A Night of Their Dreams 1

Air Force Couple is Honored With a Complimentary Wedding


Heather Nordstrom and Brian Thorne consider themselves among the luckiest people in the world. Not only are they about to start their married life together, they are getting married at one of the area’s premiere wedding venues – for free.

Heather and Brian were the winners of the complimentary 4th of July wedding in honor of the military, provided by Villa Parker and its preferred partners.

The couple had already planned to have their ceremony and reception at Villa Parker. They had selected July 2, which is a Thursday, to save a little money. When they committed to that date last November, Karen Schafer said couldn’t stop thinking about them.

As the director of sales for Villa Parker, Karen knew about the upcoming giveaway and wanted it to be awarded to the couple.  Brian is stationed at an Air Force Base in Minot, North Dakota. His fiancé is a former radiographer at Children’s Hospital Colorado, whose mother lives in Aurora.

“For four months straight, all I could think about was her,” Karen says. “She’s one of those people that you instantly connect with.”

Heather apparently felt the same connection.

“Karen made the whole experience so stress free and made me feel so comfortable,” she says. “And the venue itself is simply stunning…. We are so completely humbled by this amazing blessing and still feel like this is all a dream. We cannot thank Karen, Villa Parker and all the amazing vendors enough for this incredible experience.”

Brian agreed in a Facebook post he made after receiving the news about their free 4th of July wedding.

“We really can’t thank you all enough, from the bottom of our hearts. It’s a beautiful thing seeing the kindness and love of others, especially in a world where it isn’t shown very often.”

And while this special couple will receive a wedding valued at $20,000 that includes the donated venue, food, photography, flowers and entertainment, they aren’t the only ones who receive special treatment from Villa Parker, where nearly 100 weddings and receptions are held each year.

“You’re not just a number at Villa Parker. We love our people. We take care of them,” Karen says. “It’s truly a personalized service. Everything is customized to the couple. They become part of the Villa Parker family.”

The staff at Villa Parker becomes friends with many of the couples who get married there. They talk fondly about a couple from New Year’s Eve 2009. Both the man and woman had lost their first spouses and were getting married for the second time.

Now in their early 70s, they are “the most adorable people,” Karen says, noting that they stop by occasionally and keep in touch on Facebook, where they also share news of their travels and how they are enjoying their wonderful partnership.

“We work with people for a year, year and a half, and you get to know them pretty well,” Karen says. “They truly become friends.”

While the customized service is always a draw, the location and atmosphere at Villa Parker provide additional incentive to schedule a wedding, anniversary, graduation, corporate event or even a school prom there.

Discounted rates are available for school events, Karen says, adding that the venue’s owners are strong supporters of the schools and many non-profits, including the Special Olympics.

Located on five acres on South Pine Drive, Villa Parker is a magnificent estate that was originally built in the 1970s, featuring Mediterranean architecture. Although originally built as a private residence, it has been a privately-owned, family-run wedding and special event venue since 2009.

It features 10,000 square feet of beautiful rooms and elegant halls, as well as a magnificent outdoor courtyard for enjoying Colorado’s lovely weather.

Customers receive exclusive use of the facility, which comfortably accommodates up to 200 guests, as well as the assistance of a wedding coordinator or event manager. For catering, most customers work with one of the venue’s preferred partners, including Occasions, Three Tomatoes, Tony Rosacci’s or a Spice of Life catering companies.

And all of the customers can rest assured that attention will be paid to every last detail, as everyone involved goes above and beyond for each and every event.