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One of the biggest wedding trends for couples getting married in Colorado this year is to make the event an intimate experience. That means ditching the lengthy guest list and inviting only those folks who really matter. It also means using your budget to treat these special friends and family members to an experience that’s worthy of their loyalty and commitment.

What better way to do that than to create a destination wedding itinerary that lets your guests enjoy the best of what the location has to offer? Of course, those who opt for a winter wedding can always arrange lift tickets for their entire wedding party, but skiing is just the beginning of what you can do in the Centennial State. Here are some of the most popular Colorado destination wedding locales paired with “extra-wedding” activities that are either a bit off the beaten track or an exercise in complete indulgence.

Aspen: A Foodie’s Paradise

This upscale ski town is one of the most beautiful places in the world come June, when the snow is off the alpine meadows in the Maroon Bells Wilderness area. When your guests return from hiking, they can replenish the calories they burned with passes to this year’s FOOD & WINE Classic. They’ll have access to all the cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and Grand Tasting Pavilion of the three-day annual event, and they’ll get a chance to learn from some of the top chefs in the industry.

Beaver Creek: Journey to the Wild West

In the autumn, the mountains of the White River National Forest are aglow with massive stands of Aspen, pools of molten gold beneath the clear blue sky. For a hassle-free way of accessing the natural beauty of this season, you can’t beat an off-road adventure by Jeep. Head above tree line or take in the remains of old mining claims and historic ghost towns.

Later on, you can continue to reminisce about the state’s frontier history by spending time in the historic town of Leadville, the former stomping ground of Doc Holliday. For those who are set on a Colorado mountain wedding in the summertime, Leadville comes to life the first weekend in August each year during the local legacy event known as Boom Days. The Pack Burro Racing’s Triple Crown feature is legend.

Crested Butte: A Wilderness Adventure by Horseback

If you’ve always wanted to do a high country horseback trek through the wilderness, why not indulge this fantasy and make it part of your wedding event? Experienced guides at Tenderfoot Outfitters take parties deep into the nearby West Elk Wilderness, where few travelers have gone before. The company is willing to customize two-to-five-day dream vacations for you and your guests. You can make the whole experience completely rustic, or you can combine the trip with a more luxurious ceremony and reception in the heart of Crested Butte.

Vail: Water Sports, Anyone?

In the summer, this premier ski resort town becomes the perfect launching spot for river rafting adventures ranging from a few hours of scenic drifting to a Class V tumble down the Colorado or Eagle River. There are trips for both rafters and kayakers, ranging from a few hours to multi-day excursions. What makes a Colorado destination wedding so exceptional is the potential for striking contrasts. You can host a sophisticated reception at a venue like the Four Seasons, then let your guests unwind on the rapids the next day.

Steamboat Springs: Cowboy Wedding

If you have no interest in turning your wedding into a backcountry camping event, but at the same time you would love to spend a few days taking horseback trips through stunning mountain scenery, the perfect wedding destination solution for you may be to host your entire wedding party at one of Colorado’s dude ranches.

Many of these establishments offer guests much more than horseback riding. Some have spas, hot spring-fed swimming pools, and organized mountain Jeep tours. Many have on-site wedding coordinators who will cater a luxurious event with all the trimmings. Or, if you prefer, you can skip the fancy stuff and let your guests spend their down time unwinding:  playing cards, reading, and waiting for the dinner bell to ring.

Denver: A Mile High and More

Choosing Denver for your Colorado destination wedding lets you have the best of both worlds. In a matter of hours, your guests can ascend from the high plains to the world’s highest continuous highway, Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road, which reaches a heart-pounding 12,183 feet at its highest point. Every autumn, Estes Park, the gateway to the famous park, hosts Elk Fest. Coordinate your wedding with the festival, and your guests will be able to cross “Hear Elks Bugling” off their bucket lists.

After a day enjoying the pristine wilderness of the high country, come back to civilization for dinner at Rioja, winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for the Best Chef Southwest in 2013, and cap off your evening with drinks at the Cruise Room, a martini bar in Denver’s historic Oxford Hotel.

The Bottom Line

When you get married in Colorado, your wedding has the potential to become an adventure that encompasses the rich cultural history of the state as well as its natural beauty. These ideas just touch the surface of what’s possible. For more suggestions and a hand weaving your itinerary into a seamless narrative that dazzles family and friends, contact Pink Monkey Solutions. We’d love to stage the Colorado wedding of your dreams.