Elopement and Small Weddings Package:  How it All Works

Even though these are packages, they are highly customizable.  No two weddings are ever exactly alike.  Here is a guide to help you maneuver through the process and how it all works with our service.  Of course, please contact Wendee to discuss how a typcial wedding day flows.

Additional guests over #30
Some couples ask if they can have additional guests beyond 30-guests.  Though it may seem like a small wedding with 50-guests in comparison to the large 200-person bash, it is simply too large for our small wedding "elopement-style" package.  Why?  Lots of our intimate ceremony sites max-out at 30 guests.  Also many of the restaurants can't accommodate more than that number in their private or semi-private area.  And, quite frankly, we've found that over 30-guests runs more like a wedding than a spirited elopement-off-the-beaten-path, simple, meaningful and marriage-minded style in which this package was created.  Therefore, 30 is our FIRM maximum.  For over 30-guests, we recommend our "Day-of Coordination" or "Partial to Full Planning" services.
Black-out dates:
Due to highly-popular wedding dates, common travel restrictions, and vendor/site/restaurant limited availability, we have the following black-out dates:
  • January 1st
  • February 14th
  • July 3, 4
  • Labor Day Weekend: Saturday, Sunday & Monday
  • December 24 - 31


Bringing own photographer and florist
For the elopement/small-weddings package, our name and reputation are attached to the images.  It is what attracts our clients to the package.  We want to ensure that you receive something similar to what you see on our website.  Therefore, we work with professional photographers & a professional florist in which we have established relationships for this package.  We are happy to embellish the package by adding-on extra photo hours, creating centerpieces, crowns, or whatever your heart's desire; kindly - no bring-your-own florals/florist.  
For photographers, boy can we tell some stories!  In the past, when we've worked with outside "professional" photographers (who were really not so professional): they disregarded our timing/logistics and went rogue, got lost/confused, really didn't have a wedding photography business (were in school learning the trade), and even "got sick" just days before the wedding.  Therefore, we include photographer with downloadable high-resolution images in the package.  This is to ensure we are truly working with a professional - very important with your wedding.  You simply select one of ours that know our format, have shot at the ceremony sites, and are proven quality (we've worked with some of them 15+ years).   If you'd like to add-on enlargements and albums, you can work directly with the photographer post-wedding for those items.
The Photography
Right after booking, you will get a list of five photographers who we have established relationships with shooting intimate weddings.  Like ordering off a menu, give us your first, second and third choice photographer.  We will then book whoever is first available from that order of preference.  
All our photographers have extensive experience shooting weddings.  You get them for the amount of time contracted (2 or 3 consecutive hours).  So, it is much like a private photography session.  Many guests will also use the photographer for their holiday card photos.  You can estimate to get anywhere from #40 to #85 images per hour that the photographer shoots.
If you are having a large party following your elopement, let us know because we can put a rush on your order and edit a selection so that you can show photos of your wedding at the party.  In fact, many photographers will do an online slideshow so that you can show some of the highlighed images.
When sending photography requests, we ask that you limit the formal group shots to twelve and all other special requests to ten.  That allows for more creative, journalistic-style photography.  Please know that there are tons of standard shots that photographers will alsways get (i.e. the rings, the dress, the cake, the bouquet, the shoes, couple holding hands, etc.).
Same-Sex Marriages
Yes, we do same-sex marriages..... and, so do all our vendors.
Lodging & Logistics
Because many of our ceremonies are in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, we require that your lodging the night prior and the night of the wedding is within 20-minutes of the ceremony site.  We have streamlined the timing & logistics so that you get photography coverage of wedding preparations, the cermeony, post-wedding formals, and the speeches/cutting of the cake.  If your lodging or preparations are outside of the 20-minute drive to the cermeony site, we will may have to add extra photography/coordinating hours to the package.  
Denver Internations Airport (DIA) and Driving
Many of our destination clients initially say they don't want to be more than a a 45-minute drive from Denver Internations Airport (DIA).  Since DIA is East of the city, literally on the plains and in the boonies, a 45-minute drive will take you to Golden, CO at the base of the Foothills (where you start the climb up from the plains)  Golden, CO is scenic in some ways, but not the striking mountains that make Colorado famous.  If you add-on another 45-minute easy drive up Interstate-70 (very scenic), you'll be in the heart of the Rockies.  So, it seems like it is a long drive from DIA, but if you are going to make the trip here, plan to drive 1.5 to 2 hours from DIA to Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, Grand Lake, or Estes Park (Rocky Mountain National Park) - its is well worth it! 
Weather back-up plans
The good thing is that in 7+ year of offering this elopement-style package, we've only had to use a weather back-up plan once!  A typcial weather pattern for the spring & summer in Colorado is a late afternoon thunderstorm.  We can usually wait it out for 15-30 minutes, and it will clear.  The fall weather is more dry and predicable, but that isn't to say there won't be freakish weather that rolls through.  Again, it is sually quick and we can wait it out.  Winter weather is something different: our clients that plan the outdoor winter wedding usually have a unique spirit.  They get married wearing capes and snowboots the natural beauty and snow regarless... and we love it!  Here are some options that we often consider in case it just looks like the weather will be socked-in for the day:
  • Umbrellas:  this is our most common back-up as many of our couples want outdoor weddings regarless of what nature brings
  • At a vacation home the couple rents:  this is a great option as it doubles as a place for groups lodge.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the ones we recommend
  • A park shelter that we hijack:  we know of out several in the areas
  • Restaurants: if your group is reserving a small private dining room, usually they will make it accessible prior the wedding
Short-term bookings
May couples call us a month out with the fear that we cannot pull together a wedding.  Have no worries - we can.  In fact, we need as little as five days notice.  Now, in order to plan a wedding in five days, there has to be a little flexibility in booking venues and vendors.  Additionally, you may just have to give us color choices for your bouquets as by 5-days out,  florists have already purchased flowers for that weekend's weddings.  Finally, with the cake, we also just have to go with a simple butter cream design.  But as you can see, all of our weddings are well put-together reflecting the couple's style, needs and spirit.
Choosing a date
The intimate wedding package is available seven days a week!  Peak wedding season in Colorado is May through October, which makes booking photographers, officiants and venues on Saturdays a challenge, but we can work around it!  July will give you peak wild flowers in the mountains.  Peak ski season in Colorado is December - March.  If you are looking for great lodging rates in the mountains, choose April, May, late October and early November (some restaurants may close, but you can always rent a vacation house and hire a private chef).  Bottomline: we do weddings literally year-round, any where in Colorado.
What to Budget
The intimate wedding package covers most items with a wedding, but it does not cover everything.  Below are some other possible additional cost for you to budget (yes, we help make recommendations and referrals for other services): 
  • Travel:  airline tickets and car rentals
  • Lodging:  hotel, condo or you can rent a large vacation home  
  • Attire: what you will be wearing (dress, veil, shoes, jewelry, suits, etc.)
  • Dinner Reservations: this can vary from $25 per person to $250 per person - it just depends on the restaurant and food/beverage selections
    • There are many restaurants that have small, private dining rooms or semi-private dining areas.
    • If it is a private room, you can bring your own iPod and speaker system if you choose
  • Hair & makeup appointments
  • Any activities and spending money
  • Any other miscellaneous wedding expenses (like rings, marriage license - only $30 in Colorado)
  • Any other add-on services, such as live musician, videography, centerpieces, linens/decor, etc.
The Planning:  booking, agenda and billing
Before you book, Wendee works with you on picking a destination, style and format.  If you have no idea where to begin, we recommend a consultation ($300), which can be applied toward the price of an intimate wedding package.  Once you have the date and site determined, we'll go to contract for the package and get the ball rolling.  We do require 50% payment up front in order to book the venue and vendors.  You can book the base package and throughout the planning add-on items as you see fit (i.e. extra florals, chairs, extra hours of photography);  though, with many of our clients the complete intimate package covers everything they need.  Your remaining balance is due seven days prior to the wedding.  
The Ceremony
This package is very much "elopement-style".  It means that generally we arrive to a ceremony site, pick a pretty spot and exchange vows.  There is no "hoopla" with choreographed processionals (entrances) and recessionals (exit).  The ceremony scrips are kept very simple, though most of our officiants do nice mentionings about marriage and will say a blessing (i.e. the Apache blessing).  The ceremonies last around 15 minutes.
Though,  some of our couples will have a maid-of-honor and/or a best man stand up with them.  We do bring an BlueTooth speaker so that the bride and her escort can have an entrance to a song.  Sometimes the couple decides to walk in together.  But basically, it is kept very minimal and very simple (i.e. a maximum of two groups of people walking out to the same song).  More simplified yet, some couples decide to arrive to the ceremony site 15-minutes prior to their guests (great for photos) and then greet their guests at they arrive to the site.
Having bridesmaids & groomsmen:  if you do decide that you want a wedding party with choreographed entrances and exits, we can help arrange that.  It does mean that a wedding rehearsal with Wendee, Stefanie or Angela is required (otherwise, it can totally "flop", and we don't want that).  You can choose a rehearsal the morning of the wedding (starting at $250 additional fee), or to do a rehearsal the afternoon prior (starting at $300 additional fee).  This is the account for extra planning/choreographing, day-of coordination timing and travel time/expense.  Of course, this is also highly dependent on the availability of the wedding venue.  Other fees may apply (i.e. gondola or ski lift foot passes for rehearsals the day prior).  Wedding parties for intimate wedding packages are limited to four on each side (total of 8 - including flower girls and ring bearers).
Bringing your own officiant:  many couples have an officiant that they know, be it a member of their church, a sibling or an aunt/uncle.  We are more than happy to work with any officiant that you may know as it makes ceremonies that much more meaningful.  We will ask for their name and contact information just so that we can give them the logistical details about your wedding.  
The Design: Flowers
Your flowers and your cake are customizable.  We use seasonal fresh flowers.  Our florist literally goes down the local flower market days before your wedding to hand-select fresh florals for your bouquet.  However, there are some parameters.  The florals must be seasonal (though, we do custom-order flowers too).  If your wedding is in September and you send us pictures of peonies, the likelihood of getting peonies (typically a May and June flower) is low.  In that case, our florist recommends other flowers that will provide the same look, color and style as a peony.
It is best to send us three to four floral designs that you like.  From there, we create a custom look for your wedding using your color preferences and style/designs (i.e. structures or wild & draping).  For example:  it is okay to send us an all white bouquet, but then say "I love the style, but I'd like all pink".  For the bride who has no floral preference, just let us know a couple of things:
1.  Your colors - i.e. green and purple; and
2.  Your style - i.e. classical, whimsical, structured, creative, organic.  
From there, we can design a bouquet unique to you.  If you are not particular on any color or style, highly popular (and easy) in Colorado is to do a wildflower bouquet which incorporates many colors.
The Design: Cake
We use a very similar approach in designing your wedding cake.  Please do know that it is very hard to duplicate any image that you send us - flowers and cake - since we do not use the same baker or the same florist used in that image.  Therefore, it is best to send us a couple of images that you like and we can create a custom cake design.  
In the standard package, a two-tiered cake is included.  You may choose two different filling and flavor combinations - one for each layer of the cake.  However, if it is just the two of your, we can scale-back the package and do a one-tiered wedding cake.  Gluten-free cakes are available at an additional $150 (our baker literally goes to a gluten-free kitchen).
A simple, butter cream icing finish and design is included in the package.  We always order extra matching florals to include in the decor of the cake.  If you would like fondant, the very smooth, almost plastic-looking finish, we can add that for an extra $100; for sugar flowers, we'll quote that out for you because that is highly dependent on the amount, size and intracacies of the flowers.  Again, if you are unsure, Wendee can create some design options for you.  Please see the sketch on the left for an example on how the process works.