Kelli and Tom had chosen a gorgeous home in Silverthorne, Colorado to rent for their intimate, family only wedding. A few weeks before the wedding, they lost their reservation due to COVID-19 precautions. Kelli and Tom reached out to me and let me know the change of plans and needed to find another ceremony location ASAP!
They settled on staying at The Grand on Peak 8 and having the ceremony on the deck at The Lodge at Breckenridge which has a gorgeous wedding deck. On the day of their wedding, the sun was shining but the wind was blowing, HARD. Like 30+ miles an hour hard. So once we all arrived at the Lodge to get the computer set up to Zoom their family members in so that they could participate in the wedding ceremony, the difficult decision to move the wedding indoors was made. Even the kiddos had input and agreed that they’d all just blow away if they tried to do the wedding out on the deck. COVID couples are resilient, I’m telling you!
The wedding was intimate, and joyous as the couple exchanged vows with each other and their kids. Family and friends were able to attend virtually, and even grandpa dressed up for the occasion. It was an extremely sweet and thoughtful ceremony to blend these two families together.
The Grand on Peak 8 is an incredible place to stay for your wedding. The suites are spacious and have lots of beautiful light and modern details which make for the perfect getting ready space. They have plenty of kitchen space to bring in a private chef for your reception dinner and if you want to have an outdoor space with gorgeous views of Peak 8, make sure to check out Elevate bar which would be the perfect space for a welcome party or cocktail party once we can gather in larger groups again.
Review for Andrea, Breckenridge Wedding Photographer
Read Tom’s review that left me speechless:
Andrea was incredibly helpful and responsive. We simply couldn’t have pulled off our wedding without her. Not living in Breckenridge presented some issues for us, especially with COVID shut downs limiting our ability for site visits. She jumped into action and helped us with introductions to other providers (flowers, bakery, lodging, venues, etc.). I felt like we definitely benefited from her local knowledge. When our first venue fell through two weeks before our wedding, she sent a great list of other indoor and outdoor locations which saved the day. She went well beyond her role as a photographer to make sure we had an amazing wedding. I was originally impressed with her ability to assess our location for where the sun would be (several months before our date) so we could finalize our schedule and have the best lighting for our photos. We wanted to capture the peak fall colors and mountain backdrops in our photos and she nailed the execution. We both teared up when we saw the first photos as they completely exceeded our expectations. If you are reading this, you have found your photographer! Book now before she is unavailable!
I am continually so grateful for these kind of reviews. I take great pride in helping my clients not just with photography, but helping them with planning and logistics. A lot of my couples don’t live here or even in Colorado for that matter so, I love to be their girl in the mountains and give them my local knowledge and education in the wedding industry to make sure the day runs just how they want it.
Now, hopefully the proof is in the pudding…or the pictures!
How did the wind miraculously stop once we got out at our final destination for the evening? It was a beautiful and special day and I’m so grateful to be apart of this!
Photographer: Andrea Stark Photography
Florals: Garden of Eden
Hair and Makeup: Breckenridge Hair Company
Ceremony Venue: Lodge at Breckenridge
Accommodations: Grand Colorado on Peak 8
Transportation: Stage Coach Luxury Limo Inc.
In the age of COVID-19, weddings have transformed into something else entirely from what I’ve always known. The wedding industry has taken a huge hit with varying degrees of shut downs, businesses closing, couples choosing to cancel, and tons of layoffs or furloughs of planning and design companies.
I wasn’t immune to this, but I did have a much better year than what I could have ever imagined back in March and April. I have been able to do several micro weddings, or small-intimate weddings along with elopements and newlywed sessions.
What exactly is a “micro wedding” and how is different from a small, intimate wedding or elopement? Let me define what the difference between each of these are:
Micro wedding is a wedding designed and planned on a smaller scale. There’s still attention to traditional elements, and they usually include an officiant, floral design, day of planning, and wedding details. Micro weddings typically are still at a wedding venue or a private residence with a catered meal or private chef cooking for the guests.
Small, Intimate Wedding
Smaller guest count is the main difference between a micro wedding and a small, intimate wedding. Small, intimate weddings have a guest count of 10-20 and they can be a mix of your family or best friends.
Elopements involve just the two of you or maybe even a few of your closest friends. Elopements take place in free spaces to get married. The great thing about getting married in Colorado is that you can self-solemnize or “marry yourselves” without any witnesses.
Whether you had a backyard wedding or the large affair, a newlywed session in your wedding clothes is a great idea. I’ve done several of these types of sessions recently and love it! You don’t have to worry about getting your dress dirty and you can literally let your hair down and relax with your new husband while finding a trail or two to adventure down in the mountains.
Molly and Jake’s Destination Micro Wedding in Breckenridge
Molly and Jake’s destination micro wedding was hosted at a rustic rental home right outside of Breckenridge, Colorado in the Sun Valley. The home has an expansive deck that overlooks a pond. The setting was gorgeous and had a unique rustic feel. The guests dined on the back deck together at a long family style table. I got to help them put together their intimate affair with planning out their timeline and sending them my all-star list of local vendors. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy doing this! When it all comes together on their wedding day, it makes me over-the-moon!
Read for yourself what Molly had to say about her wedding day:
“Save yourself the time and stress of looking for a wedding photographer and just book Andrea. Andrea photographed our small, family-only wedding and the photos are amazing! She was extremely well prepared and went above and beyond to get every photo on our list and made us feel comfortable in front of the camera. The photos are even better than I could imagine and are the perfect way to remember our day.
We decided to give Andrea a call because we wanted to a photographer that could capture outdoor and mountain landscapes. Not only did she deliver on the landscape shots, she also perfectly captured the close-up details. She was also extremely prepared and helped us before the wedding with a few wedding/flower prep details we had not considered. On the day of the wedding, she arrived early and scoped out the area to take all the scenery and detail photos while we were getting ready. She did a great job directing everyone for the group photos and was game for our goofy photo ideas.
After the wedding when it was time for us to view our photos, we were blown away by the quality of the photos. I highly recommend choosing Andrea as your photographer!”
-Molly, the bride
Venue: Vacation Home Rental
Flowers: DIY, Sam’s Club
Catering: Bangkok Happy Bowl Thai Bistro, Breckenridge
Dress: David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids Attire: Birdy Grey
Sara Sunshine (yes that’s her real last name) and Kevin were married while on a bike ride around Dillon Lake. They currently live in Brooklyn, NY, but are working remotely now due to COVID and decided to see some gorgeous places while they had the freedom to do so. In Colorado you can have a self-solemnization wedding ceremony so they pulled off the rec path, found a beautiful spot, said their vows, and made it official!
I met up with them at Sapphire Point for their newlywed session a few days later to capture some beautiful portraits of them together for them to remember this amazingly special time in the mountains.
We found out recently that Sapphire Point has closed as a Small Wedding Venue until 2021 due to the pandemic. It was one of the best elopement locations in Colorado. Now we will have to explore other options. Thankfully, there are several around Summit County and Colorado.
Benefits to Eloping
- When you elope, your own relationship and experience becomes the primary focus.
- Eloping in the mountains can really give you epic jaw-dropping backdrops in some of the most beautiful spots in the country.
- It can be almost anywhere you want. Some are even free and don’t require a permit or reservations.
- This place will become your spot, the place where you two sealed the deal and had one of those pic mountain top moments. Hopefully, actually on top of a mountain 🙂
Elopement Locations in Colorado
There are a ton of location options for eloping! I know it can be daunting trying to figure out the best spot when you don’t live here. I’ve helped my couples for years choose a location that is perfect for them and accessible for their older family members. I gave them even the nitty gritty details like when the sun goes down in that exact spot for the dreamiest golden hour lighting.
In June 2020, I received an email from a couple very quickly after they received the cancellation of their wedding ceremony reservation at Sapphire Point. We’ve all gone through so much change and uncertainty that the closing of Sapphire Point until 2021 felt like another low blow to couples who just want to get married.
I quickly put together a resource for any couple looking to get married in my area. I’m happy to share my elopement location guide to help my 2020 and 2021 couples see all of the options for locations in Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and Beaver Creek. Some of these locations don’t even require a reservation. Some are completely free to have your small ceremony.
This guide would be helpful even if you weren’t looking to get married at Sapphire Point. It offers great ideas for elopement locations around the county
Download My Elopement Location Guide
Most of my couples didn’t know how many places existed or were even an option here! I’m keeping this guide updated in real-time, so be sure to bookmark it if you are still making plans.
To download my Elopement Location Guide click here.
Once you book with me, I get so excited to share my favorite wedding vendors and accommodations in the area with you! If you’re considering having a small, intimate wedding or eloping in the Colorado Mountains, please let me help you!
It’s always nice to have a checklist when planning anything, especially something you may do only once in your life, like an elopement!
I totally understand how hard it can be to plan a wedding from afar. Regardless of how big or small your wedding day is, this is one day that everyone needs a little help to make it all come together.
Wedding Planning Checklist For Elopement
I’ve put together this simple checklist to help you keep track of the big and small details. You can download a PDF version here.
Relax and Do Something Fun
I’ve got a long list of activities to do in the mountains. Depending on what area you’re planning on eloping in, check out my local activity guides and get started making those plans to do something really fun:
Want my Free Mountain Elopement Guide?
This download is FULL of more planning tips, lists of vendors, places to visit that you don’t want to miss, best locations to consider for Eloping, planning for photos, and more! I created it to be a treasure of information for you to best prepare for this day.
Download the Guide Now
You can’t predict the future, but you can create a plan. I don’t know about you, but I did not see this pandemic coming. Even when first reports were coming out of China about this virus, I am embarrassed to say I had the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) mentality. I wish I could go back in time and prepare a little better for myself, my family and business. We haven’t invented that time machine yet, so I just try daily to stay optimistic and think about ways I can transition and set different goals. Perhaps it’s the perfect time to ask, what if this was an opportunity to do something better?
I believe we are about to see a huge shift in 100+ guest lists to no more than 50 for intimate weddings. If you take a page out of Google’s book, they’ve cancelled all large, in-person events through 2021. Facebook and Microsoft have even joined suit in rescheduling large events into later next year. Taylor Swift is even postponing her tour 🙁 When all of this first started in Breckenridge, social distancing was recommended and groups of 50 or less people were still allowed to gather.
Having a destination wedding already lends itself well to having a smaller guest list. You can all stay together at the same hotel and better yet if your venue is at the same location to keep transportation super easy. I can think of so many benefits to having an intimate wedding. Here are just a few ideas below:
What are some of the benefits of having a small, intimate wedding?
- small sit down dinners with the opportunity to personalize the menu for your guests
- budget has the potential to be less because of guest count
- you can invest in other areas of the budget like videography, albums, upgrading to premium liquor, upgrading menu, or your honeymoon.
- your wedding can be eco-friendly, and you have more opportunities to use sustainable options in your wedding.
- More options for where you get married! Less people means more opportunities for locations. If you’ve always wanted to get married with an epic mountain backdrop, it’s a lot easier to get less guests to that location than more.
Budgetary items that are affected by guest count are stationary, cake, catering, linens and chairs, bar service, and transportation. You can save some serious money by having a smaller guest count and focusing on creating a more intimate experience for your friends and family. I envision lots of farm style long tables with luscious centerpieces and delicious plates of food in the future. It makes me happy thinking about it!
DJ and Dancing?
Also, in this new season of a pandemic virus, I don’t know that a band or DJ is necessary if dancing is not allowed. For you, that means that you don’t need as many hours of photography. You don’t need a dance floor, band, or DJ. Think about how intimate a wedding dinner can be if you just enjoy the people around you and the toasts toward you and your new spouse as a couple.
My Own Intimate Wedding Experience
A little insight to my own wedding. I only had 20 people, no dancing, and it was STILL the best day of my life. I know first hand how a small, intimate wedding can be a great decision for your wedding day. If you want a little peak into my own personal wedding, take a look here.
I have created custom wedding packages just for small, intimate weddings of 50 or less guests. My services include ceremony and portrait only coverage, ceremony and reception, and all-day wedding coverage starting at $1800. It still includes a personalized online gallery, digital downloads, and options to include a second professional photographer and custom heirloom albums. If you’re thinking about having a small, intimate wedding, send me a note here to get information about my small weddings packages.
My small, intimate wedding packages are perfect for weddings under 50 guests! I personally believe that this is going to be the immediate future of weddings and is inviting between 20-40 guests to keep the total count under 50. Remember, your vendors count as a part of your guest count if the government has restrictions for how many people can gather.
Need help navigating through this time and don’t have a planner?
You might not know this about me, but one of my other hats I wear is I’m a luxury wedding planner and stationery creator. I know, I’m a busy lady. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m very blessed to be in multiple specialties of this industry. The images in this post are from the last wedding I did before all this COVID-19 stuff starting happening. I assisted Emily Campbell with Go Bella Design and Planning with this wedding at Devil’s Thumb Ranch and the beautiful florals are from Bloom Flower Shop.
If you are engaged and don’t know where to start with your wedding planning in this season of life, please reach out to me. Let me support you through this! I love sharing ideas with couples. During quarantine I’ve taken lots of webinars and online workshops that have given me a new perspective on weddings going into the future. I’m excited to shift what we’ve always known about weddings and starting to transition to be prepared for the future.
Planning and Design: Go Bella Planning and Design
Florals: Bloom Flower Shop
Venue: Devil’s Thumb Ranch
Decor: Colorado Party Rentals
Portraits: My personal clients in Breckenridge, Colorado from Houston, TX