First Look or a Traditional Reveal?

Can’t decide if you should take first look photos?

Christina, one of our bridal managers, discusses one of the most common questions she is asked: What is the difference between a first look and no look?

First look or no look?

The difference is simple: tradition. Not everyone questions the traditions that have become ingrained in what we conceive to be the perfect wedding. In reality, the perfect wedding is simply what you, as a couple, envision. The perfect wedding has meaning to you and it represents your relationship with each other. This includes the tradition that it is bad luck for the couple to see each other before the ceremony.

This no-look, or traditional reveal, stems from the time when arranged marriages were common practice. The couple was kept apart until the very last moments before the ceremony. Following this tradition is perfect if leaving a breathless moment for your guests to witness is something you care about; it is magical for everyone. However, that may not be important to you or it may not be practical. You never have to go completely with or without a particular tradition, especially this one. This is your vision and your wedding day.

The pros and cons

A traditional reveal, where you see each other for the first time at your ceremony, can be a beautiful experience. There is something special about the moment you make eye contact as you approach each other from opposite ends of the aisle. The expression on your partner’s face at this moment is priceless and cannot be recreated. However, it can leave you feeling rushed after the ceremony while you work through the list of photos you want taken. There is likely limited time before dinner is served and this may cause you to miss your cocktail hour. Many venues only allow a 4-hour window for your reception, so time can be a critical factor in your first look or reveal decision.

More time and privacy

A great reason to have a first look is that completing formal pictures before the ceremony will allow you to attend your cocktail hour. Usually couples are so busy taking photos after their ceremony that they miss out. Another consideration is that most couples host their ceremony in the afternoon or evening. If your ceremony is outdoors, or if you want pictures outdoors, there may be limited opportunity to capture the perfect lighting.

First look photos are just as romantic, if not more, than a traditional reveal. This is a moment in which the two of you are alone, without the prying eyes of your guests. You will be free to be yourself without feeling self conscious. Further, it can help you feel much more relaxed once it is time for your ceremony.

Lastly, your wedding day will be filled with tons of people who want to congratulate you and timelines to maintain. Having a moment to just breathe and pay attention to the person standing next to you is what is really important; it is why you are there in the first place!

It’s your day

Regardless of whether you want to continue the tradition of a reveal, or to spend more time with guests at your reception: base your choices on what is in your heart. It is your wedding day!

Don’t forget dad

A first look photo with your father before ceremony is an amazing opportunity to capture his love for his little girl.

Meet Christina

Christina is one of our in-house bridal managers, whose job it is to run your rehearsal, your ceremony, and to execute your wedding timeline. No matter what you decide about your first look or ceremony-reveal, she will make it happen for you. Contact us for more information about hosting your wedding at Wild Basin Lodge or learn more about our wedding package.

Photo Credits: Maiigo Photography, Tyler Freear Photography, BlueHaus Studios, Visual Poetry. Visit their websites for more information on and examples of their work.

How to Choose a Wedding Date

It is definitely overwhelming – there is so much to consider.

Couple all the details you have to juggle with venue availability (they often book at least a year out) and it can quickly become complicated. Consider the following to help you choose a wedding date.

If you are a visual person, buy a cheap calendar and cross out dates as you eliminate them, noting why in the space for each day. This will provide you with a quick visual as you go, and an easy way to keep track of why you made each decision.


Season is an easy one. Do you want your ceremony and reception to be outside or inside? Is your dream an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception? Do you love snow or hate snow?  Do you just have to have golden aspen leaves in your photos? Most couples have an immediate and definite idea of this in their minds. If so, check this one off your list and read on.

If you two are one of those couples who don’t care which season it is (you just want to get married! And soon!) or you are motivated by cost, consider a winter wedding. Off-season rates at most venues are less expensive and guests have fewer commitments than in the summer, so a winter wedding may be easier on the budget and easier for your guests to attend.

Friends and family commitments

Note the most important friends and family members on your guest list and reach out to them to find out if they have any major prior commitments that would prohibit them from attending your wedding. If you are marrying in the summertime you will have to contend with summer vacations, and let’s be honest: other weddings. If you wish to marry in the late summer you will contend with kids going back to school.

Venue availability

This can be a large hinderance in your planning. A good piece of advice is to find the perfect venue first, then choose a date. Reason being, venues often book about a year out, sometimes more. It is instinctive to automatically eliminate a venue if they don’t have your perfect date available, but this method may cause you to settle for a less than perfect venue, because it has your date. Five, ten, 20 years from now your memories will consist of the events and impressions of your wedding day, not the perfection of the date itself. The perfect venue will contribute to these fabulous memories more so than a particular day in, say, June, compared to a day in June. Read more about how to choose the perfect venue.

Day of the week

Most couples start out with the “have to have a Saturday” mentality. And why not? It makes perfect sense – guests don’t have to take off work, children don’t have to miss school. If you make it easy for your guests, more are likely to attend. The potential issue, unless you’re planning about two years out, is venue availability. Those pesky venues! Again, most venues book about a year out, and Saturdays are the first to go. It is worth considering a weekday, or a Friday/Sunday wedding. Depending on what you are willing to consider, going with a day other than a Saturday is in your benefit. Venues often charge less and vendors have greater availability; their Saturdays book up first, too.

Consider a Monday wedding. Mondays usually aren’t even on a couple’s radar, but there are good reasons to include them in your decision-making process. One reason is that you will have more time to spend with your guests. If guests have to travel to your wedding, whether it is from out of state or a neighboring town, they will either make a weekend of it or drive up on the day of regardless of the day you marry. For those who make a weekend out of it, you will be able to spend more time with them marrying on a Monday than on a Saturday. You will have all day Saturday and Sunday to spend time with them, rather than being consumed with your wedding Saturday and missing them Sunday as they leave for home.

Personal meaning

But what if there is a particular date that has great personal meaning to the two of you? Despite everything you just read, if none of the arguments were enough to sway you away from the perfect date you have in mind, then by all means find a way to make it work! Going through this process will help you decide what compromises you might have to make to get married on it. If you are okay with the consequences of your choices then go for it!

How to choose a wedding date: remember, you are the only one who has to be happy with what you choose. It is your day!


At the Basin

At Wild Basin Lodge, you can marry year-round, seven days a week. We have two outdoor ceremony sites to choose from, or you can marry indoors if that is your preference, and you will have our rocky-mountain-elegant lodge to yourself for your reception. No matter how you come to your perfect date, we have an option to meet your needs. Find out more about a wedding at Wild Basin Lodge or take a lookl at our gallery. Please reach out if you would like more information or to schedule a tour.


Winter Wedding Accessories

One of our dedicated bridal managers, Jess, opens up about some of her favorite things: headpieces, all things sparkly, and boots. All in the context of the season and something else she loves: weddings.


Ideas for winter wedding accessories

Something about all those beautiful snowy wedding pictures stirs something in my heart, but what I especially love is seeing how people accessorize. So in the spirit of the snow falling today here at Wild Basin, I decided to snuggle up to the office heater and look up some accessory details for winter weddings that you will surely melt for. Our goal here at the Basin is to make sure that your day is everything that you can imagine, whether it is providing ideas to help planning your wedding, or snow dances performed by yours truly. Which I am totally willing to do. On that note, I’d like to share some of my favorite accessory ideas.


I am personally a fan of headbands, sparkle and everything in between. Naturally, I started my winter accessory search there. There are so many options from the full headband, a clip, to topping off your look with a veil.  Adding a small detail to your hair style that day will make sure to capture amazing photos even with snow falling lightly on your hair. Cue snow dance!

Greenery Headpieces

If sparkle and glitz are simply not your style, these beautiful winter greenery headpieces make my mountain soul warm. They boast character, elegance, and I’m quite sure a magnificent scent…. Need a splash of color? Berries are just the thing! This detail is such a great way to incorporate flowers and color to your wedding – when you wouldn’t expect much in the winter. I am such a fan of these that I will possibly be rocking one while performing your snow dance…


We all know that your wedding dress is one of the most important details of your big day. Covering up every stitch and detail that you fell in love with the first moment you tried it on with a hefty winter coat will surely send chills through your bones, regardless of the warmth it provides. Don’t worry –  these super snuggly shawls will be just the item you need to keep warm throughout the ceremony and pictures – and will still show off that fabulous gown.


Since we have you all wrapped up from your head to your sleeves – might as well throw on some fun winter boots to keep you warm while strolling through our very own winter wonderland here at Wild Basin (we hope!) for your cherished photos. There are options from furry to casual; options sure to meet the needs of all the individualized styles we see day to day.

Finally, on a softer note – an alternative to gloves: a hand warmer! Classy.

Find more winter wedding accessory ideas on our Pinterest page.

Meet Jess

Jess is one of our in-house bridal managers, whose job it is to run your rehearsal and ceremony, and to execute your wedding timeline for you on your wedding day. She will also work with you in the months leading up to your wedding to help you plan all details pertaining to the lodge. To get an idea of what she will help you plan and manage for you on your special day, take a look at our wedding package – all services you see listed will be her responsibility to manage the day of.  Contact us for more information on hosting your wedding at Wild Basin Lodge.

Wedding Day Detail Shots

The beauty is in the details on your wedding day.

A good photographer makes those details come alive so you can appreciate them for years to come.


Consistently, couples state that their wedding day was a blur. They put so much time and preparation into their ceremony and reception, but on the day-of there is so much going on that all they are left with are happy, warm impressions rather than clear memories. That is where excellent wedding day detail shots come in.

Take a look at the slideshow below; shots like these will bring a smile to your face for years to come. Each time you look at them details you missed on your wedding day will jump out at you. The phrase “the gift that keeps on giving” comes to mind!

Some favorite wedding day detail shots taken at past Wild Basin Weddings.


Photography credits

Please visit the websites of the artists whose work is featured in this slideshow: Visual Poetry by Meghan, Mallory Munson Photography, Lady Ilg Photography, Kelly Lemon Photography and Green Blossom Photography. Each of them are incredibly good at what they do and offer a wonderful choice for your wedding day photographer.

Outdoor Mountain Wedding Ceremonies

Love the mountains? Say your vows right in the middle of them.

There are a lot of options to choose from when you get married in the mountains: alongside a river, in a meadow at the base of mountains, or even on top of a mountain. Any one of them is breathtaking and will create a memorable experience for you and your guests; choose the one that is best for you!

Alongside a River

The sound of a rushing river is calming and beautiful. Exchanging your vows near one while listening to the water is magical. Add to the sound of the water the accompanying nature often found on river banks: lush trees, green grass, and birds, for example, will complete the experience and make your ceremony one that stands out in the minds of guests who are used to attending ceremonies at traditional sites. The North St. Vrain River rushes through the Wild Basin Lodge property, providing a special place to say your vows.

In a Meadow

With mountain meadows come awesome mountain views; the change in landscape from rolling meadow to jutting mountain is striking. And regardless of the season, the landscape will be beautiful. Green grass and wildflowers in the spring, shades of red and gold in the fall, a hint of snow as fall progresses. With views and colors such as these behind you as you say your vows you and your fiancé will stand out amongst the beauty in a stunning way. The Meadow ceremony site at Wild Basin Lodge looks into the Wild Basin portion of Rocky Mountain National Park, providing an unadulterated mountain backdrop for your wedding day.

On Top of a Mountain

Marrying on top of a mountain gives you and your guests mountain views as far as the eye can see. The blues and greens from the land below is understated yet stunning in its beauty and breadth. Mountaintop ceremony sites exist at ski resorts, as well as venues that are located higher in the mountains. Ski resorts are an exceptional place for a mountaintop ceremony; your guests ride chair lifts from the base to the top of the mountain, giving them a stunning ride on the way to a very special occasion. Wild Basin Lodge does not have a mountain top ceremony site but is happy to recommend venues nearby that do.

Regardless of the type of mountain ceremony site you choose, being in mountains is invigorating and exciting! Contact us to learn more about our meadow and river ceremony sites or see photos in our gallery.


Photo courtesy of Mallory Munson Photography. @mallorymunsonphotography