You guys! Today I’m introducing the first in a series of blog posts that I’ll be posting periodically called From the Mountains. These posts will focus on local flavors, elements, weather and generally cool things about planning a wedding across Colorado’s mountain ranges. I can’t wait to share about the area that I call home, it’s definitely different living up here at 9,000 ft, but that makes me a great resource for all things mountain.
And our first From the Mountains post will explore the things that need to be considered while you’re planning your mountain top wedding. I mean, you’ll be on the tippy-top of a mountain for goodness sake, that’s different from many wedding experiences your guests will have been exposed to before most likely and you’ll want them to be prepared and comfortable with the adventure ahead of them. Shall we?
Yes, altitude makes a huge difference for people. Even the healthiest and most in-shape people can have trouble at altitude, it doesn’t discriminate, although your older guests and those in poorer health will be affected more easily than the others. Altitude sickness can cause headaches, sleeplessness, light-headedness, shortness in breath and generally make you or your guests just feel icky “sick”. There are some ways to combat the affects of altitude sickness, but they aren’t a guaranteed fix. So if having Grandpa Mort, or Aunt LuLu, attend the wedding this should be a major consideration. Even in Denver, you’re already sitting at 5,280 ft above sea level – which is nothing compared to the 13,000+ feet with some of our areas mountain top venues.
Altitude is also applicable to alcohol consumption for you and your guests. You will be affected at a more rapid and intense rate drinking up here. Like 1 drink at sea level is equivalent to 3+ up here at altitude. Many venues will not serve shots for this reason. And while you’ll have certified bartenders making sure they aren’t over-serving you and your guests, it would still be beneficial to share this information with your guests. Knowledge is hopefully power in making responsible consumption choices.
Our mountain terrain need should be top of mind when communicating to your guests about watching your mountain top wedding. It’s rocky, dusty, uneven and generally speaking, parts of it are steep! This isn’t a place for high heels, maybe wedges, but even then it can be hard to navigate our natural alpine environment. There are more unpaved paths than paved ones, and that even applies to the roads. More on that next. And sometimes that makes walking to your ceremony a challenge, and for those guests that need assistance, wheel chairs and walkers aren’t able to provide the help they’re meant to.
Dirt roads. The roads to access these venues are usually only maintained by the forest service (ie: not comfortably drive-able, even in an SUV) and are rocky, bumpy, steep and takes a long time to drive up. Some venues won’t even be accessible via road for your guests, and in that case, consider those guests who may be afraid of heights as their only option to access the venue will be a chairlift or gondola. And those roads that are accessible via car for your guests, consider them having to drive back home at the end of the night. Will they be able to navigate steep switchbacks, rocky roads with no additional light other than the moon and their headlights? Maybe they’ve had a drink too. Safety of their arrival and departure should be top of mind. I can’t recommend enough, organize transportation for your guests, they will appreciate the forethought, plus they won’t have to worry about getting there to celebrate or making it home in one piece. It will be an investment, but well worth it, trust me.
One of Colorado’s most endearing qualities, if I do say so myself, is that we can experience all four seasons in one day. (I’m not kidding! It happens) Ok, I agree that isn’t the most wonderful on your wedding day, but you should be prepared for it. There isn’t a certain time of year that you’re wedding would be safe from weather here in Colorado, especially at elevation. Guests should be prepared with layers to put on and pull off, as weather can and will change on them quickly. But the great news is, it will usually change back again quickly. There have only been a handful of times in 7 years here in the mountains, that I’ve had to pull a wedding inside due to unrelenting weather. Most of the time we can wait it out, have a cocktail first, and then get you back outside staring out at Mother Nature’s finest gifts.
And while this information seems like a big list of concerns, we can plan and prepare to tackle them through out our planning process to make sure your guests are prepared and ready for the incredible experience that awaits them at your mountain top wedding. Nothing is more awe inspiring that professing your love on top of the world, it certainly will be a wedding to remember!