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 We found out later that this was outdated and the prices were almost 50% higher!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.
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 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
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...