Over the years, we have been asked these questions by couples who were looking for a wedding venue. We offer this FAQ to share our answers with all of you.
Q: Why is your wedding business called "A Pikes Peak Wedding?"
Named after the beautiful mountain that towers over little Manitou Springs, our carefully designed Colorado wedding packages include everything you'll need to create happy memories of your wedding day. In addition, we offer a smaller package that give couples on a budget an opportunity to use our beautiful gardens.
Q: What is your location?
At some hotel venues, your wedding area might be located by a busy street with traffic noise. At other B&B venues, there might be private homes right next door that would limit what you can do on your wedding day. Blue Skies Inn is located on 2½ acres of wooded, commercially-zoned property with a stream running through it.
We have extensive private gardens and are located on the estate that was built by the founder of Manitou Springs. Our gardens are tucked into our hillside and surrounded by a wonderful stone wall that provides privacy for your day. The 1873 Briarhurst Estate Carriage House, which contains the Chapel Room, our indoor wedding site, is also are landscaped into our garden paths and isolated from automobile traffic.
Q: What area is available for parking?
Another inn or venue might not have parking for your guests. Blue Skies Inn has private off-street parking for sixty cars.
Q: How will my guests know where to park?
At Blue Skies Inn, our staff will direct your guests to parking as they arrive for your wedding. Guests will not be late because they are circling a neighborhood or a downtown area for parking.
Q: What if it snows on my wedding day and guests can’t reach the site?
Blue Skies Inn is near Colorado Highway 24, and we have never been “snowed in” because the State highway department keeps our road clear every day of the year.
Q: Are adequate powder room facilities available for my guests?
At Blue Skies Inn, we designate a special powder room (or two) for your guests.
Q: Is the wedding area located next to a road?
If you are looking at a gazebo or other wedding area elsewhere, do be sure that it doesn’t sit next to a public road where traffic will pass during your ceremony. Blue Skies Inn’s garden wedding areas are secluded and private. The Chapel Room in our historic 1873 Carriage House occupies the entire first floor of that structure, which is itself removed from traffic paths or areas where other B&B guests might wander.
Q: Will all of my guests be able to see the ceremony?
If you are going to be wed in a gazebo somewhere, there might be some guests who will not be able to see your ceremony. If you can, visit a prospective wedding site and place yourself where guests will sit to see if your view of the wedding area is clear. At Blue Skies Inn, we carefully arrange seating so all of your guests will be able to see the bride and groom. We can seat up to a hundred guests in our garden sites and up to 60 in the Chapel Room.
Q: Will there be staff to organize and direct the wedding day, or are we “on our own?”
If you purchase a “wedding package” elsewhere, you may find that you will need to find an officiant and organize a florist, photographer, and baker’s efforts yourself. At Blue Skies Inn, we handle all of those details for you. Those three words that are rarely found together in a sentence - “low stress wedding” - come true here.
Q: Who takes the photographs?
If you are buying a complete wedding package anywhere that includes photography, ask who takes the photos. If the answer is “the innkeeper”, ask about professional credentials. At Blue Skies Inn, Sally is the photographer. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and has photographed over 400 weddings. Always ask to see sample photo albums. (All of the photos posted on the Pikes Peak Wedding website were taken by Sally.)
By the way, Sally uses a professional Nikon D800 SLR digital camera. At the end of the day, you will be presented with a DVD of your wedding photography, and the copyright is yours. We’ll also post photos of your wedding on our website for your faraway family and friends who couldn’t attend.
Q: Do I have to pay the photographer for prints and enlargements of my wedding photos?
Some venues include a “sitting fee”, which means a photographer takes photos but if you want prints or digital copies, you must buy them separately and at great cost. You may use your DVD from Blue Skies Inn to have prints and enlargements made at any photo lab anywhere. Also, we will post a selection of your photos online. You and your friends can print from our website if you wish.
Q: Who creates the bride’s bouquet?
At Pikes Peak Wedding, you choose your colors and shape of bouquet and it is created especially for you. All of the bridal bouquets pictured on the Pikes Peak Wedding website were created by Sally. Other wedding venues may include a bouquet made by the innkeeper in the wedding price. If so, do ask to see photographs of other bouquets that she has created. On your special day, you don’t want to look like you’re carrying a bunch of grocery store flowers.
Q: Why do certain venues claim to be the only true "mountain wedding" available?
This is a sales ploy. There is a lot of amazingly beautiful landscape here in the mountains. The photo of Pikes Peak at the top of our website was taken from Blue Skies Inn. It's a very pretty mountain, but we don't claim to be the only mountain wedding site. However, that is the view from our inn.
Q: May we tour your venue?
Absolutely, we are always happy to give you a tour of our wedding venue. At any venue that you are considering, drop by informally to see the site. If a wedding venue staff insists on making a formal appointment, you can expect some pretty forceful sales techniques. At Pikes Peak Wedding, we know that we won’t suit every couple’s needs. If you book here, we don’t want you to have second thoughts because you were hurried into a decision. We will not pressure you or give you a big sales presentation. If we ever say, “Are you ready to book?,” that is worth a hundred dollar discount.
Q: What are your cancellation policies?
Most wedding venues, Pikes Peak Wedding included, have strict cancellation policies. That is because all venues have limitations on how many weddings can be scheduled on a particular day. If a time period is blocked off their schedule, they lose forever the opportunity to book any other couple who had their hearts set on that time - wedding couples are not willing to wait in line for a cancellation.
Virtually all wedding venues place the risk of cancellation on the wedding couple. However, you can mitigate the risk that you might have to cancel and forfeit your payments by purchasing event insurance, which starts at about $300. We suggest a search online for “event insurance” to protect your investment.
Wedding cancellation policies should be presented to you early on in your investigation of a wedding site. If they are not, it pays to ask, and get it in writing. At Blue Skies Inn, we book only one wedding at a time, so we are careful to put our cancellation policies online where couples can examine them before they book, even before they visit the property or call us. We hope that couples are serious about scheduling a wedding and are committed to marrying each other before they sign a contract with us.
Yet living so near to Colorado Springs military installations has taught us that life is unpredictable. Will you lose your deposit or payment if you are unexpectedly deployed? If you cancel completely, you will forfeit your payment. However, we are both willing and eager to reschedule your wedding at a more appropriate time with no penalty. That seems to us to be the fairest solution for all parties, and we are willing to assist you in rescheduling with our best efforts.
Q: Do I have to “buy out” the inn for exclusive use of the grounds?
If you are considering booking a small inn or venue, that may be the only way to have any privacy on your wedding day. At Blue Skies Inn, our gardens and chapel are reserved for your exclusive use without forcing you to rent every room at our inn. Blue Skies Inn is very close to a large variety of lodging properties, and we will consult with you on obtaining suitable and convenient lodging to meet the individual lodging needs of all of your out-of-town guests.
Q: Will we be surprised by having an unexpected gratuity added to the bill for our wedding?
We believe in being up-front about our charges at Blue Skies. We do not add a gratuity. Also, you will never see “prices are subject to change without notice” when you book here. Your original contract always prevails.
Q: What are time limits?
If you are looking at weddings elsewhere that allow just an hour for your event, it can’t be done in that amount of time. Our experience tells us that an hour and a half is just right. Your guests will become tired and restless at about that point. If you wish to book more time, ask us.
Q: Do your wedding packages include a meal?
No, our economically priced packages do not include a catered meal. Sometimes the cost of a catered meal is substantially higher than a restaurant. At Blue Skies Inn, our wedding packages consist of a ceremony and a cake reception. Many couples choose to invite only close family and friends to a dinner at a restaurant afterwards. When you divide the day by staging just wedding and cake here, the guest list for dinner can be selective. Your guests will also have a break to take off their shoes or even change clothes before dinner. Think “low stress” and that is a Pikes Peak Wedding!
Q: How much does the wedding package cost?
With a minimum two-night booking in the suite of your choice, we offer three all inclusive wedding packages. The details of our all inclusive wedding packages are described in detail on our Pricing webpage. The cost depends on three factors: room price, wedding package selection and optional extras.
First - Book a two-night stay: This is the most flexible factor in our packages. Suite prices range from $145 to $240 per night. For room pictures and more information on suites and amenities, go to our Two Night Stay webpage.
Second - Choose your favorite wedding package: Our three all inclusive packages are as follows (click on the package name for more details):
Third - Optional additional charges: Because each all inclusive wedding package is designed to be complete, the main cost for optional extras are usually guest fees. Guests attending your wedding are charged to you at $5 each, plus tax - this includes set-up, takedown, a cake up-sized to match your guest list and extra photography. There are very few other ways to incur extra costs. Other optional expenses include a hors d'oeuvre reception, a more elaborate cake and wedding flowers above what is already included in your wedding package, i.e. more corsages, bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres, etc. Prices for these extras are quoted on the Wedding Dinner, the Wedding Cake and the Wedding Flowers webpages.
||The all inclusive wedding package
100 guests capacity at $5/guest.
||Noon all inclusive wedding package
50 guests capacity at $5/guest
||Weekday (M-Thu) all inclusive wedding
12 guests capacity at $5/guest
For those who want to calculate prices down to the penny, our current sales & lodging tax rate is 11.03%
That's it! Add up those three factors, and you have the total cost of your wedding. Remember, the prices at Pikes Peak Wedding are not "subject to change without notice." After you sign your contract, the price is final, and there will be no financial surprises for you after you've booked. Payment arrangements can be found in detail on our Booking webpage.
Q: What is in the package?
Our all inclusive wedding packages are designed to include everything you need for your wedding. You bring wedding clothes, rings and a wedding license, and we do the rest. All of our all inclusive wedding packages offer a wedding ceremony (held in Waterfall Garden, Woodland Garden or the Chapel Room of our historic 1873 Carriage House), officiant, bridal bouquet & groom's boutonniere (and more!), wedding cake decorated with flowers to match your bouquet, rose petals for the garden setting, sound system and wedding music, professional photography, use of wedding tent, set-up, break-down, clean up, wedding trellis, tables and chairs, white brocade linens for guest tables and napkins, color linens for bridal table to match the couple's wedding colors, glass cake plates, silverware & crystal champagne flutes, sparkling cider for toasts, serving set for wedding cake, early afternoon check-in at our B&B and room service gourmet breakfasts
Q: What are the extra costs?
Unlike other wedding venues, Blue Skies Inn wedding packages have no mandatory "extra" costs, such as parking fees, cake-cutting fees or a required gratuity. All of our extra fees involve choices which are truly optional.
Q: Can I purchase just a part of your wedding package?
We think that we have designed the Perfect Wedding. Because we are proud of our creation, we do not take anything out of the packages in order to reduce the cost. We think that every bride should have wedding flowers, cake and photos. Because we are a bed and breakfast inn, booking a two night stay is the basis of the package.
Q: Where do we get a wedding license?
You may get a wedding license from any County Clerk's office in the State of Colorado. The Clerk will ask for $30 cash, a photo ID, social security number, and information about other marriages and State of dissolution. Please visit the El Paso County Clerk's website for more information, including PDF files of marriage license application forms. Their hours are 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, except holidays as listed on their website. If one or both of you are in the military and not currently able to apply in person for a wedding license, you can download forms and have your commanding officer notarize your license application, as authorized by Colorado statute.
Q: Can we be married on a Wednesday?
At Blue Skies Inn, we hold weddings every day of the week. Be sure to check the Coupons webpage for weekday discounts.
Q: Do we bring our own wedding cake?
A delicious cake of two or three tiers is included in our package, and it is sized to fit the number of guests. White or chocolate cake with regular or buttercream icing are the standard flavors. Cheesecake and other flavors and filling may be chosen at an upgrade in price of $25 per tier. Each tier may have two flavors in it. All tiers will be identical in flavors. If the flavors are not important to you, we usually order one layer each of vanilla and chocolate with buttercream icing because it's so pretty when cut. Your cake will be decorated with fresh flowers to match the bride's bouquet. If you wish, we will package up your top tier for you to freeze and enjoy on your first anniversary.
Q: What do we get for the $5 per guest?
The guest charge covers set-up, tables and chairs for all, linens, wedding tent, plates and tableware, champagne flutes for sparkling cider, a much larger cake, complete break-down and clean up and a larger photo package. In addition to the photos that are taken of bride and groom, our photographer will photograph your guests and family, adding 10 photos for every 20 guests.
Q: How many guests may we invite?
There is seating for up to 80 guests if you wed in our Waterfall Garden or 100 guests in our Woodland Garden.
Q: Who will perform our ceremony?
The services of a wedding officiant are included in our wedding package. We have four officiants from which you may choose the one who best suits your wedding ideas, from very religious to not religious. Your chosen officiant will consult with you by email and phone, perhaps schedule a meeting for the afternoon or evening before your wedding, and perform your ceremony the next day. We will walk through a rehearsal with you on the afternoon that you check in.
Q. May we choose our officiant?
After you have booked, we will send you to a special website page where our officiants' profiles are posted. You may choose the one who best suits your belief structure.
Q: May we bring our own minister?
Yes, you may arrange to bring your favorite pastor if you wish. However, there is no reduction in the cost of our package.
Q: May we write our own vows?
Yes, we encourage you to make your ceremony as personalized as you wish. Other couples have written poetry, composed vows, sung or played a musical instrument.
Q: I see photos of wedding couples with ribbons wrapped around their hands. What is that?
It’s called a Ribbon Ceremony. Blue Skies Inn has taken the idea of the ancient Celtic wedding tradition of hand-fasting and developed a sweet ceremony around it. For the exchange of vows, the couple faces each other and touches the other's hand, palm to palm. Rather than wrapping one cord to symbolize the union as was the tradition in the Middle Ages, seven ribbons are used, each a different color of the rainbow. For more information, see our Ceremony webpage.
Q: How long is the wedding?
We offer garden wedding sites or an indoor site in the Chapel Room of our historic 1873 Carriage House. Most of the pomp and circumstance and elaborate ceremony that may seem suitable in a large church will wilt the flowers and bore the butterflies in a garden. We keep it “short and sweet.” Usual wedding features are: entry of the bridal party, a greeting and wedding address by the officiant, exchange of vows and ring exchange. Ceremonies might range from 12 - 20 minutes.
Q: How long is the reception?
Your reception will last about half an hour and includes signing your wedding license, a sparkling cider toast, and cutting and serving of your wedding cake, followed by photos. Photography may take a bit longer if you have many guests. Start to finish, for a wedding with guests, your celebration might last as long as an hour and a half.
Q: Where is the wedding held?
Blue Skies Inn does not have an "event center." Here, you may choose to marry by the fanciful wedding tent in our lovely Waterfall Garden that is lush with flowers, at the edge of our Woodland Garden which is overhung with trees or under the hand-crafted chandeliers of the Chapel Room in our 1873 Carriage House. No matter what time of year it is, we shoot many pictures in the gardens, by the stream, with Pikes Peak in the background and in other garden areas around our 2½ acre property. Your wedding will feel intimate and close to Nature, with a deer wandering by or the song of hummingbirds overhead.
Q: Tell me about the photos.
We use a professional Nikon D800 digital SLR camera to shoot photos. Within a week of your wedding day, we will give you data-DVDs with your photos in large JPEG format. For creating large prints of your photos, we also include the camera-generated Nikon Electronic-image Files (.NEF), which are huge files serve as an electronic "negative" from which a photo-enlargement shop can extract all of the photo’s detail. You will own the copyright of your photos so that you may have enlargements or prints made as you see fit.
Our photos are shot by an artist who has photographed over 400 weddings. Her style is journalistic, and she documents each detail of your wedding day. Sally is an artist, but don't expect "arty" photos with fuzzy backgrounds or crooked shots taken between someone's legs. We think that when you look at your photos years from now, you'll want legible shots with as much information from your wedding day as you can possibly see. Since you will own the copyright to your photos, you may alter them if you wish.
We start our photography as the bride walks into the garden. We photograph the ceremony, signing of the license and cake cutting. We pause while you enjoy cake with your guests, then we take group photos of family, the wedding party and guests. When those poses are completed, we take portraits of the couple by themselves in all of the scenic locations at Blue Skies. We use all of our garden for your wedding photography - we NEVER hold two weddings at the same time. Additional photos of the couple are taken by the 1873 Briarhurst Carriage House, some with Pikes Peak in the background, and the rest by our shady stream with a lovely arching greenstone bridge.
Q: What if I want more photos?
We are always happy to take more photos. Ask about an expanded photo shoot if you want more photos than are included in your wedding package.
|Q: Can you put our photo on your website?
Absolutely! Within a week or so of your wedding, we will have posted a photo of you on our website as our most recently wed couple. If you click on your main photo, there will be 20 to 30 or more additional photos displayed as a pop-up, a perfect way to have your far-away friends and relatives see you on your wedding day.
Q: May we make a video of the ceremony?
You may video your ceremony with a camera set on a tripod. If you choose a friend or family member to do this, your videographer must be seated during the ceremony. We have a professional videographer who use two professional cameras and is a great value at $495. Our videographer and our photographer are used to working together (and staying out of each other's way), so unlike the video you would get from a static camera, A Pikes Peak Wedding video is dynamic and fully involved in recording all of the events of your special day. For video examples, see our Video webpage.
Q: What if a relative wants to photograph our ceremony?
You won't want your professional photo of your first kiss or the ring exchange blocked by someone using a throw-away camera or a cell phone waving in the air. Sometimes, guests want to take photos because they are afraid that your photos will cost too much. Remember, photos are included as part of your wedding package. We ask that all of your guests be seated during the ceremony. Since our photos are professional and of excellent quality, you truly do not need to have others taking the same photos. We use a telephoto lens to take photos of the tiniest details: the rings, the buttons and bows on the back of your dress, your bouquet as a butterfly alights upon it. After all of our photographs are taken, your family is welcome to take photos during the cake reception. Since our photographer is not present at your wedding dinner, that is also a perfect place for family members to use their photography skills. We don't stop your guests from photographing the wedding from their seats with real cameras (not cell phones that beep), but we think it is more polite if they are "present" for your vows.
Q: What kind of bouquet is made for the bride?
Our designer will make a bouquet that either rests on the bride's arm or one that she carries in front of her. It can be any size that she wishes. She may choose flower colors to match her wedding party's colors, or ask to be surprised with seasonal colors. Boutonnieres are made to compliment the colors in the bride's bouquet, as are all the other flowers included in your wedding package, unless you request otherwise. We have the ability to provide more flowers than specified for any wedding package. Extra floral arrangements are priced out on the flowers webpage. The bride's bouquet can be made more elaborate at additional cost if she wishes.
Q: What are the flower petals in the photos on the website?
We scatter rose petals in the bride's path, and we choose available colors of the season. In winter, it is especially dramatic to scatter petals on the snow.
Q: What should we wear?
Some choose favorite blue jeans and cowboy boots, others choose traditional wedding attire. Grooms may rent formal wear within blocks of the County Clerk's office.
Q: May we choose what room we want at the inn?
You may reserve any suite at our bed and breakfast that pleases you. Booking two nights at Blue Skies Inn is required in order to book a all inclusive wedding package.
Q: What if we want to stay longer for a honeymoon?
Extra days may be booked at a discount of 10%. There is much to do and see in the Pikes Peak area. Even if you stay for a week, you will need more time to see it all. See our Attractions webpage for more information.
Q: Do the bride and groom stay in the same room the night before the wedding?
The night before the wedding as well as the night of the wedding are scheduled in one of our suites. Many suites have an extra bed in the sitting room if you would like to sleep separately until the wedding. We have also had couples who decided to have the bride use the suite the night before the ceremony while the groom stayed elsewhere. Since our weddings are mid-day and our check-in time is not until late afternoon, it does not work to have a wedding here unless you check in the day before the wedding. That way, all of your wedding clothes are right here where you want them, and you can go to our nearby hair salon that morning with plenty of time to spare.
Q: Do the bride and groom have to dress in the same place on the day of the wedding?
We invite the groom to use another one of our suites at the inn, if available, to dress. Sometimes the groom dresses in the suite first, then waits in the garden while the bride gets dressed. If many guests will be coming from a distance, you may wish to rent an additional room as a "hospitality suite."
Q: What if the bride needs help with a zipper?
Staff is always available to help the bride at the last minute, whatever her need may be. Our favorite story is about a bride whose zipper failed: we sewed her into her dress!
Q: What about music?
You are welcome to hire musicians if you wish, and we will help find them for you. We have an extensive CD selection of wedding music from which you may borrow. We bring that collection to your suite the night before the wedding, and you may choose a selection to start the wedding and one to play just after you are pronounced newly married. Feel welcome to bring your own CD or iPod if you wish. You may play your own favorite music during your reception, assigning one of your guests to operate our equipment.
Q: What happens during the reception?
First, the bride and groom sign the marriage certificate. We pour a sparkling cider toast for all, then the cake is cut. We take photographs through all of this, then let you have some time to visit with guests before we resume photography. We will take photos of your family and guests with you. After that, we photograph just the newlyweds by our carriage house, take some shots with Pikes Peak in the background, and some by our stream and lovely arching bridge. If you have other ideas for photos, we are happy to oblige.
Q: May we bring alcohol?
We do not have a liquor permit or liquor license. Since your event is a private party, we will give you permission to bring champagne to serve one flute per guest only. Please select a member of your wedding party to pour and serve it. We do not give permission for any other alcohol to be served. As you can imagine, there is a story behind every rule. We like to keep our wedding celebrations elegant.
Q: What about a wedding dinner?
A wedding dinner and catering are not available at our inn, but after you book with us, we are happy to make recommendations for restaurants nearby that will seat any size group and at a wide range of prices. Usually, your wedding guests depart for the restaurant while the last wedding photos are taken of bride and groom. Hors d'oeuvres can be added to cake receptions for 2:30 PM weddings for an extra expense. See our Wedding Dinner page for details
Q: If we have children, may they be in the wedding?
Our officiants are happy to include your children in the wedding, asking them to form a family circle after your vows are said. We will make baskets that are full of rose petals if you wish for children to be involved as flower girls. If you choose the Ribbon Ceremony for part of your ceremony, the children or other family members may help by wrapping a ribbon around your hands as you say each vow.
Q: Is there off-street parking at Blue Skies Inn?
Yes, we can accommodate up to 60 cars in our free off-street parking.
Q: What if the bride needs someone to style her hair?
Several hair salons are within a half mile of us.
Q: Will our photograph stay online for a long time?
A photo of couples who leave us a note before they check out is posted on our website for others to enjoy. That photo will stay online forever. Clicking on that photo will lead to a web page featuring a mini-album of the bridal couple.
Q: What do we have to do to book a wedding?
Call us to book your minimum two-night stay in the suite of your choice and your wedding package. Half of your total is due upon booking, the other half is due 90 days before the ceremony. The balance for guests is due 30 days before the ceremony. See our Booking webpage for more details.
Q: I have more questions. What should I do?
Call Blue Skies Inn at 800 398-7949 to speak to Sally at any time.