Five Small Towns in Idaho that are Perfect for Your Wedding
If you’re thinking of getting married in Idaho, you have so many lovely locations to choose from. While the bigger cities, like Boise and Nampa, have a lot to offer, smaller towns have their own special charms— and they don’t get enough love! So in this post, I’m taking a closer look at five of my favorite small towns in Idaho that are perfect for tying the knot: Sun Valley, Hagerman, Ketchum, Burley, and Twin Falls.
In this post, I’ll cover the best season to get married in these towns, highlight what’s special about each of these locations, share some of my favorite venues for each small town, and give you handy tips on finding a wedding photographer to shoot a small town wedding. And, of course, since I am wedding photographer, along the way I’ll also be sharing some ways you can take advantage of the unique beauty of each town to enhance your wedding pictures!
What’s the Best Season to Get Married in Sun Valley, Hagerman, Ketchum, Burley, or Twin Falls?
Is there a best season to get married in Sun Valley, Hagerman, Ketchum, Burley, or Twin Falls? While there’s no “best season” to get married in these areas, I’d say that two seasons have more advantages than others: spring and summer.
Every season has its pros and cons and I don’t want to discount fall or winter weddings, which can be beautiful! But I would say that spring and summer are what I’d consider the ideal seasons to get married in Sun Valley, Hagerman, Ketchum, Burley, or Twin Falls (all of which are located pretty close to each other, so they have very similar climates). So, why spring and summer? It’s all about the weather and what it does for Idaho’s natural scenery.
Idaho is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We’ve got it all: gorgeous rivers, lakes, mountains, flora, and fauna. And the lovely, warmer weather of spring and summer lets you take advantage of Idaho’s natural beauty by making it easier (and much more comfortable) to have all or part of your wedding outside. Getting to enjoy the great outdoors is even more important with small town weddings, as the idyllic, wide open spaces you’ll find in small towns are a big part of their charm.
As far as which season is better between spring and summer, that’s a matter of personal preference. Spring has more blooming flowers, while summer has warmer temperatures during the day and at night. So if you’re torn between having your small town wedding in the spring or the summer, you may want to choose based on whether you want more pretty flowers or warmer temperatures.
Fall and winter can be great seasons to have your wedding too, though! Some of the most beautiful weddings I’ve shot have been fall or winter weddings. If you’re drawn toward fall or winter, I think that these seasons can be great choices. If you want the warm tones of fall or the magical “winter wonderland” vibes of winter for your wedding, go for it and have yourself a fall or winter wedding!
I’ll say one last thing about the seasons before we move on to the next section, and that’s that if you’re thinking of having a winter wedding, I think that two of the small towns on this list are better options for you. Sun Valley and Ketchum are located right next to Bald Mountain, which will be covered with snow in the winter. So choosing one of these two towns for your winter wedding will really enhance the winter vibe of your wedding— and your wedding pictures!
Idaho Small Town Highlights and Wedding Venues
Now that we’ve got the pros and cons of the seasons covered, let’s take a look at the unique charms (and uniquely charming venues) of each of these small town locations!
Located in Blaine County, ID, Sun Valley is a resort city, which means there are many stunning sights to see and fun activities to enjoy. Sun Valley is well known for its excellent ski slopes, though there’s much more to do in Sun Valley than just skiing. Sun Valley is also home to ice skating, ice skating shows, award-winning golf courses, 30-plus miles of bike paths, Sun Valley Lake, horseback riding, and over 400 miles of hiking trails. Among the hiking trails in Sun Valley, you can choose from easier trails like Adam’s Gulch or White Clouds, or challenge yourself with more intermediate trails like Chocolate Gulch or Proctor Mountain (this one is beautiful all year round but is absolutely breathtaking in the fall).
Wedding Venues in Sun Valley, ID
Since Sun Valley is a resort city, there are many wedding venues to choose from. The most popular wedding venue in Sun Valley is the Trail Creek Pavilion. This venue makes for spectacular pictures, especially for your ceremony! The Trail Creek Pavilion is nestled in a stunning mountain valley and has an incredible view of the majestic Bald Mountain. Other great venues in Sun Valley include the Trail Creek Cabin, which is an intimate log cabin venue, and the Sun Valley Club, which is a golf clubhouse in the summer and a snowshoe center in the winter (or a wedding venue all year long!). The Sun Valley Club is a particularly beautiful venue if you’re considering having a winter wedding in Sun Valley, as their terrace overlooks Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain, which would both be capped with snow during your winter wedding.
Ketchum, Idaho is a small town that’s located very close to our last location, Sun Valley. Since these towns are next to each other, they have similar scenery, as they’re both located in the same valley beneath Bald Mountain. However, Ketchum has many unique attractions of its own.
In Ketchum, you can enjoy skiing, fishing, art galleries, hiking, and trail riding. You can also enjoy visiting the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens, the Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society Heritage & Ski Museum, and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. And then, of course, Ketchum is so close to Sun Valley that most of Sun Valley’s attractions are very easy to access if you’re staying in Ketchum for your wedding.
Wedding Venues in Ketchum, ID
A great hotel wedding venue in Ketchum, ID is the Limelight Hotel, which has modern spaces for your ceremony and reception, onsite accommodations for your guests, and onsite wedding planning services. Or, if you’re interested in having an outdoor venue, there’s the Galena Lodge, which is a lodge in the Boulder Mountains with spectacular views. You can also have your wedding at Ketchum’s famous Sawtooth Botanical Gardens, which has a garden for your ceremony and is home to a prayer well that was gifted to the Wood River Valley by the Dalai Lama himself.
Hagerman, Idaho is the smallest town on this list. Hagerman is a mere .61 square miles wide and it has a population of only 872. But, though it’s small, this town isn’t short on attractions. Hagerman is famous for being the home of the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, which is a world-renowned fossil site. In addition to this attraction for archeology enthusiasts, Hagerman boasts hot springs, rafting, the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway, and some lovely countryside.
Wedding Venues in Hagerman, ID
Because Hagerman is such a small town, there are currently no public wedding venues open directly in Hagerman. Normally, there is the Thousand Springs Winery Bed and Breakfast, but they’re closed for 2019 (and there’s no word on when they may reopen). However, there are several wedding venues on the town’s outskirts, including the beautiful Mountain View Barn in nearby Jerome, ID. This barn venue features a stone barn that was originally built in 1912, which gives this venue a rustic, country feel.
Next up, we have Burley, Idaho. Burley is a quaint small town that has no shortage of activities for the adventurous! Burley is home to Snake River, where you can enjoy boating, water skiing, and bass fishing. Or, if you’d like to have a more leisurely time during your visit to Snake River, you can also dine at Morey’s Steakhouse or on the Snake River Queen boat restaurant, golf at the River’s Edge Golf Course, or just have a relaxing time getting some incredible pictures by the river.
In addition to Snake River, Burley is also home to the Cassia County Historical Museum, Storybook Park (a children’s park designed by children), and a very popular cultural festival, the Magic Valley Folk Festival (which takes place in July).
If you’re staying in Burley, know that Burley is also very close to three of Idaho’s most popular recreation spots: The City of Rocks, the Pomerelle Mountain Resort, and the Albion Mountains. If you’re spending some time in Burley, you may want to make sure you carve out some time to visit these beautiful recreation spots.
Wedding Venues in Burley
Without a doubt, the most popular wedding venue in Burley is the utterly charming Sweetheart Manor— and for good reason! Sweetheart Manor is a charming, gorgeous event center that is designed specifically for weddings. This wedding venue is beautifully landscaped and has so many amazing backdrops for pictures. (I’d have to say that this is one of my favorite wedding venues I’m highlighting in this post!) Sweetheart Manor has a lovely style of its own, but it’s also easily customizable. The venue is designed to be versatile and fit many different wedding aesthetics. Sweetheart Manor has full service wedding packages and a unique DIY package option for couples who want to do more of the planning themselves.
While Sweetheart Manor is my top wedding venue choice in Burley, it’s not the only great wedding venue in the city. There’s also Morey’s Steakhouse, a restaurant that has a beautiful outdoor space for weddings. Morey’s Steakhouse is known for its excellent food and its incredible view of Snake River (it’s right on the river’s edge).
Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at Twin Falls, Idaho, the biggest of the small towns on this list. Twin Falls is an excellent place to have your wedding if you want that small town vibe, but also want a lot of options for your wedding and tons of things to see and do.
Twin Falls has some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire state. Twin Falls is the location of the famous Shoshone Falls, also known as “the Niagara Falls of the West,” which is a can’t-miss waterfall location (seriously, go visit if you’re anywhere near Twin Falls!). Twin Falls is also home to Snake River Canyon, where you can explore some incredible hiking trails and go boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, zip lining, base jumping, or rock climbing.
In addition to the natural wonders located in Twin Falls, the city has tons of great restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions, including the Harrett Center for Arts & Science.
Wedding Venues in Twin Falls
There are several great wedding venues to choose from in Twin Falls. One of my favorites (and also one of the most popular) is Canyon Crest. Canyon Crest is an event center and restaurant that’s celebrated for its amazing food and breathtaking views— the event space at Canyon Crest overlooks Snake River Canyon.
Other great wedding venues in Twin Falls include The Historic Ballroom in downtown Twin Falls, The White House (which is a lovely mansion venue), and Turf Club.
Choosing a Wedding Photographer for Your Small Town Idaho Wedding
Finally, I’ll close with some tips on choosing a photographer if you’ll be celebrating your wedding day in one of these small towns. Small towns have a lot of charm, but not a lot of wedding photographers. So if you’re having your big day in a small town, you may want to find an Idaho photographer who doesn’t necessarily live in that tiny town. (And the same goes if you’re looking to do any other kind of shoot in a small town, like getting family portraits, doing fashion photo shoots, getting engagement pictures taken, or capturing any other kind of portrait photography.)
I’m based in Pocatello, ID and am happy to travel to shoot your wedding! So if you think we’d be a great fit for each other, I’d love to travel and get you the wedding photography you’ve been dreaming of. Whether you’re looking for a great photographer who can shoot your wedding in one of the small towns featured here or looking for a Boise wedding photographer (or another big city in Idaho), I’m your girl!
Whether you decide to hire me for your wedding photography or think someone else would work better for the kind of shots you want (no hard feelings— your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you should always choose the photographer you feel is right for you!), I would recommend going with a wedding photographer who is an Idaho local. Photographers who specialize in shooting Idaho weddings will have a much better understanding of how to capture the beauty of the state, as well as how to maximize the beauty of local venues, which they’ve likely already shot at. They’ll also have a much better understanding of how the local climate can affect your wedding’s lighting throughout the day, which is so important for getting beautiful pictures.
If you’re thinking of hiring a local photographer to shoot your wedding in one of the towns highlighted in this post (and, again, I’d highly recommend it!), you may want to consider going with a photographer who lives in south Idaho, rather than one in north Idaho. There are cities with great wedding photographers in north Idaho, including Coeur d’Alene, but the travel fees associated with photographers who are farther away can quickly put photographers you like out of your price range.
All of the cities highlighted in this post are accessible from my hometown, Pocatello, but they’re also relatively close to other major cities, including Meridian ID and our state’s capital, Boise, ID, where you’ll find plenty of Boise area photographers. So whether you choose me to capture some dreamy, authentic shots for your wedding or are looking for a different vibe, know that you have plenty of options to choose from!