Simple, Romantic Summer Wedding

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Wedding planning was one of most stressful, but ultimately rewarding times in Maggie and Daniel's lives. The most important advice they kept in mind on their wedding day was, "Look around you and be thankful. There is likely never going to be another moment in your life when all of these most important people are in the same place, at the same time again." Read on to learn more from Maggie and Daniel!

Love Story

Daniel and Maggie met on a warm summer night in Boulder. What started out as a gradual courtship eventually developed into a whirlwind romance. With a shared love of simplicity in life and the importance of family, Dan and Maggie built a solid foundation in Christ before gifting their lives to each other before an intimate group of close friends and family at St. Catherine of Siena Chapel, known as the Chapel on the Rock, outside of Estes Park.

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Inspiration

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It all began with the chapel. When Maggie moved to Colorado in 2007 with just a broken heart and her dog, she rounded the corner in Allenspark, on the way to RMNP, to a stunning stone chapel perched on a rock at the base of a towering mountain. She never made it to RMNP that day, instead hiking around the chapel and praying that someday the Lord would bring her to the altar in that chapel. 

10 years later she was walking down the aisle of St. Catherine of Siena Chapel to commit her life to the man God had finally brought into her life. With such a magnificent backdrop for their wedding, Maggie and Dan knew it was the perfect setting to incorporate a simple theme, with neutral color palette and classic detailing. 

Baby's breath, with its beautiful, delicate flowers, was the foundation from which the color palette was built. Classic ivory, sage green and light beige with subtle hints of blushing pink were incorporated to create a soft, romantic palette. 

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Maggie wore a corset-backed, ivory lace wedding dress, lined with blushing pink satin to complement her fair skin and red hair. She altered the dress, adding matching lace cap sleeves to honor the traditions of a Catholic Mass. 

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Dan wore a simple black suit with a white dress shirt, black bowtie, and black vest with Fleur de Lis cufflinks as a nod to his New Orleans family ties. To balance Dan's look, Maggie's four bridesmaids each wore their own, unique black dresses while the groomsmen each wore their own, unique mix of light and dark suits. 

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Maggie and Dan chose to complement the baby's breath with roses and eucalyptus. The ivory colored roses elevated the romance and kept the look classy and traditional while the eucalyptus incorporated a beautiful sage green color, unique texture, delicious scent, and height contrast to the centerpieces and chapel accents. Together with baby's breath, the combination was a truly simple and elegant design perfect for a traditional summer wedding in the high peaks of Colorado.

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Budget

Maggie and Dan knew that location and logistics were going to eat up a large part of their already modest, less than $12k total budget. With the chapel located high in the Rockies outside of Estes Park, they decided on a reception venue in Lyons at Lionscrest Manor which fit not just the budget and elegant ambience they were looking for, but also offered another set of gorgeous mountain views since it is perched up high enough to glimpse Long's Peak at sunset. 

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With family flying in from out of town, they decided on the Renaissance Flatiron hotel in Broomfield as a central location for the room block. Given the steep and mountainous terrain to the chapel and reception, they knew that roundtrip shuttle service was an absolute must for their family and friends on the day of the wedding. They worked out a deal with the hotel for discounts on shuttle service based on the number of rooms booked, which almost cut the bill in half! 

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Read more on accommodating out of town guests here!

Like most families, Maggie and Dan's family appreciate good food! When it came to the catering service, they partnered with Front Range Catering who worked in a discount based on their double booking for the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception! Maggie and Dan chose to keep it budget-friendly with a buffet style dinner and nobody left hungry! Several appetizers including mini twice baked potatoes, petite quiche lorraine, and sesame coconut chicken skewers were served when guests arrived to the reception. A lighter main course of chicken roulades and stuffed tilapia as entrees, with a few rich sides including Dan's favorite penne Alfredo rounded out the menu. Maggie and Dan chose to have a small 6" cake, and guests were served table side from a more economical sheet cake, all baked by Front Range Catering!

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With a setting like this, Maggie and Dan knew that photography was going to be super important. Jamie Striplin of Crystaline Photography fit the bill for them in terms of the GREAT package deal she offered, and the experience with epic mountain wedding photography that Jamie and her team brought to the table. Most importantly, Jamie and her team were almost invisible throughout the day, and executed on all of the very specific shots that Maggie and Dan had in mind. With over 2,000 gorgeous photos, this couple may never get around to selecting album photos and prints!

As a musician, Dan was able to lock in a great deal with a fantastic band, "Jus' Sayin" who played the entire reception. 

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Planning the entire wedding together, with help from Maggie's Mom, was time consuming but ultimately gave Maggie and Dan greater control over negotiating contracts, and finding deals on everything from the wedding dress to flowers to catering to decor. They wouldn't have done it any other way!

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Unique Details

The setting for this wedding was incredible; guests will remember the views and serene beauty of the historic chapel more than the centerpieces. This really allowed Maggie and Dan to take advantage of the scene that was already set, incorporating fewer accents and decor than would have been required to dress up another church and venue at a different location.

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Favorite Memory

Maggie and Dan will never forget the moment their eyes met for the first time that day at the top of the aisle. That moment stood still for both of them before the rest of the day flew by!

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Unique Challenges

Budgeting was always top of mind for Maggie and Dan, so they found every way they could to cut costs. The reception venue and caterers both took payment installments which really helped to spread out the larger costs over more time. Costs were also a concern for our wedding party, so allowing them to all choose their own attire really alleviated any stress there and saved so much time in coordinating and shopping for those items. Maggie was knee deep in flowers creating all of the accent and centerpieces two days before the wedding, and Dan designed and created all of the invitations, mass cards, and signage.

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Lessons Learned

For first timers, Maggie and Dan did pretty good at planning and executing the wedding! Maggie wished she would have appointed a bridesmaid to be the point of contact for the event staff during the reception so that she wasn't as concerned with logistics during the reception. Dan wishes his band would have played the reception. ;-)

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Tips for Engaged Couples

Due diligence is important. Take the time to research online before making a short list to actually meet with or visit in person including venues, caterers, vendors, prices, etc. Read reviews from other couples. There are plenty of sites that allow real couples to review their experiences. Choose those that are in the budget first, and have great reviews!

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Decide early on what you are willing to manage yourself and what you want to delegate to others or outsource to a planner. Remember there are trade-offs. Your time and sanity are super important during this time! If you are the type of person who enjoys having full control over every detail, then do most of it on your own! But if you have trouble making decisions, or feel overwhelmed at the prospect of where to start, meet with a few planners and decide if you want to take all or just some of the work off of your plate.

Marriage Advice

First of all, enjoy the process and don't lose sight of what is important when planning a wedding! It was one of the most stressful, but ultimately rewarding times in our lives. When your wedding day finally arrives, enjoy it. One of the best suggestions we received before our wedding was, "Look around you and be thankful. There is likely never going to be another moment in your life when all of these most important people are in the same place, at the same time again."

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Guest List Count: 80 // Photography: Jamie Stiplin of Crystaline Photography and Video // Ceremony Venue: St. Catherine of Siena Chapel // Reception Venue: Lionscrest Manor // Bakery and Caterer: Frontrange Catering // Bar Services: Frontrange Catering for service and B-Town Wine & Spirits for supply // Musicians: Jus Sayin // Hairstylist: Corey Sutton // Makeup Artist: Sarah Salyer, Sadie B Lash Studio // Wedding Dress: StillWhite.com (Preowned never worn Maggie Sottero for $550, retails at $4500!) // Groom's Wardrobe: Macy's // Shoes: Amazon // Accessories: Macy's // Officiant: Father Peter Mussett, St Thomas Aquinas

Sweetheart Love Story with a Rocky Mountain Backdrop

Emily and John are high school sweethearts who learned absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Years later, they've finally gotten their fairy tale ending (which includes a salsa bar)! Read on to learn more from Emily!

Love Story

Johnny and I met when we were seniors in high school living in Colorado Springs. We graduated high school and had to go our separate ways when I started college and he enlisted in the Air Force.

Being in a long distance relationship was hard but two and a half years later we were engaged and then a year and a half later we decided to finally say "I do". The saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" was very true for us.

Inspiration

Our theme was rustic Colorado. Our colors were peach, coral, light pink, gold and navy. We decorated the venue with burlap accents, lace and lots of mason jars. We wanted to give our guests a true Rocky Mountain experience from the location of venue to the pine cones we used as part of our center pieces.

Budget

Budgeting for a wedding was not easy, however my husband and I worked together to decide where the majority of the money was spent. I wanted to hire a professional photographer to capture our wedding day and my husband wanted to make sure our guests had a great meal. By weighing our options with the choice of our venue, we found a location that had everything we wanted and was within our budget.

Unique Details

Our venue was unique in itself because it was an inn and we were able to stay at our venue for the whole weekend, allowing a fun getaway for our whole wedding party to enjoy. We also wanted our wedding to represent our personalities as much as possible. We chose to have our wedding in the Colorado Rockies because that is a place that we both love. We also decorated the venue with lots of pictures from our engagement session to make the venue feel as though it was our own for the weekend.

Favorite Memory

My favorite memory from my wedding was our vows. We each wrote our own and they had so much meaning and were so special to each of us.

Challenges

We faced many unique challenges during our wedding planning experience. My husband and I were living in separate states and neither one of us were in Colorado during the time that we planned our wedding. My husband is activity duty military and I was finishing my last year of college. Between studying for school and working we planned the wedding. We had to just do it a little bit at a time for me to study for my classes, so it was nice that we had one year and a half to plan everything.

(Check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings tips for planning a wedding from out-of-town here.)

Lessons Learned

Looking back I wish that I would've budgeted for a wedding planner. I had too much going on trying to finish my undergraduate that it became too stressful and there were some points that I got tired of planning the wedding.

Tips for Engaged Couples

Some advice that I have for those who are wedding planning now is to not be afraid to ask for help; it can get overwhelming at times and it is a lot easier when you let people help you.

Marriage Advice

Let it be an adventure. It will be hard and you will have to learn to love each other in a new way everyday, but it should never stop being an adventure.

Guest List Count: 150 // Photography: Jessica Elle Photography // Venue: The Edgewood Inn // Bakery: Nothing Bunt Cakes // Caterer: Panino's Restaurant // DJ: Intense Media // Stationery: Shutterfly // Florist: fiftyflowers.com // Wedding Dress: The Bridal Collection // Bridesmaids' Dresses: Azazie.com // Groomsmen and Groom's Wardrobe: Men's Wearhouse // Officiant: Rev. Alan Borcher

 

6 Secrets to Staying Calm Before Your Wedding

It’s no secret that planning your wedding can be a stressful experience. Even the most organized bride can become overwhelmed by the work of planning a wedding. As you juggle the guest list, your last-minute fittings, and the myriad of details that you need to wrap up before the big day, you may experience symptoms of anxiety such as sleeplessness, fatigue, poor concentration, or excessive worry.

However, there are ways to keep these feelings from spoiling the joy of marrying your best friend. Here are six ways to stay calm in the hectic days before your wedding. 

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1. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day

Enjoy a day of stress-beating indulgences at the spa.  A facial, manicure, or pedicure will help you relax while helping you to be your most beautiful on your big day.

Many spas offer bridal packages that you can share with your bridesmaids. Make an appointment for the day before your wedding, and your skin and nails will be in top form for the special day.

2. Take a Yoga Class

Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical positions, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga is a proven way to help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.

Breathing techniques mixed with yoga poses direct more oxygen to your body's vital organs. As a result, you will experience tension relief, sharper concentration, and less stress.

If you have time to take a yoga class before your wedding, do so. If not, you can follow along with a beginners’ DVD or YouTube. Here are two easy poses to get you started:

The Bridge Pose

1. Lie on your back, with bent knees and feet placed flat on the floor about hip width apart. Slide your arms along the sides of your body with the palms facing down. Your fingertips should lightly touch your heels.

2. Pressing your feet into the floor and keeping your knees hip width apart, inhale and lift your hips as you slowly roll your spine off the floor.

3. Press into your arms and shoulders to lift your chest, using your legs and buttocks to lift your hips higher.

4. Hold this position for about six deep breaths. Then release on an exhale and slowly roll your spine back to a flat position on the floor.

Standing Forward Bend

1. From a standing position, exhale and bend forward, bending your knees enough to bring your palms flat to the floor and lightly press your head against your legs.

2. Feel the stretch in your spine as you gently pull your head down and then in towards your legs. Press your hips up and straighten your legs to intensify the stretch.

3. Hold this position for about six deep breaths. Then bend your knees and inhale as you raise your arms and torso back up to the standing position.

The more time you spend focusing on your breathing and on your mind-body connection, the stronger you will feel.

3. Delegate Some of the Work

Remember when your friends and family members offered to help you with the wedding when you told them about your engagement?

With the wedding fast approaching, it’s time to take them up on their generous offers. You cannot do everything on your own. Enlist help for running last minute errands and making phone calls. Here are a few other tasks to assign to trusted individuals.

  • Picking up out-of-town guests at the airport or train station
  • Making tabletop decorations or favors
  • Ushering
  • Handling the guestbook
  • Making or checking place cards
  • Confirming times and other details with caterer, photographer, florist, and musicians

4. Be Your Most Beautiful

If there ever was a day to want to look and feel your absolute best, it is your wedding day. After searching the internet and the wedding magazines for possible hairstyles, it is time to visit a trusted hair salon for professional advice and assistance. 

Consider both your dress and your wedding headpiece when you make your decisions.  Bring along a close friend or family member to take photos. Allow plenty of time to try different styles, so that you will look your most beautiful when you say, “I do.” 

5. Indulge ... A Little

Most brides begin a diet and fitness regime long before their wedding day. It’s great to want to look and feel your best, but eating a very low-calorie diet can add to the stress of wedding planning. 

What are your favorite treats? Ice cream? Chocolate? Mom’s homemade lasagna? Plan to indulge in one of your favorites before the wedding. Food is one of the comforts of life, and you will enjoy the way a little letting go helps you unwind and relax during this stressful period.

6. Read a Great Book

Reading is a great escape. When you find that you cannot turn off your mind from all the wedding tasks, grab a good novel and leave the rest of the world behind for a little while.

Getting lost in a book can lower your heart rate and ease the tension in your muscles. A University of Sussex research study found that reading can reduce stress by nearly 70 percent, and it works faster and better than other known stress-reducers such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea.

Think about why you’re doing all of this work. Think about the love you and your fiancé share and about the wonderful life you will build together. When you consider all the wedding details as simply a means to a glorious end – the two of you together – that makes it all worthwhile.


Today's tips were brought to you by Grand Salon, a full-service beauty salon based in Denver. We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service, and offering the most fabulous cuts, color and style services in Denver. Come explore our skin care services today!

Rustic Meets Classic Jewish Wedding

The best advice Jonathan and Ruby were given was to enjoy their wedding day as much as they wanted their guests to. These two got it right. Without getting too hung up in the details, they put together a beautiful and fun wedding day to celebrate with their friends and family. Read on to learn more from Ruby!

Love Story

We met at a political conference one summer when we were in college, though we went to different schools. We stayed in close touch the years following as really great friends. Jon was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and after graduating college, he moved back to start his job.

After I graduated from CU (GO BUFFS!), I was offered an opportunity to do a fellowship with a lobbying organization out in DC. We reconnected and started dating pretty quickly after that. After dating for almost 2 years back-and-forth between Baltimore and DC, we decided it was time for one of us to make a move. I got a great job opportunity in Baltimore, so I packed up and shipped out.

We lived together for just under a year before Jon (elaborately, alongside my parents) planned his proposal. We decided our wedding would be the following summer in Denver.

Inspiration

We wanted the day to be effortless. I've seen friends spiral and get caught up in every single little detail, and it completely kills the excitement of what this day is actually about. We went for a sort of rustic-meets-classic look.

Our chuppah (a 4-post wedding canopy used in Jewish weddings) was made of aspen tree branches, which we loved so much. We tried sticking with neutral colors (bridal party in black and white), since our venue was so breathtaking and was basically just floor-to-ceiling windows around us, we didn't want elaborate decorations.

We tried to incorporate small details here and there; we got tiny little mercury glass jars that we hung from every other chair that lined the aisle and we put a small bit of baby’s breath in each one.

Most of our guests were from out of town, so we wanted them to enjoy the view! We wanted our guests to remember how much fun they had more than anything else and keep their tush's on the dance floor all night!

Budget

We were very strategic about where we wanted the money to go. The photographer (11th Door Photography!) was where we really wanted to spend our money, and ours did a wonderful job capturing the joy of our day.

Food was, of course, important, but that's going to be costly no matter where you are or what you do. 

We found ways to cut costs in certain unexpected places, like flowers. I absolutely love peonies, but I found that I was more drawn to the characteristics of the flower than I was the actual flower (the very pale pink, the big, fluffy shape). I spoke with our florist (Plum Florist) who said she could easily substitute a different flower for my bridesmaids that looked almost identical to peonies. It cut the cost of their bouquets in half (seriously in half!!)

To be totally truthful, the dress wasn't as important to me. I knew I wanted something timeless and, obviously, something I'd love, but I just couldn't justify spending over a thousand dollars on something I was going to wear for 6 hours and never wear again! I absolutely loved my dress and found it at a great price.

Unique Details

Because Jon is from Baltimore, we really wanted to bring a touch of his hometown to mine (Denver) for the wedding. We brought dozens of Berger cookies (a real Baltimore staple) to serve along with our wedding cake! Our caterer set up platters of them where the coffee and tea was being served, and my incredibly creative friend made a cute sign for us to display on the table. 

Jon also made the cufflinks for his groomsmen with their initials, which was such a cute, personal touch!  

Favorite Memory

I have two very distinct favorite memories of the day. Jon and I weren’t so comfortable with saying our vows in front of tons of people, so we decided to basically write what we wanted to say to each other in a letter to read right before our first look. It was so special to read these thoughts that just summed up our entire relationship up until becoming husband and wife.

My second favorite memory was walking down the aisle. It is Jewish custom that both the bride’s parents escort her down the aisle, and the three of us were just beaming as we saw Jon waiting for me at the other end. Jon and my dad started crying and hugging when we reached the end of the aisle.

My father was killed in an accident 2 months to the day after our wedding, and because Jon and I live in Baltimore, this is the last time I was with him. I will forever remember this moment down to every single detail.

Challenges

Truly, none. Like I said, we worked very hard to ensure we didn't get caught up in small details. We wanted to remember what this day was about and have the best night of our lives. And we did!

Lessons Learned

Our planning was really simple, but the absolute best piece of advice I got was to ENJOY THE DAY as much as you want your guests to. I was also told that in the middle of the ceremony, look out into the crowd at all of the people who are here because they love and are so excited for you. Jon and I both did that, and it was such an incredible, warm feeling.

Tips for Engaged Couples

Wedding planning resources are awesome (Pinterest, blogs, magazines, etc.), but don’t feel like you’re “doing it wrong” if you go a little off-script. I found bridal magazines to be daunting and really overwhelming. This day is about you and your partner and nothing else. Your guests want to have fun and feel the love between you two. They don’t want to go to an event - they want to go to your wedding! 

Marriage Advice

Have fun. Have fun. Have fun. No one will remember the nit-picky details that you think they will. They'll remember what a great time they had, and that's it!

Guest List Count: 130 // Photographer: 11th Door Photography // Venue: Wellshire Inn // Planner: Jaime Brown at Saphire Celebrations // Bakery: Cakes by Karen // Caterer and Bar Services: On-site at Wellshire Inn // Florist: Plum Gallery // Hairstylist: Amanda at Star Salon // Makeup Artist: Cynthia Goodberry

 

Sunset Wedding on a Mountainside Ranch

Abigail and Craig planned their wedding around their love for Jesus, family, and the mountains. Their wedding is a great example of the beauty and joy that shine through when a couple hones in on what they value and center their wedding on the things and people they love the most. Read on to learn more from Abigail!

Love Story

We met on New Years, fell in love in the summer, got engaged in San Diego, and got married 1 year later in the gorgeous mountains of our home state of Colorado.

Inspiration

The colors are those of fall in Colorado with a splash of gold to give a splash of bohemian. Our wedding revolved around our love for Jesus, family, and the mountains. 

Budget

We made a list of what was most important and put marks by those, and then tried to be as crafty as we could with the items we didn't want to spend much money on.

Unique Details

Our ceremony and reception were outside under the gorgeous summer sun. We had my father marry us and the groom's mother sing a worship song. We made all the table decor and we made giant lawn games such as Jenga and Yahtzee.

Favorite Memory

When my groom had his dance with his mother and they both cried during the dance, it was incredibly heart warming :)

Challanges

I realized that people are terrible at RSVPs, so we ended up having to text a bunch of people to make sure they were coming.

Lessons Learned

We learned a lot about dealing with venues and that you really need to make sure they are willing to work with you on the important details.

Tips for Engaged Couples

Make sure to try and get everything done the week before the wedding so you have time to just relax and not be stressed the day before.

Marriage Advice

Marriage is beautiful and the most important relationship in your life next to God. Make sure to keep it sacred and put effort into it everyday.

Guest List Count: 150 // Photography: Emily Elizabeth Photo, Nicole Noel Photography, GG Photography // Ceremony Venue: Lower Lake Ranch // Planner: Julie Lundy Event Design // Bakery: Krispy Kreme and Beet Box // Caterer, Bar Services, and Event Rentals: On-site at Lower Lake Ranch // Videographer: David Grauberger // DJ: ABC Music and Video // Wedding Dress: Emma & Grace Bridal // Bridesmaids' Dresses: Lulu's

Modern Jewish Wedding

Struggles? None. Stress? Nah. How did Haley and Will pull this off on their wedding day? Two words: wedding planners. Haley and Will's wedding is a great example of what a big difference it makes to have a coordinator on your wedding day to absorb your stress and ensure everything goes smoothly for you. Read on to learn more from Haley!

Love Story

We met in college, then moved to Colorado Springs. We got engaged 4 years after we started dating. We got married a year and a half later on the best day ever.

Inspiration

Mint is my favorite color and lavender was Will's mom's favorite color. We kept it simple with some color and ivories.

Budget

Our budgeting was done by our AMAZING wedding planners, Lisa and Leslie, with Affair with Flair.

Unique Details

The bridesmaids' bouquets were aisle decor that they picked up and put back before and after they walked down the isle.

Favorite Memory

My maid-of-honor's speech. Simply THE BEST.

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Challenges

There were no struggles. My wedding planners were amazing and helped keep to a timeline and they kept everything organized.

Lessons Learned

I was very lucky. I believe everyone should have a wedding planner. They know so much about what you actually need to put on an amazing party you will never forget.

Tips for Engaged Couples

Have fun with it. Give yourself enough time to plan. There is no need to rush forever.

Marriage Advice

Stay happy. We have been very lucky that we are on the same page as far as kids, work, and travel go. We are happier than ever.

Guest List Count: 100 // Photography: Katie Corinne Photography // Venue: The Manor House // Planners: Affair with Flair // Bakery: Happy Cakes //Caterer: A Perfect Bite Catering // Event Rentals: Event Rents // DJ: Elite DJ // Florist: Newberry Brothers // Hairstylist: Tiffany at the Matthew Morris Salon // Wedding Dress: Blue Bridal

Plantation Wedding in the Foothills

Who better to feature on a Colorado wedding blog than Miss Colorado 2014 herself! Stacey and Jeremy are a couple who prove beauty is about what's on the inside though. Their philosophy is that they need to love on each other every day, but it's easy to see they love others around them as well. Be sure to check out their incredibly thoughtful favors, which were truly gifts that keep on giving. Read on to learn more from Stacey!

Love Story

The beginning of this love story goes back to one moment on a cool fall evening. Jeremy was playing in a Friday night football game for our high school. After a tough fight, our team lost and Jeremy was heartbroken. 

He and I had only spoken a few times but on this evening we made eye contact across the field, gravitated toward each other, and the rest is history. After nine years together, Jeremy proposed on Christmas morning. 

Inspiration

I had always wanted a "rustic chic" wedding, but when Jeremy and I saw the Manor House, we knew that was where we wanted to get married. The building is historic and gorgeous; it looks like a plantation, perched perfectly in the foothills. We decided to go for a classic theme with romantic twists. I wanted the colors to be soft: champagne and blush, with metallic accents. Jeremy wanted to add a bold pop of navy and it turned out great!

Budget

Jeremy and I identified the really important things up front, we decided we wanted a venue with a view, really good food, and an open bar. We prioritized these three things and cut back on costs in other areas. For example, I bought a sample gown and did several DIY decorations.

Unique Details

One of my favorite details was our unique wedding favors. Jeremy and I wanted to give our guests the ability to give to others. Giving is the best feeling in the world, and there are so many people in need. So we created bags for our guests to keep in their car for when they see someone who is experiencing homelessness. The little bags contained socks, water, and snacks.

Another detail I loved was having two of my best friends, who also happened to be Miss North Dakota and Miss Georgia, sing "A Thousand Years" as I walked down the aisle.

Our dessert table was also unique, instead of one wedding cake we had a whole buffet of dessert goodies. Jeremy's mom and dad made chocolate cupcakes and my mom made gluten-free carrot cake. We also had cannolis, cookies, and an outdoor s'mores station.

The manor house also had a separate bar area that made for a fun and unique wedding guest experience. We also had pictures of Jeremy and me from when we started dating next to our engagement photos.

Favorite Memory

When Jeremy and I walked into the reception everyone was cheering. It was so fun to see all of our favorite people as excited as we were about our marriage. I also loved our ceremony. We chose to read each other letters and I felt that it made our ceremony personal, light-hearted, and romantic.

Challenges

Jeremy and I planned our wedding in three months. It was a challenge but we worked together and chose to focus on the important things. We didn't fuss over tiny details and we also worked to keep our wishes at the forefront of our decision making. We often joke that if we can plan a wedding together in three months that we can do anything.

Lessons Learned

I wish I would have known that you can take people with you to the food tastings! Jeremy and I showed up and had no idea that we could have taken our parents along to help us decide between all the amazing choices we had.

Tips for Engaged Couples

Invite who you really want to be there. This is your day! You should have the people present that you want to be part of your marriage. Also, don't second guess your decisions, it will drive you crazy.

Marriage Advice

Enjoy every moment together. My father passed away a month before our wedding, he and my mom had the sweetest relationship and to lose him was devastating. You always hear that life is short, but losing my dad right before my wedding reminds Jeremy and I need to love on each other every day. Remember, that you are so lucky to share the special relationship you and your partner have and don't let bickering or arguments get in your way.

Guest List Count: 215 // Photography: Chris and Kylee Coleman // Venue: The Manor House // Coordinator: Kelley Case, Manor House Coordinator // Bakery: Romano's Italian Restaurant // Caterer: A Perfect Bite // Bar Services: The Manor House // DJ: Ignight Entertainment // Stationery: Minted // Florist: Plum Sage // Hairstylist: Rochelle Romano // Wedding Dress: Anna Bé Bridal Boutique // Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids // Groom's Custom Tux: Tom James // Groomsmen's Wardrobe: Al's Formal Wear // Shoes: Antonio Melani // Officiant: Judge Ed Putka

4th of July Wedding

The Fourth of July is a time for laid-back fun, friends, family, and good food. What better day could there be to celebrate a wedding? The group photo of Amanda and Ted with all of their wedding guests shows just how fun and laid-back their wedding day really was. Read on to learn more from Amanda!

Love Story

We met in high school in trigonometry class and he sat behind me because he thought I was pretty and because he could cheat off me. We have been best friends since then who enjoy skiing, golfing, and lots of outdoor activities together.

We got engaged after a sushi dinner on Christmas Eve., which I had predicted was going to happen. ;) Planning the wedding was super easy and stress-free considering Ted let me do most of it. The final result was nothing short of perfect and full of joy because I was married to my best friend.

Inspiration

What really inspired my wedding was the Fourth of July. It is my all time favorite holiday. There is something just so treasurable about spending a day out in the sun in the park with your favorite people playing yard games and cooking some barbecue, the sun shining brightly on everyone's smiling faces. Isn't everyone so happy on the Fourth? It's like everyone's worries go on vacation. Also, to be able to celebrate our free country and our ability to have such fun fills my soul with gratitude.

Budget

We decided to start with what we thought was the most important so that we would able to splurge on those things. The venue was the most important because it would be what would mostly reflect our personalities and set the mood. Also, we figured having a beautiful venue would cut costs in other areas such as decorations, flowers, and table settings. So we spent a little more on venue.

Next was dress, because, let's get real. From then on we decided that cutting some costs for the rest was okay and would enhance our laid-back feel.

Unique Details

Well one that sticks out a lot is our cake. It was made by The Makery to look like a big blue mountain because Ted and I love skiing so much. We sent them a picture of us skiing and they made little cake toppers that looked exactly like us down to the graphics on our skis. It was incredible! It really showed who we really are and it was super fun to see everyone's blue tongues.

Another unique detail is that our officiant was actually a lifelong friend. She was not an ordained minister yet, but she became one just for us which made our ceremony really special.

The best man of the wedding was Ted's dad; super cute right?

The laid-back, informal vibe really made everyone feel at ease and have so much fun!

Favorite Memory

I think my most favorite was our first dance. Everyone was there with us but it also just felt like him and me. I loved that we didn't spend any money on dance lessons or care what we looked like; we were just being ourselves, having fun dancing to Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud". I didn't want that to ever end.

Challenges

A unique challenge we had that I don't think a lot of people run into is the sustainability and the need for my venue to be "green". I was unable to have fireworks which is half my love for the Fourth of July. That's okay though; I just had to think around it. They also did not allow sparklers, confetti, balloon releases, butterfly releases, and a whole list of other things I later found out. Which is okay, I care about the environment as well! We eventually settled on getting as many people together as we could to go to the Rapid's game the next day to watch the fireworks there. Beyond that I think the uniqueness lies in the fact that I didn't find much more to be challenging. When you have a happy open mind that is good at solving problems and easy to please, not a lot is challenging.

Lessons Learned

Ask for the cake before the catering group takes it and eats it for themselves/throws it away! Who knows what they did with the rest of it, we got none of it. :( 

Tips for Engaged Couples

Let it really reflect who you and your fiancé are. Don't stress over the details. As long as you are happy everyone is going to see that and have an amazing time!

Take in every moment of your big day because it goes by in a flash!

Marriage Advice

Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty. ;P

Guest Count: 125 // Photographer: Katie Corinne Photography // Venue: Crooked Willow Farms // Planner: The Gardner Effect // Bakery: The Makery // Caterer: Biscuits & Berries // DJ: DJ Guy // Florist: Amore Fiore // Hairstylist: Skye Salon // Makeup Artist: Cynthia // Wedding Dress: The Bridal Collection // Groom and Groomsmen Wardrobe: Men's Warehouse Favors: Seed Packets and Sunglasses with our names and wedding date on them // Officiant: Anne Rowland

5 Father Daughter Dance Tips, Inspired by Darth Vader

Don’t you love “Star Wars?” I remember standing in line with my dad to see it opening weekend. Not only does this date me, but it brings me to the relationship of fathers and daughters everywhere.

Check out these 5 father daughter dance tips, inspired by quotes from Darth Vader.

1.  "He is as clumsy as he is stupid."

This is how many dads feel when dancing. 

2.  “You do not yet realize your importance.”

Darth Vader was important to Leia, and dads are really important to their daughters. Your father daughter dance is your last embrace before she takes on another man’s last name.

3. Jedi gain power through understanding.”

Take on your inner-Padawan and gain some understanding so you can feel the power of leading your daughter around the dance floor. Start planning your father daughter dance 3-6 months in advance of the wedding so you have time to feel natural dancing. 

4. "You may use any methods necessary.”

Take dance lessons with your daughter, your wife, or on your own. Then take time to practice and visualize your new skills. Use every opportunity to go out dancing with family and friends. 

5. "The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master."

With the confidence from learning a few dance moves for your father daughter dance, you can be the master of your force on the dance floor.

Do you feel like you move like a technological terror? Believe in the force; become a Padawan of dance, and master the art of dance. Armed with these tips, you can use your power for good and not evil as you sweep across the dance floor with your daughter on her wedding day.


These tips are brought to you by Holly Collins.

Holly is the author of "Holly's Hot Wedding Tips" and owner of Adventures in Dance. She is a champion ballroom dancer and coach, and winner of The Knot's Best Wedding Dance.

You can learn more about Holly's services at adventuresindance.com

Classic Romance with a Touch of Baseball

Stephanie and Brian have a ton of great wedding planning advice to share. Be sure to check out their home-made cake that's both gluten-free and budget-friendly. Concerned about wasting money on favors guests will leave behind? They've got a thoughtful solution for that too. Also, they suggest a brilliant question you should ask yourself every time you start to sweat the tiny details while wedding planning. Read on to learn more from Stephanie!

Love Story

Brian and I met on an IM volleyball team our freshman year of college. Three years of friendship later, the planets aligned and we began dating.

We went on a cruise for our four year anniversary. While in Grand Cayman, Brian surprised me with a private horseback ride on a private beach and when we stopped for a break, he asked me to be his wife!

Inspiration

Brian and I both love baseball so we decided to name each table after MLB stadiums and presented the seating chart on lineup sheets. I loved the classic, rich, timeless look of wine and light green, and it complimented our church and reception venue so well.

Budget

We splurged on the linen rentals, as well as florals and catering. Having a longer engagement gave us more time for DIY projects which helped cut costs significantly. I also have Celiac Disease, and did not want to spend a fortune on a gluten-free cake. I found gluten-free rice cereal and made a rice treat cake myself the day before the wedding.

Unique Details

The cake topper and bride and groom glasses were used at my parents' wedding. Also, the rings on my bouquet are my grandmother's and the lace is from my mom's bouquet. I wasn't too big on the idea of spending money on favors considering half of them would end up left behind, so we made a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in lieu of favors.

Favorite Memory

My favorite memory from the wedding was walking down the aisle. It was right out of a fairytale.

Lessons Learned

I wish I would have taken the entire week before the wedding off work instead of only three days. There were a lot of last minute tasks, and simply not enough hours in the day.

Tips for Engaged Couples

Don't sweat the small stuff. It's very easy to get caught up in the tiny details. Ask yourself, "will anyone get up and leave if (fill in the blank)?"

Marriage Advice

We do a lot together but we also each have our own hobbies and time with friends to bring balance to our relationship.

Guest List Count: 175 // Photography: Kate Marie Photography // Ceremony Venue: Cherry Hills Community Church Chapel // Reception Venue: Villa Parker // Planner: Marilee Grace // Caterer: Occasions Catering // Videographer: Kelsey Luciano Productions // Event Rentals: Event Rents // DJ: Elite DJ // Stationery: Amy Roup Graphic Design // Florist: Pink Posey // Hairs and Makeup: Nora Arnstad // Wedding Dress: Mori Lee, Amanda's Bridal // Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo, Weddington Way // Groom and Groomsmen Wardrobe: Men's Wearhouse // Shoes: Sperry Top Sider // Favors: Donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Bollywood Meets Denver Wedding

Everyone tells Manavi and Pranab their home is filled with love, just like their wedding day was. And when we say their wedding day was filled with love, we mean they celebrated with over 400 friends and relatives! You're going to absolutely swoon over the gorgeous attire, jewelry, and Mehndi body art seen on their big day. Read on to learn more from Manavi!

Love Story

Pranab and I met on Facebook. We were introduced by a common friend. Pranab added me on Facebook but didn't even bother to say hi. So I went online and said, "Now that we are friends on Facebook let me say hi, so hi." I guess that sealed the deal. We were in a long distance relationship for 2 years. 

It was a nice sunny day in October at the public garden in Boston. I was mad at Pranab because I felt he was hiding something from me. I gave him hell for a week because he wouldn't tell me what he was hiding. I was supposed to meet his friend Jamie for lunch. We were walking to a restaurant when I asked him, "If Pranab were ever to cheat, would you tell me?" He reacted by saying, "What kind of question is that?"

That's when Pranab popped out of no where and proposed. We were in a long distance marriage for 6 months, but now we are finally living together in Boston, MA.

Inspiration

Pranab knew how much I love Bollywood, so the wedding was planned around that. My mother-in-law made that night the most memorable for all of us. She planned everything!

Budget

We found a very affordable photographer. It was his first time doing a wedding photography shoot and did a great job! I asked one of our cousins to do makeup for the ceremony and she did a great job too. We also got our wedding attire from back home so that helped a lot with the cost.

Unique Details

Favorite Memory

Our cousins made a picture montage of both our families; that was very emotional. All the speeches and walking to Wendy's at 2am. 

The best memory of all is calling myself Mrs. Sharma for the first time.

Lessons Learned

Don't get married while in nursing school! But once the stress is done, everything is worth it.

Marriage Advice

Communication is the key to a happy marriage. One needs to learn to compromise. And knowing there is no such thing as a perfect wife or husband, you just learn to perfect each other's imperfections.

Don't let the child in you die. Everyone tells us our home is just filled with love; it's because we embrace each other's goofiness and say I love you at least 10 times a day. 

Guest List Count: 450 // Photography: Than Hyun and Subi Bhandari // Reception Venue: Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

Big Red Barn Wedding in Littleton

Mike and Sarah both have huge hearts. Their relationship blossomed long distance as they each served on ministry trips in Cambodia and Africa, respectively. Now that they're married, they can serve and love those around them as a team, happily ever after. Read on to learn more from Sarah!

Love Story

Mike and I worked together at the same non-profit organization called Youth With A Mission, Denver. Mike began pursuing me while we were in this program together.

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I ended up going to Africa for three months and Mike went to Cambodia at the same time for a ministry trip. We kept in touch and soon after that we started dating! 6 months later we got engaged and then 6 months after that we got married!

Mike never stopped pursuing my heart from the day he met me till the day I became his wife. Our wedding day was truly a dream, and the best day of my entire life!

Inspiration

Our theme was rustic/chic. The day was complete with twinkle lights, sunflowers in mason jars, log cutouts and baby's breath. We were married outside under an array of sunflowers with the Rocky Mountains painting the background! The reception was in a huge red barn, with of course, more twinkle lights!

Budget

We sat down and thought of the big things that were important to us. Sunflowers, lots of dancing, good food, and a big red barn! Everything else just came naturally as we began to plan from there!

Unique Details

We had all the guests sign in on a big piece of wood, which was something we wanted to be able to hang up in our house later! During the ceremony we had the guests sit on wooden benches on the grass, which just added to the rustic/country style.

Favorite Memory

My favorite memory was all the dancing! We had 170 guests and almost EVERYONE was out on the dance floor. We really wanted our wedding to be a party, and to be fun for everyone and it sure was! That is so much of our personality: carefree and crazy! That definitely carried out on to our guests.

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Lessons Learned

I learned to manage my time a little bit better. Really schedule out everything you need to do, so that the last week before the wedding you can just relax and be with family!

Tips for Engaged Couples

Enjoy every moment of the planning! You will never be able to plan a wedding again and it's such a special time, so enjoy it! Spread your to-do list out so you aren't rushed or stressed and so you can soak in the little details. Planning the wedding was one of the most fun/exciting parts for Mike and me.

Marriage Advice

Marriage is truly a gift. Take in every moment of your wedding day, and don't waste time being stressed out or anxious. You are marrying the man of your dreams, so make your wedding day your dream day!

Guest List Count: 170 // Photography: Allison D Photography // Venue: The Barn at Raccoon Creek // Coordinator: Abby at Raccoon Creek // Bakery: Azucar Bakery // Videography: Andrew Harrison // Flowers: Hawk Flowers // Hair: Jayme Hubbart // Makeup: Mode Salon // Bride and Bridesmaids Apparel: David's Bridal // Groom and Groomsmen apparel: Men's Warehouse // Officiant: Pastor Blake Mattocks

To find more local wedding professionals, visit our Local Venues and Vendors Directory.

7 Pro Wedding Makeup Tips

My favorite kind of makeup to do is bridal. I love being a part of one of the most important days in a couple's life. Not only is bridal makeup one of my favorites, but it's one of the most popular services that I offer. Here are some helpful bits of advice that I can offer to you if you or someone you know may be getting married soon.

Think timeless.

This is not the time to be trendy. Consider being more trendy with your makeup for a boudoir shoot or your engagement photos. Your wedding photos are forever and will be enjoyed by generations to come.

Stay true to the theme of your wedding.

If it is a beach destination wedding or something more rustic, consider a more natural look. If it is a black tie affair, think more dramatic.

You need more makeup than you think for it to translate well in the photos.

Always take a photo after your wedding trial to see what I mean. In photos, your makeup will appear to be much subtler than in real life. Take your trial run photos in natural light, as it is the most honest lighting. If you are lucky enough to live in a beautiful Colorado, many of your actual wedding photos will be outside, so it just makes sense.

You must do a trial run with your makeup artist before the wedding.

It will make for a much smoother process on your wedding day. You should be able to just sit back and relax on your wedding day, knowing exactly what your makeup will look like. Sometimes, you may not be a good fit with a particular makeup artist and you will want to determine that ahead of time.

Wear white during your trial run.

This will help you to envision how your makeup will look with your wedding dress. Even better, you could time your makeup trial to be on the same day as your hair trial or your dress fitting. The more pieces of the puzzle you have in place, the more confident you will feel. Show off your makeup trial by scheduling it on the same day as a special occasion such as a bridal shower or bachelorette party. If you are unsure of how you feel about your makeup, you can get the opinions of your family or friends. Plus, you should never let good makeup go to waste. Don't go home and sit in front of the TV. How often do you get your makeup done by a professional makeup artist?


Never try any new procedure or service right before the wedding.

It seems like the perfect time to pamper yourself by getting that new microdermabrasion or chemical peel, but if you don't know how your skin is going to react, try it a few weeks ahead of time. If you are considering a spray tan for the first time, try it out for another occasion like a weekend getaway, not your wedding. Plan ahead of time with your appointments so that you can get in with your usual hair colorist or brow waxing specialist. This is not the best time to try someone or something new.

Look for models who look like you for inspiration.

For example, this will help you imagine how you'd look with a bold red lip, if you're a redhead. Pinterest is amazing for inspiration. I was not lucky enough to have this resource back in the day when I got married. It's always a good idea to come prepared with as many visuals as possible on your trial day so that you can communicate clearly with your makeup artist. A "smokey eye" can mean very different things to different people, so inspiration pictures are always helpful.


Today's tips are brought to you by Nicole Toledo Makeup Artistry. She provides on location makeup services to the Colorado area. With over 15 years of makeup experience, you can be guaranteed beautiful makeup that will be long wearing and photograph gorgeously. Nicole prides herself in providing a positive, stress-free experience for all her brides.

 If you or someone you know is in need of a wedding makeup artist, please reach out to her at nicoletoledomakeupartistry.com

7 Bridal Party Rules of Etiquette

Communicating with bridesmaids can be tricky business. To avoid tension and meltdowns, learn the proper etiquette when dealing with sticky situations between you and your bridal party. Whether you are unsure of the proper protocol or you don’t know how to deal with a certain situation, we want to give you a guide for getting through the showers, fittings, and rehearsals leading up to the big day.

Asking for Participation

When asking some people to help out with your wedding day—for instance, your long-time friend—you know you will get an automatic confirmation. However, there may be some people, such as your future sister-in-law, who give you a vague answer.

When someone gives you a less-than-enthusiastic answer, don’t feel slighted. Perhaps you two are not that well acquainted yet, or she's low on cash. Do your best to communicate kindly and openly to get to the heart of the issue. Make sure you get a definite answer either way, and move on.

Gifts

Since your bridesmaids do a lot to make your big day a success, you should always try to gift them with something special. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and if you are on a budget your bridesmaids will understand; just something thoughtful to show your appreciation is enough.

Attire

While deciding on a dress can prove to be a difficult task, there are no real etiquette guidelines on how involved you should or shouldn’t be. You may want to give your bridesmaids guidelines and a color/style to go by. Or, you may want them to choose their own dresses.

What is important is that every bridesmaid feels comfortable in her dress. You want each bridesmaid’s opinion to feel respected, especially if you are making a group decision on the dress.

(For more bridesmaid dress styling tips, check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "5 Bridesmaid Trends for Modern Weddings".)

Pregnant Bridesmaid

Just because a bridesmaid may be showing by the wedding doesn’t mean she can’t be in it. There are plenty of dress options, like an empire waist, that will fit over her belly without drawing too much attention to her.

Order of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Ordering your attendants can get tricky. You may want to line them up by height if you are worried about that sort of thing in photos. Be warned that if you want to line your party up by relationship to you (“you’re closest to me so you go first …") you may hurt some feelings. To avoid ruffled feathers, you might consider allowing your bridesmaids and groomsmen to choose the order of lineup themselves.

Uneven Number of Groomsmen and Bridesmaids

Just because you don’t have the same number of groomsmen and bridesmaids doesn’t mean you should host a casting call for stand-ins. It is completely acceptable to have an uneven number. Have two groomsmen escort a bridesmaid down the aisle, or find creative ways to take photos with the odd number of attendants.

Plus Ones for Your Wedding Party

It is a nice gesture to allow all your bridesmaids and groomsmen to bring a plus one to the wedding. However, if you cannot allow every single attendant a plus one, at least extend the invitation to spouses, fiancés, and life partners.


Today's tips are brought to you by Ron Burg of The American Wedding, which has been a family-owned business since 1919. As a USA-based company, you can expect the hardworking staff to meet your high standards of quality and value by creating error-free processing according to your specific needs. 

Visit The American Wedding for all your wedding invitations, stationery, tableware, party favors, and more!

Vintage Clock Tower Wedding With Paleo Reception

From Houston to Denver to Singapore, this adventurous couple has committed to love each other in sickness and in health. Dave and Melissa's beautiful wedding features a delicious but super healthy meal, vintage and steampunk decor, and a tech savvy solution for guests who couldn't celebrate with them in person!

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Love Story

Here's an excerpt of Dave and Melissa's story, written by their dear friend Megan for their wedding website:

Dave lived in Houston and Melissa lived in Denver when they met online. They spent several months getting to know each other by exchanging messages, sending emails, and video chatting. Finally, Dave decided that he absolutely had to meet this girl, so he purchased a plane ticket to Denver.

Their long distance relationship continued on for some time. They flew to see each other as often as they could. The trips were never long enough or frequent enough, so Melissa took a chance on love and moved herself to Houston. 

While they were still enjoying the glow of their new permanence in each other’s lives, something completely unexpected and rather heartbreaking was discovered. A few months after arriving in Houston, Melissa was diagnosed with a rare and incurable autoimmune disease. Dave bore the news with compassion and fortitude, never wavering in his commitment to her.

Dave and Melissa continued to build their lives together for several years. Marriage was often thought about and discussed, but Melissa didn't know Dave had picked out a ring or that a proposal was on its way. A few days before Christmas, Dave proposed to Melissa at her favorite restaurant. They were ready to not only plan a wedding, but a marriage.

Next, we'll hand things off to Melissa to tell us about their big day!

Inspiration

I was born in Colorado and moved back for college. Capital Hill and downtown were my stomping grounds, so it just seemed appropriate to have our wedding where Dave and I first met instead of in Houston. We wanted the theme to be simple and elegant. I'm a huge fan of vintage furniture and jewelry as a result of going to auctions all of the time with my mom when I was growing up. We chose to do our wedding in grayscale. Black and white is popular, but I found it a bit limiting and I love metallic colors tied in with the matte colors.

Budget

Dave and I were lucky with wedding costs because I have a B.A. in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Colorado and had picked up a lot of diverse tech skills at my job. I was able to design all of the save the date magnets, invitations, envelopes, RSVP cards, website, cupcake table signs, wedding party app signs and app setup, and html email announcements regarding the wedding day details. 

We kept our wedding party small, which was a huge help. We had always talked about a very small wedding and only had a maid-of-honor and best man at our side. With the size of the Clock Tower venue, it's good that we did!

The things we splurged on were the food and cake because we are both very into fitness and nutrition. It was important for us to have good food that we could eat and food that our guests would enjoy. Bistro Boys Catering helped us out immensely with a Paleo menu and Azucar bakery provided us a Paleo cake with gluten free and regular cupcakes. 

The Clock Tower venue was a bit of a splurge too. We looked at doing our ceremony at one place and holding the reception elsewhere, but it was actually going to run us more with the venues we were looking at. They provided chairs, tables, and some decorations, and planning a wedding from Houston while we were both working full-time made this a no-brainer. Less things to have to source! The big commitment with the Clock Tower is that you do have to pay for it all up front. 

We decided not to go with a DJ because we knew the music we liked and had it all on our computers. It was easy enough to come up with a playlist and put it on an iPod because the Clock Tower had a sound system we could hook into. One of the workers there just had to hit play at the right time. 

No need for a videographer. I brought my laptop and we bought a 100 foot ethernet cable so I could plug it in directly to the internet so there'd be no streaming issues. I borrowed a camera, tripod, and microphone and set them up on my own right before the ceremony. Guests that couldn't make it could watch us get married live, and those that weren't available at the time could access the video any time after that on my YouTube account. 

My iMovie video skills allowed me to make the rehearsal dinner slideshow video, showing photos of Dave and me as a couple and as we were growing up. 

My mom found a very inexpensive florist with great reviews and we really didn't need a lot of flowers because the venue was already decorated with some nice fake ones. Flowers weren't a big deal for me, but they were for my mom. I could have gone with just bouquets for my sister and me. 

Photography was something worth splurging on. I have a design background and having taught Yearbook, I know pictures make the story. Pictures fill in that bit of the story you miss while you're getting ready and running around. Pictures are how you will see the guests you didn't get a lot of time with at the actual event. Pictures are what will trigger your memory years after the event has happened. Dave Camara was phenomenal. We booked him for our engagement photos as well. He's laid back and very professional with a creative eye. He'll get the standard shots, but he also gets ones you'd never think to frame how he has.

I really wanted to get my dress from a consignment shop. I don't believe in splurging on something you're only going to wear once, and I planned to consign my dress after the wedding. I had some trouble booking a time at Marry Go Round (a bridal consignment shop in Houston) and we ended up at David's Bridal just to get a feel for what I had in mind. The only issue is that I tried on a dress that was perfect and it was $1000. I said I only wanted to spend half of that at most. Peer pressure won out. I don't regret it, and still plan to consign that dress. 

Dave and his best man rented tuxes from Men's Wearhouse. It was easy because we were in Houston and he was in Raleigh, North Carolina, and they have stores in both areas. 

I chose 3 Little Birds Salon due to location, affordability, and reviews. We were traveling from Houston to Denver for our wedding and I was relying on family to get me where I needed to be since Dave had the rental car. They did a great job and nailed the more vintage hair style I was going for with the pin curls. I'm very low-maintenance and wanted to look like me for my wedding. I did a test run with the salon, but my sister ended up doing my makeup just because I wanted a very understated look. Free definitely wasn't a bad price. 

We didn't do a registry and chose to use honeyfund.com to help pay for our honeymoon instead. It didn't make sense to gather a bunch of things we'd just have to pack that might not work once we headed to Singapore.

I pooled my resources of friends and family to make some of the details come together that would have normally ended up costing me a lot more. One of my best friends and college roommate officiated the wedding for us. It was so much more personal and again, didn't cost us a dime. Meagan is a pro and I recommend her to anyone who is looking for a ceremony that is a bit less traditional.

Unique Details

We did our save the date magnets using vistaprint.com. They were definitely the cheapest and most reliable print vendor and I've been using them for a long time. I designed the graphics for the envelopes and made separate files with every recipient's unique address. We printed those at home and used the same files to print on the pearl, off white envelopes we sent out with our formal invitations. 

I also designed our wedding invitations in Adobe Illustrator, tying in steampunk elements to match our venue. I bought clock parts on eBay and in Hobby Lobby, and we spray painted them silver on brown packing paper in the garage. I glued a couple of gears onto the invites along with two hands on a clock that showed the time our ceremony was to be. I also found silver paper doilies that I used to help add a vintage feel to the invitations, and then we glued silver/black ribbon to the cards and tied them. They were very labor intensive, but we sent out less than 100, so it only took a few days of long hours to get them done. 

I designed the RSVP cards to match the custom wedding invitations and had them printed by vistaprint.com as well. They always have sales running for business cards, so that's the size I made them. Rather than doing a pre-stamped and addressed envelope, we only provided our phone number or website to RSVP in order to save some money. 

In the end, was all of the stationary cheap? No. Were they cheap for highly custom and intricate designed invitations? Yes. I priced them out and I think I would have paid about $12-15 each for them if I had outsourced them. Thank heavens for Hobby Lobby sales and some ingenuity. 

Favorite Memory

If you know Dave and I well, you know we love to laugh. I had gone down the the 14th floor to use the restroom and just happened to catch Dave walking out. He left the toilet seat up! Dave Camara, our photographer, just happened to be there and captured the moment. It was so funny and out of the norm. 

Challenges

I found it really difficult to try to plan a wedding in a different city and wrap up the school year as a teacher. Not only that, we were moving to Singapore less than two weeks after our wedding. We used Google spreadsheets to keep ourselves organized and we were able to share the sheets with our parents and anyone else involved. We had tabs for the guest list, vendors, budget, invitations, RSVPs and thank you notes. It was really helpful and I still use that document as my address book for family and friends. Thank heavens for email. Otherwise, I don't think anything would have been planned!

(For help planning a wedding long-distance, check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "Tips for Planning a Wedding from Out-of-Town".)

We also had a challenge with our venue because I have elderly aunts and uncles who wouldn't be able to walk up the stairs from the 17th to 21st floor of the clock tower. We discussed so many options and nearly changed our venue. Ultimately, we came down to the solution that we could live stream the ceremony on the 18th floor to the 17th floor where tables would be set up for those relatives. The caterer would be on the 17th floor and would make special plates of food for our guests. The restrooms were also on this floor, so I knew they'd see all of the guests and there'd be no problem with everyone mingling and being involved. I was so stressed out, but none of those guests RSVP'ed yes or showed up. It was all for nothing. But, we were ready!

Lessons Learned

I wish I would have known how much it would all cost. You start out thinking you're going to put on this great event on a crazy small budget, and there are some things that just won't meet your ideals unless you're willing to fork over the money for those things (ie - venues, etc). Then you realize that the venue doesn't matter. The decorations don't matter. Very few of those details really matter. The people you are sharing this event with matter. It wouldn't matter if it was potluck in your parents back yard. Don't stress. It's not worth it.

(For budgeting help, check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "How to Create a Wedding Budget".)

Tips for Engaged Couples

Start early. Don't stress out because some of those small details won't make a bit of difference on your big day. Ask for help!

Marriage Advice

Now that you're married, what marriage advice would you share with other couples?: Communication and laughter are our tricks to success. There was a point in time that Dave and I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and it has come in handy so many times. It talks about 5 different ways people feel loved, and those ways can change over time. Communicating these with each other has made a world of difference in our relationship. 

Guest Count: 50 // Photography: Camara Photography // Venue: Clock Tower Downtown Denver // Bakery: Azucar Bakery // Caterer/Bar Services: Bistro Boys // Videographer: BusyMo Media & Design // Event Rentals: Clock Tower Events // Stationery: BusyMo Media & Design // Florist: Ed Moore Florist // Hairstylist: 3 Little Birds Salon // Wedding Dress/Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal Houston Galleria // Groom's/Groomsmen's Wardrobe: Men's Wearhouse // Shoes: Ebay // Accessories: Amazon // Wedding Website: mywedding.com // Wedding Guest Photos: weddingpartyapp.com

5 Tips for a Frugal Fall Wedding

Planning a fall wedding has tons of advantages—a beautiful natural backdrop, off-season vendor pricing, and less risk of sweating through ten layers of tulle. Even if your dream venue offers a discount after the summer wedding rush, keeping your budget under control (hello, approaching holidays!) is still a concern for most autumn brides.

Check out these five tips for planning a beautiful, frugal, fall wedding!

1. Go Au Naturale With Fall Foliage

Unlike your marriage, costly floral arrangements won’t last very long. Splurge on your bridal bouquet (or, if you’re crafty, make your own!) but choose seasonal foliage to save serious cash. Leaves as greenery can look just as stunning as an expensive arrangement, especially if they’ve turned brilliant red and gold. Jack-o-lanterns may be too Halloweeny (unless you’re having a Halloween-themed wedding!), but uncarved pumpkins make unexpectedly charming centerpieces.

Extra Frugal Tip: Repurpose your bouquets as decorations after the ceremony. You’ll need to get your maid of honor to wrangle them (you’ll be busy!), but have vases ready on your cake or head table to turn bridesmaids’ bouquets into beautiful table arrangements.

2.Forget the Cake—It's Pie Season!

Nontraditional wedding desserts are more popular than ever—cupcake towers, cookie buffets, and even sundae stations are rapidly overtaking the traditional wedding cake. Since the fall season is the perfect time for pie, why not serve it at your wedding?

Unlike cake, which is a standard at birthday parties, retirement send-offs, and graduations, pies are generally served only around the holidays (unless you have an awesome grandmother who makes them for you all the time and, if so, please invite us over), so they’re more of a rare treat. Consider replacing the four-tiered frosted wedding cake with a pie buffet—with so many pie options, everyone will be able to find something they like!

Extra Frugal Tip: Host a pie-baking marathon the weekend before your wedding, and get friends and family to help you assemble your delicious desserts. Buying ingredients in bulk will help save cash, and you might even be able to recruit Grandma.

3. Take Advantage of Gently-Used Wedding Gear

The summer wedding rush is over, meaning Craigslist is packed full of summer brides trying to unload their used decorations, dresses, and tableware. Scour local buy-and-sell groups to see what kind of deals you can score. Lots of brides have figured out that buying things like tablecloths and wine glasses is cheaper than renting if you can sell it later, which means bigger savings for you. If you can match up with a bride with similar tastes, you may be able to score centerpieces and other decor for a fraction of the price—and, if they’re DIY, will be a huge time savings for you.

Extra Frugal Tip: If you can find a bride whose wedding is the weekend before yours, offering tear-down help in exchange for wedding items could save you hundreds or more. For example, she may be willing to cut you a crazy deal on items like tablecloths or wine glasses if you pick them up right after the wedding—you may have to wash them, but you’ll save serious cash.

4. Spend on Photos, Save on Video

Recording the memories and emotions of your wedding day is a huge priority. If you’ve already spent your photography budget on a great wedding photographer to capture those fleeting moments, you may have given up on the idea of videography to round out your digital memories of your big day. Here’s the good news: while relying on guest photos alone to fill your photo album isn’t the greatest idea, you can DIY your wedding video and preserve your wedding day story—often for free!

Consider getting a friend with a good artistic eye to record video of your ceremony and some of your reception highlights, and then deliver the digital footage on an external hard drive after the wedding. Services like WeVideo allow you to edit video online for free, and with a bunch of awesome features like non-cheesy transitions, stylized text, and voiceover narration, you can make your wedding video look professional in no time at all. They have easy drag-and-drop editing, so it’s simple to cut out Uncle Doug’s long-winded (and not entirely sober) speech about how awkward you were as a kid!

Extra Frugal Tip: Try out the WeVideo Flex package—it’s cheaper than a recurring subscription, and won’t expire until you use it.

5. Ask for Help Instead of Gifts

We all wish we could afford a wedding planner to take care of every detail (and manage demanding relatives) leading up to the wedding, but at upwards of $2,000 for a day-of coordinator, it may not fit in your frugal budget. If you’re not afraid to ask, you’ll be surprised at the number of friends and family members willing to lend a helping hand in lieu of a gift.

If you’re doing a backyard wedding or renting a super-minimal venue, you’ll need help setting up and tearing down. Recruit your younger cousin whose student status means he can’t afford a lavish gift. Let him know you’d be super appreciative if he could help move heavy tables or sound gear, and you’d consider it the best wedding gift of all. You may be worried that it sounds greedy, but guests tend to stress over gifts more than you might think and giving them a free (and hugely appreciated) alternative will make everyone happier.

Extra Frugal Tip: Seek out friends with special talents, like your crafty former roommate or piano-virtuoso coworker, to help with decorations or provide reception music. Just be careful when using “friendors”—if you put too much pressure on someone to help out they may back out or feel resentful. Only ask them for what you know they can handle, and be gracious if they can’t commit.

Remember, your wedding day is about you and your future spouse! Don’t be afraid to replace old traditions with things that are extra-meaningful to the two of you, especially if it helps slim down your wedding budget. Having an autumn wedding is a great way to save cash and create a beautiful, memorable event that you and your guests will cherish forever.


Today's tips are brought to you by Lauren Colman of WeVideo. She is a video creator, social media nerd, mom to a French bulldog named Squish, and power napper.

Visit WeVideo.com to learn more about how you can create your own outstanding wedding video.

5 Bridesmaid Dress Trends for Modern Weddings

While the bride will be the center of the show on her wedding day, we can’t forget about her girls! They’re there to compliment and complete the picture perfect day!

The bridal party is all about doing things in uniform; hosting a bridal shower, engagement party, getting down with a bachelorette party, and maybe even helping out with a few DIY projects. But just because they do things in uniform, doesn’t mean they have to wear one solid uniform!

We wanted to share a few of our favorite bridesmaid dress trends to help kick off that conversation with your girls that everyone would love and appreciate!

Photo by Jessilynn Wong

Trend #1: Mix and Match Styles, Same Color/Color Palette

The bride has a vision, all her BFFS in one uniform…but then reality hits and she realizes that not all her girls look good with the same dress style. While days of old show us bridesmaids wearing the same dress style, break tradition and switch it up! We often see brides giving their bridesmaids the freedom to choose the style they want, but in the specific wedding color. With this style trend, we have each of the bridesmaids in a dress style they’re comfortable with and this makes for a great photo op on the big day!

Trend #2: Mix and Match Colors, Same Style

Let’s face it, whether you have an opinionated group of girls or not, the color choice is always going to be a controversial one. This new trend of mixing and matching colors, yet in the same style of dress, is one that should please everyone. The bride chooses the dress style and her girls can choose from the different colors that the bride has picked. Preselected colors are best so that there aren't any clashing colors.

Trend #3: Mix and Match Colors and Styles

Photo by Jessilynn Wong

What about the bride that wants to give her girls the best of both worlds? The bride can choose a family of colors and have her bridesmaids choose from a variety of styles. It gives the bridesmaids a chance to have as much freedom as they can while also ensuring that they could wear the dress again!

Trend #4: Sparkles

Thinking of having a Cinderella-inspired wedding? Why not go all out and add some bling-bling to the dress? The girls will shine bright like a diamond and complete the fairy tale wedding!

 

Trend #5: Floral

A bit on the non-traditional side, floral printed bridesmaid dresses transform the look of the entire bridal party. It’s romantic and adds a bit of that forest fairy flair to the big day.

Which trend do you love the most? We would love to know in the comments below!

 


Today's tips are brought to you by Francesca Castor of Pastel Dress Party.

Pastel Dress Party is a one-stop online boutique offering attire, painless shopping, and virtual styling services for the modern bridal party. Their bridesmaid dresses are all made-to-measure and can be customized to fit any bridal party’s needs. 

Check out more of the latest bridesmaid dresses and tips at PastelDress.com.

Two Artists Celebrate with a Classic-Modern Wedding

Jenna and Kevin celebrated their marriage with a colorful wedding at Denver art gallery, Space Gallery. These two artists had a creative alternative to a unity candle and offer some very sweet marriage advice for newlyweds. Read on to learn more from Jenna!

Love Story

Kevin and I met at Star Bar, a fun little karaoke bar in downtown, Denver. Kevin sang right into my heart that night and he never left.

After two years together, Kevin planned an unforgettable surprise proposal. Kevin, who is a musician, wanted to put his originality to the test by writing an album with songs about our relationship and love for each other.

He then planned a big reveal and proposal on the roof of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, knowing that the MCA is my favorite art museum. We got engaged on the roof and celebrated with a glass of champagne looking over the city.

Inspiration

We decided on a classic-modern theme to create an artistic quality for the wedding. Kevin and I are both artists, so this was very important to us. It was hard to stick with just one or two colors after seeing so many different wedding concepts, while searching for inspiration. I would keep going back and forth on the color palette as the planning went on.

Once we needed to focus on specifics for the bridal party and décor, we decided to pull from a variety of different colors. We stuck with different shades of gray, golden yellow, royal blue, and a saturated blue green color. I felt that it was important for my bridesmaids to pick their own style of dress, while sticking to the color scheme. 

Kevin and I wanted to do something special during the ceremony to symbolize our commitment and the two of us becoming one. Instead of the traditional lighting of the candle or blending of the sands rituals, we went with something more unique by creating a unity painting.

We each picked two different colors and poured them onto a canvas, naturally mixing together, never to be separated. It was such a beautiful and fun alternative for the ceremony. The best part is having them displayed in our home to always remind us of our special day.

Budget

We both sat down and made a list of what was important to each of us individually and made sure we focused on those specifics during the process of our wedding planning. 

(To learn more about how to do this, read The Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "The One Thing You Need to Do Before You Start Wedding Planning.")

The venue was a high priority for the both of us. We had a clear vision of a venue that was unique and non-traditional. It was important that the space was vast, so we were able to host the ceremony, cocktail, and dinner reception all in one area. Space Gallery was the first venue we considered and it was exactly what we were looking for.

Photography was also high on the list. We wanted to make sure our big day was perfectly captured. 

Music was also important for us. We wanted everyone to have a great time at the reception, so we spent extra time making a playlist that was unique to our taste. We cut out the traditional "Chicken Dance" and "Electric Slide," but included songs we knew our friends and family would enjoy just as much.

Luckily, we have some very talented friends that were willing to help when we needed it. We were able to cut cost on the D.J. by creating our own playlist using Spotify and had one of our good friends run it. 

Décor and the florist were also something we saved on. The artwork throughout the venue helped with limiting decorations for the wedding. We saved a ton on the décor by doing everything ourselves.

As for the florist, we went to our local grocery store and picked out different flowers that worked well together. I loved the idea of having a wild flower arrangement instead of something perfectly displayed. I planned a day for my bridesmaids to come over and we created beautiful arrangements for the centerpieces, bouquets, and boutonnieres.

Unique Details

My mother had saved meaningful pieces from when she and my father got married. While browsing through her cherished keepsakes, I found a veil that had a beautiful headpiece attached to it. I was not planning on wearing a veil, so I detached it and just wore the headpiece. It was the perfect addition and matched with my wedding dress. 

Our guest book was something that we spent a lot of time prepping for. We cut out pieces of fabric for the guests to sign that will eventually be sewn into a quilt. It will be a great way to look back and cherish memories from our wedding.

Favorite Memory

One of the favorite moments of our wedding was when Kevin surprised me with our engagement video, which I had never seen before. It was such a special moment for the both of us and it means even more now that we were able to share it with our family and friends.

Challenges

I feel that the biggest challenge was planning everything on our own. We did not hire a wedding planner, so we had no idea where to begin. We pretty much relied on Pinterest, a wedding planning book, and advice from recent married friends. When we hit challenging times, it helped us work on stressful situations together.

(If you don't need a full-service wedding planner but don't want to totally wing wedding planning on your own, check out "The Wedding Planning Kit That Won't Make You Want to Elope" by Colorful Colorado Weddings editor Kristi Thompson.)

Lessons Learned

I wish I had been aware of the impact that stress can have on your health while wedding planning. The last couple of weeks before the wedding can be the most stressful part. We ended up sick right before the big day. Luckily, it was mild and did not affect us much during the wedding.

Tips for Engaged Couples

During the planning process, we suggest staying on top of everything and making sure you are organized. We made a breakdown each month of things to do and buy for the wedding. This really helped with our finances and prevented us from getting stuck with a huge bill at the end. 

Use your resources and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Our friends and family were more than willing to lend a helping hand if we needed anything. 

Be sure to make time for other things when you are together. It is easy to get burnt out on wedding planning, if that is the only thing you do or talk about when you see each other.

Marriage Advice

Being a newlywed is seriously the greatest thing ever. The best advice as a newly married couple is to be your spouse's biggest fan. Having someone who will always be there supporting you and your decisions builds that unbreakable bond between the two of you. It’s not always a fairytale and there will always be stuff that needs working on, but just knowing someone is there for you helps in the biggest way.

Guest List Count: 200 // Photographer: Enrique Parrilla and Andy Martinez // Venue: Space Gallery // Caterer: Prairie Schooner Cafe // Videographer: Tad Hutchinson // Musician: Dan Ha // Hairstylists: Carlie Jo Shingledecker and Madison VonFeldt // Makeup Artist: Angel White // Groom's Wardrobe: Suit Supply

5 Tips for a Successful and Fulfilling Marriage

Having a successful, fulfilling marriage takes something from each person in the relationship. Based on years doing this work and experience in my own marriage, I believe success comes down to essentially these five pieces of advice:

Marriage Tip #1: Make a Commitment

This is probably the most essential in any relationship you want to last for a lifetime. The truth is that over time, the intensity and passion soften and sometimes your marriage just isn't that fun or rewarding. This can be due to life stress or changes one or both of you are going through. 

Many couples I see don't feel like they're "in love" anymore or feel disconnected. This is fairly normal in most long-term relationships. If you interview people who have been married for 40 years, most will say that things weren't always smooth. There's really no way around it: Making a marriage last really comes down to making an overarching commitment to the marriage as a whole and doing what it takes to make it work.

Marriage Tip #2: Work Toward Emotional Maturity and Personal Growth

This means each person in the relationship is willing to grow in their ability to give to the other and to recognize each other's needs. Each person is also willing to take on their own personal growth or develop a larger purpose for their life.

Growth can be done in small or big ways, but overall, it means each person strives toward making their own personal lives healthy and fulfilling. The healthier you are as an individual, the more you can contribute to your partnership.

Marriage Tip #3:  Choose to Move Toward, Not Away From Each Other

This is marriage advice from researcher John Gottman in his work on what determines marital success. Moving towards each other, not away, during or after arguments (and in general) is key to repairing your relationship and solving problems. What I often see with couples is that they withdraw from each other when they're upset, develop patterns of not sharing inner thoughts and feelings, or start to lead separate lives when they feel disconnected.

Moving toward each other might be as simple as making sure you greet each other with a kiss or hug at the end of the day or laughing together at the end of an argument. It also means you are actively noticing times when you're disconnected and doing something about it. ("Hey, babe. It seems like we've had no time together and I'm feeling kind of distant. Can we spend time together this weekend?") It also means when you're upset with your partner, your mind is working on reconnecting or repairing, not building evidence against them! 

Marriage Tip #4: Be 100% Responsible for Your Words, Actions, and Thoughts About Your Spouse and Marriage

There's a myth out there that marriage is 50/50, but the truth is, as anyone who's been married long enough can attest, it's rarely ever 50/50. Sometimes when one partner gets sick or is trying to advance their career or education, the other person picks up all the slack for childcare and running errands. This is what love and emotional maturity are all about.  

Being 100% responsible means that you are fully responsible to your partner and responsible for how and who you are being in the marriage. It means that you are fully taking care of your marriage with your words said to your spouse or about your marriage to others. This means managing your negative thoughts when you're angry. It means that you actually have to stop blaming each other and start being willing to give up being "right" for the sake of the partnership. And it most certainly means being responsible for your actions by being faithful, loving, and a true friend to each other.

Marriage Tip #5: Recognize That You Both Have Valid Points of View That are Just Different

This piece of marriage advice might seem obvious, but most of the time, we operate like we speak and think the "truth" about things. We assume our point of view about the world is more valid or "true" than others.

Most of us would agree that arguments stem from differing points of view, but arguments persist because we don't acknowledge that the other person has an equally valid point of view. It's what some marriage researchers call, "binocular vision"-- holding your point of view and your partner's point of view at the same time. This takes emotional maturity and it sure isn't easy when we're feeling hurt or angry. Healthy, long-lasting couples learn to do this over time.


These tips are brought to you by Karen Holland.

Karen is a Colorado Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in marriage counseling, couples counseling, pre-marital counseling, and family counseling. She teaches couples how to get along, be good friends and lovers, and create a marriage for a lifetime.

You can learn more about Karen's services at ReinventingRelationships.com

What relationship advice would you add to this list? We'd love to see them in the comments below!

Double Rainbow Wedding in the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield

They say rain on your wedding day is good luck, so a double rainbow must be extra lucky! Jaclyn and Charlie thoughtfully planned for the threat of rain on their wedding day and managed to do so without getting stressed out. Read on to learn more from Jaclyn!

Love Story

Charlie and I met through mutual friends. About a year later he let it slip to some of our female friends that he thought I was cute and wanted my number. After a little hesitation, I gave them permission to pass my number along.

We went on a first date in July but things didn't take off right away. We tried again in November and this time we clicked.

Two years later, Charlie proposed to me in my apartment with a map of Denver which told our love story.

Inspiration

Most of our guests were visiting from out of town so we wanted a venue that would highlight the beauty of Colorado. The Botanic Gardens provided a relaxed, rustic feel in addition to the mountain views we were looking for. 


We chose navy blue as our primary color with coral as an accent. I felt everyone looks good in navy, and it is pretty easy to match with. We gave our bridal party permission to pick their own clothes so we didn't have to worry about them matching an obscure shade of blue.

Budget

We decided on our budget from the very start. The most important things to me were my dress, the food, and the venue. I quickly learned though that just because an element was important, I didn't necessarily need to splurge on it.

I bought my dress from a sample sale at a shop that sold high-end dresses. I could have bought a custom dress from the same store for three times as much, but I would have had to cut costs somewhere else. This way I got a dress that matched the quality I wanted but didn't break the bank.

We decided on BBQ for our dinner, and because it is made in large quantities, it was cheaper than a lot of the other caterers we looked at. It was less expensive, but still so good! Our guests are still talking about the food!

Our venue was a good portion of our budget, but we did save a little by getting married in May. Prices went up in June so even though we knew there might be rain, we thought it was worth the risk.

Charlie also designed our wedding invitations so we could print them ourselves which saved us a lot of money.

We did spend a lot on photography and florals, which I wasn't expecting. However, I am so glad that we did because they really made a difference. Our reception decor was basically just our centerpieces so the florals were the focal point and I was happy to have beautiful arrangements. Also, because we didn't have a videographer, the photos are our only evidence of the day.

Unique Details

My brother was our officiant which made our ceremony feel incredibly intimate. He asked Charlie and I questions about our relationship and incorporated those into the ceremony so it was unique to us.

I also wore a hat made with a flower from my grandmother's church hat. She passed away a few years ago, so it was a way for me to include her in my special day. I love that I'll have this small piece of to cherish with so much meaning.

Favorite Memory

I absolutely loved our entire day. I think my favorite memory was the reception dance party. I could finally stop worrying about the details and making sure everything went smoothly. I got to dance with my friends, my family, and my new husband!

Challenges

Our biggest challenge was preparing for the threat of rain. I had to create three different seating charts, because if it rained we would have to move our reception inside. On the morning of the wedding, I made the call to go to plan C even though it wasn't raining yet.

I figured I should make the choice before the rain started falling so I wasn't disappointed or stressed out once things got started. It ended up raining in a big way, so I was glad to have already made the decision. The reception was set up inside and we didn't have to rush and move all of the tables inside.

(For weather contigency help, check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "How to Create a Weather Contingency Plan for Your Outdoor Wedding.")

Lessons Learned

For us, wedding planning wasn't as stressful as people told us it would be. I kept thinking I must be missing something because it was going too easily. The big thing I've learned now is that you can get most things secondhand and save a lot. After the wedding, we resold the linens from the reception for super cheap. I wish I had looked online for some of our decor because I'm sure I could've found things for less.

Tips for Engaged Couples

Charlie and I truly worked together to plan our wedding and I think that made it so much easier. There were some things that I knew I would want to control so I didn't ask Charlie to deal with those. But for everything else, I would ask for his opinion or he would take charge of it himself. I don't think there was any time when we were truly stressed out during the planning because we shared the responsibility. We enjoyed it and that allowed us to enjoy our engagement.

We were also engaged for a year and half which gave us a lot of time to plan. We booked our venue very early which gave us time to make decisions based on what we knew we were working with instead of choosing things and then trying to make them fit with the venue later. I also bought my dress pretty early on which made it so I never had to pay for rush fees on cleaning or tailoring.

Ultimately I think it is important to plan as much as you can, but when the day comes you have to go with the flow. Regardless of how much thought you put into the details, something can and probably will go wrong. The only thing that matters is that you're married!

Marriage Advice

I think it is important to stay true to yourselves. After we said "I do" there were no doves or angels singing. Our wedding was a ceremony to legally cement and celebrate the loving relationship we began to establish from our very first date. My advice is to enjoy your life together, but do not expect things with your spouse to suddenly be something magical because you're married. The magic comes before the wedding day and continues to build from there.

Guest List Count: 130 // Photography: Urban Safari Photography // Venue: Botanic Gardens at Chatfield // Coordinator: Kristi Thompson // Bakery: Nothing Bundt Cake // Caterer: Rocky Mountain Catering // Event Rentals: A Vintage Affair // DJ: Play Anything // Save the Dates: Minted // Florist: Ladybird Poppy // Hairstylist: It's Natural // Makeup Artist: Pretty Bride Shop // Wedding Dress: Little White Dress Bridal