I'm a fine art wedding and portrait photographer — creating a space that welcomes creativity and inspiration. Based in Colorado, my work has taken me across the globe.


Your Guide for a Wedding in Vail at Piney River Ranch

tips for couples

Nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Piney River Ranch in Vail is more than just a wedding venue; it’s the beginning of your love story while being immersed in nature. In this blog post, we’ll explore why choosing Piney River Ranch for your special day is a winning decision. It’s a dreamy setting for those seeking an unforgettable wedding in Vail while experiencing the natural wonders of Colorado.


Piney River Ranch welcomes visitors from June 21st to the final Saturday in September, embracing a relatively short season dictated by the snowy nearby mountain range. Yet, it’s unquestionably worthwhile to secure a date within this limited window.


The Ranch offers a range of cozy accommodations to suit your needs and preferences. Among their options are the spacious Bear, Osprey, Fox, and Beaver cabins, each capable of accommodating up to eight guests. If you’re seeking a more intimate setting, the Moose and Elk cabins, designed to sleep four, will be perfect for you. For those with a taste for adventure, they also offer three canvas glamping tents, each accommodating four guests. It’s important to note that none of the accommodations come with kitchen, bathroom, or shower facilities. However, guests can take advantage of their well-maintained men’s and women’s guest bathhouse, complete with flush toilets.

While you’re encouraged to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the natural beauty surrounding Piney River Ranch, it’s essential to be aware that no WiFi or cell service is available anywhere on the ranch. In the unlikely event of an emergency, a phone is located inside the main lodge for your peace of mind. But, for detailed information regarding their pricing and availability, head to their lodging page.


Given the elevated altitude, it’s important to note that weather conditions at Piney River Ranch can exhibit significant fluctuations throughout the season. It’s advised to be well-equipped to adapt to a range of conditions, from the possibility of snow and rain to moments of heat and gusty winds. Your readiness for these varying elements will ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable experience during your stay.


Piney River Ranch is conveniently situated only 12 miles away from Vail Valley. You’ll find them at 700 Red Sandstone Road, Vail, Colorado 81658. It’s important to note that the unique location within a National Forest can sometimes lead to inaccuracies in navigation systems like Google Maps or MapQuest. Therefore, if you plan to use GPS for guidance, I recommend entering “Piney Lake” to ensure a smooth journey. Alternatively, for reliable directions, you can explore their website’s directions page, where you’ll find all the information needed to reach them effortlessly.


Your exclusive access to the venue spans a total of 10 hours, divided to cater to your event’s needs. Within this timeframe, you’ll have six hours dedicated to the main event itself, providing ample time for celebration. Additionally, you’ll be granted three hours for set-up, and following the festivities, you’ll also have one hour designated for a seamless and stress-free clean-up process. You have the option to add additional hours to the beginning of your event at a rate of $500/hr.


  • The venue rental fee includes exclusive access to the ceremony deck, expansive pavilion, and cocktail pavilion. It also includes the use of the couple’s getting-ready suites, elegant 8′ custom wood dinner tables, chairs, and ceremony benches for up to 200 guests. Additionally, you’ll benefit from cocktail table whiskey barrels, a convenient one-hour rehearsal, on-site parking, and a professional set-up of ceremony benches. Please note that the rental fee does not cover transportation or provide china and flatware. Glassware is included as part of their on-site catering and bar packages.
  • They do not allow outside catering vendors.
  • Complimentary tastings for two people are offered before your event. Additional tastings may be purchased.
  • There is no in-house sound system or microphone, so be sure to set this up accordingly with your DJ.
  • Piney River Ranch maintains its liquor license and kindly requests that guests refrain from bringing outside alcohol onto the premises. Their restaurant bar is at your service between the hours of 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM. For added convenience, they offer the option to purchase champagne, beer, and wine, allowing you to savor these libations within the comfort of your changing rooms.
  • Your furry companions are welcome, provided they remain leashed throughout their visit. For those planning an overnight stay, please note a non-refundable fee of $40 per pet, per stay is required, with a maximum allowance of two pets per accommodation.


I can’t even explain to you how much I love shooting at this venue. There are so many stunning photo ops for your couple photos or wedding party photos! Some of these spots include:

  • The stream flowing from the lake
  • The evergreen trees near the cabins
  • The aesthetically pleasing glamping tents
  • On the water’s edge
  • The docks and in the canoes (one of my personal faves, especially during golden hour)
  • The path by the lake or in the aspens



In the mountains, June marks the transition from late spring to early summer, particularly at elevations of 10,000 feet. While it’s not uncommon to experience an unexpected early summer snowstorm at this height, Piney River Ranch still provides stunning June days. During this time, the landscape has lush, vibrant shades of early-season greenery, creating a beautiful backdrop.


July stands out as an ideal month for weddings at Piney River Ranch. With comfortably warm daytime temperatures and refreshing cool evenings, it offers the perfect climate for outdoor celebrations. The extended daylight hours, allowing for a later sunset during the reception, provide an excellent opportunity to plan those memorable canoe photos by the lakeside. Moreover, July provides an abundance of wildflowers, making it a beautiful season.


August mirrors the favorable weather conditions of July, making it an equally optimal choice for a summer wedding in Vail at Piney River Ranch. While there’s a slightly increased chance of encountering afternoon thunderstorms in August, it’s worth noting that these weather patterns can be expected at various points throughout the summer season. Additionally, late summer in August means that the stream originating from the lake typically runs at lower levels. This provides a moment for couples seeking to wade in the water during their portrait sessions!


As September unfolds in the mountains, an autumnal ambiance begins to take hold. Evenings gain a crisp edge, and the sun sets earlier, setting the stage for after-dark moments by the fire pit. If you love those fall aspen leaves, consider securing a date in the latter part of September – especially on weekdays for added availability. It’s during this time that nature graces Piney River Ranch with the perfection of aspen foliage. This typically coincides with the closing week of their annual operations.

In the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Piney River Ranch offers a spectrum of seasonal richness. From the lush, early greens of June to the golden aspen tapestry of late September, each season brings its own unique charm to your wedding day. With warm days and cool nights, summer months like July and August invite you to celebrate outdoors, and even September provides a chance to cozy up by the fire pit under a canopy of stars. Regardless of your chosen month, Piney River Ranch promises an unforgettable backdrop and plenty of accommodations to fit your needs.


If your heart is set on Piney River Ranch for your dream wedding in Vail, and you’re still looking for your perfect photographer, I’d love to chat with you and get to planning your ideal wedding day. Head to my contact form! I can’t wait to hear from you.


Venue | Piney River Ranch

Planning | LP Creative Events

Photography | Whitney Rae Photography

Videography | KP Visuals

HMU | LoLa Beauty

Florist | Rocky Mountain Petals and Pine

Rentals | Colorado Party Rentals

Band | Jonny Mogambo Band

Dress | Theia Couture

Tux | The Black Tux

Bridesmaids | Azazie

Cake | Dang Sweets

Call it authentic, candid or genuine. Whatever the adjective, I want to create a wedding celebration that resembles you, from the big celebrations and the in-between moments to the images I deliver that help you relive the day for years to come. When it comes to your wedding day, the moments you want to remember aren't always perfect, staged or scripted, they are uncut, raw and true to you.


I believe in

Dorothea Lange

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still”

Words I Live by

Let's Connect


*Virtual Wave*

Hello! I feel beyond honored that you've made your way here! In order to give you the best representation of who you'll be spending your wedding day (one of the best days you'll live) with, here's a brief run down!

First and foremost, I'm a mountain gal through and through. I was born and raised in Vail, Colorado and unless it's another mountain town, my husband and I will always call this home. It's the tightly knit community, the fresh air (but really, it hits different here), the scenery and most importantly for us, the recreation + lifestyle. This is something that will always come through in my work, and what I believe sets me just a little bit apart - I am, and will forever be, inspired by the poetry of love in landscapes. 

I have a deep desire to be on the move, to see everything before I don't have the opportunity to, and are therefore happiest when traveling and exploring new places (which I feel so lucky is a part of my work!) 


Spending quality time hiking/biking/skiing/camping with my husband and our two border collies, clocking in some R&R at home or catching up with a friend over a glass of wine/craft beer are things that always sit at the top of the priority list.

If you're in to it- I'm a Libra, A Manifesting Generator (6-2) and an Enneagram 7 Wing 6/8. In short, I'm a people person, an optimist, and for lack of better terms- like to get shit done and make things happen. I'm a feeler, with a strong sense of empathy and sense of what people are experiencing, both when it comes to myself and others. I'm a bit of a goof, a tiny little thing packed with some sass, and ultimately just want to live a fun and adventurous life that's packed with new experiences and people. 

..I guess that's why I do what I do. I feel so grateful to be on this journey of having my own business where I have freedom to curate the life I want to live, where I get to connect with truly so many amazing humans, travel to some really beautiful places, and document that as a whole, as creatively and beautifully as I can for you.

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