Steamboat Springs Wedding PhotographerWeddings in Ski Town, USA
One of my favorite places to photograph weddings is Steamboat Springs, one of the best destinations to get married in Colorado. Steamboat, with its small population of about 12,000, serves as a fantastic wedding location both in the summer and in the winter. July and August is the prime mountain biking season, while February sports some of the best snow in the Rocky Mountains — and all these months are perfect for a beautiful celebration.
Steamboat Springs is unique because it’s fairly large yet also a little off the beaten path. The town sits on the west side of the continental divide at the base of the photogenic and beautiful Rabbit Ears Pass, which makes a superb place for engagement photos. What I like most about shooting in Steamboat Springs is the way the light falls across the valley — it reminds me of where I grew up in California.
The sun sets to the west, and there aren’t the high, high peaks to the west like there are in Estes Park and other parts of Colorado’s front range. What that means is the sun can get super low in the sky before it disappears over the horizon, and the lower it gets, the more dramatic it gets and the more fiery and colorful the sunsets get.
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There are tons of gorgeous backdrops for wedding photos in Steamboat Springs. Fish Creek Falls is a super picturesque waterfall in town that we can make some beautiful couples portraits at if we have the time. The banks of the Yampa River are also a great place for a couples session, as is Rabbit Ears Pass, which is just outside of town and looks down over a gorgeous lake.
Actually, Rabbit Ears makes a particularly beautiful escape if you’re getting married at Catamount Ranch, since the venue sits right at the bottom of the pass.
If you’re getting married up on Mount Werner, we probably won’t have time to go too far, but that’s fine: we can photograph on the mountainside just outside the venue at sunset when the sky turns purple and red.
Wedding Tips in Steamboat Springs
If you’re getting married in Steamboat, here are some tips you might appreciate. First, the town is a great wedding destination year round — the summer temps rarely exceed 85, and the crazy summer thunderstorms that characterize mountain weather to the east are a little milder. The winter weather is snowy, but most of the snow falls in January and February. Read more about the town’s weather here.
It takes about 4 hours to drive to Steamboat in the winter from Denver, which makes it a little less ideal than the closer mountain wedding destinations like Vail or Beaver Creek, but that comes with the added advantage of having fewer crowds. There’s also a small municipal airport (airport code HDN) that is a 30 minute flight from Denver.
Best Wedding Vendors in Steamboat Springs
There are a ton of great vendors in Steamboat. My favorites are…
Lindsay Grannis – Lindsay runs One Fine Day Productions, where she doubles as an amazing florist and a wedding coordinator extraordinaire. She is amazing and I love working with her.
Cori Cook – Cori is an excellent florist serving Steamboat and the central mountain areas. I love working with her and I think she does beautiful work.
Pink Monkey Solutions – One of the top two event design firms in Colorado. Definitely get in touch with the Monkey!
If you’re planning a destination mountain wedding, Steamboat Springs is a place where your guests will have ton of fun. The skiing is among the best in Colorado, because the wet, heavy clouds rolling in from the west tend to get trapped on the west side of the Rockies and dump all their moisture. It’s no wonder the town is called Ski Town USA, and has a huge reputation for champagne powder snow. Other winter activities include snow tubing, cross country skiing, and the perennial favorite of hot springs.
If you have a Steamboat Springs wedding in the summer, your guests can spend their weekend fishing on the Yampa River, kayaking, rafting, and tubing. Actually, you might even consider planning your wedding to coincide with the Yampa River Festival each June. The mountain biking in Steamboat is off the charts, and will certainly entertain your guests for days. Other fun events for weddings gusts are the Steamboat Rodeo and the Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Festival.
More about the town at Wikipedia.
Beat Places to Get Married in Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs has many unique wedding venues — mountainsides, lakes, ranches, and absolutely stunning hotels, but my picks for the best places to get married in Steamboat Springs are as follows:
- Catamount Club and Catamount Ranch: I love these two venues, and I think the Catamount Ranch is one of my favorite venues in the state. But let’s start at the Catamount Club: it’s on the golf course next to Walton Creek, and it is super nice. Couples looking for a wedding with lots of open space and expansive views might want to consider the Catamount Club venue. Then there’s the Catamount Ranch on the side of Catamount Lake at the bottom of Rabbit Ears Pass. Weddings at Catamount Ranch are stunning. In the summer months, the lake is a deep, saturated blue and it contrasts against the green hues of the surround mountains. There’s a gorgeous boathouse on the side of the lake, most of the ceremonies occur on the lakefront and there’s a super cool old barn on the property that makes for great couples wedding portraits. Receptions are most often in a tent on waterfront.
- Thunderhead: This is my other favorite place in Steamboat, and another one of my favorite venues in all of Colorado. To get there, you take a gondola up the ski mountain. The ceremony site is on the east side of the building overlooking the slopes. Guests generally sit on the grass in chairs, and it’s fairly secluded so there’s not much foot traffic aside from the wedding. I like to photograph weddings at Thunderhead because the backdrop is insane, the sunsets are super colorful, and the venue itself is just about perfect. I love that there’s a lot of space in the reception hall, and I also really like the fact that guests can hang out on the deck overlooking the entire Yampa Valley for cocktail hour.
- Steamboat Grand: The Steamboat Grand is a fantastic hotel at the base of Mount Werner, and a great place for brides to get ready, or for rehearsal dinners, or for really large weddings.