Majestic mountains. Rustic ranches. Gorgeous lakes. Stunning red rocks. Atmospheric ghost towns. Rushing rivers.
All make stunning backdrops for a wedding ceremony, and Colorado is blessed with all of these, as well as a plethora of resorts that range from rustic to five-star luxury. In fact, one of the most difficult things about throwing a destination wedding in Colorado is deciding which of its many glorious sites will be the perfect setting for your ceremony.
Colorado is very proud of its many sunny days — its official tourism site even boasts that Colorado enjoys 300 days of sunshine each year. And because it averages only about 16.5 inches of precipitation per year — 8 inches at lower elevations, 23 inches at higher elevations — your chances of having a dry day for an outdoor wedding are better than in many other states.
But that doesn’t mean that the weather in Colorado is predictable. In fact, it is known for being quite fickle. It’s not unusual, for example, for it to be snowing one winter day in Denver, but then be 60 or 70 degrees the next. And the fall months may even resemble winter at times as the first snows typically arrive in Colorado in late September.
As for temperatures, they can vary greatly depending on a destination’s elevation. For example, the average high temperatures for Aspen during the spring range between 40 and 60, with lows in the 20s. Highs in the summer months are typically in the 70s, with lows in the 30s. In the winter, you can expect highs in the 30s, with lows in the single digits.
In Denver, the high temperatures in the spring range between the 50s and the 70s, with lows ranging between the 20s and the 40s. During the summer months, you can expect highs in the 80s, with lows in the 50s. And during the winter months, the highs are typically in the 40s, with lows in the teens.
Hoping for a white wedding? Then book your destination wedding in one of Colorado’s mountain resort areas. On average, these resorts typically enjoy more than 300 inches of snow a year.
Local Tradition to Add to Your Wedding
If you’re getting married in a rustic setting, such as on a ranch, consider adding a touch of the Old West to your wedding by having your bridesmaids don cowboy boots instead of heels. And instead of a fancy sit-down dinner, why not serve a buffet barbecue of pulled pork or beef brisket and rolls. Want something a little fancier? Then consider serving some local ingredients, such as elk tenderloin or wild boar.
- Ski Resorts: Breckenridge, Aspen, Vail or Beaver Creek
- Ghost Town. For something really different, consider getting married in this restored ghost town that is located on the grounds of the Dunton Hot Springs Resort. It’s a rustic and romantic setting that was formerly an old mining town.
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. This well-known venue actually offers several different sites that are excellent for a wedding. Its Trading Post Backyard area, for example, offers a stunning backdrop of red rock formations as well as breathtaking views of the valley below.
- Blizzards or heavy snow can be an issue if you choose a mountain resort. A little snow can make for a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos, but Mother Nature occasionally blankets Colorado with more than its fair share and sometimes earlier or later than one would expect. One of Denver’s biggest storms, for example, dumped almost 32 inches between March 17 and 19, 2003. And more than 21 inches fell between October 24 and 25, 1997. So if you aren’t good at rolling with the punches, you might want to limit your wedding dates to the months between June and early September.
- Bargain rates in the spring and fall. Many of the ski resorts and area vendors offer greatly discounted prices during their off seasons. An added bonus? The Colorado mountains are often exceptionally beautiful during the fall months.
- There is no waiting period for getting married in Colorado and no tests are required. To wed legally without parental consent in Colorado, you must be at least 18 years of age and show proof of age. Both parties must apply and sign the marriage application in person at any Colorado county clerk’s office. If either you or your soon-to-be spouse cannot apply in person, that party can obtain an absentee application. Your marriage license will be valid for 35 days.
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