Dempsey & Carroll curator, Austin Ackles, sat down with Virginia Edelson to discuss her work as an event planner in Aspen.
AA: Aspen is one of my favorite summer places. Do you do many weddings there in the winter or are most in the summer?
VE: Although Aspen winter weddings are absolutely magical, summer is the prime time for events and weddings in Aspen. The saying here goes: “people come for the winter and stay for the summer.” This is certainly true when events are the focus. There is significantly more for guests to do in the summertime (and hotel rates are much better!).
AA: Are there any extra considerations for those who want that dramatic high-peak mountainous backdrop for their ceremony?
VE: Indeed! Whenever we plan an outdoor wedding, weather and guest comfort are key items to keep into consideration. We always recommend a strong weather back up in case that gorgeous mountain backdrop is covered in clouds and rain. Moreover, guest comfort is always front and center at our events. Communication of proper attire, how weather can change, and proper footwear is always communicated to guests to ensure maximum comfort. We may just throw in a few extra goodies for their comfort at the event as well!!
AA: And are there any special concerns about the guests response to elevation changes?
VE: Fortunately, we rarely have any issues with guests coming to altitude for the wedding. However, we always remind guests to consume a lot of extra water prior to their arrival in Aspen and we often have an oxygen bar or mini cans of oxygen available for guest use once they arrive here.
AA: Have you ever done a wedding where skiing was somehow involved in the event itself?
VE: We have! One of the most memorable grand departures was a couple in full wedding attire skiing through a sparkler departure and then down Aspen Mountain with a special ski patrol escort. (I have photos!).
AA: What about wildlife? Any great sightings or surprise guests at a wedding or reception?
VE: There is a resident fox that tends to make a “surprise” appearance at almost all of the weddings on top of Aspen Mountain. Although we have our fair share of bears around town, we have yet to see one at a wedding. Most guests see them on their way through!!
AA: By now, you must have been involved in an event with a weather nightmare. Can you tell me about how it ended happily?
VE: Unfortunately we have. We tend to get storms that come and go relatively quick so they don’t impact our events to a great extent. However, we had an east coast style rainstorm all day one Saturday this summer. Our 300 person wedding was scheduled for mid-afternoon in a gorgeous meadow followed by a tented reception in the meadow. The weather broke shortly before guest arrival but it was clear we didn’t have too long until it returned. About 3/4 of the way through the ceremony, the rain returned and all of the umbrellas opened. As the mother of the groom exclaimed afterwards: “It was like hundreds of bottles of champagne popping open!” Although we didn’t have out picture perfect Bluebird day, it was certainly a dramatic and memorable one for the books.