A mountain wedding destination is the definition of romantic. Snow capped peaks, glittering lakes, and lush valleys make the mountains one of the most magical settings. From the stunning views of the surrounding mountains that you can share with your wedding guests, this is a perfect venue type for a dream wedding reception or ceremony. And, while this locale makes for some of the more gorgeous celebrations, there’s a lot to consider in order to pull off the big day.
That’s why we’re breaking down everything—from types of venues to dress ideas—so that you can concentrate on celebrating more and stressing less.
Finding a wedding venue that captures the natural beauty of the mountains is exciting, but challenging. Luckily, there are a wide variety of mountain venues depending on what—and where—you’re looking. East coasters can soak up the scenery in the Appalachian Mountains, whereas couples looking for a Western US wedding can gravitate toward places such as Yosemite National Park for traditional peaks and dense forests. Sedona, Arizona is ideal for the famous red rock views, and places such as Malibu or Lake Tahoe will serve couples who want both waterside vibes and mountain vistas.
When it comes to selecting venue types, the most popular areas will have a little bit of everything, whether you picture a hall with distant, but breathtaking views, an intimate ceremony on a peak, a rooftop celebration overlooking both cities and ranges, or a barn wedding with sweeping panoramas. The closer you get to big cities (such as Denver and Asheville), the more options you’ll come across, so keep that in mind whether you’re after a more secluded or more elaborate mountain-themed wedding celebration.
While a mountain destination wedding is pretty much a theme in itself, most couples like to add a few distinct themed elements to their big days. Depending on what vision you’re going for will help steer you toward creating a cohesive celebration. Are you thinking more country-rustic, chic-industrial, whimsical-forest, or mountain-glam? Since the scenery and breathtaking views from your venue will play a big part in the feel of the day, build off of that for a unified celebration. Once you know what you’re aiming for, adding in elements such as lighting, florals, decor, and cocktails will be much easier.
For a rustic wedding, DIY bars and upscale comfort food make for a memorable celebration, whereas an industrial, open-air loft event might opt for signature, smoking cocktails, and dining stations with dishes distinct to the area (such as BBQ in the Carolinas or Rocky Mountain oysters in Denver). Whatever your venue, leaning on your mountain element will help correlate the event to the venue.
When it comes time to select a wedding party look, consider playing into the stunning views of your mountain venue. Forest greens, dusty blues, and mixed neutrals make for some of the most stunning mountain wedding color palettes, and fabrics such as tulle and chiffon add a layer of whimsy to the look. If you’re getting married in the fall, velvet styles in foliage colors are another great way to play off the natural scenery and tie the wedding party into the natural aesthetic. Consider having your bridesmaids carry bouquets of greenery or rather just lanterns, and ask your gents to rock dark-colored suits for a rich and dreamy wedding party style.
With mountain weddings being some of the most dreamy and romantic around, it makes sense that selecting a mountain wedding dress to compliment the setting would be important. While you can choose any style you see fit (it’s your day, after all), there are a few dress elements that we find to be magical in a mountain setting. Fabrics such as tulle and chiffon look stunning when caught in the wind, which makes for stunning photos, and boho elements such as off-the-shoulder details and floral appliques tie into the elements of naturally beautiful and magnificent glam. Alternatively, opting for a sleek, simple, and sophisticated gown in a stretchy and form-fitting crepe will offset the magnitude of the scenery and add a level of elegance to the event.
Unless you live in the area where you’re having a mountain wedding (lucky!), there’s a chance that you’re going to be planning the big day from a distance. When selecting a wedding venue, be sure to keep in mind how you’re going to execute the preparations, planning, and day-of coordination. While destination weddings are a fun way for the couple to vacation while saying I do, a little more planning is involved since you can’t pop over to the venue on a whim or store decorations at your mom’s house to bring over the day before. Before selecting your mountain venue, make sure that you’re confident in the on-site team who will pull the event together. You’ll be communicating with them a lot, so ensuring that your wedding coordinator or planner (if you’re having one) is on the same page every step of the way is vital to having the destination mountain wedding of your dreams.
Before saying “yes” to your venue, consider not only the number of guests attending but details such as travel and lodging options. A secluded spot deep in the mountains might make it hard for some guests to secure budget-friendly hotel rooms or travel to an expensive flight destination. Consider where nearby airports and attractions are located, as well as how guests will get to the venue the day of the event. The more complicated (and costly) the travel, the less likely all of your pals will attend, so keep this in mind when choosing your celebration spot.
Finally, most guests make a trip of traveling for destination weddings, so make sure to provide a list of entertainment and sight-seeing ideas to keep people entertained for the duration of their stay, and consider adding a few more events to the celebration roster—such as drinks the day before or brunch the morning after—to make the trip even more worth it for friends on the fence.
Whether you have a boho wedding at the top of a mountain or an industrial-glam celebration with the mountains watching from afar, getting married with a mountainous backdrop makes for one of the most romantic celebrations possible. With a little extra planning, patience, and creativity, you can ensure that your destination mountain wedding will be one for the ages.