It is a fantasy for many couples planning their dream wedding. Friends and family arrive in Sun Valley from all over the country, and the world, for a weekend unlike any other. Depending on the season, the days leading up to the “I do’s” might include organized hikes and bike rides or a guided tour of Baldy on skis or snowboard. How about a wagon ride or sleigh ride through the picturesque Idaho countryside? A morning of fly-fishing? A party at the Gun Club or a few laps around Sun Valley’s pristine, world-famous Nordic tracks? Fabulous meals featuring fresh, local seasonal dishes keep everyone’s energy up for what comes next.
So many possibilities exist to share this special place with wedding guests and wedding party, creating a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
While many have married in Sun Valley style through the decades, the choice is now more popular than ever according to Kat Stansberry of Sun Valley’s Catering Department.Trends in nuptial planning emphasize the unique, the special, the non-cookie cutter event, and that is what Sun Valley does so perfectly.
Take the summer wedding of Kate Bentley and Keith Zalaski at Sun Valley’s Trail Creek.This stunning celebration was captured by gifted local photographer Hillary Mayberry and featured on the popular wedding blog, Style Me Pretty.
The beautiful bride grew up part time in Sun Valley and was quoted as saying, “Keith and I had little doubt about where we wanted to hold our celebration. For as long as I can remember, my family has spent time nearly every summer and winter in Sun Valley so it was an easy call for me. And after seven years of dating, Keith (a born and bred New Englander) had grown to love the location as much as my family. But most importantly, we associated Sun Valley with memories we had made together, a quality that made this picturesque mountain town a slam dunk.”
It was the attention to detail and the spectacular way the wedding complimented the surroundings and the surroundings complimented the wedding that made this sacred celebration stand out (though a gorgeous couple and a perfect summer day didn’t hurt either). Stansberry said she saw many current wedding trends perfectly executed in these creekside nuptials, from the use of natural and rustic materials, to seasonal flowers to personal do-it-yourself touches.
This summer wedding captured so perfectly by Mayberry showcased the quality of the light and the splendor of the season, a pastiche that changes every week, and sometimes even numerous times during a single day, in the mountains. Though July and August are the most popular wedding months in Sun Valley, each season offers unique and jaw dropping possibilities.
Stansberry thinks (and I agree) the prettiest month to get married is September. “The weather is ideal, town isn’t terribly crowded, the leaves are changing,” she said. “It’s spectacular.” Winter weddings in Sun Valley are memorable, too, providing so many opportunities to play in the snow and then gather by the fire, creating a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
As varied as the seasons are Sun Valley venues perfect for gatherings of any size. Smaller events are a wonderful fit for Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge or the historic Roundhouse Restaurant perched two-thirds up Bald Mountain. River Run Lodge and Trail Creek Cabin accommodate bigger groups, with River Run comfortably holding 250 partygoers. If an early evening is what the couple desires, the always-elegant Lodge Dining Room invites revelry until 10 p.m. During the colder season, from October 1 through May 1, brides may also walk up the aisle at the elegant Sun Valley Club.
Sun Valley staffs a coordinator who works exclusively with brides and grooms and their families. “We are not full-service wedding planners, but will help organize the event. We put families in touch with wedding professionals and vendors for every need — flowers, photography, tabletops, even hair and nail service providers,” Stansberry explained. Once the date is chosen, there is a wide and deep team of creative, consummate local wedding professionals to help make the couple’s vision a reality.
Stansberry said the Resort hears from brides and grooms up to 15 months before a desired wedding date, and Sun Valley can go into contract for the chosen venue up to 12 months before the big day. “One thing we’re seeing more of is mothers-of-the-bride calling to whisper that their daughter is getting engaged soon and they want to reserve a date even before the ring is on the bride’s finger,” Stansberry laughed.
Sun Valley is the ideal place to exchange vows and to share this timeless, classic and elegant location with the most special people in your life.