Photography: Mark Hayes Photography

As you may have already seen from the Husky Recaps, we hired Mark of Mark Hayes Photography to capture the meaningful moments of our wedding day.  I cannot speak enough praise for Mark’s professionalism, unique eye, and genuine passion for his craft.  After our pool hall engagement session, we had high expectations for our wedding photos, and he more than delivered!

(Mark Hayes Photography)

His services were very reasonable, and he was willing to negotiate with us on travel fees.  When our night ran a little late, and we hadn’t yet gotten to the nightcap, Mark and his second shooter Dain stuck around – Mark later told me he wouldn’t allow himself to leave before capturing the whole story.

(Mark Hayes Photography)

When our photos arrived, Mark took the time to meet with us to deliver our proof prints.  Most photography packages he offers include a full set of 4×6 proofs of every photo – in addition to the DVD of digital images.  We expected to receive around 600-700 images.  Instead, he arrived with over 1200!  And of the 1200+ photos we received, I would estimate there to be 25 that I don’t love.  Notice I said don’t love - not don’t like.  I know I’ve already shared a couple of these photos, but I love them too much to not share again.

(Mark Hayes Photography)

If you are in the Denver area – even if you’re not in the Denver area – I would recommend Mark 100%.

Music: Jubilee Hot 7

If you’ll recall, the music aspect of our wedding day was very important to me.  We used an iPod, and asked a dear friend to “deejay” for the ceremony music, and I had made playlists for pre-ceremony, post-ceremony, and happy hour.

(Photo of me adjusting the happy hour playlist volume, courtesy of Mark Hayes Photography)

However, for the reception, I wanted a live band.  I spent a great deal of my early planning days trying to find the right band to play during the reception.  After posting a request on Craigslist, I received a response from Jeremy Wendelin of the Jubilee Hot 7 – a seven piece, New Orleans-style jazz band.  I loved their sound, they were very reasonably priced, and they were even willing to compose a unique version of our first dance song.

(Mark Hayes Photography)

Hive, believe me when I tell you these folks were truly awesome.  Our first dance music was perfect, and every song after that had the dance floor packed.  We had a blast dancing well into the night, and Mr. H and I have subsequently received numerous comments about the energy and liveliness of the music.  It was straight-up FUN.

(Mark Hayes Photography)

While I didn’t do much research into a deejay, I don’t believe we paid much more for the Jubilee Hot 7 than we would have for the average deejay.  They provided their own sound equipment, and were gracious enough to let us use their mic for various announcements and toasts.  If you’re looking for a band in Denver, I would 100% recommend our band.  Even if you’re looking for a deejay, I would strongly urge you to consider the Jubilee Hot 7.  It was worth every single penny we paid them.

(Mark Hayes Photography)

Venue: Rancho San Carlos

The property on which our wedding was held was simply beautiful.  We couldn’t have designed a better backdrop for our ceremony.

(Mark Hayes Photography)

The wide expanses of open landscape set the scene for our sunset session.

(Mark Hayes Photography)

And while I have no regrets about our decision to get married at Rancho San Carlos, I do have a handful of complaints.  We were the only size-able wedding they have had at the property.  While this gave us a great deal of flexibility in how everything worked out, it also caused a bit of strife.

  • Between our first inquiry in November 2009, and the wedding itself held in October 2010, we had 4 different primary contacts for questions, requests, negotiations, etc.  This became very frustrating when trying to ensure a request we had made with contact #1 would be met by contact #4.
  • We found to be the property caretaker to be quite invasive.  On the day we arrived – one day before the wedding – he was constantly around, repeating information that we had already discussed with the previous contact.  When I informed him our DOC (dear friend L) was aware of this information, he told me he would talk to her directly – because he didn’t want me to “go all bride-zilla.”  Both Mr. Husky and I were informed several times that we should hurry up and get our wedding over with, so he could move into the main house – where we were staying during the period of our rental.  On the day of our wedding, he was out riding his four-wheeler up and down the dirt roads that wound around the property, kicking up dust and debris on our wedding guests and site.
  • When we arrived on-site, we were informed that the property’s dumpster was full.  We were instructed to place our garbage in the garage, but were later charged a significant portion of our deposit because some of the bags apparently leaked, as well as several other circumstantial issues.  I found this frustrating, because had the dumpster been available as promised, it never would have been an issue in the first place.

Now for the good:

  • Rancho San Carlos was, obviously, beautiful.  The house was spacious and well-equipped, and the rates were reasonable.  The four bathrooms on the property eliminated lines, or the need to rent a portable toilet.
  • The owners and caretakers were beyond helpful in making the property exactly what we wanted.  They rearranged and relocated hay bales, removed a play-set for our ceremony site, and much, much more.  When we discovered a soft spot in the barn’s floor during the previous day’s set-up, the caretaker immediately fixed the issue.
  • They allowed many of our guests to camp on the property.  This was huge for many of our guests that weren’t keen on paying for a hotel room, or imbibed a bit too much to drive themselves to one.

Would I recommend it for your wedding?  I’m not sure.  I love our wedding, and I love the location.  I did not love how much of our deposit they kept for reasons I believed to be unfair.  Ultimately, even with the lost deposit, it was less expensive than a “wedding venue” in Denver, but I’m not sure if the cost of hauling our stuff down there, paying for lodging, and the lack of a taxi service for our guests was worth it.  And, actually, I’m not even sure they offer it as a rental any longer.

Bridal Boutique: anna bé

I’ve talked about my experience purchasing a sample gown from anna bé, but not much about the experience of the boutique itself.

My sister and I went together, and found anna bé and its employees warm and inviting.  We were offered champagne to sip during our shopping.  The exposed brick second-story shop was full of gorgeous designer dresses, each of them more lovely than the last.  The large windows throughout flooded the place with bright, natural light.  Giant mirrors were placed throughout, so every angle of your dress is visible.

(personal crappy iPhone photo)

Even though my dress was purchased during a sample sale, I was always treated as if I were a full-price paying bride.  When I purchased the dress, I was misinformed that it would be pressed after alterations, free of charge.  When I found out this was a mistake, I called and spoke with Anna, who immediately told me they would press it – after all, they were only as good as their word.

I would recommend anna bé to other Denver brides.  They have a wonderful selection of gowns, and an even more wonderful staff to help you into them.

Alterations: Beverly Richardson

A wonderful woman named Beverly Richardson did the alterations for my dress.  Despite a moment of panic, Beverly made my dress hug every single curve in all the right places.  No small feat, considering it initially looked like this!

(personal photo)

anna bé can put you in contact with Beverly if you are interested.

Flowers: Costco/Family & Friends

All flowers were arranged by various friends and family members.  The majority were purchased directly from Costco.  I have no qualms about the look or quality of the Costco blooms.

Food: Family & Friends

Our amazing friends and family generously donated their time and energy into prepping, cooking and serving a wonderful feast.  Thanks, guys.  Truly.

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