Arrival is the second stage of the event experience. The goal here is to ensure that every invited guest feels they are an important part of the day and appreciated for their participation in the celebration.
Since Estes Park is 1.5 hours from Denver, we treated our wedding as a destination wedding and obtained a room block with discounted lodging at a local hotel as well provided transportation to and from the wedding venue.
Our guests were met by our greeter at the receiving table where they could grab a cup of hot apple cider or seasonally flavored orange-cranberry infused water and a custom ceremony program prior to being escorted by the Ushers to their seats. Guests could leave gifts for the bride and groom on the gift table as well as place any greeting cards in the custom built wedding mailbox. Guests were invited to "leaf" their print on a home-crafted guest book tree. A handmade sign reminded guests to put away their cell phones and cameras, that this was to be an unplugged ceremony. A custom wooden sign directed guests to the open seating.
Atmosphere should address all five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and feel.
Due to rain, the ceremony was held in the beautiful Celebration Place featuring lofty ceilings, balcony overlooks and large arched windows which captured the incredible mountain views. As guests entered the space they walked down an aisle lined with fall leaves and pumpkins with fall flora. Blankets in fall colors were available for guests to wrap themselves up during the ceremony if needed.
The flowers used during the ceremony and reception were a combination of fall colors and were selected from seasonal flowers. I opted to make the boutonnières myself from silk Maple leaves and Pussy Willow, adorned with copper wire.
Cocktail hour was held in the Gathering Place which featured balconies and two large fireplaces. Guests were treated to an assortment of light appetizers - two appetizer stations as well as two passed hors-d'oeuvres. There was a full open bar serving beer, wine and liquor. The cocktail hour and reception also featured two signature cocktails.
As guests transitioned into the reception space they visited the greeting station which featured the relocated guest book tree and three pumpkins reading, “Fall In Love.” Two trees on each side of the table served to suspend the handprinted leaves/escort cards.
The Sweetheart table was set in the middle of the stage area with tables for the wedding party and their spouses off to each side. The Sweetheart table was adorned with Mr. & Mrs. Pumpkins that provided a warm glow throughout the night. Guest’s tables were decorated with an assortment of DIY projects: stenciled table numbers on clear wine bottles, mini foam pumpkin vases filled with fall flowers, three Aspen log votive candle holders, an Aspen pen caddie and an Aspen card holder for custom "Mad-Libs."
Appetite should be a reflection of your style and should satisfy all the taste buds including salty, sweet, sour and bitter.
Greens Point Catering provided us with a plated dinner service. We requested to have our entire catering package be gluten-free. Guests were able to choose from 3 entrée options: Petite Bistro Steak, Rosemary Chicken or Eggplant Roulade.
For dessert we decided on a two-tiered cutting cake (the top tier was GF white cake with lemon-raspberry filling and the bottom layer was chocolate cake with raspberry preserves and fresh raspberry filling). The cutting cake was covered in dark brown buttercream and decorated with edible fall foliage. We also provided guests with an assortment of four cupcakes featuring Fall flavors such as apple with a caramel buttercream, carrot with cream cheese frosting and caramel drizzle, pumpkin with caramel buttercream and chocolate ganache drizzle and cookies and cream.
And just to ensure that our guests had plenty to eat, we also provided late night snacks consisting of slider burgers, truffle scented potato chips and mini-milkshakes.
Amusement or entertainment is the fifth stage of the event experience and should occur throughout the day at a wedding.
Custom background music played as our guests arrived. The officiant then read from the wedding ceremony that I had written; it was a true reflection of our personal style and relationship. We opted to perform the Cord of Three Strands Ceremony in lieu of the unity candle.
In an effort to keep guests entertained while the meals were being served, Wedded Bliss Advice Libs were provided on each of the guest’s tables. During the reception, we entertained our guests with a self-choreographed first dance and I also decided to sing "In My Daughter's Eye's" by Martini McBride to my mother, who reared me as a single parent, in lieu of the traditional father-daughter dance.
Guests were provided with homemade ribbon wands in our wedding colors to wave as we exited the venue for the evening.
Appreciation is the final stage of the event experience.
Adam and I wanted to be sure to thank our wedding party and family members for all of their love and support. At the Rehearsal Dinner, which featured a custom menu card, I presented each of my attendants with a handmade crocheted blanket with a tag of the wedding date, along with a note expressing my gratitude. Adam gifted his groomsmen with personalized range bags embroidered with their last name and the date of the wedding. My mother received a handmade shawl that would match the dress that she would be wearing to the wedding the following day.
On the day of the wedding, I presented my bridal party with gift bags containing personalized plastic cups with their role and matching attire along with handmade jewelry sets featuring a necklace, a bracelet and earrings. My "Man of Honor" received a personalized t-shirt in lieu of the jewelry. I also treated the women in my bridal party to complimentary hair and makeup from Bella Capelli Hair Studio.
Both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom were gifted custom handkerchiefs featuring different heartfelt poems and beautiful crochet lace edges. I gifted my step-father with a tie to match my mother's dress.
Guests were gifted with homemade Fall-spiced pumpkin seed granola at their seat at the reception. The granola also doubled as their place card.
A basket of flip-flops was placed by the DJ booth for female guests to wear in case any of them had sore feet from wearing uncomfortable shoes. Each restroom offered an attractive, well-stocked amenities basket filled with a variety of items such as a sewing kit, pain reliever, hand lotion, etc.
Following the wedding guests received handwritten notes on custom designed Thank You Cards that tied in with the Wedding Invitations.
The A6 Event Production model helped us design and deliver a special event that many of our guests still talk about to this day.
* Full vendor credit below.
When you've waited for so long to find one another, you want your wedding celebration to be spectacular! This is the story of my wedding.
Adam and I had been together for six years when he finally got the courage up to propose. Around this same period of time, I was completing my studies to become a Certified Special Event and Wedding Planner. As my final project for the class, I had to plan a mock wedding. I opted to plan a real one, mine, instead.
Every bride has her challenges, especially in the beginning. Many feel overwhelmed and wonder where to start. They worry about developing a timeline, sticking to their budget, respecting family dynamics, recruitment of their wedding party and providing their guests with a unique experience. As a future wedding planner, I wanted to experience and DIY as much as I could. I wanted to prepare myself for the future couples with whom I would be working to be able to tell them, "I know what you're going through."
In order to design a wedding that would be a true reflection of our personality, I opted to follow the A6 Event Production model which incorporates a client's profile information into six areas of the event experience: anticipation, arrival, atmosphere, appetite, amusement and appreciation.
Anticipation is created through the selection of the right invitation for the event. As is the current trend, Adam and I wanted to do something special to ask the members of our wedding party to be an integral part of our special day. We each designed custom "Will you be my Bridesmaid/Groomsman" boxes and filled them with items relevant to our upcoming wedding. I also designed the wedding invitations with a fall color palate which featured falling leaves to enhance our "Fall in Love" theme.
Luxar Studios Photography
Special thanks to Kevin for officiating and Trent for DJ'ing