From the Bride… We met in San Francisco on Tinder when the app first came out. Michael messaged me after seeing we had 40 or more mutual friends from the same college. As it turns out, we both went to the University of Southern California at the same time, and we were both in the business school with many mutual friends, but our paths never crossed. We both had been in relationships that moved us up to San Francisco from Los Angeles and that ended soon after moving to the city, and then we met one year later! We felt like it was meant to be. A year later, Michael got a job offer in his home town of Denver, Colorado and said he wasn’t going to take it unless I moved with him. It was clear to us that we wanted a future together, so I took the leap of faith and moved out of my home state of California to Colorado.
When we thought about where we wanted to be married, Vail, Colorado came quickly to mind because it holds such a special place in our hearts – it’s where we feel our happiest and most energized. We knew this place we cherish so much is where we wanted to be married among all of our family and friends. One of our favorite things to do together is ski, especially on Vail Mountain where Michael grew up skiing. In the summer and fall, we love to hike the same mountain. Across all seasons, we always have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants in Vail, The 10th, located at the top of Vail Mountain. While we were having lunch there one day, it was like a light bulb went off in both of our heads. We both knew this would be the ideal location for our wedding reception – it’s at the top of our favorite mountain, at our favorite restaurant, overlooking the expansive mountain range.
I’ll never forget the first time I experienced fall in the mountains. Michael and I took a drive through some steep and windy roads near Vail. The aspen trees were a glistening gold that looked like glitter against the sunny blue sky with a slight chill. It was one of the most beautiful days I had ever seen. When thinking about the time of year we wanted to be married, I couldn’t help but think back to this day. There is such a romantic and magical feeling in the air this time of year in the mountains. What a perfect setting for our wedding! These feelings served as the best inspiration for our big day.
We were so excited to show our family and friends what we had planned. It was such a unique and, as some guests called it, “once in a lifetime” experience. Our wedding day included our ceremony in Vail’s quaint white chapel that sits alongside a river, a walk through Vail Village, and then a private gondola ride up the mountain for a grand celebration where the cocktail hour and reception took place.
We wanted to find ways to incorporate our French bulldog (Bentley) in the wedding as a mascot throughout the weekend. He was drawn on the front cover of our “Welcome to Vail” booklets that guests were presented with when they checked into their hotels, and he was on the signature cocktail menu with Bentley’s suggested “mocktails” for a festive, non-alcoholic beverage option.
We aspired to have our wedding evoke a magical, romantic, and celebratory feeling full of love and warmth. Our ceremony at the Vail Chapel was traditional with communion. It was important to us that the service felt intimate and personal. We wanted the décor in the church to feel ethereal, so the flower arrangements were filled with lush greenery and white flowers and adorned with ribbons. The green and white wreaths we had hanging at the entrance doors were a favorite of mine! We loved that seven of our guests read a prayer from their pews, which guests said made them feel a part of the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, we loved walking through a line of our guests waving ribbon streamers as we came out of the church. We took a group picture of everyone in front of the chapel, which is so fun for us to have now.
Guests were offered personalized water bottles and sandals, and we had maps printed in the ceremony programs with walking directions that we wrote ourselves, describing our favorite walking path to the gondola and places to see along the way.
We were inspired by the existing décor at our reception with its dark reds, chocolate browns, and cream colors. We didn’t want it to feel moody, so we used some of these colors and incorporated bright red and fuchsia flowers into the flower arrangements, along with plums, pomegranates, and berries for a “fall feast” feeling across the tables. We had a few guests that even enjoyed eating the fruit! Tying in the golden fall foliage outside and the celebratory feeling we wished to convey, we mixed in gold accents from the drink stirrers, glassware, and chargers on the table and sequin tablecloths on the cocktail rounds. We wanted the room to be filled with candlelight and warmth, so we had all of the tables and window ledges filled with candles, and we had twinkle lights strung behind the band and above the dance floor. Another highlight was a large “H&M” monogram covered in bright red and pink flowers that greeted guests when they entered the reception. We loved everything about the reception décor, especially the celebratory feeling it evoked. We loved the design of our cake with all of its beautiful sugar flowers and delicious fall flavors.
Looking back on the day, our favorite memories were when it felt like time slowed and stood still for just that moment. When it felt like it was just the two of us smiling at one another. When we first held each other’s hands and locked eyes after I walked down the aisle. And when we danced our first dance and held each other as husband and wife. We both could not stop smiling in these moments and felt more joy than we ever had before.