Do you love grand mansions? I know I do. Historic places have so many stories and character. The Grant-Humphreys mansion is no exception. Located on the top of Capitol Hill in Denver, this mansion is a hot spot for weddings. I met with Rita Rollman the Director for the Grant-Humphreys Mansion for hot wedding tips.
The Grant-Humphreys mansion was built in 1902 for Governor Grant, the third governor of Colorado. It has four floors, twelve bathrooms, twelve bedrooms, several nannies quarters, infants’ rooms, a bowling alley, ballroom, and shooting gallery. 1917 it was bought by the Humphrey’s family who occupied it until the 70’s. In the 70’s the Humphreys donated the Mansion to the Colorado historical society and their specific writer on the donation was that it would continue to be used for fun and joy and events. The Grant-Humphreys Mansion host fun and joyful events to this day. Your wedding can be one of these events.
When you rent a historic location, there are quirks and restrictions that go with them. The Grant-Humphreys mansion is no exception. With age comes character, like chips, cracks and creaky floors. It may not be a polished palace, but you connect with the past when in this stately gem. It is an ideal location for a classy, elegant and charming weddings for up to 200 people. It is also a great way to go green for your wedding. Every cent you pay to the mansion goes back into keeping history well cared for.
- 1920’s themed wedding with flappers as the bridesmaids and vintage cars.
- Sri Lankan wedding serving Chicago dogs and curry as their wedding banquet.
- Hindu wedding with the couple jumped over a fire pit as part of their ceremony.
- Same Sex unions.
Rita’s 4 wedding tips
- Remember the whole point is to get married. Don’t let the planning process overwhelm you.
- Details are important, but your family is more important. Any setback can be worked around so at the end of the day you are married.
- Research your costs. Each element can add up quickly. The average Denver wedding is $25,000, and going to the justice of the peace is $50. Figure out what budget works best for you, then adjust your expectations.
- This is ultimately your day, so do it your way.
Thank you so much Rita Rollman from the Grant-Humphreys Mansion. You can contact Rita Rollman Director Grant-Humphreys Mansion 770 Pennsylvania Street Denver, CO 80203
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(Holly –>) Good afternoon Rita it’s so good to have you on Holly’s Hot Wedding Tips. What a beautiful mansion to be in, the Grant Humphreys. What does a regular wedding look like here at the Grant Humphreys Mansion? (Rita –>) Well we find that our weddings are very much based on folks that are looking for that touch of class, elegance, and charm for their wedding. On average weddings are around 100 to 120 people although we can hold up to 200. We usually have our ceremonies outside we have a beautiful lawn, we have a south terrace that looks like its Greek, homemade beautiful out there. And then cocktail hour outside. Then we usually have dinner on the main level we have very beautiful large spaces so we can do that, all adjacent to each other. And then we have dancing and the party portion in the ballroom, we have a built in ballroom at the house and it’s literally been used for dancing ever since 1902, it was built for that purpose and it’s still being used for that purpose.
(holly –>) What’s the most unusual wedding you’ve ever done? (Rita –>) I do have one coming up actually, it’s a Sri Lankan wedding. So the grooms Sri Lankan and the bride is from Chicago, so they’re going to have Chicago dogs and curry as their wedding banquet. I also had a Hindu couple that literally created a fire pit and jumped over it as part of their ceremony. We literally had the fire extinguisher right there right ready to go just in case, so I love those ethnically diverse weddings they always have such an interesting twist.
(holly –>) What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve ever done? (Rita –>) I had a really, really great civil union ceremony before gay marriage was legal we had these two guys have their wedding here, and they’d been together for 25 years and it was just the most beautiful wonderful human experience and they were both bawling and their families we bawling and we were bawling and it was just amazing and it made us feel warm. Everyone that was there was warm and it was this amazing experience you could see how long they’d waited to be together and that they really appreciated being together. So it was a really, really great experience.
(Holly –>) What don’t couples know about historic locations that they need to know when they’re renting for events? (Rita –>) Well, some locations aren’t like your typical corporate wedding locations. First of all it is a house, it’s an old house it was built in 1902 so it’s quirks. It has squeaky floors and it’s got chipped walls here and there and the granite outside isn’t perfect but that’s what gives it it’s character because it’s old that’s why it’s charming. So if you’re looking for that perfect granite polished palace, you need to find something that was built in 1990 not something that was built in 1902. What we lack in that perfect polish we gain in that really singular experience. Old homes have a lot of character they have a lot of history we are literally standing where people have stood for a hundred years or more, you feel connected to the past in old homes. You know they’ve been used for joyous occasions and good so there’s a lot of good energy in old homes. It doesn’t feel cold it doesn’t’ feel impersonal. I find a lot of weddings that happen in hotels and these mass market spaces you’re literally wedding factories. You’re spinning them out one after the other, here you literally get the space for the day, it’s like you own a mansion you get to play with it for a whole day. You get connected to the past through the future. It’s really, really a unique experience to have an event in an historic home. Plus unlike a corporate market pretty much every dime that comes to us goes right back into the house. So it’s all to historic preservation to preserve our past, trust me every dime goes right back into fixing it. And it is well cared for, it is nationally preserved, it is protected and therefore we’re nonprofit so you can feel good about yourself because you’re actually giving back to the community to help preserve a space.
(Holly –>) What questions should couples be asking that they don’t know to ask? (Rita –>) A lot of people don’t know what a wedding costs and that’s what I find. A lot of my couples come in and we are very reasonably priced so they come here a lot because we’re a little bit less expensive but they don’t realize what a wedding costs between food, and dress, and flowers. And so with catering especially I tell them if you are wanting to take 50 of your best friends out to a restaurant and have the whole restaurant to yourselves and all the waiters and all the servers and they’re just there for you. You have to have realistic expectation with how much that’s going to cost. Don’t automatically feel that it’s too expensive, it’s all manageable you work with your caterer on how to afford it, but just be realistic on your expectation. If you guys want an inexpensive wedding totally do-able you can have a dessert buffet, you can have appetizers you can do something creative but if you want dinner and experience just be prepared that it’s going to cost more than you’d imagine it would and that’s ok you just make a plan. I tell them not to panic just as long as they stick to their budget and have those realistic expectations I tell almost every person that comes here to try to keep that open mind and that every good vendor will work with them if they find good vendors so.
(holly –>) What’s the best piece of advice you have for a couple getting married? (Rita –>) It’s a stressful process, I’ve actually had couples cancel their weddings because it was so overwhelmingly stressful for them that they just gave up. Every wedding good wedding, the ultimate goal is to be married, so whatever happens whatever rain, whatever snow, whatever damage, or lateness your point at the end of the day is to be man and wife so as long as that happens you cannot have an unsuccessful wedding. The details of course are important but don’t stress them it’s really about the two of you so as you go through the process make sure you’re communicating make sure you’ve got a good support network. A lot emotions rise in planning everyone has got expectations but just take a step back and remember it’s about the two of you and ultimately it’s your day so remember that in the process.
(Holly –>) Tell me about the history of the Grand Humphrey’s mansion? (Rita –>) So the house was built in 1902 for the governor Grant his portrait is in the hall he’s the third governor of Colorado. For him and his family it was a private residence and at that time in Denver quality hill which is the neighborhood we’re in was way outside of the Denver limits Denver was way, way down there it was very isolated and a lot of the early mansions were built in capitol hill so just a little bit away and capitol hill started becoming a little too gauche for the rich a lot of people were moving there it got crowded so the truly wealthy wanted to move away so they built quality hill and the Grant Humphreys was one of the first homes built in in quality hill we are literally on top of the hill. The actual governor’s mansion, the current one is downhill from us so we were here first. It was a very exclusive neighborhood it still has a lot of mansions a lot of old history here and of course as the decades passed people moved further away so after quality hill became crowded then it was university hill, then it was cherry hills, then highlands ranch, and so their goal was always to move away from the city so this was once a very exclusive neighborhood and the governors family lived here they built the home from 35,000 dollars it is enormous there’s four floors, there twelve bathrooms, twelve bedrooms, several nannies quarters, infants room ect. There’s a bowling alley, ballroom, shooting gallery, this house was once used to wrap bandages in WW1 for troops. Then in 1917 it was bought by the Humphrey’s family and the Humphrey’s family was involved in the oil and steel industry and AE Humphrey’s was actually implicated in the teapot dome scandal it was a very big historic event which most people don’t remember from high school but basically it was the selling of government land for private use. Big no, no. So he was implicated in that he was going to be arraigned and he had a small hunting rifle accident on the third floor so he did not die here he is not haunting this space but after that happened that family continued to live here until the 70’s when their wealth had pretty much dissipated so they couldn’t support the upkeep and they had to move on so they donated it to the Colorado historical society and their specific writer on the donation was that it would continue to be used for fun and joy and events they didn’t want it to be condo’s or offices they specifically wanted it to be hosting events. We’ve been hosting events since the 70’s