Saddleridge Wedding PhotographyA beautiful rustic venue in Beaver Creek
Saddleridge is an awesome part of the Vail Resorts group of venues, and it’s one of the best places to get married in Colorado for brides and groom seeking an authentic and rustic Colorado mountain wedding site. It’s characterized by its western vibe, museum quality collection of antiques, high vaulted ceilings with gorgeous chandeliers, and rich wood tones throughout.
Beaver Creek is home to Saddleridge, and the venue is the highest place you can have a wedding in the village without actually leaving the established roadways. If you want to get even higher up on the mountain, consider a mid-mountain venue like Allie’s Cabin or Beano’s Cabin.
Saddleridge was was original a wedding venue. It was designed by Ralph Lauren and was once used as a private retreat. An initial budget of $27 million was granted, and the lodge was built and decorated with one of the largest private collections of wild west and Native American memorabilia in the country. Everything in Saddleridge is unique and one of a kind, which makes it a super interesting place to get married.
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Photographing weddings at Saddleridge is a treat, as the venue features three stories and lots of interesting vantage points. The bottom floor has a reception desk and coat check area, a small room that brides often get ready in, and an incredible library that plays host to wedding cocktail hours. One of the coolest things about the library is that it pulls double duty as a museum: it has a myriad of artifacts from the frontier era, including a hat and canteen from General Custer, and a tomahawk from Geronimo. Guests tend to have a great time during cocktail hours here; there’s lots to look at, and the interesting displays serve as a great distraction during bride and groom creative portrait sessions.
The library area opens up to a beautiful back courtyard for medium sized weddings, which is grassy in the summer and is basically encompassed by an absolutely stunning aspen grove. This back area gets afternoon shade so it’s pretty easy to get nice, even light while photographing wedding ceremonies. This back courtyard is generally too snowy for the winter, and it gets less sun as the seasons change so snow melt can be problematic in the late fall and early spring. That said, it’s a gorgeous place for a ceremony during the main wedding months of the year.
However, for winter weddings at Saddleridge, there’s a small courtyard that can host smaller and more intimate weddings just off to the left of the front door. Having a ceremony here may be a better fit for brides and grooms who are getting married as the seasons change. It also works as a nice place for family portraits when there is too much snow in the back, or for older guests (or bridesmaids and other family members with high heels) who can’t easily walk across grass. You can also get married in the front Saddleridge courtyard on a sunny winter day. Sunlight tends to bounce off the side of the building and act as a giant fill light, which is great for wedding photography.
During creative bride and groom portrait sessions, we can walk directly out the back of the library, through the summertime ceremony site, and onto a road that goes up into the aspen groves. We can also access that road during the winter, which doubles as a ski-in/ski-out trail for people staying in the surrounding condos. It’s also pretty awesome to photograph wedding groups using the front facade of the Saddleridge, which is pretty spectacular. Rustic, majestic, and grandiose.
When you walk into Saddleridge, you’re immediately greeted with a cool winding staircase, which makes a great backdrop for bride/groom and wedding party photos. Head up that staircase to the second floor, which features a great room that can hold around 130 guests and has 40 foot vaulted ceilings, an amazing antique saloon bar, and many chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The 20 foot tall windows provide incredible views down valley and onto the ski slopes. This floor also is a museum of sorts, with interesting antique tables and chairs, an old saloon bar, and all sorts of cool memorabilia. Winter weddings are often held indoors here around twilight, and as the staff turns the ceremony site into a dining room, the guests will cocktail downtstairs in the library.
The rarely used third floor is a treat for wedding photographers at Saddleridge because we can shoot down with an unobstructed view of the dance floor.