Page 1

Fall in Full Color


Shannon & Ryan | September 22nd Durango Mountain Resort Photography by IlluminArts Photography


From the bride...

With a mountain backdrop behind us, trees surrounding us in bright fall colors and all our friends and family with us, the setting could not have been more magical. Flower petals were scattered along the aisle and mason jars full of flowers hung from the aisle chairs while two large tin vases sat on the altar. My most memorable moment was when I saw Ryan for the first time waiting for me at the altar. He had such a huge smile on his face! We incorporated a wine ceremony by combining two glasses of wine, one red, one white, representing the combining of our personalities, values, morals, and families. The ceremony was short and sweet and everything we wanted it to be. It was a picturesque moment we will never forget. The reception was a blast! There was a lot of dancing and wonderful food to go around. Each guest table had small candles, a homemade burlap table runner, leaves, and branches. Personalized beer mugs sat at every place setting. Our seating chart was a corkboard with little keys displaying each guest’s name and table number. Our Aspen tree cake carved with our initials was to die for. The red velvet cake with a buttercream frosting sat on a tree slice that we had shellacked and smoothed.

My favorite detail was our color palette. Recommended Vendors Venue, Caterer & Lodging: Durango Mountain Resort (see inside cover). If you’re looking for a place of beauty, wonderful pictures, and an unforgettable experience, pick DMR. It’s especially gorgeous in the fall! Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5). Great team of very nice and organized photographers. They had good attention to detail and captured the touches we wanted. I loved the pictures they took before the ceremony of my dress, shoes, and our rings with our invitations. Very creative! Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 79). They did a beautiful job creating all our flowers. Our bouquets were everything we wanted and more. We sent Amy pictures of what we loved and she took those ideas and created a masterpiece.



Natural Beauty


Amy & Chase | August 1st Ridgewood Event Center Photography by Brumley & Wells

From the bride...

Since we met at a summer camp in Durango, when we got engaged, we knew that there was no other place that had as much meaningful history for us as Durango. I wanted a simple wedding with style. I wanted nothing to stick out, but everything to blend smoothly. I also wanted a family style feel where everyone felt they could just relax and catch up with each other, while still being catered to with excellent food and drinks. I wanted my dress {Bianca by UllaMaija Couture} to be the focus and I wanted my wedding ring to be my only jewelry. Chase sold his most valuable item, his road bike, to buy my ring and I wanted it to be the only jewelry I was wearing because I knew he gave up his favorite possession for me. I wanted my bridesmaid’s dresses to be cream/tan to complement the beauty of the flowers and the mountains around us. I let each bridesmaid choose a dress they liked (and would wear again) and were comfortable in. I didn’t want them to each wear the same dress because they each have different styles and I wanted them to be able to express that style down to their dress, shoes, hair, jewelry, and makeup. We only wanted a few things for the ceremony: live music played by family friends, the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” played because it was the song my mother played at her wedding, and we wanted to have communion together as our first act of marriage before the announcement of us as a couple.

The ceremony was short, but it contained everything that was important to us.


Natural Beauty My favorite trees are birch and aspen so we found ways to incorporate them into different parts of the wedding. Each of the bouquets were wrapped in birch wood, the arbor was made from aspens, the centerpieces for the tables were aspen logs with candles atop, aspen logs held each of the place cards, and the wedding cake was on a wooden stand. During dinner, we made it a point to stop and take a mental photograph of the current moment we were living in. We set our forks down and just looked around. We saw that we were surrounded by all of the people who have loved us, cared for us, and encouraged us since we were born. We saw our friends and family from completely opposite sides of our lives interacting and enjoying each other’s company. We saw a picture of something that was bigger than us, the bride and the groom, and we won’t ever forget that moment! My advice: Don’t stress over the small details. Make a list of the top ten things that are important to both of you and then make sure to take care of those things first.

We used local, native f lowers, and local foods that were inspired by the Southwest region.



Venue & Lodging: Blue Lake Ranch/Ridgewood Event Center (see page 78). We were very happy with the accommodations at Blue Lake Ranch. We rented the ranch for three days and both sides of our family stayed at the Ranch (over 60 people). Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 87) far exceeded our expectations. Everything down to the unexpected, such as a perfect timeline of events for the day and spectacular details, were taken care of without a second thought. Caterer: The Yellow Carrot (see page 24). Our guests are still talking about our food and we have yet to have a better cupcake. Our buffet was something out of a Hollywood movie scene. Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 79). The flowers were gorgeous. They listened to every wish we had and made the bouquets far more beautiful than we could have imagined. Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67).



Woodsy Mountain Chic


Katie & Nick | September 1st Family Ranch, Pagosa Springs Photography by IlluminArts Photography


Woodsy Mountain Chic From the bride.. Nick’s parents’ ranch has become a very special place for us. It was where we took our first vacation together and where we have stayed every winter since. We also got engaged on the ranch and knew it would be the perfect place to have our wedding. Our theme was woodsy mountain chic with a soft pink and burlap brown color palette. It was important to us to have a simple and intimate ceremony focused on God. This was easily achieved by the gorgeous scenery and the simplicity of décor…only white chairs in a semicircle, people, and mountains. One of my favorite moments was after the ceremony when I finally had time to be with my husband. The best addition to that were Drew and Amy from IlluminArts Photography who were taking pictures of us, but it was like they were invisible while Nick and I enjoyed each others company. Those were my favorite moments. During the cocktail hour we served the groom’s drink, Jack Daniels and Diet Coke, and the bride’s drink, sweet tea, vodka, and lemonade. Our playlist didn’t download correctly from iTunes and two minutes before the wedding party was announced we were asking everyone if they had the specific songs we needed for the first dance, father-daughter, and mother-son dances. We were in the middle of a meadow in the mountains with no cell phone service. Turns out, between all our guests, we were able to find the songs.

We made several comical whitewash signs to lead our guests down the long winding dirt road to the ranch.



Woodsy Mountain Chic The reception was a blast! Everyone enjoyed our free flowing full bar. The speeches were heartfelt and hilarious! We had a dessert table filled with apple, peach, and berry heart-shaped pie pops and other various desserts. Our favors were personalized bottles of wine with our photo and wedding date. We had them bottled at a local winery in Scottsdale. One of my favorite moments was watching everyone dancing and enjoying themselves. It is rare at weddings that ALL your favorite people end up on the dance floor enjoying each other ALL night. Nick and I could not have been happier! My favorite detail was making the heart-shaped pie pops with my matron of honor and mother-in-law. We bought fresh fruit and made little heart pie pops for hours. It was a great memory and made for an even better dessert for our guests. My Advice: Plan ahead and make yourself a clear timeline. If you do not have a wedding coordinator, keep in constant contact with your vendors, even if it is via email. Enjoy EVERY second and enjoy all your hard work of putting on an AMAZING celebration with ALL of the most important people in your life.

We loved every minute of all the b est people in the world surrounding us, dancing, laughing, and having a great time!

Recommended Vendors Photographer & Videographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5), Five stars. Amy and Drew made our wedding experience perfect, comfortable, and beautiful. Caterer: Durangourmet (see page 67), Five stars. Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67), Five stars.



a Southern

French Romance

Alyson & Chase | June 2nd | Ridgewood Event Center | Photography by Photo Divine


From the bride..

We went through many themes in the two years of planning the wedding, but I think we ended up with Southern French. I wanted the day to feel like a fancy night at the ranch with romantic lighting, a comfortable ambience, great food, great company, and lots of dancing! We both grew up in Texas and we got engaged at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, so we wanted to blend the soft romantic feel of that night with touches of our southern roots. Our friends sipped on basil limeade champagne and a special beer made by my husband, as a jazz trio played Beatles music before our arrival. I started to get nervous because it was thundering and raining as I was getting dressed, but everyone assured me it would go away and that it was just good luck. The sun came out, and as it did, my bridesmaids walked out to the jazz trio playing, “Here Comes the Sun” you just really can’t plan those things. It was perfect! A surprise that I had arranged for Chase was to have old beer barrels placed at the altar with flowers on them, a nod to his profession as a head brew-master. Our ceremony was perfect and included words about love, laughter, our love for music and travel, our dog Sierra and also included many Jewish traditions, such as the seven wedding blessings and the breaking of the glass, which Chase was most excited for. Mazel tov!

Walking down the aisle towards Chase felt like our f irst date all over again, a feeling of new love and life, I gave him a wink sort of to say, “we got this bab e.”


a Southern French Romance The dinner plates were all mismatched antique plates that my family had collected together at flea markets in Texas. We had a French saison beer that Chase brewed himself from the Aspen Brewing Co (later to become an award winning beer!) The décor was done by our amazing wedding planner, Mandy Winn, and her talented team at Celebrations. She transformed the tent into a late night party setting that had elements of romance and comfort with chandeliers and beautiful lighting. I remember walking into the event center and was just blown away by the beauty they had created, it was truly like nothing I had ever seen. We had a late night mac ‘n cheese bar with toppings like candied bacon, fried leeks, blue cheese and mushrooms, that seemed to be the ultimate winner of the evening. Our exquisite centerpieces included porcelain birds, grape wood, succulents and white flowers. My Advice: It can be very overwhelming planning your day, but every once in awhile, take a breath and remember, it’s really all about the love. Enjoy every inch of your walk down the aisle, it is one of the most amazing feelings in the world, and what’s at the end of it is even more rewarding.

After many moments of stress and planning , it was great to finally get to the day and have it be more beautiful than I ever expected.

Recommended Vendors Venue: Ridgewood Event Center (see page 78). Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 87). Caterer: The Yellow Carrot (see page 24). Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67). Hair & Makeup: Hair Fusion (see page 94).



Love in the Aspens


Tracey & Ryan | October 13th Silverpick Lodge/Sow’s Ear Photography by IlluminArts Photography


From the bride.. We wanted the aspen trees to be the focal point of our day so we chose our design and color palette based off of the aspens that surrounded the ceremony site. Everyone stayed at the Silverpick Lodge. We placed welcome baskets in each guests room that included personalized lollipops, coasters, shot glasses, and a newsletter that described our favorite Durango bars and restaurants. Our ceremony was very intimate and quaint with only 28 guests. The ground was covered with gold and copper aspen leaves and we had a bonfire lit to keep our guests cozy. We read our own vows and teared up the entire time. We had a full bar all night. Drinks flowed, conversation was great, and everyone was dancing! Many of my friends are professional dancers so they were doing choreographed routines and “dance offs” during the party. The most memorable moment was our first-look. Seeing each other for the first time was priceless. We couldn’t take our hands off each other and could not stop smiling! My Advice: Start planning your wedding sooner than later. Be sure to focus on the two of you and what YOU want. After all, it is YOUR day and in the end, that is all that matters.

My favorite detail was the copper wire loops that my husband made for our cake.

Recommended Vendors Photographer: Illuminarts Photography (see page 5). Drew and Erin worked our day. Venue, Food & Lodging: Silverpick Lodge and the Sow’s Ear (see page 25). George the chef is phenomenal! Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 79). Officiant: Reverend Chessa Gill (see page 95). DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 79). Chair Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67).





Katie & Kyle | September 8th The Retreat at Thunder Ridge Photography by E. Lee Photography

From the bride.. I have to say, from early on, that the Durango Weddings Magazine was the most helpful planning resource, I have every issue! Even before I was engaged, I would look at the issues, get ideas and envision my big day! I also attended the Durango Wedding Expo, which was a great experience to see what other brides were doing and the troubles they were facing. It made me feel part of this big welcoming group! We knew that we wanted our guests to have fun and to enjoy the start to a Colorado fall. We really wanted them to feel like they were a part of the wedding so we did as much DIY as we could possibly fit in! We rented out the entire Retreat at Thunder Ridge for three nights. The first night, Kyle and I stayed alone just to take everything in and enjoy the hot tub and bake cookies, which turned out to be a great beginning to our weekend. We got rooms for all of our bridal party and parents so they did not have to travel far and we could spend as much time together as possible. We all had a great time laughing and just enjoying the beauty of the lodge. For the ceremony, my mom made beautiful burlap and lace ribbons that went on every aisle chair. We decided to make our ceremony as fun and unique as possible. We incorporated a fisherman’s knot, which is supposed to be the strongest knot and one that will only get stronger under pressure, much like a marriage. I told both my dad and Kyle that I was afraid that I was going to forget how to tie the knot. Well, as it turned out, I did.

Our ceremony was amazing, words could not express the emotions that we both felt.


Homemade and Rustic We tried to make our wedding extremely personal. For our guest book, we had a good friend make a log table and our guests signed it, it will be a beautiful addition to our house. I also took an old fashioned mirror frame and filled it with all of our baby pictures. Our guests got a good laugh at all of our embarrassing pictures. My mom and I dug up some old barn wood for the centerpieces and Kyle’s dad made these amazingly simple, but rustic, boxes for the floral arrangements. Kyle and I also made a bar sign to go above the bar made out of the old barn wood. One of the most time consuming projects we did were the favors; we made personalized CD’s with some of our favorite songs. We had a small cake just to cut. Our main attraction was our huge dessert bar. We had over 15 different kinds of pies, cookies, and brownies! Although rain on your wedding day is good luck, it did complicate things a little. The wedding was delayed a few minutes and we had to move our programs, table decorations, etc. I feel like due to the rain a lot of people did not get to sign our guest table or get a program.

The reception was by far my favorite part of the day. With all our family and friends, together, we laughed and cried and loved every minute of it.

Recommended Vendors Venue & Lodging: The Retreat at Thunder Ridge (see page 33). Flowers: April’s Gardens (see page 79). My bouquet was stunning. DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 79). Our DJ was so great! Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67).



Romance on the Ranch


Juliet & Cash | August 4th Private Ranch, Pagosa Springs Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride.. We wanted to have an elegant wedding that was offset by the rustic elements of getting married on a ranch. We wanted to throw an unforgettable party for our guests – our main concern was their experience and to make it a very personal event to who we are as a couple. My step-mom created two interwoven crystal horseshoes that were sewn on the lower right hip of my dress. She also made me a custom belt with beautiful beads and included pearls from a necklace that was my late grandmothers. The ceremony took place inside the barn’s round pen. We lined the aisles with flower petals and hung bunches of fragrant lavender tied to lambs ear with french ribbon on the chairs. I arrived in a Cinderella-style horsedrawn carriage. The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to our good friend playing an acoustic guitar and singing “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty. I walked down the aisle with my father to “Everyday” by the Dave Matthew’s Band. My brother-in-law officiated the ceremony. My sister sang “Ave Maria” and two of our friends read the poem “I Carry Your Heart” by E. E. Cummings.

My favorite detail of the day was my dress! It was a b lush-colored Monique Lhuillier and soooo beautiful.


Romance on the Ranch After the ceremony, we had an outdoor cocktail party where we served Berry Brambles and Old Fashioned cocktails. We had bocce ball, horseshoes, and custom-made cornhole boards. A five piece bluegrass band played during the cocktail hour. We made a huge chalkboard and used it to write down the seating assignments. When Cash and I entered the reception tent, we started impromptu dancing, and then all of a sudden, all the guests crashed the dance floor and we had a crazy dance party for the remainder of the song. When the song ended, everyone took their seats again. We served all of the cocktails in mason jars and the wine was from two wineries in Sonoma where we are members. Our centerpieces were a cluster of three mason jars filled with glass beads and floating candles, tied with pink and brown ribbon. During my mom’s toast, she set out a wooden box and opened it up, capturing all the joy and love from the night, so we could take it home with us. We served “It’s-Its” for dessert. They are ice cream sandwiches made in San Francisco, where we met.

We made a ton of signs using wood and white paint. We placed them all over.



Romance on the Ranch There were many wonderful toasts, ending with a surprise performance by my younger twin sisters. They changed the words to Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” to be about me and Cash and serenaded us wearing cowboy hats – everyone was out of their seats, clapping along. Our first dance was to Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe.” Afterward, it was a full force dance party for the rest of the night. The only break happened when we brought out the sparklers and everyone gathered outside in a circle dancing and twirling their sparklers to U2’s “City of Blinding Lights.” My Advice: Enjoy the planning process and make it fun and personal! We had such a blast planning the wedding because we always tried to remember that it wasn’t worth getting too stressed over. Also, for us, the music and playlist was so important. If it is for you too, I suggest submitting a playlist to your DJ or band.

Toward the end of the night, we served sliders and grilled cheese with shots of tomato soup.

Recommended Vendors Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5). Creative, personal and great to work with. Caterer: Durangourment (see page 67). Our guests could not stop raving about the food. Event Planner/Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67). GREAT people to work with good ideas. Krii was our day-of coordinator, she was amazing! Cake: Madison’s Sweets (see page 79). Absolutely delicious and what you want your wedding cake to taste like. DJ: Ken Brott, Sounds in Motion (see page 94). Absolutely a must. He did exactly what we wanted, was super easy to work with and did a great job as the emcee.



a Rustic 34

Fairy Tale

Shara & Jake | July 21st Ridgewood Event Center Photography by Shutterfreek Photography

From the bride.. The theme for our wedding was outdoor rustic. I originally got the idea from several pictures I saw in the Durango Weddings Magazine. Jake and I love nature and the scenery and beauty of the mountains. We also felt like this theme would complement our wedding destination as well as highlight our passion for nature. Both the Durango Wedding Expo and the Durango Weddings Magazine gave me a lot of inspiration and ideas that I incorporated into our wedding. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the magazine and did so numerous times from “cover to cover�! I felt like a Princess in my wedding dress. I dreamed about the day that I would get married as a little girl, and envisioned walking down the aisle in a big ballroom dress. My dreams came true and my fairy tale wedding followed. The dress that I picked was made by Allure Bridals with chiffon fabric. It was the very first one that I tried on. There were a lot of amazing dresses that followed, but that one made me feel more beautiful than I ever had before! It was perfect! My most favorite piece of jewelry was a safety pin that I wore on the inside of my dress. This was no ordinary safety pin. This pin has been worn by six generations of brides on the maternal side of my family and is over 150 years old. I felt very honored to be able to carry on the tradition. As soon as my granddaddy pronounced us husband and wife, we threw our locked hands up in the air as the crowd cheered. At that exact moment it started to hail! It was like our own built-in fireworks and it started our marriage off with a bang!



Rustic Fairy Tale

The ceremony aisle was lined with mason jars and candles hung on shepherd hooks along with burlap swags adorned with purple and orange silk wisteria blooms. Our favors were burlap bags filled with lavender buds and a purple calla lily glued to the outside. I really cherished the father-daughter dance. My dad and I took private dance lessons and performed a beautiful ballroom dance while my mother sang my most favorite song that she had written when I was little. It was a very special moment to be able to have both my mom and dad be a part of the wedding in such a special way. Madison’s Sweets created our amazing wedding cake that embodied our rustic wedding theme. The cake was decorated to resemble stacked aspen logs. Our initials and wedding date looked as though they were carved in the logs. All our guests raved about the cake and ten minutes after it was cut, the cake was gone! One of the funniest moments was when my sister lost her wig! My sister was having a really bad hair day and just decided to attach a curled wig pony tail to her hair. She was in the middle of the dance floor showing off her moves when her wig flew across the room! One of our guests shrieked at it! My sister simply danced over to her wig, reattached it, and continued dancing!

My wedding was absolutely perfect. The only thing that I would do differently is to relax and enjoy every moment as it happens.




Rustic Fairy Tale

My Advice: Weave the unique aspects of your relationship into your wedding. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for the planning process. I personally found the Durango Wedding Expo to be extremely helpful. It was a one-stop shop for all of my vendors and gave me a lot of creative ideas, which I incorporated into my wedding day. I also suggest that you establish a budget and stick with it! Always put aside extra money for unforeseen expenses. When your wedding day comes just enjoy yourself! All of the planning is over and it is your day to celebrate!

Recommended Vendors Dress Store: Silk Bridal (see page 59). My bridesmaids met me one afternoon at Silk Bridal Boutique. It was so much fun! The staff was more than accommodating and answered all of our questions. You could tell that they took great pride in their products and were able to give detailed descriptions about all of their clothing lines. We finally decided on a bridesmaid dress made by Bill Levkoff out of plum chiffon fabric with a sweetheart neckline and empire waist. Jake spent an entire afternoon at Silk picking out his suit as well as the attire of his groomsmen. He wore a Stephen Geoffery suit in ivory, and his groomsmen were in bali peach, which incorporated our burnt orange accents. Cake: Madison’s Sweets (see page 79). I gave Patty a basic concept of the theme of our wedding and she designed a cake that exceeded all of our expectations and tasted amazing. Lodging: Strater Hotel (see page 45). All our guests stayed at the Strater and we spent our honeymoon night there. We were treated like royalty upon arrival. A bellhop took our bags to our room where an array of chocolates and a hospitality basket awaited us. All of our guests loved the Victorian style of the hotel, and the staff were more than accommodating and gracious to everyone. Hair: Hair Fusion (see page 94). I loved the salon and its chic style. I brought my hair stylist several pictures of how I wanted my hair done. She matched my samples perfectly and my hair came out exactly how I wanted. Venue: Ridgewood Event Center (see page 78).



an Autumn



Denise & Eric | October 13th Durango Mountain Resort Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride.. I thought I really wanted something big and classy, but when it came down to it, I’m just a small town Colorado girl at heart and that’s exactly what I wanted our wedding to be like. We only invited our closest friends and family – 16 guests and it made it really special and intimate for us. While my mom was helping me get ready, someone tripped with our rings in hand and my ring slipped through a crack in the deck! Amy, our photographer, ended up pulling it out with a flashlight and a coat hanger. She definitely saved the day! We really wanted to remember each person that took part in our special day. So, after the ceremony, we had our photographers take a picture of us with each of our guests and then one all-inclusive group shot. My Advice: Don’t stress too much, it always works out in the end. Even if it’s not a perfect wedding ceremony, you still get to marry your best friend at the end of the day and that’s all that matters.

It was absolutely beautiful outside for our afternoon ceremony!

Recommended Vendors Ceremony Site: Durango Mountain Resort (see inside cover). Beautiful location and easy to work with. Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5). We really couldn’t have asked for more beautiful pictures. We just loved Amy and Janna, they were so sweet and did such a wonderful job! IlluminArts was all around amazing to work with from beginning to end.


Bliss at 10,000 ft 42

Serenity & Sean | September 1st Eureka Lodge, Silverton Photography by Photos by Ben & Cardwell Aukerman Photography

From the bride.. Sean and I are both active duty military and had known each other for three years before we started dating. We disliked each other from the moment we met. Then something changed at the end of our deployment to Iraq; we fell in love and four months later we were engaged. I came back from fighting in Iraq three weeks before Sean did, and he would send me a picture of two penguins hugging or holding hands every night before he went to sleep. We had just started dating and it was his way to send me love from across the ocean. Penguins became our thing. When we decided to get married, we couldn’t think of a more perfect and special wedding theme, especially since penguins mate for life! Our ceremony was meaningful, heartfelt, and yet had some levity to it. A good friend modified “God Gave Me You” into an acoustic guitar version, and he played the song and sang as I walked down the aisle. The look in Sean’s eyes when he saw me was magical. I made it to the altar halfway through the song and then Sean and I gazed into each other’s eyes and sang the remainder of the song to each other. I even danced a little in place and that put a smile on Sean’s face. Once on the altar, my bridesmaids discovered a bug in my veil and were trying to slyly get it out as the preacher was talking. It actually stopped the wedding for a minute and everyone was laughing. It was really funny! Sean has a strong Irish heritage, so we incorporated the hand-fasting ceremony into the wedding. I made the hand-fasting cord myself and added on charms of all of our favorite and meaningful Irish knots and symbols. I was excited that we literally got to tie the knot!


Bliss at 10,000 ft We held the reception in a gorgeous large white tent. There was a soft glow to the tent and little lights everywhere. It was beautiful! We created pebble place holders for each of the guests. Just how penguins use rocks to build their nests and mark their homes, the guests used the rocks to reserve their spot at the reception. I dressed the entire bridal party like penguins too! Everyone was black and white with orange shoes. I was so entertained. My bridal party didn’t get as much of a kick out of it as I did, but I thought it was hilarious. The groomsmen even had penguin cufflinks. The centerpieces were 6” x 14” cylinder vases filled with black river rocks and submersible LED lights with Bells of Ireland and a white calla lily. My advice: Prioritize what is most important to you. Plan in as much detail as you can then relax and mentally prepare that something or a lot of things are still going to go wrong, and just let it go! I didn’t stress the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff), and I LOVED my wedding day. Even in the chaos, I had so much fun and loved every minute of my special day. .

My favorite detail was the cake topper I made of cuddling penguins in love.

Recommended Vendors Venue & Lodging: Eureka Lodge (see page 78). What a BEAUTIFUL VIEW! I loved the elevated ceremony platform that sits at 10,000 feet. I highly recommend it for anyone whose main priority is a view of the mountains. DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 79). Professional, fun, proficient, play what you really want and have great music taste themselves! Tent & Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67). They are professional, have quality products and are great to work with. I highly recommend them.



Destination Durango


Colleen & Andrew | June 8th Durango Mountain Resort Photography by IlluminArts Photography


From the bride..

We both fell in love with Durango and the beauty of the southwest. When we decided to have a destination wedding, we knew Durango would be perfect, not only for the backdrop, but because it held a special place in our hearts. We wanted to use natural elements and bring in lots of color. I also wanted to make sure that each decoration could be used in the future to decorate our home. I looked at the last three issues of the Durango Weddings Magazine. I loved how each wedding was showcased and how it covered weddings from different times of the year. For someone who was planning a destination wedding, it really helped to see the different vendors and their styles. It was also helpful to have a directory of local vendors at your fingertips. Andrew and I planned a fairly traditional ceremony. Andrew’s uncle performed the ceremony, which Andrew and I wrote together. The weather was perfect, blue skies, sunshine, we couldn’t have asked for a better day. Instead of using traditional numbers for our seating arrangement, we decided to use trivia questions about us. Our guests each received a small tin with a trivia question that was held in place with handmade magnets. We made burlap runners lined with ribbon for all the tables. Each table was anchored with wooden tree disks that Andrew hand-sanded and shellacked. We then brought in accents with wood, metal, and glass. We had a small three-tiered cake that looked like white birch bark. I love desserts so we also had cupcakes, taffy apples, and chocolate covered strawberries. Since most of our guests were from out of town and stayed at Durango Mountain Resort, we had welcome bags waiting in their rooms filled with honey & jams from Honeyville and chocolate from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. At the reception, our guests all received six handmade magnets and a custom made t-shirt to remember the day. One of the things we loved most about our wedding was being able to spend the week with family and friends. Our guests came for the wedding, but were also able to have a mini-vacation. The day after the wedding, we were able to relax and enjoy the resort with our family and friends. We went on the alpine slide, zip line, and relaxed by the pool (which served fabulous blue margaritas).


I only wish we could get married in every season in Durango. The fall pictures I have seen are breathtaking and I can only imagine what the winter would offer. Andrew said we could do this as long as I was marrying him each time. Recommended


I was really impressed with the vendors in Durango. It was so nice to work with everyone as they were all very professional and helpful. Often times, they were able to give us advice or point us in the right direction and answer questions even if it did not deal with their area of expertise. Venue, Food & Lodging: Durango Mountain Resort (see inside cover). The staff at DMR was very accommodating and we heard numerous compliments about the food. We had such a pleasant time spending the week at the resort. Photographer & Videographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5). Drew and Amy were phenomenal and we cannot say enough great things. What they were able to capture in their photographs transports us back to that moment in time. Photography is a hobby of mine and was one of the most important things I wanted to get right for our day. Drew and Amy’s ability to capture the most intimate moments without interfering with our day was amazing. You often forgot that they were there. They really took the time to get to know us and our families. We will be forever grateful to them for leaving us with such wonderful memories from our wedding day. Hair & Makeup: Hair Fusion (see page 94). They did a wonderful job not only on the day of my wedding, but also two days later to help me look just as good for our day-after shoot. DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 79). Favors: Honeyville (see page 96).


New Orleans meets Colorado


Natalie & Sean | September 29th Fox Fire Farms, Ignacio Photography by Red Scarf Shots

From the bride.. I aimed to have an untraditional rustic fall wedding without the traditional red, orange, yellow palette. We wanted our day to feel like you picked up a little piece of New Orleans and dropped it in the middle of Colorado. Our ceremony was very sweet. We had friends and family officiate a theme of individualism through love, support and partnership. We had a reading from Jitterbug Perfume by Tim Robbins, a poem by Sean’s sister, and a reading by one of my best friends. During the ceremony, a black cat walked up to us and rubbed against Sean, a hawk flying above screeched, and a goat baaahed behind us. It was amazing. I loved doing DIY projects and I think they helped to keep me as sane as possible. I up-cycled all the vases using Sean’s soup cans (he loves soup – so can supply wasn’t a problem). I painted them and wrapped them with yarn! With the help of friends we hand-painted chalkboard signs, and made the table runners out of inexpensive rustic muslin. I recreated a wedding ring pillow out of a wooden box and lace. I made my own hair piece out of tulle and lace left over from my wedding dress. I did a lot more, but some DIY projects didn’t make the cut.

My f lowers included cotton pods and magnolia leaves straight from the south.


New Orleans meets CO Our reception started with a cocktail hour featuring our signature rosemary mint juleps. Dinner was New Orleans style fare with a crab boil, gumbo, and jambalaya. We started the party with a traditional New Orleans “second line” with our umbrellas and all!

My advice: Don’t stress the details, I know it doesn’t seem like it, but they will all work out in the end, and the ones that don’t, don’t matter. On that beautiful day, give your phone to your Maid of Honor, sit back, relax, and take every moment in. Enjoy! You deserve it. Make sure to let yourself get pampered and take off work as long as you can.

I would not change a thing; except maybe stopping time so it would have lasted longer!

Recommended Vendors Ceremony Site: Foxfire Farms (see page 59). OMG! If you have not seen this place in person you MUST! It is absolutely gorgeous! Words cannot do it justice. Brent and Bronwen were so professional and extremely helpful. The bridal suite is perfect, the grounds are pristine, and they have vineyards! Flowers: If ya’ll didn’t know, I am the manager and floral designer at April’s Garden (see page 79). Naturally, finding a florist wasn’t an issue I had to face. I see and work with flowers every day, and have been creating wedding designs for the last five years. I know how beautiful flowers can be and I created and recreated my bridal bouquet in my head a thousand times. I knew there was NO way I would be able to make my own bouquet; way too stressful and frustrating for the day before my wedding. I left my girls with a general idea of what I wanted, the flowers and colors and placement of items. When Amy came into the bridal suite with my bouquet I CRIED it was so perfect! My bouquet was beyond my wildest dreams and I did not put it down all night. Did I mention I work with flowers? They shouldn’t have had this effect on ME!




Pretty in Purple 54

Nikki & Joel | July 14th Sleeping Beauty Ranch, Durango Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride..

Durango is a very special place for both of us. I was born and raised in Durango, and Joel & I met while working together in Durango. We love Durango and think it is an amazing place to get hitched. Most of our guests came from out of town, and we were happy and excited to share such a wonderful place with them. Through the Durango Weddings Magazine we became familiar with the best wedding vendors in town. The magazine also inspired us to use our creative juices and personalize our wedding. We were pretty quick to agree on a western-ish motif. A lot of the “inspiration” came during our month-long stay on the beach in Costa Rica immediately following the proposal. Many sunny days on the beach drinking beer, and many rainy days in the jungle playing cribbage – each of the days produced inspiration for our wedding day. We had a cocktail hour both before and after the ceremony. In addition to drinks and appetizers, for the guest’s entertainment, we had our favorite lawn games: ladder golf, croquet, and bocce ball.

The day b efore the wedding, we organized a f ifty-person rafting trip for our guests down the Animas River via Outlaw Tours (see page 95).


Pretty in Purple Our programs were in the form of an eight-page Playbill, which included the wedding’s “cast” (with bios and anecdotes of our relationship to each member of the wedding party), three-titled “acts” with “scenes” describing the timeline of the wedding, a page dedicated to our vendors, and the menu with descriptions of the tapas and the threetiered cake. We wanted our invitations to be a cross between an old western “Wanted” sign and a saloon marquee. We spent a lot of time creating and formatting them. It started to rain exactly when the ceremony was about to start. But it ended up being perfect—it cooled the atmosphere and made for some great pictures. It never really rained—it only sprinkled a bit—and that gave us an excuse to pull out a white umbrella. We wanted the ceremony to be fun, unique, and fit in with our subtle western theme. In addition to writing our own vows, we prepared a back-andforth exchange of exactly what we love about each other. The vows were romantic; the exchange was fun and entertaining. The ceremony culminated with everyone donning personalized purple shades (the wedding favor) while Reverend Chessa Gill read something we prepared about becoming one person and achieving one perspective. The “Kissing of the Bride” was followed by explosive trumpet fanfare from the Star Wars motion picture score (“Medley: The Throne Room/End Title”).

Our centerpieces included brown-paper packages tied up with string. Our guests were invited to open the packages as gifts. Inside the packages were our favorite games : cribbage, personalized playing cards, Apples-To-Apples, and Bananagrams.




Pretty in Purple Our escort map was a 4-foot by 6-foot world map. We love to travel and named our tables after some of our favorite places in the world. Each guest’s name was attached to the map by a pushpin located at the point on the map corresponding with the table name. Once the guests found the location of their tables, we had directions on the map asking them to place their pushpin on their favorite travel destination. Our cake toppers were custommade figurines personally designed by the groom to represent our nicknames, Sugar and Pickle, in formal wear. We took a significant amount of time to do a mash-up/compilation of six Jason Mraz songs and a choreographed dance. Sadly, we forgot the CD at the hotel, and instead slow danced to “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. It was the biggest thing that went wrong all day, and ultimately, it was no big deal. My advice: Start planning early and keep in mind that almost every idea will change, even if just a little bit, as you go.

We were having so much fun on the dance f l oor, we kept the Ranch romping until 2:00 am. Recommended Vendors Venue: Sleeping Beauty Ranch (see page 79). Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5). Caterer: Durangourmet (see page 67). Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67). Officiant: Reverend Chessa Gill (see page 95).


Emerald Elegance


Meri & Lance | September 1st Durango Mountain Resort Photography by Nathan Russell Photography

From the bride.. Durango was a wonderful place to have our wedding. The views were gorgeous, and the weather and mountain setting were absolutely beautiful. We wanted our wedding to be very elegant with an emerald green color palette (my favorite color). We included silver and black touches to add a little bling and shine. I bought a dress in Las Vegas and then went home feeling that it was not “The” dress. I stressed about this all the way up until it was delivered. Upon delivery, we discovered that the shop had sent us the wrong dress, but it was a dress I ended up loving, so I kept it! I wore a traditional Chinese jade necklace that my mother gave me. The bridesmaid dresses were long green satin dresses with silver sashes that resembled Obi’s, traditional Japanese belts. Light hors d’oeuvres, and a specialty cocktail were served pre-ceremony to make our guests as comfortable as possible. There were lawn games to entertain our guests as well. It had rained earlier in the day, but by the time the ceremony started it was dry and sunny and the overcast skies in the distance were perfect. It was neither too hot nor too cold and we felt very lucky to have such beautiful weather on our wedding day. The ceremony itself took about 40 minutes and included a sand ceremony. We were married by a close friend, something we really enjoyed rather than a judge or minister we didn’t know.

Lance handmade the arch that we were married under.


Emerald Elegance I changed dresses for the reception. I loved my ballgown style wedding dress, but wanted to be able to move on the dance floor, so I changed into a simple, short white dress. The table names were little silver boxes that had different special moments from our dating history. This little trivia was used to play a game. One of the most memorable moments was our first dance. It was a choreographed number that included several lifts and dips to Dave Matthew’s “You and Me.” We had an Asian wish tree where guests wrote little words of advice or encouragement. Wishes for the bride went in one box while wishes for the groom went in another. Wishes for the couple were hung from the tree. The centerpieces were small, square vases with an assortment of white flowers in them. A tea leaf was wrapped around the bottom of the vases and April’s Garden put in little silver jewels for added bling. The favors came from Honeyville. We took two different flavors, wrapped them in white tissue paper, placed them in frosted Chinese takeout boxes, and tied them with green ribbons that read “Thank you for celebrating with us!” My Advice: Get a wedding planner! For most of the planning process we did not have one and this was very stressful for us. After we hired Celebrations, things went much more smoothly. I was able to relax knowing that things would be taken care of.

Our wedding cake was a three-tiered silver and white cake with fresh f lowers. Recommended Vendors Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 87). Mandy was absolutely amazing, we loved her. Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 79). We wished we could have kept the flowers forever! DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 79). They did everything that we asked and more. Cake: Madison’s Sweets (see page 79). The cake was amazing and tasted great too! Favors: Honeyville (see page 96).



Romance on the River


Micki & Assad | September 22nd Animas River & Silverpick Lodge Photography by IlluminArts Photography


From the bride.. We are two river rats who met on the river and knew we wanted to get married by water. The Animas River has special meaning to us as we have spent many hours on this river. We also knew we wanted the quintessential Colorado mountain wedding. Durango was the perfect choice for us. We found a home on the Animas River to hold our ceremony. After the vows, we stepped into a canoe and enjoyed some private time together paddling down the river. We planned our wedding around the things that were most important to us: food, wine, beer, and the river. We wanted our guests to come together for more than just one night so we rented the Silverpick Lodge for three days. This allowed all our guests to have a mini- vacation and enjoy all that Durango has to offer. The night before the wedding, we hosted a beer tasting of 26 beers we had collected from breweries across Colorado. Instead of a guest book, everyone signed paddles, which we have hanging on the wall in our house. We are huge foodies and love wine so we spent three months crafting an incredible 5-course meal and wine tasting experience for our guests. We chose our favorite wines from around the world and included printed cards with the significance that each wine had to us. Our favors were honey from Honeyville and Palisade peaches.

Our rings were carved by an artist on the Poudre River.

Recommended Vendors Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5). They did a great job and even got in a canoe and paddled along side us to take photos. Reception, Caterer & Lodging: Silverpick Lodge/ Sow’s Ear (see page 25). Food was amazing, very easy to work with. Flowers: Wildwoods Fine Flowers (see page 87). Favors: Honeyville (see page 96).



Simply Durango


Holly & Vince | August 1st Durango, Colorado Photography by Hailey King Photography

From the bride...

We tried to keep things simple. I chose not to get caught up in what everyone expected of a wedding and really tried to make it fit the personalities of Vince and me. Our ceremony was held at the Lion’s Den as a storm was threatening in the distance, which made the dark hue of the sky intensify the very bright greens and blues in the surrounding mountain scenery. After the ceremony, we jumped on bikes and rode down to the reception in town forming a parade of cruisers with riders from 8 years old to 60 years old. One of my most memorable moments was the last dance of the night to Johnny Cash’s “When the Man Comes Around”. Vince and I are big Cash fans. Everybody was out on the dance floor for that song. My advice: Try to get married within 6 months, anymore time allotted for planning only allows you to spend more money and stress over details.

We had a delicious latenight doughnut bar!



Photographer: Hailey King Photography (see page 95). Hailey was incredible. She took awesome candid photos. Caterer + Doughnut Bar: The Yellow Carrot (see page 24). Food and presentation was awesome. Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 87). DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 79). Tent & Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67).


Wine and Romance


Laurel & Cole | June 22nd Fox Fire Farms Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride.. Cole and I both graduated from Texas A&M University, and we live in the country, so we wanted a country-style wedding that incorporated our love for our school and our love of wine. We tried to make the day as unique and personal to us as possible. We really wanted to give our guests the full Durango experience. In lieu of doing a traditional rehearsal dinner, we had a “Welcome Cocktail Party� at the Strater Hotel for all of our guests (around 90 people). The Strater is such a beautiful, historic site that is unique to Durango and has been one of my favorite places to visit since I was a child. Cole and I had a fairly basic ceremony, which was officiated by a good friend. The weather was beautiful, and everything went really smoothly. The layout of the ceremony site is unusual because the sidewalk is curved, and guests sit at three points around the arbor instead of just on either side of the aisle. I really loved that aspect of it, though, because I felt that more of our guests could sit closer to the arbor and have a good view.

The reception was a huge, crazy party with everyone drinking and dancing. It was perfect and exactly what we wanted.


Wine and Romance We had our seating chart organized on little cards that were posted on a huge corkboard that was specific to our love of wine and visiting wineries. The groom’s cake was shaped after the Aggie Bonfire and covered in Aggie memorabilia. Around 10 PM, we had the DJ play the Aggie War Hymn and all of our Aggie friends got together and sang it and “sawed ‘em off.” For our send off, we gave everyone Aggie towels (these are traditionally waved at Aggie football games) that we had screen printed with our initials and wedding date to wave as we left.

My dad and I put together a choreographed father- daughter dance that took everyone by surprise.

Recommended Vendors Venue: Fox Fire Farms (see page 59). ABSOLUTELY recommend, they are so easy to work with and do a fabulous job organizing the event. The location is beautiful, and it is also convenient to have both ceremony and reception in one place so people don’t have to travel. Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 79). Flowers were one of the hardest things for me to pick because I like so many and couldn’t decide on the types of flowers, colors, etc. When they delivered my flowers, I literally gasped out loud when I saw them. They were the most beautiful, perfect arrangements that I had ever seen. I had probably been the most worried about the flowers since I was so unsure of what I wanted, and I cannot express how amazing they looked. To me, my flowers really solidified the atmosphere of my wedding and added so much beautiful color to the entire event. My wedding literally would not have felt the same without Amy’s beautiful arrangements. DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 79). Dale is such a sweet man and so easy to work with. Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67). They were awesome! Hair: Signature Salon (see page 94). Loved them, they did a great job! Welcome Cocktail Party: Strater Hotel (see page 45). We got to work with Emily Spencer who was absolutely wonderful and made us feel like family. The food was incredibly fabulous. The Strater is a wonderful reception location and it would be great for a wedding too!



Love and Family


Melissa & Steve | July 15th Durango Mountain Resort Photography by IlluminArts Photography


Love and Family From the bride.. When we found out we were pregnant, we decided to wait to get married until after our daughter was born so we could have a celebration that included our new baby. We knew we wanted a non-traditional outdoor wedding that was both relaxed and fun. I found bright retro bridesmaid dresses that inspired our colorful color palette. As a new mom, I did not have the time to plan a wedding so hiring a wedding planner was a lifesaver. Driving up to the ceremony site and seeing the beautiful altar surrounded by amazing scenery and all our friends and family made me so happy, it was a very memorable moment for me. Our ceremony was very intimate. We planted a tree with dirt our parents brought from our hometowns. We said vows to our daughter, which was very special and we included a Dr. Seuss quote that fit us to a tee. We wore Chuck Taylor shoes, something that is so ‘us’ and every time we wear them, we think about our wonderful day. For favors, we had mini picnic baskets that guests could fill with sweets from a candy bar that included a variety of sweet and salty treats from gummy bears (my favorite) to chocolate. My advice: Try to make your day special for you. On your wedding day, just go with the flow and don’t stress.

Our table decorations incorporated hen and chicks that came from my late granddad’s garden.

RecommendedVendors Venue: Durango Mountain Resort (see inside cover). Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5). Caterer: Yellow Carrot (see page 24). Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 87).



Inspired by Colorado


Kylan & Jeremy | October 15th Ridgewood Event Center Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride...

We wanted a wedding that was really personal, and wanted everyone who traveled so far to have a really special experience. We wanted everyone to feel welcome and special – starting from the welcome bags (L.L. Bean tote bags with wool socks, candy, trail mix, chapstick, wine, etc.) and continuing through our favors. We wanted the feel to be very “Colorado”, so we used lots of natural items – we were really inspired by aspen bark and trees. When the guests arrived for the ceremony, they received their program (with a personal note from us in each) and we had flowers for a boutonniere for the men or a flower for the hair for women. There was also a tray of hand-cut fabric handkerchiefs that my aunt and mom made for “your tears of joy”. We also had a tray of pashmina shawls in the wedding colors for guests to “warm themselves”. The invitations were designed around a 1908 postcard I bought at a rare book store. It is a picture of a couple in a wooden boat with a fishing creel and fly rod, and says “fisherman’s luck”. The invites were a beautiful gray linen paper with yellow accents. I loved them, and they really set the tone for the décor of the wedding.

The ceremony was short and sweet. The weather was perfect, and the fall colors had just peaked, so the setting was absolutely gorgeous.


Inspired by Colorado Our guestbook was a collection of river rocks that guests wrote their wishes on and placed in an antique tool box. Our tables were named after rapids on the rivers that Jeremy and I have gone boating on together. Jeremy builds wooden boats, and we’ve gone on many adventures on many beautiful rivers – Yampa River, Desolation Canyon, and the Grand Canyon to name a few. The centerpieces were hurricane stands with aspen-like branches, with a base of fresh flowers and moss and greenery. Inside the hurricanes were pillar candles and river rocks. We used a lot of feathers, when we could. I’m a wildlife biologist who specializes in birds, while Jeremy is a fly-fisherman, so using feathers was a nice way to bring both of those together. For dessert, we had pies from Durangourmet berry pie, peach pie and a sour cream apple pie (which was absolutely amazing and I’m hoping to bug Jimmy for the recipe). As favors, we printed a cookbook of recipes sent in from all of the guests (a recipe card was included in the invitation). It was one of my favorite parts of the wedding – so personal since there were a lot of recipes from my family and Jeremy’s family as well as all of our closest friends. My advice: Get stuff done as early as you can! Don’t leave it to the last minute. You’re going to be stressed enough.

RecommendedVendors Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 5). Fantastic job! Caterer: Durangourmet (see page 67). So wonderful. Jimmy’s food is delicious and fresh and was perfect for our wedding. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 87). Mandy was super helpful throughout the whole process, and really helped make our ideas into workable realities. She was fantastic on the day of the wedding – making sure everything was done on time and everyone was where they were supposed to be. Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 67). Venue: Ridgewood Events Center (see page 78).





by IlluminArts Photography



by IlluminArts Photography

Profile for Luxe Mountain Weddings

Durango Weddings Magazine - 2013 Issue  

20 amazing weddings from southwest Colorado.

Durango Weddings Magazine - 2013 Issue  

20 amazing weddings from southwest Colorado.