Getting Creative in ColoradoWords by Carolyn Steere
There is no doubt we are navigating uncharted territory when it comes to planning a destination wedding. With international travel largely on hold, many couples are feeling more comfortable staying closer to home. Finding venues that are taking appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of their guests while not compromising their dream of hosting an amazing destination wedding experience is the goal. So, it is time to get creative and we found an amazing gem in Colorado Springs, Colorado…. well worth consideration.
Colorado enjoys over 300 days of sunshine and in the summer, and when temperatures soar elsewhere, you can count on it being cool and comfortable. The autumn, with the changing colors of mountain Aspen trees, the vistas are even more spectacular, and winter turns Colorado into America’s playground. Colorado Springs is easily accessible, with its local airport or through Denver International Airport, about 1 ½ hour drive. This mid-sized city is nestled against the foothills of the Rockies and is beautiful regardless of the season. A great place to consider hosting your wedding or enjoying your honeymoon in Colorado Springs is the Garden of the Gods Resort and Club.
As you enter the lobby of this historic property, your eyes are immediately drawn to the amazing view of the dramatic red rock spires of the Garden of the Gods and majestic Pikes Peak in the distance. This breathtaking view is center place wherever you are on the property, including the guestrooms, restaurants and particularly the adult infinity pool. Warm hospitality and exceptional service is their standard, making you feel right at home.
The wedding ceremony and reception sites can accommodate both small, intimate events and large gatherings. Most couples choose the lawn around the historic reflection pool (built in 1951) for the ceremony, with its unobstructed backdrop of the iconic Garden of the Gods but there is also the South Lawn, which is perfect or weddings with fewer than 100 guests. The elegant Three Graces Terrace and Ballroom is the largest venue, perfect for up to 250 guests with its large patio, water features and magnificent fireplace. Kissing Camels (named after one of the famous outcroppings at the Garden of the Gods) has a wraparound patio with views of the golf course as well as the same breathtaking view as the main resort. Of course, a Plan “B” in case of an afternoon thunderstorm is important and there are numerous options on property that still feature the amazing views.
When it comes to activities to entertain your guests, there are plentiful choices right on property including an 8,000 square foot fitness center, a 27-hole champion golf course, indoor and outdoor tennis and pickle ball courts and a family recreation center that offers great kid’s activities. STRATA Integrated Wellness and Spa offers both pampering and therapeutic spa, salon and wellness experiences. The comfy guest rooms and suites within the main building all have in-room fireplaces, private balconies and every amenity one could ask for. The 1-3-bedroom cottages and casitas are perfect for accommodating and entertaining families and wedding parties.
We asked Kendra Van Ness, the Senior Catering Sales Manager how the Garden of the Gods Resort and Club was adapting to COVID and she had some great insight. In addition to following all of the recommended protocols, she said “We have instilled a socially-distanced wedding philosophy. We have learned that while timing for easing of face masks and social distancing is an unknown, our team can plan ahead based on today’s knowledge and evolving updates to help keep everyone safe while attending a wedding or celebration. The main reason for a wedding is to marry your soul mate and celebrate with your family and friends, and you can still do that with social distancing and face masks, it will just look a little different. Often during weddings, guests mostly congregate in their close social networks during cocktail hours and in dancing, so we are very much aligning with that social behavior on a more intimate scale. We have also encouraged our couples to have fun and get creative with specialty face masks as party favors for the weekend. Specialty dancing can still happen of course, but some couples are opting for variations such as trivia, karaoke, table dance offs, background music with live entertainers or even a comedian as examples. Since we cannot predict the future as to when social distancing and face masks will end, we are choosing to make lemonade out of lemons and remember that the true meaning of these wondrous milestones is to get married and celebrate in the company of cherished loved ones.”
Here is her advice for couples planning a destination wedding in the near future, “For the remainder of 2020, if you are contemplating a destination wedding, I love the idea of a micro wedding! Use the opportunity to treat a smaller, more intimate group of close family and friends to a wedding weekend at a hotel or resort. With the same budget for a (200) person wedding, use it towards a wedding for less than (50) people. Take care of their entire stay and plan an entire weekend of activities with ideas of spa appointments, golf, hiking, dining, pool outings and more. Make it a wedding getaway that you nor your guests will ever forget by spending valuable quality time with those closest to you!”
If you are looking for a setting that is the perfect blend of bliss and play, nature and culture, safety and convenience, the Garden of the Gods Resort and Club checks all the boxes. For more information go to gardenofthegodsresort.com.
Images courtesy of (in order of appearance): Cayton Photography (1st); Garden of the Gods Resort and Club (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th); Cat Murphy Photography (8th); Allison Easterling Photography (9th); Katie Corinne Photography (10th)
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