This wedding tops the mall

Penny Parker
Posted 10/11/12

I’ve seen a lot of activities (both legal and not) along Denver’s 16th Street Mall, but a wedding? Not so much. But Shafiqa and Greg Nguyen tied …

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This wedding tops the mall


I’ve seen a lot of activities (both legal and not) along Denver’s 16th Street Mall, but a wedding? Not so much.

But Shafiqa and Greg Nguyen tied the knot last month in front of invited guests and mall walkers and gawkers on the corner of 16th and Glenarm.

“We chose this spot specifically because the Denver Pavilions sign is located close by and it is at the very heart of the mall,” the bride told me. “At the ceremony, there were a lot of spectators. They all seemed interested in the wedding and a lot stayed and watched. There was a lot of applause afterwards.”

Shafiqa said the couple chose the unusual venue because their first date inadvertently included a stroll along the mall. The two Aurora Central High School students met in an AP English class. For extra credit, they were given the option of going to the Tattered Cover for a book reading by Frank McCourt, the author of “Angela’s Ashes.”

But their seats were behind a wall, so they could neither hear nor see the author. Shafiqa suggested they leave the event.

“We ended up walking around 16th Street, sipping Jamba Juice and just talking,” she said. “He told me later that it was that night he knew he wanted to be with me.”

Greg is a software analyst and Shafiqa is a master’s student at the University of Denver working on teaching degree.

Booze and bonding

The recent quarterly booze bash at The Brown Palace — this time the pairing was cigars and scotch — saw roughly 50 high-profile men get together in a smoke-filled room during the super secret, double-probation event.

I get invited to these dinners with the strict understanding that no names are revealed. The only exception to the rule is to give a nod to The Brown’s executive chef William Dexter, who served a sublime meal that included duck confit salad with red spinach, seared scallops with spiced pumpkin seeds, beef tenderloin with potato cake and fall vegetables and a three-way chocolate dessert.

The scotches that were sipped and savored were Maccallan Fine Oak 18 year, Highland Park 12 year, Highland Park 18 year and the very rare and highly allocated Highland Park 40 year.

The evening ends with one appointee given the task of searching for a woman’s sacrificial shoe that serves as a liquor luge, and all of the attendees must drink out of it. “It’s like communion,” joked one participant as the scotch-filled shoe wetted his whistle.

Gritty and witty

The annual Gridiron Show, a benefit for the Denver Press Club (the nation’s oldest press club), will feature entertainment from local politicians and media types starting at 7 p.m. Friday at the L2 Arts and Culture Center, 1477 Columbine St.

Entertainers and introducers include Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Hick-Tones with Tom Clark and Neil Westergaard; Mike Landess, Cynthia Hessin, Jim Benemann and TaRhonda Thomas; House Democrats Reps. Beth McCann, Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Dan Pabon, Su Ryden and Jonathan Singer; House Republicans Mark Waller, Cheri Gerou, Amy Stephens, Ray Scott and Libby Szabo; and Mike Littwin and yours truly reunited since leaving The Denver Post.

Tickets are $20, and proceeds benefit the press club and its scholarships for journalism students. Available at

Wow wedding

One of Denver’s most spectacular weddings took place earlier this month when Peter Marsico, of Marsico Capital Management fame, wed the lovely Mari Wieleba, a merchandising associate for eBags and a Cherry Creek High School and University of Kansas grad.

According to my spies, the Marsicos wed at Cherry Hills Country Club where cocktails were served, then had shuttles take guests to Peter’s parents’ home where more appetizers were passed and cocktails were poured during dancing to a 23-piece orchestra brought in from New York City.

The musicians’ playlist included songs from Led Zeppelin, The Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Cee Lo Green, but had to shut down the music at 11:30 to respect the neighbors. Epicurean Catering served amazing food at the event with lobster medallions with greens, choice of entree cooked to order and all servers were dressed in tuxes and white gloves.

The tented event featured huge cream draping everywhere with chandeliers and centerpieces with hydrangeas and roses in shades of sand, pale pink, cream and white.

After the wedding reception, guests were shuttled to the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek North to wrap up the festivities.

“It was the most tasteful obscene expenditure of money I’ve ever seen,” said my spy. “It was beautiful, class, class, class.” My spy added that the darling duo of guests Barry and Arlene Hirschfeld rocked it on the dance floor. The band reportedly played 14 songs in a row during the reception after toasts to the couple.


Three Denver hotels were included in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s readers poll of the 15th annual business travel awards, which presents hotels in 15 cities that had the highest-scoring business facilities.

They are: The Ritz-Carlton Denver, The Curtis: A Doubletree Hotel by Hilton and the Oxford Hotel. Highlights from the poll include comments from readers praising hotel employees, clean rooms, excellent service, a well-trained staff and a good location.

For the complete list, go to

A suburban taste treat

The 12th annual Taste of Greenwood Village, hosted by the Greenwood Village Chamber of Commerce, takes place from 5:30-10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at The Doubletree Hotel, 7801 E. Orchard Road in Greenwood Village.

Since 2000, the Taste of Greenwood Village has been introducing the best of local restaurants and businesses to new customers who live and work in Greenwood Village and the Southeast corridor.

The Taste has grown to become one of the area’s most popular wine and food events. Since the Denver Broncos game starts at 6:30, there will be large-screen TVs broadcasting the Broncos vs. Chargers game, football-themed contests and events and an outdoor pool party with specialty liquors and cigars.

Advance tickets at

Penny Parker’s “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for She can be reached at or at 303-619-5209.


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