Monday, December 17, 2012


So this weekend was ultimately a GINORMOUS success! I first want to thank my amazing fiance for putting up with my ass when I was getting down and discouraged. You see, we really really really wanted to find a venue before we left for Christmas because we knew that when we got back things would pretty much be booked up. So, we started out on Thursday on a mission.

First up, The Briarwood Restaurant (side note, I can NEVER spell restaurant and ALWAYS must spell check it...yes I am dumb). The place was beautiful. We really really loved the inside reception area. It was three tiered and had this killer fireplace. The outside ceremony area was pretty (especially at night; however, it was a bit close to the highway). Pamela told me the place was too expensive, but I wanted to see it anyways. So we went. The manager then gave us a price sheet that was TOTALLY reasonable. We found out later that this was outdated and the prices were almost 50% higher! WHAT? It was going to cost more than the Broadmoor. This place was nice and beautiful, but it was not a five star, five diamond hotel!

Ceremony structure. Note the telephone wires and highway behind. Granted trees would cover in October.

Beautiful fireplace.

Reception space/Dining Room. Three tiers offered a cool aesthetic.

Two tiered fireplace.

Outdoor space lit up at night.

Next up, The Golden Hotel. Now, when we first walked in to the hotel it looked PERFECT! It was rustic but styled. However, one we were shown the party room NO THANK YOU! The one they wanted to put us in was so small that the max it could hold was 62. I still don't think it would hold 50 comfortably, plus add a dance floor, a DJ, and bar, a buffet...oh thats right, they told us that if we decided to do a buffet it would go in the hall and guests could just go out there to get their food...NO THANK YOU! Plus, the carpet was ugly. I thought I took pictures, but they aren't showing up on my phone...

On Friday we began at the zoo. Yes, THE ZOO! I was so excited to see this venue. It was awesome. I really did like it. The downside was that they wouldn't let any of our guests in until 5:30pm. Well, in October it gets dark at 6:30pm, so we wouldn't have had much daylight to do a ceremony and have the cool zoo feel (they put all the animals away at dark). So, we could have just done the reception there; however, I have gotten it in my head that I want everything at the same location...don't ask me why...I don't know. But anyways, we got a free tour of a pretty cool zoo and I got to feed the giraffes!
Such a cool experience. They let your guests do this if you have the event there!

It is awesome that they are so up close and personal!

Reception Venue Fireplace

Open space in the room. Really cool with exposed beams.

Just checking out the animals. They are all so close to you!

The bears were just plain awesome!

After the zoo we went to the Sunbird Restaurant  I HATED this place. The view was of I-25 and the rooms were small and compact. I mentioned the road noise and the lady goes "yeah thats out biggest complaint...". YUCK! Pam had set-up this appointment so I was pretty disappointed in the awfulness of the venue. Thus when the amazing fiance came to the rescue in cheering me up. 

At this point I was ready to start looking for a ceremony venue near the zoo so we could have our reception at the zoo. I had heard of people doing their ceremony in the Garden of the Gods Park so we stopped by the visitor's center. Well, you can do your ceremony there, but you can't reserve a space, it is first-come-first serve. There are no decorations, no chairs, and no music allowed. Uh, NO!

Beautiful views of the storm on the mountain.

Gorgeous views from the park

Well, we obviously hadn't found anything and I was getting very discouraged. As we were lamenting about what to do on our way to dinner, we got a call from a venue that I had tried contacting previously. Unfortunately, they had no times that we could tour that worked for us. Well, a spot had opened up on Saturday morning. YES! We would take it. So, Saturday morning we drove up to Genesee, a small town outside of Golden and saw The Pines at Genesee. WE LOVED IT! It was exactly what we were looking for: rustic but sophisticated, nice but relaxed, roomy but intimate! It is on the higher end of our price range, but we feel in love and we are going to find a way to make it work.

Reception Hall

Reception Hall All Set-up

Back patio/Cocktail/Smoker's Area

Beautiful Hard Wood Floors and an Awesome Fireplace

Floor to Ceiling Windows overlooking the pines and the city

Gorgeous views of the trees and cliffs during the day and captivating views of the city lights at night

Separate cocktail area

Ceremony Location

Well, we had one more visit set-up for Saturday so we went ahead down to Racoon Creek Golf Club. It was alright, but everything was right in the middle of everything. Shane said it best "It is like they had a really nice golf course, so they said 'Hey, why not host weddings, throw a tent up!'." And that is really what it seemed like. The ceremony location was right off the parking lot, but don't worry, they use golf carts and block most of the traffic during the ceremony; however, they couldn't guarantee us that a golfer wouldn't walk or drive by, since the 10th tee was right behind it. Then the tent was also right off the parking lot so if you opened the walls up in nice weather anybody and everybody would be walking by, it is a public course. Oh well, we had our site already!

The ceremony site (winterized), that is the 10th tee on the right.

The tent (winterized so no walls), that is the parking lot behind it.

The tent, they have no ground cover or dance floor, but don't worry most brides don't notice one the tables are set.

Well, the venue search is over. Since the venue is a bit on the expensive side, even though it will save us money since we can bring in our own alcohol, we will have to be very careful with the budget and probably cut some things we wanted to do. I would love to be able to pay for all of the bridesmaid's and groomsmen's hotel rooms, but that will be almost $5,000! Plus I wanted to do a Sunday Thank You/Good Bye Champagne Brunch, but I don't think that will be in the budget unless Shane and I pay for it ourselves, but we will have to see how our budget is going after paying for rings, gifts, and the honeymoon. Plus I wanted to do some kind of spa day for the girls and fun day out for the guys either on Thursday or Friday...but these three things alone would probably equal our whole budget! Why is stuff so bloody expensive?

I never really got the stress of wedding planning before, but now I get it...I really really get it...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This Weekend...

With Shane's schedule my weekends really start on Thursday (though I still have to work Friday...which is totally not fair!), but anyways, this weekend we have a good amount of appointments.


I will be leaving work at 3:00pm (which is okay since I have to be at work an hour early two days this week). We are then driving to Golden, Colorado, which is about 20-25 minutes or so west of Denver on the north side. This is perfect for mountain views as well as easy access to all places in the city. Our first venue is the Briarwood Inn. I don't know much about any of these places except that our wedding planner recommended them. I will, obviously, know more on Sunday after we see everything.

Briarwood Inn Ceremony Site

Briarwood Inn Reception Site

After the Briarwood Inn we will be heading a few blocks over to The Golden Hotel. It is a beautiful hotel that seems to have the right kind of atmosphere and price!

The Golden Hotel View

The Golden Hotel View

On Friday DU is closing for a half day for the University wide Holiday Party. I am not attending the Holiday Party and instead I am heading to Colorado Springs again for another venue tour. I am so excited about this one. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. That's right THE ZOO! It is a zoo on top of Cheyenne Mountain and only blocks away from The Broadmoor Hotel. We are so excited because we feel like the venue fits us. Plus, it is amazingly unique and would be pretty awesome. You can rent out parts of the zoo and this awesome lodge. Plus you can feed the giraffes!!!

Feeding the giraffes!

The view!

Then on Saturday we will head to a pretty cool venue. This is the Racoon Creek Golf Club. It is cool because it used to be an old working ranch and still has some of the historic rustic buildings, yet it is also sophisticated and really nice. I think that it might have a good marriage of both of the things we want!

This just looks like me. Just insert my face please...and let me be that skinny!

The nice thing about these venues is that we ASSURED that the dates we wanted were available and that they were in our price range. The Briarwood Inn may be a stretch; however, I think that we could negotiate a little bit if we love the place. It is probably my least favorite of the four. I am so excited to see the Zoo and Racoon Creek. The Golden Hotel also looks awesome. I am very excited about the venue choices this weekend. Thanks to our amazing planner. Worth her weight in gold already!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wedding Planner and Venue Search

Shane and I have been crazy busy trying to get a lot accomplished before we leave for Family Christmas in Texas. Our goal was/is to have a wedding planner and a venue before December 19th. For the math whizzes out there, that leaves us a whopping 8 more days. The good news? We have hired a wedding planner! We met with Pamela last Thursday and instantly fell in love. She is easy going, has tons of experience, and instantly got our vision. We met a couple more people, but we knew that Pamela was the right fit for our wedding. We chose the middle package that she offered for a couple reasons. 1.) Price, we didn't want to put too much of our budget out for a wedding planner and then have to scrimp on the actual wedding. 2.) I want to be involved in the details anyway! I really got a wedding planner so that there would be someone there to guide me and help me understand the processes and help with vendor selection and all of that. I don't mind going out and physically seeing and meeting everyone, since I want to do that! So, half of our goal is not complete.

On The Venue Front...

On Saturday we took a drive down to Colorado Springs to see the Garden of the Gods club and the Broadmoor Hotel. Both were breathtaking; however, each had its own problems.

At the Garden of the God's Club, we needed the larger room. It was gorgeous and included an outdoor patio space.

The size and food&bev minimum on the space; however, limited us to a day time or a Friday wedding. I don't know about you, but I am not keen on daytime weddings. We almost had ourselves talked in to doing a Friday evening wedding, because how do you not snatch up a venue that looks like this:

YES! That would have been the ceremony venue. Right there with the to die for reflection and the breathtaking view of Pike's Peak (one of Shane and my favorite day trips!). However, sense started to take hold when we realized the walk way between the reception room and the reception patio was a main passthrough for the hotel, spa, and rec room. Plus, they were having a club cocktail party in the main part of the club on Friday night and WE would have to work around THEM because it was for members. Well, crap...

So, we ventured over to the Broadmoor. I mean we knew we would fall in love before we walked in the door. We THOUGHT that money would be the problems; however, date seemed to be the standing issue again. 

Yeah, no wonder it is 5-star, 5-diamond, AAA Preferred, etc. etc. etc. Well we enjoyed wondering the property and having a wonderful lunch, since we got there several hours early. We even got to tour some of the rooms. These were not room, they were HOUSES! One of the suites we were shown had a living room 3 times the size of my house's living room (which is saying something because my house has a BIG living room). Anyways, we found a spot that we fell in love with called the Ross Room. It had a gorgeous outdoor space for the ceremony and a beautiful view for the reception. 

Well, wouldn't you know, we could afford it! We were so excited until the catering manager ran dates and told us we would have to do a daytime event or a Friday. See above... Well, crap... She also kept showing us bigger and bigger and more expensive spaces. Then, she disappeared to handle a problem at an event. We heard from her over an hour later and she informed us that she was too busy that night and would call me first thing in the morning (Sunday). I have yet to hear from her (It is Tuesday...). So needless to say, The Broadmoor is out.

NEVER FEAR! We have so many other fun options in the works thanks to a little bit of creativity and an amazing wedding planner. More later!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Wedding Diet

So, One thing that was determined to be a decided fact is that I need to seriously loose my 20 (hopefully 30) pounds again before the wedding (hopefully before dress shopping). I have decided that I will do a non-processed food diet. Some people call this the Paleodiet and others call it the God Diet. Regardless of the name, it is basically that you only eat stuff that is grown, hunted, or gathered. I completed two extremely successful days and dropped about 4lbs of water weight! YAY! Well, Shane and I were looking up some post-vacation detoxing programs so that we could jump start the weight loss process. One thing that we have found a lot of research on and good things about is a Juice Detox. Basically, you juice a bunch of fruits and veggies and just drink that for 3 or 4 days. It is supposed to be a really good way to clense the colon and all that. Well I am halfway through the day and I can't stomach it. I loved the fruit juice that I made this morning, but I can't seem to make any of the veggie juices taste good. Not to mention Shane is sick, so I think we are scrapping this whole juice thing and going back to the Paleodiet.

On the wedding front, we heard from the Broadmoor and they are booked on October 5, 2013 so we are looking at either the week before or the week after. We are taking a trip down to Colorado Springs this weekend on the 8th in order to view all of the venues and pick some places. We will also be seeing some of the rooms and cottage accomodations. Hopefully one of these works and we have our venue secured! YAY!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Possible Dates and Venues

Throughout this blog I will be throwing a lot of ideas and thoughts out there. I would love to hear people's opinions of them as we go...I will probably also put dress ideas and stuff, but due to the fact that I have an internet savvy fiance, no final decision or pictures of me in the final contenders will be posted! That is what private email is for!

While in Mexico and over the past two days, we have brainstormed A LOT! Right now, our IDEAL wedding would be:

Located in Colorado Springs, CO at the Broadmoor Hotel:

We would like for it to be held on October 5, 2013. I have always dreamed of having a fall wedding, because I love the changing of the leaves. While Colorado doesn't really have "changing" leaves per say, the Aspen tress and other get a beautiful yellow glow in the fall, which is just magical!

We want a small intimate wedding with family and a very few close friends. We are both private people and enjoy the small intimate setting rather than the larger party type feel. We believe that we should keep the celebration really small. Since it will be a small intimate gathering, we would like to have a plated multi-course dinner, possibly with a wine pairing.

The schedule that we would like to follow is:

Wednesday October 2, 2013: Wedding Party and Close Family Arrives
Thursday October 3, 2012: Ladies day at the Spa/Bachelorette (TAME) type event, Guys day around the city/Bachelor type event
Friday October 4, 2013: Rehearsal, Rehearsal Dinner, Welcome Cocktail Party for the out of town guests that haven't yet arrived
Saturday October 5, 2013: Wedding (afternoonish) and Reception
Sunday October 6, 2012: Brunch and Seeing Guests Off

I would love to implement sunflowers ALL OVER my wedding. I know that October is the VERY end of Sunflower season, but I hope that I can pull this off! 

That is about all that I have for now... 

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

...So It Begins

After almost four years of dating, planning, and wishing, Shane and I are finally engaged! We are so extremely excited. It all began on February 21, 2008. I was a Junior in college and was drug along to poker night at a friend's boyfriend's friend's house. My horse was sick and I did NOT want to attend the gathering; however, my friend was persuasive in forcing me to get out of the barn and spend some time with people. I reluctantly tagged along. When I got there, my friend's boyfriend's friend welcomed me and we began talking. About half way through the poker game I gave him my phone number so that he could text me a picture he had taken. We then became more interested in text flirting then the game. By the end of the night we had agreed to meet for dinner the following night at Logan's Steakhouse. The rest, as they say, is history.

When I graduated from college in May 2010 I left Virginia and headed south to spend the sumer with my parents in Texas before moving to Colorado for graduate school. Shane and I agreed that he would continue living and working in Virginia until we both decided where we would live when I gradated. In May 2012 I finished my degree, had secured an AMAZING job with the University, and Shane packed up and move to Colorado. 

Over Thanksgiving vacation we took a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with my family. The trip was amazing and we absolutely loved everything about the location and the life in Mexico (at a resort of course...haha). 

It was during this magical trip that it happened. We were at dinner at a unique concept restaurant with the whole family. It was supposed to be our fancy end of the trip dinner; however, between the horrible service and mediocre food, it was falling far far short. That is, until the end of the meal prior to dessert. It was at that point that Shane got out of his seat, dropped to one knee, and asked me to marry him! I LOVED IT! I was so excited. I could not have had it be a more perfect moment than the two of us and my family there to witness the amazing moment. 

We have been wishing and planning this moment in our lives for almost 3 or so years. We are so excited that it is finally here and we can plan and publicize all of our stuff that we want to do! It is going to be a whirlwind of a year and stressful and crazy and perfect! Come along with me as Shane and I navigate this fun new adventure!