Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is your wedding business called "A Pikes Peak Wedding?"

Named after the beautiful mountain that towers over little Manitou Springs, our carefully designed Colorado wedding packages include everything you'll need to create happy memories of your wedding day. We offer a smaller package that give couples with a small guest list an opportunity to use our beautiful gardens.

Q: What is your location?

Blue Skies Inn is located on 2½ acres of wooded, commercially-zoned property with a stream running through it. We are easily accessible by State highways so your guests will not get lost.

We have extensive private gardens which are located on the estate that was built by the founder of Manitou Springs. Our pretty gardens are tucked into our hillside and surrounded by a wonderful stone wall that provides privacy for your day. The 1871 Briarhurst Carriage House, which contains the Chapel, our indoor wedding site, is also landscaped into our garden paths and isolated from noisy traffic.

Q: What area is available for parking?

Blue Skies Inn has free, private off-street parking for forty cars. If any of your guests have need for ADA parking, we set that aside for them.

Q: How will my guests know where to park?

Our staff will direct your guests to our parking areas as they arrive for your wedding. Isn't that great? Your guests will not be late because they are circling a neighborhood or a downtown area for parking.

Q: What if it snows on my wedding day and guests can't reach the site?

Blue Skies Inn is near Colorado Highway 24, and we have never been "snowed in" because the State highway department keeps our road clear every day of the year.

Q: Are adequate powder room facilities available for my guests?

Yes, we designate a special powder room (or two) for your guests.

Q: Is the wedding area located next to a road?

Blue Skies Inn's garden wedding areas are secluded and private. The Chapel Room in our historic 1873 Carriage House occupies the entire first floor of that structure, which is away from traffic paths or areas where other B&B guests might wander.

Q: Will all of my guests be able to see the ceremony?

We carefully arrange seating so all of your guests will be able to see the bride and groom as they wed. We can seat up to sixty guests in our gardens and up to thirty in the Chapel.

Q: Will there be staff to organize and direct the wedding day, or are we "on our own?"

When you purchase our wedding package, you will find that it involves everything you'll need for your wedding day: an officiant, wedding flowers, professional photographer, and a spectacular cake!. We handle all of those details for you, and they are included in the price of the wedding package. Those three words that are rarely found together in a sentence - "low stress wedding" - come true here.

Q: Who takes the photographs?

At Blue Skies Inn, Sally is our professional, award-winning photographer. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and has photographed over 500 weddings. That's a quarter of a million wedding photos over eighteen years! All of the photos posted on the Pikes Peak Wedding website were taken by Sally.

By the way, Sally uses a professional Nikon D5 DSLR digital camera. Within five days of your wedding (usually the next morning), you will be presented with a flash drive holding your digital wedding photos. The copyright of your wedding photos will be owned by you, so enjoy posting photos, printing them or making books of them. We'll also post photos of your wedding on our website for your faraway family and friends who couldn't attend.

Q: Do I have to pay the photographer for prints and enlargements of my wedding photos?

You may use your digital photo files from your Pikes Peak Wedding to have prints and enlargements made at any photo lab anywhere since they will belong to you. You and your friends can print photos from our website if you wish.

Q: Are you a "mountain wedding?”

A Pikes Peak Wedding Yes! There is a lot of amazingly beautiful landscape here in the mountains. This photo of Pikes Peak above was taken from Blue Skies Inn. It's a very pretty mountain, and we always shoot photos of wedding couples with “America's Mountain” in the background.

Q: May we tour your venue?

Absolutely, we are always happy to give you a tour of our wedding venue. Please call us to make an appointment ahead of time. At Pikes Peak Wedding, we know that we won't suit every couple's needs. Our guest limit is sixty (if you invite eighty, probably just sixty will be able to attend), and we sell only the packages listed on our website, nothing smaller. If you book here, we don't want you to have second thoughts because you were hurried into a decision. We will not pressure you or give you a big sales presentation. If we ever say, "Are you ready to book?," that is worth a hundred dollar discount.

Q: Do I have to "buy out" the inn for exclusive use of the grounds?

Our gardens and chapel are reserved for your exclusive use without forcing you to rent every room at our inn. However, it is lots of fun to lodge your family and friends here - it becomes a family reunion, too! Blue Skies Inn is very close to a large variety of lodging properties, and we will consult with you on find lodging to meet the individual needs of all of your out-of-town guests.

Q: Will we be surprised by having an unexpected gratuity added to the bill for our wedding?

We believe in being up-front about our charges at Blue Skies. We do not add a gratuity to our wedding packages. If you elect to purchase our hors d'oeuvres package, there is a 20% service fee, which is customary within the food industry. Also, you will never see "prices are subject to change without notice" when you book here. Your original contract always prevails.

Q: What are time limits?

Our experience tells us that an hour and a half is just right for a wedding ceremony and cake reception. If you book our Heavy Hors D'oeuvres reception, that adds another hour and a half to your day here. Your older guests and young families will become tired and restless at some point. If you wish to book more time, ask us. Some couples enjoy our downtown area later in the evening for a “pub crawl” to add time to their day of celebration.

Q: Do your wedding packages include a meal?

No, our economically priced packages do not include a catered meal. Sometimes the cost of a catered meal is substantially higher than a restaurant. At Blue Skies Inn, our wedding packages consist of ceremony and a cake reception. At an additional cost of $28-35 per person, you may order Heavy Hors D'oeuvres which are actually more food than a wedding dinner.

Q: How much does the wedding package cost?

With a minimum two-night booking in the suite of your choice, we offer two all inclusive wedding packages. The details of our all inclusive wedding packages are described in detail on our Pricing web page. The cost depends on three factors: room price, wedding package selected and whether you will choose hors d'oeuvres.

First - Book a two-night stay: This is the most flexible factor in our packages. Suite prices range from $145 to $240 per night. For room pictures and more information on suites and amenities, go to our Two Night Stay web page.

Second - Choose your favorite wedding package: Our two all inclusive packages are as follows (click on the package name for more details):

A Pikes Peak Wedding - $7,500
The all inclusive wedding package with 60 guests capacity at $5/guest. Includes 800 photos

Elope 2 Colorado Wedding: - $3,600
Weekday (Mon.- Thurs.) all inclusive wedding with 15 guests capacity at $5/guest. Includes 500 photos.

Third -Optional additional charges: Because each all inclusive wedding package is designed to be complete, the main cost for optional extras are guest fees. Guests attending your wedding are charged to you at $5 each, plus tax - this includes set-up, takedown, a cake up-sized to match your guest list and extra photography. There are very few other ways to incur extra costs. Other optional expenses include a hors d'oeuvres reception, a more elaborate cake and wedding flowers above what are already included in your wedding package, i.e. more corsages, bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres, etc. Prices for these extras are quoted on the Wedding Dinner, the Wedding Cake and the Wedding Flowers web pages.

For those who want to calculate exact prices for their wedding, our current sales & lodging tax rate is 10.73%.

That's it! Add up those three factors, and you have the total cost of your wedding. Remember, the prices at Pikes Peak Wedding are not "subject to change without notice." After you sign your contract, the price is final, and there will be no financial surprises for you after you've booked. Payment arrangements can be found in detail on our Booking web page.

Q: What is in the package?

Our all inclusive wedding packages are designed to include everything you need for your wedding. You bring wedding clothes, rings and a Colorado wedding license, and we do the rest. All of our all inclusive wedding packages offer a wedding ceremony (held in Waterfall Garden, Woodland Garden or the Chapel Room of our historic 1871 Carriage House), officiant, bridal bouquet & groom's boutonniere (and more!), wedding cake decorated with flowers to match your bouquet, rose petals for the garden setting, sound system and wedding music, professional photography, use of wedding tent, set-up, break-down, clean up, wedding trellis, tables and chairs, white brocade linens for guest tables and napkins, color linens for bridal table to match the couple's wedding colors, glass cake plates, silverware & crystal champagne flutes, sparkling cider for toasts, serving set for wedding cake, early afternoon check-in at our B&B and room service gourmet breakfasts.

Q: What are the extra costs?

Blue Skies Inn wedding packages have no mandatory "extra" costs, such as parking fees, cake-cutting fees or a required gratuity. All of our extra fees involve choices which are truly optional, like extra flowers.

Q: Can I purchase just a part of your wedding package?

We feel that we have designed The Perfect Wedding. Because we are proud of our creation, we do not take anything out of the packages in order to reduce the cost. We think that every bride should have wedding flowers, cake and photos. Because we are a bed and breakfast inn, booking a two night stay is the basis of the package.

Q: Where do we get a wedding license?

You may get a wedding license from any County Clerk's office in the State of Colorado. The Clerk will ask for a photo ID, social security number, and information about other marriages and State of dissolution. A license costs $35. Please visit the El Paso County Clerk's website for more information. Their hours are 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, except holidays as listed on their website. If one or both of you are in the military and not currently able to apply in person for a wedding license, you can download forms and have your commanding officer notarize your license application, as authorized by Colorado Statute.

Q: Can we be married on a Wednesday?

At Blue Skies Inn, we hold weddings every day of the week.

Q: Do we bring our own wedding cake?

A delicious cake of two or three tiers is included in our package, and it is sized to generously fit the number of guests. White or chocolate cake with regular or buttercream icing are the standard flavors. Each tier may have two flavors in it. All tiers will be identical in flavors. If the flavors are not important to you, we usually order one layer each of vanilla and chocolate with buttercream icing because it's so pretty when cut. Your cake will be decorated with fresh flowers to match the bride's bouquet. If you wish, we will carefully wrap your top tier for you to freeze to enjoy on your first anniversary.

Q: What do we get for the $5 per guest?

The guest charge covers set-up, tables and chairs for all, linens, wedding tent, plates and tableware, champagne flutes for sparkling cider, a much larger cake, complete break-down and clean up.

Q: How many guests may we invite?

There is seating for up to 60 guests if you wed in our Waterfall Garden or Woodland Garden. Our Carriage House chapel seats thirty guests.

Q: Who will perform our ceremony?

The services of a wedding officiant are included in our wedding package. We have several officiants from which you may choose the one who best suits your wedding wishes, from very religious to a simple civil ceremony. Your chosen officiant will consult with you by email and phone, perhaps schedule a rehearsal for the afternoon or evening before your wedding, and perform your ceremony the next day. We will walk through a rehearsal with you on the afternoon that you check in. 4 PM is a good time for that.

Q: May we choose our officiant?

After you have booked, we will help you choose the officiant who best suits your belief structure.

Q: May we bring our own minister?

Yes, you may arrange to bring your favorite pastor if you wish. However, there is no reduction in the cost of our package.

Q: May we write our own vows?

Yes, we encourage you to make your ceremony as personalized as you wish. Other couples have written poetry, composed vows, sung or played a musical instrument. Feel welcome to script a ceremony that reflects who you are, or select one of our usual ceremonies.

Q: I see photos of wedding couples with ribbons wrapped around their hands. What is that?

It's called a Ribbon Ceremony. Blue Skies Inn has taken the idea of the ancient Celtic wedding tradition of hand-fasting and developed a sweet ceremony around it. For the exchange of vows, the couple faces each other and touches the other's hand, palm to palm. Rather than wrapping one cord to symbolize the union as was the tradition in the Middle Ages, seven ribbons are used, each a different color of your choice. You may choose family members or friends to be the ones who wrap the ribbons around your hands. For more information, see our Ceremony web page.

Q: How long is the wedding?

Most of the pomp and circumstance and elaborate ceremony that may seem suitable in a large church will wilt the flowers and bore the butterflies if it's too long. We keep it "short and sweet." Usual wedding features are: entry of the bridal party, a greeting and wedding address by the officiant, exchange of vows and ring exchange. Ceremonies might range from 12 - 20 minutes.

Q: How long is the reception?

Your reception will last about an hour and includes signing your wedding license, a sparkling cider toast, and cutting and serving of your wedding cake, followed by photos. Photography may take a bit longer if you have many guests. Start to finish, for a wedding with guests, your celebration might last as long as an hour and a half. The reception is 2 ½ hours if you add hors d'oeuvres.

Q: Where is the wedding held?

Blue Skies Inn does not have an "event center." Here, you may choose to marry by the fanciful wedding tent in our lovely Waterfall Garden that is lush with flowers, at the edge of our Woodland Garden which is overhung with trees or under the hand-crafted chandeliers of the Chapel Room in our 1871 Carriage House, depending on the season. No matter what time of year it is, we shoot many pictures in the gardens, by the stream, with Pikes Peak in the background and in other garden areas around our 2½ acre property. Your wedding will feel intimate and close to Nature, perhaps with a deer wandering by or the song of birds overhead. One bride was surprised by a hummingbird visiting her wedding bouquet!

Q: Tell me about the photos.

We use a professional Nikon D5 DSLR camera to shoot photos. Within five days of your wedding (usually the next morning), we will give you your photos in large JPEG format on a flash drive. You will own the copyright for your photos so that you may post them online or have enlargements and prints made.

Our photos are shot by an artist who is also an award-winning professional photographer. Sally has photographed over 500 weddings. Her style is journalistic, and she documents each detail of your wedding day. We think that when you look at your photos years from now, you'll want legible shots with as much information from your wedding day as you can possibly see. Since you will own the copyright to your photos, you may alter them if you wish. Make Art!

We start our photography as the bride walks into the garden. We photograph the ceremony, signing of the license and cake cutting. We pause while you enjoy food or cake with your guests, then we take group photos of family, the wedding party and guests. When those poses are completed, we take portraits of the couple by themselves in all of the scenic locations at Blue Skies Inn. We use all of our garden for your wedding photography - we NEVER hold two weddings at the same time. Additional photos of the couple are taken by the 1871 Briarhurst Carriage House, some with Pikes Peak in the background, and the rest by our shady stream with a lovely arching greenstone bridge.

Q: What if I want more photos?

We are always happy to take more photos beyond those included in the package you choose. Ask if you want to add a photo shoot at the Garden of the Gods.

Q: What does ownership of the copyright to our wedding photographs mean for us

It means that you can see your photos at home on your computer or hi-def TV, instead of trying to sort through a batch of low-resolution photographer's "proofs" plastered with the photographer's logo. It means you can have your photos printed anywhere you wish, rather than pay for prints from the venue. It means that you own your electronic photographs, and you can do anything -- anything!! -- you want with your photos. Make multiple prints or digital copies, make portrait-size blowups, Photoshop them into art, put them on line or even use them in your Christmas cards!

Q: Can you put our photo on your website?

Absolutely! Within a week or so of your wedding, we will have posted a photo of you on our website as our most recently wed couple. If you click on your main photo, there will be 20 to 30 or more additional photos displayed as a pop-up, a perfect way to have your far-away friends and relatives see you on your wedding day.

Q: May we make a video of the ceremony?

You may video your ceremony with a camera set on a tripod - we will choose the location for you. If you choose a friend or family member to do this, your videographer must be seated during the ceremony.

Q: What if a relative wants to photograph our ceremony?

You won't want your professional photo of your first kiss or the ring exchange blocked by someone using a throw-away camera or a cell phone waving in the air. Sometimes, guests want to take photos because they are afraid that your photos will cost too much. Remember, photos are included as part of your wedding package. We ask that all of your guests be seated during the ceremony. Since our photos are professional and of excellent quality, you truly do not need to have others taking the same photos. We use a telephoto lens to take photos of the tiniest details: the rings, the buttons and bows on the back of your dress, your bouquet as a butterfly alights upon it. After all of our photographs are taken, your family is welcome to take photos during your reception.

Q: What kind of bouquet is made for the bride?

Our designer will make a bouquet that pleases the bride. It can be any size that she wishes. She may choose flower colors to match her wedding party's colors, or ask to be surprised with seasonal colors. Boutonnières are made to compliment the colors in the bride's bouquet, as are all the other flowers included in your wedding package, unless you request otherwise. At extra cost, we have the ability to provide more flowers than specified for any of our packages. Extra floral arrangements are priced out on the flowers web page. The bride's bouquet can be made more elaborate at additional cost if she wishes. You may not bring in flowers from another provider.

Q: What are the flower petals in the photos on the website?

We scatter rose petals in the bride's path, and we choose available colors of the season. In winter, it is especially dramatic to scatter petals on the snow.

Q: What should we wear?

Some choose favorite blue jeans and cowboy boots, others choose traditional wedding attire. Grooms may rent formal wear within blocks of the County Clerk's office.

Q: May we choose what room we want at the inn?

You may reserve any suite at our bed and breakfast that pleases you. Booking two nights at Blue Skies Inn is required in order to book an all inclusive wedding package.

Q: What if we want to stay longer for a honeymoon?

Extra days may be booked at a discount of 10%. There is much to do and see in the Pikes Peak area. Even if you stay for a week, you will need more time to see it all. See our Attractions web page for more information.

Q: Do the bride and groom stay in the same room the night before the wedding?

The night before the wedding as well as the night of the wedding are scheduled in one of our suites. Many suites have an extra bed in the sitting room if you would like to sleep separately until the wedding. We have also had couples who decided to have the bride use the suite the night before the ceremony while the groom stayed elsewhere. Since our weddings are mid-day and our check-in time is not until late afternoon, it does not work to have a wedding here unless you check in the day before the wedding. That way, all of your wedding clothes are right here where you want them, and you can go to our nearby hair salon that morning with plenty of time to spare.

Q: Do the bride and groom have to dress in the same place on the day of the wedding?

We invite the groom to use another one of our suites at the inn, if available, to dress. Sometimes the groom dresses in the suite first, then waits in the garden while the bride dresses. If many guests will be coming from a distance, you may wish to rent an additional room as a "hospitality suite."

Q: What if the bride needs help with a zipper?

Staff is always available to help the bride at the last minute, whatever her need may be. Our favorite story is about a bride whose zipper failed: we sewed her into her dress!

Q: What about music?

You are welcome to hire musicians if you wish. Usually, the couple chooses a recorded selection to start the wedding and one to play just after you are pronounced newly married. Feel welcome to bring your own iPod or Bluetooth if you wish, and we will play them for your ceremony. You may play your own favorite music as a playlist during your reception, assigning one of your guests to operate our equipment.

Q: What happens during the reception?

First, the bride and groom sign the marriage certificate. If you have ordered our hors d'oeuvres, you will enjoy them before the toast and cake. We pour a sparkling cider toast for all, then the cake is cut. Bring champagne if you wish! We take photographs through all of this, then let you have some time to visit with guests before we resume photography. We will take photos of your family and guests with you. After that, we photograph just the newlyweds by our carriage house, take some shots with Pikes Peak in the background, and some by our stream and lovely arching bridge. If you have other ideas for photos, we are happy to oblige.

Q: May we bring alcohol?

We do not have a liquor permit or liquor license. Since your event is a private party, we will give you permission to bring champagne or wine if you buy insurance. Please select a member of your wedding party to pour and serve your toast. You must buy event insurance to cover your guests and the venue in case alcohol-related issues arise. As you can imagine, there is a story behind every rule!

Q: What about a wedding dinner?

A wedding dinner is not available at our inn, but after you book with us, we are happy to make recommendations for restaurants nearby that will seat any size group and at a wide range of prices. Hors d'oeuvres can be added to cake receptions as an extra expense.

Q: If we have children, may they be in the wedding?

Our officiants are happy to include your children in the wedding, perhaps asking them to form a family circle after your vows are said. We will make baskets that are full of rose petals if you wish for children to be involved as flower girls. If you choose the Ribbon Ceremony for part of your ceremony, the children or other family members may help by wrapping a ribbon around your hands as you say each vow.

Q: Is there off-street parking at Blue Skies Inn?

Yes, we can accommodate up to 40 cars in our off-street parking. It's free!

Q: What if the bride needs someone to style her hair?

There are several hair salons within a half mile of us.

Q: Will our photograph stay online for a long time?

A photo of couples is posted on our website for others to enjoy. That photo will stay online forever. Clicking on that photo will lead to a web page featuring a mini-album of the bridal couple.

Q: What do we have to do to book a wedding?

Call us to book your minimum two-night stay in the suite of your choice and your wedding package. Half of your total is due upon booking, the other half is due 90 days before the ceremony. The balance for guests is due 30 days before the ceremony. See our Booking web page for more details.

Q: I have more questions. What should I do?

Call Blue Skies Inn at 800 398-7949 to speak to Sally at any time. We love to chat about weddings!