“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/

Spruce Mountain Ranch’s Preferred Alcohol Vendor: Peak Beverage Company

Spruce Mountain Ranch only allows one beverage company to transport alcohol and serve it at the ranch, and that company is Peak Beverage. Not only are the Peak Beverage employees highly trained in how to create and serve drinks and how to safely serve guests, but their company is also highly affordable! Andy Klosterman, owner of Peak Beverage, answers several frequently asked questions for potential brides.

-How much money can our clients save by using Peak compared to using a venue in which they have to buy the liquor through them?

- Andy explains “A venue with a liquor license will at least cost the client TWICE as much as going with a venue that doesn’t. This is because they must pay to support the infrastructure of having an entire team manage the liquor license for that venue, as well as having to pay for very expensive insurance costs. If you were to take our base rates and double or triple them, that would be how much venues would charge for the bar service. They also usually have labor costs on top of that, separate from their bar packages. The average client will save thousands of dollars by using a venue without a liquor license.”

-What is the average cost (at Peak and at another place) for a full-service bar at a 100-person wedding?

- Andy Shares Examples:

*Beer and wine:

(Peak) ~ $10 – $13 per person

(Liquor licensed venue) ~ $20 – $60 per person, plus labor

*Full bar (mid range spirits and wine/beer):

(Peak) ~ $14 – $18 per person

(Liquor licensed venue) ~ $30 – $90 per person, plus labor

-What would you like for couples to know about how Peak saves them money?

-“Peak is a combination of retail liquor store, bar rentals, and staffing. Similar to Target or Amazon, by combining services we are able to lower costs in the end. Someone can go to Wal Mart or Target and get clothes, electronics, even food now at a lower price than going to three different stores. Also the speed and ease at which the customer gets their product is MUCH better.”

-What are trends you’re seeing in regards to beverage service at weddings?

-“We’re doing a LOT more classic cocktails, like Manhattans, French 75, and Olde Fashioned drinks. Also, the craft beer movement is still going strong and we have a LOT of home brewers.”

-How does Peak help couples with their custom drink needs for their wedding?

-“We can do anything really!  We can either take a theme or favorite drink recipe and recreate it, or offer a huge list of cool cocktails for clients to choose from.”

-Are couples more likely to have a full-service bar, a partial-service bar, or just a custom drink or champagne toast?

-“With our concept it is actually usually cheaper to go with a full service bar rather than a beer and wine bar with a specialty drink. Champagne toasts are also always included with our packages at no additional cost.”

-What makes Peak bartenders different than those through a catering company?

-“Most companies do not train or hire their bartenders efficiently. The problem is that in bars downtown, a good bartender can make a LOT of money. In the special events world, tips are much more rare and thus a bartender does not make as much. We pay our staff more than any bartenders in the state right now, and do our own in-house hiring and training. We actually prefer to hire novices instead of veterans, because most bartenders are VERY poorly trained in different areas of service!”

-What training have Peak bartenders received?

-“We do everything from bartending basics and customer service to classes on beer, wine, spirits, etc. We work closely with our distributors and offer classes for our staff every month that enhances their ability to bartend. We also do tests every month to see where our staff is at and allow them to promote themselves if they pass a speed and accuracy test in a real life situation.”

-What would you like for couples to know about Peak in general as a company? What would you as the owner say makes it the best?

-“We really strive to make every event exactly what our customer wants. I love when folks call us and tell us about what kind of drinks they like best so we can try to deliver on that, or even to make it better than an experience they have had before. We can customize anything and are not limited to the bar packages we offer. Peak is really about making the best experience possible for our customers – from the moment you call in to the moment the wedding is over, we hope to be a part of the wedding that couples will remember forever.”

-Spruce Mountain Ranch is truly honored to be able to partner with Peak Beverage Company for all events that wish to purchase alcohol. A special thanks to Andy Klosterman for answering these questions! To book an event with them now, contact Andy Klosterman!

* P: (720) 722-1140;  F: (888)-814-6410 Andy@peakbev.com*

Spruce Mountain Ranch: August Cattle Sale

The August cattle sale at Spruce Mountain Ranch is a monumental event for the ranch’s cattle industry. What many people do not know is that Spruce Mountain Ranch is not only an excellent event center, but a functioning cattle ranch as well. Every year, the ranch has two large auctions to sell cattle and breeding rights to other cattle industries. One of these sales is in August, and this year, it took place on August 8th and 9th. Prospective cattle customers came from around the nation to view and purchase top-quality Black Angus cows for breeding excellent lines of beef cattle. Guests came from many states, including Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Idaho, New York, Kentucky, Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oregon, and California! Not only were there many out-of-town guests in attendance, but the owners of Spruce Mountain Ranch, Tom and Lois Ames, also attended the event along with the entire Ames family. Some guests stayed in the bridal suite in the Ponderosa Room, and others stayed at nearby hotels during this event. Needless to say, this auction is a large, annual milestone for Spruce Mountain.

The Auction:

The travelers arrived on Friday for an all-day cattle viewing followed by Hors d’Oeuvres from 3-5 pm, and a dinner from 6-8 pm. The dinner was catered by Buffalo Gals, and alcohol was served by Peak Beverage Company. The preview day allowed guests to mingle with one another, look at the cattle they would like to bid on, and enjoy the beauty of a Colorado mountain ranch. Around 200 guests attend this event annually. This year, there were 65 lots of cattle for sale, and many of the lots had several “sub groups”. The cattle featured for purchase at this auction included young females, donor cows, and bred heifers. Saturday morning from 9-11 am, there was a brunch for the guests and cattlemen before the beginning of the auction. The sale then began at 11:30 am in the Ponderosa Room. Lots of people bid at the live auction, including a large population of bidders over the internet. When the auction concluded at 2 pm, guests loaded up their cattle and purchased insurance for them. They then headed with their new cows back to their individual cattle companies.

Preparation for the Sale:

Much time is spent in preparation for the cattle sale each summer. Cowboys from Spruce Mountain Ranch East in Kiowa, Colorado bring cattle to the ranch to prepare them for the auction. All the cattlemen spend the week ensuring that the cattle are perfectly healthy and excellently groomed so they are ready for the sale. They also ensure that all of the genetics are correctly recorded before the sale. The week leading up to the auction is also spent preparing the ranch grounds so that they look immaculate. The Ponderosa Room is then transformed from an elegant wedding venue to an auction room with tall bleachers focused on a stage with cattle pens to display the livestock. The days of the preview and the sale are spent keeping the event space looking clean and decorated, and keeping the cattle groomed and ready for the auction.


The Menu:

The food for the cattle sale featured some of Buffalo Gals’ most popular dishes, which certainly pleased hungry cattlemen and customers alike!

Friday-

Dinner:

-Tossed Salad

-Juicy tri-tip, beef, grilled chicken, portabella mushrooms

-Grilled garlic bread

-Roasted new potatoes

-Macaroni and cheese with applewood-smoked bacon

-Calico beans

Desserts:

-Mixed berry cobbler with ice cream

-Fresh chocolate brownies

Snacks and Appetizers:

-Salted mixed nuts

-Buffalo and caramelized onion slider

-Santa Fe vegetable basket

Saturday-

Breakfast:

-Coffee, juice, and tea

-Homemade breakfast burritos with homemade green chili

-Bacon and sausage

-Summer berries and fruit

-Top round of beef carving station

-Alamosa ham

-Bags of sea salt chips

Snacks:

-2 types of gourmet popcorn

-Warm, soft pretzels with cheese on the side

-Freshly baked assorted cookies

-Mini bags of gourmet chips

-Salted mixed nuts

Desserts:

-Brownies

-Lemon Bars

-White chocolate fruit bars

-Cookies

The August cattle sale is a large event and a noteworthy moment in the cattle industry. The numerous guests travel from all over America to purchase top-quality Spruce Mountain Ranch Black Angus cows for their cattle companies. Large amounts of time are spent preparing the grounds and the cattle for this big day. The ranch is very proud of not only the wonderful weddings hosted on the property, but also of their spectacular cattlemen, cows, and annual summer auction!

Wedding Desserts: Choosing the Perfect Refreshments for Your Reception

Wedding cakes have transformed over the years from something stereotypical and “cookie cutter”, to a unique way for a couple to express themselves. There was a time in history in which every bride ordered a three-tiered white cake with white frosting for her ceremony, complete with a plastic kissing bride and groom for the cake topper. Luckily for brides today, that time in history has passed. There are now so many options for happy couples when it comes to wedding cakes! In fact, many couples are negating the necessity of cake at their wedding entirely. Some couples have instead chosen to supply desserts that they enjoy, over the traditional style of wedding refreshments. Still others opt to have a small cake to cut for tradition sake, but also supply other desserts as well.

Wedding Cakes:

Yes, for very traditional brides, white cake with white fondant is still an option. However, the evolution of the wedding cake industry has so much to offer! There are tiered cakes with fondant and elegant decor, there are sheet cakes with marble cake, mousse filling and simple frosting, and there are Bundt cakes with elaborate frosting detail. There are naked cakes with frosting between the layers of the cake but not on the outside, there are cupcakes, and there are miniature Bundt cakes to serve individual guests. Wedding cakes come in endless varieties of shapes, sizes, styles, and flavors. No longer do brides have a limited selection! We at Spruce Mountain Ranch encourage brides to express their individual style and tastes, and cake is just one of the many ways in which to do that. Not only do customized cakes add to the pleasure of the bride and groom, but guests are typically thrilled to find a change from stereotypical wedding cake.

Wedding Desserts:

While a couple may decide to have a small cake at their ceremony to cut for pictures, they often provide other refreshments for their guests. Pie is ever-increasing in popularity as a wedding dessert, and is the perfect substitute for couples who prefer it to cake. “Pie pops”, or miniature pies on sticks (think pie lollipops) are popular with guests because they are cute, unique, flavorful, and the perfect serving size! For guests who prefer chocolate, couples sometimes choose to provide small bite-sized desserts such as truffles, miniature brownies, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Sometimes providing unique, pre-portioned desserts is the perfect fit for a wedding reception. There is also less risk of desserts being thrown out half-eaten when portions are smaller, and therefore, less is wasted.


Interactive Wedding Treats:

Spruce Mountain Ranch has seen brides who provide “candy bars” where there is a candy buffet filled with sweets, and guests can fill their goody bag with the treats they most enjoy. Brides love to utilize the fireplace on Ames Patio, and sometimes use it as a s’mores station for guests to roast marshmallows and create their own desserts. For cooler evenings, fried doughnut stations and cappuccino bars are known to be extremely popular! Guests love to be able to create, assemble, or order their own dessert. It adds to the fun of the evening and minimizes waste that pre-cut slices of cake often create.

Desserts as Favors:

Even wedding favors are starting to head in the direction of edible treats. Guests and the happy couples alike love truffles, little bags of candy, pre-wrapped desserts, coffee, and tea. The guests love to eat the favors, and the couple knows that the favors are being enjoyed and not going to waste. Edible favors are always an excellent option!

Décor Styles:

Wedding desserts, and cakes in particular, can be designed to accommodate a wide variety of décor styles and preferences. Whether a bride desires a simple, elegant cake, or an over-the-top dessert bar with a wide variety of sweet morsels, there are numerous choices to please any bride’s wedding vision and budget!

Keeping Budgets in Mind:

Wedding desserts are available to please a wide variety of tastes, styles, and budgets! Wedding cakes typically cost at least $500, and usually run from $2-10 per slice. Remember that the larger and fancier the cake is, the heavier the bill will be. Individual desserts such as miniature cakes may help eliminate waste, but prices can be higher for a large quantity of small cakes than for a large cake to be cut in many smaller slices. Remember that square cakes often feed more guests because they can be cut more economically.

Bakeries Represented at the Spruce Mountain Wine and Nosh Show:

-Sugarplum Cake Shoppe
~ http://sugarplumcakeshoppe.com

-The Makery
~ http://www.themakery.com

-The Bundt Shoppe ~ http://thebundtshoppe.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQjw3vyeBRDt673h5ZTYrdQBEiQAzhkf8oafzNRsTTqNja7KHNOvsDinIto11tTTU77d49kS_58aAiEv8P8HAQ

Spruce Mountain Ranch Caterers with Dessert Options:

-Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering ~ http://www.tonyrosaccicatering.com/menus_desserts.htm

-Buffalo Gals ~ http://buffalogalsgrilling.com/pdf/sweet-stuff.pdf

- Biscuits and Berries ~ http://www.biscuitsandberries.com/menus/wedding-menus/from-our-bakery/

-The Broadmoor ~ http://www.broadmoor.com/cakes/

-Picnic Basket ~ http://www.pbcatering.com/pdf/desserts.pdf

* No matter what desserts you choose for your wedding, remember that there are countless options for your individual style, taste, and budget! Happy dessert picking!

Preferred Vendors At Spruce Mountain Ranch ~The list and descriptions of the ranch’s best vendors~

Spruce Mountain Ranch has a list of required vendors for the categories of catering, alcohol, and event rentals. The reason for this is that Spruce Mountain wants clients to have a wonderful, stress-free experience. After working with numerous different vendors, the ranch has chosen only the very best for their list. They hope that by selecting those well trained in service, organization, and their field, clients will know their event is in responsible hands that will do everything possible to make a seamless and beautiful event.

~Caterers~

Selecting a caterer can be a difficult decision. Caterers are typically chosen based on the type of food they serve, the cost per plate, and the service of the catering team. While Spruce Mountain clients will still need to choose which caterer suits them based on price and kind of food, the ranch has eliminated the guesswork when it comes to the areas of customer service, quality, and organization. Whichever caterer clients select, they know that the meal will go seamlessly and that the guests will leave very pleased with their meal.

~Caterers From Denver~

*Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering

(Avie Rosacci): (303)-662-9353, www.tonyrosaccicatering.com

*Epicurean Catering/Grillworks

(Jessica Stapp): (720)-488-2156, www.epicureancatering.com

*Occasions Catering

(303)-789-1867, (719)-445-8152, info@occasionsdenver.com, www.occasionsdenver.com

*Catering by Design

(Brandi Lipe): 303-781-5335, www.cateringbd.com

*Biscuits and Berries

(Laura Hylton): 303-277-9677, www.biscuitsandberries.com

~Caterers From the South of Denver~

*The Broadmoor

(Mark Klein): 719-577-5817, mklein@broadmoor.com, www.broadmoor.com

*Cravings/Picnic Basket/Buffalo Gals

(Michelle Talarico): 719-635-0200, www.bestcaterer.net

*The Food Designers

(Heather Darrigan): 719-632-5414, www.fooddesigners.com

~Alcohol~

Peak Beverage is the only vendor that Spruce Mountain Ranch allows to serve alcohol on their property. The reason for this is that all of Peak Beverage’s staff members are highly trained in bartending, and have received TIPs safety training. Not only are they very qualified to create and serve alcoholic beverages, but they also recognize when a guest has had enough alcohol and needs to be cut off. At Spruce Mountain Ranch, the safety of guests is taken very seriously, and therefore they only allow Peak Beverage because the well being of guests is as important to them as it is to the ranch.

*Peak Beverage

(Andy Klosterman): (720) 722- 1140, http://www.peakbev.com

~Event Rentals~

Event rentals include items such as dishes, cutlery, glassware, linens, tables, and chairs. Spruce Mountain does provide tables and chairs (although some brides choose to rent different ones that better fit their vision), but they do not place settings or linens. Event Rents has all the items that brides need to rent, and in numerous varieties and quantities. Event Rents is at every Spruce Mountain wedding and can always be depended upon to have the perfect items to complete a wedding vision. Event Rents is also excellent in their service to customers and venues, and come highly recommended by the ranch. Because of how outstanding their products and service are, Spruce Mountain has made them their exclusive event rental vendor.

*Event Rents

(Scott Bradshaw): 303-972-0975, www.eventrentsdenver.com

~Other~

While caterers, bartenders, and event rentals are all major parts of a wedding, there are numerous other vendors required for the perfect wedding. Some of these include a planner, photographer, DJ, florist, and baker. When it comes to vendors such as these, Spruce Mountain Ranch will make recommendations to the bride and groom based on their preferences. The ranch has a large list of recommendations to suit all the different styles of their couples. When booking with Spruce Mountain, Tara Ames will provide some options to the happy couple. *(Tara Ames): 303-324-0345, taraames@sprucemountainranch.com *Whatever you are in need of, Spruce Mountain Ranch has taken extra care to ensure that they provide you with the best, most highly recommended vendors!

Dream Honeymoon: Your Guide to Choosing and Planning the Perfect Honeymoon

After the stress of planning a wedding, couples need time together to relax and bond. The honeymoon is the time when newlyweds can rest and enjoy their new stage of life before they launch back into everyday life. This is why planning the perfect honeymoon is so critical. Gretchen Lambertson from Gateway to Magic offers insight into choosing a destination based on budget, popularity, and preferences of the couple. Gretchen was the travel agent featured at Spruce Mountain Ranch’s “Wine & Nosh” show in February, and has lots of experience with the ranch’s clients.

Advice For Choosing a Destination-

- Gretchen explains how she helps couples choose a destination, saying “We talk about what their dreams are for their honeymoon – do they want to relax the entire time or do they want a more adventurous/active trip?  I listen to their descriptions of their lifestyles and wishes for the perfect trip. I encourage them to ask a lot of questions. A big part of the process is educational. They learn what’s available, and I learn what they’ll find memorable. From our conversations, I pull together a list of options, which we refine until we find the perfect trip.”

- She advises couples, saying “Talk to each other about your ideal trip and reach some agreements on what is best for you. I’ve had many couples tell me the “make it/break it” lists for each of them, which makes it easier to plan the perfect trip. For example, not wanting to pack or unpack more than once, great food, adventure-related tours, etc.  Of course the best advice I can give is to call your travel agent! We take the tricky parts of planning and finding the best deal – all at no additional cost or fees.”

Popular Destinations This Year-

- Gretchen explains “The Caribbean continues to be in high demand, especially the Dominican Republic. St. Thomas, Turks, Caicos and the Bahamas also attract a lot of newlyweds. Hawaii continues to be both a honeymoon destination as well as a wedding location. You can’t go wrong with Hawaii. Finally, there are some fantastic cruise itineraries that are great for new couples.”

Rising in Popularity-

-She shares about areas rising in popularity, saying “I’m seeing a lot of interest in Costa Rica. The number of options (for honeymoons) has grown, giving couples the ability to mix luxury and adventure. Mediterranean cruises are expanding, too. It’s a great way to see a number of different countries and take advantage of the leisure of cruising.”

Affordable Packages-

-Gretchen states “Mexico is often the most affordable. Many suppliers I work with have chartered air, which makes flying to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta very reasonable. There are some beautiful resorts – especially in the Riviera Maya portion of Cancun, and also in Cabo San Lucas. Cruises are great too! Since they are nearly all-inclusive, you can find excellent rates for a variety of wonderful itineraries.”

More Luxurious Packages-

-For couples seeking luxury, there are plenty of options! “The larger suites on cruises and at the all-inclusive resorts are beautiful. One of my new favorite cruise lines, MSC Cruises, even has suite and butler service – at very reasonable prices! The South Pacific also has amazing resorts with over the water bungalows – so romantic!”

Going Local-

“Planning a local or domestic honeymoon, in many aspects, is the same as something more exotic. I learn what they’re looking for and provide them with what I hope is a great set of options.” Gretchen will make sure that no matter where the happy couple wants to go, that it will be perfect!

Payment Options-

“Payments can always be made in installments if the couple prefers.” Trips can also be paid for at one time.

Timeframes-

Gretchen explains about booking that “The earlier the better – for the best availability and pricing.  Also, sometimes in the midst of wedding planning it takes couples a little longer to review options and make decisions.  I’ve booked trips within a month of travel – so it can be done – but earlier is usually better.”

What Brides Should Know-

Brides should know that “I love working with couples to plan the trip of their dreams – I listen, follow up and present great options to choose from.  I absorb a lot of the stress that can come from this part of planning a wedding. I can also match and often beat the rates that you might see online. I will never charge an extra service fee for my services, and I always put my clients’ needs first. I’m there from start to finish and will always be available to help.”

*A Warm, Spruce Mountain Thanks to~

-Gretchen Lambertson from Gateway to Magic! We so appreciate her help and advice! To get more information or book a honeymoon, call her at- 303-882-1233. Or, email her at- gretchen@gatewaytomagic.com.

Wedding Style: Hair and Makeup at Spruce Mountain Ranch

Hair and makeup are an important part of any look, but they are especially critical to a wedding look. Brides want to achieve the perfect style for their wedding, not only because they want to glow with beauty on their special day, but also because this is the day they will look back on for the rest of their lives. This is why selecting the right hair and makeup artists is so critical. Spruce Mountain Ranch would like to introduce you to Jade Darrough and Cynthia Mazzara. These two ladies are experts in their fields and are sure to make for bridal perfection.

Jade Darrough- Wedding Hair Artist

Pricing-

-“For my services, I typically charge $150-250 for the bride (including her complimentary bridal trial done in salon), depending on the distance. The bridesmaids or extras are $75-125 depending in distance. I charge by the person and I can also offer group discounts.”

Spruce Mountain Ranch Client Discount-

- “I would like to offer 15% off the total bridal cost OR if there are multiple people in the bridal party (maids, MOB, flower girls) I would love to give the bride a group discount where ultimately, the mother and/or flower girls would be complimentary. Please let me know what else I can do to help!”

Pictures-

What is your favorite part of working in your industry?

-“My favorite part about working in this industry is connecting with my brides on a business and personal level. I also cherish being a part of someone’s wedding day; it is such an honor to me.”

How long have you worked in your field?

- “I have been doing hair for 4 years, and bridal hair for 3 years. I offer services such as cut, color, highlights, extensions, and more behind the chair.”

What would you say to brides planning their wedding right now about hair/makeup?

-“ My advice to brides currently planning a wedding is to give yourself plenty of time in advance to find your hair/makeup artist. Do a trial and if you feel the need to, do multiple trials. Pictures are always appreciated as well.”

Is there anything else you would like for brides to know?

-“ I would like to remind the brides to trust their hair and make up artists. I do this for the love of it and my mission is to make you look and feel like a flawless princess on the biggest day of your life. Every bride is different and their hair and makeup should reflect their lifestyle and personality with the addition of some glamour!”

*To see more of Jade’s work, visit: www.JadeDarroughBeauty.com

Cynthia Mazzara- Wedding Makeup Artist

Pricing-

- Bride ~ $140.00 ~ Consultation, trial makeup appointment, and lashes.

-Bridesmaids ~ $55.00 ~ Includes wedding day makeup and lashes.

-Jr. Bridesmaids ~ (Ages 12-16) ~ Includes wedding day makeup.

-Mothers ~ $45.00 ~ Includes wedding day makeup and lashes.

-Flower Girls ~ Complimentary- sparkle eye shadow, blush & glitter.

-Travel Fee ~ Depends on the location

-At the time of booking wedding makeup with Magnifica Bella, a $40.00 non-refundable “Save the Date” fee is due, then at the time of the trial makeup appointment, a $60.00 fee is due, both of those prices are then deducted from the total amount due on the wedding day.

Spruce Mountain Client Discount-

-See the upcoming Spruce Mountain Ranch Newsletter for featured bridal special.

Pictures-

What is your favorite part of working in your industry?

-“ What I enjoy most about being a makeup artist is the satisfaction of seeing the transformation in my clients. It’s so rewarding helping my clients achieve the image of what they want to look like for one of the most important days of their life! (I also love to) experience the boost it gives them and see their self-esteem just come to life!”

How long have you worked in your field?

-“ October marks my sixth year of being in business!”

What would you say to brides planning their wedding right now about hair/makeup?

- Your wedding day is “ALL ABOUT YOU”!  Please be sure that your makeup artist truly listens to you and knows exactly the desired look you want to achieve for your wedding makeup.”

Is there anything else you would like for brides to know?

-“ Customer service is a must!!!  From the time a bride contacts Magnifica Bella, she receives 100% customer service.

-Always do a makeup trial appointment!  Your wedding day is too crucial of a time to not know what your entire special look requires. When booking wedding makeup with Magnifica Bella, several steps go in to the process of making sure everything is the way the bride wants it, and is then duplicated exactly on the wedding day.

-Your wedding photos are a big part of what you cherish from your special day for many years to come!  It is imperative that makeup is done a certain way, as well as certain products used to provide the staying power, and application that is conducive for photos.  Some elements that need to be carefully considered when planning for wedding makeup are lighting, climate, sensitivity to products, etc.

-Always a must are “GREAT LASHES”!  What a way to make eyes pop for photos!  Magnifica Bella uses only the best brands of false lashes and lash glue. Only individual lashes are used, as they provide a natural look, while enhancing eyes.”

*A warm, Spruce Mountain thanks to Jade Darrough and Cynthia Mazzara! We hope all Spruce Mountain brides consider making these two talented ladies a part of their special d

Do It Yourself: Tips for Simple, Budget-Friendly Wedding Décor

Brides who are planning their weddings have many things in common: shopping for the perfect dress, planning a budget, and dealing with pre-wedding nerves are only a few of these. One often-forgotten commonality is the fact that every bride has to plan décor that aligns with their vision, is cost-effective, and is true to who they are. For many brides, finding the perfect centerpieces and flowers can be a challenge. With that, we present you with tips on choosing and creating wedding decorations that will meet bridal expectations and reduce pre-nuptial stress levels.

Tips for Creating a Vision:

1. Set a Budget!

  • Before any bride can decide what flowers or vases she wants, she must first ensure that she knows how much she has to spend, and that she sticks to that amount. While it may be tempting to overspend, or not place limitations on spending at all, brides will be thankful in the end that they watched their spending

2. Stay With the Color Scheme.

  • Between the bridesmaid gowns, the flowers, the cake, and the decorations, there are many things that need to stay within the color scheme. While it may seem like a good idea to add colors in along the way, it is in the best interest of everyone at the wedding that a color scheme be chosen and followed.

3. Close Your Eyes and Dream.

  • Yes, it sounds corny, but it is actually helpful to refer to the mental image of your perfect wedding while considering décor. When you think about what you consider to be your “dream wedding”, what do the centerpieces look like? Are there flowers in abundance, or very minimal touches? Thinking of this perfect wedding image while choosing how to personalize your wedding will help ensure that it aligns with your vision.

4.  What Makes You Unique?

  • This is one of the biggest and most important days of a bride’s life. It is a day centered on the bride and groom and the love that they share. With that said, what makes the bride and groom special? Are they Colorado outdoorsy people who prefer simple flowers and earthy tones? Are they a glamorous couple who desires lots of glitz and metallic touches? Personalizing the day and décor around the two people the day is about will ensure for the perfect wedding.

5. Will You Regret This in 20 Years?

  • Yes, every bride will look back at some point and think that her hair was outdated or her make-up was so telling of that time period. However, I’m sure there are plenty of 80’s brides regretting turquoise satin gowns with puffed sleeves and frill hems, wondering what on earth they could have been thinking when they chose them. Yes, things eventually go out of style. However, try to choose things that are not overly trendy, are very personal, and have timeless elements to them to help prevent future horror whilst reminiscing.

6. Is This Realistic?

  • While there are a great number of people who will be there on a bride’s special day to help make sure that it is the wedding of her dreams, there comes a point when things are not reasonable. If you are choosing to go the route of making it yourself, ensure that what you select can be made without excessive blood, sweat and tears. Also, make sure that it is not so intricate that it cannot be set up at your venue the day of the wedding. Sometimes, less is more anyway: less attention on the centerpieces and more on the happy couple is not a bad thing at all!

DIY Ideas:

There are so many areas of a wedding that can be made at home. Some of these include centerpieces, guest books, favors, and invitations. Others are bridal bouquets, isle runners, and programs. Spruce Mountain Ranch employee Erin Mondragon offers tips and suggestions for DIY weddings that are based off of her own DIY wedding at Spruce Mountain Ranch. She married at Spruce Mountain Ranch in September of 2011 with a head count of 250 guests. Her theme was autumn, and her colors were burnt orange, brown, and yellow.

Erin explains that doing things for your wedding by yourself is not only personal, but it is cost-effective. Some of her money-saving tips are in relation to finding the right photographer and Chaplain as well. She shares that “I found a start up photography business that was looking to expand their portfolios for their new website. They offered their services free of charge and the photos turned out wonderful!” In relation to the Officiant, she explains that “The gentleman who married us is the Chaplain for the Colorado Springs Police Department. He really believes in marriage and only requires the couple to meet with him a couple of times, not only to prepare for the ceremony, but to prepare for marriage as well. He also does not charge for his services. There are many Chaplains and Reverends who will do the same, so ask around.”

Where to begin?

Erin shares about how she discovered ideas for her wedding, as well as how she executed her DIY plan. She says that “With all of the ideas floating around the internet and Pinterest, I was able to find several ideas for DYI projects for our wedding. However, with a venue like Spruce Mountain Ranch, little decoration was necessary, so I was able to stick to basic decor and DIY projects. DIY was important to me because I wanted my wedding to be full of personal touches. We also did not set a large budget for our wedding, so some DIY was necessary to keep costs down. I am a huge planner, so I started to get organized and plan early on (10 months before), which is a must when creating any DYI projects for the wedding in order to keep the stress out of it. I also invested in the help of family to make sure projects were completed early on. DIY isn’t for everyone, but I loved how personal all of the little touches were at our wedding and so did our guests.”

Centerpieces-

Erin says of her centerpieces that “We kept the centerpieces simple. I found several different size glass candle holders and filled them with ivory candles. We placed 6-8 of these on wood cut rounds. (We actually went into the mountains, found the logs we wanted, and then my father cut them into rounds). I also had several fake fall aspen leaves that we used to sprinkle around the centerpieces. The candles added a beautiful soft glow at the tables while keeping with the rustic design with the wood and fall theme with the leaves.” Other ideas for centerpieces include anything with candles, burlap, mason jars, vintage vases, lanterns, pictures, and personal touches.

Guestbook-

She says that “I ordered a photo book from Shutterfly using all of our engagement photos to create a book for guests to sign.” Other brides have chosen to have their guests sign old skis, quilt squares, pieces to a puzzle, giant Jenga pieces, and guestbook trees. The possibilities are endless!

Flowers-

Erin explains that for the bridal party, “I purchased flowers from local stores/Costco and wrapped the stems of the bridesmaid bouquets with ribbon. To my bouquet I added a rhinestone bracelet of my late grandmother’s to secure the bouquet as well as a small picture frame of a wedding photo of my late grandparents.” For boutonnieres and corsages, “Purchased materials from Michael’s and secured them with floral tape and ribbon.”

Favors-

Erin says that “My sister makes killer caramel popcorn, so I invested in her help the week before the wedding to make several batches. We used paper lunch sacks (cut down to a shorter size) and filled them with the popcorn. The tops were cut with fun shaped scissors, hole-punched, tied with ribbon and stamped with a fall leaf hand stamp. I also printed out small thank you tags that were also attached.” Other DIY brides have chosen guest favors such as s’mores kits, a soundtrack of their love songs, homemade salt scrub, and flower seeds.

Ceremony Programs-

“Programs were fairly simple. Even though it was a September wedding, it was still warm outside, so we decided to make the programs fans as well. We printed out our program on card stock and attached them to large wood craft sticks to make fans.”

Other Personal Touches-

Drink stir sticks were “A fun addition to the bar. I created stir sticks quite simply by printing out different fun sayings, cutting them into circles, and placing them on different print and colored card stock circles. I then attached them to coffee stir sticks and placed them in jars at the bar.” For an isle runner, “I printed out wording/outlines on the computer and placed them behind the isle runner to trace an outline. I then hand painted the design onto the runner.” Lastly, Erin shares that “I wanted a fun and subtle punch of color, but couldn’t find any shoes in the color that I wanted. I found the color(burnt orange) in a fabric dye and purchased dye-able shoes from an online site, and then dyed them myself.”

* Whether your wedding DIY includes bouquets, centerpieces, and favors, or just adds a little extra touch such as an isle runner, remember that less is more. Simple and elegant decorations and additions will keep the focus where it belongs: on the bride and groom and their love for each other. We hope that this article helped you decide whether or not to do some of your wedding décor yourself, and what ideas you would prefer.

-A warm, Spruce Mountain thanks to Erin Mondragon for providing so much information for brides to consider!

Spruce Mountain Ranch: Event Spaces

We at Spruce Mountain Ranch realize that potential brides are eager to learn about all the ranch’s available event spaces. Because of this, we have decided to feature both the upper and lower ranch with each event space shown.

The Lower Ranch-

  • Albert’s Lodge- This lodge is the perfect venue for a wedding of up to 250 guests, a small prom, or corporate event. It can have a warm, cozy atmosphere for winter events, or the doors to the courtyard can be opened for a warm summer wedding. Albert’s Lodge can be rented on its own, although other venues may be rented in addition to it. This venue can cost anywhere between $9,000 and $10,000, depending on what month and what day of the week a wedding is. Guests who choose Albert’s Lodge as their venue can have their ceremony in the building or outside at Grace’s Chapel.

  • The Colorado Room- The Colorado Room is a wonderful site for a cocktail hour or for intimate parties such as bridal showers. Its convertible side makes it a cozy room in the cold weather or an open area in the summer. This can be rented on its own, or as an addition to Albert’s Lodge.

  • Ames Patio- The Ames Patio is a perfect site for guests to enjoy fresh air at cocktail hour. Its beautiful landscaping adds to the rustic, outdoor ambiance. Ames Patio and Genevieve’s Garden come with the rental of the Colorado Room.

  • Mountainside Ceremony Site- The mountainside ceremony site is a beautiful, scenic place for brides to select as part of their package with the lower ranch. The Spruce Mountain Ranch shuttle greets guests at the parking lot and transports them to the mountainside site.

The Upper Ranch-

  • The Ponderosa Room- The Ponderosa Room is Spruce Mountain Ranch’s wedding venue that is able to accommodate up to 600 guests. Not only is the Ponderosa perfect for larger weddings, but it is also an excellent site for corporate events and proms. Brides who choose the Ponderosa as their venue may choose to get married outside the building under the bistro lights, at the Lakeview Terrace, or they may choose the new outdoor site, Trey’s Vista. This venue also ranges from $6,000-$7,000, depending on the month and day of the week.

  • The Lakeview Terrace- The Lakeview Terrace is a wonderful area overlooking the lake by the Ponderosa. It is the ideal venue for a couple who wants a small, rustic, and outdoor wedding. The beautiful view and landscaping combined with the cozy pavilion make for an excellent small reception site or ceremony site.

  • Both the Upper Ranch and Lower Ranch are excellent choice of venue. A package for either one includes 11 hours of time on the property, a Spruce Mountain property manager, the ceremony site, a bridal cottage and groom’s loft, ceremony and reception seating for 250 guests, a 1-hour rehearsal, and adjacent event parking. We hope to see you at the ranch! For specific pricing, questions, or further details on any of our event spaces, contact Tara Ames, 303-400-2515.

Meet the Managers: ~An Introduction to Spruce Mountain Ranch’s Property Managers~

Spruce Mountain Ranch wants all of their guests to feel right at home. One way to accomplish this is for the guests to know the employees! As it is still at the beginning of this wedding season, we present “Meet the Managers”.

Property Managers:

Anastacia Catallo:


Education- Anna is studying at Pikes Peak Community College, and plans to transfer to Metropolitan State University to study event management. She wishes to become a wedding planner or event coordinator.

Aspirations- Aside from working in the field of event management, Anna hopes to travel to Europe!

Hobbies and Passions- Anna explains that “I am very passionate in what I do.” She is full of passions and seeks to love every area of her life, including work and school.

Marital Status- She states very simply that “I am not married!”

Why the Ranch is Special to Her- 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 Brides Should Know About Her- “I am the owner of Anna’s Custom Pews and would love for all the brides to go check us out on Facebook!”

Jennifer Sasser:

Education- Jen graduated recently with a degree in Photojournalism from Metropolitan State University.

Aspirations- When asked about future aspirations, Jen shares that “My biggest aspiration in life is to create a body of photographic work that is focused on capturing the sweet, honest, real moments in lives of souls across the globe. Life is a beautiful gift we have been given, and to share it with others makes it all the more delightful!”

Hobbies and Passions- Jen says that “I am passionate about photography, non-profits, salsa dancing, traveling the world and meeting new people, all kinds of cheeses and climbing 14ers. Something unique about me is that the first time I moved out of Colorado was when I was 18 years old, and I lived and worked in an orphanage in Ethiopia. Also, I was entirely blessed this past summer when I did a photographic internship in Prague and traveled all through Eastern Europe.”

Marital Status- She explains that “I am delightfully single but I love being able to share in the blissful joy each of our Spruce Mountain brides feel on their wedding day!”

Why the Ranch is Special to Her- She shares her personal love for the ranch by stating that “Spruce Mountain Ranch is very special to me because the sense of family that runs deep here. When the ranch was turned into a venue, the Ames family instilled a sense of family and belonging into all who worked or visited the ranch and over four years later, that is still the story. I was told early on in my employment with Spruce Mountain, ‘We are welcoming people into our home and into our family here,’ and true to their word, the Ames have kept it all in the family by warmly adopting any and all who come to the ranch. It’s really something spectacular.”

What Brides Should Know About Her- She wants brides to know that “I am always happy to help with any needs or questions our brides may have as are all our managers. We are just as delighted for your wedding as you are! We love that we can be a part of such a joyous and beautiful celebration of love in your life! So if, on your special day, you need a Kleenex, a new friend to hug, someone to sneak you a piece of chocolate or just reassurance that the day will be perfect, we are here for you. J”

Micah Radakovich:

Education- Micah is currently studying at Pikes Peak Community College and will transfer this fall to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She is pursuing a degree in English with a minor in Spanish.Micah hopes to complete her degree and work as an editor and translator for a non-profit corporation. She has a heart for her community and desires to serve them in this area.

Hobbies and Passions-- Micah explains “I love antiquing, reading novels, writing poetry, and hiking in our beautiful mountains!”

Marital Status- “I am single! While I hope to be married with a family in the future, I am enjoying a single phase of life as I progress through my college career.”

Why the Ranch is Special to Her- Spruce Mountain is special to Micah because “Walking onto Spruce Mountain Ranch property is like walking into your house. It has a warm and comfortable atmosphere, and is filled with caring people who will do everything it takes to make a wedding perfect. It is such a joy and honor to work in such a welcoming environment.”

What Brides Should Know About Her- Brides should know that “While I am extremely organized and love to focus on details, I can also look at the bigger picture of an event to make sure everything is perfect, runs smoothly, and fits with the bride’s dreams.”

Erin Mondragon:

Education- Erin graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a degree in Special Education. She shares that “I was an Early Education teacher and also work(ed) for 3 private schools in Denver as a Curriculum Director, and then moved into marketing there before working at Spruce Mountain Ranch.”

Aspirations- She explains 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.”

Hobbies and Passions- “I love to cook, read and travel!  I have fallen in love with the event industry, specifically weddings!”

Marital Status- Erin shares that she has been married nearly 3 years. She says that “We have a daughter (11), Son (1 ½) and are expecting our third child this October.”

Why the Ranch is Special to Her- She explains that the ranch is special to her because “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!”

What Brides Should Know About Her- Erin “Started working for the ranch in October of 2013.” She works in the field of Spruce Mountain Marketing. She shares with brides that “I can’t wait to meet you and help to make your wedding day a dream come true!”

Jamie Lynn Price:

Education- Jamie shares that “I received my wedding and event planning certificate through the corporate learning division at Arapahoe Community College, and I also received my events planning coordinator certificate through Front Range Community College.”

Aspirations- Some of her aspirations are to “Do day-of wedding coordinating or start an in-home child care business.”

Hobbies and Passions- “I am a dance instructor and choreographer. I enjoy arts and crafts, and I definitely have a sweet tooth!”

Marital Status- She is not married, but explains that “My boyfriend and I recently celebrated our 6 year anniversary!”

Why the Ranch is Special to Her- Jamie explains that Spruce Mountain is special to her because “The way in which Spruce Mountain Ranch began and blossomed is a wonderful story. The vibe of family and comfort spreads throughout the entire property.”

What Brides Should Know About Her- Brides should know that “I was a bridal consultant in the past. I am extremely detail-orientated, and I love a stress-free environment with smiling faces. J”

Jennifer Haar:

Education- Jennifer shares that “I graduated from Michigan State University with a triple Major in Elementary Education, Child Development, and Language Arts. (I) then got my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.”

Aspirations- She shares that “I am currently a 1st grade teacher and love my job with all my heart. I also run a small wedding coordination business on the side. Though I know that life can send curve balls and I can never know for certain what my future holds, I do know that I love both of my jobs and look forward to teaching primary grades until I retire; then I hope to be able to give back to my community by planning fundraising events for the Children’s Hospital of Denver.”

Hobbies and Passions- Jennifer says 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, but most of all, I love planning over-the-top birthday parties for my children. Making a world, for a day, which is just for them, brings me so much joy! When my girls get older I would love to bring this passion to the Children’s Hospital of Denver, and plan events to both benefit the hospital and bring joy to the children.”

Marital Status- She explains “I am happily married to my high school sweetheart, Tim, and have two amazing girls: Rory (6) and Rylen (4).”

Why the Ranch is Special to Her- Jennifer shares that “I was just introduced to Spruce Mountain Ranch recently when I planned a wedding here in March. The second I drove onto the property, I knew that it was something very special. Once on the property, I was introduced to Tara Ames and realized that I knew her previously! It’s funny how things work out. I am so happy to be a part of this amazing group in this amazing place!”

What Brides Should Know About Her- Brides should know 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!”