Our Estes Park, CO wedding was absolutely gorgeous. I’m sharing all of the details from our cocktail hour and wedding reception at SkyView at Fall River Village.
After our wedding ceremony, which you can read about here, our guests enjoyed a cocktail hour in the same location as our ceremony, on the deck at SkyView at Fall River Village.
Because the views from the deck were so stunning, we wanted our guests to be able to enjoy them a little longer with a cocktail hour. It was pretty warm, about 90°, so many people hung out around the shaded bar where there were high top tables and bar snacks (mixed nuts and snack mix).
During the cocktail hour, we did some posed photos with our photographer. We had initially decided to do posed photos with our immediate families and extended family that attended the wedding. But our photographer suggested that we do posed photos with everyone since our wedding was so small. I’m so glad she made that suggestion because there weren’t many photos taken by guests during the reception. It was nice to have photos of us with everyone who shared our day with us.
As the sun was beginning to set, our photographer took some additional photos of my husband and I. They were absolutely beautiful.
We had an open bar at our cocktail hour (and for our entire wedding). My husband and I bought all of the wine and liquor for our wedding at Costco and we hired a bartender from our caterer. It was much more cost effective than hiring a bartending company. And we ended up having quite a bit of booze leftover, which was totally fine because we took it home with us and have been drinking it since our wedding.
After the cocktail hour, our guests made their way to the reception hall at SkyView. The reception area had huge windows and was on the floor below the deck so we had the same beautiful views as our cocktail hour.
We kept the decor super simple because the space and the mountain views were already gorgeous. The only thing we had was centerpieces that our florist put together and a simple gift/guest book table.
The only thing I DIY’d for the wedding was this photo display. I bought a frame and took out the backing, glued on some twine and eucalyptus, and used tiny clothes pins to pin on photos. I printed the photos from FoxPrint as retro style prints so they looked like Polaroids. I wrote on the white space when and where the photos were taken.
When I was printing them, I had a hard time choosing just a few photos for the display and I ended up printing about 100 photos. I didn’t have any plans for the extra photos, but I brought them anyway.
We ordered our guest book from Etsy and had a glass box that I bought from Target for cards from guests. We also had a framed photo of some artwork that a friend made after our dog, Coda, died. The venue provided the tablecloth and the wood paneling.
My husband and I didn’t want us or our guests to have to do much set up for our wedding. We wanted everyone to just show up and have a good time. Our florist did the flower arrangements and my sister-in-law went to the venue the afternoon of the wedding to set up the gift/guest book table.
My sister-in-law ended up using the extra printed photos on the tables after she saw that the flower arrangements were small. I’ll be honest, the flower arrangements weren’t exactly what we thought we were getting. We didn’t want any vases because we wanted to keep things organic and natural looking. But we were hoping for a more lush arrangement. The arrangements also didn’t have the flowers that we had initially talked about with our florist. We didn’t want any roses.
On the other hand, my wedding bouquet was exactly what we wanted. It was so pretty. We had hoped our table flower arrangements would look just like my bouquet with the same flowers.
I arrived at the venue 20 minute before our ceremony and saw the flowers, and I was like, whatever. I wasn’t going to let flowers ruin our wedding day. But after we got home from Colorado, I did call the florist to talk to her about it. She was very apologetic and willing to offer a partial refund (which we didn’t accept). In the grand scheme of things our wedding flowers weren’t a big deal.
We didn’t do a grand entrance for the reception. We kept it casual and just walked in behind our guests.
We had a sweetheart table since we didn’t have a wedding party. Our florist used my bouquet as part of the centerpiece.
We did a buffet-style dinner of barbecue chicken and pork shoulder, green salad, Brussels sprouts, and macaroni and cheese. When we first started wedding planning, I cared a lot about our menu. I had a vision of having a Colorado inspired farm-to-table menu. Then I realized how expensive wedding food is and we started talking about what our guests would enjoy the most. In the end, I was happy with the food. Everything was delicious and we got a lot of compliments about the food from our guests.
Jubilations Catering was also amazing to work given that we hired them last minute. Our original wedding venue caught fire two and a half months before our wedding. That venue had in-house catering, so we had to find a new wedding venue and a new caterer less than three months before our wedding.
During dinner, my husband, my dad, my husband’s step-mom, and my friend, Rachel, gave speeches that were so heartfelt and sweet. We kept the plan for speeches pretty casual. We had mentioned to our parents that they could give speeches if they wanted. Since we didn’t have a wedding party, we were open to any of our guests saying a few words if they wanted.
After dinner, everyone mingled for awhile. There was a beautiful balcony with seating areas and fire pits, so lots of people headed outside. I wish there were photos of our guests on the balcony in the seating areas because they were so cozy and cute.
Our cakes might have been the biggest hit at our reception. Our friend, Beth, who was one of our officiants, owns the company What the Dickens Bakery in Hastings, NE. It’s a British-style bakery, so the cakes were more dense and flavorful than traditional American wedding cakes.
We had her make our cakes and transport them to Colorado. She insisted that it was doable! Luckily, the cakes arrived with no problems. And they were so delicious.
My husband doesn’t like frosting and I really love the look of naked cakes, so we opted for really simple translucent cakes. We also decided not to do a tiered cake, and did three different sized cakes on separate cake stands. Our florist did the flower arrangements on the cakes, and they weren’t exactly what we were hoping for. We had envisioned more greenery and flowers around the edges and on top of the cakes along with more flowers around the cake stands on the tables. Again, it wasn’t a huge deal and I spoke to our florist about it. The cakes were delicious nonetheless.
We had a lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream frosting and a marble cake with buttercream frosting.
We didn’t plan a dance for our reception. Because we only had 43 guests, I was worried that if we tried to have a dance it would end up being this super awkward situation where people felt like they should dance or a situation where there’s only a couple of people dancing. We decided to have a playlist with fun, upbeat music playing during the reception and let dancing happen organically or not.
Let me clarify, my husband was in charge of all the music for our wedding. He made playlists with different vibes for our cocktail hour, dinner and reception.
Eventually, a couple of the kids started dancing. Then lots of people started dancing, and we all danced until the end of the reception. It was super fun. Our photographer left before the dancing began, so we don’t have many photos of the last couple of hours of our reception. She had to drive to Nebraska to shoot another wedding the next day!
Our wedding reception was so much fun and incredibly beautiful. I didn’t want it to end. After the reception was over, we all gathered at a fire pit near our condos at Fall River Village. We drank champagne and continued the fun.
Here are some of our wedding details:
Photographer – Deana Johnson Photography, Omaha, NE
Flowers – Best Day Floral, Johnstown, CO
Caterer – Jubilation Catering, Estes Park, CO
Guest Book – Etsy
Cake Topper – Etsy
Hair/Makeup – Amy Merritt Hair and Makeup, Boulder, CO
Suit – Men’s Wearhouse
Groom’s Shoes – Thursday Boot Company
Here are other posts about our wedding: