Guest blogger Caitlin Hamilton Summie shares a very special perspective on The Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver. Caitlin lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. She works with Unbridled Books to promote new and emerging voices in fiction, work of which she is especially proud.
Spotlight on Bookstores is a weekly series at She is Too Fond of Books, featuring essays by you, the reader! To submit a Spotlight post, contact dawn@sheIsTooFondOfBooks.com
I had my wedding reception at the Tattered Cover Bookstore, up on the beautiful third floor of the LoDo branch, which is located downtown in a renovated warehouse district. The interior of the store is old wood and at that time there was dark green carpeting on the floor and, of course, there were floor to ceiling bookshelves. The third floor was open—and vast. More room than we needed. From the windows, one could take in views of Denver. It was magical.
We didn’t plan on having our reception in the bookstore. Like many couples, though, event planning began with location consideration. We were married at our church, which is also in the heart of Denver’s downtown, and we needed to find a place nearby, especially for some of the less physically able. With family and friends arriving from all over the country and from as far away as England, and in this altitude, we wanted things to be easy. After a few calls, we had another issue. The museum and athletic club were quite costly. So was the historic Brown Palace. My husband and I had waited a long time to find each other. We were a little older than some (okay, most) of our friends when they were married. We knew that we didn’t want to shoot our budget (i.e., future) by wracking up a big debt, even though family was helping. How to find an affordable place that was also close by??
And then I heard about Tattered. Of course, it helps that I work in books. My friend, Charles, told me. He is the very cool events person at the Tattered Cover, and he let me know that the store was planning on using its third floor in LoDo to host special events. So I called.
It was a little odd, I think, for my husband’s family to read on the invitations that the reception would be at a bookstore. But bless their hearts, not one of them said a word. My family and friends, bibliophiles all or people who just know I adore books, never blinked. And they all gamely walked to the store, or rode the free shuttle, or scooted in to the last parking places near the store.
And everybody was charmed. It was different, there was plenty of space, the building is old, and people from out of town got a real taste of the city. Book fans browsed the shelves. We never bothered the staff or customers. I’m not certain, unless you saw my husband and I squeak through the main doors, or heard the faint sound of jazz, that anyone would have ever known we were all there.
I wore my Mom’s dress and the Swedish crown that was part of her veil, and with my new husband, who looked incredibly dapper in his tux, we celebrated with dear family and friends, surrounded by walls and walls of books. There were titles that I had represented on the shelves. And it felt like home.
The Tattered Cover always does feel like home, always will. I love the books. And I love that often enough I find a friend working on the days I go. I love the coffee shops and the oversized chairs and the feeling I get at LoDo or Colfax—that an afternoon is never enough time to browse.
Now, though, the LoDo store in particular will always hold my heart because that is where I celebrated that I had found its missing half.