Somewhere in my bridal haze, I had imagined finding a venue to not be too difficult. Go ahead, you can laugh at me—I would laugh at me, too. I did really assume that it would be like asking “Will you be my venue?” I mean, you are paying to have a large event there—what could be so hard?
I think I assumed it would be fairly painless because we live in a small town. There isn’t a large selection of venues. In fact, the embarrassing truth is that according to Colorado Wedding Magazine, there are…drum roll, please…NINE venues available in the Durango area. Granted these are the structures/locations that advertise themselves as wedding venues. With a bit of creativity the options expand a tiny bit…unless you are like the Honeys and getting married with snow on the ground.
Sure a few of those nine venues are still available in the winter months, but we have to be a little more extreme because we want to have our wedding ceremony outside. You read that correctly: outside in January, in Colorado. I have always dreamed of and envisioned myself getting married outside. There was no other way, even in winter. And luckily Mr. H was fully on board. The majority of the weddings in our area do take place outside; I’ve only been to one over the years that took place indoors, and that’s because Colorado scenery is just breathtaking:
This was request number one: is there a way for us to say “I do” outside? We had a second request for our potential venues because we want photo ops like this:
Photo by Luster Studios
That’s right, hive, our 100-pound handsome puppy dog will be rockin’ a tie for our big day. Here’s a refresher of our handsome dog:
Zeus likes to wear things; here is wearing beads and his backpack.
Before I even started contacting venues directly, I spent time researching who was even open year round; since we do get hefty amounts of snow here, many places are only open May through October. This narrowed down my list substantially, but it took even more work to try and uncover some hidden gems that may or may not be willing to get business in the oh-so-dead season. Armed with a contact list and my wedding requests/requirements, I started at the top…and by the top I mean the venues that were most intriguing to us.
The list was narrowed down very quickly. Here is a short list of the no-gos.
- Cascade Lodge was beautiful, but they did not allow winter access to their outdoor ceremony site.
- Purgatory/DMR was not available since, ahem, people are using the mountain for skiing.
- Blue Lake Ranch was open in the winter, but only for a wedding with 40–50 guests.
- Silverpick Lodge was willing to work with us on the outside request, but NO dogs allowed.
- Abbey Theatre didn’t return any of our FOUR phone calls, so we were not interested.
- Avalon Acres did not allow pets whatsoever.
- The Glacier Club also never returned emails or phone calls.
On a side note, what gives with venues just straight up ignoring requests for information?!
After contacting the more obvious choices and having NO luck, we did start to think more creatively. Private mansions via VRBO. Ranches in the countryside. I got frustrated after one email from a coordinator questioned my ability to comprehend winters in Durango. Yes, LADY, I do know it SNOWS here. I LIVE HERE. Sense my frustration?
After all but giving up, finally finally I had three venues who would meet with us and were willing to accommodate our two requests.
Who else has (or had) special requests that made it a little more difficult to find the venue? Was anyone else’s venue list as teeny tiny as mine? Let’s hear it, hive!