Bride: Kimberly Conrad
Groom: Benjamin Saari
Wedding Date: Aug. 19, 2006
Wedding Location: Steamboat Ski Area overlooking Yampa Valley
Reception Location: Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel
Honeymoon Location: California to see Red Hot Chili Peppers concert (Kimberly's favorite band) and to stay at The Standard (Kimberly's favorite hotel in Los Angeles) before flying to Moorea in French Polynesia.
Florist: Steamboat Floral & Gifts
Photographer: Cheryl B. Wiles
Makeup: Cari Ann Gelbart from Steamboat Springs
Hair: Mila Lamberson, Molly and Kate Mintun of Steamboat Springs
Wedding planner: Jill Waldman of The Main Event of Steamboat Springs
Cake: Jean Wernig
Dress: Monique Luhillier from Saks Fifth Avenue
What was unique about your wedding?
The pre-wedding festivities were so much fun. All the girls, including moms and aunts took the gondola up about three hours before the ceremony, and we had our hair and make-up done at The Stoker. It was such a good time to have fun and just enjoy the day with my family and friends. We walked down the aisle to "At Last," played by Andy Pratt and Steve Boynton. Our dogs were also part of our ceremony, our lab, Luca, was the ring bearer and our pug, Jack, was his assistant. Many of our guests were from back East, so this was a very different kind of wedding for them. Taking the gondola to the ceremony was truly special for everyone, as well as the beautiful sunset cocktail party on the balcony overlooking the Yampa Valley. For an extra touch, our tables at the reception were named after ski runs such as Buddy's Run. Jeanne Dudley Smith, a close family friend from Nashville embroidered my initials on the veil and embroidered the wedding date on the blusher. She helped get me dressed and was a big part of the pre-ceremony festivities. She also designed my two junior bridesmaid dresses. Smith designed Reese Witherspoon's wedding dress in 1999. We also used a vintage typewriter as our "sign" in book. I loved it and framed it like a Chinese scroll!
Why did you select Steamboat?
I have been coming here with my family for over 15 years, and this is where I met Ben in 1998. He was managing a ski shop, and I went in to rent a board with my father. Next thing I knew I had a board and a lesson the next morning. We were friends for a long time, and then everything fell into place Christmas 2004. We had not seen each other in over 3 years and it was kizmit! We were engaged the following summer. When we were planning the wedding, the only thing Ben asked was if we could have the ceremony on top of the mountain. It is such a big part of our lives; how we met and were we live. How could I resist! - Kimberly Conrad Saari
Bride: Wendy Smith
Groom: Chris Puckett
Wedding date: Sept. 24, 1999
Location of wedding: Steamboat Springs, top of gondola deck
Reception location: Thunderhead Lodge top level
Honeymoon location: Maui, Hawaii
Photographer: Nathon Bilow
Florist: Steamboat Floral
Caterer: Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation (they cater events on mountain)
Wedding planner: the bride (with help from Ski Corp.)
What was something unique about your wedding?
A good friend married us. He knew us well and kept it brief and meaningful with tears and humor. We had a great assortment of close friends and family, a great band, and a margarita fountain, which we rented from Party Smart as a punch fountain. Our out-of-town friends and family thought it was really cool to ride up the gondola to a sunset wedding in the fall and just walk inside for the reception. We didn't want to have to drive anywhere else. The people invited fed off the energy of the night to make it memorable - people who wanted to dance, laugh, cry and celebrate. Make sure the list of wedding guests is filled with people with the best energy you can imagine and not diluted too much by distant relatives who aren't really connected to you.
Did Chris' proposal catch you by surprise?
Chris had gotten badly injured in a World Cup race and was home recovering when he proposed. He decided to surprise me and had arranged a trip to the Stanley Hostel in Estes Park. (We were living in Boulder at the time). In order to get me in the car the morning after a long business trip in January, he decided to convince me that we really needed to go recycling (instantly weird) and then we headed out of town, and I sort of panicked. He explained that he wanted to surprise me and I should relax, trust and enjoy. Well, of course a girl can't relax not knowing if she had more than the clothes on her back. I asked about mascara, nicer clothes, lotions, brush, running shoes (in case). Anyway, by the time we sat down to the big elegant dinner for the proposal, I had no makeup on, in fact, when I smiled, my face was so dry from a lack of potions and lotions that I remember it feeling like it cracked in half. I also had squirrel's nest hair, a dress he'd found from the back of my closet that was made for summer, florescent bare legs and arms and shoes with no personality, and lingerie that still had the tags on them because I'd never wear anything that uncomfortable. They were a joke from my wedding shower, but Chris must have thought they looked intriguing in the back of my dresser drawer. I was so cold from my limited attire that I asked to wear his blazer, which of course had the ring in it. He panicked about that as he "crutched" over to me fumbling in his jacket pocket. Regardless, when he finally asked, it was perfect. The moral of the wedding activities is don't sweat the details. When you've found your match, that overrides all else.
- Wendy Puckett
Bride: Karen Lee Mansmann
Groom: Gregory Scott Couchoud
Wedding Date: Nov. 30, 1996
Wedding location: Rockland Community Church, Golden
Reception location: Mt. Vernon Country Club, Golden
Honeymoon location: Royal Caribbean Cruise to St. Martin, Barbados and St. John's
I will never forget my birthday "date" that Greg took me on. He took me to Denver to dinner and a play - a musical - "Miss Saigon." Greg was a nice guy, a real nice guy. He got his hair cut and cleaned up real nice. I remember saying many times, "You are hot." After the play was over and we walked back to the car, I asked him to kiss me in the parking lot. It was one of those kisses that knock you off your feet. I think I was more shocked that my 'nothing special new friend' could kiss. We started dating in late April, and in August we were talking about my living situation. I said I needed a new apartment, and Greg said, in front of his mom, "Live with me." I said something to the effect of "I won't be married before I am married." So he said "so : marry me." His mother yelled, "I heard it," and I said, 'It means nothing without a ring." I know that this stays true to the nut case that I am, but I was asked a few times before but never with a ring, so I was a bit callused. That day, we went to Costco to buy something. I don't remember what, but I walked out with my first wedding ring. Did you catch that? My first wedding ring. I think I am on my third edition. I am not the sentimental type, thankfully, or I wouldn't ever forgive him for my unromantic proposal.
What went wrong at the wedding?
Because I'm so thankful to the power of prayer, I learned to pray a lot to pull off a wedding in 90 days. Between pre-marital counseling, lots of repenting and prayer, we pulled it off. I woke up to a beautiful dusting of snow, the sun shone on the crystals making it magical. I have to hold on to that because so many other things went so very wrong. The amazing hairdresser I found, who came to my house to do all of our hair and makeup, just discovered her unplanned pregnancy and cried and threw up all morning. My stepmother forgot my maid of honor's dress at home (a two-hour trip, and the wedding was in 45 minutes.) I had to eliminate my sister-in-law out of the wedding party. I am still repenting for that one. The photographer never showed up, and I started to get : we'll use the word 'bridezilla.' My mother came into my dressing room and smiled at me. She told me if today was about the dress, the hair, the place or even the type of day, then this day isn't worthy of a marriage. The only thing that mattered that day is that I was going to marry my best friend. I took a deep breath and hugged that woman tight. She was right, as mothers often are. All that mattered was I married the man that God planned for me to marry, and it's been a great ride.
What went right at the wedding?
My husband has a daughter, and we incorporated her into the ceremony, giving her her own wedding ring and giving our own vows to her. Unfortunately, it was one of those moments no one took a photo of because everyone was watching Greg kneel on one knee, crying and vowing that we would be a family. Since I only had other people's pictures to preserve the moment, I have the memory. I had two dads give me away. In this day in age, it's not uncommon, and thankfully, they all get along. I was married in an amazing church, had an amazing reception at an amazing country club, despite some of my friends telling me I had just made a mistake (seriously, at my reception). But most of all, after 10 years of marriage) I still feel that I married the most amazing man."
- Karen Couchoud
Bride: Erin Stewart
Groom: Tarn Dickerson
Wedding Date: July 14, 2002
Wedding Location: Camden, Maine
Reception Location: Camden, Maine
Honeymoon Location: Islesboro, Maine
How Erin and Tarn met:
We met on the Salt River in Arizona. It was Spring Break 1998, our senior year at CSU, and we both ended up on the same river trip. My friend worked as a raft guide and had put together a private trip with some of the other guides in his company. They had some extra room on the trip, and he asked me to go along. I didn't have anything else planned, so I went. The very first day Tarn and I met neither of us liked each other. He thought I was grumpy, and I thought he was a slacker. By the end of the trip, it was evident that our feelings had changed. We went on our first official date a few days after the trip and have been together ever since.
Tarn asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve 2000. I think that's the right year, oh, that's bad that I don't remember. We were living in Maine, and my mom and sister were out for the holidays and staying with us. I was tired and clueless, so I went to bed early that night. My sister, however, had her suspicions and was not cooperating with Tarn's plans. He finally had to tell her to go to bed. Next thing I knew, Tarn was waking me up (it was midnight). He said he wanted to give me my present. I was grumpy and groggy so it took some coaxing, but eventually I woke up and he proposed that night to me in front of our Christmas tree.
What did you love most about your wedding?
I loved, loved, loved our exit. We literally sailed away on a sailboat into the sunset (and a little fog). We had wonderful friends at our wedding who owned a sailboat. They offered to sail us to our honeymoon destination, Islesboro, from the reception at a restaurant in Camden Harbor. It sounded great and was a much better way to get to the island rather than catching a ferry. The weird part was we were so focused on the rest of the wedding details that we never took the time to think about how our exit would go down - a bride and groom walking down the street with a large parade of wedding-goers following down to the dock below all the outdoor restaurants. It was sooo awesome. All the people at the restaurants were standing at the rails above the dock cheering and other boats were sounding their horns. We felt like the most important and glamorous people in the world, and I think for that day, we probably were.
What would you do different?
Ask someone to pack us a picnic basket with food from the reception and the cake. We were so busy visiting with everyone that neither of us had very much to eat. We were ravenously hungry when we arrived at our inn, and unfortunately, the kitchen was closed.
Any funny stories about wedding preparations or about the wedding day?
I am a landscape architect, and I forgot to order the flowers for my own wedding. My mother asked me when the flowers would arrive, and I almost died. We rushed to the florist three days before the wedding and were able to find a few roses for bouquets, but not much else. The night before the wedding, on our walk home from the rehearsal dinner, a group of us stopped at a giant hydrangea (flower) hedge between two houses and started picking - a lot. We ended up with a box full, and we used every single one in bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, everything. They were beautiful and couldn't have turn ed out better if I had ordered them. FYI, the hedge we took them from was so dense with these flowers you couldn't tell any were missing. Phew!
- Erin Stewart
Bride: Johanna Orca
Groom: Zachary Handyside
Wedding date: Sept. 16, 2006
Wedding location: The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
Reception location: The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, Las Vegas
Honeymoon location: Grand Canyon (for 1.5 hours)
How Jojo and Zach met:
I was working at a pizza shop over the summer of 2002 at Klinger Lake in Michigan. Zach's best friend John (our best man) had a house on the same lake and during that summer, John threw a party for Zach and himself because they were going on a European backpacking vacation that September for an indefinite amount of time. John came into the pizza shop with Zach to invite my co-worker and to pick up an order and "Z" saw me and invited me along. Badaboom. Badabing. We hit it off right away. But a month after that Zach and John left for Europe, and three months later "Z" called me to pick him up from the airport. He says he came back for me. Awww.
Initially, "Z" had it all planned out. He bought the ring at Hofmeister's and had it sent to his mom's house in Michigan where the proposal happened. All he wanted to do was go to Michigan, ask my dad for permission, and propose in front of my entire family. Side note: He was assuming that he would do all this at a Sunday brunch-type event. Ends up that we all got together at my cousin's son's 2nd birthday party where the proposal didn't occur. Things happened or didn't happen and he ended up proposing to me in his mom's living room the night before we left our Michigan familial visit to return to Steamboat.
What was unique about your wedding?
We got married in Las Vegas. It's an easy destination, full of flight and hotel vacation packages. Also, we didn't need to arrange activities for any of our guests because there are a million things to do in Vegas that are unique and fun for everyone. That was really big because if we had planned the wedding in Steamboat where we live, we would have had to come up with things for all of our out-of-town guests.
What did you love about your wedding?
We got married in Vegas, what can we say? There were a lot of packages to choose from, ranging from about $800 to over $7,500. You could make it as fancy or as simple as you wanted. The one bummer is that it was extra money for a weekend wedding since they're so sought after. The location of the Venetian wedding was up to you. Our package included a wedding in the chapel, their hiring of a minister, the flowers (up to a certain amount), photography (you could pay for more time spent with the photographer or to have them come to the reception), a photo album and some enlargements, one-hour of limo service, a video of the ceremony, a 30-minute rehearsal, passes to the spa and a champagne gift set. To get out of that uniformity, before the ceremony the minister asked Zach three things he loved about me and asked me to do the same with him. He tied that into the whole ceremony and actually made it sound like he really knew us. The reception was a completely different thing. Besides a few details, my mom and sister took care of all the plans because I wasn't too concerned. I trusted their judgment.
We had a great mix of people come out. Since it was in Las Vegas, a lot of people made it a vacation, and the happiness of some extra time off really showed.
What would you do differently?
Zach says, "Turn my phone off." His "I Wanna Rock" ring tone got real old, real fast. Secondly, we'd have someone videotape the best man's speech because it was so great, but we only have pictures to remember it by, not his actual words. That's really about it. Everything was great, really.
- Jojo Handyside