Ten Do’s & Don’ts for the Perfect Holiday Proposal

For most of us, some of our earliest memories are of the holidays. Special moments, family traditions, food, gifts and travel. Why not cash in on the magic of the holiday season and propose to that special someone? Think about it everything is beautifully decorated, there are so many fun events to experience and families are gathering together from all over.

Here are some tips for perfecting the perfect proposal:

Do: Consider their style.

What does he or she like? Are they easily embarrassed or love the spotlight? Do they love grand displays or cringe at attention? Think about special moments that you have shared together and personal memories they have shared with you. 

What does she love? Is she into experiences like ice skating or horse drawn carriage rides? Is he into shows and ballet? Do you share a love for winter sports or are you the type to sit in front of the fire and watch a Christmas movie? 

Don’t: Wing it.

Have a plan, and a backup plan. In the winter months a fun ice skating adventure sounds perfect unless there’s a blizzard and they close the rink.  

Do: Ask for help.

Who’s their BFF? Besides you of course. This one may be a misleading question, if she’s super close to her mom or he’s besties with his brother go that route first, whomever knows them best, can keep a secret, and someone your partner would want involved in such an exciting moment. This person doesn’t need to be present for the proposal but can help set the stage that is perfect for their bestie and your soon to be fiance. Another job of the co-conspirator is picture perfection, think manicures for the perfect ring shot or a fresh shave for that glowing selfie. 

Don’t: Cause a scene.

Make this moment special and unique, typically that  doesn’t involve a flash mob in Times Square or the jumbotron during the big game. Now if you two have had a discussion and either of the previous two scenarios have come up and they are on board, love the idea and would suck up all of the attention of thousands of onlookers, go for it. But on average most people would prefer an intimate and personal proposal

Do: Capture the moment.

Hire a photographer! If that is not in the budget find a friend thats good with a camera and make sure they get at least a billion shots chances are one of them will be frame worthy. 

Don’t: Propose first thing in the morning.

We’re going to go out on a limb here and saying that most people to not feel beautiful when they wake up. You are both going to want to immortalize the moment, a selfie with crazy hair, smudged mascara and the look of knowing your breath stinks is probably not how you want to remember one of life’s biggest events. 

Do: Set the stage

Proposing at home? Clean up, fluff the pillows, clear the coffee table, put up some holiday decor, trim the tree do what you can to make the setting perfect. Proposing away from home? Choose a location that has a special place in your hearts, bonus points if it is decorated for the season. Dinner downtown when all of the trees are decorated with twinkle lights, makes for an easy and romantic proposal stage. Go to a tree lot if your real tree people, if your an artificial tree lover with an obsession for Target, go for it they already cleaned and decorated.

Don’t: Skip the ring.

Okay, seems obvious right? We get that the pressure of picking the perfect FOREVER ring can be overwhelming, but don’t show up empty handed. Many jewelry stores will let you pick the stone and set it in a simple solitaire, then after the proposal you two can pick the perfecting setting together. 

Do: Get a gift.

Granted a promise of forever with your best friend is one of the best gifts you can ever receive, but a little something to unwrap for the holiday is pretty awesome too. 

Don’t: Stress. 

If you are stressing he/she is going to know that something is up, relax! If you have taken the time to plan out your proposal it will be prefect! 


Colorado Inspired Wedding Favors

Here at sugar willow we believe the best wedding favors are both useful and memorable. But striking that perfect balance can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favorite mountain inspired favors that are sure to blow your guests away.

  1. Wooden Bottle Openers


Nothing says mountain chic like a beautiful wooden bottle opener. It’s something guests are sure to use after your wedding day. They could even come in handy at your after party!

2. Engraved Campfire Mugs


Your guests will absolutely remember your mountain wedding every time they cozy up with some hot chocolate or tea.

3. Little Birds Salt and Pepper Shakers


Photo by kateaspen.com

These sweet little birds are a perfect reminder of your wedding day in the mountains. Find them online at the Kate Aspen website here

4, Bird Seed Ornaments


Photo by Debbie on One Little Project

This charming favor will have guests remembering your wedding day every time a little bird comes to visit their home. You can purchase them online or make your own with this Bird Seed Ornament Tutorial.

5. Mini bottles for your guests


Photo via https://www.brit.co/boozy-wedding-favors/

Okay, this one is not entirely Colorado themed, but you can fill mini bottles of your choosing with liquor from a local Colorado Distillery to make them match your mountain wedding. Perfect for starting the after-party or for your guests to enjoy at home.

6. Locally Sourced Candy


Photo by Monique Carrati on Unsplash


Colorado is home to both Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory & Enstrom Candies. Enstrom makes world famous toffee and is recognized for being one of the best toffees by candy connoisseurs. Similarly, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is world famous with retail locations in big cities all around the world. Guests are certainly going to love these exquisite treats that are as distinctive as the Rocky Mountains.



Big City Vibes and a Historic Ballroom

On the outskirts of downtown Denver is the historic Tivoli Turnhalle, a wedding venue with a downtown urban feel and a beautiful view of the city lights. The Tivoli has a beautiful ornate stage combined with brick walls and exposed pipes. The historic building was the perfect setting for Lindsey & Cody’s unique and elegant wedding. Their lovely ceremony took place during the day and to celebrate their guests danced the night away as the live band performed on stage.



This wedding was featured in Couture Colorado: 



Photographer Lee D Photography / Planner Sugar Willow Events / Ceremony Venue Basilica of Immaculate Conception / Reception Venue Tivoli Turnhalle / Band Diamond Empire Band / Videographer Roots and Wings Productions / Florals DIY-Designs inspired by you / Catering Serendipity / Cake Buttercream Bakeshop / Hair Preslee Hair Style / Makeup Makeup by Heather B / Linens Chair Covers and Linens / Lighting Highlights Colorado / Suits K & G / Dress Hayley Paige / Spray Tan Crazy Sexy Tans


What to do with your wedding dress after the wedding…

7 sophisticated ideas to restyle or repurpose your gown

Congratulations! You’re married to your best friend! Now that it’s time to settle into your newlywed life, you might be wondering what you can do with your beautiful gown post-ceremony. Whether you prefer to preserve it or turn it into lingerie, here are the best ideas for what to do with your wedding dress after the wedding.

Restyle or repurpose your wedding gown and make it part of your wardrobe staples:

We love the idea of re-wearing your wedding gown as a restyled piece that is unique to you. With a little help from your tailor, you can have a beautiful and interesting statement piece. You can create timeless pieces that are perfect for a night out or elegant pieces that are ideal for a formal event.

  1.       Turn the bodice of your wedding dress into a bodysuit: Ask your tailor to remove the skirt of your gown from the bodice to turn it to an elegant and chic bodysuit you can wear with skirts or pants.
  2.       Make a skirt à la Carrie Bradshaw: You know that iconic tulle skirt Carrie Bradshaw wears in the opening credits of Sex and The City? That’s what we’re talking about.
  3.       If you have more of a wild side you could dye a dress to turn it into an evening gown: This idea doesn’t work well for ball gown dresses but if your dress silhouette is A-line, sheath or mermaid, you can die your dress to turn into an elegant evening gown. We suggest sticking with rich and moody colors like burgundy or black. Check out Pinterest for ideas. Search the keywords “lace evening gown”.
  4.       Make a lace-trimmed satin robe: If your dress has lace, you can ask your tailor to use the lace from your dress to add it to a satin or silk robe to give a chic and personalized touch.
  5.       Turn it into lingerie: The company Impish Lee- Customizable Intimates turns your wedding gown into stunning and unique lingerie.
  6.       Lace from your dress can be turned into gorgeous Jewelry: Gabe Bratton Hall from Gabrielle Jewelry turns wedding gown fabrics into luxurious one-of-a-kind metal jewelry pieces. Your dress can become stylish couture earrings, broaches, bracelets, or necklaces.
  7.       Make baby attire for a christening or first birthday: If you plan to have children you can turn your wedding dress fabric into gorgeous and meaningful clothing for a baby’s christening or first birthday. Your babies can celebrate a milestone wearing a piece that is extra special to you and your family.

Preserve your wedding dress with traditional preservation or in a frame:

Your wedding dress is probably the most significant piece of clothing you will ever wear. If you spent years dreaming about the perfect wedding dress and altering it makes your cringe, conserve your dress and keep it as a reminder of your wedding day.

  1.       Preserve it through a cleaning and preserving company or service: Wedding gown cleaning and preservation can be tricky so we don’t recommend doing it at home. Both BRIDES and The Knot have guides on their websites that detail how to preserve your wedding dress. They are both excellent resources. The Knot also offers a wedding dress preservation services.
  2.       Frame your wedding dress to have it displayed: A wedding dress in a shadowbox frame makes a great décor piece for any girl’s dream closet.

Get philanthropic:

Recycling your wedding dress is not only good for the environment but also good for the heart! We’ve listed a few suggestions here but there are countless organizations that use donated wedding gowns to make a difference. We also suggest a Google search to find the local organizations in your city.

  1.       Donate it for breast cancer: Brides Against Breast Cancer works to raise funds for breast cancer.
  2.       Donate it to help exploited and trafficked women: New Name Bridal Boutique is an example of a boutique that uses donations and store profits to support victims of trafficking.
  3.       Donate it to help brides of first responders: Brides Across America is a non-profit that helps support brides of military & first responders by providing them a free wedding dress.

Vintage Glam Elopement

Back in September we were asked to join a team of completely amazing wedding vendors to create a gothic themed style shoot at the Highlands Ranch Mansion. Being a tad bit obsessed with the details we wanted to make sure that everything was perfect, Bri Bond, with Bri Bond Photography  had an incredible vision for this vintage style. Hand drawn calligraphy from Scrawled and Scripted on the invitations, place cards,  and completely enchanting potion labels.

Table top details, bejeweled skulls, potions, candles and vintage silver goblets were provided by the design team, while the live moss, greenery and florals were from the incredibly talented Marzeyeh from Arrangements with Marzeyeh.


We had so much fun shopping for the table linens with Julie at our local Chair Covers and Linens showroom. The swirling black linen on our guest table helped to create so much dimension to the tablescape, while layering the marble and velvet linens on the cake table created a truly one of a kind look.  Event Rents, provided these incredible gold Helix chairs, glossy black plates, brushed gold utensils and satin burgundy napkins.

Bri Bond has a secret talent for creating cheeseboards, who knew? One thing we did know is how ridiculously talented Chelsea at Cakes Elevated is. Not only was this cake perfectly gothic, it was delicious!!!

Continuing with the theme of romantic goth Abby created a textured hair style complete with braids, crimping and curls. Talk about talent!!! gss1

Our Friends at LUV Bridal Denver supplied this Roza Dress from Madi Lane, not only did it fit our romantic goth vibe but it would be gorgeous with just about any theme. This shape was so flattering on our model with its classic shape and flowing train. 721958-34896-l-ArU2Agu

Last but not least we are completely grateful to our bride and groom for being so completely photogenic and of course good looking:)

Check out the full feature at Couture Colorado

Photography/Planning Bri Bond Photography/Planner Sugar Willow Events/Hair/Makeup Shear Abby/Florist Arrangements with Marzeyeh/Cake Cakes Elevated/Invitation Suite Scrawled and Scripted/Dress Luv Bridal/Rentals Event Rents/Table Linen Chair Covers and Linens


Jeribeth & Ian

Grey Skies Make For Beautiful Weddings

Jeri and Ian totally rocked their wedding, Ian in a classic grey suit and Jeri in this vintage Hollywood’esc satin dress, birdcage veil and soft updo.




For a couple that has travels the world, lived all over, including just blocks away from each other in Boston (without ever meeting), Dillon, Colorado holds a special place in their hearts. Before they said I do at the Lake Dillion Pavilion Jeri and Ian shared a connection to this beautiful location, this is the same spot that Ian proposed.



What better way that to start out your Colorado wedding than making your grand entrance from this awesome Coloradical van? Jeri walked down the aisle with her father to a smitten Ian, and best friend Natalia who served as officiant. Nathalia rocked her officiating duties and had the crowd eating out of her hand and laughing at all of her jokes. Have I mentioned how much I love Jeri’s dress? Sikorski-Rochstein-078

As a wedding planner I meet all sorts of awesome people, we consider ourselves so blessed to have met these two. Ian is a lawyer representing children of immigrants facing deportation and Jeri works as school teacher, serving in a community where her students are facing that same issue.

The mother of the bride is also a teacher and did all of the decor including these incredible woodsy centerpieces.



When you are surrounded by so much natural beauty you embrace it and that is exactly what they did and when your mother is in charge of decor you have to expect something personal, like a BRAT sign on your head table:)



Jeri and Ian are so adventurous and have traveled to and lived in some incredible places, that really came through in the guest list. These two are so incredible that their friends and family from all over the country and the world wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to share in their wedding joy. Friends from Ireland, South Africa, Dubai and even more exoic places like Oregon, were in attendance for their wedding weekend. That just shows how completely amazing these two are.



Jeribeth and Ian, thank you so much for letting us experience the incredible spirit of your relationship.



Photography- Heidi Haas Photography

Venue- Lake Dillon Pavilion




Nicole & Dustin

Beaver Creek Brunch Wedding

N & D decided right from the beginning they were going to do things their way. They met in non traditional way (they swiped right), so why conform to tradition for their wedding.


Every piece of this wedding was special to them, their love and lifestyle.  The morning ceremony at Skiers bridge was beautiful and unique featuring guitar and vocals of Adele’s To make you Feel my love performed by a close friend. The ceremony was officiated over by the brides best friend and written by the bride, at one point she asked N & D to stop, look around and take in the moment.

Traditional unity ceremony? No way, these two opted for a chemical reaction of liquid Sodium Tripolyphosphate and Copper Sulfate which when added together create a solid. Pretty cool, right?

The reception continued to be unique to them, no bridal parties means no speeches. No band or Dj because these two wanted their brunch reception to be about hanging out, playing games and having fun.

Wedding cake? Nope, vibrant stacked macaroons that matched the colors and theme were perfect for these two. Their guests loved the break from tradition as well, especially the littles that patiently waited as the cookies were stacked.

No big send off just a promise to see everyone later for a park picnic where everyone could continue celebrating this awesome couple.

This wedding was full of love from the bride and groom and their friends and families, everyone expressed genuine love any happiness for this awesome couple.

Photography: J. La Plante, Venue:  Beaver Creek Lodge  , Reception:  Revolution, Portrait session:  Beaver Creek Mountain, Coordination:  Sugar Willow Events, Flowers:  Rose Petals
Dress:  Modcloth, Custom suit:  Joseph Abboud, Makeup:  Bride’s niece, Hair:  Carlee Spring, Voodoo Hair Lounge, Macaron tower:  Honeycombe



Do you know how loved you are?

Twinkle, twinkle little star, baby shower and gender reveal.


We were so honored to be involved in this spring shower! The hostess wanted some beautiful decor in her families fabulous backyard, Colorado weather gave us a run for our money but we made due with what mother nature gave us.IMG_0179

These adorably delicious cookies from A Crazy Cookie served as dessert and guest favors.

We just love adding elements that can be reused, like this card box that will double as baby storage when this sweet little one is born. IMG_0171

No gender reveal would be complete without a pink or blue cake, this one was no different this amazing ruffled yellow ombre dessert from Buttercream Bake Shop in Denver featured a deep BLUE delicious cake. IMG_0175

And a delightful drink station that is beautiful and easy for ladies and their littles alike.




Wedding Budget Breakdown


The first step in creating your wedding budget is to determine what is the most important wedding aspects to you. For the foodies, it makes sense to add more to the catering budget and maybe cut transportation costs. If you are planning a simple mountain ceremony you may want to pad the photography budget then drop the desert table and stick with a simple cake. You want a jaw dropping venue? Try simplifying the bar menu to adjust the budget.


These simple percentages will help guide you, but don’t feel confined by them. This is your big day you and your wedding planner can work together to make it the best day.

Venue, Catering, Cake, and Rentals: 43-50%


  • Room Rental Fee
  • Ceremony Fee (if ceremony is being held at reception venue)
  • Additional Rentals (such as tables, chairs, china, etc)
  • Dance Floor Rental (if not already installed/included)
  • Parking Fees
  • Liability Insurance
  • Tax and Service Fees


  • Tasting Appointment (if not complimentary with your catering package)
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Passed Hors D’oeuvres
  • Plated, Buffet, or Family-Style Meal
  • Food Stations
  • Service Staff
  • Catering Equipment (such as plates, silverware, glassware, serving platters, etc.)
  • Vendor Meals
  • Tax and Gratuity (sometimes called the “service charge”)
  • Setup and/or Cleanup Fees
  • Bar/Beverage Service


  • Cocktail Hour Drinks
  • Reception Drinks
  • Champagne Toast
  • Open Bar / Hosted Beer & Wine / Specialty Cocktails
  • Bartender Service


  • Mixers
  • Coffee / Tea
  • Non-alcoholic Beverages
  • Glassware (if not included in your catering package)
  • Bar Signage
  • Corkage Fees (if you opt to BYO)
  • Liquor License (if not provided by venue or caterer)
  • Bartender Gratuity


  • Cake
  • Cake Topper
  • Cake Stand
  • Cake-Cutting Fee
  • Delivery Fee
  • Additional Desserts (if you’re doing a dessert table/station)
  • Preservation Kit for one-year anniversary

Photography and Videography: 10-12%


  • Engagement Session
  • Rehearsal Dinner Coverage
  • Wedding Day Coverage
  • Albums or Prints


  • Raw Footage
  • Highlight Reel
  • Feature Film

Wedding Attire: 7%pexels-photo-193043.jpeg

  • Wedding Dress
  • Wedding Dress Alterations
  • Specialty Undergarments
  • Veil, Wedding Shoes, and Bridal Jewelry / Accessories
  • Groom’s Tux + Shoes

Hair, and Beauty: 2%

  • Tips (normally around 20% for any pre-wedding beauty treatments)
  • Spray Tan
  • Lash Extensions
  • Hair Trial Appointment
  • Day-of Wedding Hairstyle
  • Makeup Trial Appointment
  • Day-of Wedding Makeup

Flowers, Lighting, and Décor: 10%


  • Bouquets (for bride and bridesmaids, and perhaps a toss bouquet)
  • Boutonnières (for groom, groomsmen, fathers and/or grandfathers)
  • Corsages for Mothers / Grandmothers
  • Flowers and Accessories for the Flower Girl / Ring Bearer
  • Ceremony Arch / Chuppah
  • Ceremony Arrangements
  • Reception Centerpieces (for guest tables, guest book table, food stations, etc.)
  • Wedding Cake Flowers (if additional cake décor is needed)
  • Wedding Chalkboards / Signage
  • Specialty Décor Rentals (e.g. tenting, lanterns, candelabras, etc.)
  • Delivery Fees

Music: 7%

  • Ceremony Musicians
  • Cocktail Hour Music
  • Reception DJ or Live Band
  • Microphone (for wedding ceremony and reception toasts)
  • Sound-system or extra speakers
  • Dance Floor Lighting

Wedding Planner: 5-10%

  • Day-Of/ Month-Of Coordination
  • Full Service Wedding Planning
  • Vendor Referrals
  • Budget Development
  • Timeline Creation
  • Rehearsal Coordination
  • Wedding Day Setup and Breakdown

Invitations and Stationery: 2%

  • Engagement Party Invitations
  • Save The Dates
  • Wedding Invitations (including inserts like RSVP cards or maps)
  • Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
  • Post Wedding Brunch Invitations


  • Envelopes (note that specialty size envelopes will be more expensive to ship)
  • Postage (for invitations and RSVP envelopes, as well as thank you cards)
  • Return Address Labels
  • Wedding Ceremony Programs
  • Wedding Reception Paper Goods
  • Escort Cards
  • Place Cards
  • Menu Cards
  • Custom Napkins
  • Favor Labels
  • Thank You Cards

Ceremony: 2%

  • Ceremony Site (if separate from reception venue)
  • Church Donation
  • Officiant Fee
  • Marriage License
  • Ceremony Accessories (ring pillow, flower girl basket, unity candle, etc.)

Transportation: 1%

  • Bridal Party Transportation to the Ceremony Venue
  • Bridal Party Transportation to the Reception Venue (if different from Ceremony Site)
  • Gratuity for the Driver(s)
  • Shuttle Service to transport guests to/from their hotels
  • Valet Parking Service

Wedding Rings: 2%

    • Wedding Bands


    • Wedding Band Resizing Fee
    • Wedding Ring Insurance
    • Any Customization / Engraving

Favors and Gifts: 2%

  • Wedding Favors
  • Wedding Party Gifts
  • Gifts for your Flower Girl(s) or Ring Bearer(s)
  • Spouse Gift
  • Parents Gifts
  • Welcome Baskets for out-of-town guests

For an adjustable budget tool try, https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding/UserMyBudget
For a printable list try this, https://www.botanicalpaperworks.com/blog/read,article/355/free-printables-wedding-budget-planner


What does a Day of Coordinator do and why do you need one?

The job of a day of coordinator starts months before the big day. Your coordinator will meet with you to go over your goals and vision of the perfect wedding. You will work together creating a timeline for the day, adding in the details that are important to you, sometimes leaving out traditions that don’t fit you as a couple. They will gather a list of vendors and set up a relationship with them, coordinating drop off and set up times. Your coordinator will work with your officiant, Dj and photographer to set the timeline of the ceremony and reception. Sometimes working out a list of songs and must have photo op’s.

The big day
Your coordinator will oversee set up of decor and vendors, things like catering, cake, flowers, DJ or band, rentals and any specialty vendors. Some coordinators will be with the bride or groom while they get ready, others will focus on preparing the ceremony and reception details.

You need a coordinator if…
You would like to enjoy your big day while someone else handles the details, if you want your family and friends to enjoy the day and not feel like they have been invited to work for you. Sometimes couples will want their families to feel involved but not want to have to manage them, a coordinator can include your family and friends in the work and the couple can sit back and relax knowing that their Day of Coordinator can handle whatever comes up.

Contingency queen
There will inevitably be something that does not go as planned, your coordinator will handle these things for you. What happens when a groomsman loses his pants somewhere between home and the venue. What happens when someone takes a swipe of frosting off of your perfectly decorated cake? Or when the makeup artist doesn’t show up, the brides hair looks like 1985 and the groom forgets his toiletry kit. Your coordinator will come with an emergency kit and nine times out of ten they will use it and call back up if necessary.

Colorado brides and grooms look no further than Sugar Willow Events, we work all over the state and are here to make your wedding dreams a reality.



Why is picture day the worst day of the year?

Few things bring as much joy as pictures that capture the personalities of your family at this season of life, but getting that moment is one of the most stressful events of the year or decade depending on how brave you are.

So many factors to consider when coordinating outfits, you want to match without matching, choosing colors that work together, maybe repeating the color twice but never using the same shade on everyone, and throw in a print or two but nothing over powering.

For this shoot we went with a mix of earthy fall tones, the youngest worked as the ringer for this color pallet. This Matilda Jane orange dress with green, blue and maroon details pulled the plan together. A couple solid maroon pieces, the green romper added a slight pattern and played with a couple shades of green from the Matilda Jane dress and simple check pattern from dads button-up helped add dimension for the couple shots since mom is in a solid dress. One of the most important things to keep in mind is comfort and style, don’t dress yourself or family in something you/they hate and then expect to look comfortable and expressive in photos.

Props are always fun but not always necessary, we brought along a few blankets and props with us but this backdrop was so glorious there was no need to add anything to the shoot. We did use this great blanket mostly for sentimental reasons, this blanket came from a wedding earlier this year and it just felt right to include it.

None of this matters if you don’t hire the right photographer. Always look at their previous work, does their style match up with yours? How do they pose their subjects? Do you like a posed look or a more casual laid back style, do you want the photos to look crisp or a little tinted and earthy? Keep in mind the number of people, a large family should look for photographers that are experienced with big groups.

More from this shoot at https://www.abbeygphoto.com/single-post/2017/11/13/The-Tuccitto-Family

Creating a Lasting Impression

BB0A8906All couples want their wedding to be memorable. How can you make a lasting impression on your guests? What makes something memorable? What if you were able to provide your guests with a gift to use both during and long after your special day? These blankets were so cute and convenient (good ol’ Colorado mountain weather is unpredictable). Weather happens and when the clouds rolled in and the winds picked up, guests were able to wrap up a keep cozy. Best part is, there were plenty of blankets to take home. How cute is this bride wrapped up cozy on her camping-moon?

It was a special day to say the least and luckily for all the weather cleared up and festivities resumed.