What’s great about this business is that Aspen wedding planners & coordinators get to have a constant exchange of information and ideas. Lucky for you, I’m offering up some of this great information so you can be in “the know”! Here is a list of my top 10 takeaways from this past summer:
1) First Look Photos
I can’t say enough about how much I love this concept. These photos are a way to still keep the first glimpse of the groom seeing his bride special, but they are done before the ceremony. This way the bride and groom still have that treasured moment, but they don’t have the build up that goes with it when the pressure is on and you’re walking down the aisle. And the best part is, you get some alone time before the craziness sets in, as well as a lot of great happy couple shots out of the way so you can head straight to your cocktail hour once you’re officially Mr. & Mrs.!
2) Cake Cutting Before Dinner
I helped coordinate a wedding this summer where right before the guests were about to be seated for dinner, the couple did their grand entrance announcement, walked straight out onto the dance floor where the band played their first dance, after that they headed over to the cake table, did the traditional cake cutting, then sat for dinner. This created a lot of momentum and set the tone for the rest of the night. And as soon as dinner was done, their cake was ready to be served. Genius!
3) Plated First Course
If you’re into buffets but want to maintain some form of organization for the ever-not-so-fun buffet lines, then a great way to regulate this is by having a plated first course. Once guests are seated and the salad is served, have the staff dismiss the tables one-by-one so they can make their way through the buffet line…peacefully.
4) Utilizing Aspen’s Many Parks as Ceremony Sites
There are so many great parks in the area and if you have a somewhat small guest list, having the ceremony at a park is fairly easy to coordinate. Whether it’s the John Denver Sanctuary, which looks absolutely stunning now with the second phase now complete, Glory Hole, or the park across from Smuggler with amazing Aspen Mountain views — and know that just because you’re getting married in Aspen, doesn’t mean you have to have your wedding at the top of the mountain.
5) Up lights and Candlelights
If you want to instantly add warmth and intimacy to any room, up lighting and candles are the way to go. Just to clarify, if you’re not familiar with event lingo, up lights are those awesome lights that are usually placed at the base of a wall and shine upwards on the wall or toward an object. You can use many different colored screens or gels on them to match a variety of color schemes. Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget for an A/V company to handle this, there are a variety of retailers on the Web that sell these for a minimal investment.
6) Quirky Recessional Songs
I think it’s great that people are having more fun with ceremonies. I’ve been to many weddings where the Beatles “All You Need is Love” or Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” sends the happy couple off in style, BUT, my absolute favorite of all is from a wedding I did in August. As the new Mr. & Mrs. made their way down the aisle, “Road to Nowhere” by the Talking Heads led them on their merry way. Too cynical? Neigh!
7) Fun Wedding Programs Written in a Conversational Tone
Another wedding component that I’ve noticed is ditching the rules of conformity are wedding programs. For instance, instead of just listing your bridal party as friends or relatives, try putting “Maid of Honor & Best Friend Ever” or “Bridesmaid & The Reason Andrew & Erin Met”, etc.
8 ) Rain Plans — I Cannot Stress the Importance Enough!
We had one of the driest Aspen summer’s on record this year and I still had two weddings get rained out. A lot of couples get married in the afternoon here and unfortunately that is prime time for a summertime shower. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, have a solid Plan B, one that you’re not afraid to execute. This will give you so much peace of mind on your wedding day, you will be glad you have this to fall back on.
9) Gondola Mishaps
This could be included with #7, but weddings on Aspen Mountain are a big deal around here. The Aspen wedding deck is a highly desired location, as it should be. Ninety percent of the time the plans are executed beautifully up there, but when there are snafus, it usually is attributable to the gondola. First, all guests need to be reminded that it takes 20 minutes to get to the top of the mountain. Second, if weather does move in and it gets windy or there is lightening the gondola will shut down. With the crew at the Little Nell you are in very good hands and they will always find a way to help you, but just know that there are risks involved with that ever-so beautiful, mountain-top wedding.
10) Music, Sweet Music!
I just coordinated one of the best weddings I think I’ve ever worked on and attended for that matter. (Erin & Todd Heintz–thank you for that–and pictures will be posted shortly!) I cannot emphasize the importance of good entertainment, no-matter what kind of event you’re planning. Todd & Erin were shining examples of how you can cut back in other places, like decor (they used a lot of candlelight as opposed to all flowers as their centerpieces) and both being music lovers they had a great 80′s band and DJ that played during the band’s set breaks. As you can see, their wedding was a huge hit!