Ranches, mountaintops and valley meadows | SteamboatToday.com

Ranches, mountaintops and valley meadows

Couples looking for a special spot to exchange their wedding vows needn’t look any further than the Steamboat Springs area.

Location goes a long way toward determining the flavor and feel of a wedding, and Steamboat offers so many wedding spots that couples are sure to find a place that will create the weddings of their dreams.

The great outdoors plays a big part in many couples’ wedding visions. But they don’t have to hold their entire wedding outdoors to take advantage of the breathtaking scenery of the Yampa Valley – they can take their photographs outside, hold only the ceremony or rehearsal dinner outside or simply enjoy the outdoors with their guests through hikes and other activities.

Every season in Steamboat offers a unique outdoors experience, from fields of wildflowers in summer to fresh snow in winter and golden aspen leaves in fall.

Ranches across the county lend a rustic, Western feel and can make for memorable weddings. Ranches are most popular in the summer, but some offer winter weddings, as well.

Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said a couple can’t go wrong with any location they pick, from North Routt to South Routt or Steamboat.

“We’re in a mountain community, in a mountain town. This is an ideal place for anyone,” she said. “What’s nice about our area is the variety of places a couple can choose for a wedding. You can go low-key and rustic, all the way up to super fancy.”

Polumbus said some of the most popular places to get married include Catamount Ranch and Club, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, Yampa River Botanic Park and private ranches.

At the Glen Eden Resort in Clark, couples exchange vows outside near a river and celebrate outdoors. The resort also has lodging, so guests can stay on site.

At High Meadows Ranch near Stagecoach, couples can exchange vows at a special spot overlooking a meadow surrounded by aspen and pine trees. If they choose, the groom and his groomsmen can ride to the site on horseback, and the bride can make an unforgettable entrance in a white, horse-drawn carriage. The ranch also provides some lodging and a barbecue rehearsal dinner around a campfire. Guests also can take horseback rides before the big day.

Closer to downtown Steamboat, sites such as the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp and Catamount Ranch and Club offer picturesque wedding venues.

At Catamount, couples can choose to marry at the lake, where most weddings are held in late afternoon as the sun reflects off the water, or near the golf course, with Walton Creek running nearby and the fairways and mountains in the background.

“The aesthetic beauty is what draws people,” said Jim Miller, general manager for Catamount Ranch and Club. “I don’t think there’s a prettier spot in the valley.

“I think it’s one of the days in your life that you remember forever, and if you can have it in a beautiful spot, it’s just that much more memorable,” he said.

Catamount provides an experience in which the bride and groom don’t have to worry about the details, but instead they can focus on enjoying the day, Miller said. And there are indoor facilities in case of inclement weather.

Mount Werner – home of Steamboat Ski Area – gives brides and grooms the chance to get married on top of a mountain and amid fields of wildflowers. The spot provides breathtaking views of the Yampa Valley and promises a site the couple and their guests are unlikely to forget.

“A wedding in Steamboat is a match made in heaven,” said Liz Wahl, executive chef and director of food and beverage for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. “With the majestic Mount Werner in the background, delicious creations that span the culinary globe and a professional staff that oversees every detail, the stage will no doubt be set for an event you and your loved ones will never forget.”

Couples also can find a special niche in town at the Yampa River Botanic Park, Fish Creek Falls, the city’s beautiful churches and other picturesque locations.

Hotels in the area, including the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, offer classy and convenient spots for indoor weddings, as do various restaurants downtown and near the ski mountain. A benefit of those locations, said Jill Waldman, event planner and owner of The Main Event, is that they provide the tables, linens, silverware, china and glasses – items that may have to be rented when couples reserve other spots.

The key questions couples must answer before choosing their wedding location is how much they can spend, the number of guests and the type of wedding they want, Waldman said. For instance, if a couple wants a wedding with live music and dancing or one that is black-tie elegant, they need to choose an appropriate venue.

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