Maybe he got down on one knee and popped the question over the holidays. Or maybe she said, “yes” just after midnight, on January 1. Now the real work begins as the clock ticks—inching closer to your big day. 

Details like selecting elegant or casual center pieces— or going green with recycled flatware and recycled invitations — to finding something borrowed and something blue, may start to feel like a full time job.

So we’ve broken it down to make it a little easier to plan out your special day. For starters, choosing the right venue may be your number one decision and the most costly. Maybe she wants traditional and he’s hooked on a casual theme, yet both don’t want to break the bank.  Either way, it’s time to go on one of the biggest shopping trips as a couple.

Untitled-1Let’s consider outdoor weddings. We Coloradoans love to brag about sunshine. But weather factors in when planning any wedding. Weighing the pros and cons of indoor vs. outdoor weddings is no simple matter, says Office Manger Alyce Davis, with St. Vrain Historical Society, which hosts both types.

While many couples fall in love with the idyllic setting of historic sites and romantic mountain backdrops, Davis says it’s important to remember some of the trade-offs. An outdoor wedding at Old Mill Park means “strictly outdoor bathrooms,” she says, and a guest list of maybe 100.

Always ask about parking limitations, regardless of venue.  At Old Mill, she says it’s not without its parking challenges for larger wedding parties.

Set in the early 1900s, Hoverhome is another site on these historic grounds, one that attracts many a bride and groom, says Davis. That’s because of its “unique aesthetics” inside and out.

Ask yourself, can I see myself getting married at this place? With all its charm, people choose Hoverhome simply because “it goes with what the couple envisions at their wedding,” she says.  Others may choose it for the “pure historic feel.”

Heading outdoors, she says the architecture at Hoverhome embodies the classic “Tudor Revival,” with its simple, rustic characteristics and cottage style.  Step inside and you notice handcrafted embellishments, burlap walls and exposed wood beams; décor reminiscent of the “Arts and Crafts Movement” which evokes “traditional craftsmanship” with medieval, romantic and folk influence of the1860s to early 1900s.

The floor plan allows people to flow indoors and out with doors cleverly situated to bring elements of the outdoors in, says Davis, a concept prominent in Frank Lloyd Wright architectural spaces.

Historic properties may sound dreamy, but Davis admits, “they aren’t for everyone,” noting the limited seating and plumbing capacity. “But the bride and groom can use the indoor bathrooms,” she adds.

Renting Hoverhome runs $150 per hour and requires an eight hour minimum. For indoor weddings, it accommodates 50 guests; 150 guests as an outdoor venue.


dickens2Go for the night club historic vibe 

Chandeliers glimmer in elegance while the art deco paintings draw guests in at Dickens Opera House. It’s a place that blends modern convenience with a 19th Century feel thanks to its 2010 renovations. And if you have a big wedding party, they accommodate up to 300 guests, says Banquet Manager Katie James

Built in 1881, the venue attracts guests drawn to that “dramatic and historic feel,” she says.

Want easy? This inclusive setup means one-stop shopping–no driving from the church to the reception. James says about 90% of the guests hold both the wedding ceremony and reception all under one roof.

Standing on stage for the ceremony, brides and grooms give the performance of a lifetime as they exchange vows, shed a tear and seal the deal with a smooch-er-roo.

As for onstage décor, let your imagination run wild. Just go to Pinterest to get your fix. To add ambience, James says guests embellish the stage with twinkle lights, pillars and fresh flowers.

After the “I-dos” the happily wedded couple needs time for photos and a stolen kiss or two. “We send guests down to tavern for drinks and Hors d’oeuvres, or out on the patio,” says James.

While outdoor weddings add an element of fresh air and earthiness, sometimes they lack suitable ground for the dance floor. James says guests love their expansive dance floor at the Opera House. That means no one loses a stiletto that plunged into grassy turf while they attempted the hokey-pokey on an uphill slope.



Faux destination weddings save bank

Maybe you’ve dreamed about a destination wedding—until you noticed the destination price tag. Have you considered a stay-cation wedding? Instead of flying to a balmy tropical island, invite guests for a long weekend at Stone Mountain Lodge, in Lyons.

Savor the views of Steamboat Mountain and its dramatic red sandstone cliffs, a sight that makes this spot truly one-of-a-kind. With 21 cabins on site, your wedding event could double as a family reunion, says General Manager Carrie Cajka.

Whether you opt for cowboy-style or an earthy wedding theme, a wedding designer will help you pull the details together.  Cajka says one couple themed their wedding after earth and bodies of water. Uniquely named tables meant some guests sat at Horseshoe Reservoir, others at Clover Basin.

Whether you like simple elegance or casual and down-to-earth, Cajka says the couples who typically choose this spot have a “laid back” personality.  Poplar floral arrangements might include daisies, tulips or baby’s breath, says Cajka, “instead of extravagant centerpieces.”

“They’re more into mason jars with burlap and lace with burlap table runner,” she says.

Depending on your kind of barbecue, K.C. style of the Tex-Mex variety, or 35 others, Cajka says barbecue is a popular menu choice among guests. Another new trend rolling in — food trucks, from the ice cream man to the pizza truck, Cajka says.

Regardless of an indoor or outdoor wedding, traditional or historical venues, always ask about the plumbing accommodations — including the portable restroom type and flushable options. If you like to boogie down outside, make sure there’s plenty of flat ground. If you hire a professional, licensed bartender, ask for credentials and find out if town ordinances have serving limitations. Last but not least, always ask for references before signing contracts or deposit checks. Finally, remember to enjoy your big day.

– By Elise Oberliesen