Choosing the Best Wedding Venues:
Advantages of different Denver wedding locations
One of the first decisions you have to make after becoming engaged is deciding where you would like your wedding ceremony and reception to take place. You have literally hundreds of wedding ceremony and reception venues to choose from. What is a wedding reception that best fits your vision? To save time and stress, it's a good idea to spend a few minutes together thinking about what kinds of wedding locations and rental halls you might want for these back-to-back events. You may already have an idea of a direction you want to go, but the following list of advantages and disadvantages for each kind of wedding ceremony and reception facility may help bring more clarity to your decision-making process.
For the wedding ceremony venues, you can choose to go to a church or a wedding chapel. A timelessly beautiful church building is ideal to create a spiritual ambience for your ceremony and to convey a sense to your friends and family —and each other— of the sacredness of your union.
People who don't want a religious or spiritual "backdrop" for their weddings may choose instead to have their ceremony at the same place they're having their reception. Others, especially those who love Colorado's mountains, may prefer an outdoor location. Still others may choose to have a casual wedding and reception at their home, or the home of a friend or family member.
Before looking for places to get married, it's good to ask: what would be the location of your dreams? You may think your dream site is too expensive, but the ways to save on wedding costs may surprise you. We'll will alert you to possible "hidden" or unexpected expenses that often crop up when people go to what seems like a less expensive location. Your wedding can be everything you want it to be!
Church Wedding Venues
- It's perfect if both the bride and groom are already practicing members of that church.
- The base rental cost is usually low.
- It can be difficult or impossible to get permission to have your wedding in most churches unless you are a member.
- Religious conversion or at least extensive counseling is usually required.
- In interfaith marriages, the person who is not a member (and her/his family) feels left out, and has less say in the ceremony.
They are not usually equipped with wedding decorations, which can cost
hundreds of dollars to rent. By the time the "extras" are brought in,
the ceremony can cost four or five times more than was originally anticipated.
- If you also want the reception there, you are usually forbidden from having any alcohol, even for a champagne toast, and you're on your own when it comes to such major logistics as cleanup.
- The church may not have a center aisle, may be too big for your guest list, may have no pews or stained/beveled glass, may look gloomy, or otherwise be inappropriate for a wedding ceremony.
Nondenominational Chapel Wedding Venues
(like Foothills Wedding Chapel Golden Colorado)
- All faiths are welcome; everyone has an equal say and both families feel welcome.
The wedding ceremony will have a spiritual/religious quality to it without
requiring that both
- Chapels can be beautiful settings, with a traditional "feel" to the place.
- Wedding decor is easily available (ask if there are surcharges for the use of this decor), greatly reducing wedding planning stress.
- Full-time wedding chapels often have assistants on hand to help you with every aspect of wedding planning, so you'll feel more supported every step of the way.
- The architecture of a church building lends itself well to the sacredness of the event.
- If you are a member of an active congregation, the church building where you worship may not be the ideal location for your wedding. For maximum beauty, or simply to fit all your guests in, ask your minister if he or she is willing to perform your ceremony at Foothills Chapel.
- Wedding chapels are so popular, it's a good idea to reserve them early or at least be flexible with your times.
- Some traditional churches are reluctant to recognize and bless a nondenominational wedding.
- People with anti-religious sentiments may feel more comfortable in a banquet room.
- People who love The Great Outdoors may prefer an outdoor setting.
- Even nondenominational chapels may have extensive religious symbols if they were once a church: permanent crucifixes or highly denominational stained glass, for example, which may conflict with the beliefs of the couple, family and friends.
- If the reception hall is more than 30 minutes away from the chapel, guests will complain. However, research has shown that guests generally do not mind a drive of 30 minutes or less from the chapel to the reception facility.
Reception Halls/Banquet Rooms/Wedding Venues
- A totally nonreligious, nonspiritual wedding is best held in an overtly secular setting.
- It's convenient to have the wedding and reception at the same place.
- It may appear that you can save money by not renting out a church or wedding chapel.
- Many reception facilities add a substantial surcharge (sometimes hundreds of dollars) when you're having your wedding as well as your reception hours.
- Reception halls specialize in receptions, not in weddings. Country clubs specialize in serving their members, and wedding business is secondary for them. That means the ceremony can be less important, and less carefully tended to, than the reception.
- Guests may have a hard time finding where the wedding is, especially at some of the larger hotels, and may miss the ceremony entirely as a result.
- Hotels are often designed to serve both corporate meetings and parties of all kinds. As a result, many of them have a sterile, "corporate" feel. Whenever looking at a location, stop, look around a bit, and ask yourself, does this place look and feel like the place I really want to get married in?
- The wedding is often set up in the corner of the hall, or near the bar, and is not necessarily the most attractive setting. To make it as beautiful as you would like it to be, you may have to rent more wedding supplies for hundreds of dollars. Then, as soon as the ceremony is over, the workers have to move the guests out, knock down all the chairs, and rearrange the room for the reception. Many reception halls actively recommend Foothills Chapel because they know we can do a better job with the ceremony, and we make it easier for them to do what they do best.
- The ceremony site may be noisy. In metro Denver, our ministers have seen weddings take place next to a bar, by a busy street or highway, in an amusement park next to a tooting train ride, in hotel lobbies full of patrons checking in and out, in restaurants where diners have interrupted the wedding looking for their waiter, by artificial indoor waterfalls where no one can hear the officiate, and other locations which are definitely not conducive to a quiet wedding ceremony. Ask about noise issues! Remember, too, outside noise is generally not a problem for your celebratory reception, and some facilities which are bad for weddings are ideal for receptions.
- The formal photographs will look much more impressive at a chapel or church than at a reception hall, in many cases. Having both a chapel and reception hall also gives a much more interesting mix of backdrops for your photos.
- Family members who are used to church weddings will be much more comfortable with a church/chapel setting.
- When you are shown where your wedding ceremony would take place, ask yourself, "Is this the location I have always dreamed of for my wedding?"
Parks and Outdoor Wedding Venue Locations
- Couples who enjoy the great outdoors often feel that a mountain setting will better reflect their love of nature.
- It may appear to be less expensive. Getting a permit to rent a group of covered picnic tables is indeed inexpensive, so be sure you get the permit if it is possible to do so in the location of your choice.
- Our ministers have had outdoor weddings that have been interrupted by rain, snow, sleet, hail, extreme wind, flooding, blasts of arctic air, even a tornado. It is essential that there be an indoor backup plan for every outdoor wedding!
- If you have a permit, it guarantees your space in a park, but you also have to enforce that by coming early and chasing others away.
- Even with a permit, there is no controlling dogs, nearby frisbee games, and other distractions. Generally, however, other people do respect the space immediately surrounding a wedding.
- Parks can be very noisy: boom boxes, noisy children and teenagers, souped-up cars cruising by, barking dogs, soccer games, etc.
- If you go higher up into the mountains, you can enjoy more isolation. Brides and grooms who are used to hiking together will often find a special spot, say, 1/4 mile away from the parking lot. When they get there, the older family members and other guests in high-heeled shoes will have a surprisingly difficult time getting to the chosen site. Some have also quickly become severely sunburned.
- Be very careful to ask guests if they anticipate any problems with high elevation. We Coloradans are used to it, but our ministers have performed outdoor weddings at 10,000-13,000 feet in elevation and have seen guests carrying oxygen tanks along with them. Some of these people have had actual medical crises at such high elevations. Even normal people, flying in from sea level, are highly susceptible to severe headaches and other symptoms of altitude sickness when the wedding is in a mountain setting.
- If you are hoping to save money by having an outdoor wedding, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. If the reception is a potluck at a park, you can indeed save money. But unless there are only a dozen or so in attendance, most people have to rent and buy equipment to make their outdoor wedding workable for their guests. See the section on "Homes and Back Yards" for more information on renting things for your wedding.
Homes and Back Yards
- A home wedding is ideal for people who are looking for a casual, informal setting. The "reception" afterwards can be more like a fun, easygoing party.
- If your wedding is very small, you can have it indoors or outdoors and save money.
- Whoever is hosting the wedding will have to spend a lot of time preparing for it, and even more time cleaning up afterwards. Be sure the host understands this!
- If you have more than a dozen people in attendance, in most cases you will have to rent a tent to be sure the guests are at least somewhat protected from the elements. Our ministers have seen tents and archways get blown always blow out.
- We have also seen some families "overdo" it, hosting the wedding and then feeling compelled to do extensive landscaping, fencing, etc.
- Back yard weddings are often interrupted by the next door neighbor's barking dog, nearby roofers, construction work in general, lawn mowing (which is very popular on weekends!), and other noises of the neighborhood. Neighborhoods are generally at their noisiest on Saturdays; the second noisiest time of the week is generally Sunday afternoons.
- Many people who decide on a back yard wedding are shocked at the final cost. Family members, eager to add a little "class" to the event, will want to create a setting that is more than just a bare backyard. Because of weather, a tent is essential. If you have to rent supplies, here are some examples of how much you can expect to pay for the wedding supplies you're not likely to have on hand:
Sample Rental Costs for an Outdoor Wedding
Outdoor Tent: $500-$2100
Purchase of plastic plates, napkins and cutlery $1 per person
Large BBQ Grill: $70
Rental of china, crystal, cloth napkins, cutlery $2-6/person
Large cooking pots: $15
Coffee pots: $30
Candelabras (2): $50
Vases for flowers (2): $50
Registry bookstand: $20
White lattice screen: $30
Skirting: $21 per table
Tent lighting: $30per light
Tables (8 guests each): $9 each
Where Do You Want Your Wedding Venue?
We hope this information has been helpful. If price is a concern for you on your wedding day, be sure you uncover all the "hidden costs" before making a decision. Foothills Chapel's prices include so many extras, we truly believe we are one of the greatest values you'll find anywhere in the state.
More importantly, your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you want to have your wedding outdoors or at a reception hall, now you at least know what to look out for. But, if you want a beautiful wedding in a photogenic, inspiring church or chapel, we can help you make that dream come true, usually for no more money than it costs to have your wedding at a noisier, less attractive location. You don't have to settle for second-best!