Receptions are the perfect places to get creative because you don’t have to worry so much about seating all guests unless it is a wedding or anniversary reception and involves a buffet or plated meal and involves all ages.
One of the first things to do is book a venue, and Colorado is loaded with unique options. Consider the interests of the person or couple being honored or the group being assembled as well as the look or theme you are shooting for. Train lovers? How about a train depot or a museum that has exhibits about iron horses? Avid gardeners? Attractions like Denver Botanic Gardens or Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail could be a perfect fit, and there are a number of picturesque farms that also welcome events. Looking for a touch of the West? Colorado has several ranches that invite guests to get their cowboy on for receptions and other gatherings.
With an average of 300 days of sunshine annually and a moderate climate, hosting a reception outside is definitely an option. Patios, rooftop locations, pools with large decks, lawns, gardens and mid-mountain venues such as Uley’s Cabin in Mt. Crested Butte and Elk Camp in Snowmass at ski resorts are all possibilities that deliver immediate impressions. If families are involved, zoos, amusement parks and places with pavilions and some kind of built-in entertainment are winning combinations.
For indoor options, consider mountain lodges, museums, hotels, restaurants, recreation centers and community centers. All offer their own unique twists and spaces.
Of course, no reception is complete without food and beverage. Each venue differs regarding how this is handled so check with individual policies regarding if they handle food preparation, have a list of preferred caterers or if you are free to choose a caterer or bring in food. It also is important to know if alcohol is allowed and to consider important details like entertainment, décor and AV. Colorado has a talented pool of suppliers, event planners and destination management companies available to assist. Don’t settle for average when spectacular is at your fingertips and sometimes at not that much extra cost.