Grand Lake Lodge Wedding Guide
Updated January 4, 2022
Where is Grand Lake Lodge located?
Grand Lake Lodge
Grand Lake, CO 80447
Elevation: 8,369 feet
Grand Lake is a picturesque Colorado mountain town on the outskirts of the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. It features access to beautiful lakes, awesome local businesses, and some amazing hiking.
The Lodge is located up on a hill with spectacular views of the town and lakes, just after you exit Rocky Mountain National park.
It has been managed by Highway West Vacations since 2017, which also has numerous properties around the country.
When is Grand Lake Lodge open?
Grand Lake Lodge has historically been open for the summer months, staring in late May and ending in late September. In 2022, the Lodge started offering a handful of winterized cabins for winter guests, but if you’re planning a wedding, you’ll want to plan for May – September for the best options and experience for your guests.
What is the overall feel of Grand Lake Lodge?
Vibe: The Lodge is a true historic masterpiece. The main lodge is original to the property and was built in 1920 as part of a tour company’s plans to offer tours of Rocky Mountain National Park. The cabins on the property were originally bought from the Sears Roebuck Catalogue. They’ve since been updated and modernized, but still maintain their historic charm.
Favorite Part: The feel of Grand Lake Lodge had captivated me since I first stepped foot on it. It feels picturesque, in touch with nature, peaceful, and a smidge upscale which makes you feel like you’re being well taken care of. You’ll feel this from the wedding ceremony site to the front porch of the lodge, to the open air reception venue nestled in the aspens.
From their site:
At Grand Lake Lodge, you don’t have to be the greatest outdoor explorer to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. You can take in incredible panoramic views from the incredibly cozy fireside seating on our Deer Deck. Or soak in the stunning scenery from our outdoor pool and hot tub. Or rock back and revel in our moose’s mountainous backyard on Colorado’s favorite front porch.
Pro Tips for Getting Married at Grand Lake Lodge
Plan to utilize the room block and block off cabins for your guests to stay in. That way they can just head back to their rooms after your reception winds down and no one has to drive anywhere.
Have your guests drive through Rocky Mountain National Park on their way to the lodge. While you can approach Grand Lake from I-70, the driver through the park is the most beautiful way to arrive in Grand Lake. Though the drive is beautiful, guests will also see the devastation that the East Troublesome Fire caused to the western side of RMNP in September 2020. It’s a humbling experience, but also a testament to the resiliency of nature.
**Just a note, make sure guests know to check on the timed entry reservation system in RMNP that is in effect in the busy summer months.
And of course, photos at sunset are a must, so plan at least 30 minutes for those. The ideal time for sunset is a little earlier than you might think, so I can help you nail down the best time for these photos within your timeline.
Cell phone service is sometimes spotty at the Lodge, but they do have wi-fi and the town of Grand Lake itself has decent service.
Grand Lake sits at over 8,300 feet, so be aware that altitude could be an issue for guests. Check out my 10 Tips for Getting Married at Altitude and plan ahead!
Even though the lodge property isn’t huge, there is a fair amount of walking involved, so make sure you’re prepared with good shoes!
Due to the location constraints, Grand Lake Lodge only offers catering through their partner caterer, Wild Horse Catering. But don’t worry, it’s really delicious!
Where do you get ready at Grand Lake Lodge?
There are numerous options for getting at Grand Lake Lodge. Depending on your group size, you can choose the best option for you.
The Ford Cabin
The Ford Cabin is named after Henry Ford, who stayed in this exact cabin in 1927. It can sleep 12 so is a great staging option for wedding parties. It features a kitchenette and a screened in porch. There are also a couple of porch swings that give this cabin extra charm.
The porch is definitely the spot with the best lighting for photos, so consider doing final getting ready touches on the porch, rather than inside. If you want to get dressed indoors, definitely take advantage of the window light and open space in the main room.
The Elk Lodge
The ElK Lodge can sleep 20 and is also a great staging area for wedding day preparations and wedding party gatherings. It has plenty of space for hanging out, dining together, and getting ready.
Similar to the Ford Cabin, the best light for photos is on the screened in porch, so make sure you utilize it.
If you don’t have a huge wedding party, you can choose to get ready in one of the smaller 2-4 person cabins, which feature modern amenities. I’d recommend choosing a cabin that features a living area and a bedroom so you have a more open space to work with. And of course, a screened in porch is nice if you can snag a cabin with one of those.
The ceremony space at Grand Lake Lodge – Nuptial Knoll
There is one ceremony space on the property and it’s a short walk down a path from the lodge. You’ll approach through a grove of small pine trees and then emerge to walk down an aisle of wooden benches, facing a breathtaking view of Grand Lake. There is a permanent wooden arbor at the front of the knoll, which you can either decorate or use as is.
The ceremony space can hold up to 150 guests.
The reception space at Grand Lake Lodge – Mountainside Pavilion
Receptions are held in the open air wooden pavilion, which is nestled in a grove of aspens. From the front railings are beautiful views of Grand Lake. There is a permanent bar in the pavilion and plenty of room for dining and dancing.
The market lights also add an air of classic elegance to the space, and provide some cozy ambiance to the dance floor.
There is also a fire pit on the lower level that you use for s’mores or cozy snuggles as the evening cools off. Be aware that there are often fire bans in Colorado due to draught, so the fire pit may not always be available.
Best places for wedding party and couples photos at Grand Lake Lodge
There are so many beautiful spots to take photos at Grand Lake Lodge, whether you prefer the backdrop of pines, aspens, or open views. Here are some of my favorite spots.
Trail behind the property leading to Rocky Mountain National Park
If you walk past the playground, you’ll hit the trail that leads into Rocky Mountain National Park (fun fact, Grand Lake Lodge used to be IN the park before some boundary changes happened in the 1970’s). There are copious pine trees along this path and can be a nice, secluded spot for a first look or intimate couple’s photos.
Aspen grove near the front lawn
For large bridal parties, the front lawn is the best spot for photos. Depending on light, you have multiple options to have aspen trees in your photos and it’s a centrally located spot to bring a lot of people together.
The aspen grove behind the reception venue
This is the perfect jumping off spot for sunset photos, but it can also be used earlier in the day. Just note that the path is narrow and the side of the hill is steep, so it’s not ideal for larger groups, and is best for 2-3 people.
The overlook at the ceremony spact
There is a beautiful path that leads from the back side of the Mountainside Pavilion to the ceremony space and it’s beautiful in the late afternoon/ evening. I’d recommend taking it for sunset photos and ending up at the lookout by the ceremony spot. The best views on the property in my opinion.
The lookout deck by the main lawn
This causal hangout for guests features amazing views and is a nice central place for larger group photos that feature a view.
In the trees
Pine trees are everywhere at Grand Lake Lodge and they’re the perfect backdrop for photos.
What is the best season to get married at Grand Lake Lodge?
Grand Lake Lodge is open late Spring to early Fall (late May – late September) and all seasons are beautiful.
May/ June Weddings at Grand Lake Lodge
May and June in the mountains can feel either like spring or fall and can be wet or dry. It just depends on the day. For warmer and drier days, choose late June dates.
July/ August Weddings at Grand Lake Lodge
July and August are beautiful months in Grand Lake. The days are warm and the summer activities are flourishing. Guests have ample outdoor activities at their disposal, like boating on Grand Lake and hiking in RMNP. The pool is also open at the lodge and you can spend evening enjoying a drink and watching the sunset on the outdoor patio by the front lawn.
September Weddings at Grand Lake Lodge
If you want cooler evenings and the chance of aspen color, you should plan your wedding for September. The later in the month, the better your chance for fall color. Plus, September is a gorgeous month in Colorado anyway, so your out of town guests will love it!
How much does it cost to get married at Grand Lake Lodge?
For the most up to date pricing, contact Grand Lake Lodge through their inquiry form on their website.
Blogs from Grand Lake Lodge Weddings
I travel all over the state of Colorado and across the US to capture connected wedding stories for devoted and courageous couples. I am very familiar with weddings at Piney River Ranch and I’d love to be your Piney River Ranch wedding photographer!