Outdoor Colorado Weddings: 6 Sustainable Alternatives
If the tall trees, rolling hills, and majestic mountains have captured your heart like they have mine, then getting married in nature is a no-brainer decision. Colorado has many options for your nature-loving soul. These options will naturally be more sustainable than hosting your wedding in a venue, but there are still a few pitfalls to look out for. Travel: if you’re asking your guests to drive a few hours into the mountains, you’ll want to think about the carbon emissions involved in that longer trip. Can you arrange for a shuttle bus, help organize carpooling, or even purchase carbon offsets? Rentals: you may need to haul in a tent, toilets, sound system, generator, tables, chairs, and lighting. Make sure you consider both the added budget costs and the environmental cost of these items. Try getting all of your rental items from the same company to save trips, and minimize the number of items being trucked in by focusing on the essentials and getting creative. For example, candles or solar powered lights may be a great alternative to generator-powered lighting and chairs can likely be repurposed from your ceremony to your reception. And always consider the Leave No Trace principles to make sure you leave the natural space better than you found it:
Plan ahead and prepare.
Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
Dispose of waste properly.
Leave what you find.
Minimize campfire impacts.
Be considerate of other visitors.
Here is a list of some natural spaces that are absolutely worth considering if you want a natural backdrop for your wedding:
Garden of the Gods - Pros: there is no charge, and it’s a stunning backdrop for an intimate ceremony. Cons: you can’t reserve a space, and decorations are not allowed. But who needs decor when you have those stunning sandstone formations?
Colorado State Parks - There are so many great ones to choose from! Pros: Very low cost permits and pavilion rentals, and you can turn your wedding night into one big, fun camping trip with all of your favorite people if that’s your jam. Cons: sometimes parking is limited, and you may have to shuttle guests in. If you’re not into camping out, other accommodation options may be limited.
Rocky Mountain National Park - Pros: Um, stunning. Jaw-dropping beauty. If you want to capture the essence of Colorado, this is it. Permits are very affordable. Cons: There are a limited number of spaces where ceremonies are permitted, many are only available seasonally, and most only allow a max of 20 guests.
Your Local Park - There are many hidden gems of beautiful spaces with expansive views, grassy fields, and calming water features hidden in the most unlikely places. Take your partner and go exploring with this in mind; you just may be surprised at what you can find close to home when you keep your eyes wide open.
A Local Farm, Flower Garden, or Nursery - Get creative! Is there a business that grows beautiful plants, trees or flowers near you? Even if they don’t typically host weddings, there’s a good chance that they’d be open to it if you ask! There are so many pros to this one: you can save on the cost of flowers and won’t need much decor if you’ve got live flowers growing all around you! You also don’t have to worry about the environmental cost of having flowers transported to your wedding or figuring out what to do with them afterwards. Plus, if it’s a place that farms vegetables, you may be able to use farm-fresh produce from your own venue for your wedding dinner and then donate the compostable food scraps right back to the same farm! Talk about sustainability!
Lyons Farmette and River Bend - If the idea of a boutique flower farm where your wedding’s flowers, organic farm-to-table dinner, honey favors, and photogenic farm animals are all a part of the package makes your heart skip a beat like it does mine, then this is the venue for you. Enough said.
If outdoor spaces just aren’t your jam, then stay tuned for our next blog post, pointing you to some amazing hidden gems we’ve uncovered: six stunning and sustainable wedding venues across Colorado.
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