Aspen's claim to fame is divided between the four fabulous ski mountains that surround the downtown area and the glitz and glam of the celebrities who come to see and be seen at one of the many aprÿs ski hot spots. But there's so much more to this cozy mountain town, no matter the season. From horseback rides and hikes to skiing and snowshoeing, Aspen offers just about any outdoor pursuit you could imagine (plus fantastic shopping, a serious set of art galleries, and award-winning food), making it the perfect location to invite your guests for a weekend-long Colorado wedding. But where to celebrate? Here are five venues that truly capture the essence of Aspen.
Aspen Meadows Resort (Above)
Aspen Meadows Resort is a Bauhaus-style resort on 40 acres just north of town, where nature and contemporary art meet. 98 suites offer the comforts of home in a modern style, and all feature floor-to-ceiling windows with gorgeous views of the surrounding flora and fauna. The sleek design makes their restaurants, gardens and ballroom the perfect blank canvases for any bride's wedding vision, whether you're in the park amongst the Herbert Bayer sculptures or saying "I do" on Merrill Patio, with Aspen Highlands towering in the background.
The Little Nell
Comfortable luxury is the name of the game at The Little Nell, a Five-Star, Five-Diamond hotel nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain. Five Star restaurant Element 47 boasts a cave of over 20,000 bottles of wine, giving you an unparalleled dining experience without the fuss. The Little Nell also has not one, but three mountain-top venues. At over 11,000 feet, you can exchange vows on the Wedding Deck with the Elk Mountain Range in the background, then head inside to the luxe Aspen Mountain Club for cocktails or an intimate reception. For a larger crowd, go next door to the Sundeck, with space to seat 300 and uninterrupted views. Whether you're at the bottom of the Silver Queen Gondola or at the top, The Little Nell will make you and your guests feel right at home.
The St. Regis Aspen
The St. Regis Aspen mixes mountain luxe with a cool, modern color palette — and the service to match. Whether you're hitting the slopes or the shops, the resort is a cozy place to come back to at the end of the day, and a wonderful place to start your forever. The Fountain Courtyard looks right up to Aspen Mountain, ideal for an open-air ceremony, cocktail hour, or a tented reception. Downstairs, the newly renovated ballrooms feature champagne hues and dramatic chandeliers, the perfect backdrop for a formal fête or a late-night dance party.
Do you want to immerse your guests in Aspen's rich history? Look no further than Hotel Jerome. Built in the 1880s, the grand hotel has been a witness to Aspen's many phases, from a silver mining hotspot to one of America's early ski resorts. J Bar, just off the lobby, is a local favorite, and was once Hunter S. Thompson's de facto office. Accommodations range from single rooms to sprawling suites, all outfitted with leather accents, overstuffed sofas, and pieces of Aspen history. A series of restorations starting in 1985 have brought the hotel up to its current splendor, featuring an inviting Living Room full of antiques and historic artwork, modern bistro Prospect with 1950s flare, and the Grand Ballroom, the only above-ground ballroom in town.
It's no surprise that Aspen has a few private clubs tucked around town, and the Caribou Club is the first and one of the most renowned. Founded in 1989, it offers world-class dining and a cozy members-only gathering place, as well as a swanky nightclub come 10p.m. Serve your guests the fresh, creative menu and one of the Club's decadent house-made wedding cakes, then hit the dance floor, or enjoy the luxury of the Caribou Club in the venue of your choice with the help of Caribou Catering & Cakes. The $3,000 membership fee might be a little steep, but for $500 you can become a member for a week — just long enough to hosts your guests for a rehearsal dinner or an intimate wedding feast.