Our “Favor”-ite Wedding Favors!

The question of what to give as wedding favors can be a difficult one to resolve— what will the members of the bridal party actually use and want that won’t be too expensive? What will guests want, and what will help them remember your special day? At Spruce Mountain Ranch, we recognize this dilemma and want to help answer the quandary of what to give as bridal party favors! We hope this blog helps you to brainstorm ideas for what to give both the bridal party and guests, and thanks to Amanda Lamb Photographer and Sarah Roshan Wedding Photographer, we have some lovely photos to help you in this decision-making process!

Bridal Party Favors-

The cake has been ordered, the centerpieces have finally come together, and your wedding dress fits like a glove. One item of business remains on your checklist, however, and it has you stumped. What do you get for your bridesmaids? These women are the friends who have been through everything with you: single life, meeting the perfect guy, falling in love, and planning a wedding. How do you thank them for being such a huge part of your life? This task may seem daunting, but take a moment to breathe. Your ladies weren’t supporting you through thick and thin because they expected a nice favor in return: they love and care about you, they value your friendship, and they want to be a part of the happiest day of your life. The bridal favor is merely a bonus. With that said, here are some tips on selecting a favor that is sure to please all:

*Personalization: Sometimes, personalization is all that it takes to take an ordinary favor and make it perfect. Robes, tote bags, mugs, necklaces and other sweet accessories can easily have monograms added for a fun twist.

*Sentiment: Ultimately, what bridesmaid wouldn’t want something that shows the special relationship between a bride and her friends? Whether this token is reminiscent of a special activity that you did with your bridesmaids, or sentimental because of all the thought behind the gift, at the end of the day, it is important to give a gift that will be meaningful to all parties.

*Practicality: In some cases, a bridal party favor that is also practical can be a wonderful gift. For example, many brides want their ladies to stand up next to them wearing certain shoes or jewelry. By providing the bridal party with these items, the favor is also practical: the bridesmaids are relieved of having to purchase another item for the wedding, and they also receive something special to remember the wedding by. Also, consider giving a favor that will be something that bridesmaids can use after the big day is over, such as fun pajamas.

*Reverse the Role: A final piece of advice to brides is to consider what they would like as a bridal party favor if they were a bridesmaid. Sometimes, simply putting yourself in the shoes of your friends can help you to choose the perfect bridal party favors!

**Amanda Lamb of Amanda Lamb Photographer has been gracious enough to share these photographs of favors given from a bride to her bridesmaids! She shares that “For her bridesmaids, Meghan gifted her girls a personalized bag with their first initial from JCrew, JCrew socks, customized robes for getting ready in, sunglasses, and monogrammed copper cups for her signature drink, a Moscow Mule. So fun! Billy and Meghan were married at the St. Julien in Boulder on March 14, 2015.” To see more of Amanda’s work, visit her website: http://www.amandalambphoto.com/

Guest Favors-

Just as it can be challenging to find the perfect favors to express gratitude and love towards the bridal party, it can be equally as difficult to decide upon the wedding favors. The people coming to the wedding are the people who have been monumental in your relationship thus far— they have helped to make this marriage and day a reality, and you want to thank them accordingly. However, while this may seem like a large task, keep in mind that the people coming are simply excited to be a part of this day! They have loved watching you fall in love, grow as a couple, and make the commitment to choose each other forever. Simply being there to see the beginning of your happily-ever-after is exciting for them! Favors do not need to be grandiose to let guests know how grateful you are that they could be there. These are a few things to consider when choosing favors that may help make the decision easier.

*Theme: First, consider whether there is a theme to the wedding. If the special day is centered around a ranch experience, consider having the favor reflect the day. Having a unified feeling with all aspects of the wedding makes it seem that much more put together.

*Color Scheme: If the wedding colors are pink and brown, consider choosing favors that fit within that color scheme, or at the very least, having favors that do not clash. If the “make-your-own” candy bar that was set up as a favor for guests is sprinkled with purple and blue candies, it may feel off. Thus, consider aligning favors with both color and theme.

*Crowd: When deciding what favor to select that will help guests commemorate your special day, it is crucial to consider what they will enjoy. Are they beer enthusiasts? If so, customized beer cozies with your initials may be a perfect selection! Is the crowd in love with all things sweet? Then, perhaps truffles or candies would be an excellent favor! By keeping in mind what the guests may enjoy, the task of selecting favors will become easier.

*Couple: Don’t forget the whole reason the wedding is happening in the first place: the happy couple! Is there something that brought the two of you together? Is there a shared hobby or passion that you both enjoy? If both the bride and the groom love rock climbing, carabiners with the couple’s initials would be a personalized, special favor for guests! Think about what brought the two of you together and what you share, and that may spark ideas for what to give guests!

*Sarah Roshan of Sarah Roshan Wedding Photographer has been gracious enough to share these beautiful photographs of different wedding favors. To see more of her pictures, visit her website: http://www.sarahroshanphoto.com/

**Spruce Mountain Ranch loves working with our talented photographers to help capture the sweetest moments of your special day! We hope that this blog not only helped you to brainstorm ideas for bridal party and wedding favors, but we also hoped that you were inspired by the work of two of our favorite photographers!

Spruce Mountain Ranch: “Top Wedding Trends of 2016”

The holidays have ended, the new year has come, and 2016 is in full swing. Amidst all the changes and resolutions comes the one thing that those in the wedding industry love most about the new year: new wedding trends. With this edition of our blog, we will recap some of last year’s wedding trends, as well as introduce 2016’s styles and elements. Without further ado, Spruce Mountain Ranch brings you the wedding trends of 2016!

A Quick Recap of 2015 Trends:

In 2015, we saw organic and industrial styles and lots of wooden decor, which both added to the ranch environment. We also saw personalization become more integrated into weddings, where couples included special things (i.e. family photos and heirlooms) to honor their family. Wedding gowns began to have longer sleeves in this past season. Wedding hashtags increased in popularity and became a way for couples to keep their media pictures accessible and organized. Finally, 2015 brought the era of bright pops of jewel tones, paired with gold and metallics to create a rich color palette.

2016 Trends:

Now that we have established some of the 2015 trends, it will be easier to compare the new additions to this year’s wedding decor. This blog will cover new trends in color palettes, wedding gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses, hair styles, wedding media, floral arrangements, music, invitations, and wedding food!

*Colors:

  1. 2015 colors may have been focused on having neutrals and metallics with a pop of bright color, but this year introduces the year of having more colors, and in more subtle tones. These colors, described as “pantone,” include the following:

2.  Copper will also be a popular feature in 2016 color palettes. While other metallics may have faded in popularity, this one still pairs perfectly                 with this year’s color trends.

*Dresses:

  1. Long sleeves, like last year, are still a popular trend. However, this year, these new sleeves are often very light and lacy. The gowns often have cut-out back, as well as beading on the skirt. This style pairs the elegance of classic lace and long sleeves with the sexiness of cut-out elements to create a perfect combination.
  2. Removable skirts will be a popular element in 2016 weddings gowns. They have a long, elegant skirt for the ceremony, which comes off for the reception to reveal a stunning, figure-flattering dress.

*Tuxedos:

  1. Grooms are beginning to break away from the stereotypical black tuxedo at their wedding. Some are choosing a retro-inspired look, with gray or brown attire.
  2. Others are becoming part of the wedding color palette with colored tuxedos and suits, adding to the creative, Indie feeling of any wedding.

*Bridesmaids’ Gowns:

  1. Mismatched bridesmaids’ dresses are ever-increasing in popularity. Brides often give their ladies a color palette to stick with, and then they have the option of choosing how colorful their dress is, in addition to what style is most flattering on them. What could be more perfect than making both the bride and her ladies happy?
  2. Another new trend in bridesmaid attire is the mixing and matching of skirts and tops, versus wearing a dress.

*Hair:

While some brides will still choose to have loose, curly hairstyles on their special day, others will opt for a simple, classic bun styled look. Whether they sit higher or lower on the head, this style will keep hair out of the way in an elegant style.

*Media:

  1. In 2015, we saw the rise of the wedding hashtag. Not only will this continue in 2016, but forms of “wedding media” will continue to grow. Couples may also use Snapchat or Periscope to document their day, speculates Wedding Wire.
  2. They also expect that “GIF booths,” a type of Photo Booth that creates short videos of guests, will be popular wedding entertainment.
  3. Drones will continue to be a popular way to capture all the details of this year’s weddings. Although videography will still be essential to indoor events, drones can capture the property, outdoor ceremony, cocktail hour, and dancing so that none of these special moments is forgotten.

*Florals:

  1. Nothing says “bridal beauty” like the perfect floral arrangements. In 2016, WeddingWire speculates that large floral arrangements will gain popularity, and they won’t just be for centerpieces. This year, we expect to see flowers adorning walls and ceilings of a space, creating extra glamour to any room.
  2. To add a fun new twist to some of the organic floral looks of 2015, eucalyptus is rising in popularity in centerpieces and bouquets to add a unique, romantic look to any flowers.
  3. Finally, some brides are choosing to keep the presence of flowers to a minimum this year, in order to allow other elements of decor to stand out, as well as to keep a simple, minimalist look. The Bridal Guide suggests using elements such as leaves, succulents, and other plants to create a more organic look.

*Music:

Last year, many couples had their magical first dance together to popular songs, such as “All of Me” by John Legend. Wedding Wire speculates that this year, however, couples will choose something more unusual and more personal to them. For a list of DJ’s picks on first dance songs, click the link: http://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/music/first-dance-songs-2016

*Invitations:

Wedding colors should stay consistent throughout all the elements of a couple’s wedding. Because of this, wedding invitations with both the couple’s wedding color, as well as the trendy copper elements, are all the rage in 2016.

*Food:

  1. Wedding desserts are always a sweet way to add a fun, personal touch to the reception. While mini bundt cakes, homemade treats, and truffles have been popular in the past, doughnuts are a rising star in the dessert realm.
  2. Two words..buttercream frosting. Yum!
  3. Last year, we saw the rise of “perfect pairings” during cocktail hour. By serving appetizers and cocktails with complementary flavors, the guests’ eating experience will be enhanced. Wedding Wire suggests combinations such as “tequila and tacos” or “hotdogs and beer.” To find the perfect pairing for your wedding, consult your caterer and liquor vendor.

**Spruce Mountain Ranch is honored to be a part of couples’ special days. We hope that this wedding trend blog was helpful and inspiring for your upcoming nuptials! For even more information about 2016 trends, take a look at these links:

Bridal Guide: http://bridalguide.com/planning/the-details/reception/wedding-trends-2016

Wedding Wire: http://problog.weddingwire.com/index.php/business-ideas/whats-hot-for-2016-top-wedding-trends/?utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_medium=email&utm_content=B&utm_campaign=010816-Newsletter

Wedding Shoppe Inc.: http://www.weddingshoppeinc.com/blog/index.php/2015/12/07/top-2016-wedding-trends/

Glamour: http://www.glamour.com/weddings/blogs/save-the-date/2015/12/2016-wedding-trends

My Wedding: http://www.mywedding.com/articles/10-fantastic-2016-wedding-trends-youre-sure-to-fall-in-love-with/

Upcoming Public Events at Spruce Mountain Ranch

Aside from the events Spruce Mountain Ranch normally hosts, including weddings, corporate events, and proms, we have decided to hold a few public events: anyone is welcome to attend these! We look forward to seeing many new faces enjoying the beauty of Spruce Mountain in a fun, party atmosphere! Be sure to read all about these upcoming events and book tickets while they are still available! All of these public events are fundraising events for Mount Saint Vincent, a treatment center for abused and neglected children.

Brunch with Santa:

Who:

Anyone who is interested in this event is welcome to attend!

What:

What better way to ring in the holidays than a brunch with Santa Clause? Santa, a real-bearded professional from a training school in Denver, has years of experience as Santa at the Broodmoor Hotel. The ranch is very excited to have him visit our property and meet our guests! He will arrive about thirty minutes into the brunch. Guests will arrive at the ranch, where they will be directed into the Colorado Room, themed as the North Pole, to meet Santa. After having Carrie King, a talented event photographer, takes professional pictures with Santa, guests will then head into Albert’s Lodge. Catering by Design will prepare and serve a delicious brunch in the Christmas-themed room. Crafts and activities for the children will be provided at this time. Once pictures with Santa are taken and brunch is eaten, guests will then be able to take hay rides around the ranch, in addition to participating in other fun, holiday activities. We at Spruce Mountain Ranch look forward to beginning a very merry holiday season with this event, and hope to see many faces, new and old, in attendance!

When:

Brunch with Santa will take place on December 12th! Two times are available for this event: 10:30-12:30 and 12:30-2:30. To purchase tickets, please visit http://smrsantabrunch.eventbrite.com

Valentine’s Fireside Dinner for Two:

Who:

This dinner is open to the public, but Spruce Mountain will also be inviting all of our former couples to rekindle their love at the place where their new life together began!

What:

This event is a romantic, fireside Valentine’s dinner for two. Dinner will be served at intimate tables for two in Albert’s Lodge. In addition to dinner, there will also be beer and wine service. After eating, couples will take fun, romantic pictures in the photo booth. Finally, after-dinner drinks and desserts will be served in the Colorado Room. A beautiful bouquet of flowers is included with this festive event.

When:

This romantic dinner event will take place on the evening of February 14th. Tickets, $150 per couple, go on sale January 1st!

Easter Brunch:

Who:

All are welcome to attend this special Easter event!

What:

This fun, family-friendly event will begin with a scrumptious brunch. After eating, there will be an exciting egg hunt around the ranch for children, while adults enjoy a mimosa bar. Families may also enjoy hay rides around the stunning property and have professional family pictures taken. Guests should remember to come dressed in their Sunday best!

When:

This event will take place on the morning of March 27th. Tickets, $25 for adults and $20 for children (children under 2 are free), for this brunch go on sale February 1st!

**To subscribe to the mailing list or to get more information about these upcoming events, email Erin Mondragon: emondragon@sprucemountainranch.com.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media to stay updated with current events:

Spruce Mountain Events Facebook Page

Spruce Mountain Events on Instagram

Spruce Mountain Events on Twitter

Spruce Mountain Ranch: “Guestiquette Blog”

At Spruce Mountain Ranch, we want everyone who visits our beautiful property to feel right at home. In order to make wedding guests feel at ease from the moment they enter the front gate, we have written a special “guestiquette” version of our blog, which includes advice on how to prepare for a fun event at the ranch.

Tips for guests attending an event at Spruce Mountain:

  1. Before arriving, make sure to print out directions early, plug in the address to the GPS, and pay attention to the chalkboard sign at the entrance of the property, which will be directing you to the appropriate venue/event (Upper Ranch-Ponderosa, or Lower Ranch-Albert’s Lodge).
  2. Aim to arrive on the property 30 minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin. This will allow for enough time to park, find a seat, and get settled before the bride’s grand entrance.
  3. Plan ahead.  There are no restrooms at the outdoor ceremony sites.
  4. Be prepared to walk to the ceremony site and to be outdoors for a portion of the event— plan to bring whatever you need to make an outdoor experience pleasurable (comfortable shoes to walk in, an umbrella in case of rain, sunglasses, some allergy medicine, a jacket, etc.)
  5. If you are a guest that is unable to walk to the ceremony, please arrange to be driven directly to the site by another guest, who must then return their car to the designated parking area.
  6. Wait to reserve your seat in the reception venue until you are instructed into the space. A lot of work goes into preparing the table settings, and most of the time, photographers need to photograph the finished room during cocktail hour. Reserving your seat by placing items on the table, shifting chairs, moving napkins, etc. makes it difficult to photograph and maintain the element of surprise and sense of “awe” when other guests make their way in as instructed.
  7. The ranch is a functioning cattle ranch with continuous, onsite cattle operations. In order for the cattlemen to keep running their part of the ranch, and in order for all guests to remain safe, please stay in the ceremony and reception areas, and do not wander into the cattle pastures or barns.
  8. If you have small children, they must be supervised at all times in order to ensure their safety. Also, please note that high chairs are not provided by Spruce Mountain.
  9. Note that there is limited cell service at Spruce Mountain, so plan to make important phone calls and text messages before arriving on the property. In case of emergency, there is an office phone that may be used.
  10. Please understand that guests may not possess or use marijuana on Spruce Mountain Ranch property. In the event that guests break this rule, the wedding may have to end early.
  11. Due to the high fire danger of this area, please smoke only in designated smoking areas, and extinguish cigarettes in the provided receptacles.  Throwing cigarette butts into the grassy areas will start a fire.
  12. Guests who plan on drinking alcoholic beverages should remember to bring their IDs. Guests will be carded.
  13. No vehicles may be left overnight at Spruce Mountain. The property is gated, and if a car is left overnight, a guest may not be able to get in the next morning to retrieve it.
  14. Remember to drink a lot of water! Spruce Mountain Ranch is located at approximately 7,500 feet above sea level, and guests may easily become dehydrated, especially when consuming alcohol. Staying hydrated goes a long way to make a guest’s experience more pleasant.
  15. Bring a smile! This event is full of excitement and joy- don’t forget to share in the happiness!

Spruce Mountain Ranch’s Guide to Wedding Invitations:

Sending out invitations for a wedding requires a lot of thought and planning, as well as numerous questions: What kind of stationary is the best? When should invitations be sent to guests? How should the wording on the envelope be phrased? These are only a few of the quandaries that brides find themselves in as they prepare to invite guests. Thankfully, Ann Marlin of Cloud 9 Weddings and Papers was generous enough to answer all of these questions, and more, in this special “invitation edition” of our blog!

Planning Enough Time-

Spruce Mountain Ranch: How far in advance should a couple send out invitations?

Ann Marlin: Couples should send their invitations at least eight weeks in advance, although I suggest sending them ten weeks in advance when the majority of the guests are from another state.

Spruce Mountain Ranch: How far in advance of the wedding should the couple ask for a reply by?

Ann Marlin: One month is sufficient, as it gives the couple plenty of time to reach out to guests that have not yet responded. This also allows time for the couple to send in their final numbers for catering, florals, and rentals.

Preparing Invitations-

Spruce Mountain Ranch: Should formal titles be used in writing the invitation, or are they not required?

Ann Marlin: It depends on the level of formality of the wedding and the couple. For the most part, I am still seeing formal titles being used on both the invitation and the invitation envelope.

Spruce Mountain Ranch: Are RSVP cards necessary to include in the envelope, or is an online RSVP sufficient?

Ann Marlin: I suggest using an RSVP card, as there is still a demographic of guests that do not regularly use a computer and instead prefer to mail in an RSVP.

Perfecting the Presentation-

Spruce Mountain Ranch: What do you suggest for creating the perfect wedding invitations?

Ann Marlin: The perfect wedding invitations truly reflect the personalities of the couple and exude the overall style and formality level of the wedding. They set the tone for the wedding, so I encourage and assist couples with building an invitation suite that mirrors the overall aesthetic of their big day!

Spruce Mountain Ranch:Is there a certain way that invitations should look (i.e. specific kinds of paper)?

Ann Marlin: There is not necessarily a certain way invitations need to look, but they should be well thought-through. This means taking into account the couple, their wedding style, and a cohesive look for all the pieces of the big day. I have so much fun with the wedding invitation process, and I love it when couples like to use different textures of paper, fun artwork, and shapes to make their invitations truly unique.

Avoiding Uncomfortable Situations-

Spruce Mountain Ranch: What are some invitation mishaps to avoid?

Ann Marlin: Procrastination in either ordering or mailing the invitations is a major mishap, as this can incur rush charges on ordering them, or it can require a quick turnaround for guests to send in their RSVP cards.

Spruce Mountain Ranch: How can a couple politely indicate whether or not children are invited to the wedding?

Ann Marlin: I suggest using a separate enclosure card that can list additional wedding details, such as the website. This card will usually indicate in a footnote that it is an adult-only event.

Spruce Mountain Ranch: If plus ones are not invited, what is the best way to indicate that to guests?

Ann Marlin: It is indicated on the mailing envelope who the invitation in intended for. This is the recipients name (i.e. Mr. John Smith). However, we find that guests sometime overlook this, and will still RSVP for two.

Preparing Guests-

Spruce Mountain Ranch: How should a couple prepare the guests for reception activities or other things they should keep in mind (For example, Spruce Mountain is a cattle ranch with lots of allergens, and guests commonly have to walk to the ceremony site. How does a couple indicate to guests to wear comfortable shoes and bring allergy medicine?)

Ann Marlin: This would be the perfect time to use an enclosure card that can list those items (allergy medicine and comfortable shoes), as well as mention that cellular service is limited at the ranch. I am currently printing invitations for a Spruce Mountain Ranch bride that say Boots are encouraged, but please leave the denim at home. Sweet reminders such as this can help guests plan ahead.

Final Words of Wisdom-

Spruce Mountain Ranch: What other advice do you have for couples in the invitation process?

Ann Marlin: I recommend having fun! Couples should allow enough time so they do not feel rushed. Also, I advise using the same style and colors from the wedding invitations in the day-of paper items, such as programs, escort cards, menus, and napkins. Carrying this theme through the day, and even the thank-you notes, will help the products seem even more consistent.

**Thank you to Ann Marlin of Cloud 9 Weddings and Papers for her expert advice! To contact Ann about planning or invitation services, reference the contact information below:

Phone: 720-570-1168

Website: www.cloud9bliss.com

Blog: www.cloud9bliss.com/blog

Spruce Mountain Ranch Elopement Package

Spruce Mountain Ranch is pleased to announce that we have a new on-site wedding package! For the couples looking for a quiet, simple affair, our Elopement Package is a wonderful option! Thus, we present our latest venue:

1. What timeslot would a wedding using the Elopement Package be scheduled for?

- Elopement Packages have a two hour time block that is usually scheduled from 10:00am-12:00pm.

2. Is there a specific day to schedule on?

- Elopement packages can be scheduled for any day of the week!

3. Where on the ranch does the Elopement Package wedding take place?

- Both the ceremony and the reception take place at Lakeview Terrace, a beautiful pavilion by Angus Lake that is perfect for intimate weddings. During Winter months, the Colorado Room is available for an indoor ceremony and reception.

4. Do tables and chairs need to be rented?

- All of the tables and chairs for this space, both for the ceremony and the reception, are included in the cost of the package.

5. Will caterers and bartenders be present?

- Caterers and bartenders will not be present for Elopement Package weddings; however, a two-tier cake and a champagne toast will be provided in the package for the reception following the ceremony.

6. How many guests can this venue support?

- The Elopement Package can accommodate up to 40 guests. If this number is exceeded, there will be an additional, per-guest charge.

7. Are flowers included?

- This package includes flowers for both the bride and groom. Flowers to decorate the two-tier cake are also provided.

8. How much time in advance of the wedding is necessary to book the Elopement Package?

- Couples can book their wedding at any time!


“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!