At Save the Date, as many as half of our clients do not live in Colorado, but wish to plan a “destination” wedding here. Some have contacts of some sort with Colorado already; some may have vacationed or skied here before, and others have never been to Colorado at all but just see it as an awesome place to get married! All are great reasons to think about the beautiful state of Colorado as a wedding destination.
Destination weddings present great opportunities to gather family and friends for a mutual “vacation.” But they present challenges as well. Here are a few pieces of wisdom to keep in mind as you think about your Colorado destination wedding.
- Do I need a local wedding planner? Strongly consider hiring an independent Colorado wedding planner at the outset to help you to find the right venue. There is enormous variety in Colorado as to style, location and cost of venues, and unless you are able to spend significant time in the state researching on your own, you could be lost trying to figure it out without help. Also, for most venues you will not have “one stop shopping” – you will need to hire all of your local vendors (floral, rentals, photographer, music, etc.) yourself, again putting you at a disadvantage without knowing the community, and being able to attend meetings. A competent Colorado wedding planner will be able to recommend trusted vendors that fit your budget, and can also do an enormous amount of research on your behalf.
Be cautious in relying wholly on a “wedding coordinator” who works for the venue. Many venues offer wedding or event coordinators. But a venue coordinator is not a substitute for an experienced planner and designer, who works solely for you, not for the venue. An on-site coordinator generally cannot help you design your wedding, research and meet with vendors, and manage contracts, and will not create comprehensive budgets and schedules. In fact, many venue coordinators require that couples, particularly those having destination weddings, hire an independent Colorado wedding planner to insure that things go smoothly.
- Understand Colorado weather. If you haven’t spent much time in Colorado, familiarize yourself with our sometimes crazy weather, before you choose either a date or a venue. For example, June, the quintessential month of brides, can be extremely stormy, and either quite warm, or quite chilly. September is usually lovely, and very popular for weddings – but snow happens. And don’t forget, the weather in the mountains is overall cooler and even more unpredictable and prone to extremes than in the foothills or on the front-range. Choose a venue that is appropriate for your wedding vision and the season; plan proper attire; and have a backup plan for bad weather.
- Be mindful of altitude. Among the most desirable and dramatic wedding venues for many couples is the top of a ski mountain – such as those at Vail, Breckenridge, or Aspen. But even if you don’t want the very top, just a beautiful mountain or foothills location, you might still be at significant altitude. Denver itself is 5,280 feet higher than New York City, and Colorado Springs is 1000 feet higher than that. Estes Park, at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, has a number of gorgeous wedding venues, but it stands at 7,500 feet. Breckenridge, before you even go up the ski peaks, is at a lofty 9,600 feet!Bottom line, while a young couple and their friends might do fine at a higher altitude by drinking extra water and getting a little extra rest, older guests and those with health problems might experience significant discomfort, or may not even be able to come. So think carefully about who you really want to be at your wedding, and if altitude will put a strain on your favorite people, ask your planner to help you find a location that is a little lower in altitude, and also which does not require strenuous walking. This is another area where your Colorado wedding planner’s knowledge is gold.Also keep in mind that alcohol goes a lot further at altitude – consider ways to temper the amount of alcohol consumed by your guests, so that no one overdoes it inadvertently
- Be mindful of distance. It’s also important to think of your guests when it comes to the difficulty factor in getting to a destination location. Many couples not familiar with Colorado do not have a good sense of its size, and also that the most beautiful places in Colorado are often the hardest to get to. For example, everyone loves Telluride. But it is either a very long drive from Denver International Airport, or an expensive extra flight. Not to pick on Telluride – the same is true of many locations, and many you don’t even have the option of flying into.
- Visit in advance. Even if you have hired a Colorado wedding planner, you should try to visit Colorado at least once or twice before your wedding. You will want to give your planner as much opportunity as possible to get to know you, and also ideally you should try to meet with a few key vendors, such as your photographer and florist, as well as visit your venue – so there are no surprises!
Save the Date Events has extensive experience planning destination weddings across the state of Colorado. Learn more about our services go to http://www.savethedateevents.com/wedding-planning or simply call us today at 303-887-9862 to discuss your Colorado wedding!