Whether you've been skiing since you were a little kid or have never before squeezed your foot into a snow boot, a ski resort makes the perfect venue for a wedding—any time of year. Not only do they provide a stunning backdrop with mountaintop views, but they also provide guests with an endless amount of activities during your wedding weekend. "While the snow-capped peaks and sparkling blue skies provide a stunning backdrop, the real magic of a high-altitude ski resort wedding is the experience of being close to nature, and demonstrating to the guests the active and outdoorsy spirit of the couple," says Kaela Gillum, wedding coordinator and event manager for Taos Ski Valley.
Considering having your wedding at a ski resort? Here are five things you should know before the planning begins.
Chair lifts can serve as transportation.
If you're exchanging vows at the top of the ski mountain, which most couples choose to do, remember that chair lifts can serves as transportation for wedding guests. "Our resort offers a five-passenger gator, available to transport guests that cannot ride the chairlift and ensuring all guests can safely and comfortably attend your mountain top wedding," says Katelyn Tekavec, catering sales manager at Centerplate at Holiday Valley Resort. "If heights aren't your thing, most ski resorts offer base ceremony locations and lodge reception venues that are equally as beautiful with breathtaking backdrops of the mountains."
Altitude is important.
Don't forget that being 10,000-something feet above ground may make guests feel a little different. "Altitude can play a big part in your day," says Gillum. "Couples and their guests need to keep hydrated, and take common-sense steps to avoiding altitude sickness such as arriving a few days in advance to acclimate to the altitude, limit excessive alcohol drinking, and avoid extreme exercise the first few days." She recommends making arrival packets for guests to arm them with altitude-relevant party favors such as plenty of custom-label bottled water, canned oxygen, and hydrating fruit treats.
Brace for wind.
As you can imagine, it gets pretty windy at the top of a giant mountain! "Wind should be especially considered when planning decorations—those chic paper escort cards, whimsical flower arrangements, and pretty signage you envisioned can all still work, but only with the proper planning," says Tekavec. "As for your flower arrangements, be sure to inform your floral designer that your wedding is on top of a mountain, as extra weight and/or support (zip ties or floral tape for signage) will be needed to make sure those arrangements stay in place."
Prepare for wide-ranging temperatures.
Rain is the main reason your planner will ensure you have the perfect back-up plan from the get-go. According to Tekavec, it's critical for the planner to be 100 percent confident in their designated back-up plan, to have a deadline as to when that call should be made, and a communication plan in place to coordinate the Plan B setup with your vendors. "The back-up plan should be completely outlined and shared with the couple well in advance of the wedding date," she adds. "My biggest piece of advice is to leave a bit a wiggle room in your budget to purchase last minute items, like blankets and portable heaters, that will keep you and your guests comfortable and happy."
Recommend appropriate footwear.
As tempting as it may be to wear strappy heels, Gillum recommends including in the invitation that guests opt for sturdy shoes. "Whether it's tromping through snow or walking along dirt paths, brides should consider wearing something practical, and notifying guests if they'll need to walk from place to place on rugged terrain," she says. "Brides might consider leather booties for a snowy outdoor ceremony atop the mountain and then changing shoes once they enter the indoor reception venue."