The appeal of committing to your partner against the grand scale of a sweeping mountain vista is a no-brainer. Your pictures will be fabulous, of course, and there’s just something about that clean, mountain air that makes any celebration that much sweeter. In the second part of our On Location series, we are sharing everything you need to know about mountain weddings in Utah.
Choosing a Venue
Those looking for the ritzy-meets-rustic vibe that mountaintop wedding venues provide can consider one of the many options offered by Utah’s ski and snowboard resorts, including the sleek and modern The Summit at Snowbird, perched at 11,000 feet above sea level; Deer Valley Resort’s Empire Lodge; the rustic and refined Bearclaw Cabin at Sundance, framed by fantastic views of Mt. Timpanogos; and the glass-flanked deck at Snowbasin’s John Paul Lodge, situated at 9,000 feet with unbeatable views of Mount Ogden. A few of the state’s non-ski resort-operated mountain venues include Stein Eriksen Lodge, Montage and Goldener Hirsch Inn—three super-lux properties located near Deer Valley Resort’s ski slopes and mountain biking and hiking trails; the Snowpine Lodge, a gorgeous Scandinavian-modern hotel tucked into Alta Ski Area’s base; and Log Haven, a historic inn turned five-star restaurant and event venue in verdant Millcreek Canyon.
Not surprisingly, warm, sunny days and cool nights in July, August and September make summer and early fall the most popular times of the year for mountain weddings—and therefore the hardest months of the year to book. May and June can be a lovely time of the year at high altitudes, when top temps range from the mid-50s to mid-70s and peaks are still snow-capped. Skies across the west are also less likely to be hazy from wildfires in the early- to late-spring as well. But the possibility of rain—and even snow—still looms into June in Utah’s mountainous areas. The weather can be similarly difficult to predict in October and particularly November, which is considered the shoulder season in the mountains. But decreased wedding venue and tourism demands in the spring and late fall can mean greater affordability. And, of course, a winter wedding in the mountains can be downright magical. Expect, however, to pay top dollar for a mountain venue December through March, as you’ll be competing with the throngs of skiers who descend on Utah every winter.
Keep in mind that most of your guests will likely be unaccustomed to altitude, so having sunscreen, lip balm and water on hand both at your ceremony—and perhaps in out-of-town guests’ welcome bags—will go a long way in making your big day comfortable for everyone. Place a woolen pashmina or throw blanket on seats at an outdoor fall or winter ceremony to help take away the chill and give your guests a lovely take-home gift.
All in the Details
Riding a chairlift to and from your ceremony can provide an off-the-charts highlight for your mountain wedding, but if your guest list includes those who are afraid of heights, you’ll need a transportation alternative. Also, if you plan to use a chairlift- or tram-serviced venue, be sure to clearly communicate the latest time guests should be on board to arrive at your ceremony on time.
Likely Utah’s most barebones-rustic and economical mountain wedding venue is the Church of Dirt, located at Guardsman Pass between Park City and Brighton. There, perched at 9,700 feet above sea level, a rickety chuppah and rough-hewn benches are surrounded by sweeping, 360-degree ridgeline views. There’s no official booking system for the Church of Dirt. Couples simply leave a piece of wood inscribed with their name and wedding date onsite and hope for the best.
We gave the complete guide on ranch weddings too!