountain wedding venues
  • National parks
  • Hipster city affairs

We’ll break each of these down in more detail to inspire and inform you about the many options available in this enchanting state.

Ideas for Planning a Colorado Wedding:

Now that you know a little bit about Colorado, you’re ready to take the next step and start planning your ideal wedding. If you’re planning a destination wedding and are unfamiliar with the available venues, we can help you narrow your search. Using Zola’s prescreened venue finder will save you time and a lot of heartbreak.

We make it easy for you to sort by location, capacity, price, and more. We’ve prescreened each event venue on our list, so you know the Colorado wedding venue is going to meet your needs and won’t leave you high and dry come wedding time. Furthermore, there are venues for every theme and wedding style you can imagine, including those fashionable festivities that you’re seeking.

Rustic West

Rustic weddings have become increasingly popular in recent years as couples look for ways to incorporate tradition with a natural, woodsy feel. Colorado is full of perfect places for your rustic wedding. If you love the outdoors, horses, wild prairies, and the scent of freshly mowed grass, then a rustic wedding might be right for you.

Venues

In Colorado, you’ll have many rustic venues to pick from, including:

  • Dude ranches
  • Restored barns
  • Vineyards
  • Farms
  • Lodges

These venues will give your wedding that special touch of countryside allure and will ensure that you and your guests have a memorable time celebrating the beginning of your new life together as a couple.

Best Season

If you’re adding outdoor components to your wedding planning, then May through September is the safest time in Colorado. The threat of snow and icy temperatures becomes more prominent the earlier or later you go.

There’s always a risk of rain, so choosing an event venue with some indoor space is a wise decision.

Decor

We love rustic weddings, because they offer so many opportunities to incorporate romantic, pretty touches. Some of our favorite rustic wedding decor items include:

  • Wooden barrels, signs, table decor, furniture
  • Lacey linens, tablecloths, dresses
  • Fairy lights and candles
  • Mixed bouquets of delicate wildflowers
  • Dusty, muted color schemes
  • Boots and wide-brimmed hats
  • Wine bottles, vines, and grapes

You can’t go wrong when you incorporate these touches into your rustic-themed wedding.

Tips for Success

To host a flawless rustic wedding in Colorado, there are a few things you’ll need to do. Our top tips include:

Make sure you have both indoor and outdoor space in case of bad weather. If the location is remote, provide transportation to the venue for your guests. Be mindful of rules and restrictions the venue has and follow them.

We bet you can smell the crisp, clean air now and you’re ready to begin planning your dream day in the countryside.

Skiing Escape

For those couples who live for the slopes, Colorado also has world-class ski lodges and mountain tops where you can marry the love of your life and tackle challenging moguls. You can also choose to have your ceremony during the off-season and take advantage of lower rates and stunning views.

Venues

Ski lodges can be attractive options for a wedding. You can house your guests and hold the ceremony in the same place. If you plan to get married during ski season, your ski-loving guests can get some downhill runs in before or after your wedding day.

Best Season

The best season to have a wedding at a ski lodge really depends on your goals. Are you interested in the venue because you can access the breathtaking views from the top of the mountains? Or are you going to also want to ski during your time there?

If you want to ski, then the winter months are going to be best. A few things to be aware of during the winter include:

  • The cost will be significantly higher
  • More people will be at the lodge, meaning you might not be able to have as many guests
  • Weather can be a problem for transportation
  • You’ll have to bring or rent ski equipment

In the non-ski seasons, you’ll find:

  • Prices will be lower
  • Fewer people will be staying at the lodge
  • You’ll have more competition for the event space
  • If you’re outside, wind will be a factor

As you can see, any season can be a nice time to host a wedding at a ski lodge.

Decor

You can let your imagination run wild with a ski lodge wedding. The decor can range from soft and cozy to modern elegance. Some ideas we love include:

  • Snowy white linens with mistletoe, crimson berries, and silver bells
  • Dark, moody tones with fur accents
  • Cider and hot cocoa served in tin mugs
  • Black tie, roses, and formal place settings
  • Old-fashioned wooden skis, pinecones, and pine branches

You can also incorporate the mountain into your cake with a ski slope design or fir tree accents.

Tips for Success

To win the race to the bottom of the slopes with a triumphant wedding, you should:

  • Carefully consider all logistics before the wedding
    • How will you get everyone to the resort?
    • Can everyone make it to the top of the mountain?
    • Will the lodge allow you to use the lifts to get your guests to the top?
    • How will everyone get to the airport after the wedding?
  • Warn your guests about possible problems from the altitude
  • Make sure everyone has appropriate shoes if you’re going to be outside
  • Ensure you can get everything you need to the lodge before your wedding day

Most of these potential sticky points involve logistics. Hosting a wedding at a ski lodge is attractive because of the remote feel, however, that same remoteness can cause problems if you’re not prepared.

Mountain Glamour

If you’re dreaming of a formal affair with magnificent shots of the landscape, then you need the right wedding photographer for the job. Luckily, Zola’s prescreened wedding vendor finder can help you find the ultimate professional. You can sort vendors by price, location, and more. Then, you can visit each photographer’s website to get a feel for their work and find the one that speaks to your style and aesthetic.

After all, you’re choosing your location because it’s gorgeous. You want to be able to hold on to that beauty long after the final dance is over.

Venues

The best thing about a mountain view wedding in Colorado is that you can find just about any venue to fit your needs with bewitching views of the mountains. These include:

  • Hotels
  • Resorts
  • Private mansions or estates
  • City parks
  • Churches
  • Restaurants

And the list goes on and on. The best venue for your needs will depend on your:

  • Budget
  • Guest list
  • Type of ceremony and reception
  • Time of year

Best Season

If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding with stunning mountain views, then the best time of year will be between May and September. Just as with rustic weddings, you should always have an indoor space for your guests to retreat to if bad weather sneaks in.

Late fall can also provide breathtaking views as colors change and the natural outdoor light will give you amazing wedding photos. If you’re in love with sparkling, snowy mountain tops, then an indoor venue with large windows offering dazzling views is an optimal choice for winter weddings.

Decor

Our favorite pairing with magnetic mountain views is classic elegance. For decor, you can choose:

  • White and black table linens with red roses everywhere
  • White with soft pink accents and simple pale flowers
  • Classic black and white with a bright, bold jewel-toned accent color
  • Gold and white elements with candlelit tables

You’re certain to get alluring wedding photos with any of these decorating choices when you have mountain peaks in the background.

Tips for Success

When the photo ops are a crucial part of your wedding design, you’ll need to:

  • Ensure the reception area has the views you want
  • Speak with the photographer and carefully plan the pictures you must have
  • Encourage guests to take and share candid photos that include the landscape
  • Be realistic about the weather—in the mountains, weather can turn quickly and you might not get the shots you want

Colorado’s mountains can be wedding decor on their own when used as the backdrop for your delightful photos.

City Soiree

If the big city lights call your name, then Colorado can meet your needs for a special city wedding ceremony. Colorado has many breathtakingly beautiful cities with appealing views and attractions. Some of the most popular places in Colorado for metropolitan weddings include:

  • Denver
  • Colorado Springs
  • Boulder
  • Pueblo
  • Fort Collins

Each city offers a wide variety of venues where you can host a sophisticated wedding event.

Venues

Some of our favorite venues for Colorado urban weddings include:

  • Breweries
  • Wineries
  • Distilleries
  • Rooftop patios
  • Churches
  • Gardens
  • Lofts
  • Ballrooms
  • Hotels

You can also check out universities in these cities as many of them have facilities for events. You might be able to save a little money there as well.

Best Season

A city wedding can occur in any season, provided you’re able to arrange transportation for you and your guests. Even in the snowy winter months, an indoor wedding in Denver, Boulder, or Colorado Springs is a lovely choice. For outdoor park, garden, or rooftop ceremonies, summer and fall will offer the best temperatures.

Tips for Success

A nice thing about city weddings is they’re easier to get to than those in remote settings. Logistics are much less of an issue in a city wedding. However, there are a few other things to keep in mind, including:

  • While the size of your wedding will impact the cost, city weddings are expensive
  • Give your guests plenty of notice, so they can find accommodations
  • Be mindful of big events in the city–sports, conferences, and others—as it’ll be difficult to find places to stay when the city is hosting large events

If you don’t want to spend a small fortune, don’t fret—a small city wedding can be both lovely and affordable.

Bonus Location—State and National Parks

Colorado is home to 42 state parks and four national parks. While there are permits you’ll need to acquire and rules you must follow, Colorado’s natural wonders are lovely venues to host a wedding. Many offer stunning views and the opportunity to connect with nature during your wedding.

Best Season

For outdoor events in Colorado, it’s best to play it safe and stick to the summer months. Parks with indoor space to accommodate rainy or windy days are ideal.

Tips for Success

The most important thing you must do when hosting a wedding on public lands is to be respectful of the rules. Follow all of the guidelines in your permit and clean up after the wedding. Make sure your guests also know the expectations beforehand to prevent any wedding day mishaps.

Host a Charming Colorado Wedding With Help From Zola

Colorado has so much to offer for the couple looking for a romantic mountain getaway, rustic ranch rendezvous, or ski slope celebration. You’ll have countless options for beautiful landscapes, stunning parks, amazing photos, and trendy locales. Couples who wish to say I do in the Centennial state must carefully plan for the weather, altitude, and cost of a Colorado wedding.

That’s where we step in to help make everything run smoothly. When you register with Zola, you’ll have access to all the tools you need to make planning a breeze. Then, all you have to do is enjoy your perfect wedding match.

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