Love in Old Places, a Denver Wedding at St. Cajetan’s & Brown Palace
From the graceful arches of St. Cajetan’s chapel to the quaint former residence of an Israeli Prime Minister, to the lavish elegance of downtown Denver’s Brown Palace, Debbie and Frank’s wedding was a fusion of histories, a juxtaposition of cultures, and a gorgeous ballroom accented with Colorado rustic details. Beautifully captured by the talented Rebecca Bonner Photography.
From the bride: “My aunt designed the necklace I wore. She’s a jewelery designer (Sue Shefts Designs) who has long-battled my absolute pickiness when it comes to jewelry. She literally made 8 different necklaces just for me to choose from for the wedding, and mailed them to me from Atlanta so I could try them out. It came down to the wire though…she was working on the necklace during the rehearsal dinner so it would be just right! She also made the matching earrings.”
Debbie and Frank sipped champagne and savored gourmet chocolates in the historic residence of Golda Meir, former Israeli Prime Minister and signer of Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The Denver landmark sits next to St. Cajetan’s, a Spanish colonial chapel built in the 1920’s and home to Denver’s first Hispanic parish. It is striking in its gracefully arched interior, accented in soft light filtered through towering stained glass windows.
From the bride: “The choice of St Cajetan’s was a little random but worked out so well. My family is Jewish (mostly) and Frank’s is Episcopalian (mostly). We both wanted a religious ceremony in a religious building. Finding a venue and an officiate to accommodate the interfaith ceremony proved to be challenging. Frank amazingly found the church which was so great because of its location (just ten minutes from the Brown Palace) and the fact that it looked like a beautiful church on the inside and out but still permitted our Jewish + Christian ceremony. As one of my friends said, ‘Only you two would get married under a chuppah in a church.’ Probably true.”
From a décor perspective, we wanted to honor the simple beauty of the chapel so we brought in white chairs and used white drape to cover the distracting stage which we weren’t using. The chairs were arranged in semicircular sections around the chuppah to create an intimate less formal atmosphere. In keeping with that intention, the bridal party was seated during the ceremony and select family members shared blessings that they had custom-written for the occasion. Pninah, family friend and rabbi from California, officiated the custom ceremony in Hebrew and kindly translated into English.
Covered in a special linen, the shattered pieces of wine glass from Frank’s “Mazel Tov stomp” were later made into a custom picture frame by the mother of Debbie’s childhood friend.
Historic and cultural fusion continued in the grand ballroom of downtown Denver’s Brown Palace, an elegant ornate hotel as impressive in grandeur now as when it opened in 1892. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt in 1905 has visited the Brown Palace (with the exception of Calvin Coolidge) and it featured the most onyx of any building around when it was built.
Rich tones of wood, lush velvet drapes, gold-rimmed monogrammed chargers, and ornate chandeliers need little enhancement. Debbie and Frank chose centerpieces of hydrangea, roses, stock, and ranunculas in varying height for visual texture. Succulent accents were a nod to the West. Guests created thumbprint leaves in a variety of fall colors on a guestbook tree in keeping with the October wedding and peaked aspen leaves outside.
From the bride: “The choice of the Brown Palace is actually a cute story. I was dead-set on NOT getting married at a hotel because they always feel a little blah and cliche to me. But obviously the Brown Palace is no ordinary hotel. It also had super special meaning to Frank because 1) he’s from Eastern Colorado originally, and has memories of “going into Denver and staying at the Brown Palace” as a treat when he was little. Adorable. 2) More adorable, his aunt and uncle actually met there when they were a housekeeper and a cook, respectively. Of course he didn’t tell me any of these things until after we had booked it.”
From the bride: “All in all I think the wedding put itself together with some elbow grease from all involved. Our family members chose their own ceremony blessings. Our bridal party chose their own outfits. Also, behind the scenes were our two best men, our little brothers, who were AMAZING and were more crucial to the whole operation than they could possibly know. Frank and I both have really special relationships with our brothers and I’m glad they got to be showcased a little. It was the build-your-own-adventure of weddings, I think. May not work for everybody, but it totally worked for us.”
Frank & Debbie, thank you for letting us be a part of your adventure. You and your families were so sweet to work with and we love the way you personalized such a beautiful celebration. Congratulations!
*Note that JA Special Events had the privilege of coordinating Debbie & Frank’s ceremony at St. Cajetan’s and guest transportation while Michelle Gillette at the Brown Palace expertly handled all reception details.
The Vendor Team:
Ceremony & Transportation Coordination: JA Special Events | Photography: Rebecca Bonner Photography | Ceremony Venue: St. Cajetan’s Chapel at Auraria Campus | Reception Venue: Brown Palace | Transportation: Presidential Worldwide Transportation | Ceremony Chairs: Allwell Rents | Ceremony Drape: Artistry Events & Design | Ceremony Flowers & Chuppah: Painted Primrose | Reception Flowers & Cake: Brown Palace | DJ: Starkey Productions | Hair & Makeup: Brown Palace | Bride’s Necklace: Sue Shefts Designs
Check out Debbie & Frank’s wedding featured on Couture Colorado blog: Classic Elegance