Years ago our family owned a wonderful place in the mountains of Colorado. Pine Valley Ranch had been a private home for a wealthy Chicago family since the early 1920s. In the late 1950s, a group of wealthy families purchased Pine Valley Ranch to be a private retreat. On this property was an amazing building, built in 1924 by 120 German craftsman. Baehrden lodge is an amazing log and stone lodge overlooking beautiful Pine Valley Ranch. It was the perfect place for weddings and wedding receptions. It was private, hidden from the public yet within one hour of downtown Denver.
My wife and I were in charge of Pine Valley operations for several years. During the spring, summer and fall months we had at least 2 weddings per month. My wife, being an excellent chef, was capable of providing any type of culinary need requested by those planning a wedding. The lodge was, and still is, so beautiful and amazing there were few changes needed in the way of decorations. The main living room could hold 100 people at a reception. There was a private bedroom wing for out of town guests or private honeymoon nights.
During this time, I collected many stories, both written and held in my memory, about weddings that took place at Pine Valley Ranch.
Weddings we hosted ranged from economical to extravagantly expensive. In short, we provided whatever the wedding planners wanted. Our margin of profit, needed to keep Pine Valley running, was 25% less than any other full-service wedding location could charge. We had weddings that hosted 100 people for which the charge was $2,000, plus a charge for the rental of the lodge for one day of $1,000, making a total of $3,000. We also hosted a few weddings for under 30 attendees where the cost was over $25,000.
These more expensive weddings were due to the special nature of the cuisine requested, provided and prepared. For example, one family, sparing no expense, asked for Stilton cheese, imported from Great Britain especially for their wedding. The same wedding plan included live lobster shipped from the east coast of America. Some weddings had trout a highlight of the wedding reception food offerings, caught from the lakes and river on the ranch. The family would come up in the weeks before the wedding and spend weekends getting to know the ranch. They enjoyed fishing, helping in the preparation for the wedding.