There’s something about a rustic Western wedding that reels me in. The vibe, the décor, and all the unique touches people add—it’s simply captivating. The beauty of a Western-vibe wedding lies in its versatility—you can infuse it with your own personal style and preferences.
Whether you envision a classic cowboy Western wedding, a rustic chic affair, a Southwestern celebration, a touch of Western glam, or a boho Western fusion, the possibilities are endless. You have the freedom to tailor every detail to your liking, whether you prefer an intricate extravaganza or an intimate gathering, all while working within your budget.
As an elopement and wedding photographer across Colorado and the Southwest, I have a deep affection for Western weddings. Throughout the years, I’ve gathered a few tips to share when it comes to planning your ideal rustic Western wedding. So, let’s explore the various ways you can bring your dream Western wedding to life.
If you envision hosting your Western wedding at a venue, you’ll be delighted by the abundance of amazing and unique locations that can serve as the backdrop for your special day. Picture yourself exchanging vows in a charming farmhouse, a rustic barn, or a scenic ranch-style venue. The possibilities are endless, allowing you to create an atmosphere that perfectly aligns with your Western wedding vision.
While there are countless venue options to consider, I have curated a selection of my favorite local Colorado wedding venues that are sure to bring your Western wedding ideas to life.
Nestled along the banks of the Saint Vrain River, River Bend is an actual dream wedding venue. Its towering red cliffs are as Western-chic as it comes. Add in a babbling creek and a spacious green lawn, and you’ve got all of the natural elements you could dream of! Along with many other offerings, this venue even offers a charming, open-air cottage dressing area, adding to its allure.
Boen Ranch blends Western and glamorous elements flawlessly. Having had the privilege of being a wedding photographer at this remarkable venue, I always reminisce about Casey & Jaylynn’s Western-glam celebration—a true testament to the venue’s ability to embody the Western aesthetic with a touch of sophistication.
To say I was impressed was an understatement. With its open-air reception barn, tree-lined drive, private dock, swimming pool with a courtyard, and horse-filled pastures, it’s an ideal venue for a rustic wedding. Boen Ranch also provides two private getting-ready spaces—a bright and airy wedding suite and a separate wedding cottage.
Rist Canyon Inn embodies the farmhouse wedding venue aesthetic. This 120-year-old farmhouse is a true gem, exuding timeless charm. Nestled in old-growth trees, this farmhouse offers a picturesque setting for your Western wedding. You are able to immerse yourself in the beauty of lush golden pastures and a glistening creek, which serve as nature’s enchanting backdrop. With its rich history and captivating ambiance, Rist Canyon Inn is sure to create an idyllic Western atmosphere for your special day.
For those seeking a more adventurous touch, exploring nature for your Western elopement can be a perfect fit. With Colorado’s diverse landscapes, including rugged mountains, vast plains, deserts, canyons, and mesas, you’ll find the perfect place to match your authenticity and vision as a couple.
As an elopement photographer, embarking on exciting adventures with my amazing couples is what truly ignites my soul. That’s why I couldn’t forget to mention the option of eloping in breathtaking locations that go beyond traditional venues. If immersing yourself in nature for your Western wedding is more your style, allow me to provide you with some inspiring ideas.
We’ll venture off the beaten path and discover remarkable landscapes that perfectly embody the spirit of your Western wedding celebration.
Colorado alone boasts a remarkable diversity of climates, showcasing rugged mountainous terrain, expansive plains, captivating desert lands, and awe-inspiring canyons and mesas. It’s no wonder that this scenic wonderland serves as an incredible backdrop for elopements. In this extraordinary state, you can be sure to find a location that perfectly matches the authenticity of you and your partner, allowing you to create a truly memorable and personalized Western wedding or elopement experience.
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is one example of a location that embodies the feeling of a mountain Western elopement. With its dramatic sandy red rocks, vibrant natural hues, and easy accessibility for guests, it’s a perfect choice for your Western wedding right here in Colorado.
As a wedding and elopement photographer, I’m here to assist you in planning the perfect location for your Western wedding. While Colorado offers incredible options, there are many other destinations across the Southwest to consider.
Joshua Tree in California and Sedona in Arizona provide vast and unique desert backdrops, while places like Moab in Utah offer stunning landscapes featuring giant rocks, arches, and slot canyons. Popular sites like Arches National Park and Antelope Canyon are excellent examples.
Keep in mind that some locations require special permits for weddings. I’m always thrilled to help you get those permits, explore new ideas, and scout out unique areas for your unforgettable Western wedding. Reach out to start brainstorming together!
If you desire an intimate connection with nature without booking an entire venue, consider the option of Airbnb or VRBO for your Western wedding. These platforms offer the perfect solution, allowing you to have a small and intimate ceremony while providing the flexibility to explore nearby picturesque landscapes for your wedding portraits.
With a smaller space to decorate and the convenience of a central location, you’ll have the complete freedom to create your dream wedding or elopement experience in your vision. Embrace the beauty of nature on your terms with this unique and personalized approach.
When it comes to your Western wedding attire, I believe in embracing your true selves and expressing your unique style as a couple. The choice of attire is entirely yours and should reflect your authenticity. However, if you’re seeking inspiration for your Western wedding look, I’m here to offer a few suggestions.
Incorporating boots into your wedding attire can add a touch of Western charm. Whether you choose classic cowboy boots, hiking boots, or Western-style work boots, you’ll find a wide and unique selection throughout Colorado and the Southwest. Places like Roper in Denver, Colorado offer a variety of Western aesthetic boots and clothing options to complete your look.
Hats can be a fantastic addition to your dreamy wedding attire. As a hat enthusiast myself, I would say to consider stylish hats from brands like Gigi Pip, Sunbody, or Hats by Parker Thomas to enhance your Western wedding aesthetic. If cowboy hats or felt hats aren’t your style, a flower crown can infuse a bit of boho-Western vibes into your wedding portraits and photos.
When it comes to general Western wedding attire, the key is to wear what truly resonates with you. Western weddings offer the perfect opportunity to incorporate unique details such as belt buckles, delicate lace accents, and even a touch of denim. And if you’re wondering about accessories, don’t hesitate to embrace the timeless charm of turquoise and bold, chunky jewelry – they are always fantastic choices to complement your Western wedding ensemble.
In a rustic Western wedding, it’s sometimes the small details that truly shine. When choosing your wedding bouquet or floral arrangements, consider earthy, dried flowers or bold, vibrant wildflowers to achieve that Western vibe. Bouquets featuring dried palm fans paired with feathery pampas grass, cotton stems, or even succulents can add unique elements to your overall look.
While natural colors often dominate Western wedding décor, don’t be afraid to incorporate those vibrant and bold hues inspired by wildflowers. Keep the look natural, but have fun with pops of color. Consider incorporating other elements like sunflowers, allowing them to add a playful and eye-catching touch to your wedding décor.
When it comes to Western wedding décor, incorporating natural elements adds an authentic and genuine touch. Think outside the box by using hay bales, barrels, horseshoes, and vintage whisky bottles to infuse rustic charm into your surroundings. You can even utilize logs to create a picturesque, natural altar.
Don’t let budget constraints hinder your creativity when it comes to Western wedding decorations. You have the flexibility to do as much or as little decorating as you desire. Explore thrift stores and antique shops to discover unique treasures that add character to your wedding. Consider reaching out to local farmers who may have old items they’re willing to lend, infusing your celebration with authentic rustic charm without breaking the bank.
Let your imagination run wild and create Western wedding décor that perfectly reflects your style and budget. Whether you prefer an extravagant or minimalist approach, decorating options abound.
Incorporating various textures is a fantastic way to elevate the ambiance of your Western wedding. Experiment with lace, leather, wood, and cowhide to bring depth and richness to your decorations. Enhance the atmosphere further by incorporating lanterns and string lights, casting a warm and welcoming glow over your celebration space. I always think it’s a great idea to let textures and lighting work in harmony to create an unforgettable Western wedding experience
As a seasoned wedding and elopement photographer based in Colorado, I’ve witnessed my fair share of unexpected weather changes. When planning your Western wedding or elopement, it’s crucial to consider the elements.
Prepare for unforeseen circumstances such as rain, snow, or hail by having a backup plan or props in place. Additionally, be mindful of significant temperature fluctuations in certain areas. For instance, locations like Joshua Tree can be scorching hot during the day and drastically chilly at night. Pack layers accordingly to ensure comfort throughout the day.
Moreover, don’t overlook the impact of altitude changes. Altitude sickness may affect some individuals, potentially hindering your celebration. If you’re not accustomed to higher altitudes, start hydrating early and allow yourself time to acclimate before the event. By being prepared and adaptable, you can navigate any weather challenges and fully enjoy your Western wedding experience.
Planning a rustic Western wedding is an exciting adventure that allows you to infuse your unique style and love story into every detail. From breathtaking venues to adventurous elopement locations, Colorado and the Southwest offer endless possibilities. As a wedding and elopement photographer, I’m here to guide you through the planning process, capturing every heartfelt moment and belly laugh along the way.
If a Western wedding speaks to your wild heart, reach out today, and let’s start planning your own rustic Western celebration. Together, we’ll create an unforgettable wedding experience that reflects your love and creates cherished memories and gorgeous wedding photos that will last a lifetime.