If you and your fiancee are diehard snowhounds, have amassed a sizable guest list for your upcoming nuptials, and/or wish to celebrate your big day with class and style, then a ski resort wedding is right up your alley. Here are some of the best venues for a high altitude vow exchange.
Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe, Nev.
Amenities: There are generally two options for couples who wed at Heavenly. A ceremony at the Lakeview Lodge starts with a mile-long hike to a breathtaking vantage point overlooking Tahoe in all its glory. Once vows are exchanged, the couple and their guests head inside the lodge for the reception area which accommodates up to 250 people. For even larger wedding parties, the Tamarack Lodge serves up to 400 guests. This ceremony begins as guests are shuttled to the top of the gondola and seated near the Observation Deck, the lodge’s outdoor patio with panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside.
What the Experts Say: “Imagine getting to your ceremony via a mile long aerial tram. The location overlooks the sapphire blue waters in the spring and a winter wonderland in the winter” — GroupTravel.org
Sunshine Village, Banff, Alb.
Amenities: There’s no shortage of services available for a Banff wedding; from tuxedo rentals and florists to cake decorators and videographers, the Alberta resort/national park and the surrounding community know how to accommodate a nuptial ceremony. There’s even a couple of local wedding planners on hand to make sure that any two people who marry in Banff have the time of their lives. Couples even have a long list of ceremony and reception venues from which to choose including Sunshine Mountain Lodge, Lake Louise (which is located inside Banff National Park), and the quaint local communities of Canmore and Kananaskis.
What the Experts Say: “Besides offering the most incredible scenery in the West, Banff is proud of its user-friendly wedding legislation — or, as local wedding commissioner Rick Kunelius says, “No blood tests, no waiting period, no registered locations” — Telegraph
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colo.
Amenities: Breckenridge boasts nine different ceremony venues, including Ten Mile Station, Mountain Thunder, One Ski Hill Place, and The Maggie; no matter how big your party or specific your demands, at least one of these spots will suit your wedding needs. Also, the Breckenridge wedding menu is absolutely insane.
What the Experts Say: “A perfect mountain town with stunning scenery, an impressive cultural heritage and a quaint Victorian atmosphere, Breckenridge is a year-round playground for guests of all ages and interests. With accommodations ranging from spacious hotel rooms to luxury condominiums, indoor and outdoor wedding venues boasting panoramic views and endless activities in all four seasons, Breckenridge sets the scene for a perfect mountain wedding” — Iconic Weddings
The Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Vt.
Amenities: If a “Vermont wedding” appeals to you (and you know who you are), then this lavish alpine establishment just 11 miles from the Killington ski area, will do you good. Venue options range from a lakeside lawn to the interior of a barn (again, you know who you are), and any ceremony style — from intimate elopements to full-on bashes — is welcome. It’s also worth noting that the resort’s wine list is stellar. The Mountain Top accommodates wedding parties year-round.
What the Experts Say: “Majestically set on 350 acres with sweeping views of a sparkling lake and the Green Mountain National Forest, The Mountain Top Inn & Resort offers an endless array of outdoor adventures, ideal for your family and friends.…while celebrating your special day” — Vermont Bride
Mount Hood, Ore.
Amenities: If you and your significant other like outdoor venues with sweeping scenery, a ceremony at the Mount Hood Skibowl, situated near the village of Government Camp, is a great spot to exchange vows. And if a lodge reception sounds appealing, then rest assured that Timberline is as ‘rustically swanky’ as any other alpine establishment in the country (and just try to forget that it’s where The Shining was filmed). And if you want to get off the mountain for a little while, consider scheduling the rehearsal dinner in the nearby community of Hood River; nestled along the banks of the mighty Columbia, the town features an array of restaurants, pubs and potential other venues for you and your closest guests.
What the Experts Say: “If you are [at Mount Hood] on a weekend don’t be surprised if you run into a wedding party as [Timberline Lodge] is a popular destination for those looking to get hitched” — Muddy Camper
Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy
Amenities: If the motto of your ski resort nuptials is ‘go big or go home’, then consider a destination wedding at Cortina D’Ampezzo. Nestled in Italy’s Dolomite range, this former Winter Olympics host has it all: breathtaking views, decent slopes and world-class après-ski offerings. Of course (as is the case with Banff), you and your partner will need to obtain a marriage certificate issued by your state of residence in order to make it official in the U.S. Unless the official Italian recognition is really important to you, then a ‘Civil Wedding’ is the simplest route to take once you and your partner are in Cortina.
What the Experts Say: “Weddings in Cortina are one of a kind in every way. During the winter, couples can arrive at the church or wedding hall in a horse drawn sleigh or carriage decorated with flowers. The wedding hall is right in the heart of the village and is a palace with elegant stone staircase; the interior is richly decorated with woods. Your wedding photos will take advantage of the amazing scenery, the chalets, the flowering balconies and Alpine architecture” — Italian Destination Weddings