“Timing is Everything” Wedding Timelines at Spruce Mountain Ranch

The common saying that “timing is everything” is never as true as it is on your wedding day, one of the most significant days of all. Because of the important role that timing events correctly plays on this special day, we asked Sarah Viera, one of Spruce Mountain Ranch’s favorite wedding planners, to offer some advice to brides about planning their timeline specifically for the ranch.

1. What is the timeline based around?

- Sarah Viera’s excellent assistant coordinator Maggie Wood answers simply that “we usually base a timeline off of ceremony time,” which at Spruce Mountain Ranch, is typically scheduled for 4:30.

2. How much buffer should be allowed in the schedule in case the wedding is running late?

- Maggie answers that “I wouldn’t say we buffer a schedule necessarily. We typically allot 30 minutes for ceremony (even though most only run 10-20 minutes). We usually allow 1-1.5 hours of cocktail hour— any longer, and guests tend to get bored. Then, the reception follows and typically lasts 4.5 to 6 hours.”

3. How much time is needed for each major chunk of the wedding (ceremony, cocktail hour, reception)?

- As I said before, the ceremony usually is scheduled for 30 minutes, the cocktail hour for 1-1.5 hours, and the reception 4.5-6 hours. These times are dependent upon the start times of the wedding and the day of the week. For example, a ceremony on a Saturday night that takes place at 3:30 will end at 4:00. Cocktail hour will be from 4:00-5:00, and the reception from 5:00 until 11:00. However, a ceremony on a Sunday might begin at 4:30 and end at 5:00, with cocktail hour from 5:00-6:00. Then, the reception might end between 9:30 and10:00 because it’s a Sunday.”

4. How far in advance should the timeline be made to ensure the day actually follows it?

- “I would say that Sarah likes having the majority of the details nailed down by the 30-day walk through. Then, there is near-constant communication between planner and bride during the week leading up to the wedding to make sure that everything is scheduled appropriately with any last-minute changes. Sarah is super flexible and will change things the day before at the rehearsal as per the bride’s wishes.”

5. What else should brides know about making a day-of timeline for their wedding?

- Maggie explains that “brides should definitely schedule themselves more time in the morning while they’re getting ready, because it’s better to be ready and waiting to get picked up to go to the venue than it is to be rushing around trying to finish everyone’s hair and make-up while the limo sits waiting.

- Also, I would argue that an extra 5-10 minutes should be scheduled for photos either before or after ceremony. That way, the photographer has time to accomplish what the bride and groom want, as well as time to use their creative license. If the bride and groom get done early, they can join cocktail hour or take a few minutes to themselves prior to being announced at the reception.

- Finally, some extra travel time should be factored in to deal with traffic, just in case.”

6. How many weddings have you done at Spruce Mountain?

- She guesstimates that “Sarah does roughly 60-75% of her total annual weddings at Spruce Mountain Ranch.”

7. Can you offer any suggestions about how the different timelines run on different onsite venues?

- Maggie explains to brides that “Essentially, all of Sarah’s timelines run the same, regardless of ceremony site with 30 minutes for the ceremony, 1-1.5 hours for the cocktail hour, and then the reception to follow until it’s time to begin strike (the hour of cleanup at the end of the night).

- Hotel buses (such as ones from the Inverness) will do a pick up at 9 or 9:30 and then one at 10:30 or 11:00 depending on the timeline of the day.

- Usually, a send-off is scheduled for 10:50/10:55 (sometimes it is slightly earlier, depending on how long the photographer is contracted for).

- Vendors usually arrive at 1pm (11:30/12:00pm at Ponderosa because that usually means we have a guest count of 250+, and that takes a little extra time to prepare for).

- The bride and groom usually arrive at the venue 2 hours prior to the ceremony time to finish getting ready and to do some pre-ceremony photos.”

From a Florist’s Perspective: Floral Décor at Spruce Mountain Ranch

We at Spruce Mountain Ranch love to see our venue decorated with beautiful flowers. Different floral arrangements have the power to change the way that a space looks and to change the look of a wedding— we love that! Because flowers add so much to the décor of a wedding, we have asked two of our favorite florists to answer a few questions for the special “florist’s edition” of our wedding blog!

The Garden Path:

(303) 688-8019

www.gardenpathco.com

*Pictures from the Garden Path’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheGardenPathCo/timeline)-

**Karen Novotny, owner of The Garden Path, has lots of insight about the life of a florist, as she has been in the business since 1982!

Favorite thing:

We asked Karen what her favorite thing about being a florist is, and she responded that “The very best thing about what I do is making a bride’s dream become a reality. The time spent listening to her [the bride] and talking about what this day means to her drives all my creativity as a florist.”

What flowers add:

When asked “What, in your opinion, do you think flowers add to a wedding or event?” Karen shared that “At a location like Spruce Mountain Ranch, flowers can define the season. They can also bring sentimental touches to the day that a bride will take with her in both photos and memories.”

Advice to brides:

“What should brides keep in mind when choosing their flowers?” we asked. Karen answered that it is very important for brides to be clear about what they want, and to know that their florist will listen. She explained that “as a floral designer, I am a listener. When I listen, then I can advise on the cost of flowers, and the possibilities for different arrangements. Some brides are more visual, and some are willing to give a designer room to create— learning which brides fall into which categories all takes place through listening and discussion.”

Something to keep in mind:

In answer to the question “What else should brides know about choosing their flowers?” she explained that it is very important that people not feel limited in their choices because they aren’t sure if their dream can be made a reality. Karen shared simply that “today, almost anything is possible.”

Blog feature:

Karen’s beautiful flowers were featured recently on the Ruffled Blog. To see the showcased photo gallery, click the following link: http://ruffledblog.com/romantic-wedding-at-spruce-mountain-ranch/

*Pictures from the Garden Path’s display at Spruce Mountain Ranch’s January bridal show, Wine and Nosh-

The Newberry Brothers:

(303) 322-0443

www.newberrybrothers.com

*Pictures from the Newberry Brothers’ Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NewberryBrothers)-

**Myisha from the Newberry Brothers has excellent tips for brides choosing flowers, as well as advice about current floral trends.

Favorite thing:

We asked Myisha about her favorite part of working in the floral industry, and she shared that in general, “the variety I get to do is my favorite.” Myisha went on to explain that the opportunity to work with such a wide variety of clients, each with their unique styles and desires for flowers, is very special to her.

What flowers add:

When we asked her what she thinks flowers add to an event, she said that “flowers set the mood,” and that “they tell the guests the feeling that the couple wants for them to feel.” For example, the bride and groom may want to set a very formal tone with elaborate displays, or they may want a casual feeling with simpler flower— the arrangements can make that statement.

Advice to brides:

In response to the question “What should brides keep in mind when choosing their flowers?” she answered that the two most important things are “to be realistic about the floral budget, and to be up front with your florist about your expectations.” It’s easier to be clear about the desired result when a bride has a narrowed down style, or a general idea of what she wants. However, she encourages openness to suggestions. Essentially, Myisha encourages brides to “Communicate inspiration— this helps your flowers to be more unique and personal.”

How to fit with the ranch:

Her advice to brides about choosing flowers to fit with Spruce Mountain Ranch’s atmosphere is simply to “pick what you want- they don’t have to be traditional ‘ranch’ or ‘country’ flowers.” Myisha explains that a wide variety of floral arrangements will look stunning at the ranch, and by adding in organic elements, such as lotus pods and sweet succulents, almost any types of flowers will be a perfect fit.

Current trend:

“What is the biggest floral trend this summer?” we asked. Myisha answered that “white, ivory, and champagne flowers paired with strong, contrasting colors is a really big trend right now. For example, a champagne arrangement with a few pops of burgundy or other jewel tones.”

*Pictures from the Newberry Brothers’ display at Spruce Mountain Ranch’s January bridal show, Wine and Nosh

**A warm “thank you” to the Garden Path and Newberry Brothers for taking the time to answer our questions! Spruce Mountain Ranch loves both of these talented florists— we hope that brides searching for a florist will consider both of these excellent choices!

Meet the Managers 2015

At Spruce Mountain Ranch, there is a property manager present at every event that takes place, whether it be a wedding, prom, or corporate event. They help the event in a variety of ways: they manage the vendors; make sure that the property, people, and animals (Spruce Mountain cattle) are secure; and they ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. While they are not a replacement for an event coordinator, they are happy to help make events as special as they can! Because there is at least one property manager at each Spruce Mountain event, it is helpful for brides, clients, and event planners to have a brief introduction to the managers so that they know who will be there to assist them on their big days. With that, we at Spruce Mountain Ranch present our “Meet the Managers: 2015!”

Anastacia Catallo:

Anna is studying event management at Metropolitan State University— she wishes to become a wedding planner or event coordinator. Aside from aspiring to work in the field of event management, Anna hopes to travel to Europe! She is full of passions and seeks to love every area of her life, including work and school. What does she love about the ranch? Anna shares that “What is so special to me about Spruce Mountain is the fact that my dad is the builder there, and that I get to see his beautiful work every day that I am at work.” What should brides know about her? She shares that “I am the owner of Anna’s Custom Pews and would love for all the brides to go check us out on Facebook! I am also a day-of wedding planner and would love to help plan your special day! Please contact me at annascustompews@hotmail.com!”

Erin Mondragon:

Erin attended the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and studied Special Education. She explains that “I was an Early Education teacher and also worked for 3 private schools in Denver as a Curriculum Director, and then moved into marketing there before working at Spruce Mountain Ranch.” Erin shares about herself that “I love learning new things and acquiring new skills. I hope to always be learning and bettering myself. I also hope one day to travel to every continent.” Why is the ranch special to her? Erin shares that “I was married to the love of my life at Spruce Mountain September 2011. I’m also a small-town Colorado country girl and the ranch feels like and reminds me of home!” She started working for the ranch in October of 2013 and works in Spruce Mountain Marketing in addition to working as a property manager. She shares with brides that “I can’t wait to meet you and help to make your wedding day a dream come true!”

Micah Radakovich:

Micah is currently attending the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to get her degree in English Rhetoric and Writing. She hopes to continue her education by attending graduate school, and eventually, teaching English at the college level. Micah has been working at the ranch since July of 2013 as both a property manager and wedding blogger. She loves not only being able to assist clients during events, but also to write about the beautiful weddings and fabulous corporate events later on in the Spruce Mountain Ranch blog! Why is the ranch special to her? She shares that “It is such a privilege to work at the beautiful place that is Spruce Mountain Ranch!” What does she want brides to know? Micah explains that “This is your big day! I will do everything I can to make your day stress-free and perfect!”

Jennifer Haar:

Jen “graduated from Michigan State University with a triple Major in Elementary Education, Child Development, and Language Arts. [She] then got my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.” She is currently a 1st-grade teacher and runs a small wedding coordination business on the side. What does she love? Jen shares that “I love planning events. That sounds like a weird ‘interest’, I guess, but it’s true. I love putting on weddings, auctions and any other event that makes people have fun and be happy!” Why is the ranch special to her? Jen shares that “The second I drove onto the property, I knew that it was something very special…I am so happy to be a part of this amazing group in this amazing place!” What should brides know about her? Jen says that “I love being a small part of any event that brings people together!  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make your event special!”

Jennifer Sasser:

Jen is practically a Colorado native, but her roots come from Topsail Island, North Carolina. She received her Bachelors degree in Photojournalism from Metropolitan State University, and used that to travel across Eastern Europe. She has a passion for creating relationships with people and telling their stories through photographs. Why is the ranch special to her? In addition to being close with the Ames family and having the ranch be a place where she can be with this wonderful family, Jen shares that “I feel blessed to work at Spruce Mountain Ranch with a wonderful team and to share in such wonderful moments with our clients.” What should brides know about her? Jen will go above and beyond to make any event perfect!

Skyeler Sheveland:

Skyeler is the newest property manager here at Spruce Mountain Ranch. She is very excited to be working in such a beautiful and friendly environment for her first wedding season! Skyeler shares that “I have lived here in Colorado Springs for 19 years and I love the great outdoors!” Skyeler loves hiking and being outside, so working at such a beautiful outdoor venue is the perfect fit for her! Skyeler shares of her education that “I am currently going to school at Pikes Peak Community College for business management and/or accounting.” Why is the ranch special to her? Not only does she love the outdoors, but Skyeler is also very excited to get more involved in the wedding industry through this beautiful venue! What should brides know about her? Skyeler shares that “I look forward to working with you. Please do not hesitate to ask me for anything!”

Chance Morelock:

Chance is currently studying business at The University of Denver— he aspires to be an entrepreneur and to one day own his own business. When he is not studying, he loves spending time with his family. Chance also enjoys golf, fishing, basketball, and football. Because of his love for and participation in sports, Chance feels that through learning to work with a team, he is prepared to work in the wedding industry. He shares that “Being an athlete for most of my life has prepared me to work as a team. I have a clear understanding that not one person wins a game— it is the team, working together, that accomplishes the goal.” In addition to being an athlete and student, Chance worked at Cherry Hills Country Club in their hospitality department, and was trained on how to deliver a first class experience to guests. He has also been involved at Spruce Mountain for the past 5 years, working in grounds keeping and security. After gaining all of this experience, Chance looks forward to achieving seamless events and supporting our guests and vendors through working as a property manager!

Top 10 Unique Wedding Send Off Ideas

The ceremony has ended, the cake has been cut, and the guests have danced the night away. It is now the magical part of the evening where the bride and groom are sent off to their new life as a married couple by the people who love them the most. The question is: how are they sent off? At Spruce Mountain Ranch, we do not allow confetti, rice, fireworks, feathers, sparklers, birdseed, or Chinese lanterns for send offs. Because some more traditional send off ideas are not permitted due to environmental hazards, we have composed a list of our “Top 10 Unique Send Off Ideas.” These are all allowed at Spruce Mountain, are environmentally friendly, and are certain to be a hit on any big day. With that, we give you our top 10!

1. Ribbon Wands

Incorporate your wedding colors with colorful ribbon wands and streamers to send off the bride and groom! Not only will the colors look cute in pictures, but the wands are also eco-friendly!

2. Bells

*For a melodic wedding send off, incorporate little bells! By personalizing with them with a ribbon, small bag, or a sticker with the bride and groom’s names, they can also double as a wedding favor!

3. Bubbles

*Using bubbles as a send off idea is timeless classic! They add a sweet, carefree touch to pictures, and they are easy to acquire in large quantities.

4. Flowers

*For a spring or summer wedding, use dried flower petals to send the bride and groom on their way! Use paper cones made of scrapbook paper or old sheet music to hold the petals, choose flowers in the wedding colors, and a sweet, seasonal send off is created!

5. Leaves

*For autumn weddings, use dried leaves instead of flower petals. The colors will add to the fall feeling of the celebration, and the leaves are environmentally friendly!

6. Little pennants

*For a chic, vintage wedding, utilize miniature pennants! Whether they are personalized with words such as “love” or marriage,” or simply made of cute fabric, they are sure to add a sweet touch to any send off!

7. Pinwheels

*Pinwheels also add a vintage, carefree feeling to a wedding send off! Send the happy couple off to their new life together with these adorable and colorful additions!

8. Glow Sticks

*For those wanting an illuminating send off, glow sticks are the perfect choice! They have a playful feel, and their colors look wonderful in night-time pictures.

9. Fiber Optic Wands

*Send off the happy couple with colorful, fiber optic wands! For those seeking a safe, fire-free version of sparklers, fiber optic wands are a perfect option!

10. Picture Cards

*What better way to send a happy couple to their honeymoon than with postcards of their honeymoon destination? Wave these sweet cards instead of pennants for a sweet foreshadowing of the couple’s upcoming adventure!

Wine and Nosh 2015

Spruce Mountain Ranch’s Annual “Wine and Nosh” Bridal Show, hosted by Sarah Viera, is always a wonderful event! Brides are able to meet potential wedding vendors and watch a stunning bridal fashion show from Something New Boutique. For those unable to attend the event, or those wanting to relive the experience, we have featured the vendors and their booths in this year’s “Wine and Nosh” blog!

Flowers:

The floral displays were simply stunning! They all displayed various 2015 wedding trends, including a mix of subtle and bold-colored flowers, earthy elements, wooden elements, and the “organic industrial” look. If the displays at Wine and Nosh are an indication of the florals to come this wedding season, we are very excited for the season to begin!

-Sunflower Creative-

*www.sunflowercreativefloral.com

The beautiful display by this florist featured delicate white and baby pink flowers with the added touch of metallic and antlers. This unique twist is perfect for a Colorado ranch wedding as it uses both feminine and outdoors elements!

-Newberry Brothers-

*(303) 322-0443/www.newberrybrothers.com

The Newberry Brothers used soft white roses paired with bold pops of raspberry roses and pink peonies. The contrast between subtle and bright is a 2015 floral wedding trend. The use of aspen branches and candles adds the perfect woodsy touch to the stunning flowers.

-The Garden Path-

*(303) 688-8019/www.gardenpathco.com

The Garden Path prides themselves on their floral arrangements with a European touch. Their use of sweet succulents, delicate roses, and bright pops of color make for the perfect “English garden” touch to any wedding or event. Owner Karen Novotny has been in business for 23 years and was a European-trained floral arranger for mountain and destination weddings. Not only will she ensure that the flowers for your wedding are perfect, but she is also an excellent wedding planner.

-Southern Charm Weddings and Events-

*(719) 360-1711/www.sweet-southerncharm.com

Southern Charm specializes in event rentals, floral decorations, and décor. Their booth featured a beautiful display that was both southern chic and Colorado rustic. Their elegant and yet outdoorsy pieces would be perfect for a Spruce Mountain Ranch wedding.

-Yonder-

*(303) 500-3822/ HouseOfYonder.com

Yonder featured a large wooden farm table covered with bold, beautiful flowers! The contrast between the bright centerpieces and ivory place settings was feminine and lovely.


Caterers:

Spruce Mountain Ranch works with some of the best caterers from both Denver and Colorado Springs. Three of them were featured at Wine and Nosh this year, and any of the three would be a perfect choice for your ranch wedding!

-Biscuits and Berries-

*www.biscuitsandberries.com

Biscuits and Berries Catering offers not only a composed and excellent staff, but also unique and delicious food for any event. For Wine and Nosh, they prepared slow-smoked short ribs with black soy barbeque glaze and a vegetable garnish. They also featured Rocky Mountain Redbird Farm Chicken with a crispy corn cake topped with a poblano slaw. Both were exceptionally tender and flavorful! Their two desserts for the event were Baked Alaska with maple budino and grapefruit, and a beet meringue topped with honey goat cheese and walnuts. Their friendly and dazzling staff, paired with their wonderful food, make for the perfect wedding-day catering choice!

-Catering By Design-

*www.cateringbd.com

Catering by Design offers a wide variety of dinner packages for events! For the show, they featured their bacon-wrapped-bacon appetizer, a roasted brussel sprout salad, and pecan-smoked salad! Their yummy food and friendly staff make for the perfect wedding!

-Epicurean-

*www.epicureangroupco.com

Epicurean has been a prominent caterer in the Denver area for 32 years. Their chef, Jenna, is an expert in food innovation. Her goal is to create fresh and unique dishes with immense flavor. For their main dishes, they featured juicy Colorado steak, traditional wedge salad, and biscuits. Their desserts were Italian budino and custard. Epicurean’s innovative style and delightful staff are sure to make for a memorable Spruce Mountain Ranch wedding!

Photographers + Videographers:

-All Digital Studios-

* (303) 494-2320/www.AllDigitalStudios.com

All Digital Studios, photographer and videographer, takes “picture with personality from people with personality.” They recently celebrated 15 years of business, and they did the photography for our very own Tara Ames’ wedding! They make sure that they always have a male and female photographer at each wedding.

In addition to traditional wedding photography, they feature a photo booth and slow-motion video booth (they post the clips online and send the couple a collection of clips). Their goal is to make the day fun and to take candid and photojournalistic photos in addition to regular wedding photos.

They also do videography, and send a full-length edited DVD to the bride and groom, and post a highlight film online!

-Jamie Smith Photography-

*(719) 434-0707/www.jamiesmithphotography.com

Jamie Smith won Wedding Wire’s “Bride’s Choice Awards” for preferred photographer in 2013! Her lovely photographs are sure to capture all the special moments of your big day!

-Amanda Lamb Photography-

* (719) 648-2152/amandalambphoto.com

Amanda Lamb is a “Sentimental photographer for sassy couples!” Amanda has done multiple weddings at Spruce Mountain Ranch, and never fails to capture beautiful moments!

-Mares Productions-

*(303) 918-7725/maresproductions.biz

Mares Productions focuses on Cinema video and “telling the story of the couple.” They are both trendy-traditional and thematic. They gave away popcorn at their booth.

-Sarah Roshan Wedding Photographer-

*(303) 905-9740/www.sarahroshanphoto.com

Sarah Roshan’s photography style is self-described as “Romantic Mountain Weddings for Carefree Couples.” This photography company is available around the world for outdoor and mountain weddings!

Desserts:

Having the perfect wedding cake is a crucial element to any wedding. Thankfully, three excellent bakeries brought their yummy treats to Wine and Nosh for brides to sample and choose from!

-Sugar Plum Cake Shoppe and Bakery-

* (719) 930-3343/ www.sugarplumcakeshoppe.com

The Sugar Plum Cake Shoppe and Bakery is the perfect cake company for anyone seeking a unique wedding cake design! They can do anything from elegant flowers to rustic chalkboard cakes!

-The Bundt Shoppe-

*(303) 422-8638 (Castle Pines); (303) 798- 4145/ www.thebundtshoppe.com

The Bundt Shoppe specializes in delicious Bundt cakes and cupcakes, which are the perfect unique touch for any wedding!

-Gold Mine Cupcakes-

*(720) 722-0371/ www.goldminecupcakes.com

Gold Mine Cupcakes featured their wedding white and turtle cupcakes, which were fabulous! They offer free tastings and will come to you! They are located in Golden, Colorado, and feature over 20 cupcake flavors, which are sure to dazzle guests.

Rentals:

Having the perfect event rentals can add the perfect touch to any wedding, and is an excellent way to personalize a reception!

-Anna’s Custom Pews-

*(719) 499-6307/ www.annascustompews.com

Anna’s Custom Pews features beautiful handmade vintage-style church pews made from Colorado “beetle board.” These unique and elegant benches look beautiful in any venue, but especially outdoors at Spruce Mountain Ranch. Anna’s Custom Pews also rents lanterns, blankets, pillows, hay bales, flower holders, and a stunning wooden aisle for the bride to walk down.

Planners:

Having an expert wedding planner is the most important part of creating a dream wedding. Any of the planners featured at Wine and Nosh would make for an excellent choice!

-Sarah Viera Events-

*(719) 358-3998/sarahvieraevents.com

The lovely Sarah Viera is near and dear to us at Spruce Mountain Ranch! She is a phenomenal planner with an excellent staff, in addition to being the host of Wine and Nosh! Her booth featured beautiful place settings and beautiful flowers, although this event as a whole was her creation!

-Ashley Nicole Events-

*www.ashleynicoleevents.com

Ashley Nicole Events are an excellent team of wedding planners who will be sure to make any event a success! Their booth featured a contrast between glamour and rustic styles. Newberry Brothers did their floral centerpiece, and Yonder House provided their china and tableware. In lieu of place cards, they featured miniature cakes with guest names written on them! Ashley Nicole Events gave away pears in little bags as a guest favor.

-Events With Altitude-

*(303) 523-4174/ www.EventsWithAltitude.com

Events With Altitude is an up-and-coming wedding and event planning business, run by Spruce Mountain Ranch’s own Jen Haar! Jen is an excellent day-of coordinator who specializes in outdoor Colorado weddings! Events With Altitude gave away antique keys as a guest favor to remind brides that they are the “key to a perfect wedding!”

-Design Works Events-

*designworksevents.com

Whether an affair is simple or elaborate, Design Works Events can make any dream wedding or event a reality. Not only did they design these two beautiful tables, but they helped with the décor of Wine and Nosh as a whole!

Makeup Artists:

-Magnifica Bella (Cynthia Mazzara)-

*(720) 376-1866/www.magnificabella.com

Wedding makeup artist Cynthia Mazzara is an excellent choice to achieve the perfect bridal look. Not only does she work with multiple Spruce Mountain Ranch brides, but she also did the makeup of the bridal show models!

DJs:

DJs help to maintain the energy of a crowd and to keep the party going all night long! Choosing the right one for your wedding is important to keep the fun going!

-Elite DJ-

*(303) 422-3218/ www.myelitedj.com

For a DJ who also does lighting and décor for weddings and events, call Elite DJ!

-FUNction Pro DJ & Event Services-

*(719) 645-9800/www.FUNctionProDJ.com

If you want a great DJ who will make sure your guests are having a wonderful time the whole evening through, book with FUNction!

Dresses:

Finding the perfect wedding dress is the most important part of completing a bride’s look. Thankfully, we had the honor of hosting a wonderful boutique at Wine and Nosh that is sure to help every bride find their dream gown!

-Something New Boutique-

*(719) 282-6500/somethingnewboutique.com

Something New Boutique put on the beautiful bridal fashion show at Wine and Nosh! This show featured their exclusive Divina line, designed by owner Mindy Linscombe. Their store is located in the north area of Colorado Springs, and is what Mindy describes as the place “where [we make sure that] the girl comes before the dress!” Their store also donates a portion of their proceeds to Sak-Saum, a non-profit organization that recues women from human trafficking and gives them a new life.

Mindy recently wrote a book to help brides choose the perfect wedding dress, called Secrets of Wedding Dress Shopping. If you are in need of a wedding gown, make an appointment with Something New Boutique!

Travel Agencies:

-Gateway to Magic Travel-

If you are seeking a travel agency to assist in planning your honeymoon, consider Gateway to Magic! Not only are they experts who will ensure that your experience is one you’ll never forget, but they also donate 10% of commission from booked trips to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Beverage Caterers:

-Peak Beverage-

Peak Beverage is not only the sole beverage service that Spruce Mountain Ranch uses, but it is also fabulous! Their affordable pricing and highly trained staff will ensure a wonderful evening! They offered wine tastings at Wine and Nosh with wine experts for consultation. Their staff also sampled the slow-motion video booth from All-Digital studios!

Transportation:

-Limousine Services, Inc.-

*(719) 634-8119

This beautiful 1959 Rolls Royce was brought by Silver Cloud Car! This was the car used at our very own Tara Ames’ wedding- we loved having this vintage beauty at Wine and Nosh!

Wedding Trends of 2015:

With the new wedding season in 2015 come new trends for the year. We at Spruce Mountain Ranch have asked a few of our favorite wedding planners to share what they anticipate the most popular wedding elements for this year will be. We have interviewed Nicole Cruse from Ashley Nicole Events, Kerri Butler from A Touch of Bliss, and Casey Muller from Pink Diamond Events, and they have been kind enough to share their thoughts with us!

Trends for 2015:

1. Kerri Butler, A Touch of Bliss, shares that one thing becoming more popular this season is the “Organic Industrial style– we have seen a merging of the natural styling of greenery and hard metals, orbs, and such in wedding design. It works so beautifully in rustic venues, such as Spruce Mountain Ranch.”

2. Kerri also anticipates that another recurring element in the 2015 season will be “Alternative ways to wear floral – out with the traditional bouquet. Brides and bridesmaids are donning arm bracelets that drip to the floor because they are full of floral and ribbon, hair garlands, and even sashes of flowers worn like a pashmina!”

3. Another rustic décor item that seems to be emerging more commonly this year is “Wood, wood, and more wood,” Butler shares. “Colorado couples are embracing the availability of wooden farm tables, wooden chairs, wooden chuppahs, and more! Rustic is here to stay, and décor and rental companies are following suit!

4. The final wedding trend that Kerri predicts will only continue to grow is the use of food trucks. She says that, “Food trucks are even bigger this year! Bringing a food truck to your reception, or having one for a late night snack is very hot! From tacos to ice cream, couples love for their guests to be served truck-side!”

5. Nicole Cruse of Ashley Nicole Events shares the next trend for 2015. She explains that, “The biggest trend that we’re looking at for 2015 is about incorporating elements from our couples’ homes or their families’ homes. Pictures of parents, grandparents, and other important family members are always a nice personal touch to honor those support systems in a couple’s lives, but now couples are taking it one step further. Maybe it’s having a family member’s saddle strung over the banister of the stairwell, or utilizing a family Bible in the service. Other things we’re seeing are pieces of artwork made by family members used as décor. Also, specific bottles of wine that families have celebrated Christmases and Thanksgivings with are popping up on Peak Beverage’s orders for the wedding day table-service. It’s the same idea of personalizing a couple’s wedding day, but instead of cocktail napkins with the couple’s names and wedding date on them, it’s physical items from their homes and lives that they want to share with their guests.”

6. Cruse also explains that technology is playing an increasingly important role in weddings. She shares that, “Hash tags are still going strong as a part of weddings, but a new spin is tagging to the hash tag throughout the planning process with “teasers.” Snippet pictures of a bride’s shoes, or a photo of the couple getting their marriage license are some of the first tags we’re seeing on couples’ wedding hash tags. From a planner’s perspective, this is super fun, because we get to share in a couple’s excitement, not only about their wedding day, but also about the planning process. I love that it helps to build up the anticipation for the big day, and it helps get a couple’s guests excited for what they will be a part of.”

7. Finally, Nicole shares her anticipation about the colors for 2015 weddings. She explains that, “One of the trends that I’m really excited about in 2015 are the upcoming color palettes. Seemingly, 2014 was all about pastels, neutrals, and creams with warm mixed metals, tarnished silvers, and antique golds. I’m really excited to see these carried through to 2015, but elevated. We’re seeing these light colors as the base for a palette, but with the introduction of pops of deep, bold jewel-toned colors. For example, last year we saw a lot of loose, organic and whimsical bouquets with ivory garden roses, blush pink peonies, gray dusty miller, curly willow, pink coffee berries, white hydrangea, and such. This year, I think we will see this as well, but maybe with an added burgundy mum to the more subtle tones. I love how much dimension and depth these darker colors add to bouquets, centerpieces, and other floral displays.”


8. Casey Muller of Pink Diamond Events also shares her thoughts on upcoming color trends in 2015. She explains that the palettes for this year will be a continuation of last year’s colors, including “weddings with gold and metallic,” which were also very popular in 2014.

9. Muller also shares that wedding themes based off of other countries and cultures will grow in popularity this season. She anticipates more Italian-themed weddings will happen to follow suit with George Clooney’s Italian nuptials. She also expects to see more French-countryside style weddings emerging this season.

10. The next trend that Casey shared with us is in relation to wedding gowns. She anticipates seeing more wedding dresses with long sleeves, as well as more gowns with illusion-style backs. The dress is such an important part of the wedding day, and new trends in this area are always exciting!

11. Muller also explains that large statement pieces at weddings are growing in popularity, such as something “like a large flower wall.” These elements will certainly add something special to a wedding reception!

12. Finally, Casey Muller shares that the place of food and alcohol in a reception is changing to fit the large microbrewery culture in Colorado. She explains that at cocktail hours, “Miniature home-style appetizers will be paired with microbrew drinks (think mini grilled cheese with a porter-style beer as a pair.)”

** A warm, Spruce Mountain Ranch “thank you” to:

-Kerri Butler, A Touch of Bliss: http://www.touchofblissevents.com/, 720-560-6506

-Nicole Cruse, Ashley Nicole Events: www.ashleynicoleevents.com, 651-319-2660

-Casey Muller, Pink Diamond Events: http://www.apinkdiamondevent.com/, 970-692-1645

** We at Spruce Mountain Ranch so appreciate the advice of these wonderful women, and encourage anyone seeking a wedding planner to contact them!

** To see more of these beautiful trends in action at Spruce Mountain Ranch, please visit: http://instagram.com/sprucemountainranch/

Spruce Mountain Proposal Stories: Part 3

We at Spruce Mountain Ranch are kicking off the New Year of 2015 the right way—with our 3rd and final edition of our “Spruce Mountain Ranch Proposal Stories Blog.” We know that you’ll enjoy these final heartwarming stories as much as we did!

Story #7 ~

*This story was submitted by Rebecca Fox’s Fiancé, Owen:

“We had been planning this day for about 2 months. I had met Sara, the photographer who would help me surprise Becca and capture the moment, at Red Rocks to go over location, direction, sunlight, and what clothes I would be wearing so Becca could spot me. The planning helped calm my nerves a bit because we had mapped out to almost the minute where I needed to be. We even had a back up location depending on sunlight that day.

About a week before I was going to propose, it was the hardest-kept secret in the world. Almost all our family and friends knew that this wouldn’t be a normal Red Rocks workout, but everyone did an amazing job of keeping it from Becca.

On the day of the proposal, I think I drove about 40 mph on 470 towards Red Rocks because I did not want to mess up our time line. Once we arrived, I could barely speak. Becca was asking why we parked where we did, and why I needed to run with a backpack on, to which I didn’t have the greatest responses. Once I saw Sara, I knew it was on. We started jogging around the stands, but my heart was racing for other reasons. I wasn’t sure which place to propose because it was a little overcast and I couldn’t remember which location she wanted.

I decided to go to the top where we originally had planned. Becca was confused why I had to take a break in the middle of the stands as I was fumbling through my camelback looking for the ring. Right as she looked away I grabbed her by the hand and got down on one knee.

She looked a bit confused at first, but once people started cheering and I began the little speech I had prepared, she realized what was going on. I was so glad Sara was able to capture such an important moment for Becca and I. I introduced her to Sara afterwards and we began taking pictures around Red Rocks. Becca had no idea there was another surprise waiting.

After Sara left, I stalled as best I could by pretending I left my water bottle behind, and then tying my shoes really slow. As we walked down to the bottom of the hill, I tried to stay on her left side so she would not see the tent of people waiting for us until we walked down the hill.

I will never forget the sound of all our friends and family cheering for us as we walked down the hill. This was one of the happiest moments of my life and I was so happy to be able to give this memory to my future wife.”

* Rebecca Fox and Owen Foley tie the knot at Spruce Mountain Ranch on September 12th, 2015! *


Story #8 ~

*This next story was submitted by bride Sara Snyder:

“For Christmas, Patrick got me a gift certificate to Burke Williams for a massage and a manicure and said that my best friend, Katie, was getting the same thing from her husband, so we were going to have a girls’ day at the spa.  This is when I first became suspicious that he might propose because I never get my nails done. Patrick had also told me that we would be going to dinner after the spa, so he said that he would pick me up at 7 and that I should wear a dress. A couple weeks later, Katie and I have our spa day and I tell her that I think Patrick is going to propose that night. She says, “Really? You think he would propose on a Sunday? You guys wouldn’t have any time to celebrate!” I thought this was a good point, and figured I was just over-thinking the whole situation.

Patrick comes to pick me up for dinner that night, and he is dressed to the nines with even a handkerchief in his coat pocket and cuff links! He wouldn’t tell me where we were going to dinner, so of course I ask a million questions, but he gives me no hints. We end up having dinner at the Pelican Hill Resort, which is an amazing hotel in Newport Beach, CA overlooking the ocean. Patrick and I had a lovely dinner, with great conversation as always. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He was acting completely normal. We finished dinner, but before we left, I went to the bathroom and took my purse with me, which I never do, but I had to text Katie. I told her that I totally over analyzed the situation, he didn’t propose, and we were about to head home. Patrick and I get back in the car and he says that we should quickly check out the rest of the resort and maybe grab a drink. We drive to another part of the resort, get out and start walking. He’s telling me what a cool place this is and that we should stay here sometime. We start walking by rooms and we stop in front of one and he says, “You know what? We are actually staying here tonight.” My first response is, “What? What about work tomorrow?!” He informs me that he’s been in contact with my boss and that I have the next day off. Then I ask him about my dog Zoe. He says that he left a key under my mat and that Katie has dognapped her for the evening. We walk into this amazing room, there is music playing, a fire burning in the fireplace, candles everywhere and chilled champagne. Patrick says, “Lets have some champagne,” and we walk over to the table where it is chilling. Well, apparently the hotel thought he was going to propose before we got in the room because they had left a card on the table that said, “To the soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Haedtler.” When Patrick sees the card, he laughs and says, “Well I guess the cat is out of the bag!” He sits me down, gives me a card and a book that he has made filled with pictures of many adventures we’ve had over the last two years. The last picture in the book was a picture of a ring box. I look over at him and he is down on one knee proposing. And of course I said yes!

The next day he says that we should go back to my place and straighten up a bit because we are going to have company over and then go out to dinner. I ask who is coming over, but of course he won’t tell me. By the time we get home and clean a little bit, I am starving. I’m begging that we go to our favorite Mexican restaurant for a taco, and he keeps telling me that we’ll go in a few minutes. I can’t understand why we just can’t go, but then there is a knock on my door, I answer it and my dad is standing there!  Patrick had flown him out from Colorado so he could join us in celebration. I am super close to my dad, so this was a great surprise. I think I screamed so loud that my neighbors were probably wondering what was going on. That night we went out to a lovely dinner and when we got there, Katie (who had been in on the whole proposal, was there with her husband to help us celebrate). I told her that she deserved an Academy Award for her award-winning performance!

I couldn’t have dreamed for a more perfect proposal. Patrick thought of every little detail, and this is something that always brings a smile to face when I think back to that night. We can’t wait for our wedding in May at Spruce Mountain!”

* Sara Snyder and Patrick Haedtler say “I do” at the ranch on May 31st, 2015! *

Story #9 ~

*The last story from our proposal series was sent in by bride Allison Schoenberger:

“I am a 3rd grade teacher in Houston, Texas, but I was born and raised in Colorado. Taylor, my fiancé, is an engineer in the oil industry, and was leaving to go back to the rig on May 27th. Everyone knew what was in the works (except for me) and this is what took place:

On May 26th, my coworkers asked if I wanted to get my nails done at lunch that day, and I said no (dumb mistake)! After school, I called my mom disappointed that Taylor was “simply not proposing” because he was going to leave town the next day, and I would be leaving for summer break before he came back from the oil rig. She sympathized with me and told me that, “it would happen eventually.” Little did I know she was well aware of the upcoming proposal, and was planning to fly to Texas the next morning to celebrate what was about to happen!

On May 27th, Taylor had told me he had to go into the office early to prepare before he left town. I was getting ready for what I had been told was “teacher picture day.” It was pouring rain outside, and I was worried about the drive to school through a busy, construction-filled road. I randomly texted Taylor telling him I wouldn’t be able to curl my hair for picture day because I didn’t want to be late and was bummed. He retorted with, “You have time to curl your a hair!” This was an odd response for him, as it would be for any man, considering he wouldn’t even see me all day, but I brushed it off. After I was all ready, I ran to my car, already half-soaked from the rain, and drove to my school. Once I arrived, I was greeted by my principal who rushed me into my classroom, helped me throw down my bag, and led me to the garden where we would take the pictures. I felt awful for being so late and making her rush. All of the third grade teachers walked out to the garden (which was partially covered) and started to line up for the pictures. All the teachers were dressed up and looked great (and I was thankful I had listened to Taylor earlier and managed to curl my hair!). My principal positioned me in the middle, and just as the photographer got ready to take the picture, I saw Taylor out of the corner of my eye and I completely lost it! He looked so handsome and nervous and excited all in one. He walked up to me, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. When presenting the ring, I could barely see it out through the tears of joy. Let’s just say my emotions matched the weather! I gleefully said “yes,” and hugged and kissed him! He did such a great job planning the proposal and all the details- and we got it all on camera! I was ecstatic! It was truly the happiest moment of my life, and I was so thankful to have so many wonderful people around us to witness it! ……..AND my principal got a substitute teacher for me for the remainder of the day so I could celebrate my engagement with my fiancé!

* Allison Schoenberger and Taylor Saathoff get married on July 12th, 2015 at Spruce Mountain Ranch! *

Spruce Mountain Proposal Stories: Part 2

After reading the first issue of “Spruce Mountain Proposal Stories,” we know you can’t wait to read the next part of these sweet, romantic stories! Without further ado, we give you “Part 2.”

Story #4 ~

“Lauren had been quite sick for a few weeks and John had been waiting for her to get better so that he could propose! When Lauren was well enough to leave the house, John called her to say that his car had broken down at the grocery store and he needed her to come pick him up. In order to get to the grocery store where John had “broken down,” Lauren needed to drive through the stoplight where she and John first met back in 2005…

Lauren left her house looking like a sick mess in the middle of a snowstorm to go get John from the store. As she approached the light where she and John met, she saw a man standing in the snowstorm on the sidewalk and he seemed to be looking at her. Lauren slowed down to realize it was John! At that point John opened a sign that said “Lauren will you marry me?” in big letters. Lauren was in shock and pulled over onto a side road where John was parked. Just as Lauren got out of her car, hugged John, and said “YES!,” a cop pulled up behind them.

Lauren: “Is this part of your plan?”

John: “No.” (Cop approaches.)

Cop: “Do you guys have a problem here?”

John: “No, I’m just trying to ask her to marry me!”

Cop: “Oh! Wow! Congratulations, that’s awesome, but you guys can’t stop here. You gotta move.”

John and Lauren then got in Lauren’s car and John said some very sweet words and proposed to her with a very special ring that belonged to his grandmother. Lauren said, “YES,” of course, and they drove off in the snowstorm to spread the exciting news to friends and family!”

~ Lauren Adams and John Meighan say “I Do” at Spruce Mountain Ranch on September 26th, 2015!

Story #5 ~

“A couple of years ago, Amy had the opportunity to move to San Diego from Denver for an enticing career opportunity. The very first weekend in San Diego, Amy and Jason drove around looking for apartments and sightseeing. Somewhere along the way, they found their way to the rows of lavish beach houses in La Jolla. At the end of one road off the beaten path, they found an old set of sea-worn stairs that led down to a secluded, rocky cove right along the ocean. Coming from landlocked Denver, Amy and Jason spent the afternoon soaking up the view and knew they had made the right decision to move to San Diego. Occasionally, Amy and Jason would drive down to this point and watch the sunset or just take a break from the fast-paced city life of San Diego.

Now, for the engagement story – it was June 7th, 2014 and Amy’s parents were visiting from Arizona. Jason, Amy, and her parents decided to take a day trip to Southern California’s gorgeous wine country in Temecula. As they were heading back to San Diego after a full day of wine tasting, Amy’s dad mentioned he had to meet a colleague for dinner and drinks. Little did Amy know this was all just a ploy to free up a little time for Jason. Amy’s parents ended up going to “meet the colleague,” and Jason told Amy they were going to go over to a friend’s house for happy hour in the meantime, and insisted that they bring their dog Denali along. As Amy and Jason drove to their friend’s house, Jason made a wrong turn and insisted they go watch the sunset instead. As it turns out, Jason drove to the rocky cove where their San Diego journey began. Jason arranged for several of their friends to hide up on the bluff overlooking the cove to capture the moment. After a few tense moments waiting for the thumbs-up that they were in position, and a few tears later, they were engaged! As the night went on, Jason surprised Amy with a sunset dinner cruise through Mission Bay and out on the Pacific with a few great friends and Amy’s parents. It certainly was an unforgettable night!”

~ Amy Ireland and Jason Shear will tie the knot on July 3rd, 2015 at Spruce Mountain Ranch! ~

Story #6 ~

“We had been together almost five years by the time Ben proposed, so I wasn’t really sure he could surprise me anymore. I was so wrong.

Backstory- I really love pirates and anything related to treasure. For a long time, Ben had been joking about buying me a life-size pirate statue (named Captain Edward) with a sparkling jewel on his hand. Spring 2013 went by, with many a joke about pirates. Summer comes and my birthday passes . . . and no engagement. Then our anniversary in September comes . . . and despite more piratey jokes, no engagement! After Ben has cried wolf all through 2013 about my bedazzled pirate, on a random, cold, and slushy Thursday night in November, I grumpily come home late from work in Denver. I pull into Boulder and Ben texts me: “Your pirate arrived today.” And I think, “Yeah sure, whatever. Fine.”– I’m HUNGRY!

I walk into our apartment in Boulder around 8 PM on November 7, 2013 (not a special day by any stretch, until this past 2013!) in a wet parka, boots, and a hat only to find a really giddy Ben staring at me strangely. I notice a package on the couch, but am too hungry to care.

And Ben says, “LOOK, it’s Pirate Captain Edward.”

And I look and say, “Cute, let’s eat.”

And he says, “Don’t you want to open it?”

And so, I do, and COMPLETELY miss the envelope that says “Buried Treasure.”

And again I say, “Whole Foods. STAT.”

And he says, “I think you missed something.”

And at this point, I see the envelope but am so hungry and so fried after a long day that I think he is just trying to make me laugh (as one does, with impromptu treasure hunts). So I rip open the envelope to find a completely authentic 17th century treasure map (or so Ben says), on brown parchment paper with burnt edges and a clue in calligraphy. I begin stomping around, still in dripping winter clothes, following clues to places around our home – namely:

1. Four map pieces, torn asunder / Light the path to treasured plunder / Seek ye them through coded rhymes / Start where thar’ be snuggly times [decoded= the bed]

2. On nights ‘ere frightfully cold outdoors / These will light the fire for s’mores [decoded= our little kindling box for making s’mores]

3. For greater fires a need thar’ be / Burn these trees so warm are we [decoded= our firewood pile on the deck]

4. This completes this playful prank / Kiss me now or walk the plank! / Go retrieve the treasure chest / I hope ye be the happiest

The little map pieces fit together and formed a map with an “X marks the spot” on the back. That X said “in your baby’s pocket.” So I turned around and reached into an empty right pocket of Ben’s jacket, and he got down on one knee and pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring from the other pocket.

I never thought I’d get teary-eyed on a proposal, but I definitely did. It was too “AHHHHHR-mazing.” :)  The rest is history.”

~ Brenna Finn and Ben will wed at the ranch on August 29th, 2015!~


Spruce Mountain Ranch Proposal Stories: ~Part 1~

At Spruce Mountain Ranch, we love hearing all the stories of romantic proposals behind the beautiful weddings we host! To celebrate the biggest engagement season of the year and to encourage those who are waiting for someone to “pop” the question, we asked our happy couples to send us submissions of their proposal stories. We received so many wonderful submissions that we will be doing a three-part “Spruce Mountain Ranch Proposal Stories” series! We at Spruce Mountain hope that you enjoy reading these heart-warming love stories as much as we did!

Story #1~

Our first story was submitted by Jessica Hawthorne of Haxtun, Colorado:

“Nick and Jessica had traveled out to Jessica’s hometown Haxtun, CO for the weekend to move their cows to cornstalks for the wintertime. All day Saturday was spent building fence, moving water, and moving cows. Sunday morning, bright and early, Nick was wide-awake and ready to go check on the cows. Jessica was certain they were all still accounted for, so she tried to convince him they could sleep in. However, they headed out on the four-wheeler 15 minutes after waking up, donning their matching scotch caps and insulated coveralls.

When they arrived at the cornfield, Nick suggested they get off of the four-wheeler and walk for a bit to find the cows. Jessica grumbled, but she went along with it. Meanwhile, Jessica’s Dad Ben (who knew nothing about Nick’s plans that morning) pulled up on the dirt bike and started checking fence. Jessica remembers Nick being oddly concerned that her Dad had followed them, but she was happy for the excuse to not have to check the fences.

After walking hand-in-hand for about a mile, the couple came upon the cows, all standing in a perfect row as if they had been waiting for them.

Once the coast was clear and Jessica’s Dad had left for home, Nick dropped down on one knee and pulled out a hand-written letter. It is a good thing Nick had it all written down in a note, because the only thing Jessica remembers of that moment were her happy tears, laughter, and feeling overjoyed to finally get to say “Yes!” She shares that ‘Our cows are our witnesses!’”

~ Nick Lemmel and Jessica Hawthorne will be getting married at Spruce Mountain Ranch on November 8, 2014. This is almost exactly one year after Nick proposed on November 10, 2013.

Story #2~

Our second proposal story was sent to us by Jaclyn Ackerman:

July 31, 2013-

Top of the Eiffel Tower, Paris:

“I was that girl that was proposed to on the top of the Eiffel Tower. I’d seen a girlfriend towing a blindfolded boyfriend to a romantic sunset at the top, and I’d seen a man down on his knee proposing to his future wife. After all, it is the city of love, right? But, tonight, it would be me! July 31st was our big Paris day, and of course, in more ways than one!

We started off the morning with some long Louvre hours. Next, [we visited] those floor-to-ceiling Saint Chapelle stained glass windows (which have always been a favorite!). We had seen the Notre Dame glowing the night before, but went to see the inside today (another favorite!). We stopped for lunch and a much-needed Nutella crepe break in the Latin Quarter (I should just stop saying “another favorite.” This whole city is a favorite!). Then we walked past the Notre Dame to the Pont de l’Archeveche, better known as the Love Lock Bridge. I surprised [my fiancé] when I pulled out a small heart lock; I’d had it engraved in San Diego and it had been shoved in a corner of my purse since then. We found the perfect spot, clipped it on, tossed the key in the Seine, and headed off to the Eiffel Tower. I took us to the usual spot, the Trocadero—[where we took] lots of pictures, and Nigerian Eiffel Tower salesmen. We waited in line, rode the elevator up to the middle floor, and got off. Once we had finished exploring the level, we were eager to head to the top! We got off at the top, looked at the flags and distances to other countries, and made our way to the outside deck! Chris and I got separated in the hoards of people, so I just pointed out landmarks to myself and waited till the crowd cleared a bit.

I had made my way to him, just as he was saying he wanted this lady to take our picture. So I quickly scooted to my spot by his side, situated my self, and smiled. He starts talking and turning me towards him… I kept smiling for the lady with camera and telling him to stop moving. He keeps pestering me, and I keep telling him to stand still and smile. Then he takes his backpack off and kneels down, so I finally turn to look at him. AH! As I’m writing this more than a year later, I can’t remember what he even said, but I stuck my left hand out and gladly said yes! Only later did I learn he had separated himself from me earlier and went to find an English speaker in the mass of people. He filled her in on his secret. So turns out, she wasn’t taking a picture– she was recording it!

We finished our Eiffel Tower evening and went back to the hotel. As you can imagine, the next bit of time was spent calling everyone back home (all of which were already aware of the question of the day!).”

Jaclyn Ackerman and Chris Shea will celebrate their special day at Spruce Mountain on June 21st, 2015.

Story #3~

Our 3rd and final story for the first part of our proposal story blog was submitted by Madeline McBride:

“My fiancé Matt and I have been together for almost 10 years, and have always had a “thing” with penguins. We have a stuffed penguin named Hubert, love the movie “Happy Feet,” have a World Wildlife foundation adopted penguin, and just love the fact that penguins are mates for life. We currently live in Denver, CO. However, we are originally from Texas. We were in Dallas, TX for my best friend’s baby shower the weekend after Valentine’s Day, and she mentioned that she really wanted to go to the Dallas Zoo on Sunday before we left, because it was supposed to be a beautiful day. I thought this was an odd request from her, but I was all up for it since I love the zoo and animals.

Sunday morning we got up, made breakfast, and then headed to the zoo. It just happened to be “Penguin Day” at the zoo, which made it even more exciting. After walking by a couple of the exhibits, one of the educational animal handlers at the zoo approached us. She explained that the zoo was considering offering an up-close experience with the animals to zoo-goers for an additional cost, but before they started marketing this and going forward, they wanted to see if customers thought it was a good experience and worth the money. We were all for getting to spend some one-on-one time with some of the animals, and followed her with excitement.

One-by-one she brought out interesting animals from their crates and taught us fun facts, while letting us pet and hold them. After seeing a chinchilla and 35-year-old Texas owl, she brought out Sid, the African black-footed penguin. At that same moment, I felt my fiancé’s hand on my lower back turning me around, and I caught a glimpse of something shiny tied around Sid’s neck. My fiancé was then down on one knee and proposed. I was shocked and ecstatic. We then got to hang out with Sid and the other animals…. it was AWESOME!

After leaving the zoo, we headed to a restaurant, only to find our parents and close friends had driven to Dallas to surprise me and celebrate with us. After all of the excitement, we boarded our plane to head back to Denver engaged. It was a whirlwind of emotions, and now I am so excited to marry my best friend and penguin for life.”

Madeline McBride and Matt Comneck will tie the knot on May 5th, 2015 at Spruce Mountain Ranch!

A warm, Spruce Mountain Ranch thanks to our brides~ Jessica Hawthorne, Jaclyn Ackerman, and Madeline McBride! Thank you for sharing your proposal stories with us! We look forward to the honor of hosting your weddings!

“Tips for Tipping your Wedding Vendors”

To tip, or not to tip? That is the question many brides and grooms have concerning their wedding vendors. Knowing when and how to tip vendors can be tricky. Thankfully, some seasoned wedding planners have agreed to offer their insight on when tipping is appropriate. Debbie Orwat from Save the Date Events, Jessica McTaggart from Pink Champagne Events, and Adrienne Gardner from The Gardner Effect all share their thoughts on tipping vendors.

1. What vendors do you recommend tipping (Caterers, bartenders, D.J., photographer, etc.)?

– Jessica McTaggart answers: “I recommend tipping any vendors who will complete their service on the wedding day. That includes; DJs, live musicians, catering staff (servers + chefs), transportation driver(s), bartenders, photo booth attendants, hairstylists, makeup artists, valet/coat check staff, and security (where appropriate). If the photographer, videographer, etc. do a fabulous job, I recommend that the client send a thank you note, after receiving their album/video/images, with a monetary token of appreciation.”

– Adrienne Gardner says: “I always tell my couples to “tip accordingly”, but to also “take care of those that take care of you and your guests.” I normally recommend you tip your catering staff, DJs, and bartenders first. As they usually work for large companies, and simply make an hourly rate working the event. I recommend tipping coordinators, florists, and photographers if they provided exceptional service/were a pleasure to work with during the planning process.”

2. Is tipping always appropriate for vendors, or just for exceptional service?

– Jessica: “Tipping is always appropriate with service related categories (catering, bar-tending, valet/coat check, etc.). If it [the job] is performance based, such as live musicians, photo booth, or DJ, I make recommendations based on the client’s expectations. If the dance floor is packed all night, a band or DJ deserves an above average amount.”

– Adrienne: “If the service was average or alright, perhaps [give] a small tip. Large or full [tips] for exceptional service.”

3. How much is appropriate to tip/what percentage of the total price?

– Jessica: “For catering, I recommend 18-20% of the total, pre-tax amount, if [you are] tipping on their final invoice. If they’re tipping each staff member individually with cash (preferred), I recommend $50/server, $75-$100/chef, and $100/captain or lead. For DJs, I recommend $50 -$75, if they are playing reception only, and $100-$125 if they do both ceremony and reception. For other vendors in the industry, tips can range from $75-$250 based on the product/service they provide. Depending on the client’s budget, these numbers may be higher or lower.”

– Adrienne: “Depends on the vendor. Please see attached tipping guide.”

4. Do you tip the individual workers of a team (ex: caterers), or the team as a whole?

– Jessica: “I prefer both (when the client can do it). It allows the couple to show appreciation to the company when tipping the team as a whole, but also individually thank the staff at their event. [only one] needs to be done, I recommend tipping individual staff members.​”

– Adrienne: “I suggest you tip the team as a whole. I ask my couples to prepare tips in sealed envelopes. I give the catering envelope to the captain on duty to distribute. Clients can easily find out the amount of staff the caterer will provide by reading their contracts or asking their catering rep. You can also tip after the event with the cc your caterer has on file, which can be a bit easier than having all that cash on hand.”

5. Should you tip a wedding planner in addition to paying her?

–Jessica: “I leave that entirely up to my clients.  Some of my clients have tipped me at the end of the night, some have sent it in a thank-you, and some have thanked me in other ways (gifts, referrals, etc.).  They’re all very appreciated and never expected.”

– Adrienne: “I suggest you tip coordinators for great service, especially those that worked non-stop for 10-12 hours that day to pull off a flawless wedding.”

6. Should you tip a venue representative?

–Jessica: “That is also something that I leave up to the client. Some of them experience an above and beyond experience that they might monetarily recognize. Others don’t.”

– Adrienne: “Venue reps are normally not included in my tipping guidelines.”

7. Are tips ever included in a bill?

– Jessica: “Some vendors include a 20% gratuity on their final invoice or in the total amount due.  Some do not.”

– Adrienne: “They can be- always read your contracts! Or, ask your coordinator to review them for you and make tipping suggestions. Most often, they are not included. 9 times out of 10, administrative fees do not include tip, which I think some couples find confusing.”

8. How much of a wedding budget should be factored towards tipping vendors?

– Jessica: “It’s hard to say what percentage of the budget should be allocated to tipping. A good estimate is 2%-5%.  Depending on the complexity of the wedding and the budget, the total amount for vendor tips could be higher or lower.”

– Adrienne: “To me, tipping should be a bit more flat rate (except for transportation, hair/make up artists). Meaning whether or not my client’s budget is 10k or 100k, I will still work equally hard for both.”

9. Is there anything else clients should know about tipping?

– Jessica: “Tips are not expected, but they are greatly appreciated across the board. A large portion of vendors in the wedding and event industry are small businesses, and [they] value each and every client they work with. A monetary recognition of that work goes a long way.”

– Adrienne: “First of all, read your contracts to make sure it [tipping] is not already included. Second, tip based on performance. Third, most of your vendors love what they do and work very hard at every wedding, and a little bit at the end of the evening is very much appreciated.”

*Debbie Orwat and Adrienne Gardner have generously shared the following links to their tipping guides that address many tipping FAQs

Gratuity Guidelines- Save the Date Events

Tipping Guidelines – The Gardner Effect

*A Warm, Spruce Mountain Ranch Thank You to:

-Jessica McTaggart: Pink Champagne Events, http://pinkchampagneevents.com/

-Adrienne Gardner: The Gardner Effect, http://www.gardnereffect.com/

-Debbie Orwat: Save the Date Events, http://www.savethedateevents.com/