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News and Events
 


Jan 12, 2016 - Marry Me In Colorado Awarded 7th Consecutive "Bride's Choice Awards"
by WeddingWire

 National Award for the top 5% of International Wedding Professionals on Performance and Customer Satisfaction - 5th Consecutive Year Recipient
 


 

January 5, 2016 - Marry Me In Colorado Awarded 4th Consecutive "Talk Of The Town Award for Excellence in Customer Service"
National Award for Excellence in Customer Service - 4th Consecutive Year
 

May, 2015 - Tips From Your "Fairy Godmother Extraordinaire"...
Planning Your Estes Park Destination Wedding
Published in the Estes Park Trail Gazette's  Wedding Planning Guide
 


"Everything Estes - Top Spot 2012"

Marry Me In Colorado Featured Article and Photos in 2014 Issue of
Rocky Mountain Bride

See Articles HERE

 




Announced February 23, 2015 - Marry Me In Colorado is selected as The Knot's 2013, 2014 and 2015 Pick for Best of Weddings!

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Estes Park, Colorado – January 23, 2015 – WeddingWire, the nation's leading online weddingmarketplace, is thrilled to announce that Marry Me In Colorado has been selected as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® 2015 for Weding Planners, Officiating, Floral Design and Photography in Colorado!

The esteemed annual awards program recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. Marry Me In Colorado’s selection as a Bride’s Choice Award 2015 winner was selected based on the positive experiences expressed by past clients on WeddingWire, the world’s largest wedding review site with over one million reviews. While many industry awards are given by the host organization, the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Marry Me In Colorado.

The WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® 2015 are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on professional achievements from the previous year. Award winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients. As a Bride’s Choice Awards winner, Marry Me In Colorado is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of over 200,000 wedding professionals throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.

“Each year, WeddingWire looks forward to celebrating the success of the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Now in its fifth year, the Bride’s Choice Awards® program continues to recognize the elite wedding professionals who exemplify a commitment to quality, service and professionalism. These businesses were chosen by our bridal community for their responsiveness and dedication to their clients over the past year. We are honored to recognize Marry Me In Colorado for their impressive achievements within the wedding industry.”

Marry Me In Colorado is thrilled to be one of the top wedding planners, officiants, photographers and floral designers in Colorado in the WeddingWire Network of sites, which include leading wedding sites such as WeddingWire, Project Wedding, Brides.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We value all of our clients and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® for 2013.

To learn more about the Bride's Choice Awards®, please visit www.WeddingWire.com/brides-choice-awards.

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Marry Me In Colorado Receives the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015  Talk of the Town Awards

 

 

Estes Park, CO (January 10, 2015): Marry Me In Colorado has been named a recipient of the 2013 Customer Satisfaction Award for Excellence in Customer Care for the third year in a row, presented by Talk of the Town News, Customer Care News and Celebration Media.

 

The award honors companies and professionals that provide excellent customer service, as reported by their customers through no-cost, user review websites. The reviews are analyzed by a team of researchers who calculate a star rating system based on these data, which determines a business’ award eligibility.

To determine 2013 award recipients, Celebration Media’s dedicated team of researchers spent more than 6,000 hours analyzing data from multiple websites that detailed customer’s experiences at organizations across the U.S. and Canada. Among the types of organizations and professionals eligible to receive these awards are hospitals, dentists, accountants, physical therapists, veterinarians, optometrists, insurance, chiropractors, lawyers, financial planners, restaurants, bakeries, event centers, home improvement companies, florists, spas, salons and mortgage companies, in addition to several other categories.

This is the fourth year Celebration Media, Talk of the Town and Customer Care News have honored companies with its Customer Satisfaction Award for Excellence in Customer Care, and the third year in a row for Marry Me In Colorado to receive this award.

 

Marry Me In Colorado is an Estes Park based wedding business that orchestrates over 200 weddings each year.  Owned by Kevin Cooper who performs all of MMIC’s ceremonies and Lorie Cooper, 28 year wedding industry veteran who provides wedding coordination, floral design and photography services, and featuring the photography art of Mark Hinwood, native of Poole, England and now residing in Allenspark.   In it’s 8th year of operation, Marry Me In Colorado has appeared in numerous local and international publications providing articles on wedding planning, and has been featured on local news and Colorado CBS affiliates as well as nationally syndicated The Montel Williams Show, and featured on Ophra Winfreys’ Discovery Network’s Miracle Weddings.

 

For more information about the award or its sponsors, please contact CMUS and Talk of the Town News at 877-498-6405.

To contact Marry Me In Colorado, please email lorie@marrymeincolorado.com or call 970-586.5708.

# # #

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{Estes Park,CO} – January 22, 2012 – WeddingWire, the nation's leading wedding Marketplace, is excited to announce Marry Me In Colorado has been selected to receive the prestigious WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ 2012 for Flowers & Decor!

The esteemed annual awards program recognizes the top local wedding vendors from the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism within the wedding industry. While many industry awards are selected by the organization, Marry Me In Colorado was selected based on its stellar reviews from past newlywed clients.

Marry Me In Colorado is recognized as part of the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire local vendor community, comprised of over 200,000 wedding professionals throughout the United States and Canada. The Bride’s Choice Award recognizes the best local wedding vendors across 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their overall professional achievements throughout the past year.

“WeddingWire is thrilled to honor the success of the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Community,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Since the launch of the Bride’s Choice Awards™ program four years ago, thousands of outstanding wedding professionals have been recognized by the bridal community for their supreme service and dedication to the wedding industry. It is with great pleasure that we congratulate Marry Me In Colorado for their continued professionalism and commitment to enriching the wedding planning experience for engaged couples.”

We are happy to announce that Marry Me In Colorado is one of the very best Flowers & Decor within the WeddingWire Network, which includes leading wedding planning sites WeddingWire, Project Wedding, Brides.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. Thanks to their positive feedback we were able to receive the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ for 2012.

For more information, please visit our WeddingWire Storefront today at http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/marry-me-in-colorado-estes-park/d2727cf524d18a33.html.

To learn more about the Bride's Choice Awards™, please visit www.WeddingWire.com.

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire™, the nation's leading marketplace serving the $70 billion wedding industry, is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding professionals. For engaged couples, WeddingWire offers the ability to search, compare and book over 200,000 reviewed wedding vendors, from wedding venues to wedding photographers. WeddingWire also offers a comprehensive suite of online planning tools for weddings, including wedding websites and wedding checklists, all at no charge. For wedding professionals, WeddingWire is the only all-in-one marketing platform for businesses online and on-the-go. WeddingWire offers one simple solution to build a professional network, improve search visibility, manage social media and reach mobile consumers. Businesses that advertise with WeddingWire appear on WeddingWire.com, ProjectWedding.com and other leading sites, including MarthaStewartWeddings.com (NYSE: MSO), Brides.com and Weddingbee.com.

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Tips From Your "Fairy Godmother Extraordinaire"...

Planning Your Estes Park Destination Wedding
by Lorie Cooper, Marry Me In Colorado

Published in the Estes Park Trail Gazette's 2012 Wedding Planning Guide
 - November 1, 2012






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Featured Article - Everything Estes

Article and Photography by Marry Me In Colorado

Rocky Mountain Bride Magazine Winter 2012 Edition



Click on Thumbnails Below to View Article

       

On News Stands January 2012
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Marry Me In Colorado Featured Article with Photos
in the Times-Call Occasions Section

"A Spot To Tie The Knot" - Unique Wedding Locations


December 25, 2010


Click on Thumbnail to See Full Size Articles

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Publish Date: 3/25/2010 - Loveland Reporter-Herals

Witness a ‘Miracle’ Loveland couple’s story to be featured on Discovery wedding show about inspiring stories of love

After Army Sgt. Travis Vendela was wounded in Iraq and lost his legs, the community came together to give the soldier and his fiancée, Tiffany Black, a free $30,000 wedding in Loveland. The Wyoming couple’s May “fairytale wedding” will be shared with the nation when it’s featured on “Miracle Weddings” on the Discovery Health channel.   “It’s a story that deserves to be told," said Lorie Cooper who helped coordinate the event, along with her husband, Kevin, with Marry Me in Colorado.

Vendela lost his legs and suffered a broken pelvis, a broken arm and a fractured vertebra in his neck when an improvised explosive device struck his Humvee on Feb. 7, 2006. Before the accident, he had planned to marry Black in March 2007, but the wedding had to be postponed.

The Montel Williams show got word of the couple’s story, and its producers contacted the Coopers to help put together a wedding for them.  Lorie and Kevin were able to rally 20 Northern Colorado businesses to assist with the wedding. “Everybody just pulled together and did an awesome job,” she said.

On May 24, with cameras rolling, Vendela and Black were married in their dream wedding at The Fountains of Loveland.  “The wedding was phenomenal,” Lorie said. “It was absolutely beautiful. It was fairytale.”

(Los Angeles, Ca.) The Discovery Health upfront slate for combines top-quality content, true-life stories and esteemed experts to deliver viewers content that matters. Up through its transition to OWN: THE OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK later in 2009, Discovery Health will continue to provide audiences with relevant, premium programming that they can look to for entertainment, information and inspiration.

Miracle Weddings (March, 2010)
Two couples. Two incredible love stories. Two weddings that needed a miracle. Mercedes was off to celebrate her promotion with her fiancé, Jake, when the bridge she was crossing in Minneapolis collapsed. Travis and Tiffany were planning to be married when Travis returned from his second deployment in Iraq. Only weeks before he was scheduled to return, Travis’ Humvee was hit with an explosive device that blew off his legs. This special follows the inspiring stories of love and perseverance that brought them down the aisle.

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02/11/20012

You're Invited: The Ultimate Eagles Wedding

The Colorado Eagles would like to cordially invite you to the Ultimate Eagles Wedding of Michael Melvin Horst and Shannon Lee Twing! The lovely couple will be wed during the first intermission of the Colorado Eagles game against the Mississippi RiverKings in front of 5,289 of their fellow Eagles fans.

When: Saturday, February 14, 2012 (Valentine's Day)

Where: The Budweiser Events Center

About the Couple: Michael and Shannon met in 1995 while he was a freshman and she was a junior at Platte Valley High School. After graduating, Shannon joined the Navy, while Michael joined the local fire department where he served as captain for six years.

In 2003, Shannon received an honorable discharge from the Navy and stayed on the East coast until 2007 when she decided to return to Colorado. On August 18, 2007, Michael and Shannon's paths crossed once again through a mutual friend and they have been together ever since.

After a year of dating, Michael took Shannon -- along with her family -- to a local dive shop to share his passion for scuba diving. It was at the bottom of the pool where he presented a white board to Shannon with the words "Will You Marry Me?" inscribed on it. Without hesitation, she nodded yes!

August, 2008

 

Kevin Cooper and Marry Me In Colorado...

Featured in the Fall 2008 Issue of
 Bride's Colorado Magazine

2 Articles:

Feature Story 1 - Featured Wedding - Bonnie and Erin - Steamboat Springs - March, 2008

Feature Story 2 - Unique Officiates in Colorado

Feature Story 1 - Featured Wedding



Feature Story 2 - Wedding Officiates

May, 2008

Jennifer Moore, Windsor Now
May 31, 2008


Even without power and a lot of emotions running through the town, Sherry Mascarenas and her staff in Windsor made sure one bride's day started off just right.

Tiffany Black was scheduled to marry the love of her life, Travis Vendela on May 24, and she and her six bridesmaids had appointments for hair and makeup at Rumors On Main Salon & Spa, 612 Main St., that same morning. The devastating tornado on May 22 left most of Windsor without lights, power and functionality, including Mascarenas' salon, but that didn't stop the salon owner and her staff from doing what they do best.


"It was a feat for Superman I think," Mascarenas said. "And we pulled it all together."

"I didn't sleep much the nights after the tornado because I was so worried about pulling this off," Mascarenas added.

Three generators where donated to the salon, and the staff spent the night before making sure the outlets for each hair station could hold the amount of current for curling irons, hair dryers and other tools. Windsor resident Diane Ransom and Little Caesars Pizza in Fort Collins donated food for the wedding party. When it was all over with, the seven women received a new do and makeovers.

"The girls were all grateful for what we had done," Mascarenas said.

Travis and Tiffany, who are from Wyoming, had been engaged for more than two years and their story was picked up by the Montel Williams Show. Travis lost his legs in February when his convoy was hit while on duty with the United State Army in Iraq. His injuries postponed the wedding.

The producers of the show contacted Kevin Cooper, wedding officiator with Marry Me In Colorado and his wife Lorie Cooper, a master wedding and event planner with Fountains of Loveland, for help with coordinating a worry-free wedding for the couple. The Coopers did some calling to Northern Colorado wedding vendors, including Affordable Catering Co. of Northern Colorado, Fountains of Loveland, Agapé Photography, Finishing Touches, Palmer Flowers, La Quinta Inn and Suites and more. Before they knew it, they had more than $30,000 worth of goods and services donated for the wedding.

"When you look at him (Travis) you are like 'Wow, you sacrificed for me and my daughters, so we can continue the way we are living,' " Lorie Cooper said. "I can't thank him enough."

Lorie said the vendors all felt the same way she did.

"There wasn't even a question. It was amazing the people out there who did (step up) to make this a beautiful wedding," Lorie said.

Tiffany and Travis were married in front of 150 people at the Fountains of Loveland. Lorie said Tiffany arrived like a princess on a carriage, ice sculptures decorated the reception and 50 doves where let loose at the end. She said the neatest thing, however, was watching Travis stand, walk and dance with his new wife on his prosthetic legs.

"It was a very touching story," Lorie said.

"Enough to make you cry," Kevin Cooper added.

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BY VIMAL PATEL
Loveland Connection • Coloradoan
May 25, 2008

Community Supports Military Couple

Travis Vendela lost both his legs when his Hummer was struck by an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq, setting off more than a year of rehabilitation that continues today.

The blast near Balad, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, also caused a broken pelvis and arm, fractured vertebrae and shattered jaw.

But beyond the excruciating pain and lifelong implications of the injuries, he had a more immediate concern: How and when he would marry his sweetheart, Tiffany Black?

Financial reasons forced the delay of the wedding, which they had planned before Vendela's injuries in February 2007.

But with the help of businesses from Loveland and the rest of Northern Colorado, the Wyoming couple married Saturday at the Fountains of Loveland.

"We just pulled together as a local community and made it happen," said Lorie Cooper, general manager of Fountains of Loveland. "We called our friends in our own backyard."

The effort started with a phone call from "The Montel Williams Show" to Lorie's husband, Kevin, who is a wedding officiant.

The show, which had the couple as guests, sought assistance for the couple.

The Coopers began soliciting donations from local businesses.

With the community's help, about $30,000 in donations and services were raised for the wedding.

About two dozen local businesses pitched in.

Agape Photography in Fort Collins shot free photos of the event.

Affordable Catering in Greeley provided a complete buffet dinner for each of the expected 200 guests.

And Black Steer in Loveland provided a full rehearsal dinner for 35 people Friday night.

"It's a feel-good story," Cooper said. "You hear so much negativity and sadness. To hear something happy is refreshing."

Now, the Discovery Network, owned by Oprah Winfrey, plans to produce an hour-long program about the couple's story called "Miracle Wedding" that is expected to air in the near future.

The couple was traveling to Colorado Springs to pick up family and couldn't be reached for this story.

"This couple is having to endure something that no young couple should have to endure," Cooper said. "The love that comes from them is absolutely amazing."

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Written by Rebecca Boyle for NEXTnc  
Friday, 06 July 2007

Brides and gambling aficionados have one definitive thing in common this weekend: They're both hoping for a stroke of luck.

July 7, 2007, a date that only comes along once a century, is likely to be one of the biggest wedding dates in history. Plus, casinos in Las Vegas and in Colorado are bracing for huge crowds, and even retailers such as Wal-Mart are hoping to cash in on the lucky day.

For wedding professionals like Kevin Cooper, owner of Marry Me In Colorado in Eaton, the lucky date means huge business.

"For our sales all over the state, where we would normally do two weddings on a Saturday, we have five," he said. "Every facility has been sold out for a year."

Cooper  is an officiant and agreed at the last minute to preside over a wedding in Colorado Springs Saturday evening -- only a few hours after doing one in Estes Park at noon.

"It is going to be crazy, most definitely," Cooper said.

He said brides have had several reasons for picking the fortuitous date, including the number seven's importance in several religions. Couples are toasting the day with their wedding favors, using white pairs of dice or other luck-themed trinkets, Cooper said.

Couples can buy all kinds of 777 wedding-themed items online, including T-shirts and other souvenirs. A Google search on "777 wedding" on Thursday yielded 14,200 results.

"In Colorado, most of them are just taking advantage of the date, and sticking with their own concept," Cooper said.

He does have one wedding, however, that is taking the 777 concept all the way.  "I have been helping plan a wedding at 7:07 p.m. on 7/07/07," he said with a laugh.

Cooper believes Saturday will be a banner day for engagements, too -- it's a lucky day for guys to pop the question.

At Weiss Jewelers, 955 52nd Ave. Court in Greeley, Rich Weiss said he wasn't sure if the date will mean more engagements than usual, but he's hoping for some luck.

"I'm looking forward to July 7 as being a real lucky day. We're anticipating great things," he said.

So are casinos. Several Vegas casinos are planning mass weddings, and the Wall Street Journal reported last month that hotels are booked at six times the rate of the previous weekend.

Kay Kosmicki at Cottonwood Travel in Greeley said some travelers mentioned the lucky day, but many had wanted to go to Vegas anyway.

"People are always looking for a reason to go to Vegas," she said. "People just make mention of it, and say, 'Gosh, it's fortunate that I'm traveling that day, this is a lucky day.' "

While 7/7/07 sounds luckier, Aug. 8 next year is already shaping up to be a big wedding day, too. The Stanley is already booked for 08/08/08, Cooper said.

That goes with her theory that many couples didn't pick this Saturday just for luck.

"For a couple girls, the date sounded fun, but they also knew he would never forget," Cooper said with a laugh.
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Eaton couple give Iraq veteran a proper wedding

Bill Jackson,
(Bio) bjackson@greeleytribune.com
December 24, 2007


Eaton resident Lorie Cooper has seen a lot of people in love in her 25 years of wedding planning.

But she has never seen the undying love and commitment that she sees between Travis Vandela of Wyoming and his wife-to-be, Tiffany Black.

About a year ago, Vandela lost both his legs and suffered other serious injuries while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. It was just a month before he and Black were to be married.

Since then, the wedding has been on hold.

It was on hold, that is, until a television talk show host teamed up with Lorie and Kevin Cooper and dozens of other northern Colorado businesses.

They'll all be part of a special "Montel Williams Show," which will be aired today on Fox television.

Williams, who is a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., contacted the Coopers to see if he could help the young couple with their wedding plans as part of his tribute to the military Christmas show.

Lorie is the general manager of the La Quinta Inn and Suites and the Fountains of Loveland and Event Center; Kevin is a pastor who operates Merry Me in Colorado out of the couple's Eaton home.

Lorie said that within 24 hours of their initial contact with the talk-show host, they had assembled a group of wedding professionals in the northern Colorado area who have donated their services and products to provide the couple with a wedding valued in excess of $25,000.

The wedding is scheduled for May 24, as that's the date Vandela has set to be able to stand on his prosthetic legs. He wanted to be able to see his bride come down the aisle and dance with her at their reception.

Last week, the Coopers, along with the intended couple, were flown to New York to tape the Williams show.

"It was so amazing," Lorie said. She said Tiffany thought she was there just for the salute to the military show and was not aware of the wedding plans.

She said the couple's original plans were to be married in a VFW with a cake because of the medical expenses.

But now it will be at the Fountains of Loveland, thanks to the Coopers and more than 25 other businesses from the region who are supplying the wedding and reception, full catering, wedding photography, cinematography services, flowers, formal wear, a wedding cake, invitations, rental items, a horse and carriage, entertainment, bridal party jewelry, a chocolate fountain, ice carving and a host of other specialty items.

She said Vandela and Black are spending Christmas in Cheyenne, then he will return to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, for more treatment. In addition to losing both legs in the attack on the Hummer he was in, the Army sergeant suffered a broken pelvis, broken arm, fractured vertebrae in his neck and had to be revived three times by medical personnel.

"This man has a definite purpose for his life that he was able to survive and conquer what would have been the demise for millions of others," Lorie said.



ON AIR

"The Montel Williams Show" will air it's special Christmas Salute to the Military show at 1 p.m. today on Fox 31.
 

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May, 2008 - Cover Story and 4 Page Spread
NEXTNC

Warning! A dangerous season is quickly approaching where sweet lovely ladies transform into frightening beastly creatures.

While there’s no escape from the wedding season, you can protect yourself from brushes with bridezilla, or mutating into one of these dreadful monsters yourself.

“It’s the little things that cause the most stress,” said Lorie Cooper, owner of Colorado Celebrations, a full-service northern Colorado wedding planning company. “It’s an emotional time for everybody.”



And with June being the peak of the wedding season in  Colorado, many emotions soar higher than the white doves released to the sky.

Cooper, who has 24 years of experience in the wedding industry, said even being a guest adds extra stress to a person’s life.

If someone is single and suddenly see all their friends get married, they might worry about when it will be their turn. In addition, gifts can get costly, especially if you will be attending several weddings.

Those who are truly put to the test by the elements of the wedding season are those most closely affected: bridesmaids, parents, best friends. They are the real survivors, if they make it out of the chapel alive.

So whether you are always the bridesmaid, or a financially exhausted father of the bride, what it all comes down to is remembering what the day is about.

Mandy Sullivan, 21, of Gill, and Jon Peggram, 22, of Greeley, tie the knot Saturday in Greeley. The couple and their families have made it through some of the tougher wedding-planning obstacles, and they will be celebrating with about 400 people.   What helped them to hold it all together?  Hiring their wedding planner, Lorie Cooper.

“Something will always go wrong. It may be small and it may be big, but never lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day you are getting married,” said Lorie.

Cooper has a measure for Jon and Mandy: How fond the wedding memories are will be based on the ability to adjust.

“It’s only one day so don’t go absolutely crazy trying to make everything perfect,” Mandy said. “And leave bridezilla at home.”

SURVIVAL FOR GUESTS

  • When buying gifts, go for something sentimental. You don’t have to break the bank to show your support. Make it as simple as an engraved picture frame. If the couple is wedding savvy, the gift registry will cover a wide price range.

  • R.S.V.P. in a timely fashion. Response cards are for a reason.

  • Focus on the couple and the celebration at hand. Use their wedding to get ideas for when your turn comes.

  • Arrive 15 minutes early to the ceremony. There’s nothing worse than walking in late. You don’t want to steal the attention from the ones who are supposed to walk down the isle.

  • Mail the gift ahead of time, if possible. This makes it easier on the bride and groom. Otherwise, place them on the gift table at the reception.

  • Turn your cell phone off to prevent awkward distractions.

  • Have fun, but not too much fun. If there is alcohol, drink in moderation.
    Pre-wedding stress relievers: Women get fitted, men get outfitted...with shotguns

    THE TROOPS

    Mandy Sullivan and Jon Peggram are at the center of a wedding the happens Saturday, with their families and 400 guests in attendance. We meet the troops that have helped organize the event, and give you a taste of what it takes to be a wedding survivor.

    No. 1: Mandy Sullivan, bride - aka First Captain in Command
    Mandy Sullivan is already a survivor in her own right. Her wedding day will not only be a celebration of her and Jon’s love, but also of her life.

    Two winters ago, she came near death during a snowboarding accident that ripped her spleen in two.

    “I was rushed to the hospital and went into surgery right away,” Mandy said.   Jon was with her at the time of the accident and stayed at the hospital with her. “That’s when I knew he loved me,” Mandy said. “He wouldn’t leave. He cried and told me he loved me. He would read to me and watch me while I slept. You know someone loves you if they will change the bag that has your urine in it. He kept telling me I was beautiful, even though I wasn’t very beautiful.”

    A year after Mandy’s accident, the couple got engaged. Mandy said she knew she was going to marry Jon from the first time they talked.

    Because Mandy has such a strong relationship with her mother, it was easier for her mother to plan the wedding while Mandy focused on finishing school.  Her survival tip to brides is to be sweet.

    “I just can’t imagine how yelling at someone would make them want to help you,” Mandy said. “Vendors are expecting brides to be freaked out about everything and if you are nice, they go above and beyond.”

    No. 2: Jon Peggram, groom - aka Second Captain in Command
    Being on the frontline, Jon Peggram, 22, is looking forward to his big day. The hardest part for him has been not getting to see Mandy much during the last month.

    Though he says the wedding preparation hasn’t been very stressful for him, he too has taken on several assignments.

    Because he wanted to do things the traditional way, his first operation was to get permission to marry Mandy from her father.

    While the men were busy moving Jon into his new house, he finally muscled up the courage.

    “It was really hard to make myself actually ask him,” he said. “I knew I was going to do it, but it was hard.”

    Mission one completed.

    Next, he needed to pop the question to Mandy. He planned to do it over dinner the following weekend, but was too excited since he already had the ring.

    He convinced her to go for a walk at Glenmere Park in Greeley on a frigid evening in January, where he got down on one knee. And of course, his bride-to-be said yes.

    Mission two completed.

    Since then, Jon has been involved in everything from helping address invitations to working hand in hand with Lorie Cooper to have a vital role in making Mandy’s bouquet.

    The invitations, which became quite a nightmare, were printed wrong several times, accidentally sent to Canada and had the incorrect address for the church.

    As Mandy’s mother Jan was frantically trying to address all of the invitations, Jon came over to cook her dinner and help address them.

    His top tip for future grooms: Don’t be afraid to go to a wedding show because you can get a lot of ideas,” he said. “You don’t have to stay all day, but at least walk through it. It wasn’t that bad. After we all walked through it once, her dad and I watched football and drank beer in the hotel lounge.”


    No. 3: Danielle Sullivan, maid of honor - aka Bride’s Navigator
    Danielle Sullivan’s mission is to assist her sister whenever needed. Her long list of duties included hosting the bridal shower, picking the bridesmaids dresses, helping with decorations and planning her toast.   “I’m kind of stressed about the toast,” she said. “I’ve been trying to think of things to say.”  Danielle, 18, said it has been difficult balancing work and wedding stuff, but has tried to support her sister and mom emotionally.  “My job has been to keep them calm and happy,” she said.
    She would tell other bridesmaids to share their honest opinions but also let the bride have her day.  Danielle and Mandy talked about being in each other’s weddings when they were little girls. But being the maid of honor isn’t always easy.
    “Every time I see someone who is invited to the wedding, I’m asked when am I getting married,” Danielle said. “I always tell people, ‘not for awhile because I have seen what my sister has gone through and how stressful it’s been.’ I just push it aside and don’t worry about it too much.”

    No. 4: Luke Epple, best man - aka Groom’s Wing Man
    Luke Epple, 22, enlisted as Jon’s best man to help guide his cousin through the process.   “We’ve been best friends forever,” he said. “We’ve done everything together. A lot of my hospital visits have been with him. There’s been a lot of broken bones.”  In fact, Luke is a survivor, thanks to Jon.  About five years ago, the guys were on a camping trip when Luke fell 20 feet off a cliff. He plummeted to the water below, breaking ribs and rupturing his spleen, among other things. Jon charged down the mountain to save him.

    Luke, who is now married, said he is excited for Jon.

    Though Luke hasn’t done much of the planning, he was in charge of the bachelor’s party: gathering the guys to rendezvous in Wiggins to shoot shotguns. “It’s something me and my friends like to do,” Jon said.

    Luke said he wanted the party to be something all of the groomsmen could have fun doing. Jon has a troop of three little brothers and Luke wanted them to be involved.

    Luke’s final mission is the toast. “I want to have everything mapped out, that way I won’t look like a jackass,” he said.


    No. 5: Jan Sullivan, mother of the bride - aka General of Planning

    Even starting her own business wasn’t as tough for Jan Sullivan as planning a wedding.

    “If it wasn't for Lorie being by my side throughout this planning, I know I would be  crying every day,” she said.

    When Mandy got engaged, she told her mom she wanted her in charge of everything.

    Surprisingly, it’s worked quite well and mother and daughter have agreed about 90 percent of the time.  “If we don’t, it’s her wedding. She’s the bride.” Jan said.  Jan has been working around the clock and has managed to overcome a couple obstacles such as invitation issues and caterer catastrophes.

    When things get rough, she takes a deep breath and counts her blessings.  "All this is happening because my daughter has found true love and we have something to celebrate,” she said.

    Jan’s biggest key to survival has been hiring Lorie Cooper,  a professional wedding planner. Although Jan has done most of the work herself, she will be able to relax and enjoy the wedding, knowing someone else will be responsible for the little details.

    No. 6: John Sullivan, father of the bride - aka Paymaster Finance Officer

    Thus far, John Sullivan has survived footing the bill, all the while being the safety net for his wife and daughter. But the hardest part is yet to come for John.

    “Walking her down the isle and going through some of the toasts will be tough,” he said. “Mandy still lives at home. I think it will really hit me more when she is gone.”

    But John has been preparing himself for a long time for the day when his oldest daughter would leave her parent’s barracks.  “Because we approve of Jon so much, it makes it easier,” he said.

    John’s biggest duty has been to keep the boat afloat.

    “If I have any important part at all, it’s that I found I need to be solid,” John said. “The girls can be emotional at times. I’ve been well practiced over the years to smooth out those areas and see if there is anything I can do to help.”

    As the father of the bride, John’s biggest survival tip is to get the ugliest part out of the way early. He recommends tackling the budget head on and not shying away from it.

    “It’s the most uncomfortable part of it all and hopefully it is downhill from there,” he said.

    Wedding planner Lorie Cooper said the father of the bride usually feels completely helpless and that everything is out of control, especially his wife and daughter.

    “The groom’s father tends to be the least emotionally affected - at least publicly, although he deals with the concept of losing his little girl to the new man in her life,  and many times he has a tendency to get left out,” she said.

    Though the bride’s parents have traditionally paid for the wedding, with today’s extravagant weddings, Cooper recommends splitting the bill in thirds.  “Money is the No. 1 cause of stress,” she said.

    While John was putting gas in his car last week, he found $50 on the ground. Though the UPS employee has had to write some hefty checks lately, he turned around and gave the money to someone who needed it more.

    “I relate it to the wedding,” he said. “Life is tough. Easy come, easy go. The easier it is to get married, the easier it would be to let go.”

    But all of the hard work they have put into the wedding will hopefully give the young couple that many more reminders of love.

    THE COSTS


    The estimated cost breakdown for a wedding in Fort Collins is:
     

    • attire $1,307

    • ceremony $1,659

    • favors and gifts $784

    • flowers $807

    • jewelry $1,235

    • music $655

    • photography, video $1,888

    • reception $9,721

    • stationary $575

    • transportation $400

    A wedding in northern Colorado costs between $18,000 and $22,000, on average according to Lorie Cooper, is a Master Wedding Planner and owner of Colorado Celebrations wedding service.

 


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