Help! Plan $10K Wedding in 5 Months

We initially had everything booked at Sylvan Dale Ranch, which was destroyed by the floods and will be unable to rebuild and host a wedding in that time. There were so many things we loved about that place that it seemed too good to be true! I have been hunting around since we received the news, but just cannot seem to get it together and time is running out! I know we will likely have to compromise on some things at a new location, but below I'll outline our "ideals." I'll welcome your suggestions that come close (or creative alternatives) with open arms!

General - Destination, Casual
We're very casual people and we want this vibe echoed throughout all of our events. This is also a destination wedding for most of our guests and we want to have as much "together/hangout" time as possible. This is why we initially chose to do a casual Welcome party instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner. For a Farewell breakfast we were in the process of hiring a food truck for coffee and breakfast burritos.

Guest Count
Currently we're at 70. We're still waiting to hear back from a couple groups, but even if all decided to come it wouldn't bring us over ~85 tops.

April 19th, 2014. Nothing was particularly special about this date for us. We chose it based on availability. However, since this is a destination wedding for most of our guests, we want to keep this date the same since they've known about it and could've made their travel plans already based on it.

Our target is everything for $10k. However, if we could just do the Ceremony/Reception events for that, we're open to nixing the Welcome and Farewell events, or maybe increasing the budget by $1k for each one.

All-in-one! At SDR once our guests arrived, they did not need to drive to any other location for any of the wedding events (Welcome party, Ceremony, Reception, Farewell breakfast). Lodging was on-site for the wedding events, as well as there were other options for things to do right there- horseback riding, fishing, hiking - or very close - Fort Collins for shopping, breweries, night life, etc.

To get the awesome outdoor/ranch experience in the Front Range without venturing west onto mountain roads was huge! We know there are absolutely lovely ranches all over, but we've heard about CO's unpredictable April weather and we don't want to risk a venue in the mountains where snow/weather might close the major/only access to it.

We also don't want folks to have to drive more than about an hour and a half outside of Denver.

We would love to have an outdoor ceremony (especially with that mountainous CO backdrop!), but with an indoor backup/plan due to CO's unpredictable weather in April. We will have something short and informal. We don't want to have this in any kind of church/temple/etc.

We're not set on indoor or outdoor, but since it can get chilly at night, indoor might just be easier in that regard. We plan to do this informal as well. No assigned seating. Probably either food stations or buffet-style. Very much a backyard or beach bbq vibe.


As a backup, I've been looking in more urban settings because I'd rather guests not have to drive around between the events and lodging, thus sacrificing the outdoorsy/ranch experience. Since into the mountains is out because of potential bad weather-related road closures and generally poor travel conditions, I've found that basically narrows it down to Denver, Boulder, or Fort Collins. They are all great cities, with lots of options for things to do and lodging. Let me know if I may be missing a place, though.

I tried to be as thorough as possible, but let me know if some piece of information I might've missed will be helpful to you in making a suggestion. Any and all information would be so incredibly welcome, as basically planning two weddings for the price in the time of one is starting to really burn me out!

Re: Help! Plan $10K Wedding in 5 Months

  • I'm so sorry to hear about your venue.  Did they cancel on you knowing they won't be ready or are you backing out just in case? We're planned to get married at planet bluegrass ranch in Lyons, CO on June 7th.  It's a mess but they say they'll be ready for the brides in May. I'm skeptical, but if they say they'll be ready, they wouldn't want to mess with angry brides, right?

    I'm guessing you've looked on the website for their venues they refer you to? Have you checked out Peaceful Valley Ranch in Lyons?  It looks beautiful-- but I'm not sure if you can bring in your own food, etc.  so not sure if it meets your 10,000 budget.  If you're not dead set on having guests lodge at your venue- there are a ton of barns in Longmont/Hygiene area.  Wishing you all the best!  What a crazy time for everyone.

  • Have you contacted Save my Colorado Wedding? I know they are helping a lot of couples displaced by the flooding.

    Google "Save My Colorado Wedding" they have a Facebook page set up.

    They might be a good initial resource at least as they are gathering as many vendors together as possible to help.

    Best of luck!
  • Ellis Ranch in Loveland
    McCreery House in Loveland
    Lincoln Center in Fort Collins

    These venues are pretty affordable, however none of them are all-inclusive.

    We looked at Stonebrook Manor in Thornton for all-inclusive, beautiful venue but kinda pricey (unless you were getting married on a Tuesday at noon LOL)
  • YMCA in Estes or Winter Park (Snow Mountain Ranch), I looked at both and went with SMR.  We too have a lot of people coming in from out of town so it's great that people can stay on site and we are hosting a Welcome Dinner and Farewell Breakfast in a Reunion Cabin.  You could easily stay at your budget with either place.
  • Tapestry house in Fort Collins, Budweiser event center in Loveland, Ellis ranch in Loveland,
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