Aspen Wedding PhotographerServing Aspen, Snowmass and the Roaring Fork Valley
I photographed my first wedding in Aspen in 2006, and go back every year to shoot beautiful marriages in the most storied ski town in Colorado, and perhaps the United States. Aspen is legendary for its incredible hotels, the stunning mountains, the endless groves of Aspen trees on the way up Independence Pass, and some of the best food in the country. Wedding photos in Aspen are characterized by some of the most impressive scenery the Rocky Mountains have to offer, as well as some of the state’s finest wedding venues.
If you are thinking about getting married in the Rocky Mountains, give this little gem location serious consideration for your wedding. The best times of year to tie the knot — and the best times of year to photograph weddings in Aspen — are probably July to October, where you’ll find unreal wildflowers and gorgeous mountain vistas, or fall colors, and February, when the snow is epic, the skiing is fantastic, and Aspen’s winter festivities are exploding. Learn more about Aspen on Wikipedia here.
Aspen is much more than just a ski town. It sports a rich history of arts and culture as well, and there’s tons of stuff to keep your family and friends entertained during your wedding weekend. Galleries, live music, art shows, theater — for a small town high in the Colorado mountains, Aspen offers a little something for all sorts of brides, grooms, and their guests. Tripadvisor has a ton of great recommendations on things to do in Aspen.
Aspen Wedding Venue Reviews
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Despite its location deep in the Rockies, planning an Aspen wedding isn’t a huge hassle since there’s an airport just down the hill on the way to nearby Carbondale. The drive from the Aspen airport to the town is about ten minutes, and the highway passes through the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley surrounded by incredible mountain views. You can see more photos of Aspen here on Pinterest.
For wedding guests who don’t want the added expense of flying into a small regional airport, however, it’s not that difficult to rent a car at Denver International and drive to town. It’s a 5 hour drive along Highway 70 from Denver to Grand Junction and then on to Aspen. Your wedding guests will pass through the beautiful mountain towns of Vail and Beaver Creek on the way, and will have time to stop and enjoy Colorado’s incredible scenery.
Be aware, however, that there are a few passes between Denver and Aspen that get closed a few times a year each winter due to snow storms, so there is a risk of that if you’re planning a celebration from January to April or so.
Aspen sports one of the best places to get married in all of Colorado: the Aspen Wedding Deck, which is adjacent to the Little Nell’s mountaintop venue, the Aspen Mountain Club. I love photographing weddings in Aspen at the top of the mountain; the views here of the Elk Mountain Range, at more than 11,000 feet in the Rockies, are spectacular.
If you’re opting for a ceremony on the deck or want to do wedding photos atop Aspen Mountain, don’t worry if anyone says that the gondola gets shut down from time to time — it’s only temporary, and the mountain is very cautious about winds or lightning. I have never had a wedding go south due to the weather. Slight delays are an expected part of a Colorado wedding day, and couples who get married at the top of the mountain are pretty good at rolling with things.
The worst case is that the ceremony will be postponed a little while, but invariably the weather passes through, the sun comes out, the air smells good, and everything looks insanely gorgeous. You can see footage of Aspen on the mountain’s Youtube channel.
Best places for wedding photos in Aspen
One of the coolest Aspen wedding photo options is to cruise up Independence Pass, which leaves town and quickly climbs through granite cliff faces and thick groves of aspen trees to its summit, just past 12,000 feet. Independence Pass is the fourth highest road with pavement in Colorado, so you can imagine what the views are like up there. If I have around an hour for a couples session, I like to drive up the pass and stop where ever we see fit. As the road climbs out of town, it winds its way through some cool ruins of a ghost town (once the historic mining village of Independence, which was born on the Fourth of July) en route to the alpine tundra of the summit. The exposure on the road means a variety of weather — be sure to check the weather report during your wedding to know what to expect.
Another great option, which takes an equal amount of time, is to head up to the Maroon Bells, which are probably the most photographed mountains in Colorado. You’d certainly recognize them from photos — their red, jaggy cliff line juts skyward, and is reflected off of Maroon Lake. This is a good option for wedding couples because getting from the parking lot to a nice place for photos takes less than 2 minutes. There are also some incredible fields of wildflowers in the valley that leads up to the Maroon Bells parking lot. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes to get there, and is a great escape if you’re getting married at Aspen Chapel.
Another fun option is to just take a stroll around Aspen Village and see what there is to see. The town of Aspen has some really cool old buildings, interesting murals, spacious parks with exceptional views, and cool plazas and outdoor malls, and everything is within a few blocks. This minimizes travel time and maximizes wedding photography time. We can do this with brides, grooms or even entire wedding parties.
Best places to get married in Aspen, CO
- The Little Nell: Hands down my favorite wedding venue in town. The Little Nell is right at the base of the gondola, and offers easy access to the top of the mountain, at 10,000+ feet. Many couples get ready in the Little Nell’s beautiful hotel at the base, take the gondola up, have their ceremony on the Aspen Wedding Deck, and then party the night away at the mountaintop venue adjacent the deck. You can’t go wrong getting married here, and from a photographer’s perspective, this is Top 5 in the state.
- Hotel Jerome: The Hotel Jerome is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Aspen. It’s an awesome historic brick building with a couple of big ballrooms, really nice rooms, and (drumroll please) perhaps a couple of ghosts. If you aren’t planning on going up the mountain, I highly recommend considering the Hotel Jerome for your wedding.
- Aspen Chapel: If you want to do an indoor ceremony, the Aspen Chapel is a pretty cool building with some interesting architecture. It’s also at the intersection of the road that takes you up to the Maroon Bells, so it’s easy to zip up there for some gorgeous couples photos after your ceremony.
- Maroon Bells Ampitheater: You can’t beat this place for an accessible outdoor venue with amazing views. I think the backdrop here is honestly prettier than the wedding deck at the top of Aspen Mountain, but there’s not a nearby venue for your reception, so it’s six of one or half a dozen of the other. At any rate, it’s gorgeous. This is an exceedingly popular wedding venue, and you can book a maximum of 12 months in advance. Keep your eyes on the date!
Aspen Wedding Photo Slideshow
Here is a slideshow of an Aspen, CO Wedding. Take a peek if you have a few minutes! It was at the top of the mountain with the reception in the Aspen Mountain Club.
Best wedding vendors in Aspen, CO
- Sashae Floral Arts: A great florist in Aspen who does absolutely beautiful work. Definitely give them a call.
- The Aspen Branch: Another wonderful florist who I highly recommend.
- Jane Floyd and Associates: One of my favorite event production companies.
- EKS Events: I’ve photographed some of the biggest weddings of my career with EKS.
- Bluebird Productions: Another top wedding planner in Aspen. Highly recommended.