Venue: Limelight Ketchum
Sun Valley is a ski-resort town located in the heart of northern Idaho with unbeatable views of the Sawtooth Mountain Range of our beloved Rockies. Actually, it’s not just a ski-resort town, but rather a mountain town with a ski culture – as it’s home to the world’s first chairlifts, which changed skiing everywhere. It’s also an area rich in arts and home to a large film festival, music festival, and many galleries. Plus – Sun Valley neighbors Ketchum, home to the actual Sun Valley Resort & an adorable downtown with plenty of shops and dining to explore.
So whether you & your guests enjoy snow sports, museums, or strolling around with the locals – Sun Valley has everything you could want for a destination wedding weekend. The town even got its’ name from the average 250 days of sunshine it receives a year, so you can count on the weather being perfect for your wedding, too.
Pro-Tip: Despite the sunshine, it does get quite cold in the wintertime, so if you’re wanting an outdoor Idaho wedding then plan your nuptials during the summer months!
Sun Valley Resort
More likely than not, you’re choosing Sun Valley as your wedding weekend destination because you want to go to the world-famous ski resort. Sun Valley Resort is located in Ketchum, Idaho and houses eight different venues (several with panoramic mountain views), so there’s truly something for every season, style, and size of wedding. Guests can lodge onsite and enjoy multiple dining options, live music, horseback riding, and even a spa during their stay. If you envision you and your guests spending a lot of time on the slopes during your wedding weekend, and having a one-stop-shop wedding experience, this would be the place to plant the party.
Venue: Sun Valley Resort
Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch
Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch is a great option for an intimate wedding weekend – with historic cabins onsite that have even been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. The ranch has maintained its’ original structures from the 1930s, protecting the history of the venue and giving the ranch a quaint, homey feel for a peaceful wedding day with your loved ones.
Venue: Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch
Deemed the “most picturesque Chapel in Idaho”, the Sawtooth Meditation Chapel in nearby Stanley is available for weddings from mid-May to mid-October. The pictures are worth 1,000 words – and in this case – worth 10,000 feet with these peaks as your backdrop!
Venue: Sawtooth Meditation Chapel
Like the other venue options above, and as mentioned, guests can stay onsite at the Sun Valley Ski Resort – even if you don’t end up hosting your wedding ceremony & reception there. Your ski-loving guests can cozy up in the lodge or a personal cottage, and never even leave the property if they don’t want to! If they do want to explore more of Idaho’s Rockies, though, guests can take advantage the resort’s complimentary bus system and head over to Bald Mountain for a nice hike or downtown Ketchum for more food & fun.
For more of an “off the grid” experience, your guests can stay at Wild Horse Creek Ranch to truly see and feel Idaho’s natural beauty. The ranch is located in nearby MacKay, 22 miles northeast of Ketchum & Sun Valley Resort, which gives guests a great chance to see more of northern Idaho during their stay. Mountain Creek Ranch can also accommodate group activities & events with unobstructed views of Idaho’s nine highest peaks!
Hotel: Wild Horse Creek Ranch
Knob Hill Inn has an indoor heated pool, hot tub and sauna – so if your guests don’t particularly love the snow, this hotel would be a great home base for them in the wintertime.
The Limelight Ketchum is a downtown hotel that still has incredible views of the mountains (so pretty much the best of both worlds). The hotel has options for room blocks, but could also be a great venue for you to host your welcome party, rehearsal dinner, or day-after brunch since it’s conveniently located to other accommodations and local attractions.
Hotel: Limelight Ketchum
ICYMI: your guests can enjoy plenty of skiing & snowboarding during your wedding weekend in Sun Valley. Dollar Mountain is known for having ideal slopes for beginners – so even if it’s Grandma’s first time skiing, she can still shred!
Plan a group hike with all of your wedding guests – it’s way more fun than a regular welcome party! This is a great opportunity to get some good snapshots with guests you may not have a chance to get professional photos with during your actual wedding, too. One of the most popular trails in Sun Valley is the Proctor Mountain Trail – a moderate hike close to the Sun Valley Resort.
Sun Valley is located in the first Dark Sky Reserve in the US – giving the area some of best dark night skies in the entire world. Your guests can have a mesmerizing experience (besides watching you wed, of course!) and you can even have a *stellar* late night party under the stars during your wedding weekend.
Photography by Travis Amick Photography
Wedding guests that don’t have as much interest in the more strenuous outdoor activities Sun Valley has to offer can check out local shops for keepsakes! If you’re in downtown Ketchum, grab a latte at Maude’s in Ketchum – where you can sip espresso & shop vintage. Then, pop over to the year-round ice skating rink for a group activity with your guests that’s straight from a Hallmark movie!
With over a dozen dining options to choose from, Sun Valley Resort will have even your non-skiing guests visiting the slopes for a bite to eat. The Ram is Sun Valley’s original restaurant, and while updated – has maintained it’s rustic charm from 1937. You & your wedding guests can enjoy The Ram’s “Heritage Menu” of historic dishes and live piano playing.
Created by James Beard Award Winning and Michelin accredited Chef, Jay Veregge, all of Warfield’s pub fare features local and seasonal ingredients. Guests can visit for a post-hike beer, or you can host your rehearsal dinner here. Either way, the food and drink will be fresh, organic, and accompanied by yet another gorgeous mountain view.
The Sawtooth Club offers American steakhouse classics, fresh seafood, unique pasta dishes and an award winning wine list. This is a great spot for your guests to enjoy a nice date night during your wedding weekend, and enjoy the outdoor terrace during summer months. According to their website, The Sawtooth Club has been recognized in a local reader’s poll as “The Valley’s Best Overall Restaurant” in 5 different years.
As Sun Valley has been nicknamed America’s “drunkest” ski town, we couldn’t end the list without a great dive bar!Casino Bar is the perfect, classic mountain-town bar for your guests to have their own after party with foosball, pool, and a jukebox to really feel like they’re a local in a ski town.
To get to Sun Valley, you & your guests can either fly into the Boise Airport and take a scenic, 2.5 hour drive around the mountains, or catch a flight into the Sun Valley Friedman Memorial Airport, 12 miles from Ketchum & the Sun Valley Resort. But be warned – once you make it to Sun Valley, you aren’t going to want to leave!
For more venue & vendor recommendations, activity & dining options, and inspiration for your wedding weekend in Sun Valley, check out our Wedding Planning Guide for Sun Valley, Idaho – a special issue with 50-pages filled with 100% local Idaho wedding inspiration!