Steamboat Springs Couples who are looking for a special spot to make their wedding vows needn't go any farther than the Steamboat Springs area.
Location goes a long way in determining the flavor and feel of a wedding, and Steamboat offers so many wedding spots that couples are sure to find a way to create the wedding of their dreams.
The great outdoors plays a big part in many couples' wedding visions. But they don't have to hold their entire wedding outdoors to take advantage of the breathtaking scenery -- they can take their photographs outside, have just the ceremony or earlier celebrations, such as the rehearsal dinner, outside or can simply enjoy the outdoors with their guests through hikes and other activities.
Every season in Steamboat offers a unique outdoors experience, from fields of wildflowers to feet of fresh snow to golden aspen leaves.
Ranches across the county lend a rustic, Western feel and can make for memorable weddings. Ranches are most popular in the summer months, but some offer winter weddings, too.
At the Glen Eden Resort in Clark, couples exchange vows outside near a river and then celebrate outdoors. The resort also has lodging, so guests can stay nearby.
At High Meadows Ranch, near Stage-coach, couples can exchange vows at a special spot overlooking a meadow surrounded by aspen and pine trees. If they choose, the groom and his groomsmen can ride up to the site on horseback, and the bride can make an unforgettable entrance pulled by horse in a white carriage. The ranch also provides some lodging and a barbecue rehearsal dinner around a campfire, and guests can take horseback rides before the big day.
Closer to town, sites such as the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp and Catamount Ranch & Club offer picturesque wedding venues close to town.
At Catamount, couples can choose to marry at the lake, where most weddings are held in late afternoon as the sun hits the water, or near the golf course, with Walton Creek running nearby and the fairway and mountains in the background.
"The aesthetic beauty is what draws people," said Jim Miller, general manager for Catamount Ranch & Club. "I don't think there's a prettier spot in the valley.
"I think it's one of the days in your life that you remember forever, and if you can have it in a beautiful spot, it's just that much more memorable," Miller said.
Catamount provides an experience in which the bride and groom don't have to worry about the details, but instead can focus on enjoying the day, Miller said. And there are indoor facilities in the rare case of bad weather.
Mount Werner gives brides and grooms the chance to get married high atop a mountaintop amid fields of wildflowers. The spot provides breathtaking views of the Yampa Valley and promises a site that the couple and their guests are unlikely to forget.
"A wedding in Steamboat is a match made in heaven," said Liz Wahl, executive chef and director of food and beverage for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. "With the majestic Mount Werner in the background, delicious creations that span the culinary globe and a professional staff that oversees every detail, the stage will no doubt be set for an event you and your loved ones will never forget."
Couples also can find a special niche in town at the Yampa River Botanic Park, Fish Creek Falls, beautiful churches and more.
Hotels in the area, including the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and the Sheraton Steamboat Hotel, offer classy and convenient spots for indoor weddings, as do various restaurants downtown and on the mountain area. A benefit of those locations, said Jill Waldman, event planner and owner of The Main Event, is that they provide the tables, linens, silverware, china and glasses -- items that may have to be rented when couples use some other spots.
The key questions couples must answer before choosing their spot is how much they can spend, the number of guests, and the type of wedding they want, Waldman said. For instance, if a couple wants a wedding with live music and dancing, or one that is black-tie elegant, they need to choose a venue appropriate for that overall feel.