From the Groom, TJ:
We chose Estes Park because we knew we wanted our wedding in the mountains. The area is home to Rocky Mountain National Park; the entrance was 1/4 mile from the venue. Everything in the natural environment of the Park was continued in our venue (natural landscape, massive rock faces, 200 year old pines, lots and lots of snow and bluebird days). Naturally, we fell in love with it.
As Sally was walking down the aisle, she was ready to cry. I could see that, and knew that my duty as the groom was to say the perfect thing to her. Unfortunately, I had no idea what that was, so I just told her, “Hold it together.” Luckily for me, it worked, she had no second thoughts and I got to make her my bride a few minutes later.
We got married on one of the coldest days of the year, so it was very much an indoor affair. The ceremony presided over by an Air Force chaplain. We used parts of the lyrics to Neil Young’s “Down by the River” in our vows because (a) Neil Young is awesome and (b) “Be on my side, I’ll be on your side” and “Take My Hand, I’ll take yours” are actions of love and commitment. The song also includes the lyrics “Down by the River/ I shot my baby,” so we had to be a little selective about which parts to use.
Our décor was earthy. We used flagstones with wine bottles, aspen branches, and some glass icicles on the centerpieces.
We used a cake topper that is 3rd generation. It was on my grandparents’ wedding cake, my parents, and now mine.
Looking Back: Starting with a big decision by picking the venue first was the most helpful to our planning. Once we had a room in which we could picture getting married, we were able to build every other decision around that. Also, working with the look of the room helped us eliminate a lot of different ideas and options that were appealing, but just wouldn’t fit. We kind of shot from the hip in terms of a budget. I would recommend doing a little research beforehand, setting a reasonable budget for your means and what you want, then sticking to it.
TJ & Sally’s
Venue: Della Terra Mountain Chateau. Unforgettable location, and the amenities of staying there are really incredible. It was also nice to have the place to ourselves and to know that the venue specializes in weddings. That meant that they helped us avoid some common pitfalls and had a number of tools (like tableware and linens) that we didn’t have to seek out from another spot.
Photographer: Stacey M Photography. Stacey took incredible photos and she was quick on her turn-around so we could see them. Couldn’t have asked for more from her.
Band/Musicians: Trout Steak Revival. They rocked our socks off! And learned a couple songs just for us.
Cake: Sweet Daphne Confections. Amazing cupcakes and variety.
Honeymoon Location: We hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. We booked through Inca Trail Reservations and found them to be very easy to work with.