Estes Park
An unforgettable wedding
Imagine arriving
at your wedding
in a horse-drawn
Courtesy Photo
Imagine vows beneath
a snow-capped peak
By Jamie Reed
Special to the Trail-Gazette
magine ... ..your vows spoken be-
neath the snow capped peaks of
the Rocky Mountains. The air is
cool, the sun is out, and your
friends and family are waiting for you to
walk down the snow filled aisle.
A winter wedding in Estes Park has
many things to offer you and your
guests. Yes, summer weddings are
more popular, but who wouldn’t want to
come to the mountains during the win-
ter? The photo opportunities are end-
less. Many sites in Estes offer views of
Longs Peak and/or the Continental Di-
vide as your backdrop. You may also
venture up through the Mountains with
a lake side ceremony and possibilities
of wildlife encounters. You can even ar-
rive in style, or take a post wedding ride
in a horse drawn carriage.
The benefits of a winter wedding
don’t end at the views and scenery.
Most wedding sites, venues, and lodg-
ing accommodations in Estes Park offer
deep discounts for the “off - season” .
You can take advantage of our slower
season, but reap the benefits while still
having and event to remember.
Tie in the winter elements into the
many facets of your wedding. Invita-
tions and favors can be customized to a
winter wonderland theme. Your cake
can be enhanced by a creative snow
capped mountain design. Create a ro-
mantic and cozy feeling in your tables
by adding lots of candles and lush, soft
Your dream wedding can take place
in one of the many beautiful locations in
Estes Park. Visualize your exchange of
vows and rings in an unforgettable set-
ting. Arrive in Estes Park with your
friends and family and we’ll make your
wedding day dreams come true.
Jamie Reed can be reached at Ja-
mie@lakeshorelodge.com or
I’m forever yours, faithfully
The area’s
views provide
Visual Poetry by
Courtesy Photo
A spring wedding at
The Wild Basin Lodge
By Hillary Hanson
Special to the Trail-Gazette
aving met on an international
flight, it seemed fitting for
Kris and Emily Haack to
choose a destination wedding.
The couple spends about ten and a half
months a year touring around the globe
with Disney on Ice. Emily is a seam-
stress and Kris works as a carpenter for
the popular production. Kris proposed
at midnight on New Years Eve, 2010 in
Costa Rica. Having scouted locations
around the world, the task of selecting a
wedding venue seemed daunting.
However, their decision to marry at
The Wild Basin Lodge in Allenspark,
came easily due to spectacular moun-
tain views and the natural and elegant
feel of the venue. Says Emily, “It was
the warmth of the people, though, that
really sold us.”
The loving couple said their vows in a
beautiful outdoor ceremony at the lodg-
e’s St. Vrain River site on May 22, 2011.
The sunny ceremony was a gift, con-
sidering heavy snowstorms earlier in
the week. The site was prepared for the
cold, the lodge having rented heaters
for the wedding party. Happily, the day
dawned bright and clear, quickly melt-
ing all of the snow. Many ceremony
pieces were handmade, and most partic-
ipants close friends or family. The
groom’s uncle, a minister, performed
the ceremony. Maid of honor and oper-
atic performer, Cathy Compton, sang
accompanied by local string quartet Le
Sorelle. Following traditional vows, the
See WILD BASIN, pg. 5
800 MacGregor Ave. 970.586.9344 twinowls.net
Romantic Mountain Weddings
in a Rustic Mountain Lodge
at the Black Canyon Inn
Kegs Available
wild basin wild basin wild basin from page 4 from page 4 from page 4
couple performed a unity candle cere-
mony using a set handmade fifteen
years earlier for the occasion by the
bride’s grandfather. When the flames
were joined, the couple gathered close-
ly, surrounded by their families and
wedding party to make private, more
personal vows.
Kris and Emily were privileged to
have two incredible photographers re-
cord the celebration: Meghan from Vis-
ual Poetry by Meghan and Matthew
from The Beautiful Voyage Photogra-
phy. Visual Poetry by Meghan is a flour-
ishing Estes Park photojournalist-style
wedding photographer. Matthew, the
bride’s brother, traveled from Chicago
to stand up as a groomsman before cap-
turing the couple’s reception and a wed-
ding hike photo session above Lily Lake
on the day following the ceremony.
Both photographers produced stunning
shots of the bride in her lace Mori Lee
gown and heirloom veil, the handmade
yellow and white tulip floral arrange-
ments, the newlyweds and their guests
at the mountain venue, and the eve-
ning’s enthusiastic reception.
The couple departed from tradition at
the reception, choosing to serve appeti-
zer-sized portions of entrée selections
set up at stations around The Wild Ba-
sin’s elegant and panoramic Copeland
reception room. As a result, guests
formed many new friendships (and at
least one new couple), as they were en-
couraged to mingle throughout the eve-
ning. Highly praised were the Boursin
cheese stuffed mushrooms and cha-
teaux of beef over mashed potatoes pre-
pared by Wild Basin executive chef
Brent Lewis. The couple brought in
dozens of homemade desserts, includ-
ing family recipes of personal favorites.
Guests took turns as DJ with music pro-
vided by the couple, while the dance
floor remained ever full.
For their first dance, Kris and Emily
selected Journey’s “Faithfully.” The
song’s lyrics, specific to this couple’s
touring lifestyle, express the promise
that for one another in their new mar-
riage they will be “Forever yours, faith-
fully.” That night the couple departed
beneath hundreds of brilliant sparklers
headed into the world as husband and
wife, eager to face the journeys to come
in their new life together.
Visual Poetry by Meghan / Courtesy Photo
Careful planning can make that special day a special one for the happy couple.
Imagine the Mountains of Possibilities...
Officiating, Photography, Floral and more.
Rocky Mountain National Park
and Estes Park
Complete Wedding Packages from $495.
P.O. Box 810, Estes Park 80517
All-Inclusive Destination Wedding and Elopement Packages
Estes Park a top choice for weddings
Estes Park is a
favorite wedding
destination in
Courtesy Photo
Setting, intimate
atmosphere, put
community at the top
of many checklists
By Lorie Cooper
Special to the Trail-Gazette
stes Park has quickly risen to
be one of the most popular des-
tinations for weddings - rating
number one in Colorado and
number seven Nationally.
Unlike Estes Park’s ski town cousins,
(Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge), travel is
less of an issue for those traveling. Be-
cause the town is located at a bit lower
elevation, and on the east side of the
Continental Divide, snowfall, while still
abundant, isn’t as accumulative,
therefore highways in and out of Estes
are easier to maintain and rarely com-
pletely close due to weather conditions.
The grandeur of Rocky Mountain Na-
tional Park is unsurpassed as the per-
fect backdrop for wedding ceremonies
and spectacular photos. The quaintness
and small town feel of Estes Park lends
to a less busy area and creates a “no
stress zone” for wedding parties and
guests. The abundance of activities is
also appealing to guests turning a wed-
ding day into a mini vacation. With two
golf courses, white water rafting, fish-
ing, spas and salons, unique shopping,
horseback riding, hiking, off road jeep
tours, snow tubing and snow shoeing,
and the constant presence of wildlife,
there is something for everyone.
While not every couple has the finan-
cial freedom to plan the ultimate wed-
ding of their dreams, they do have the
ability to plan a wedding day - in Estes
Park — which they, and their guests,
will never forget. Here are tips from
Estes Park’s as to how to make your
wedding possible.
So Many People - So Little Mon-
ey: while many brides envision their
day surrounded by hundreds of friends
and family to make their day complete,
consider this ... imagine looking at
your photo album five or 10 years from
now and realizing that half of your
guests you don’t even remember.
Those work associates you felt obligat-
ed to invite, or your third cousins
twice removed that you felt would
break a cardinal rule by not asking to
attend. This is one of the top ways that
wedding budgets can spiral out of con-
trol. When you consider costs - larger
venues for sufficient seating, the elabo-
rate dinner, alcohol and beverages, the
extra slice of wedding cake, the chair
cover and sash, wedding favors, and
even the additional invitation — the av-
erage expense for each wedding guest
is $100 or more. Let’s face it - the
more guests, the more stress. Keeping
track of meal choices, plotting out seat-
ing charts, arranging for out of town
guest’s accommodations let alone en-
suring that you have sufficient time to
visit each guest during your reception
is mind reeling. The answer? Take a
look at your guest list and reconsider
the size of your wedding. Less guests
opens options for different venues,
huge budget cuts, and a decrease in
your stress level. Whittling down your
guest list to include those who attend
because they are an intricate part of
your life will leave you with a manage-
able wedding size, cost and more time
to celebrate the day with those sur-
rounding you that are the most impor-
tant to you. Tip: When it is time to ex-
plain to co-workers or distant family
why they aren’t invited? Tell them “We
are planning an intimate destination
wedding - and due to the cost of the
wedding and what it would require of
See ESTES, pg. 7
St. Bartholomew’s
Episcopal Church
Wedding Coordinator:
Ginger Harris, 970-227-0806
Email: Gingermom@aol.com
880 MacGregor Avenue
Estes Park, Colorado
Consecrated to the
Glory of God
Mountain Setting
Log Church
Available for
all Christian Weddings
Proud member of the Estes Park Wedding Association www.estesparkweddings.com
estes estes estes from page 6 from page 6 from page 6
our guests to have to spend, we opted
to keep our guest list to immediate
family and life-long friends.”
Wedding Date: one of the ultimate
tricks to planning an affordable wed-
ding in Estes Park is in selecting your
wedding date. Off season deals begin
the first of November and run through
mid-May in most cases. Venues are anx-
ious to fill guestrooms and ballrooms
this time of year and are eager to make
deals to make this happen. The day of
the week is also a tip to consider - with
proper advance notice to your guests
for their scheduling, your wedding can
take place on a day that falls during the
middle of the week. Weekday weddings
can be as much as 50% less than week-
ends - especially during prime wedding
Time of the day: for your wedding
also changes the scope of your budget.
Hosting a late morning wedding saves
you money by allowing a brunch buffet
in lieu of a plated dinner that is more
cost effective. By having your wedding
earlier in the day, it also allows you to
celebrate your wedding all day. Also,
consider an adventure for your guests
after the ceremony such as a chartered
party bus tour over Trail Ridge Road,
white water rafting, snowshoeing in
Rocky Mountain National Park, a golf
tournament, horseback riding. You can
end the day by serving your wedding
cake and coffee back at your hotel or at
a local club for libations and dancing. If
you are night owls, consider a later can-
dle light ceremony at 7 or 8 p.m. and
provide a dessert only reception with
dancing. A lavish buffet of bite size des-
serts such as flavored cheese cakes and
tarts, a chocolate fountain and tower of
cupcakes with a candy buffet will give
your guests energy for dancing into the
wee hours. Tip: let your guests know
your plans by subtlety announcing it in
your wedding invitation - “Brunch Re-
ception to Follow” or “Dessert Recep-
tion to Follow” lets your guests know
what to expect and plan accordingly for
dinner before your wedding.
Prioritizing your goals for your wed-
ding is another consideration. Most
couples - especially the bride — has a
“Vision” going into the planning pro-
cess. That vision many times focuses on
particular highlights that stand out - a
four-tier wedding cake, flower-embel-
lished aisle and guest tables - the prin-
cess gown. The beginning of planning
is the perfect time to dissect your wed-
ding into categories - the must haves,
the want to haves and the like to haves.
By looking over your list, it is many
times possible to eliminate some of this
less important like to haves in order to
make the must haves a reality. Here are
some tips on ways to reduce your bud-
Photography: don’t ever skimp on
photos. At the end of the day, it is all
you have left. however, a 10-hour pho-
tography package is not necessary in
most cases either. Break your day down
See ESTES, pg. 8
WaltHester.com / Courtesy Photo
Proper planning of the wedding day leaves plenty of time for the extras, such as the
WaltHester.com / Courtesy Photo
The wedding cake is the centerpiece of
the post ceremony festivities.
www.Rolls-RoyceWeddings.com • Weddings@BoulderDenverLimo.com
Elegant Mountain Lodge (“Panorama”)
On The Shores Of Beautiful
Lake Estes In Estes Park, Colorado
For High Quality, Smaller Weddings & Elopements
At An Affordable Price ($1,900)
Includes: private usage of lodge for 3 hours/officiant services/digital photography/coffee, cake service/bride and
groom photo tour around Lake Estes in classic Roll-Royce convertible
estes estes estes from page 7 from page 7 from page 7
into “Album Worthy” photos - the cere-
mony, family photos, romantics of the
two of you, wedding party photos and
reception highlights such as cake cut-
ting, toast, first dance and father/
daughter mother/son dances are most
important. This is the time to hire a
photographer - and if you timeline those
shots, a 3-4 hour photography package
is typically sufficient. For the “Non Al-
bum Worthy” but still want to have
shots - delegate your friend with the
new camera to be there for the getting
ready shots, the driving the ceremony
shots, and the reception shots that
while fun to have, typically don’t make it
into the album, i.e. the “I’m on my sev-
enth cocktail and now watch my moves
on the dance floor” images.
Scrap the favors: endless hours
and budget busters come from wedding
favors ... the wrapped candies that litter
the reception tables or engraved picture
frames that end up in the junk drawer is
a prime part of your budget dollars that
can better be allocated to those must
Entertainment: if your wedding is
more intimate and dancing isn’t a major
priority to your reception plan, consider
renting a sound system that includes a
microphone and the invaluable iPod
hookup. Create playlists of your favorite
songs for dinner background music, the
important first dance, father/daughter,
mother/son and wedding party dance
then switch to the dance all night play-
list and let it show off it’s own shuffle.
For important announcements delegate
a master or mistress of ceremonies who
can gather everyone’s attention for the
cake cutting, toasts, etc. however, If the
two of you are big into entertainment
and plan to dance the night away, hav-
ing a professional DJ or band should re-
main on that must have list.
Hidden Talents: your wedding is
the perfect time to harness the creativ-
ity of your family and friends who are
willing to lend a helping hand. Creating
captivating table arrangements or even
your wedding party flowers can be a
cinch for someone with the right touch,
and with today’s spectacular choices of
latex and silk flowers, these can be
done weeks in advance. Bakers in your
‘inner circle’ can create tasty and crea-
tive wedding cakes - for insurance on
the structure of that multi-tiered cake
consider a cake stand with multi tiers
rather than doing a stacked wedding
cake that requires lots of experience in
creating and securing in place. The sim-
plest of cakes can be the most beautiful
when accented with flowers.
All Inclusive Packages: planning a
wedding from a distance - or even from
down the street - can be a harrowing
and time consuming experience when
having to deal with multiple vendors.
Finding a company who specializes in
all-inclusive packages (Marry Me In
Colorado) can eliminate the need to in-
terview, sample, preview portfolios and
endless hours laboring over different
websites to select from multiple choices
of coordinators, officiates, photogra-
phers, florists, bakers, musicians and
more by finding a reputable company
who has all of those professional gems
wrapped into one nice package. It
means less phone calls, less time, and
less stress.
Reception Site Alternatives: Estes
Park is filled with numerous hidden
gems to consider as your reception site.
While the natural instinct of couples is
to visit the larger and more commonly
known venues, if your wedding is on
the intimate size you have a whole
world of options to consider. Restau-
rants in Estes Park are always anxious
to host wedding dinners for patrons.
There are restaurants on the river walk
that give your guests the treat of ambi-
ance as well as food that is prepared in a
restaurant setting versus a banquet as-
sembly line. Private homes are also
abundant in Estes Park for day or week-
ly rentals that in many cases have both
outdoor areas as well as ample indoor
settings for receptions. Whether you
hire a caterer or opt to provide your
own food, your bar expenses will re-
duce ten fold by purchasing your own
alcohol and you will slash your budget
by combining your guests accommoda-
tions and your reception setting in one
of these beautiful homes.
Wedding Site Alternatives: while a
stunning view from the back yard of a
historical property is a beautiful cere-
mony site, it can be a very costly one.
Consider the ultimate cathedral with an
outdoor ceremony in one of Estes
Park’s hidden treasures - Rocky Moun-
tain National Park. The National Park
Service offers ceremony sites for $150
and range from intimate elopements for
2 to 150 guests. Specific locations within
the park are specified based on the
number of guests. For larger weddings
consider the Moraine Park Amphithe-
ater or picnic area at Lily Lake. City
sites such as the Estes Park Marina and
Pavilion and county parks as well as a
multitude of smaller lodging venues
based on the river are another option
for an affordable site for a romantic out-
door ceremony. Be sure to look into all
of the necessary permits required for
these sites, and ensure that your com-
mercial professionals - such as photog-
raphers, Officiants and Transportation
Companies, etc. - are required to be li-
censed directly by the National Park
Service to work and photograph wed-
dings in Rocky Mountain National Park.
WaltHester.com / Courtesy Photo
Estes Park offers many venues for that special day.
Three can’t-miss ideas for fall wedding planning
Take advantage of the
Special to the Trail-Gazette
hen you think of prime
wedding months do May
and June spring to mind?
You might be surprised to
learn that October and November are
also popular months for nuptials. When
you realize autumn brings not only cool-
er weather, but less busy caterers or
wedding venues, the season’s appeal is
easy to understand.
Whether you’re finalizing plans for a
wedding this fall or planning ahead for
autumn 2012, you’ll be looking for ideas
to add seasonal spice to your big day.
From fall wedding decoration ideas to
seasonally appropriate menu sugges-
tions, here are some trends to consider
for your fall wedding.
Alfresco and all natural
“Many brides cash in on fall’s ample
sunshine and cooler temperatures by
holding their weddings outside,” says
Ray Miller of My Wedding Reception
Ideas.com. “An outdoor wedding cele-
brates the season and plays to another
popular trend — eco-awareness.”
In many areas of the country, autumn
brings less heat and rain. Plus, saying
your “I do’s” outside, surrounded by
fall’s vibrant hues, makes Mother Na-
ture your co-decorator.
If you’re considering having your
wedding outside, don’t overlook unusu-
al venues. Municipal parks, national
parks, botanical gardens, fruit orchards
and even zoos can all be fun and inter-
esting places for a wedding.
Seasonal decor
and accessories
The colors and spirit of fall can also
inspire your accessories and decor. Rus-
tic materials and touches like raffia,
twigs and straw can add seasonal flair to
decorations. Leaf motifs and autumnal
hues can be used to adorn everything
from cake cutting sets and table linens
to table centerpieces and slipcovers.
You can even tie your theme to fall
holidays like Halloween or Thanksgiv-
ing. Leaf-shaped votive holders, person-
al-size pumpkins and other Halloween
wedding favor ideas can add seasonally
appropriate fun to your celebration.
Remarkable menus
A fall wedding also opens up opportu-
nities to create memorable menus that
play on the flavors of the season. Just as
spring and summer wedding menus
benefit from the season’s fresh produce,
you can incorporate the fruits of the fall
harvest into your autumn nuptials.
Fall vegetables like pumpkin, butter-
nut squash, beets, carrots and rutaba-
gas can be served slow-roasted for a
side dish that capitalizes on the sea-
son’s most colorful and nutritious offer-
ings. Greens such as spinach, endive
and celery root come into season in au-
tumn and can be incorporated into
soups and salads for a pop of flavor and
Main course choices also open up in
fall, when great game comes in season.
Replacing boring beef with venison or
mundane chicken with pheasant not
only puts a seasonal stamp on a menu,
but creates a culinary experience wed-
ding guests will remember.
Courtesy ARA Content
Full service catering in Estes Park
Elegant Events & Intimate Celebrations
215Virginia Dr., Estes Park
Photo by Dave Russell Photography Photo by Susan Armitage Photography
WaltHester.com / Courtesy Photo
Outdoor settings can bring the vibrant hues from Mother Nature into the fold.
Considering a destination wedding?
Advice to help a couple
Special to the Trail-Gazette
he number of American couples
choosing destination weddings
has tripled in the last 10 years
and the trend continues to grow.
The notion of a wedding ceremony that
combines the allure of travel, a wonder-
ful, maybe exotic location, and an ex-
tended celebration with family and
friends . . . well . . . what’s not to love?
While destination weddings have defi-
nitely captured the imagination of
American couples, what exactly does
the term mean? Put simply, a “destina-
tion wedding” takes place away from
home, it involves travel, and it usually
extends beyond one day. At the same
time, because of the travel element, a
destination wedding can be more com-
plicated to plan than a hometown mar-
riage ceremony.
Lisa Light, founder and CEO of Desti-
nation Bride (destinationbride.com), a
New York wedding and international
events planning company that special-
izes in destination weddings, is perhaps
the foremost authority on destination
weddings. She has just published the
first comprehensive book on the sub-
ject, Destination Bride: A Complete
Guide to Planning Your Wedding Any-
where in the World (North Light
Books, January 2006). This invaluable
resource offers a step-by-step descrip-
tion of the planning process, with sug-
gestions, tips, and advice along the way,
as well as practical, area-specific inform-
ation about wedding resources and ven-
ues in over 50 regions worldwide.
But, are destination weddings for ev-
eryone? Lisa Light has outlined some of
the common considerations concerning
destination weddings and suggests
doing the following exercise as a cou-
With destination weddings, the pos-
sibilities are endless. Does this give you
a giddy “the world is our oyster!” feel-
ing — or a daunting, overwhelmed feel-
Call (970) 586-5151
for You and
Your Guests:
• Hotels to
Wedding Sites
• Rehearsal
• Discounts for
Airport Shuttle
WaltHester.com / Courtesy Photo
Destination weddings can provide unique memories - along with stunning settings.
Hosting Brides and Grooms for Over 50 Years
3 Beautiful Wedding Sites: Mountaintop,
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& Reception Facilities.
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10 October 28, 2011 ESTES PARK MOUNTAIN WEDDINGS ...
destination destination destination from page 10 from page 10 from page 10
A destination wedding promises a
memorable experience. Either you
don’t mind facing the unexpected, and
“unforgettable” is just what you’re look-
ing for . . . or you’d rather control every
aspect of the experience rather than
risk the “wrong kind” of “memorable”!
A destination wedding is often a
longer celebration than at home, lasting
a few days. You and your chosen one
love the notion of spending some time
away together! On the other hand, you
may feel that one day is plenty for the
“group” portion of the festivities.
A destination wedding typically in-
volves fewer guests. You are either
okay with the idea of having only your
closest family and friends, or you won’t
feel as though it’s really a wedding with-
out your fourth-grade school bus driver
or second cousin there to share the fun.
Because of the travel factor, a desti-
nation wedding typically is more chal-
lenging to plan. You see the difficulties
of planning as a fair price to pay for a
once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Or, your fo-
cus is already beyond the wedding;
you’d prefer a simple ceremony and less
Lisa further suggests that after a cou-
ple has thought through some of the
foregoing questions, they should ask
the “must-haves” on their prospective
guest list whether they would be agree-
able to the idea of a destination wed-
With the pros and cons considered,
and the guests on board, the answer to
the question — Is a destination wedding
really right for you? — may well be yes!
In any case, according to Light, a des-
tination wedding can be a wonderful ad-
venture. “When you combine the allure
of travel, a remarkable occasion, and an
extraordinary cause for celebration,”
she says, “the mix is rich with meaning,
memories, and opportunities for bond-
Courtesy BNN (Bridal News Network)
WaltHester.com / Courtesy Photo
Destination weddings offer new settings for many traditions.
Estes Park Stories
You Need to Know.
Whenever and Wherever Whenev
Just go to
October 28, 2011 11 ESTES PARK MOUNTAIN WEDDINGS ...
12 October 28, 2011 ESTES PARK MOUNTAIN WEDDINGS ...

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