Mountain weddings are a picturesque and romantic choice for couples seeking a breathtaking backdrop for their special day. However, planning a mountain wedding comes with its own set of unique challenges. From unpredictable weather to logistical considerations, there are several mistakes that couples can make during the planning process. In this blog post, we’ll explore some common wedding planning mistakes specific to mountain weddings including some from our favorite vendors, helping you navigate the planning process and ensure a memorable celebration amidst nature’s beauty.
1. Overlooking Weather Conditions
One of the most significant challenges when planning a mountain wedding is the unpredictable weather. Mountain regions often experience sudden changes in weather patterns, including temperature drops, rain showers, or even unexpected storms. To avoid any inconvenience, be sure to research the typical weather patterns of your chosen mountain location during your wedding season. This will help you make informed decisions about venue choices, outdoor ceremonies, and contingency plans in case of inclement weather.
2. Disregarding Professional Help
Cape Cod officiant Jill Meyer of Write Weddings not only performs weddings, she also helps write wedding vows for couples nationwide. She encourages them to put a great deal of energy into writing their vows. “Unique, heartfelt, authentic wedding vows make a ceremony so much more meaningful, not only for the couple, but for all the guests. Not getting additional professional help to eloquently share those sentiments is a lost opportunity for couples to express their best selves.”
3. Forgetting the Overall Purpose
Photography team Shado and Isabelle, owners of Shado of a Rose and two of the trendiest Portland Maine wedding photographers, share this piece of advice. “Time and time again, we see couples drive themselves literally crazy planning a wedding and forgetting the overall purpose is to honor the relationship and the choice to create a union between each other. Although it’s a family affair, it’s about what you want, not about what everyone else expects. We always say, make it about YOU. What feels most important to you!”
4. Neglecting Altitude Considerations
Mountain regions can vary significantly in altitude, and it’s important to consider how this might affect you and your guests. Higher altitudes may pose challenges for some individuals, especially if they are not accustomed to such conditions. Ensure that your guests are aware of the altitude and provide them with helpful information to prepare and acclimatize if necessary. Additionally, if you or your guests have any health concerns, consult with a healthcare professional to understand any precautions that need to be taken.
5. Ignoring Seasonal Restrictions
Certain mountain regions have seasonal restrictions or limitations that can impact your wedding plans. For example, some areas may have specific regulations regarding noise, outdoor fires, or access to certain locations during particular times of the year. Research these restrictions well in advance and communicate with your wedding planner or venue coordinator to ensure compliance and avoid any last-minute surprises.
6. Neglecting the Guest List
When you have a grip on your guest list, you’ll find it easier to make budget decisions. “The cornerstone of your budget is your guest list,” says Shannon Loiacono of Limousines Inc, a prominent limousine company serving Maryland and Washington DC. “If you let it become a moving target, you won’t be able to keep expenses in line for important needs like limousines.”
7. Missing Your Venue’s Plan B
Have your heart set on getting married outdoors?” asks Kathy Gibson of Occasions at Laguna Village, a waterfront wedding venue in Laguna Beach. “Avoid venues that don’t have a Plan B in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.”
8. Neglecting Vendor Meals
Jose De Leon, a top bilingual DJ in NJ and owner of LEM Entertainment offers this reminder. “Don’t forget to feed your photographer, videographer, DJ, and Day of Coordinator. “You want peak performance so make sure there’s fuel in the engine.”
9. Failing to Arrange Adequate Transportation
Mountain venues are often nestled in remote and scenic locations. This can pose transportation challenges for you and your guests, especially if the venue is not easily accessible or requires navigating narrow, winding roads. Failing to arrange adequate transportation can lead to delays and frustrations. Consider hiring shuttles or providing clear directions to ensure everyone arrives at the destination safely and on time.
10. Not Factoring in the Details
You may not be familiar with all the fees associated with planning a sit down dinner reception and can underestimate costs. “Be sure you understand the difference between a service charge and a gratuity,” offers Gregg Carlyle owner of Millennium Center, an historic wedding venue in Winston-Salem, NC. “A service charge covers a venue or caterer’s fixed costs while a gratuity is for the service.”
11. Not Expanding the Entertainment Offerings
While dancing is a big part of a wedding reception, not all of your guests are going to want to hit the dance floor, explains David Fox, owner of the Charleston wedding DJ division of Bunn. “Keep them entertained with games, a character station, or a photo booth.
12. Underestimating Lighting Needs
While mountain weddings offer stunning natural beauty, lighting can become a crucial consideration. As the sun sets earlier in certain seasons or when your ceremony extends into the evening, it’s important to plan for appropriate lighting arrangements. Consult with your wedding planner or a lighting specialist to create a romantic and well-lit ambiance, ensuring that all the details of your special day are beautifully captured in photographs.
13. Neglecting Guest Comfort
Mountain weddings often require guests to spend more time outdoors, and it’s essential to keep their comfort in mind. Provide ample shade during hot weather, consider offering blankets or shawls in cooler temperatures, and be mindful of providing appropriate restroom facilities in remote areas. Ensuring the comfort of your guests will enhance their overall experience and allow them to fully enjoy your mountain wedding celebration.
14. Omitting Contingency Plans
Two owners from the famed Bunn DJ Company weighed in from their locations in the Carolinas. “Make sure you work with a DJ who has backup – both in personnel and equipment. Things happen and you want to make sure there’s a plan in place,” says Brandon Alley, owner of the Charlotte wedding DJ division of Bunn.
15. Waiting to Book
Key West wedding planner Michael Vernon, owner of Conch Concierge Weddings, offers this advice. “Avoid waiting until the last minute to book vendors, especially if you are getting married on a Saturday or during a prime time of the year.”
16. Ignoring The Value of a Timeline
Do not underestimate the value of a timeline,” explains wedding DJ Brendan Lafferty of B-Sharp Entertainment. “While you may want your wedding to have its own ebb and flow, a timeline is essential for your vendors, venue, and caterer in order to produce an amazing reception.”
17. Overcommitting Yourself to DIY Projects
Taking on too many decor tasks is a wedding planning trap to avoid. “Beware of DIY overload,” says Aly Heintz Raddatz of Elevated Events, a Chicago event decorating company, which also features DJs and photo booths. “Your time has value, so be mindful of what you want to take on yourself.”
18. Underestimating Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness is a common concern in mountainous regions, especially for individuals who are not accustomed to higher altitudes. This condition can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue, potentially impacting the well-being of you and your guests. Failing to consider altitude sickness can hinder the enjoyment of your wedding celebration. It’s crucial to inform your guests about the potential risks and advise them to take necessary precautions, such as staying hydrated, avoiding strenuous activities upon arrival, and allowing time for acclimatization before the wedding day. Consulting with a healthcare professional or local experts on altitude-related matters can help you provide the appropriate guidance to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone.
19. Underrating the Value of Wedding Vendors
Don’t be tempted to hire a vendor based just on pricing,” says Heather Laughman, owner of Central PA Wedding Shows and the top producer of wedding shows in Central PA. “Take time to explore your options and understand the value behind the products and services you’re comparing.
20. Not Allowing Enough Transportation Time
When it comes to planning a day-of schedule, not allowing enough transportation time is a common mistake, says Brittanie Pate of The Elia, a new wedding venue in Wilmington, NC. “Not only do you need to calculate how long it will take to get to the ceremony site but also to the reception if it’s in another location.”
Planning a mountain wedding can be a magical and unforgettable experience for both you and your guests. By avoiding these common mistakes and planning ahead, you can overcome the challenges specific to mountain weddings and create a day filled with breathtaking scenery, joyous moments, and cherished memories. Embrace the unique charm and beauty of the mountains while ensuring that your wedding day is flawlessly executed, making it a truly remarkable event for everyone involved.
Brian Lawrence is a wedding business marketing expert who has helped thousands of clients like Alan Berg and Joe Bunn with consulting, marketing and web design. We’ve partnered with Brian Lawrence to bring this great advice from some of his amazing clients.