Colorado is a wedding destination for nature-lovers, adventure-seekers, and anyone who envisions celebrating their big day with aspens, pines, and willows around them and mountains towering in the backdrop. When most people think of that picture perfect mountain setting, my guess is that they immediately revert to the road more traveled, heading westward into the Rockies on I-70, driving through the Eisenhower Tunnel, and passing ski resort after ski resort and gorgeous view after gorgeous view. As we know, though, the Rockies are vast, varied, and breathtaking at any angle and by any road.
At the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center, less than one hour northwest of Boulder at the mouth of Rocky Mountain National Park, the views are astounding, the setting is intimate, and the food and service is the stuff of a Boulderite’s dreams. For those couples who don’t want to venture onto I-70 as part of their big day, the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center will whet a betrothed Boulderite’s thirst for great local beers, will satisfy their ever-curious palate for delicious, inventive, sustainable food, and will fulfill that ever-present hunger for spectacular mountainous views.
The Wild Basin Lodge, less than thirty minutes from Estes Park, has gone through multiple iterations since its construction in the early 1900s. From a restaurant to a luxury resort and from a community center to a retreat destination, the original lodge structure burned down in 1980 and was reconstructed shortly thereafter as the facility that it is today. The area is frequented by hikers, bikers, fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts, and is nestled in a quiet and serene pocket in the mountains.
The Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center, an all-inclusive and full-service wedding venue that is described as the “best kept secret in Colorado mountain weddings,” began evolving into the venue it is today in 2001, when newlyweds Nils and Denice Kristoffersen, both engineers with histories in corporate America, were fresh off the heels of planning their own wedding and looking to make their mark in the hospitality industry.
During their own wedding planning, the Kristoffersens recognized a wealth of inefficiencies in the typical wedding planning processes that many venues follow. Nils and Denice sought to rectify these common practice inefficiencies, and the proprietary planning system that they created at the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center is their brainchild. By making the wedding planning and day-of execution processes as meticulously organized, streamlined, and convenient as possible (complete with down-to-the-minute itineraries, in-depth contingency plans, and behind-the-scenes Gantt charts,) the goal at the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center is to create a stress-free experience for the bridal couple so that they may simply enjoy their day, not to mention to host an exceptionally executed (up to engineering standards!) event.
The physical attributes of the lodge are astounding in and of themselves. After the historic floods in September 2013, the lodge underwent a renovation and features two outdoor locations where couples can say their vows, an amphitheater setting on the banks of the St. Vrain River and a meadow with panoramic views of the mountains and greenery.
No matter where you’re standing on the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center property, you are completely immersed in the surrounding natural habitat, giving parties a sense of privacy and intimacy. With antler light fixtures and art hanging from the ceilings and rich, bold wooden features throughout, the lodge is comfort and warmth embodied. The lodge offers multiple rooms for the wedding party to stay in (although lodging is optional as part of the wedding package) as well as multiple reception rooms depending on the size of the party.
If this mountainous escape and promise of a laid back event aren’t tantalizing enough for an adventurous, fun-loving Boulderite, the food at Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center will surely push them over the edge and into taste bud heaven. Let’s just say that, at the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn of Wedding Crashers would have much more to rave about than just the crab cakes.
The Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center takes pride in offering guests an inventive and locally sourced five star dining experience. There aren’t outside caterers here, and almost all the recipes offered come straight from the mind of their chef, who has worked at restaurants such as Ciao at Vail as well as Boulder’s own popular eatery, The Med, for twelve years. From Cornish game hen to line caught fish and from rack of lamb to elk and buffalo tenderloin, the food at Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center is savory, unique, organic, and fresh, with herbs and veggies often coming straight from the chef’s own greenhouse.
Eating at Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center is a total gourmet experience. Samples of the menu items and garnishes that couples can choose from include bacon-wrapped dates, goat cheese mashed potatoes, basil pesto-crusted bass, and lemon garlic shrimp. Boulder, I dare you to tell me your mouth isn’t watering right now.
The intangible that truly sets Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center apart is their unparalleled customer service focus. From pulling off a wedding during the historic September 2013 flood (yes, really!) to making last minute adjustments behind the scenes, the leadership and staff of Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center have been described as ridiculously and unbelievably accommodating. Blending their analytical engineering mindsets with their desire to build relationships with the couples who book with them, the Kristoffersens assure you that, when planning a wedding at Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center, the answer to any question or concern is that they’ve got it covered.
Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center makes it easy for couples to budget for their wedding by rolling their wedding packages into an easy price per person number that includes all charges, taxes, and fees, versus the a la carte models that are commonly found at wedding venues and event spaces. This flattened pricing model is even further enhanced by the new Wild Basin Wedding package that has just been launched, making the wedding planning experience even more all-inclusive and easy for couples, and allowing for the lodge to offer extremely competitive rates.
“We offer a better product at a better price,” said Nils. After visiting and getting a glimpse into the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center experience, it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful, tasty, and satisfying product.
Wild Basin’s vision for the future includes continuing to accentuate local microbreweries, wine, and distilleries, and maintaining their focus on the couples of today and what their needs and wants are in personalizing their wedding day. With an emphasis on sustainability, the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center (which does currently book parties other than weddings on rare occasion) will be an exclusively weddings-only venue beginning in 2016.
For more information, follow the Wild Basin Lodge & Event Center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, check out their blog, and be sure to peruse the beautiful galleries on their website to see their customers’ extreme satisfaction for yourself.