Rocky Mountain Weddings

Choosing A Wedding Dress

Choosing a wedding dress is the biggest decision of your wedding, alongside choosing your venue!  The dress will set the stage for the event theme and and is also something you hold on to for a long time.  You will forever have a photo of you, in your dress, with your husband on your desk/in your house… But you already knew that, right? 

With that being said, I’m not going to add to your stress by reminding you how important picking the right one is; instead, I’m going to help you navigate the options and make the process easier!

The first step in picking the perfect dress is to establish a budget.  Getting a dollar value in mind will help narrow down choices and save the heart ache of falling in love with a dress that’s way out of your price range.  You’ll want to consider all the possible extra expenses, such as a belt, veil, jewelry, alterations, a crown (if that’s your style), and even dry cleaning!  All of these thing quickly drive up the price of your purchase!

The next thing you’ll want to do before you prepare for your big shopping day is get an idea of styles of dresses you like!  You can start by browsing magazines, Pinterest, and other wedding blogs to get a sense of your like and dislikes.  Keep in mind while you are browsing, hair styles are a big part of what complete the look for your wedding day, so you’ll want to choose styles that will complement your hair, as well.  For example, a flowy, simple dress may look gorgeous on that model with perfect, long hair all tossed in a flawless, messy braid, but your short bob may not have enough interest to dress up the plain dress.  You’d need a detail necklace or statement earrings to bring that kind of detail to the same look, all of which cost a fortune as you add on details!  It’s not impossible, but spending some time considering all of your options will make the process much easier.

After you’ve settled on a look and have a few ideas in your mind, it’s time to gather your girlfriends and head to the boutique!  I advise researching the store you are booking with before you go.  Check out the lines they carry, their average price portfolio, and if they have seasonal “sample sales.”  The place you purchase from is just as important as the dress itself.  You want to go somewhere that has experienced dress experts, and somewhere they understand your style.  There is nothing worse that walking out in a dress you love, only to be met by someone with completely different taste than you.  It is also infuriating to have an expensive dress (that’s outside your budget) presented to you, only to find out you couldn’t have it, even if you sold your liver!  Moral of the story?  DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BROWSE!

Now that you’ve gathered all of your girlfriends, family, and bridesmaids, it’s time to hit the fitting room!  But what dresses will you try on?  Explaining your look to your representative is vital!  She may let you browse the racks, in addition to pulling a few of her favs for you.  Don’t be hesitant to let her help, she has a lot more experience with dresses being made for different body types.  Also, don’t be shy to try on samples if they are having a sample sale… The dress may have been tried on a thousand times, but it’s 1/3 of the cost and a quick dry clean and alteration will make it brand new, custom fit for you.   Trust me ;) It’s beautiful, eh?


Raise your arms!!  HERE COMES THE DRESS—This is the most exciting part!  It’s the most important part too.  You’re in your first dress… YAY!  You walk out, mom cries, the whole world is revolving around you.  It’s easy to begin to feel overwhelmed, in this moment!  But take a deep breath and bask in it.  It’s your day!  However, take my advice.  Don’t fall in love with the first dress.  Trying on wedding dresses is a different experience; you’ve looked forward to this moment your entire life and no matter what dress you are in, you will feel special.  It takes a few dresses to get used to the idea that they are allllll beautiful dresses.  They are wedding dresses and someone will wear them on the prettiest day of their life.  THAT BEING SAID…. They are not all your wedding dress. 


So how do you pick?  My advice?  Try on a hundred dresses.  Take your time.  Love all of them.  (Don’t worry) you’ll hate some too.  But take the time to really process the dresses.  Go to lunch and mull the options over.  I promise…. I had always heard that “when you know, you know.”  I didn’t believe it after trying on a thousand dresses that left me in tears, but believe me when I say… It’s true.  You just know!

Don’t let price, selection, or the sales clerk get you down.  There is 100% a dress made just for you.  You just have to enjoy to journey of finding it!






A huge thanks to:

Blue Bridal in Downtown Denver for my gorgeous dress!  My experience was amazing and couldn’t have been an easier/more pleasant!


Walnut Street Photography for capturing the most perfect day of my life.  You were wonderful to work with and absolutely professional with all of my family!



Finding the Perfect Make Up Artist!!

All things wedding!!  WHOOP!

I couldn’t be more excited that it’s wedding season.  Having had the perfect wedding (in my opinion), I’m loving every opportunity to celebrate someone else’s big day and reminisce on our own memories! 

This weekend I am on my way to Denver’s version of Vegas, Blackhawk, to celebrate a sweet girlfriend and fellow blogger’s bachelorette party!  Be sure and check her out at and follow me on Snapchat (username : thenovicenative) for all to follow us and join in on the fun!!  It going to be a great time with some much needed girl talk.  SQUEEEE!!

But let’s talk your wedding, and review hands-down the best makeup artist in Denver! 

First things first… finding your make-up artist can be a bit hard, but following my simple steps will help make the process easier.  Referencing my post Choosing a Hairstyles will be helpful, as it involves the same steps with a more elaborate outline of the steps.  However, if you’re life me, you prefer the Cliff Notes! 

So, here they are::


  • Ask around!  Friends are a great way to get good, real life feedback.
  • Peruse Instagram and blogs! 
  • Google
  • Make a list of your top choices, narrow it down to 10.

Reach out…

  • Send an initial email to your top 10.  Include your date, wants, and needs, as well as photos if you have them.  Ask for pricing and availability!

Choose your artist!

  • Rule out everyone outside of your budget once you’ve gotten a majority of the responses.
  • Dig a little deeper into your top 3.  Talk to each of them, see if they offer trials (most of these will cost money, be prepared)
  • Choose your artist and sign your contract!

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect partner, you’re ready to set up your trial run!  I HIGHLY recommend doing one, as there were a few changes I needed to make after mine.  Scheduling it in the morning is ideal, as you can see how the makeup wears throughout the day!  You don’t want it to slide off, or smear with the slightest glisten.  Having a photo to bring with you on the day of your trial will be very helpful for the artist.  If you can, bring a few options in case the artist suggests that one may not work with your skin tone, etc. 

If you are happy with the way your trial went, get with your artist and determine a timeline for the big day!  You will want to consider how many girls are getting their makeup done, and factor that in to the hair schedule. 

I am going to leave you with this little suggestion for scheduling and deciding what work is done… If you are considering paying to have your bridesmaid’s make up done, or asking that they pay for it themselves, one of the best ways to cut down on the cost is to ask the makeup artist if she does “mini facials”.  If she doesn’t understand, you could suggest and ask if she would be willing to do “eyes only” or “full face with no lashes” for each of the girls.  This will cut down on her work load, but also give her the opportunity to earn additional business since she is already booked that day.

For all who have asked-- I found my DREAM Makeup Artist, Tori, in the most roundabout of ways… Yes, I followed my steps listed above, but it goes to show you all methods counts.  I reached out to a friend of mine who suggested her top pick in Denver.  After reaching out, I learned that she was already book for my wedding day, but recommended Tori, from Bronze and Beautiful.  Once finding her, I browsed her website and decided to add her to my list!  After chatting on the phone and exchanging emails, I decided to book with Tori.  Not only did she have a fantastic resume, but also one of the main reason’s a chose her was because of the last tip I provided above… You see, we decided to treat our bridal party with a little glam makeover the day of the wedding and Tori was more than willing to work with me to create a look for each of my girls that was in my price range… She did a more than exceptional job, helped make my day absolutely perfect, and even came to my home the day before for a spray tan and brow tint!  Dreams do come true!!!!!!  PS It lasted all night :)

I hope this helps you find your perfect match – You’re going to be beautiful!



All Aboard, San Juan!! :: Honeymoon Day 2

IT'S THURSDAY and you know what that means.... TRAVEL DAY on the Novice Native - YAYYYY!!!!!  I have tons of recent adventures to share, but I can't help but continue to focus on the amazing trip we took for our honeymoon!

Day 2 of our Honeymoon was just as exciting as the first!!  

After an amazing night's sleep, we took some time to reminisce on everything that had happened in the past 48 hours! 

All packed up and ready to board our Royal Caribbean cruise, we couldn't wait to get the day started!  Our morning began with a delicious and relaxing rooftop brunch at our hotel (The O:live Boutique Hotel).  We had some tasty drinks and enjoyed the beautiful view as we laid by the pool, wait to head to the dock.  The patio at the O:live is definitely one of my favorite places of this whole vacation.  The small room count helped keep every experience feel intimate and exclusive!!  

After some relaxation, we left our bags with the bell boys and headed out for some adventure!  Exploring the busy streets and doing a little shopping was just what the doctor ordered.  We had a wonderful time people watching and taking in all the sights and smells that Condado (the little neighborhood surrounding to hotel) had to offer.  They were full of life, safe, and so much fun!  

With a few bags in hand, we headed over to Oceano's Sleek Eatery, on of the city's best rated brunch spots for a second brunch of the day.  Yeah- go ahead and judge us!  The view from our patio table was breathtaking and we couldn't have imagined a bigger selection of perfectly cooked tasties!  I mean look at that... Andrew had a gourmet chicken strip :)  

Basking in all that is a honeymoon, we took way too many pictures of our newly legal commitment!! 

20160505_Honeymoon Day 2_ 12.jpg

After a delicious second brunch, we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head to the dock!  We were overly excited to continue on our journey with the wonderful crew from our ship.  Over the next few days, we experienced the magic of 4 different islands, each hosting their own treasures and special moments!  But first, we had to get settled in and explore the boat :) 

Until next time --  xoxo, R

Wedding Hair Styles

Our wedding was absolutely perfect!  I cannot believe its been 60 days since we said "I DO."  Time has flown and I feel like a lifetime of things have happened since the beginning of the year!  I am loving the space we are in right now and it's been such an adventure to take this step together.  

Now it's your turn!  You are finally going to take the plunge.  The big day comes with a ton of emotions and stresses, but if you take a minute to read my experiences, you'll be able to minimize the unpleasant parts and enjoy every moment of the important parts.  SOOOOO -- Today's post is all about WEDDING HAIR!  

Obviously the way you look on your wedding day is a big deal... You've spent month preparing and planning for an event you will remember forever. These pictures will hang in your house and your family will look at them for generations. Hopefully at this stage, you have a pretty clear idea of what you want your image to look like!  You're probably picked out your dress and have been fitted - yipeeeee! But now it's time to decide how you want to wear your hair. I suggest looking in magazines, perusing Pinterest, and also thinking about your own hair... The last one is important because you need to set real expectations for what your hair can do. If you have thin, fine hair getting a full up-do will be nearly impossible. 

Once you have a hair style you've chosen, it's time to choose your stylist!  Finding a stylist can be hard, especially one that wont break the bank -- so here are a few steps to make the process of choosing a hair artist for your big day a little easier::

  1. Ask around- personal referrals are the best way to get a list of possible stylists, even searching wedding blogs in the area would be helpful!
  2. Peruse Instagram accounts of stylists in the area of your wedding, add ones you like to the list of referrals. 
  3. Google "Wedding Hair Stylists in XXXXX."  Check out their websites and add the ones you like to your list.
  4. Send Initial Contact email to all stylists on your list.  Ask them for pricing, availability, and a list of what you are hoping to have done.  If you have photos of the look you want, that will be very helpful in determining price!  You'll also want to ask about having your bridesmaid's hair done, if you're planning to do that.  How to choose those styles is suggested below!  NOTE: Some stylist will give you a discount for bigger groups.  Lastly, You'll need to ask for their "day of timeline" and travel costs, if you are having them travel a long way.  
  5. Gather all of the responses and weigh your options.  You will immediately be able to rule out a good number of them if you are financially bound by a certain price point.  
  6. Choose your stylist and sign the contract!

I think the biggest challenge when planning the "bridal party look" is deciding what you want the ceremony to look like.  Luckily, by this point, you've already chosen your wedding dress and your venue.  The next step is choosing the bridesmaid's dress and hair styles!   There is definitely a method to this madness and I would recommend picking out the dresses before deciding the hair styles, but they should be decided in the same time frame.  If you won't be paying for the girls to have their hair done, you may want to consider dresses that would flatter a simple curled hairstyle or half up, half down looks.  If you are going to be wearing your hair down and would like all of the girls to wear their hair up, you will need to consider this when picking dresses.  

I've linked photos of all the hairstyles we used for our big day:

For all of those who have asked, I had the pleasure of working with Mackenzie from Haute Hare Salon in Castle Rock.  The girls were absolutely amazing and you can see from the photos, they ROCK at their jobs!  You can check out her gallery on Instagram - @acoloradohairstylist

Headshots by Noah Berg Photography 



How to Choose a Wedding Venue

You're engaged!!  Congratulations!!  What an exciting time in your lives. 

I'm sure all of the emotions and excitement is still brewing, but (as all past brides know) beginning the planning portion of the Big Day can be a bit stressful.  If you're looking for advice on finding a wedding venue, you've come to the right place!  Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be reviewing our venues and sharing wedding tips & tricks!  Today's post is all about making the biggest decision a bit easier.  I have advice for all brides, and a few extra for those looking for a venue in the Rocky Mountains!

What's the first step, you ask?  Hands down the first step in wedding planning is determining your BUDGET!  I know.. It's a huge step.  Sitting down and talking about your expectations and wants is a great first step and definitely helps to open a line of communication!  Keep in mind, your "budget" doesn't have to be set in stone.. it 100% can be a range.  Instead of focusing on your hard fast number, it may be better to say "I would like to spend X dollars, but would be comfortable if we had to go to XX dollars."

Once you have your budget, you're ready to take the first step!  Picking your venue is excited and nerve-racking at the same time... Good news is it's similar to dress shopping; when you know, YOU KNOW!  The first thing you'll want to do is grab a venue catalog.  What's that you ask?  It a magazine put together by the region you are looking to get married in!  TIP: if you are looking to get married in Colorado.  You'll want to grab The Rocky Mountain Bride Magazine.  I've linked their website to help, but you can grab a hard copy at any bookstore!  The reason I suggest this method is the convenience of being a one-stop-shop with overviews, menus, and pictures!  I researched over 300 venues in a day, if that isn't testament enough!  After flipping through the magazine, go back and take a second look at the venues you flagged.  Sometimes your style changes as you are looking!  This helps you to refine the decisions you made first and filter out any that might not be as good as the others.  Narrow it down to 7 or 8 and you'll be ready to move on!

After you have narrowed it down, you'll start feeling less stressed and start feeling more excited!  You'll need to channel this energy to get over the next step -- calling the venues!  I, personally, visited the websites of my top 8 and created a summary document in Word to keep snips of my favorite pictures and an overview of the venue!  Once you have this "summary report" (if you will) built, you'll be excited to know it's time to call the venues!!

The response you get from the venues is VERY important.  It's you're big day and you are going to be spending a lot of money with the venue of choice, so they should be eager to make you happy and want to meet you!  Ask the following questions on your interview and be sure to take notes:

  • What is the rental fee?  Does that include the ceremony?
  • Do you provide catering? Either way, am I allowed to bring in my caterer of choice?
  • Is there a fee per guest, or is it included in the catering?
  • What is included in the rental fee?
  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors I have to work with?
  • How much time is included in my rental?
  • Will there be someone on site the day of the wedding to help keep things going smoothly?
  • What is your minimum and maximum capacity?
  • How far are you from the nearest airport? (This will be very important for out of town guests)
  • Where do guests normally stay?
  • Do they have a liquor license?  If not, how will bringing in outside vendors work?
  • If they don't provide catering, do they have a kitchen on site available for rent?  Is it industrial grade and is there a fee?

This should give you a pretty clear idea on what they are willing to provide and if they would be in your price range.  It will also help get the ball rolling and other questions will inevitably come up!  Remember to take notes and put them in your little report!

Now that you've done all the background work, you saved yourself the wasted time of going to see venues that are out of your range, or not willing to work with you!  Next comes the BEST part!!  Present your findings to your Hubby-to-Be and schedule appointments to see your top 2.  You can take time before your meeting to think of tailored questions for that particular venue. 

Once you are at your meeting and venue tour, you'll instantly feel which one is right for you!  We felt it instantly at The Bella Sera Event Center in Brighton, CO.  I'll be giving a full review of our venue next week, complete with pictures and all the details about the AMAZING venue.  I would recommend it to any couple looking for the perfect night!  I've attached a feeeeew photos of our Big Night, sorry to be such a tease :)

xoxo- R