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A Day Filled with Crafty Homemade Touches

Rachel & Dave  |  June 21st  |  Longmont, Colorado

From the bride, Rachel:
While we hadn’t intended to have a “Destination Wedding,” our guests traveled from 22 different states to join our celebration.  We chose Colorado so that my mom could help plan the wedding since Dave and I were living in Mississippi at the time.  It was such a gift to have so many friends and family travel so far!

Ashtonhoward01The personalization of our wedding really came from all the many hands who spent so many hours working on all the little touches that made the day so special.  From craft nights with our roommates to make all of the centerpiece jars, to friends spray painting frames and making mirrors, to my mom collecting forks from all over the country for our favors, to Dave’s mom designing our save the dates and invitations, to our dads building signs and handcrafting a ring box, to our family and friends making napkin rings, card boxes, banners, arranging flowers, baking the groom’s cake and then everyone helping to put all of those little pieces together was the best gift any one person could have given us to make the day so memorable!

Ashtonhoward02 Ashtonhoward03 Ashtonhoward04 Ashtonhoward05The ceremony was held in a gazebo adjacent to an apple orchard, which created a perfect aisle for the bridal party’s entrance.  Ashtonhoward06We had all of our guests participate in the ceremony by bringing forward buttons to represent their hopes and wishes for our marriage by placing them in a “Hope Jar.” 

Ashtonhoward07 Ashtonhoward08 Ashtonhoward09 Ashtonhoward10 Ashtonhoward11 Ashtonhoward12Our favors were Mason jar mugs that guests used for their beverages. Each mug was personalized with a homemade sheet music luggage tag with the guests’ names.

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Our Advice: In all the planning, it’s easy to get so caught up in the many tasks and decisions and to-do lists that we found it important to have wedding-free nights every week too.  It’s easy to get so focused on the wedding, that you can lose sight of the marriage.


Photographer:  Ashton Howard Photography. Ashton shot our engagement pictures and wedding day and we could not have loved working with him or the pictures he took more.
Venue: Lone Hawk Farm.  Beautiful location!  Kristen and her family were so hospitable, we felt right at home!
Event Planner:  At Your Service Events Management.  While we didn’t have a planner, Jim and At Your Service did an incredible job making sure our ceremony, cocktail hour and reception ran smoothly.  They handled all of the rentals, oversaw the other vendors, and made sure that we were only worried about enjoying our day!
Caterer: Taco Mojo. Taco Mojo has the only menu that met our dietary restrictions (vegetarian and gluten free) while still offering a delicious and interesting selection for all our guests to enjoy.  The taco bar was a total hit!
Cake: Tasty Cakes Cakery. Kellie Manley was a delight to work with and the cake was fabulous!  She was able to take all our ideas and put them together into our dream cake.
Florist: a florae.  After just minutes of meeting Rachel Mann, she felt like an instant friend and someone I absolutely trusted to turn my stack of Pinterest pictures from ideas into reality.  And she did!  She even took all the centerpieces the week before the wedding so could deliver the flowers already ready to go.  And the arrangements were everything I’d imagined and more!

Honeymoon Location:  Disneyworld.  The all-inclusive Disneyworld package is perfect for couples who want to relax and have fun too!  We loved the meal plan, staying in the Animal Kingdom and having plenty of time to explore all the parks!

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Simply Relaxed in Ouray

Petrika & Ward  |  July 12th  |  Ouray, Colorado

From the bride, Petrika:
Ouray is very special to us–we had our first kiss in Ouray and many shared memories from the area. We wanted our family and friends to experience this special place with us! We love the mountains and that is where we feel the most spiritual, for us it was the perfect place to join in marriage.

We wanted to make everything as local as possible, so we worked with all of our vendors to ensure that whenever possible things were sourced locally; this helped us stay “green” and gave our guests a real taste of “local” fare in Colorado. For example, Colorado Boy Brewery in Ouray provided awesome local drinks, and Mesa Park Vineyards in Palisade provided delicious local wine.

Our “First Look” was a surprise to my husband set up at the place of our first kiss before we headed to the ceremony site together—having this special moment with him before the ceremony was worth a thousand words and made it oh so intimate.

It rained during our rehearsal (thus making for the shortest rehearsal time ever!), and it rained for our ceremony. It poured right before we started, drizzled as the ceremony was conducted and poured again afterwards. Folks just pulled out their umbrellas, huddled together and made toasts!—it was wonderful.

We used several elements of nature in our ceremony; standing in a circle for the ceremony, a water ceremony and wooden rings. In the end, Mother Nature decided to give her own contribution and “blessed” us with thunderstorms!

We had our parents bring water from our home towns to “unite” with our Colorado water in our “unity” ceremony.  We had our dog (and best friend)—be our ring bearer. It was so wonderful to have our pup with us!

We took a quick moment alone right after the ceremony to privately congratulate ourselves!—This is something I highly recommend! It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in all of your guests that it crucial to carve out a few moments for just you and your new spouse.

Our wedding weekend was unique because it was so small, we gathered for drinks on Thursday evening, were able to go for a hike with our guests on Friday and share a special rehearsal dinner that night. The day of the ceremony we hired a private yoga instructor to start the day off right—it was so much fun! We also had a brunch, shared some special gifts with our wedding party and I even had time for a soak in the hot springs before starting to get ready! I don’t think a lot of brides get to experience that. We really felt like we had time to spend with each of our guests, we read about so many people feeling so frazzled on their wedding day, so they missed out on spending time with folks that have traveled so far to celebrate with them. We did not want this experience, so having an entire weekend with only a few folks provided us with exactly what we were looking for—time with our closest family and friends.

My advice: Take some time when you first get engaged to just experience “being engaged”—it’s a wonderful time that should not be clouded immediately with the stresses of wedding planning. When you do start planning, sit down with your fiancé and discuss your overall vision and what is most important to you—stick to that no matter what anyone else says. Everyone seems to have opinions about how your wedding should be, but remember it is your day! My biggest recommendation is that in the end– it’s just one day— we should put more energy on the rest of your life together than our weddings. Lastly, whatever happens in the end will feel perfect—so don’t sweat the small stuff.
Photographer: IlluminArts PhotographyVery flexible and accommodating!
Ceremony Site:  National Forest Land, Ouray
Reception Site & Lodging: Weisbaden Hotel. Very relaxed atmosphere and we loved having hot springs on site!
Caterer: Pine Cone CateringWilling to do something so small and special and use all local vendors/ingredients—amazing!
Tent & Party Rentals: Park Avenue Parties. They have everything you could need.

Honeymoon Location: Skiing in Banff, Canada!

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An Evening of Surprises in Downtown Denver

Meghan & Phil  |  July 21st  |  Denver, Colorado

From the bride, Meghan:
I think once I found the dress, a couture ball gown designed by Romona Keveza, everything else just fell into place. The dress seemed to require a unique, formal venue and KT’s at The Opera House seemed the perfect location for the reception. We asked of all guests that were attending to wear black to carry out the black and white wedding palette.


I wore my grandfather’s wedding band and my mother’s pearl ring, which was a gift from her mother who received it in 1926 from her uncle who was a pearl dealer.


My soft white bouquet filled with ivory garden roses, lisianthus, and dahlias was the perfect complement to the pearl tone of my dress. VanBuren03

I wrote personal notes to Phil on slips of paper cut from a Chipotle bag. As each of my eight bridesmaids met Phil at the altar, they handed him a note. On one I wrote, “I’ll always let you order Chipotle!”  Quoting Shakespeare, another said, “When I saw you, I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.”  I watched from the back of the church as Phil laughed and wiped tears from his eyes as he read each note.

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We choose tall square vases with purple hydrangea, deep red heart roses, peach tulips, hanging amaranths, and trailing ivy to create the soft garden look of flowers spilling out of the vases. Lower arrangements of the same accented other tables accompanied by votive candles.


As a surprise, I had our cake designed in the shape of our boxer Maverick, lying in a field of white spun sugar flowers that matched my dress.  It was so fun to see the surprise and delight on Phil’s face when they dropped the sheet to reveal our smiling puppy, life sized!VanBuren09 VanBuren10

It was a special moment when we danced our first dance to Ray LaMontagne’s “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”  Then, Phil stood with my mother, tears in his eyes, as I danced with my dad to “I Loved Her First.”

danceFollowing the last dance, we adjourned to The Edge at The Four Season’s Hotel for the final call. Downtown Denver is so beautiful at night and it is just a couple blocks walk to the hotel from the Opera House.


My advice: Find your dress first. Once that is done, the other decisions seem to come more easily.


Photographer: Van Buren Photography. Katie was amazing! From the engagement pictures in downtown Denver to the stunning shots in Chessman’s Park to the romantic ones at the Opera House, she caught just the right vibe!
Event Planner: Colorado Wedding Company.  My family was still in the Chicago suburbs while we planned the wedding so having Paige and CWC guiding us through the planning was instrumental in keeping us all calm and enjoying the process. They exceeded our every expectation!
Cake: Elegant Bakery. Chef Janusz eagerly embraced our decision to use our boxer puppy as the wedding cake. He really caught Maverick in his typical pose when he created this cake! It was a hit with everyone.
Guest Lodging: The Four Seasons provided a perfect location for our wedding weekend.
Ceremony: Church of the Risen Christ  //  Reception: The Ellie Caulkins Opera House  //  Wedding Gown: Romona Keveza from Felice Bridal  //  Bridesmaid Dresses: Lela Rose Design  //  Hair & Makeup: The Parlour  //  Men’s Wear: Men’s Warehouse  //  Invitations: Paper Guppy  //   DJ: Dance Trax Entertainment  //  Transportation: Sunset Limo

Honeymoon Location: Rome, Ile of Capri, and Sorrento, Italy

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