Real Couples // Upscale Castle Wedding in Colorado: Jonathon + Paul

I (Jonathon) am an amalgam of right and left brain—I'm in internal medicine and geriatrics, and I am an actor. I am a Colorado Native. Paul is a cerebral kind of guy with a background in forensic psychology who specialized in army intelligence. He too loves the outdoors and enjoying great times with friends. Between my love of the outdoors and his love of the historical elements of society, the castle was a great backdrop for our wedding.

We met playing flag football with the Denver Gay and Lesbian Flag Football League.

We actually had proposed to one another privately and then decided to have a Fallapalooza party at the University Club—we invited our friends and family and had a sit down dinner, then got up and made a circle of friends and family and we then proposed to one another. Everyone was in tears. 

We were looking for venues in the mountains and actually just drove by the castle gateway. We decided to drive up to actually see the castle; when we saw it from afar we already knew this was the place.

We chose Hourglass Productions because they are young, vibrant, and creative, which was what we were looking for. There was no drama; they were professional and took care of everything.

We chose Babylon Floral because they have done amazing work for us in the past, and Arthur is amazingly creative and incredibly kind and professional.

We chose Footers Catering because they have done events for us in the past, as well, and the food is incredible, and the execution is five-star.

We chose Alison Rose Photography because her work is spontaneous and personal.

We had tuxedos designed by Beckett and Robb that were in shades of grey with accents of sage. My wedding ring is a reflection of my passion for Star Wars; it's a platinum ring with R2D2 accents and embossed with diamonds and sapphires. Paul's wedding ring is a black carbon band embossed with mother of pearl.

The processional was a tribute to our parents: we had photos of them as many of them are no longer with us, and the music we chose was "The Prayer" by Andrea Bocelli. For the grooms' entrance we chose the Acoustic Version of Idina Menzel's "No Day But Today" because we love the lyrics and the song itself is beautiful. For our recessional we chose the song "Cinema" by Skrillex; we used the acoustic version because it was a tribute from Paul to me since I'm in film and TV. He even sang the song! For our first dance, we chose "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey. It's hauntingly beautiful and meaningful as we progress through life. We chose "When You Wish Upon a Star" for our cake cutting, because it felt like we were making a wish when cutting the cake.

The ceremony was personal and heartfelt. We wanted to share with one another our feelings all while incorporating the importance of all those who were with us that helped shape our lives as we grew together. 

Mollie Lehman was our officiant because we love her and know her; she is a gentle spirit and that is what we were looking for.

We had special trinkets that we had the best men hang onto the floral columns along the wedding area. We also had our groomsmen bring in bleached sticks with floral accents as a testament to the people who came before us representing our love for Colorado and as a tribute to Native Americans. 

We used fall-accented florals with greenery. We had florals everywhere, including at the base of the tent to bring life into the very white space. Marvel Superheroes were accents on our boutonnieres, as we are geeks and love comics, superhero movies, and Comicon. 

The castle itself was the backdrop of our dance area, which we had uplit to accent the castle in the dark. We left the interior of the castle fairly untouched, as we wanted the dessert area and terrace bar to be accented by the regal space.

During our first dance, we offered out Spanish coins to our guests as a tradition of prosperity and love, and we had a white cord that we placed over our wrists as a sign of unity.

We had a German Santa hanging over the entrance to the tented area as a blessing of good fortune. 

A poet wrote out amazing poetry as we love the human language and how it can create such beauty in special moments. A live painter did a portrait reflective of the evening. It was incredible to watch the piece evolve through the night. Our ceremonial music was performed with a string quartet.

We wanted everyone to walk into the tent and be in awe. We love fall, and the entire space was welcoming with fall floral and greenery, accented by the backdrop of the valley and mountains. There was a huge centerpiece in the center of the tent that splayed out at the top, like a floral fountain. A video screen looped the red carpet event at the cocktail party prior to the wedding. 

The tables were in gray, silver, and sage, and we used charge plates that sparkled.

Our best men did the toasts that were reflective of us both. Michael very humorously merged our last names and had audience members hold up those signs. Our best man John read from Maya Angelou, who I love. 

We had specialty drinks that were the essence of us: a gummy bear martini was Paul's and mine was the Margarita Mule.

The dinner was a family style event, with several courses and options served. Guests were passing around platters, and it felt like a family feast at a holiday dinner. We served beef Wellington, roasted duck loin, a sage and mushroom ravioli accented by sage/garlic mashed potatoes, zucchini boats stuffed with quinoa, and roasted vegetables.

Our cake from the front was a traditional wedding cake with square top layers and piping, but the back of the cake peeled away to reveal Marvel and Star Wars Superheroes. After we cut the cake it was sent up to the castle to the dessert bar where cake pops, Star Wars sugar cookies, and strawberry dessert trees adorned the table.

We had a bouncy castle next to the dance floor for the kids, but it was also enjoyed by the adults! The whole area flowed with fun and adventure. There were castle tours with guides telling the history of the castle and an outdoor lounge next to the castle for the poet and guests to relax and enjoy the night air. 

A karaoke area in the grand ballroom of the castle opposite the dessert bar opened later in the evening, and the terrace bar was set up for people to relax while overlooking the valley and the city lights.

At the end of the  night, we hugged every one of our guests, sang a few last songs at karaoke, and danced a last dance before heading out to France. After our wedding, our wedding party and friends flew to a Chateau in the Loire Valley. It was a magnificent place that accommodated thirty of our closest friends to continue the celebration in France.

Words by Jonathan, one of the grooms, as told to Amber Marlow.
Photos by Alison Rose.

 colorado castle wedding venue from a distance
 colorado castle wedding poet at table with sign reading "pick a topic, get a poem"
 colorado castle wedding wolverine and darth vader cake topper
 colorado castle wedding table settings
 colorado castle wedding table with candles and potted trees outside
 colorado castle wedding groomsmen
 colorado castle wedding getting ready
 colorado castle wedding johnathan with groomsman
 colorado castle wedding groomsmen showing off fun socks
 colorado castle wedding johnathan portrait
 colorado castle wedding paul portrait
 colorado castle wedding artist painting venue landscape
    colorado castle wedding orchestra playing
 colorado castle wedding couple at altar
 colorado castle wedding exchanging rings
 colorado castle wedding newlyweds leaving ceremony with held hands raised
 colorado castle wedding wedding cake
 colorado castle wedding embrace at castle wall
 colorado castle wedding kiss at castle wall
 colorado castle wedding soap favor
 colorado castle wedding best man toasting with champagne
 colorado castle wedding grooms at head table listening to speeches
 colorado castle wedding bouncy castle outside
 colorado castle wedding card box on table with globe
 colorado castle wedding poet typing at table
 colorado castle wedding cutting cake
 colorado castle wedding couple's wrists tied with cord
 colorado castle wedding kiss on dance floor
 colorado castle wedding couple dancing
 colorado castle wedding wedding rings
 colorado castle wedding guests dancing
 colorado castle wedding boy in bouncy castle
 colorado castle wedding guest dancing
 colorado castle wedding guests dancing


Photography | Alison Rose Photography

Venue | Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation

Officiant | Mollie Lehman

Wedding Planner | Hourglass Productions

Florals | Babylon Floral Design

Cake | Gateaux Bakery

Catering | Footers Catering

DJs and Lighting | Elite Entertainment

Musicians | Cloud 9 Strings

Painter | Laurie Maves

Tuxedos | Beckett and Robb



As a little girl, I was surrounded by artists in my family, so it was a natural step for me to find a love of photography very early. I tried my hand at a course as a sophomore in High School and immediately found myself winning state-wide competitions, which only drove me to love photography even more. I knew I wanted to make photography my full-time gig even then, but didn't know how until I became a stay-at-home mom with my daughter. I gave myself a 1 year deadline to make it happen, so in February of 2006 I rented a booth at a bridal festival with photos of my daughter and my dog as my portfolio. I asked EVERY person that walked by my booth to take a chance on me because I knew it was my destiny... I booked 14 weddings from that festival and never looked back! See my website here.