By Jean Tally
Brides looking for a unique venue are discovering that Colorado boasts an abundance of romantic vineyard settings, especially on the Western Slope.
While some planners might look to distant locales, they can find all the picturesque charm of wine country right here in Colorado for a fraction of the cost and with convenient proximity and fewer hassles. In fact, Wine Country Inn and wineries in Palisade and surrounding wine country are booking weddings two years in advance.
“You might say we’ve been discovered,” says Wine Country Inn Sales Manager Saunders Stewart. “We’re not even finished with our current season and we’re already getting inquiries for 2017 and 2018.”
The 80-room Victorian-style, boutique hotel has the built-in advantage of lodging and catering, and it also offers a pavilion surrounded by 21 acres of working vineyards, immaculate landscaping, and a jaw-dropping view of the Little Bookcliffs mountains.
“Our climate here is pretty stable, so being outside is a good bet from June through most of October,” Stewart notes. “Of course, if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, we have contingency plans, but we seldom have to make those changes.”
Wine Country Inn works with local vendors such as Amy’s Courtyard, Grande River Vineyards, Colterris Winery and other nearby wineries when lodging is needed for event guests. The important thing is that the bride and groom and their guests have an unforgettable, joyous experience.
Many of the bridal couples that prefer a vineyard wedding have already visited the Western Slope for cycling tours, hiking and a myriad of available outdoor activities. Although there are wineries throughout the state, the largest concentration of vineyards and wineries available is in the Palisade area in eastern Mesa County. If you can’t plan a wedding at a Colorado vineyard, bring a Colorado wine to the wedding as part of the beverage selection.
“We’re in the business of making beautiful memories,” Stewart says. “That’s what we mean by the romance of Colorado’s vineyards.”
Tips for Unforgettable Vineyard Weddings
- 1. Visit the site early, preferably on the approximate date and the time of day you prefer. Remember that weather is more reliable from late June through early October, and either a morning or evening outdoor wedding will be more comfortable for your guests. Most venues have contingencies for moving ceremony and festivities indoors or under tents if weather is inclement.
2. Determine cost up front and save for what you can afford. Destination venues will work with you, but be realistic. Read the contract and abide by what you sign to avoid unpleasant encounters over the bill.
3. Work with the venue’s event coordinator, who has experience and can save you a lot of worry. Take notes in every meeting and during every phone call.
4. Ask for a tasting of foods and paired wines well in advance. Don’t change your mind. Give an idea of special dietary needs.
5. Hire a professional wedding photographer who can capture your most important day unobtrusively and elegantly. Look at samples. Shoot early or at dusk when light is softer.
6. Savor the flavor of wine country by arranging side visits to tasting rooms, galleries, orchards and other attractions—more fun and better appreciated than a favor box at the dinner table! Your vineyard’s event coordinator can help you.
Jean and Richard Tally built and opened Colorado’s first wine-themed hotel, Wine Country Inn, in 2008 with their adult children, Anne and Greg. Two generations of Tallys welcome brides and grooms to the inn.