If you’re on the hunt for the perfect place to make your marriage official, look no further than the mountains. Can you imagine being surrounded by a dreamy mountainous terrain while saying “I do” to your favorite person? Or, better yet, swapping vows at the summit while the rest of the world stretches out below you.
Besides the jaw-dropping views, hosting your special day in the mountains has so much to offer. By immersing yourself in the elevated region, you’ll retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and seek solace in nature. For active or outdoorsy couples, mountainous nuptials provide plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy, whether it’s hiking, biking, skiing, or fishing. Not to mention, if you grew up near the mountains or frequently vacationed there, you can share that experience with your loved ones during your vow exchange.
From Washington to Montana to Colorado to the Swiss Alps, there are so many spots that showcase stunning sights of the mountains for your big day. Whether you’re overlooking snow-capped peaks or ones covered in lush greenery, mountain weddings present a striking scene, no matter the time of year.
If you’re thinking about throwing a wedding in the mountains, there are a few things to keep in mind, according to Heather Dwight of Calluna Events. For one, mountain weddings tend to be pricey, especially during certain seasons and holidays, so it’s important to factor that into your budget. “Mid-summer will be the most sought-after, and therefore, more expensive,” the planner explains. “Winter weddings in the mountains can also be very costly because you are competing with the ski season. Holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, will also be more expensive and busy for weddings in the mountains, so plan in advance for budget, hotel rates, and travel.”
When considering your wedding date, it’s also essential to familiarize yourself with the weather, so you and your guests can prepare for the conditions. “June to September will be your most popular months for the best weather, but still plan for an afternoon shower in the forecast,” Dwight notes. “Temperatures can fluctuate during the day and can dip drastically in the evening, so make sure your guests are comfortable for hot ceremonies and chilly receptions by providing water and shade. In the evenings, encourage wraps and layers, and add heaters if needed.”
To plan for extreme weather, Chikeeh Talker of One Love at a Time Events recommends having an indoor or tented backup plan for your ceremony and reception. For any other unforeseen circumstances, she urges couples to find a planner who is familiar with the area. “Hiring a wedding planner versed in these types of weddings will save you time and stress,” she elaborates.
After taking care of the logistics, you can move onto the fun part–the décor! In order to decorate a mountain wedding that builds upon the location while representing your love story, ask yourself a few questions. Dwight encourages couples to reflect on the following: “What is your reason for wanting to bring your friends and family to the area? What are the other priorities for the weekend? Do you love the views and want an epic backdrop for their ceremony?” Answering these questions will give you a better idea of the elements you want to highlight and incorporate into your design.
When in doubt, a minimalist approach always reigns supreme. “The best part about a mountain wedding is that you don’t have to do too much,” Talker remarks. “The nature itself speaks loudly enough.”
From your stationery suite to your wedding bar setup, there are countless ways to include a nod to Mother Nature through your wedding décor while capitalizing on the surroundings. For more inspiration, here’s a roundup of our favorite ways to decorate a dreamy wedding in the mountains.
Meet the Expert
- Heather Dwight is the owner of Calluna Events, an event planning and design firm based in the Colorado region that also plans weddings internationally. She launched the company in 2004.
- Chikeeh Talker is a wedding and event planner and the owner of One Love at a Time Events, which is based in Denver, Colorado. She has been planning weddings for over a decade.
Set the Tone
Since invitations serve as the main introduction to your wedding, it’s the best opportunity to fine-tune your aesthetic. Choose a natural color palette for your event, such as shades of green, brown, orange, and gray, and paint your stationery suite in those hues. To drive your theme home, include a greenery-inspired envelope lining, seal your invites with mountain stamps, and add a mountain illustration to your cardstock.
Arrange Welcome Bags
Is there any warmer welcome than free gifts? Once your guests arrive, distribute baskets filled with reusable cups, baseball hats, and other meaningful items that are branded with your wedding date and a sketch of the mountains. Pack local snacks and drinks to give everyone a taste of the region’s popular flavors. Wrap up your welcome bags with a map of the location, so your loved ones can explore.
Add Organic Details to Your Attire
You can also speak to your surroundings through your fashion choices. Wedding dresses with floral appliqués or ones embroidered with a vine pattern pair best with a vow exchange in the mountains. Choose a gown with tulle or lace fabric to add an ounce of romance to your nuptials. If you just can’t seem to find the right look for your location, go the custom route.
Frame Your First Look
Without a doubt, one of the most memorable parts of your wedding is your first look. For something as special as your grand reveal, you’ll want a background that’s equally as noteworthy. Show your partner your wedding attire for the first time on a balcony overlooking the mountainous terrain.
Swap Vows at the Top
If you and your partner are eager to elope, hosting your nuptials at the apex of a mountain will be the most scenic site. Sharing your future promises on top of a cliff with your forever partner by your side will make your ceremony even more powerful. Elevated nuptials will also lend to show-stopping photos.
Consider Ghost Chairs
For anyone getting hitched at an alpine locale, you’re going to want the scenery to be the focal point of your ceremony. To let the setting shine, arrange ghost chairs around your altar. Instead of overshadowing the terrain, this acrylic seating option blends seamlessly into the environment. If you’re saying “I do” in the spring or summer, decorate your nuptials with ample greenery to match the mountainous region.
Snap Breathtaking Portraits
The mountains offer such a diverse range of landscapes, from expansive fields and thick forests to flowing rivers and lakes. Take a stroll through the natural grounds to bask in the beauty and snap exceptional portraits. Not only will taking photos in the great outdoors capture the unparalleled views, but they’ll also document the excitement and joy you’re feeling. Whenever you look back at your wedding album, you’ll be instantly transported to that moment in time.
Paint the Scenery on Your Bar
The bar is one place your guests will spend a lot of time visiting, so why not make it the main attraction? At their wedding in Aspen, Colorado, this couple had a custom sketch of the landscape painted on their bar. To go the extra mile, offer a range of local spirits and beers for your beverage options.
Serve Your Drinks in a Canoe
If you’d prefer to have self-serve drink stations, stack a wooden canoe with coolers of wine, beer, and seltzers. Since the best mountain locales have lakes, using a canoe as a decorative beverage holder paints the picture of a serene boat ride amidst the mountains. If anything, the innovative bar alternative will impress your guests.
Enjoy Dinner With a View
Since the best decoration at a mountain wedding is the site itself, make sure to host your celebratory dinner overlooking the rolling ridges. Stick with a neutral color palette, low centerpieces, and minimal décor, so the mountains are the center of attention. Lush blooms will also enhance the natural wonder. This couple framed their 80-foot table with thousands of white roses, which looked like they grew from the ground, for their romantic nuptials in Idaho.
Infuse Natural Touches
Another al fresco dining option is a tented reception decked out in organic decorations. Neutral accents, such as wooden chairs and rattan lanterns, complement the wooded landscape perfectly. Centerpieces with locally grown flowers and greenery wrapped around hanging light fixtures will also merge with the environment and accomplish your vision. Plus, hosting your party in a tent will protect you and your guests from any unpredictable weather.
Decorate Your Dance Floor
There’s no better way to bring the outdoors in than with a tree illustration painted on your dance floor. You’ll feel like you’re one with nature as you glide across the room with your partner during your first dance. We love how the floral-covered band stage and hanging greenery at this wedding supplement the scene.
Distribute Thematic Favors
Not only are wedding favors a huge crowd pleaser, but they also provide another chance to further customize your event. It doesn’t matter whether you want to distribute a deck of cards, a candle, or a bottle of wine. Having your venue drawn on the front will remind friends and family of the unparalleled views at your nuptials (and the amazing time they had celebrating your love).
End the Night With a Bonfire
Camping is one of the most popular activities that takes place in the mountains. To create a cozy atmosphere at the end of your night, host a bonfire. Since mountainous regions tend to get chilly in the evening, a fire will keep everyone warm. Remember to stock up on marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate because no campfire is complete without s’mores!