When you say “yes” to your engagement, you feel like you’re on top of the world. It’s a feeling that you’ll always look back on with a thrill. So, why not keep it going on your wedding day by hosting at a venue that actually does feel like you’re on top of the world: The mountains.
A mountain-themed wedding day can be elegant and luxurious or rustic and cozy, depending on your overall vision. The mountains are one of those rare wedding venues that can blend seamlessly with both upscale and casual themes. Plus, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a jaw-dropping backdrop for all your wedding photos. So, if you’re ready to dive into mountain wedding planning, you’re in the right place.
Below, we’ve rounded up several key mountain wedding tips to streamline your planning process, along with tips and advice from real couples who made their vision a reality with Ling’s Moment.
How to plan a mountain wedding: tips & tricks
Planning a wedding in the mountains can involve some special considerations, just like any destination wedding. Obviously, the first step involves choosing the ideal mountain venue. Some of the factors to consider on your search include:
Your travel time
Mountain venues come in all shapes and sizes, just like the mountains themselves – from the dusty red peaks of the rocky mountains in Colorado to the rolling tree-covered hills of the smoky mountains. But how far will you need to travel to reach them?
If your ideal venue involves a longer drive or a plane ride, then you’ll also need to consider transportation and lodging expenses for you and your partner, your wedding party, and your guests. Generally, the further away your destination wedding is from home, the fewer guests you can expect. That said, this can come with the bonus perk of being more cozy and intimate, with only your closest friends and family members there to support you.
The trip to the aisle
The journey to your mountain town of choice is only part of the equation. If you’re hosting your ceremony on a higher peak or scenic overlook, then reaching your ceremony spot can be a journey all on its own.
That also begs the question: Do you need to make special plans to reach the ceremony site – like a gondola ride or a small hike? If you have any guests with mobility issues, consider if the site will be difficult for them to reach. As an alternative, consider a venue at the base of the mountain, so you can have the peaks in the background of your photos — like Ling’s couple Cindy & Kelton.
The venue type
An outdoor wedding day can infuse your ceremony with fresh air and sunshine. But that crisp mountain air can feel more frigid than bracing in the colder months. So, consider choosing a venue with both indoor and outdoor spaces. For instance, Ling’s couple Abbey & Garrett planned their Montana mountain wedding at a resort, which gave their wedding photos a nice combination of scenic backdrops and indoor refuge.
Photo by @ZakJokelaWeddingPhoto
Since you’re venturing outside your usual neighborhood for a mountain destination wedding, you’ll need to rely on vendors local to your venue. Finding options that suit your needs can present an extra challenge when you’re coming from out of town. But, that just means you have a full license to take a mini pre-honeymoon trip to scout the local talent.
Again, this is where working with a more all-inclusive wedding venue, like a hotel, could come in handy. But even if they don’t fulfill all the services you’ll need directly, they could still point you in the right direction. Ling’s couple Abby & Nick asked their hotel venue for recommendations on vendors and reached out to the top picks.
Photo by @weddingsbycarue
If an all-inclusive resort isn’t in your budget, don’t fret. You don’t need a massive chunk of change to host a mountain wedding day. For instance, plenty of national parks have pavilions where you can host a wedding for a small fee. Some parks will even allow you to get married for free! Although, you likely won’t have exclusive access to your specific spot. So, be prepared to share with hikers and sight-seers.
Can you get married on a hill?
Of course! When you set your sights on a mountain park, you’ll surely find scenic hills that could do the trick for a quick ceremony. However, it might be tough logistically to set up chairs on a hill. So, any guests may need to stand. For that reason, a hill ceremony may be better suited for an elopement – or a micro wedding with guests who are up for a hike in semi-formal attire.
More mountain wedding planning tips & tricks
Choosing your dream venue is only half the battle. You’ll also want to pay close attention to the following elements to ensure your mountain wedding day goes off without a hitch.
Consider your wedding outfits
As a nature-immersed venue, you may want to consider a few pointers for practicality when choosing your mountain wedding attire.
For instance, if you plan on wandering in the woods like a forest nymph, you may want to take a rain check on a gown with a floor-length train. Instead, a shorter dress paired with more practical shoes could help you feel comfortable, stylish, and ready to frolic to your heart’s content.
You may also want to bring a jacket or shawl to accommodate the chill mountain breeze. For instance, Ling’s couple Jess and Emily styled matching leather jackets for their mountain wedding photos. They look like mountaineers embarking on the biggest adventure of their lives!
Photo by @mckenzie_bigliazzi
Plan your activities and entertainment
If guests are spending the night, you can take the opportunity to plan some fun mountain-themed excursions with your soon-to-be extended family! Some activity ideas that could be fun include:
- Winter sports: Hosting a wedding at a ski lodge? Consider snowboarding or skiing on the slopes to vent your pre-wedding jitters. If you’re not necessarily into hurling yourself down a hill, you could always build snow people or start an epic snowball battle.
- Sight-seeing tours: Want to see more of the mountains than the views at your venue? Head out to the trails for a nature walk or bike ride. Consider a scenic drive instead if you’d prefer something more relaxing.
- Axe-throwing: Nothing says “I love you” quite like hurling a chunk of razor-sharp metal into a target… Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Still, axe-throwing can be a fun and off-beat way to bond before the wedding ceremony.
- Sunrise breakfast: At your wedding, arrange to have a nice breakfast with your family members and party guests and watch the sunrise together. It’s the dawn of your wedding day – and having breakfast with both families can help seal the deal.
- Stargazing Night: On the flip side, you could also consider a night of stargazing to unwind the night before your wedding. When you gaze into the heavens above, you’ll grasp the beauty of forever – and feel even more at peace, at the knowledge that you’ll spend it with the person you love.
Create a same-day schedule
Depending on how remote your Mountain destination is, you may not have cellular or Wi-Fi signals. That could make communicating with your vendors or bridal party a bit of a challenge. So, try making a same-day schedule to keep everyone on the same page.
Ling’s bride Maria created a spreadsheet with an hour-by-hour schedule for the wedding party, vendors, and key guests. That way, everyone understood where to meet for events like photos, and what time they were expected. Though she and her husband Dylan tied the knot on a boat, the same principle can translate to a mountain wedding day seamlessly.
Mountain wedding decor ideas & hacks
You’ve already chosen your jaw-dropping mountain wedding venue with plenty of scenic views – and hopefully, have a schedule ready for the day. Now, let’s go over how you can make it look even more fabulous with the right decorations.
Choose a wedding theme
Every party needs a theme. And what’s a wedding if not a massive party? Theme ideas that could go hand-in-hand with the scenery of the mountains include:
The serenity of a mountain retreat lends itself perfectly to a cozy, rustic wedding theme. The goal is to make you and your guests feel at home. You can achieve this through design touches like natural wood, burlap tablecloths, flickering lanterns, and a neutral color palette – like Rust & Sepia.
If you’d prefer to capture a more upscale theme, consider turning to the timeless aesthetics of vintage-inspired style. Elements like lace, gold, brass, or vintage china could help you set the tone. If your venue has the space (and a mountain road or two), you could even bring in a vintage car for photos!
Is your mountain venue surrounded by rolling forests that remind you of a fairy tale? Now’s the time to embrace your inner fairy princess and create a fantasy-themed mountain wedding! You can accomplish this through fantastical decor. Think glowing candles that look like fairy lights, plenty of sparkles, and a magical wedding color palette, like purple or gold.
Choose faux flowers
Any wedding day needs a healthy selection of floral decor to look truly special. But hauling a floral arch laden with heavy blooms up the side of a steep cliff can be quite a challenge. Luckily, there’s a solution to infuse your mountain wedding with floral charms: Faux flowers.
Faux flowers are more lightweight than their traditional counterparts. So, you can easily transport them to more tough-to-reach spots, or even slip them in a carry-on without issue. Plus, they can look just as vibrant, realistic, and gorgeous as the real thing. No one will be able to tell the difference.
Let your wedding arch work with the scenery
During your ceremony, your wedding arch will draw eyes toward you and your partner. And at a mountain wedding, it should serve to enhance the natural backdrop of your views. So, ensure the back of the arch is open and not blocked by curtains, so you can see the amazing mountain view.
Check out this geometric example from Ling’s couple Cindy & Kelton! The open triangular wooden arch lets you view the gorgeous natural setting without any veil — and the terracotta flowers match the autumn trees.
Curate your tablescapes
The basic principle of working with your scenery should extend to every aspect of your mountain wedding decor, including your tables. For instance, try using log placemats and greenery garlands to tie together your tablets with a mountain forest.
As a homage to the mountain peaks, you could also use table centerpieces with more height, like floral arrangements in an elevated vase. However, if your venue has scenic views, you might prefer shorter floral arrangements that won’t block guests’ sightlines.
Pick the perfect color palette
Your wedding theme is one half of the equation. Next, you can drive it home by choosing a wedding color palette for your florals and decor. Good places to start for a mountain wedding include:
Terracotta flowers offer a unique versatility, in that it provides color while still maintaining an overall neutral look. It’s sophisticated yet rustic, and stands out fantastically in natural settings – especially in the fall!
Burnt Orange & Scarlet
Imagine exchanging vows surrounded by rolling hills of autumn foliage. Flowers with warmer colors like burnt orange and red can match this stunning fall scenery and help it seamlessly flow into your wedding decor. These bolder shades could also match with red rock mountains in the southwest.
More creative ideas for an unforgettable mountain wedding
Want even more ways to take your mountain wedding day to new heights? Stop groaning at the pun, and try these ideas for a unique touch.
Warm up your guests
If you’re planning a fall or winter ceremony, you’ll need ways to warm up your guests from the chill mountain air. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make staying warm fun!
- A hot chocolate bar. Have a warm kettle of hot cocoa ready for pouring. Don’t forget the toppings, like marshmallows, sprinkles, or salted caramel for drizzling. As an extra aesthetic touch, try having a mug rack with cute designs at the ready. Hot chocolate tastes at least 20% better when served in an aesthetic cup: It’s a scientific fact.
- DIY S’mores. These tasty treats aren’t just for summer – they’re also a sweet way to stay warm and toasty on dusky mountain evenings. They can be a super fun DIY experience for wedding guests, too! All you need are the ingredients and a mini tray of hot rocks for roasting.
- Hot cocktails. If you’d prefer to warm up with a little kick, consider adding hot mixed drinks to your cocktail menu.
- A bonfire: If your venue will allow lighting fires, consider hosting a bonfire at your reception, or hanging out around a firepit. Who needs a candlelit dinner when you have a supersized candle instead?
Pass out themed keepsakes
Your guests made the journey to your mountain destination with you, and you can show your appreciation by giving them a little something to take home. Ideas for fun mountain wedding keepsakes include:
- Local honey or syrup: If the mountain area is famous for certain foods – like wild honey or maple syrup, give your guests a bottle to take home. Remember to save one for yourself to get a taste of your destination wedding, too.
- Miniature floral arrangements: Craft tiny floral centerpieces that match the floral decor at your wedding, and pass them out as keepsakes for your guests to take home. Again, this is where faux flowers can come in handy, since your designs will last forever!
- Customized Mountain Artwork: Consider working with a local artist to gift small paintings or prints of the mountain landscape. It’s a beautiful reminder to stick in a family scrapbook.
Stage a special photoshoot
Of course, you’ll also need to take full advantage of all the mountain’s photogenic spots to fill your wedding album. Here are some ideas to share with your photographer!
PPhoto by @maricharlsonphoto
RECRUIT A VEHICLE
If you and your partners are adventurers at heart, show the world by snapping a photo with an adventurous vehicle. For instance, this Ling’s couple took photos on the roof of their trusty jeep with a dreamy mountain in the background.
Also: Check out how the bride’s pale blue dress beautifully compliments the orange hues of the landscape. Plus, the terracotta flowers in her hat help bring some of that warm orange platte into her bridal look.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make a mountain wedding day exciting, fun, and streamlined. We hope these ideas will give you a good starting point to begin making your dream mountain wedding a reality.
If you’re looking for wedding flowers that can go with you on your destination wedding, Ling’s Moment is here for you. Our faux flowers are lightweight and travel-friendly, so you can take them anywhere your heart leads you. Plus, they’ll last forever, so you can take a piece of your mountain destination wedding home to treasure. Check out our Instagram for more inspirational pics of real couples who follow their hearts with Ling’s.