This isn’t your typical destination wedding. Instead of trading traditional nuptials in barefoot luxury, we say opt for a VIP-style ranch wedding. The U.S. is home to some amazing over-the-top ranches that provide both gorgeous backdrops as well as activities from spa treatments to back country hiking. If you’re looking for a changeup in the conventional destination wedding, here are three ranches that will have A-listers riding off into the sunset in style.
|RESORT AT PAWS UP provides luxury camping on the banks of the Blackfoot River.|
The Resort at Paws Up is quintessential Montana ranch living, with 37,000 acres in which to play. Those looking to book their destination wedding at Paws Up can choose from an Intimate Wedding of up to 30 people, to a Ranch Wedding at 60 guests or an Exclusive Wedding that caps at 120. All weddings include a catered wedding reception and dinner, the use of ceremony and reception venues, and transportation to and from Missoula International Airport for all guests.
Betrothed couples can select from a variety of picturesque venues at which to exchange vows, from a Historic Covered Bridge to the Blackfoot River Lodge or the Riverside Picnic Site.
When it comes time to party, Paws Up offers three reception venues. We hear that the resort recently unveiled the Great Angus Hall on the second floor of the resort’s Bull Barn. The hall (think rustically elegant) is a perfect spot for a western chic reception.
Note: Weddings from June 15 through August 31 require a guaranteed minimum number of accommodations at the resort based on estimated number of guests. Discounted room rates are available for weddings in the spring and fall.
To book a destination wedding reach out to Concierge and Conference Services Manager Stephanie Turner ([email protected]; 406-244-7318).
When booking wedding parties at Paws Up, we hear the Wilderness Estates are the most requested accommodations because of their large size and family-friendly nature. These measure at an expansive 3,200 square feet and each sit on four acres. The estates have vaulted ceilings, a cook’s kitchen, a loft game room, private deck with hot tub, and three master suites with en-suite master bathrooms with slate shower and a jetted spa tub.
Note: There are also 20 “family-size” two-bedroom tents on the property.
For room bookings contact Reservations Manager Tira Beary ([email protected]; 406-244-7336).
|THREE FORKS RANCH is characterized by intimacy, with just 15 guest quarters adorning the resort complex.|
Pre- or post-wedding, we say check into the resort’s Spa Town for some ultimate pampering. The Spa Town at Paws Up is made up of 11 tents stitched together by a wooden boardwalk. The welcome tents come with full baths and showers, while six individual treatment tents are decked out with a sink, a heated massage table and views of the meadows. There is also a fitness tent with cardio and weight equipment.
Wedding guests can request an entire spa buyout or in-room treatments.
Spa & Wellness Manager Laura Russell is on hand to assist with spa bookings ([email protected]; 406-244-7324). We hear Russell is also the most requested masseuse.
Nice Touch: Before arrival, all guests with reservations are contacted by the in-house pre-arrival concierge team, who will confirm all details and reservations. This is done two to three weeks before arrival.
Good to know: Paws Up is a seasonal resort, open from April 12 through October 31 and for the holiday/winter season from mid-December through late-January. Activities include everything from dog sledding and cross-country skiing (during the winter) to horseback riding, hot air ballooning, rappelling and more.
The Southwest is another rustically beautiful part of the country in which to host a destination wedding. The Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa in Utah has our vote. (How gorgeous would a white dress be against a backdrop of red rocks?)
A wedding team is on staff to help customize the catering and décor of the reception and ceremony. The intimacy of the ranch makes it perfect for a small ceremony of 40 people, but those interested in full buyouts can certainly do so. The resort is equipped to handle on-property ceremonies, receptions and farm-to-plate dinners.
|RESORT AT PAWS UP'S Pinnacle Camp comes with a myriad of luxury resort amenities.|
Foodie Fodder: Sorrel River Ranch launched a two-acre garden in January. Eighty percent of the ingredients used in the kitchen are sourced from the garden.
The Colorado River Bar and Lounge weighs in at 900 square feet and can accommodate up to 50 guests. This first-floor venue has a cocktail bar and lounge area that is perfect for welcome receptions and wedding parties. The Colorado Room, also at 900 square feet, can be used as a dance space. For something alfresco, we suggest the Colorado River Deck, which has 2,300 square feet of space and a capacity of 140. The outdoor venue has views overlooking the river. For a more expansive event, guests can reserve the River Deck, as well.
When booking a wedding party, we say opt for one of the River View rooms, whether it’s a River View Spa Suite, a River View Deluxe Suite or a River View Family Suite. The River View Spa Suites have balconies overlooking the Colorado River, a living room, dual-sink bathroom, oversized glass shower and a claw-foot hydrotherapy tub. River View Deluxe Suites have all the amenities of a Spa Suite, but instead of a balcony a private deck is available. The River View Family Suites include an open downstairs floor plan with a king bed, kitchenette, dining area and sitting area, and a large bathroom. There is also a separate sleeping area upstairs. The private deck of each Family Suite overlooks the Colorado River.
For bookings, reach out to Director of Sales and Marketing Keith Battaglia ([email protected]; 435-259-4642, ext. 336).
The intimate Spa at Sorrel River Ranch is a perfect spot to unwind before or after a wedding. The 3,000-square-foot facility is home to four treatment rooms, which range in size from 150 square feet to 300 square feet. It is recommended to book massages 24 hours in advance. We hear the Bourbon Cowboy and the Desert Rain Soak are the most requested treatments.
Battaglia is on hand to make all spa arrangements.
A definite must during your stay is a Homestead Wine Dinner, which is upon request for small groups. The dinner lays out a tasting menu highlighting local ingredients and ranch-grown produce. The ranch’s River Grill Restaurant is open to locals, as well.
Make reservations with F&B Supervisor Nina Melic ([email protected]; 435-259-4642).
Golf, anyone? The Moab Golf Club is near the hotel and has an 18-hole course that plays host to outings and tournaments. We hear that from the back tees, guests will play 6819 yards for a par of 72. To book a golf outing reach out to the Adventure Concierge ([email protected]; 435-259-4642).
Celebs or other discreet VIPs that want to keep “hush hush” should look into a wedding at Three Forks Ranch on the Colorado-Wyoming border.
Intimacy is the name of the game at this resort, with just 15 guest quarters, including two Master Suites, two Library Suites and 11 Deluxe Rooms. This makes Three Forks an excellent option for wedding buyouts. Each room has marble-tiled bathrooms and L’Occitane amenities. The 1,100-square-foot Master Suites, namely the Three Forks Suite and the Gold Blossom Suite, sit at the south end of the lodge and have views of the Little Snake River Valley and Three Forks Mountain.
King Suites are also premier rooms with jetted Jacuzzi tubs and walkout patios with private hot tub and fireplace.
For bookings contact General Manager Allison Pratt ([email protected]; 970-583-7396).
Wedding parties are encouraged to buy out the spa, but we hear that a three-day buyout is required. The spa measures at 6,000 square feet and has four treatment rooms. We recommend betrothed couples opt for the “Massage for Two,” which uses Loving Oil to hydrate and tone the skin, calm the nervous system and encourage emotional balance. (Not a bad way to start off a marriage.)
To book spa treatments reach out to Lodge Manager Jennifer Brennemen ([email protected]; 970-583-7396).
Three Forks Ranch comprises a team of experts who are on hand to customize the details of your stay. Guests who visit the ranch during ski season, for example, never have to wait in line for a lift. Skiers are chauffeured to the top of every run in their own snowcat and are returned to the top when they are ready for more. During the summer months, visitors can arrange for private picnics on the mountain or along the banks of the Little Snake River. Pratt is the point person for such VIP arrangements, including specific wedding needs.
Good to know: At all three properties, VIPs can land a private helicopter directly on the premises.