The following article on Telluride weddings is entitled “Bigger Isn’t Always Better,” and the original article can viewed on the Rocky Mountain Bride website.

“For many modern couples, destination weddings are attractive because they allow the couple to escape to a incredible place, and also help them to shave down the guest list to include just their immediate families and nearest and dearest friends.

The comment we have all heard brides make (and not just those of us in the industry) is, “I feel like I didn’t have enough time to say hello to all my guests or to spend quality time with my guests—it was a blur.” This blurry feeling has finally sunk in and created momentum for many young couples to seek a more intimate experience on their wedding day. So instead of throwing the traditional, large hometown wedding, many couples are looking for a smaller experience to celebrate their love and commitment to one another.

These smaller, more intimate weddings not only allow the couple to maximize their time with guests, but also allow time to enjoy one another and the real point of the day: Focusing on the lifetime commitment they are about to make to one another and celebrating their love. Smaller weddings also allow the couple to spend more of the budget on quality rather than quantity.

Instead of buying out an entire restaurant to accommodate a large number of guests, a smaller number of guests gives the bride and groom the option to rent a private dining room or smaller venue—freeing up more of their budget to treat their guests to a more sophisticated dining experience—with elaborate wines, more extravagant floral arrangements, and a truly over-the-top after-dinner party with amazing entertainment.

Smaller weddings also allow the couple to host their wedding in a beautiful destination and make their celebration an entire weekend affair instead of just a day. An emerging trend we’ve seen with destination weddings is that all guests attend the rehearsal dinner and daytime activities, as well as the ceremony, reception, and a farewell brunch.  Many guests at destination weddings will extend their stays and turn this into their annual vacation—and why not when these events are taking place in the world’s most beautiful places?

Telluride lends itself perfectly for smaller intimate weddings; there are many great options for couples with small guest lists. Here are my two of my personal favorite options for both an intimate winter and summer destination wedding weekend in Telluride:

A favorite local option for a small winter wedding for the couple obsessed with skiing is to rent the Tempter House for the day. Guests actually get to ski into this property—while all of the couple’s personal items, including wedding attire, floral arrangements, full alpine style catered lunch, and wedding cake are delivered via snow cat prior to the mountain opening.

Local officiants, entertainers, and photographers also ski in for the occasion.  The couple can exchange their vows on a deck at 12,000 feet that over hangs the stunning Tempter shoot and boasts the big back drop of 14,000 foot craggy peaks that this mountain town is known for.

After the ceremony, guests can kick back and enjoy the views while drinking wine flights that local sommeliers have spent their off-seasons tasting and perfecting for our winter guests, and sampling the Italian cuisine from the wine bar just down the ski run. Or they can shoot a game of pool in the game room, or even hit the slopes again and pop in at their leisure throughout the ski day for some wedding cheer.

After the ski day, guests can head down the mountain to the Hotel Madeline or the beautiful boutique property, lumiere  in the Mountain Village to be pampered with a signature spa treatment and some rest before meeting back up with the wedding party for a toast at Allred’s restaurant.

Allred’s is the flagship restaurant of the ski resort, perched at 10,500 feet that is reached by a lofty seven minute gondola ride. Guests can enjoy a toast while overlooking the Sneffles Range to the north and the twinkling town of Telluride 1800 feet below. And still the best is yet to come—a snow coach ride up to a beautiful little alpine restaurant at 12,000 feet for an exclusive Alps-style dinner. Alpino Vino is a small mountain top chalet with a roaring wood burning fireplace and decks that over look the famous Wilson peaks.

During the day your guests have all the best winter activities literally right out their front door: World-class skiing, snowshoeing, cross country and skate skiing on the valley floor, snowmobiling trips to Alta Lakes or the incredible Dunton Hot Springs…and for the guests that may not be the athletic adventurers there is amazing shopping, dining and day spas to be discovered.

For the couple planning a intimate summer wedding—I love the idea of wrapping the weekend around one of the many festivals that fall over almost every weekend throughout the summer months.  A small group can take over all 26 rooms at the historic New Sheridan Hotel that just received an $11 million revamp.

With festivals that cover the gamut of arts, film and entertainment, couples can choose between festivals such as Mountain Film (my personal favorite)—where town is adorned with prayer flags and prayer wheels and takes on a Tibetan feel and you can feel the buzz of inspired eco-activitists and adventurers who are here to share their experiences through their film. Other festival events include Wine Festival, Jazz, Plein Arts, Culinary, and Blues & Brews to name a few.

For the ceremony, the San Sophia site offers up 360-degree views of the San Juan peaks—there are not many words that can describe the feeling that this mountain view stirs in your soul—it is dramatic and overwhelming. If the vows don’t bring tears, the beauty of this place certainly will!

The ski resort can coordinate champagne toasts, tray-passed wine service, and appetizers just following the ceremony. String or jazz trios can play while guests drink in the views. Afterward, guests can head back down the San Sophia gondola for an exclusive evening at one of the smaller restaurants in town.

Either 221 South Oak or La Marmotte can accommodate smaller groups for a full buy-out with enough room for entertainment. Owner/Chef Eliza Gavin at 221 is a classically trained chef from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France and will customize a seasonally fresh and fun menu inspired by the couple.  221 is a warm and inviting Victorian cottage with a great lounge and bar area and a cozy dining room—perfect for a small wedding.

La Marmotte is set within one of the oldest historical buildings in town—it is the old ice house from the mining days. It has a rustic and cozy feel with great sunny patio space.  Owner/Chef Mark Reggiannini came straight from the kitchen of Jean Georges Mercer Kitchen in Ney York City where he held the position of Sous Chef prior to opening La Marmotte.  He is extremely talented and will bring your guests back to Telluride for his Coq au Vin alone!

For more information and ideas on hosting an intimate wedding in Telluride, Colorado, please contact me personally at [email protected]