My “Best of 2017″ Colorado Wedding Ceremony Vendors

My “Best of 2017” wedding vendor list is here! Every year, I select a top vendor from several different wedding service categories and feature them on my blog. Each of my chosen vendors is someone whom I’ve worked with in 2017, and each has earned this special mention by being outstanding in some way. This year, I’ve selected Officiant Phillip Gallagher, Laura Murray Photography, Snapdragon Celebrations, and Della Terra Mountain Chateau.

Phillip Gallagher
Colorado Wedding Officiant

What I Loved:
When I worked with Phil for a wedding this past December he became an instant friend. His upbeat personality, flexibility, and professionalism made everything fun and easy for everyone. When a wedding appears effortless, you know that means your vendors are doing their job amazingly well. At this small wedding with no planner, Phil acted not only as an officiant but he went above and beyond his job description in coordinating the little details and putting smiles on everyone’s faces despite the cold weather. I highly recommend Phil for any wedding from large to small!

Laura Murray Photography
Colorado and destination wedding photographer

What I Loved:
Laura Murray’s stunning photos are creatively crafted and each one tells a special story. She poignantly captures both the large and small moments of life, bringing out the personality of her subjects in a thoughtful and genuine way. These amazing photos speak for themselves!

Snapdragon Celebrations
Colorado wedding planner

What I Loved:
Jill Chalfant was so professional and easy to work with. She contacted me with all of the information that I needed well in advance and was communicative if I needed anything. She was also helpful and available on the day of the wedding, and the entire ceremony went so smoothly that you knew there had to be expert planning behind it all.

Snapdragon Celebrations Photos Courtesy of Laura Murray Photography

Della Terra Mountain Chateau
Colorado Wedding Venue

What I Loved:
I love Della Terra Mountain Chateau and the wonderful folks that work there so much that I just had to feature for a second time. The Chateau is situated conveniently near Estes Park and features grounds that have several elegant wedding spaces. The whole property is surrounded by the mountains, trees, and nature’s beauty. The inside of the chateau is just what you’d want from a mountain chateau, with a rustic elegance and lively seasonal touches. The ladies that work there are communicative and on top of every detail from start to finish. Della Terra is truly a stunning location for a wedding ceremony!

Della Terra Photos Courtesy of Crystaline Photography

My “Best of 2014” Colorado Wedding Vendors

Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer

Another wonderful year has gone by and I want to take a moment to recognize and thank my top vendor picks of 2014. This year’s top vendors are Gemini Event Planning, Steve Tinetti Photography, and Della Terra Mountain Chateau. Congratulations for doing such a wonderful job! You are all amazing and it was such a pleasure to work with you this year!

Gemini Event Planning
Colorado Wedding and Event Planner

What I Loved:
– Meg Stepanek is warm and friendly and easy to work with
– Meg responds clearly and promptly to all communication
– Meg and her team seem to be everywhere at once on the wedding day, and it runs like clockwork
– Meg is extremely organized, but she is also very flexible and stays positive when the unexpected happens
– Meg and her experienced team are amazing at designing weddings that fit the bride’s personality and dream, from country Western to posh elegance and everything in between
– The following pictures speak for Meg’s style and creativity

Colorado wedding ceremony planned by Gemini Event Planning

Colorado wedding ceremony planned by Gemini Event Planning
Colorado wedding ceremony planned by Gemini Event Planning
Colorado wedding ceremony planned by Gemini Event Planning

Colorado wedding ceremony planned by Gemini Event Planning

Colorado wedding ceremony planned by Gemini Event Planning Colorado wedding ceremony planned by Gemini Event Planning

Colorado wedding ceremony planned by Gemini Event Planning

Steve Tinetti Photography
Colorado Wedding Photographer

What I Loved:
– Steve Tinetti is wonderfully creative and isn’t afraid to experiment to get that perfect shot
– Steve is a great person and easy to work with
– Steve is very responsive to communications
– Steve worked on the day of the wedding with organized efficiency and yet stayed unobtrusively in the background as he captured his perfect shots
– Simply put, Steve’s pictures are amazing! Check them out below.

Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer

Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer

Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer
Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer

Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer
Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer

Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer

Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer Steve Tinetti, Colorado Wedding Photographer

Della Terra Mountain Chateau
Colorado Wedding Venue and Luxury Boutique Inn

What I Loved:
– Location, location, location – Della Terra is located conveniently in Estes Park in an amazing mountain setting
– The lodge and grounds are stunning
– Multiple wedding ceremony locations are available across the property
– The Lodge provides luxurious and comfortable accommodations in a setting full of natural beauty and wildlife
– The staff is helpful and accommodating

Della Terra Chateau, Estes Park Della Terra Chateau, Estes Park
Della Terra Chateau, Estes Park

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Ceremony Music at the YMCA in Estes Park

Our flute and guitar duo recently played for a beautiful October wedding ceremony at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning with gusty winds that challenged our ability to secure our sheet music and supplies. However, with many clips for our music and heavy rocks to hold down our music stands, we kept everything secure for the duration of our performance. By keeping the wind directly to my back, I was also able to get a good sound out of my flute.

The ceremony was held outdoors at the Sara Smith Chapel which was a lovely location with a wild Colorado mountain feel. We played classical prelude music that the bride let us select and then a classical processional that I helped the bride select. During the ceremony, a small choir sang an incredible version of “Be Thou My Vision” and I felt honored to hear their talented performance in such an amazing setting. They sang this while the couple performed a foot washing ceremony, symbolizing the the servant-hood of marriage in comparison to Christ and the church. Then, because both the bride and groom are scientists, they did a small science experiment that they made up to represent marriage and the blending of two lives together. While they did that, we played Simple Gifts.

Selected Prelude Music:
Musette (Bach), Gavotte (Gossec), Polonaise (Mozart), Little Italian Song (Tchaikovsky), Valse Sentimentale (Schubert)

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Bridal Party (Grandmothers, Mothers, Bridesmaids, Flower Girl) ~ Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Bride ~ Gavotte from Sonata for Flute in C major (Handel)
Unity Ceremony ~ Simple Gifts
Recessional ~ Trumpet Tune (Purcell)
Postlude ~ Hornpipe from Water Music (Handel), Gymnopedie No. 1 (Satie)

Venue: YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park
Photographer: Katie Keighin Photography
Musicians: – Flute and Guitar Duo

Our flute and guitar duo would love to play for your wedding ceremony or event. We play classical, rock, jazz and more. Or, learn more about our ten different ensembles here.

Solo Flute – Wedding Ceremony Music at Della Terra Mountain Chateau in Estes Park

Outdoor autumn wedding ceremonies can be tricky in the Colorado mountains because the weather can be anything from warm and sunny to freezing cold and snowing. This bride hoped for the best with her early October wedding ceremony, but was also ready to brave the worst. It was clear to see why she wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony at Della Terra Chateau in Estes Park. The chateau is beautifully situated in the mountains and gives the feel of majestic isolation that is pure Colorado. The grounds feature garden areas and small ponds and bridges that blend well into the wild Colorado landscape. Wildlife abounded and I saw several elk, wild turkeys, and many birds and chipmunks. Inside, the chateau was built to reflect the classic European charm of years gone by.

I had no idea what to expect from the weather as I drove up the fog-shrouded mountains. The forecast was calling for thunderstorms and even snow later in the evening. When I arrived at Della Terra, it was cold and cloudy and I set up under a small musician pavilion to protect my flute from the drizzling rain.

The bride chose solo flute music for her wedding ceremony, and I played elegant music on my flute as the handful of guests began arriving. As the guests arrived, the cold rain began to fall in earnest and umbrellas were quickly supplied to the guests and they wrapped themselves in the warm blankets that had been provided. I chose cheerful spring-like music to give the atmosphere a feeling of warmth, and one of the guests later told me that my music was the perfect balm for the cold, dark weather. The processional began, and just as the bride reached the front, the sun came out and the rain abated just long enough for a beautiful ceremony to take place.

Selected Wedding Prelude Music:
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach), Danza Pastorale (Vivaldi), Spring (Vivaldi), Hornpipe (Purcell), The Swan (Saint Seans), Minuetto (Mozart)

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Wedding Party ~ Trumpet Voluntary
Bride ~ Trumpet Tune
Recessional ~ Bourree from Handel’s Water Music
Postlude ~ Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music and Chopin’s Waltz, Op. 69 No. 2

Christen Stephens Live at Della Terra Chateau in Estes Park, CO

Hornpipe by Purcell
Minuet by Mozart

Wedding Vendors
Wedding Venue: Della Terra Mountain Chateau
Officient: Reverend Simone Shepherd
Musicians: www.ChristenStephens.comSolo Flute

Would you like to add the warmth and elegance of live flute music to your wedding ceremony? Visit my weddings page to learn more!

The view behind the ceremony site

Flute and Cello Duo at Piney River Ranch in Vail, CO

In August, our flute and cello duo headed up to Piney River Ranch in Vail to play for a wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. After a string of cold and rainy days, the sun finally came out at this incredible mountain location and made for a beautiful wedding day. Once we arrived in Vail, we followed a long set of directions through White River National Forest. The 45 minute drive brought us over very rutted roads and was very challenging in our Prius. Since the going was slow, we embraced the moment and rolled down our windows to enjoy the peaceful quite and the spectacular scenery. We arrived at the lodge in time to enjoy a meal at the Piney restaurant. I ordered their signature pulled pork BBQ, which was exceptional, and having lived in North Carolina for a while, I can be picky about my BBQ! We also had time to take photos of the lake and of the resident moose, Monty Jr.

The bride knew what she wanted for music, and she chose most of the prelude music and all of the ceremony music on her own with the aid of my repertoire list. She requested that we fill out her prelude selections with music from movies with big scenery to compliment the lake and mountain backdrop. I really enjoyed making these music selections and it was wonderful to play them in a location that perfectly complimented them.

One of the best moments of the wedding ceremony was when Monty the moose walked through the water right behind the couple! The pastor had been talking about living in the moment and not letting life slip by us unnoticed. The reactions of the guests was wonderful as the ceremony paused and we all took some time to embrace that wonderful moment.

For the cocktail hour, the bride requested Beatles, Sinatra, and jazz styles. Our flute and cello duo mostly plays classical music, but I was eager for the challenge and after looking through my extensive music library, I found a number of popular and jazz pieces that would work wonderfully with the flute and cello.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Mothers, Groom, Pastor, Groomsmen ~ Haunted by the Waters from A River Runs Through It
Bridesmaids ~ All I Ask of You
Bride ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Recessional ~ La Rejouissance from Handel’s Water Music
Postlude ~ Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)

Selected Prelude Music ~ The Sound of Music, To a Wild Rose (MacDowell), Largo from Winter (Handel), The Wedding and the Ludlows from Legends of the Fall, Clair De Lune (Debussy), Si Bheag, Si Mhor (Irish Traditional), Moon River , from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music ~ Imagine (Beatles), When I’m Sixty Four (Beatles), A Whole New World, I Want to Hold Your Hand (Beatles), Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, Blue Spanish Eyes, All of Me, My Funny Valentine, Blackbird (Beatles), Misty

Christen and Heather playing at Piney River Ranch, courtesy of Zach Mahone Photography

Christen Stephens and Heather Plattenberger Live at Piney River Ranch, Vail:

All I Ask of You

A Whole New World
My Funny Valentine
Unchained Melody

Wedding Vendors:
Wedding Venue: Piney River Ranch, Vail
Wedding Coordinator: Meg Stepanek of Gemini Event Planning
Photographer: Zach Mahone Photography
Musicians: www.ChristenStephens.comFlute and Cello Duo

If you are getting married in Colorado, we’d loved to play for your wedding ceremony! Go to my wedding page to learn more about the ten different ensembles we offer.

Flute and Piano Duo at Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Dillon

This summer, our flute and piano duo enjoyed playing for this beautiful wedding ceremony at Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Dillon, Colorado. This bride loves sunshine and has a sunny personality to match, so she chose the appropriate “Sunshine on my Shoulders” to walk down the aisle to.

The church was situated on a hill overlooking a panoramic mountain view, and the weather was perfect and sunny. The piano in the church sanctuary was a very fine instrument with an amazing sound that we enjoyed. The bride told her family and friends that there would be music and everyone was so excited to hear the music that they all arrived 45 minutes before the ceremony, so we began our prelude early and gave them a little concert of hymns and sacred songs.

Selected Prelude Music:
Sunshine in My Soul, One Eagle’s Wings, Great is Thy Faithfulness, How Great Thou Art, Your Grace Still Amazes Me, All Creatures of Our God and King, As the Deer

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Processional ~ Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Bride ~ Sunshine on my Shoulders (John Denver)
Unity Candle ~ Be Thou my Vision
Recessional ~ Wedding March (Mendelssohn)

Photographer: Studio Kiva – Thank you for the photo of me playing the flute and the photos of the dancing bride!
Musicians: ChristenStephens.comFlute and Piano Duo

If you are planning a wedding in Colorado, go to my weddings page to learn more about hiring one of our flute or string ensembles to play beautiful music for your wedding ceremony and cocktail hour.

Flute and String Trio – Wedding Ceremony and Cockail Hour Music at Silverthorne Pavillion

It’s always nice to travel from the hot summer weather of Colorado’s front range to the mountains, and this time our destination was the town of Silverthorne, where it was a sunny 70 degrees. This wedding was held at the Silverthorne Pavilion which is located by the banks of the Blue River. Our flute, viola, and cello trio played classical prelude music and then traditional wedding processional music that the bride and groom selected together. The wedding ceremony was very sweet and as the couple said the vows they had written for each other, we tried to hold back our tears. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference how many weddings we have played for – each one is beautiful and unique!

After the ceremony, we moved to the shaded patio where we played a mix of classical and popular music as the guests enjoyed appetizers and drinks. The bride and groom had several song requests for their cocktail hour music and I put together the remainder of our set list using those songs as my inspiration.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Wedding Party ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Bride ~ Bridal Chorus (Wagner)
Recessional ~ Wedding March from a Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn)

Selected Wedding Prelude Music:
Largo from Winter (Vivaldi), Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach), Selections from Handel’s Water Music, Allegro from Sonata in F major (Handel)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music:
Italian Song (Tschaikovsky), Ecossaise (Beethoven), What a Wonderful World, Over the Rainbow, All You Need is Love, Romantic Flight from How to Train Your Dragon, Imagine, Anything Goes (Cole Porter)

Add a touch of elegance to your wedding ceremony and cocktail hour with music tailored for you!

Wedding Vendors:
Wedding Venue: Silverthorne Pavilion
Wedding Coordinator and Photographer: Laura Pierson at L Elizabeth Events
Musicians: www.ChristenStephens.comFlute, Viola, Cello Trio

String Trio Wedding Ceremony Music on Top of a Mountain

This summer, I had a once in a lifetime experience playing wedding music – in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain! The bride and groom had an intimate outdoor wedding ceremony on family land, with only about 20 guests in attendance. The ceremony site was by their small vacation cabin and had views of rolling hills, green from the spring rain, and a panorama of snow-capped mountain peaks as a backdrop. The couple told us to bring a four wheel drive vehicle and I’m glad we did! It was quite a drive up the rutted and rocky mountain road, from the small town of Eagle, through the middle of nowhere, past the mansion of a Spanish ambassador and even higher up the mountain until we reached a point of land with a small cabin and an amazing view.

The couple chose a string trio for their wedding music, and I played the cello. We serenaded everyone with a classical prelude, processional music, and finally postlude music while pictures were being taken. Our classical music contrasted with the wild and beautiful outdoor setting, and brought a sense of elegance and sophistication.

After the wedding, we were kindly invited to eat a catered lunch with the family. They were so friendly and we felt like part of their family. We learned about the land’s history and heard stories about the family’s relatives who settled and ranched there a long time ago.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Bridal Processional ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Recessional ~ Finale from Handel’s Water Music

Selected Prelude and Postlude Music
Selections from “Spring” (Vivaldi), Selections from “Water Music” (Handel), Italian Song (Tchaikovsky), Arioso (Bach), Ode to Joy (Beethoven), The Toy Symphony (Haydn)

Wedding Vendors:
Photographer: April O’Hare Photography – thank you April for these beautiful photos!
Musicians: – Violin, Viola, and Cello Trio

Add the elegance of live music to your beautiful mountain wedding.

How to Find Local Wedding Ceremony and Event Musicians

Photo Courtesy of Kern Photo, Colorado Wedding Photographer

If you are looking for live wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, or event music along the Colorado Front Range, you’ve already come to the right place. Congratulations! Visit my wedding ceremony music page or my event music page to learn more about our versatile ensemble selections.

If you are visiting from a different part of the country or world and are looking for live musicians in your area, I have some tips just for you.

Online Search Engines: When using an online search engine, use terms specific to what you are looking for, such as a particular instrument (flute, cello, piano etc.) or a type of group and/or music genre (jazz combo, classical quartet, bluegrass band etc.). Keep your search flexible because you never know when you may stumble upon a unique and talented group that you love but never thought of before. If you are searching for classical musicians, even if it’s not for a wedding, I recommend searching for wedding ceremony musicians, because this is how most classical musicians market their websites.

Most likely, major wedding and event planning websites will appear at the top of your search list. Below those you will hopefully see results for music booking agencies and sites run by individual musicians who play solo or perhaps have formed ensembles with other musicians in the area. If you choose to hire a musician through a major booking agency, you will have many options to chose from and you may be able to get a deal if you want to hire both live musicians and a DJ from the same company. Most booking agencies also provide professional customer service and have lots of resources and equipment. If you hire an individual musician who has formed their own group, you will get personal service directly from the musician you are hiring without having to pay extra for company booking fees. When hiring an individual musician, you will be able choose a particular artist whose work you love and fits what you are looking for.

Wedding and Event Planning Websites: Today’s most popular wedding and event planning websites often have a large selection of musicians for hire and are worthy of a separate mention. One of my favorite websites is which allows you to submit a request with your event specifics and receive quotes from local professionals within 24 hours. Another good site is Through Gigmasters, you can also get price quotes from local professionals, and book online using their secure payment service and a 100% money back guarantee. Three other well-known sites are the The,, and which are like online bridal and event planning magazines.

All of these websites are paid advertising, and the musicians who appear higher in the listings are often those who paid more for that privilege. Because these musicians paid to advertise, you can be assured that most of them are actively playing and seeking bookings.

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Marie Photography

Venue Recommendations: Most wedding and event venues have a list of recommended vendors either available online or upon request. Each venue has their own set of criteria for what vendors they recommend. Some venues charge vendors to be added to their list for a yearly fee, some include musicians whom they can personally recommend from experience, and some may have their own list of criteria that their musicians have to meet. It’s important to know what criteria your venue uses for putting together their recommended vendor list and that they can personally vouch for the vendors they recommend. Venues also frequently collect and display brochures and advertising from a variety of musicians for your convenience.

Word of Mouth: If you are booking musicians, you are probably also booking other vendors such as a caterer, photographer, florist and event planner. Often these vendors have seen and heard some of the local musicians and can make recommendations for you. It can also be beneficial to contact local universities or local orchestras. If you go this route, you are more likely to get a better price but less likely to get an established working group, which has potential pitfalls.

Bridal Publications and Shows: Bridal publications and wedding shows deserve a worthy mention. Most of the musicians who can afford to advertise in magazines have a high budget, and the size and quality of their ads generally reflects on the size of the company and/or the amount they charge per event. Wedding showcases are also a good way to hear musicians play live, but most venues can only support one or two groups playing at a time, so your selection is limited.

Ultimately, in our internet society, the easiest way to find local wedding or event musicians is on the internet. However, personal recommendations and word of mouth will always be an important way to find vendors who are excellent in their craft.

Visit my contact page to book your Colorado Front Range wedding ceremony or event music today!

Flute, Viola, and Cello Trio – Wedding Music at the Greenbriar Inn in Boulder

On Saturday, our flute, viola, and cello trio played for a wedding ceremony at the beautiful Greenbriar Inn located in North Boulder. The couple got married outside surrounded by warm autumn colors drenched in late afternoon sunshine.

This couple chose to select all of their own music including their own prelude music. They chose favorites ranging from classical, to ragtime and popular. I made several special music arrangements for our trio to play including “New York, New York”, “I Feel Pretty”, and “When I’m 64”. We played the prelude as the guests enjoyed light refreshments, and just as the sun began to descend towards the mountains behind the “Chuppah” (traditional Jewish wedding canopy), the wedding ceremony began. The vows went by quickly as the couple chose to say their “I do’s” in unison, and guests did various readings. Once the sun set, there was a sharp chill in the air, and everyone went inside to enjoy a warm fire and refreshments.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Prelude Music ~
Trumpet Tune (Purcell), Salut d’Amour (Elgar), Ave Maria (Schubert), Selections from Handel’s “Water Music”, London Trio #1 (Haydn), Paragon Rag (Joplin), I Feel Pretty (Bernstein), When I’m 64 (Beatles)

Attendant’s and Parent’s Processional ~ Canon in D
Bride ~ Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Recessional ~ New York, New York

Wedding Vendors:
Venue: Greenbriar Inn, Boulder
Musicians: – Flute, Viola, and Cello Trio

Learn more about our beautiful wedding ceremony music and 10 different ensemble choices.