Y’all – planning a wedding is a CHALLENGE.  You may be overly excited about your engagement, only to discover when it comes to wedding planning all the fun seems to be leaching out of the process, leaving you languishing and overwhelmed. Sound familiar? I’m here to tell you that when it comes to planning a wedding, especially a destination wedding, that there are plenty of benefits to opting for a small, intimate micro-wedding. There are even more benefits when you start looking at venues and decide to go with a backyard wedding at a private estate. Katie and TJ did exactly that and hired me to be their Breckenridge wedding photographer for a hilarious, intimate, and absolutely perfect private estate wedding in Summit County, CO.

I tell couples this all the time – a small wedding signifies to me that you really focus on the most important aspect of the day, specifically, your commitment to each other. With a smaller guest list, you can prioritize the people who are closest to you and truly make the day about your relationship. You won’t have to worry about pleasing a large group of people or trying to make everyone happy – instead, you can focus on enjoying the moment and each other’s company. When it’s a destination wedding like Katie and TJ’s Breckenridge backyard wedding, it means that you get to spend the entire weekend with the people you love most, and instead of a one-day event, it feels like a vacation or weekend getaway. Katie and TJ spent the entire weekend surrounded by their best friends in the large private estate they booked. While their family stayed nearby in adjacent hotels and other airbnbs, the bulk of their friend group was able to all be on-site together for an entire weekend, leading to late nights of games and laughter and silliness – which is exactly what Katie and TJ were striving for.

A small wedding also allows you to be more creative with your decorations and to be honest, in most cases, you may not even need any! Rather than trying to transform a large, generic event space into something special, you can work with the natural beauty of a private estate to create a truly unique and intimate atmosphere.  Katie and TJ decided to hold their ceremony in the backyard, flanked by aspen trees. Since it was fall, most of the nearby Aspen groves had bright vibrant yellow leaves that were absolutely breathtaking to behold. Not pictured? The random teepee that I cut out of most of their ceremony photos because maybe that’s YOUR cup of tea, but it wasn’t theirs. Ha!  The point is – if you’re going to hold a destination private estate wedding the options are endless. Whether you choose a beautiful garden, a charming farmhouse, or a luxurious beachfront property, a private estate provides endless opportunities for customization. You can personalize every aspect of your wedding, from the flowers and décor to the music and menu, to make it truly your own.

Want a more relaxed and stress-free day?  CHECK.  Katie and TJ were balling on a budget and they made exceptional choices.  They hired me for just a few hours, making sure that I was there just before the ceremony time for a few getting-ready photos, the first look, the ceremony, and ultimately the toasts. With fewer guests and a more intimate setting, you can take your time and savor each moment without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Tons of people overwhelm you? Want your privacy? A private estate wedding allows you to have a more secluded (read romantic) setting.

While large weddings can be costly due to the need for a bigger venue, catering, and other expenses, a small wedding allows you to be more budget-conscious. You can choose a venue that fits your budget and opt for simple yet elegant décor and catering options. Or, in this case, Katie and TJ have some chefs in the family and they spent the morning and day before the event meal prepping to create a five-star gourmet dinner experience (I know, I was there!) at a fraction of the price it would have cost to have catered.

At the end of the day, Katie and TJ hired me to be their Breckenridge wedding photographer for a small event that was specifically designed to be a more personal and meaningful experience for the small handful of guests they decided to invite. With a larger wedding, it can be hard for guests to really connect with the couple or each other, but in this case, the location and mere fact that everyone was staying on-site together meant that a sense of real community was built over the weekend. Even I felt incredibly included and special (but it could have been that I got my own place setting which ALWAYS makes me feel special). I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room during toasts and the small space was completely enveloped in love and laughter.

Why hold a Breckenridge destination wedding?

Looking to tie the know somewhere in the Central US but that has a picturesque epic mountain setting? Breckenridge, Colorado might just be the place for you! Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge offers a variety of outdoor and indoor venues for weddings, as well as a range of accommodation options for guests from stand alone hotels to large private homes and estates.  With the Denver airport just a few hours away, stunning natural beauty, and epic views, Breckenridge is a convenient location and excellent choice for a destination wedding.

  • Year Round Destination: in the summer, the weather is mild and the days are long, which is perfect for outdoor ceremonies and receptions (though you may want to invest in a tent for those flash afternoon thunderstorms that Colorado is known for). In the fall, Breckenridge is awash in the colors of changing leaves (these photos speak for themselves).  Family full of skiers? Breckenridge transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a unique locations for a snowy celebration with five ski resorts within driving distance.
  • Breckenridge is also home to a wide range of wedding venues, from elegant ballrooms to rustic mountain lodges like the Lodge at Breckenridge. Whether you want a formal, traditional wedding or a laid-back, bohemian affair held at Main Street Station, you’ll find a venue that fits your style and budget. If you are holding a smaller, informal event, hosting your wedding at a private estate as Katie and TJ did, is absolutely perfect and will provide you with a beautiful event at a very reasonable amount.
  • Similar to Lake Tahoe, Breckenridge is a great wedding destination thanks to it’s ability to masquerade as a year-round playground! From hiking, biking and fishing in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter, Breckenridge has it all. Nearby Dillon, CO offers shopping at the factory outlets (where my former employer Pearl Izumi still maintains a store), and there is a wealth of dining options, art galleries to peruse, and craft breweries to pop into.

In short, if you’re looking for a destination that offers an an idyllic mountain backdrop that is more central than Lake Tahoe, where you can tie the knot in a stunning and memorable setting, Breckenridge is a pretty solid choice. And if you’re looking for a Breckenridge wedding photographer, reach out because I can’t wait to go back!