Wedding Guide: Wedding with a view

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— Mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes. It’s hard to top Steamboat Springs when it comes to outdoor wedding venues. Perhaps the only thing missing is the ocean — but that’s what honeymoons are for.

Knowing you want to hold your wedding in Steamboat is an easy decision; picking the right site is the challenge.

If you prefer the view from atop, a ceremony on Thunderhead at Steamboat Ski Area might be the choice for you. Long a favorite of brides and grooms, Thunderhead offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Yampa Valley with unique touches such as gondola rides for guests. When the ceremony concludes outside, guests can move inside for food, drinks and entertainment.

Perhaps you’d like to tap into Steamboat’s Western heritage. Any number of private ranches are happy to help. Midnight Ranch, north of Steamboat Lake, and Flying Horse Ranch, situated on Lynx Pass near Stagecoach Reservoir, are two favorites. Other popular ranch options include Saddleback Ranch, Vista Verde Guest Ranch, Elk River Guest Ranch, Dutch Creek Guest Ranch and High Meadows Ranch.

Couples can have the best of both worlds — resort luxury and Western rusticity — at spots like Catamount Ranch & Club. Lake Catamount, located just a few miles south of Steamboat, provides an idyllic setting complete with top-notch amenities and service.

Other popular outdoor venues in and around Steamboat include the Yampa River Botanic Park, Fish Creek Falls and Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.

Local churches typically are happy to provide an intimate indoor setting for your ceremony, and many Steamboat restaurants have the space and staffing to host your reception, rehearsal dinner or both. Rex’s American Grill & Bar has private rooms as well as a catering service. Three Peaks Grill and Cottonwood Grill also specialize in receptions and rehearsal dinners.

If you have a large guest list and require space that a restaurant simply can’t offer, the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and The Steamboat Grand are the top two locations for ballroom receptions.

A couple of last words of advice: Before settling on any location, be sure to call other similar venues to inquire about costs and restrictions. Steamboat is a popular place to get married, and many venues will need to be booked a year or more in advance, particularly if you’re considering a summer or early fall wedding.

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