Archive For: Uncategorized

Vendor Spotlight: Bella Capelli

Get a Trial

Have you ever had an awful haircut?  The kind that makes you want to put a paper bag over your head?  Or call in sick for a few days?  Thankfully, I’ve only had one deeply traumatizing haircut, but that one was enough to last me a lifetime.  It’s embarrassing to admit, but I cried the entire way home from the salon that afternoon.  I felt so many emotions.  Frustrated with myself for paying so much money on a hideous style.  Ashamed that I hadn’t been brave enough to tell the stylist that I was unhappy.  Betrayed after I trusted this disappointing stranger.  Yet she never knew how much I hated that haircut.

I learned a valuable lesson that day: you HAVE to say something if you’re truly not satisfied with the service.  As uncomfortable as it was, I had to use this skill while planning my wedding.

Which brings me to today’s blog post.  If you take away nothing else today, please hear this:  Get a hair and makeup trial for your wedding!  There are SO many reasons why:

  • To make sure your skin doesn’t react poorly to the makeup
  • Get to know your stylist’s personality and comfort level with your needs
  • Pamper yourself before the wedding
  • Excuse to get dressed up and go out to dinner that night… or stay in and just look adorable while you watch Moana
  • Narrow down your inspiration photos from 67 to just a few with professional guidance
  • See if a smoky eye is perfect or too dramatic for your big day
  • Verify that your hair accessories (veil vs. comb, clip vs. tiara) will work well with your hair style
  • Test the longevity, durability, and “pokiness” of your hair pins
  • Make sure the little wisps of hair don’t tickle your neck and drive you bonkers
  • Seek beauty prep tips for the weeks leading up to the wedding, since stylists always have great ideas
  • Gauge if you feel better in naturally blended or wing-tipped eyeliner
  • Practice NOT touching and smudging your face
  • Ask if your (curly, frizzy, stick straight, thin, thick, short, or unruly) hair will work for a particular favorite style you found on Pinterest before getting your hopes up
  • Test out how long that lipstick stain really lasts
  • Acclimate your eyelids to the weight of false lashes
  • Decide if you’re going to need bronzer or if your natural glow is sufficient
  • Make sure your stylist is reliable, doesn’t cancel on you at the last minute, and can show up for the trial appointment on time
  • Determine professionalism: Does he/she bring a contract to the trial, or are they unprepared?
  • When the trial is over, do they offer to snap a few photos for you, or leave you awkwardly requesting this favor?
  • Get pumped up for the actual day, since you can now visualize your gorgeous self


How would I know?

To be honest, I actually had to do two hair and makeup trials.  The first lady seemed really nice, but rescheduled my trial three (THREE!) times.  After the trial, I felt a bit like a drag queen with caked makeup and orange tinted lipstick.  My eyeliner was overly dramatic, and I accidentally smudged it on the car ride home.  She botched my hair, then didn’t offer to take any photos of her work.  So… I didn’t realize how awful I looked until I got home and used a mirror to look at the back of my hair.  Sensing my deep disappointment, my fiancé insisted that I use a different hair and makeup vendor.  After agonizing for a week about how to word the “break up” email with this lady, I pulled off the Band-Aid and sent my notice that I’d be using someone else for the wedding.  Fortunately, she neglected to ask for my signature on the contract I’d printed and brought with me.  Her lack of professionalism served me in this singular way.

My point: If you find yourself in a similar situation, please don’t feel guilty about demanding the best.  Weddings are expensive, and you deserve to have full confidence in your investment.  The right vendors can make all the difference in your experience.

Lucky for you, Wild Basin Lodge has an extensive list of tried-and-true vendors.  Let’s take a closer look at Bella Capelli, our preferred vendor for hair and makeup services.


 The Experts

Bella Capelli is a partnership of moms who cherish the balance of family and having a successful career.  The company was started by Christie Nagl many years ago, and they’ve built a stellar reputation in the industry ever since.  They frequently travel to Wild Basin Lodge, so all you have to do is show up in your button down shirt or robe, and you’re set.  Mimosa in hand, you can relax in our bridal suite while the ladies of Bella Capelli work their magic.

WBL: Tell us a little about the history of your business.

BC: I started doing hair 18 years ago and became a hairstylist specifically to do wedding hair. I owned a full service salon in Estes for a long time and did weddings there up until I had my first son, eight and a half years ago. At that time I closed the salon and decided to start doing only weddings so that I could focus the rest of my time on being a stay at home mom.  Adrienne, who I had grown up with, and Traci, who is married to my husband’s cousin, both worked with me in my salon. When I closed the salon they continued to do weddings with me and worked other places until they too had their kids. Now they stay home with their littles and still do hair and makeup with me. Adrienne has been with me about 15 years and Traci for 13 years. Over time, my two sisters saw how wonderful it was to be able to stay home with the kids and have a job on the side so they both got certified to do makeup. Melissa has been with us for about 6 years and Julie for about 4.

There is nothing better than being able to work alongside some of your favorite people. Plus, having a job that is flexible enough to work around family schedules is amazing. All five of us truly feel blessed!

WBL: Do you have any “Pro Tips” or words of wisdom for brides as they prepare for their wedding?

BC: It is your day. Do what makes you and your fiancé happy. As far as hair and makeup go, make sure you are comfortable and feel like you. You don’t want to look back at pictures and not recognize yourself. Don’t get me wrong, everything should be a little bigger and fancier but still holding true to your style.

WBL: What is one thing that you love about your industry?

BC: We love all the joy that surrounds someone’s wedding day. It’s hard not to be happy when surrounded by happiness. We also love all the wonderful vendors we get to see and work with. We are lucky to be in this industry, in this area, with amazing people!

WBL: Do you have a personal favorite memory from your wedding day you’d like to share?

BC: I’m sure we all have our favorite memories but I have 2 personally that stand out. I love the memory of entering the church to see my super sentimental, sobbing husband waiting for me at the end of the aisle. He is just a big teddy bear and I love him! Also, my dad and I took tango lessons for the father/daughter dance and told no one. My dad is not a dancer so the reactions were priceless. That moment was really special and fun! It was such a great day and there are endless memories. Now we have been married 10 1/2 years.

Bella Capelli translates in Italian to “beautiful hair,” and the photos on their website speak for themselves.  Don’t repeat my mistake of going through multiple hair and makeup trials.  Save yourself the emotional stress and shoot the ladies at Bella Capelli and email as soon as possible.  They are frequently fully booked 6 months or more in advance.

-A presto!




Christie Nagl

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

Wedding Centerpiece Ideas

Find ideas for your wedding

Choose any centerpiece style you’re looking for, Wild Basin Lodge’s elegant yet rustic mountain lodge is minimalist so that your centerpieces will stand out and make your wedding personal and memorable.

Go with an elegant, traditional feel that is heavy on flowers or get creative and make each centerpiece reflect the two of you as a couple. We’ve seen science fiction themes, bohemian collections, all kinds of photos, heirlooms from grandma, favorite games, and more. The more creative, whether you achieve it with flowers or objects, the more personalized and intimate your wedding will feel to you and your guests.


Wedding Centerpiece Ideas

Scroll through the photos below to see some of our favorite centerpieces we have seen at Wild Basin; we love the creativity!



Take a look at some photos – can you picture your wedding here?

Summer Mountain Weddings

Summer in the mountains is perfect for a wedding

The colors of the mountains and meadows are vibrant. Nature surrounds you and your guests. Your wedding provides your guests with that mountain getaway they’ve been meaning to take but haven’t quite gotten around to yet.

Read on to learn about planning your summer mountain wedding.


In the Rocky Mountains summers are warm and colors are brilliant. Early to mid-summer (mid-June, July and early August) it is lush and green, and wildflowers abound. Mid to late summer (August, September, early October) the green slowly wears into the golds and reds of autumn. The skies are a brilliant blue, intermittently crowded with storm clouds. Rain clouds are not a bad thing; pictures taken under cloudy skies tend to be some of the most beautiful due to the lighting it provides the camera.


While May is considered the beginning of summer on the plains, it is still spring in the mountains. There is often snow through the end of the month and it is still slightly chilly. However, there are warm, snowless days interspersed. If you choose a May wedding date, be aware that there may be snow the day of, but it will still be beautiful!

As summer arrives rain replaces the snow and is common well into August. It comes and goes in sporadic showers and rarely rains for longer than 20 minutes at a time.

If it is not a stormy day, the skies are a brilliant blue and relatively cloudless. The weather is usually warm, bordering on hot. If it is a rainy day then it will be on the cooler side, but it is not often cold.

It is a good idea to let your guests know to prepare for all types of weather; it is not uncommon to have all four seasons in one day, especially early in the summer. Your guests will be most comfortable if they have closed-toed shoes and a sweater or light jacket with them just in case.

What to Plan For

Plan for all four seasons despite the month you are getting married. As mentioned above, it is not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day in the mountains, especially early in the summer. Bring warm clothing to have just in case so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather brings and be aware that it is likely to rain. If you have a rain jacket bring it; it’s no fun to walk around wet!

Bring plenty of sunscreen. The sunshine is intense at high elevation and will lead to a sunburn quickly. Make sure to slather plenty on if you plan to be outside for any length of time; you don’t want sunburn lines in your wedding photos!

Along with the sunscreen, bring bug-resistant clothing (light-weight, long pants and sleeves), bug spray, or citronella candles or clips. It is pretty buggy in the mountains in the summer time and they can be irritating! Also, you don’t want any mosquito welts in your wedding photos.

Things to consider

Summer is in-season for mountain wedding venues, so take into consideration that it might be harder to get your desired wedding date; venues and vendors and can book out up to a year in advance. You can avoid having to settle for a different date or waiting another year to marry by searching for your venue and vendors early.

Summer is tourist season. There will be a lot of tourists milling around, so it might make things for you and your guests more difficult. Traffic, restaurant reservations, and hotel reservations are just a few things that can be affected. Planning ahead of time for things like lodging, rehearsal dinners, and driving times can negate these issues.

At The Basin

At Wild Basin Lodge, your wedding ceremony will take place in either a meadow or alongside a river, with mountain views in the background. Pine trees, aspens and wildflowers abound, making a wedding here beautiful at any time of year.

Our event staff keeps an eye out for rainclouds the day of your wedding, and will consult with you if rain is coming. Your wedding will be the only wedding of the day, so we are able to adjust your timeline to accommodate any weather delays. If you choose to get married in the rain (many do!) then we have umbrellas for each of your guests so that they can stay dry while you say “I do.”

The Lodge is a private wedding venue hosting only one wedding a day, and lodge rooms are only open to wedding guests so you won’t need to worry about tourists clogging up your wedding activities. Learn more about hosting your wedding at Wild Basin Lodge.