The place that wows you
Picture the Rocky Mountain fairy tale: A summer wedding in a bright green Colorado meadow filled with wildflowers under a cobalt-blue sky and with the sounds of birds all around. To assure that dream wedding doesnt dissolve into a nuptial nightmare, wedding planners across the High Country recommend that brides and grooms are prepared and flexible when it comes to an outdoors affair.What I tell my brides is, you can have an outdoor wedding if you plan it right, says Aspen-based party planner Peter Helburn. Tips for success: Always have an alternative plan in case of inclement weather. We all know how quickly Colorado weather can change, Helburn says. Alternate plans include an indoor location or a tent with roll-down sides and heaters, and conversely, for scorching hot summer days, a tent for shade and sunscreen as gifts for guests. Think twice about footwear, Helburn says. Traipsing through a field in 4-inch white satin heels won’t be a vision of grace. Plan on bringing a comfortable pair of shoes to get you through the day in style. And last, everyone needs to go to the bathroom at some point, Helburn says. While most outdoor venues have bathroom facilities, its best to double check their availability and quality before you settle on the venue.Despite all the challenges, many couples want the outdoor affair. And Helburn understands. It can truly be a fairy tale, if youre the right type of people and its done right.And in many cases, the way to do it right, is to choose a venue that can quickly move from indoor to outdoor or vice versa. Thankfully, such locales can be found from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to Vail and Breckenridge. The following are the top picks by area wedding planners:Summit County- The TimberRidge at 11,444-feet atop the North Peak at Keystone, this location offers guests the unique experience of riding two gondolas to get there. The venue has a spectacular outdoor deck excellent for appetizers and pictures and a spacious lodge for indoor partying (800-463-5064, http://email@example.com).- Ten Mile Station located on Peak 10 at the Breckenridge Ski Resort, offers views of the Blue River Valley, Baldy Mountain and Mount Guyot and features mining-era architecture in a mountain formal atmosphere. And like the TimberRidge, its accessed via gondola, making it an ideal Rocky Mountain indoor/outdoor location (800-789-7669, http://firstname.lastname@example.org). Other popular Summit County spots worth checking out are the Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone (877-625-1540, http://www.keystoneweddings.com), Sapphire Point (970-468-5400, http://www.summitcolorado.com) and the Silverthorne Pavilion (970-262-7300, http://www.silverthorne.org), both in Silverthorne.Eagle County- The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera located near Avon, this venue cant be matched for setting, service and indoor/outdoor possibilities. Large weddings take place on the sprawling lawn or inside the Summit Ballroom, smaller gatherings are a perfect fit for the Garden Room. Or, create a combination of your own (800-650-ROCK, http://www.cordillera.rockresorts.com).- The Beaver Creek Chapel just steps from the slopes, is romantic chapel is the perfect precursor to an on-mountain reception at Beanos Cabin on Beaver Creek Mountain. And it doesnt get more charming than a sleigh ride to the reception followed by cocktails near the roaring fire for a winter weddings (970-845-9449, http://www.beavercreekchapel.com and Beano’s Cabin at 970-949-9090, http://www.beavercreek.snow.com).Pitkin County- The Elk Mountain Lodge nestled in the Castle Creek Valley about 9.5 miles from Aspen, is ideal for indoor/outdoor events, especially in the month of September, when the local foliage turns bright orange. A patio overlooking the lake provides a serene outdoor setting with beautiful views of the mountains, and indoor spaces lend themselves to dining, dancing and cocktail hour with high ceilings and a Rocky Mountain feel (970-925-8825, http://www.elkmountainlodge.com).- The Roaring Fork Club located just downvalley from Aspen in Basalt, this is the newest wedding hot spot. A private golf club located on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, it is both, picturesque and convenient the club offers comprehensive wedding services, including lodging options (970-927-9000, http://www.roaringforkclub.com) – Other Aspen-area venues to explore: the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain (970-920-4600, http://www.thelittlenel.com), the Historical Societys Wheeler-Stallard House (800-925-3721, http://www.aspenhistory.org) and any of the world-class hotels in town.Garfield County – The Hotel Colorado is centrally located and perfectly elegant, especially for the bride who appreciates the hotels storied significance in Colorado history (it was built in 1893 and displays a large collection of portraits of famous hotel guests, including several American presidents). The hotel offers unmatched versatility with a quaint courtyard, a spacious ballroom and spaces of all sizes in between (800-544-3998, http://www.hotelcolorado.com). – The Sunlight Mountain Inn Bed and Breakfast is as rustic as it is charming. The perfect location for a true Colorado celebration. Its indoor facilities can accommodate a small gathering, while larger groups can easily expand outdoors for a truly great mountain experience (970-945-5225, http://www.sunlightinn.com). – Other possible wedding sites include the Aspen Glen (800-277-4536, http://www.aspenglen.com), the Redstone Inn (800-748-2524, http://www.redstoneinn.com), and Exclamation Point atop the new Adventure Park gondola (800-530-1635, http://www.glenwoodcaverns.com).
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