Colorado taxpayers have helped pay for 35 private weddings since 2021 |

Colorado taxpayers have helped pay for 35 private weddings since 2021

Sarah Mulholland
Colorado Public Radio

Colorado has spent nearly $300,000 in taxpayer money on private weddings in the state as part of an incentive program meant to lure event planners to spend money here and bolster local economies after the pandemic. 

The program, created by legislation in 2021, offers a cash rebate that covers up to 10 percent of eligible costs for events that generate at least 25 paid overnight lodging reservations and demonstrate a significant economic benefit for host communities.

The intention was to get group travel back to pre-pandemic levels and encourage organizers to plan conferences, meetings, and yes, weddings, in Colorado. Colorado’s Tourism Office contracted with Metro State University to gather and approve applications. 

As of last month, 35 weddings have received rebates, and the program is ongoing. As of November, it still had more than $5 million left to give out to eligible events.

According to data obtained by CPR News, the rebates for weddings were starkly lopsided. One wedding in Aspen at actor Kevin Costner’s rented private ranch received $92,287, the largest wedding rebate MSU has approved. In fact, it’s 10 times as big as the second-largest, the data show. The average rebate for the other weddings was $5,500. 


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