Our Engagement Story - Alex & Holly

How He Asked

Alex and Holly frequently visit a large local park.  This park has a fenced dog park and endless views of pine trees. It just also happens to be beautifully set directly in front of the front range of the Southern Rocky Mountains, a beautiful pond stocked with fish and to top it off; a gazebo and fountain. Alex and Holly go to this park almost every weekend in the summer with their two dogs, Snickers and Maggie. Alex came up with the idea to propose at the park. The was to drop on one knee in the middle of the gazebo, using the fountain and mountain background setting, which would be perfect for pictures. Alex thought he had it all figured out and since they were at the park so often, Holly wouldn’t expect proposal….

The Big Day

The big day rolled around, but before leaving Alex had to find a way to stealthily hide the ring in a pants pocket. Alex, Holly, and the dogs went about their normal routine as they entered the park. They took a lap around the dog park; so the dogs could play off-leash. Then they all explored the pond. This is where they both hoped Maggie would learn how to swim. As they got to the pond, they took Maggie off-leash and allowed her to jump around in the water. Meanwhile, some other folks and their golden retriever were also at the pond and playing fetch with a ball.  Maggie saw the ball and quickly became enamored. It was now her life’s goal to retrieve that ball. Alex and Holly expected Maggie, who is half-retriever,  to become an above average or even strong swimmer like most retrievers are. Little did they know Maggie about to almost spoil the big moment for Alex….

Oh no, Maggie

Just then the random dog owners threw the ball for their pup into the pond. Maggie tore into the water with reckless abandonment in an attempt to retrieve it. There were two problems with this. Maggie had never so gone deep. She always stayed where her feet could touch the bottom. She also rarely retrieves anything unless it’s food. As soon as Maggie got into “the deep end”, she quickly scrambled on top of a large rock in the pond. She sat, looking terrified and unsure what to do. Then, she fell in. It was a head first plunge into the water, as her back legs and butt stayed on the rock. Alex and Holly were literally watching their puppy drown. At that moment, Alex began to empty his pockets, including the ring, in an attempt to save the hapless canine. Luckily for everyone, Maggie fell completely in and got her head and frightened eyes above water. She was able to make her way back to the safety of land. The proposal was nearly ruined by a retriever mix that is awful at retrieving and even worse at swimming.

Wait For It…

As Alex and Holly walked their wet and terrified puppy, Alex observed the Gazebo was full of random people doing random things. Not wanting this family of randoms to ruin the moment, Alex found a secluded park bench where he convinced Holly she should sit with the dog for a picture. As Holly posed with her pup, Alex dropped to one knee and presented the ring. Holly was (not so) surprised and immediately said yes!

They loaded up the dogs and headed to their favorite local brewery, where Alex had a group of friends ready to surprise Holly. Holly was convinced their friends just happened to be out at the brewery, but as more showed up, she realized it was all part of the plan. It was a great ending to a perfect morning, one which was almost spoiled by a 50-pound Labradoodle-mix.

15 Years of Wedding Trends

Just for fun

It is fun to look back at how people dressed in the past, especially at weddings. Wedding party outfits aren’t something you see everyday so it can be surprising to realize how much things change in a relatively short time period. Dresses, popular color choice and bouquets have all changed a lot in the past 15 years.  Even the physical appearance of Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center is recognizably different.

Take a moment and look through some past wedding trends – it’ll make you smile!


The wedding trend: fewer church ceremonies, more strapless dresses and an increase in colored sashes, beading and embroidery on bridal dresses.

Flowers started to move away from cascading oversized bouquets to smaller, more manageable sizes. Roses and tropical flowers were making a statement and usually in the popular colors of the time: red and white. The stems showed and a ribbon was used to accent the colors in your wedding.

Couples were just starting to break from tradition and really personalize their weddings with decorations and table centerpieces. Silk flowers, mirrors and vases with floating candles were very popular.

Couples were just starting to integrate the following things that today, we think of as standard:

  • Personal wedding sites
  • Registering online
  • Attendants switching sides
  • Work of art cakes


The wedding trend: DIY. Pinterest, blogs and social media have had a huge influence in the past 6 years on couples looking for DIY options in their wedding planning, and the creativity just keeps getting better.

More couples chose to marry on a day of the week other than Saturday and it became more important to have locally-sourced food served at receptions.

Dresses with pick-up skirts started hitting the aisle in the mid-2000s – leading to more textured skirts that made the standard ball gown dress much more unique. Ball gown-styled dresses became less popular, at least here at our mountain venue, with mermaid, trumpet and A-line styles taking its place. Regardless the style of the dress, beading and embroidery are still very popular and becoming more beautiful as time passes.

Flowers are still moving farther away from the oversized cascading bouquets, but aren’t quite as small. With so many ideas on the internet, couples are getting creative with their flowers. Succulents, wild flowers and “bling-bouquets” are more the trend rather than the traditional rose bouquet. Texture seems to be the key for a unique wedding flowers.

Trends that have hit the wedding scene BIG – so much that we still see them here at Wild Basin, and surely will for years to come:

  • Photo Booths
  • Videography (making an exciting comeback!)
  • Specialty music
  • Themed engagement photo shoots
  • Grand exits


Trends to look for… and incorporate into your wedding:

  • Color comeback
  • Elaborate entrances
  • Destination weddings with surprise settings
  • Décor in all directions – literally… using space from the ceiling to the floor, and to the windows.. and the walls!
  • Interactive stations
  • Seeking unique photography styles


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Wedding Dress Styles

There is a style for every taste and body type

For all those unfamiliar with wedding dress styles or simply in of need a refresh explanation, read on. You will also find tips on when and how to search for the perfect dress.

First: start your search early

Most bridal stores do not have a wide selection of sizes for each dress, so your size will likely need to be shipped to the store. On average, it could take 3-6 months for it to arrive. After you receive your dress, you will have to make the first of possibly three alteration appointments. This alone could take another two months. The months quickly start to add up – and you certainty would not want to settle on a dress because it was the only one in your size and it just needs a hem. Most importantly – dress shopping is fun! So why not start early?

To get started

Try on a variety of styles. Bring your girls with you and watch their reactions closely. You will see if the dress is a fit or not instantaneously from their facial expressions. From there decide which style you feel most comfortable in, then you can narrow down your search to that particular style. Explore different fabrics and textures. There is so much variety and creativity out there!


The Ball Gown Style

Almost everyone pictures a big beautiful ball gown at some point when you think of a wedding dress. The full skirt is the most distinguishing aspect of the dress and will make for a show stopping entrance. It’s a classic style that everyone looks stunning in and will absolutely make you feel like a princess on your wedding day.

wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

The Mermaid Fit

wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Visual Poetry by Meghan

This style has been hitting the aisle big the last several years – and will continue to for years to come. It takes the classic style of the ball gown to a whole new level, showing off curves while still getting a fun flare past the knees. It is a constricting style – so it is highly recommended to move around and even sit while being in the dress at the store to make sure you will be comfortable on you wedding day.

The Drop Waist

wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Kelley Lemon Photography


Following closely behind in style with the mermaid fit, the drop waist instead starts to flare below the waistline. There are many drop waist styled gowns that really have some character and uniqueness to them when it comes to the skirt.

The A-Line

wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Visual Poetry by Meghan


The most flattering style of them all, and probably the most popular, since everyone looks amazing in an A-line dress. It is form-fitting just below the bust where the fabric gradually starts to flow away from the body in the, you guessed it, shape of an “A”. The A-line style is also a good choice due to the variety of fabric types it comes in.

The Column

wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Maiigo Photography

Although not the most common style for a wedding dress, this style is fabulous for petite women. It gives the allusion of height, so with a column dress you will look and feel taller.

At the Basin

Since Wild Basin is a rustic, mountain wedding venue we tend to see a lot of lace and tulle fabrics. They are a lot more lightweight for the warm mountain days we have here in the summer, and they can be a lot easier to walk around in. With a variety of outdoor spots to take pictures here, having a light weight train or none at all is something to consider.

Take a look at some different wedding dress styles worn at Wild Basin

wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Visual Poetry by Meghan


wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Meigan Canfield Photography


wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Visual Poetry by Meghan


wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog


wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Erika Overholt Photography


wedding dress styles - wild basin lodge blog

Dave Russell – Rocky Mountain Aperture

Winter Activities Around Estes Park

What to do when going to a winter wedding in the Estes Park area

Seemingly, there are fewer things to do around Estes Park than on the other side of the divide. The ski areas may have downhill skiing, but there are a variety of things to do around here as well. Here is a list of winter activities available to help you plan what to do while you are in the area.


Cross Country Skiing

Whether you are a seasoned enthusiast or an excited beginner, there is plenty of opportunity for you around here. Rocky Mountain National Park is just steps away whether you are in Estes Park itself or in the surrounding towns. The farther from Estes you are there is national forest to explore; around here, there is never a shortage of wilderness.

Trail Ridge Road offers a great area for beginners to explore, and there are easy trails deeper in the park as well, such as the Sprague Lake to Glacier Basin Campground Loop. More experienced backcountry skiers will enjoy beautiful trails in the park, but be prepared before you head out as these trails are less traveled.

If you need to rent cross country skis or gear, the Estes Park Mountain Shop has everything you need.


Who doesn’t love careening down a snow-covered slope at high speed? Okay, maybe not everyone, but if you do there is sledding in Estes Park at the old ski hill. Estes Park Mountain Shop offers daily sled rentals, and you can pick up any additional warm clothes  you may need as well.


Go for a hike in the snow. It is a different experience than in the summer. There is a quiet and calmness that you can’t experience any other time of year when the snow dulls the sounds around you. Many businesses in the Estes area rent equipment and offer guided tours. Your trip length, whether you want hot chocolate or lunch included, and the intensity of the trip is up to you.

Walk around Lake Estes or Lilly Lake

For a less intensive, or time consuming, outdoor adventure walk around one of the lakes in the area. Lake Estes and Lilly Lake are easy to get to and close to amenities. Lake Estes is right in the middle of town and there is a 3.8 mile path around it. Lilly Lake is off Highway 7 toward Allenspark. There is also a hiking trail that loops to the top of nearby Lily Mountain, in case anyone in your party wants to snowshoe while the others walk around the lake.


Estes Park


In Estes, you will find a proliferation of shopping opportunities. There are numerous shops full of painted art, pottery and photography. Jewelry and knickknack shops abound. Souvenir shops are on every corner. You will even find stores that offer incredible decorations for your home.

Liquor Tasting

If beer, wine or whiskey is more your thing, take a local winery, breweries and distillery tour. There are a surprising number of options for a little mountain town.

Climbing Wall

Estes Park is a big climbing town, even in the winter. Estes Park Mountain Shop has a wonderful indoor climbing wall and equipment rentals for when you feel the need to climb but there is snow on the ground.

How To Choose Your Wedding Party

Wedding Party or Bridal Party: What’s the Difference?

There actually is a difference. A bridal party consists of those standing with and attending the bride. A wedding party includes everyone from the best man to the junior bridesmaids. It doesn’t really matter what name you call this amazing group of people, what matters is making sure they are up to the challenge. A couple needs to be very careful before they begin asking just anyone to take on this responsibility.

How to choose your wedding party: tips and suggestions

Maid of Honor

Who do you choose? Your MOH should be someone who is organized and driven. This person will be the one who throws your bridal shower and your bachelorette party, so you will want this person to know you and to be someone you trust. More importantly, the MOH is the one person who stays on top, not only of all of your appointments, but those of your bridesmaids as well. A maid of honor is your right hand, giving you help whenever you need it, from helping you address invitations to counting the meal choices on those pesky RSVP cards. Therefore, picking a friend, or even your sister, who lives out of state may not be such a good choice unless you are willing to do more yourself.

Who says you can’t have a man of honor? Very frequently brides do not have a sister, or do not have a close female friend. If that’s the case, then ask your best guy friend or your brother to be your Man of Honor. What is most important is that you choose someone you’re close to and comfortable with, who is responsible and who will tell you the truth and not just what you want to hear.

how to choose your wedding party - wild basin lodge blog

Best Man

Who do you choose? Just as important as the MOH, your best man will have some important tasks so this person needs to be just as responsible as the Maid of Honor. Not only will the Best Man have to plan the bachelor party, but he will be the one, in most cases, who will be in charge of your wedding rings. You should also remind yourself that it is customary to have the Best Man lead the toasts, so your best friend who will be drinking even before the ceremony starts may not be such a good idea. More and more, many grooms are choosing their fathers or other older family members to stand by their side as they say their vows; the people supporting you don’t have to be younger or friends.

Choose a Best Woman if that makes more sense. Again, this person needs to be someone you trust. That could be your sister, your best friend who happens to be a girl or a cousin you’re close with. Another important consideration: choose a person who gets along with your partner.

how to choose your wedding party - wild basin lodge blog

The Bridesmaids

While your sister or your fiancé’s sister are always a fantastic choice to fill up team bride, there is something to be said for choosing bridesmaids who generally aren’t too negative, who are supportive and who are fun. Even if that leaves out someone close to you. This is your day and there will be a certain amount of stress leading up to it, and on the day of. Surround yourself with people who will not stress you out.

More importantly, make sure the person you ask is up to the financial responsibility. Consider that they have to pay for a dress that you pick out, hair, makeup, shoes and any travel. Think about what is going on in your friends lives before you ask them. Of course, it is perfectly fine to have a bridesmaid who lives out of town. Just because she can’t be there to help you address the invitations maybe she can take a weekend trip to help you with other things.

Also, this is not a time for payback or for hurt feelings. You do not have to ask someone just because you were in their wedding party. You also do not have to ask someone just because you are afraid they will be hurt if you don’t ask them. There are plenty of other roles you can ask them to fill: ushers, programs or doing a reading during your ceremony.

how to choose your wedding party - wild basin lodge blogIt’s Your Day

Your wedding party is a personal decision. Remember it is your day, no one else’s. If you want to have 10 bridesmaids go for it. You do not have to have even sides. Stay with the traditional one bridesmaid/groomsmen per 50 guest rule or buck tradition all together and have “non-bridesmaids”. These are close friends who support and love you and your relationship, but may not fit in the bridal party. For example, you can have a group of your closest friends wear a certain shade of blue and become your “something blue” group. You can also give them all something special to wear so they feel honored. Whatever you decide do not let choosing your wedding party become a stressful event; this is a magical time, and your only wedding, so enjoy it.

At the Basin

Here at Wild Basin Lodge, our in-house event planner and day-of coordinators will help you to plan and execute your wedding in order to further help you on your special day. Take a look at our wedding package for more details on what we have to offer.

Photographer credit: True Photography