Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Part Two: The Search Continues.

It wasn't until we were back in New Mexico, feeling more unsure than ever about where we wanted to get married, that we found it. I was reading my Real Simple Weddings book late one night when I came across a wedding in a barn in southern Colorado. Light. Bulb. We were only two hours from Southern Colorado. The weight of planning a wedding from afar lifted from my shoulders. I Googled, and Googled, and Googled. Blue Lake Ranch in Durango looked nice, but Durango is really too remote for our traveling guests. It's about a six-hour drive from the Denver airport and a five-hour drive from the Albuquerque airport.

Dunton Hot Springs near Telluride, CO

Dunton Hot Springs near Telluride (pictured above) is even more remote but almost seemed worth it: You can rent the entire town (it's an old ghost town) including the multiple hot-spring pools. But the price proved it too remote in more ways than one. One night for $18,000--given it includes lodging and organic meals for 42--practically our entire wedding budget.

The Meadow at Devil's Thumb Ranch, Tabernash, CO thanks to Laura Dombrowski

Third time's a charm. I stumbled upon Devil's Thumb Ranch. Five-thousand raw acres of mountainous Colorado with a renovated barn on a completely, sustainable ranch. Whew. That's a mouthful, but that's because it has a lot to offer.

People ask me why Colorado? One, it's in between both of our families. But it's also a place Mr. Cowboy Boot and I steal away to for long weekends in the mountains, so we associate it with fun, adventure, and relaxation.

Devil's Thumb Ranch Broad Axe Barn (on right, above) thanks to In Photography

The site fee includes the ceremony and reception sites, tables, chairs, linens, dishes, glasses, silverware, servers, a bartender, a sound system, and even, a beautiful deck for a cocktail hour. They have several locations on the ranch to hold events: an outdoor BBQ space; a 40-person, all-glass house with views for miles; a wine cellar for private meals; and the Broad Axe Barn, where our reception is taking place. Their off-season, starting October 1st (three days before our wedding), reduces the price by nearly half. Score.

The Broad Axe Barn: Our reception space (that's our wedding coordinator during our tour)

The ranch does all of the catering which is completely fine with us--the food is drool-worthy. And, the menu options are limitless: seasonal tasting menu; elk steak with mashed potatoes; or gourmet BBQ, which is what we're doing. (Honestly, the ribs were better than the bacon-glazed salmon).

In the end, we decided on what felt right. We knew that traveling would be involved for at least half the guests so we decided to make it a destination wedding for everyone. Luckily, the ranch has around 50 guest rooms in the lodge and 11 private cabins snugly in the woods. It feels unique, is filled with one-of-a-kind antiques, has local, delicious food, and, most importantly, has an inclusive-package that fit our budget. Now, I leave you with a little bit of the ranch's character: their version of  a "Do Not Disturb" sign.

How many venues did you look at before you found the one? Did you always know what you were looking for or did you stumble upon it, unexpectedly?

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