finding an outdoor inexpensive venue in colorado??

The date is for 2015, I wanted plenty of time to save up so I have my dream wedding (i'm also having my dress made so I need time and money for that). I wanted an outside evening reception, and indoor or outdoor ceremony. It would be better if it was in the same place, but I'm having a hard time finding a place that is under $2000 and allows you to decorate. I'm very much a DIY person, and would love to string lights outside and butterflies in colored lit lanterns (battery candles-I know there's a fire ban) on the grass, stuff like that. I want to be able to decorate the way I see it in my mind (not overdone but it would be nice to use some of my ideas). But finding a venue that's within budget and requires you to use their caterer (my mom's cooking is just fine) and not decorate or touch anything is becoming harder and harder. I almost cried last night because I was so disappointed at the lack of selection in Colorado, I mean it's Colorado!!!! I'm open to suggestions, please help!

Re: finding an outdoor inexpensive venue in colorado??

  • The AA Barn in Grand Lake rents for $100 a day through the forest service.  If you rented a house in town you'd have the kitchen for your mom to do all the cooking.
  • The Maroon Bells Amphitheater would be great.  You just have to book through the website. 
  • My niece got married at McC Ranch in Masonville (near Loveland).  Not sure of the cost but remember them saying it was quite reasonable, they don't have a website so you would have to call them directly.  Beautiful ceremony location, and they were able to use the facility for 4 days for pre-decorating through clean-up.

    However, depending on the number of guests, I would suggest finding a low-cost caterer rather than having your Mom do all the cooking.  That's a lot to ask, because it's not just the cooking, it's the shopping and preparation, it's also transporting all the food, setting it up, keeping it hot/cold, serving, cleaning up.  A whole lot of work when your Mom should be helping you get ready and enjoy your day.  (Just my opinion, as a mother-of-bride myself).  (Another story, I know a MOB who did the cooking to cut costs, but when doing the clean-up - in her pretty dress, no less - she missed the cake cutting AND the father/daughter dance.)  Just something to think about.
  • I'm not sure what you consider "low budget," but I can recommend my venue in Granby, Colorado. It's Strawberry Creek Ranch. They have different prices depending on if you just want to use the site and bring in all of your own tables and chairs, or if you prefer to do a more all inclusive price which includes tables and chairs. The best part is you can literally use and vendors you want (even bringing in your own alcohol!). Shoot them an email or give them a call. They're super helpful. Here's the blog I wrote about the venue ( as well as a direct link to their website ( 

    They do allow decorating, but you can't use nails, staples, etc. and can only use drafting tape as an adhesive because it doesn't ruin the walls/pillars. 

    Also, as far as catering goes, we're having a BBQ dinner (brisket, chicken, mac-n-cheese, salad, baked beans, and even a BBQ nacho bar for appetizers during cocktail hour) - all for just over $3,000 for 125 people. It's from The Smokehouse in Winter Park which is close to the venue so we aren't being charged travel fees. To me, that's money well spent for my mom not stressing about cooking and also not having to deal with cleanup :)

    Hope that helps!! Best of luck with your planning!
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