Hiring a local wedding planner means you get the best of the best. The best mountain views, the tastiest food, the most talented photographer and the inside scoop on the town where you are planning your wedding. As a wedding planner in Leadville, CO and having lived here for 16 years, I’m uniquely qualified to help couples plan a wedding that honors our rich history, incorporates our scenic beauty and savors our local cuisine. Here are nine things to consider as you work with your planner to create a spectacular wedding weekend.
Photo credit: Kris Ugarriza
Where can we find the best mountain views in Colorado?
While Colorado is known for its picturesque and breathtaking mountains, often visitors arrive in Denver and are surprised not to see any mountains. If you want a mountain wedding, you’ll want to make sure the venue is actually in the mountains. While ski resorts can get you to the top of a mountain, plenty of venues offer stunning views that don’t require a chair lift ride. Are you looking for a specific setting for your ceremony; maybe a high alpine lake, meandering stream or stunning view of mountain peaks? Your planner can help you choose the perfect ceremony location based on your guest size, accessibility and local regulations. You can also consider heading to a picture perfect location for your first look, or after the ceremony with your bridal party.
How do we adequately prepare for Colorado weather?
Colorado does have a rainy season during late summer. These short storms typically build throughout the day and occur in the late afternoon. Rest assured, in our dry climate, the rainfall doesn’t last long and can result in brilliant skies and sometimes rainbows. Postponing for several minutes or umbrellas can offer easy solutions to avoiding getting wet. Having an indoor option is a good idea but rarely necessary. In the higher mountain regions the sun is more intense and so hydration and sunscreen are critical to keeping you and your guests comfortable and happy.
Will our guests be affected by the altitude?
Many mountain towns are situated above 7,000 feet and visitors can feel the effects of the elevation. In most cases, plenty of water and rest can help abate symptoms. Your planner will be aware of strategies and local resources to help alleviate any concerns.
Photo Credit: Timber and Stone Photography
When is the light on the mountains the best for photos?
Photographers know that the best time for photos is during the golden hour (the time just before and after sunset and sunrise). For summer weddings this is typically between 7:30pm and 8:30pm. When building your timeline, your planner can work with the photographer to plan a brief outdoor photo opportunity to capture this light and give the couple a sweet and quiet moment to pause during the celebration. Otherwise, when shooting an outdoor first look or a ceremony, your photographer will have strategies to capture mountain views in full daylight. Choose a photographer that is skilled in shooting in the mountains.
What recreational activities do you suggest for our wedding guests?
Colorado is known for its many outdoor recreational opportunities. If you have a winter wedding (my favorite), hit the slopes with your guests. Ski Cooper (near Leadville) offers affordable skiing and for those who aren’t skiers, Tennessee Pass Nordic Center offers nordic skiing, snowshoeing and a cozy fire and delicious hot cocoa. In the summer, hiking, biking, and fishing are popular options. For those guests that want to get into the mountains but don’t have the time or energy to climb a 14,000 foot peak, several companies offer ways to get into the mountains by other means such as a jeep or ATV tour. Most planners can help organize these additional activities for an additional cost.
Photo Credit: Brian Imhof
How can we help our guests feel connected to a place that is meaningful to us?
You chose your wedding location based on something sentimental or meaningful to you. Consider how you can share what you love most about that place with your guests so they too can feel connected to your place. Arrange an optional outing for guests such as a hike to the place you got engaged, a float on the river or lake you love, or something that makes that town unique. Part of Leadville’s identity is our mining culture. Many of our couples have arranged a ride on the Leadville Railroad to see and hear about Leadville’s colorful history. Besides trains, what says the west more than a stagecoach, a dogsled,or a vintage truck. Your planner can help you add something special to honor and connect to the place you’ve chosen to start your life’s journey.
Photo Credit: Spencer Stanek
How do we secure the best vendors in the area?
If your wedding planner is local to the location of your reception, they are your best resource for finding vendors that meet your needs and budget. Choosing vendors who are local to the area and familiar with your venue will result in acquiring the greatest end product. Caterers understand the flow and nuances of the kitchen, photographers know the best shot and perfect lighting, and DJs can maximize sound and manage transitions more seamlessly. If you are considering using a vendor that is not familiar with the venue, ask your planner to arrange a walk through of the venue before the event to ensure the vendor is familiar with the location. Also consider that there may be additional fees or delivery costs associated with using non-prefered vendors.
If we make gift bags, what should we include to show our gratitude for our guests?
Three things are key to helping guests stay happy and healthy in Colorado during your wedding; hydration, sun protection and nourishment. Consider customizing water bottles or cups that your guests can bring along with them to all events so they stay well hydrated. Protection from the sun can include sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat or a bandana; the later three are fun ways to include your hashtag or your names and wedding date. Nourishment can come in the form or a trail snack, energy bar, or a locally made treat. Have your planner help you come up with fun and creative ways to say thank you while also keeping guests healthy throughout the weekend so they can fully enjoy the weekend.
Photo Credit: Justin Talbot
How can we incorporate local food and beverage in our event?
In addition to being known for its recreation, Colorado has the most breweries per capita than any other state. Serve your favorite local brew alongside locally harvested vegetables and Colorado raised meat. Every town or region has something that is made or sourced locally. Ask your planner what’s available and consider adding a few elements to localize your event and support Colorado farmers!
These simple suggestions can help personalize your wedding and create a special connection to the place that will always hold significant meaning in your life.
Check out FREIGHT in Leadville, CO for your perfect mountain wedding.