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Durango Weddings Magazine



Durango Weddings Magazine




Real Weddings Jenne Anne & Robert in Durango 10 Katelyn & Tanner at LePlatt’s Pond 16 Rachel & Kevin at Ridgewood 20 Ellysa & Casey at Purgatory Resort 22 Alexandra & Davis at Silverpick Lodge 26 Ashley & Eric at Canyon Crest Lodge 30 Blaguna & Mike at Purgatory Resort 34 Kaylee & Grant at Ridgewood 38 Mandy & Ben at Silverpick Lodge 42 Shea & Casey at Ridgewood 46 Ashley & Shaun in Hesperus 50 Jennifer & Aaron in Silverton 54 Chelsea & Justin at Purgatory Resort 56 Katye & Andre at River Bend Ranch 62 Kaitlin & Dean at Ridgewood 66 Sara & Ki at Silverpick Lodge 70 Brittany & Dave at Purgatory Resort 74

Features Destination Durango 6 Planning Advice from the Pros 8 50+ Creative Wedding Ideas 76 Comical Wedding Moments 91 Looking Back 96

Resource Directory


A listing of Durango’s top venues & wedding pros.

image by Kiralee Jones Durango Weddings Magazine



Why Durango

Whether you are renewing your vows, tying the knot in an intimate ceremony or planning a destination wedding with 350 guests, southwest Colorado offers an exquisite array of truly unique year-round wedding experiences! Recite your vows surrounded by spectacular mountain views, alpine ponds, rushing rivers, towering trees and fields of wildflowers. Hold your reception in a rustic mountain lodge, historic hotel or outdoors under a big white tent. In addition to jaw dropping landscapes, southwest Colorado offers numerous one-of-a-kind activities and entertainment options that your guests will be reminiscing over for years to come.

image by Salt & Pine

With over 300 days of sunshine each year, Durango is the perfect place to plan a wedding! The stunning beauty of our natural landscape provides a spectacular backdrop for weddings of any style. Our local wedding vendors are professional and wonderful to work with, and Durango offers couples the opportunity to have an incredible mountain wedding for a much more affordable price point than many other elite ski towns in Colorado. Regardless of the season, we can help you create the wedding of your dreams! - Jill Davis, Durango Party Rental Durango is the ideal destination wedding location for so many reasons! When a couple is considering a destination wedding, so many factors come into play such as beauty, lodging, accessibility, accommodations, vendors, venues, and activities to keep you and your guests happy. Durango really has it all and that’s why bride’s have been traveling to our little slice of heaven to say “I Do” for generations! -Krii Black, LePlatt’s Pond The Rocky Mountains create a beautiful and breathtaking backdrop for any destination wedding year-round. We’ve traveled all over the country from Washington State to New York and we’ve 6

found Durango to literally be the most beautiful wedding backdrop you could ask for. ~Paul & Katie McPherson, Shutterfreek Durango is such a gorgeous town to get married in. We have beautiful scenery, great weather, pretty venues, and huge mountains. Every season is stellar and picturesque. There are so many activities for your guests from bike rides to skiing, rafting to brewery tours, or shopping and visiting a mining town. Durango is fun, relaxing and memorable. -Colleen Clausen, Lilia

Floral Design

We chose Durango for our destination wedding because we love the vibe of the town and it is such a beautiful place. All our guests had such an amazing time. Not only did they get to enjoy a great wedding, they also got to experience white water rafting, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and just the overall amazing feeling that only Durango can give. I would definitely recommend that any style of couple would be able to create their own unique and special day in Durango and feel so very grateful to have had the experience of getting married there. ~Connie & Blake

Durango Weddings Magazine



Durango Weddings Magazine



planning tips from the pros

I always tell my brides to let go. Let go of the fact that some small things might not go exactly as planned, because chances are you’re the only one who will know the difference. You spend months or years planning this magical moment, and it’s over in a heartbeat. So don’t get hung up on the little hiccups and try to enjoy every moment, even the unplanned ones. Life itself is a beautiful mess, so hold tight to the entire experience, from the planning to the honeymoon because you only get to experience it once!

Krii Black, Certified Bridal Consultant LePlatt’s Pond

I always suggest that couples in the initial stages of planning their special day sit down together and create a priority list. Together, they should decide what the most important elements of the day will be to each of them, and list them in order. Is it the venue? The food? The photography? The fashion and styling? This will help them to create a budgetary template. As they begin to seek out vendors, they can assign a monetary value to each of the priorities on the list. This is a great way to help ensure that the couple stays within their wedding budget, and are still able to select the venues and vendors which best suit their personal style. Hire professional vendors!

Jill Davis, Sales & Event Manager Durango Party Rental

A wedding is about the union of two people in love, but let’s face it the food and drink can make or break the day! I strongly suggest the couple and their family insist upon a final tasting with their catering and cake vendors. This is a dedicated appointment time when the caterer and baker prepare exactly what is to be served on the wedding day for everyone to taste. It’s also the final opportunity to express your wishes for food presentation and flavor. At the tasting, I also advise that an assigned “scribe” take pictures of the food as it’s presented as well as take detailed notes on the featured ingredients. As always, a caterer or other vendor should present a final event order in writing before the Big Day so that there are no surprises or discrepancies, this allows for cheers instead of tears. Emily Spencer, Catering Manager The Historic Strater Hotel


Paul & Katie McPherson, Owner Shutterfreek

1. The best photographers/ videographers book out early. 2. Hire a wedding planner! 3. Host a wedding that is special and unique to you. We think nontraditional is the new traditional! We are all about being real, even on a day that society tells you to be perfect. We say elope. We say see each other before the ceremony. We say do whatever the heck you want to do. Forget wedding rules & have a FREEKIN awesome day.

Chris Wing, Owner Silverpick Lodge

Book your venue first, music second. A year ahead is not too soon.

Colleen Clausen, Owner Lilia Floral Design

Make your wedding personal and about the two of you. Bring in elements that are dear to you and make you happy. Do a site visit to see where the ceremony will be, what photo spots you want, what tables will look best in the reception area, what type of centerpieces fit with the setting, where you and your bridal party will get ready, etc. It is always lovely to have a well thought out and organized event. So plan and book early. Have a favorite flower that is only available a certain two months? Do you have your heart set on getting married at the venue where you got engaged? How early is your photographer booked out? Answering these questions and more aids in stressfree planning. So does hiring a wedding planner. They are amazingly helpful. Get your make-up and hair done on site. Truly, I was late to my own wedding at a high mountain lake because I did not do this. Most of all, delegate duties, don’t do too many crafts, have fun with the planning and be in love.

Bree Gonzales, Owner Faith Photography Studio

As a photographer, my best ‘planning’ advice would be to not feel bad about telling your guests to put their phones/ipads away. We’ve been at countless weddings where every guest has a phone or tablet in their hand trying to photograph or video the entire wedding ceremony. It’s not only distracting to others and preventing everyone from being fully in the moment of your day, but it’s horribly distracting to your photos. If your wedding portraits are a priority to you, then you most likely do not want to see a room full of phones in your professional portraits. Not to mention the guests who decide to jump out in the aisle in front of us while we’ve been paid to be there and capture these moments. Planning to have your officiant announce that “phones and tablets are not welcome during your ceremony” is not something you should feel guilty about, after all this is YOUR day and you have paid a professional to capture every moment of it, friends and family should certainly respect that. Unfortunately, your guests typically need to be told that their phones are not welcome.

Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Jenne Anne: WHY DURANGO Our relationship was built on Colorado adventures. Robert proposed on our last winter trip up at Purgatory Resort before we made the celebratory purchase of 40 acres. We are building our first home as well as our life together here and wanted to share all of this beauty with our closest friends and family.

WEEKEND FUN The day before the wedding we incorporated the hot springs, mountain biking, a SKA brew tour, and dinner at Steamworks. On Sunday, we had everyone join us at Carver’s for breakfast and bacon bloody mary’s. After, we rode crusier bikes from Pedal The Peaks/2nd Ave Sports along the river trail.

THE STYLE As a wedding photographer, I have literally seen. it. all. It was important to us that the wedding reflected our adventurous laid back spirits. We tried to implement our favorite things and places in Durango as well as: the outdoors, our pups, local beer, and good food.

When I was writing my vows the darkest clouds were coming right over me in the aspens and suddenly I heard everyone shouting, Rainbow. There was a rainbow right behind our arbor just moments before the ceremony.


Durango Weddings Magazine



THE CEREMONY Our ceremony was located in one of our favorite meadows off Highway 550. The fall colors were at their peak and most of the leaves fell from the aspens the next day! My husband crafted our incredible arbor and built it earlier that afternoon. We had a short intimate ceremony with our closest friends and family. Our pups (kids) had to be right beside us in our moment, my lovely florist Lilia Floral Design, made them floral collars so they didn’t feel left out. We chose to have our unity ceremony with two copper custom engraved mugs and a matte grey growler from Steamworks Brewery filled with our favorite craft beer.

Looking back, I loved how incredible the weather was, hearing our pups barking in excitement at the perfect time during our vows, and the cheers of beers between everyone after our ceremony. Durango Weddings Magazine



Jenne Anne & Robert

THE RECEPTION We had nearly every selection of beer from SKA Brewery for our reception paired with some killer food from James Ranch. I made our gluten free cake and cupcakes. FAVE MEMORY Our first dance was pretty magical.

Our reception was short and sweet. We ate and did our first dances, garter and bouquet, and then headed downtown. We were out on the town the whole evening in our wedding attire! I laughed and giggled the whole night! . ADVICE Your wedding is about YOU don’t be afraid of what others may say or think because you did not follow ‘tradition’. Give them something to talk about! Also, it is so important to hire a professional photographer. Your wedding will fly by so fast - you do not want to miss out on having pictures of all those amazing memories. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Floral Designer: Lilia Floral Design (p. 89 ). Flowers: Linnaea Farm (p. 94) continued on page 90 Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Katelyn: THE STYLE Rustic shabby chic with a mint and gold color palette. We were aiming for a simple yet elegant day. We wanted to keep things casual and fun. HANDMADE DETAILS From the flower girl headpieces, ring bearer signs and gift table skirt to the ceremony doors, we handmade every decoration! We either painted, added ribbons or altered in some way every detail to make it unique.


Since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of having my wedding at LePlatt’s Pond! THE CEREMONY We added a set of doors at the beginning of the aisle and hung a white lantern from the willow arbor. Tanner’s grandfather is a pastor and we asked him to perform our ceremony, which was very intimate and special.

Durango Weddings Magazine



Katelyn & Tanner THE RECEPTION DECOR We had a total of 19 round tables covered with white floor length linens with a sheer mint overlay. Each table had a small white lantern, mason jars filled with baby’s breath, and a gold candle holder. Our sweetheart table was covered in a floor length gold sequin linen with mint and gold vases. FAVE MEMORIES My two favorite memories were everyone dancing their booties off and musical chairs for the bouquet and garter. Everyone had such a blast. The tent was full of excitement and laughter!

We ate, drank, and danced the night away. Everyone had such a great time! LOOKING BACK I would have started the wedding earlier in the day so we had more time to dance and celebrate! ADVICE Keep your day about you and your significant other. This is a day to celebrate your love for each other; nothing more, nothing less. THE VENUE LePlatt’s Pond (p. 1) is the perfect place for a fairytale wedding! First, the property is absolutely stunning. Upon driving in, you are surrounded by the hops field. Continue farther down to the field where the beautifully decorated tent and amazing pond are found. Krii Black and her staff go above and beyond to make your day go smoothly and stress free, from set up to tear down, they do it all. We had the option to get ready on site at a loft by the venue. Krii and her crew know what they are doing and focus on making sure they help you have the best day. We opted for the day-of coordination package that gives you access to the venue for the whole weekend along with Krii’s planning expertise. Krii and her staff included two meetings with us prior to the wedding day to come up with a timeline of our day. They also took the reigns and coordinated with all the other vendors by giving them their own timelines. This was handsdown the best thing a bride could ask for. You tell them exactly what you want and they make it happen. All you have to do is show up and get hitched! Invitations: Custom Creations (p. 94). Janelle gave us so many options and she made sure we got exactly what we were looking for. They were extremely affordable and amazing quality. continued on page 90

Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Rachel: I was very nervous the day of our wedding because it was raining all morning. We really wanted to get married outdoors but it rained right up until we were about to start taking pictures. I don’t know what or how, but the clouds opened up and gave us an absolutely perfect fall day. We were able to hold our ceremony outside facing the stunning La Plata Mountains.

My favorite part of the day was being able to dance the night away with family and friends. 22

ADVICE Shop around for vendors and go with the people that make you feel the most comfortable. I do wish I would have paid extra to have someone come out to do my hair so I didn’t have to worry about going back to town. This would have allowed me to spend more time with my wedding party to relax a little more. FAVE VENDOR Photographer: IlluminArts (p. 61). Drew and his team were more than I could have imagined. From start to finish, it was absolute perfection. He took the time to get every little and important detail. I received so many compliments on how professional they were from countless guests and family. Drew was able to capture moments that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life. I would recommend IlluminArts to any and everyone - it was the best service I have had in Durango. continued on page 90

Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Ellysa: THE STYLE I wanted to tie together vintage elegance and natural beauty. Most of all, I wanted our day to be classic and understated. I loved the style of my grandmothers’ weddings. Both wore tealength dresses and were married in small churches surrounded by family. Ever since I was a child, that quaint wedding image has been in my mind for my wedding day. THE CEREMONY We held the ceremony at the Boyce canyon site at Purgatory. My dad set up two French doors for us to walk through. He painted them sage green to blend in with the greenery around them and I thought they were just perfect. The doors helped bring a little classic architecture to the outdoor ceremony. As guests were taking their seats, it started to sprinkle. Fearing more rain, I was put into one of the vehicles and waited until it was my turn to walk down the aisle. When my turn came, I jumped out of the car and was so excited that I didn’t even notice I was missing my bouquet! I just held onto my dad as we walked 24

down the aisle together. It wasn’t until after the ceremony when my mom asked me if my bouquet had run away from home, that I realized its absence. Our flower girl learned how to walk on her own about a week before the wedding. We had a wagon ready to wheel her down the aisle, but last minute decided to let her walk with the help of the eldest ring bearer. About half way down the aisle, she tottered and sat down. Her helper didn’t know what to do, but a kind guest reached out his hand and helped her stand up. It took those two a while to make it down the aisle, but it was adorable to witness. My husband and I wrote our vows to one another. Listening to his vows knocked me speechless, something that doesn’t happen to me very often! Public speaking isn’t something that scares me and usually comes quite naturally. But, after he said his vows to me, I was a wreck! My first line was supposed to be, “Before I fell in love with you…” but what I said was, “Before I fell on you… Oh… Whoops!” Everyone laughed and it really helped me shake out those nerves a little bit!

Durango Weddings Magazine


WHY PURGATORY RESORT When choosing a venue for our reception, our biggest concern was having rooms at the same location for guests to stay. We wanted our guests to enjoy the party and not have to worry about driving anywhere after. Purgatory was the perfect choice for us, not only because it could host our numbers at the reception, it also had plenty of rooms available for our guests. FAVE DETAIL Casey and I made “About Casey/ About Elly” cards that we placed on all of the tables. Printed on one side of the card was a note that he had written about me with a cute baby picture, and on the other side was a note about Casey that I had written followed by his cute baby picture. We were even fortunate to have cards that featured a picture of Casey as a ring bearer in his uncle’s wedding, and me as a flower girl in my aunt’s wedding. It was something special to share with family and friends who do not know our significant other very well. I also loved that it let me share some of the small details that I know and love about Casey, while getting to hear some of those details that he loves about me. 26

FOR THE GROOM For Casey’s wedding surprise, his parents and I arranged to tow his childhood vehicle to Durango from Flagstaff, AZ. Casey loves this Land Crusier, and has pictures from: prom, homecoming, off-roading, and numerous other adventure shots with this truck. It was really special to have it be part of our wedding day. ADVICE Take a deep breath before jumping into planning. Talk about what is really important to each of you. We each had a couple must-haves that shaped how we planned the wedding. Once you know the things you just must-have, it is much easier to be united when making decisions. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Venue, Caterer, Lodging: Durango Mountain Weddings at Purgatory Resort (p. inside cover) Photographer, Video & Photo Booth: Shutterfreek (p. 49 ) Favors: Whipped Honey & Chokecherry Jelly from Honeyville (p. inside back cover) continued on page 90 Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Alexandra: WHY DURANGO We got engaged in Durango in 2015, so it’s a very special place for us. THE STYLE Charming, earthy, casual. THE CEREMONY We held the ceremony surrounded by the gorgeous aspen trees around Silverpick Lodge. It was pouring rain before the ceremony but by 5:00 PM, when the ceremony started, the sun was shining through the clouds in such beautiful and visible rays. It was truly magical.


I loved that my dad walked me down the aisle and my mom met us at the altar for a big hug, Being hand in hand with my husband surrounded by our wonderful family and friends is a memory I’ll never forget.

Durango Weddings Magazine


THE RECEPTION We had dinner in the Sow’s Ear restaurant and it was jam-packed with 145 dinner guests! After dinner, we all went out to the lobby and front driveway of the Silverpick Lodge for dancing and drinks. It was so much fun to dance inside and then people could go out front to cool off and relax.

ADVICE Respect and listen to your fiance’s priorities; be prepared to be a united front when it comes to dealing with your families. Don’t waste time on details, etiquette, and traditions that neither of you care about. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Venue, Lodging & Caterer: Silverpick Lodge/Sow’s Ear (p. 29) Lights & Chairs: Durango Party Rental (p. 73) Hair & Makeup: Hair Fusion Salon, Spa & Barber Shop (p. 94) continued on page 90


image by IlluminArts

Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Ashley: WHY PAGOSA We live in Santa Fe, but chose Pagosa Springs for the beautiful and serene setting. Pagosa Springs had everything we wanted and we are so happy we were married there. THE STYLE I wanted a sophisticated vintage look, a 1920s vibe in the mountains. We used Pagosa Springs as our backdrop and added our own personal style and likes. We wanted the style to be timeless.


THE COLOR PALETTE Mostly greens, creams and purples with splashes of color in our wedding bouquets. THE CEREMONY We were married under a beautiful pergola covered in growing vines and flowers at the back of the lodge. The altar overlooks Martinez Canyon and made for a beautiful view. We wanted our ceremony to reflect our personality. We wrote our own vows and made sure every “custom� we used was true to who we are as a couple.

When the time came for us to recite our vows, the wind really picked up and made it near impossible for anyone to hear what we had to say to one another. Although, at the time it was a little troublesome, it definitely made the moment that much more memorable as it helped time slow down. Oh and that kiss at the end, woo.

Durango Weddings Magazine


THE RECEPTION We held our reception under a white party tent decorated with purple ribbons, chandeliers, twinkling lights, wildflowers and white antique birdcages covered in butterflies. MEMORABLE MOMENT We chose to do a traditional Viennese waltz to “At Last” by Beyonce. We took a few dance lessons before the wedding to feel comfortable with the steps, so we could really enjoy each other and the moment. Rather than concentrating so much on the dance itself. It worked and our first dance was really unforgettable. 34

ADVICE The engagement and the wedding itself will fly by in an instant. Make your wedding your own. It’s ok to compromise. Take your time. Don’t forget to ask for help. Save money where you can and have fun. Don’t let the planning take over your relationship. Remember it all started because two people fell in love.

Everyone had a lovely time, we were surrounded by those we love the most in this world and are left with nothing but amazing memories.

THE VENUE Canyon Crest Lodge (p. 45) and owner Valerie Green are simply the best. The site was breathtaking for the ceremony and reception. Valerie made planning the wedding so much easier for us. She is willing to do as much as you want her to do and only wants your wedding to be perfect for you. I cannot sing her and Canyon Crest Lodges praises enough. Would recommend to anyone who wants their day to be stress-free and unforgettable.

Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Blaguna: THE INSPIRATION The mountains and the majestic views. We wanted to bring the outside in. Our color palette was blues from baby blue to navy. THE CEREMONY We got married at 10,000 feet on Purgatory Mountain. The aisle was lined with hanging flowers, which led to a beautiful arbor decorated with flowers. Our guests were seated to live acoustic music. The wedding party walked down to a live version of “In my Life” by The Beatles. Our minister who is a great friend of ours, said our names for the first time during the Native American Blessing and not a second later, a loud crash of thunder was heard. 36

I’ll never forget walking down the aisle with my dad to “Attics of My Life” by the Grateful Dead as I tried not to cry.

Durango Weddings Magazine


I wore 3 antique blue buttons on the back of my dress from Mike’s great aunt - she was an established button collector. It was such an honor to have them sewn on.


Blaguna & Mike THE RECEPTION The reception was at Dante’s, about 100 feet away from the ceremony. Having a live band was a huge highlight. The decor was earthy with moss and flowers on the tables. Our escort cards were hung on driftwood from the Animas River. DAY AFTER FUN We floated on tubes down the Animas River with 70 of our guests. The next day about 30 people took the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge train.

I wish we would have spent more time with our guests and asked for help doing all the little things. ADVICE Enjoy the planning and just realize it is one day; everything is not going to be perfect, so roll with the punches. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Photographer: Drew from IlluminArts (p. 61) felt like an old friend. He blended into the day, half the time I did not even know he was taking pictures. He kept in contact throughout the whole planning of the wedding and we love how he likes to tell the story of the whole day. Drew and his assistant were the friendliest people to work with. We had so many compliments about them. They did not make me feel awkward about any pictures, which made us feel so comfortable that we could be ourselves. Flowers: Marje from Linnaea Farms (p. 94) was really easy to work with. We were out at the right time in March as she was just starting to plant her flowers and she let us choose what we wanted and planted them for us. She asked many questions as to what we wanted and what we didn’t. We put full trust in her and the flowers turned out beautiful! Rehearsal Dinner: Sow’s Ear at Silverpick Lodge (p. 29). We had about 50 people and everyone was well taken care of. The food was amazing and George couldn’t have been more accommodating for our large group. Venue, Caterer, Lodging: Durango Mountain Weddings at Purgatory Resort (p. inside cover). Hair & Makeup: Hair Fusion (p. 94) continued on page 90

Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Kaylee: WHY DURANGO We are both outdoorsy people and could not think of a better place to get married than Southwest Colorado. Beyond the obvious beauty of the scenery, nature is a foundational piece of our relationship. Prior to meeting, work for each of us meant a day outdoors under the sun. We met at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where we both studied the environment. As the most famous alumni of our school, Aldo Leopold said, “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” My husband and I definitively cannot. These landscapes are a large part of our story, our altar of choice, and we couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. THE INSPIRATION Our style really emerged by accident, because my husband is a huge birder (he loves bird watching, identifying species, and going on long hikes with his binoculars) and I’m super cheesy (I love sappy movies, inspirational quotes, and silly jokes. Simply put, I love love!). When we put those two things together, the theme of “lovebirds” emerged and it captured us perfectly!


THE COLOR PALETTE Our color palette centered on the dusty blue/green/gray color of a succulent, and accented by a softer hue of the orange/copper color of a Rufous hummingbird. The palette was rounded out with light pinks and off-whites. Our flowers were local, most from the gardens at Blue Lake Ranch. We wanted to draw in the natural beauty of the landscape as much as possible.

Right before our ceremony started, the cottonwood trees started dropping their cotton seeds. It looked like it was snowing in June. It was magical and memorable. WOW MOMENT We didn’t see this happen but several of our guests commented afterwards that while we were reading our vows to each other, two birds flew right behind us and landed together on a tree branch, facing each other in the same way we were facing each other. Now that’s true love (birds).

Durango Weddings Magazine


TABLE NUMBERS Our table numbers (1–10) had a picture of both my husband and I at the age of that table number. It was really fun to see our pictures next to each other. As a fun coincidence, at age 8, we were both playing basketball! THE CAKE My favorite detail was the lovebird cake topper we placed on our red velvet cheesecake. MEMORABLE MOMENT During dinner, my sister-in-law shouted, “Look, there’s a deer outside!” and we all ran outside to see a huge buck walking through the field. It was such a fun surprise, a perfect representation of our love of wildlife and a great memory of our Colorado wedding.


ADVICE When you get engaged, talk to your partner about each of your top three most important things about the wedding (besides getting married, of course!), like photography, location, food, music, etc. It’s helpful to know what’s on each person’s top three list so you know where splurging is more appropriate (e.g. spending more on photography and less on flowers), and where saving is more possible. Above all, remember that at the end of the day, you get to be married to your best friend. That right there, makes your wedding a huge success. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Looking back, our wedding day was amazing, it was actually the most perfect day I could have imagined.

RECOMMENDED VENDORS Venue & Flowers: Ridgewood Event Center (p. 7). What a perfect spot to get married! Their professionalism, event planning expertise, and undeniably beautiful location are a winning combination. Joan was amazing! She cared so much about our vision for our wedding and made the day run so smoothly. Her ideas for the decorations were perfect and she did an amazing job with the flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, table arrangements, etc.). She even packed to-go boxes of dessert and snacks so that we could enjoy the goodies after the night ended. Caterer: Jimmy Nicholson, Durangourmet (p. 89). Jimmy was wonderful to work with. First and foremost, his food is excellent. Our guests all commented on how delicious it all was! He did an amazing job meeting our hopes for the evening with passed appetizers and a family style dinner. continued on page 90 Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Mandy: WHY DURANGO I think Durango is just absolutely gorgeous and so uniquely beautiful with a fun, chill vibe. My mom lives up near Silverpick Lodge, so I’d been eyeing the lodge as a possible wedding venue for a while (Ben and I live in Littleton, CO). THE STYLE Rustic, earthy, Bohemian, organic with a color palette of teal/ earthy blues and greens, brown, cream, and coral. I love the cozy, woodsy, down-to-earth feel. Our number one goal was to get to spend time with all of our loved ones for longer than the typical wedding. We booked the Silverpick Lodge for three nights (Fri/Sat/Sun) so we could spend some quality time with everyone, it ended up being perfect. 44

THE CEREMONY I was a little nervous the morning of the wedding since it was raining and I really, really, wanted to get married in the beautiful meadow we’d decided on so long ago! Then, just in time for our ceremony, the clouds parted and it was absolutely beautiful. We rode up to the marriage meadow in a pristine white carriage pulled by a magnificent black Percheron draft horse. It was straight out of a fairytale! THE DÉCOR The chairs were set up to have our guests facing the mountains. Our amazing florist, Lilia Floral Design, did a perfect job on our flowers and arbor incorporating all the beautiful colors of fall.

Durango Weddings Magazine


Mandy & Ben THE RECEPTION The reception was at the Sow’s Ear restaurant inside the Silverpick Lodge. We had a delicious dinner made with organic/ local ingredients. We had aspen leaves in the chandeliers and charming, woodsy flower boxes with tiny lights running through them on the tables. LOOKING BACK I would have planned more! I definitely procrastinated on planning and even though everything ended up going great, it would have been nice to not be as stressed out; especially on the morning of our wedding! ADVICE Plan, plan, plan…so you don’t stress when it’s time to enjoy! But no matter what—planned as well as you’d like or not—be mindful about enjoying every. single. moment. of your wedding when the day arrives—it really is one of the best days of your life and one of the most special memories you’ll have with your partner, friends and family. Really nothing compares to everyone being together for something as joyous and light-hearted as your wedding. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Venue, Caterer & Lodging : Silverpick Lodge/Sow’s Ear (p. 29). Chris Wing is great to work with and super relaxed about things, so it’s a no-stress situation. The lodge is incredibly charming and cozy—it was the perfect place for everyone to be together. The Sow’s Ear has such a fun atmosphere about it too—a beautiful, cozy dining room upstairs and a fun bar and dancing area with gorgeous views of the mountains. George Mehaffie is great to work with, and he and his team make fantastic food! Floral Designer: Colleen Clausen, Lilia Floral Design (p. 89). Hands down fantastic!!! I told her I wanted everything to feel and look earthy, Bohemian, asymmetrical, unique, woodsy, and rustic —and wow did she deliver!! We were blown away with how beautiful all of our flowers and décor were!! She created these perfectly gorgeous boho chic flower crowns for me, my maids of honor, and our flower girls. She did an amazing job at incorporating all of my fave colors into our décor and made it super unique and well, it was perfect. Colleen’s amazing work made our wedding and our photos more beautiful. We are so happy we chose her to decorate our ceremony and reception— she’s amazing. Hair & Makeup: Hair Fusion (p. 94). Simply fantastic. I could not be happier with how fun it was to work with Mary Beth and her amazing skills! I mean, wow!! She did my hair and makeup perfectly and I felt absolutely beautiful on my wedding day!! There are not enough ways to say how highly I recommend her! continued on page 90


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From the bride, Shea: THE CEREMONY We got married in front of the La Plata River. This was meaningful to us because we got engaged while fishing the Animas River. My mother-in-law completely blinged out a fishing pole for us to use over the altar. My uncle performed the ceremony and he did the most perfect job. He kept it light and meaningful and kept Christ at the center of it all. My dad gave Casey a mile lei, which is a significant lei in the Hawaiian culture. It means he was giving Casey the joy and responsibility of taking care of me for the rest of my life.


We laughed the whole night. From the ceremony to the dancing, we had such a good time!

Durango Weddings Magazine


Enjoy the planning and ask for help because it is stressful. And keep it simple.

RECOMMENDED VENDORS Photographer, Photo Booth & Video: Shutterfreek (p. 49). They are the Seriously, I loved these guys so much. Kate and Paul did an incredible job. We were blown away by everything. Our highlight video is through the roof amazing. Venue & Flowers: Ridgewood Event Center (p. 7) Rentals: Durango Party Rental (p. 73) continued on page 90


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From the bride, Ashley: THE STYLE Laid back, farmhouse, handmade, rustic, and bohemian with a dark purple, green, and cream color palette. THE LOCATION The day was incredibly personal because we were able to get married in our backyard! Originally we had booked a venue closer to Purgatory and then two months before the wedding, we closed on our first house in La Plata Canyon. Once we moved in, we realized our own backyard was the perfect wedding venue. One month before our wedding, we cancelled our other plans, frantically called guests, reserved a tent, and moved the venue to our backyard.

We were cracking jokes and getting everyone to laugh throughout the whole ceremony. 52

THE CEREMONY The day before the wedding, a freak September snow storm blanketed everything in 3 inches of snow, which thankfully melted in the hours leading up to the ceremony. For days, the weather had been grey and snowy, and then an hour before the ceremony, the clouds parted. During our vows, the sun finally broke through and everyone erupted in applause. My brother acted as our officiant which was very special to us and gave the whole ceremony a very relaxed and personal feel. MEMORABLE MOMENT Walking down the aisle and seeing Shaun for the first time. Looking out at the mountains and seeing all our friends and family gathered in our new backyard was so magical. Knowing this was our new home and where we are going to build our life and family was so special. Given that we had only been living there for 2 months it immediately gave us a very special connection to our new home.

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THE RECEPTION We held our reception just a few feet away from the ceremony site under a big 40x40 tent provided by Durango Party Rental. We rented long farmhouse tables with benches and decorated with simple burlap runners and wildflowers in mason jars. Each table was named after a peak in the La Plata Mountains. All aspects of our reception were simple and handmade. SEATING CHART Our seating chart was made from a window from our family barn in Massachusetts. It was flown all the way out to Durango to bring in a piece of New England. SWEETS For dessert we had a pie bar and I baked the cake we cut, which was a recipe from my grandmother.


Our wedding got rowdy! The dance floor was always occupied and the music didn’t stop until late in the early morning hours. Given it was our own house, we had no one kicking us out! ADVICE Accept the help of everyone who wants to make the day special for you and spend the money on a wedding planner. Even if you hire a planner just to coordinate the day-of logistics, it’s so nice to have someone else handling the details so you can relax on your wedding day.

LOOKING BACK The snowstorm the night before our wedding sent me into a panic. We had to scramble and drape a tarp over the opening of the tent because the snow was blowing in sideways. It was one of those moments that we just had to laugh because there was nothing we could do. I still look back and chuckle, realizing how worked up I got over it. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Caterer: Durangourmet (p. 89). Working with Jimmy was awesome. His commitment to sourcing locally was such a big part of why we chose to work with him and he came up with a great Southwest themed menu. Many of our guests came from the east coast so being able to show them the flavor of the area was very important to us. The food was incredibly fresh and everyone raved about it.

RECOMMENDED VENDORS Tent & farmhouse tables: Durango Party Rental (p. 73). Durango Party Rental surpassed our expectations with fantastic customer service and a great eye for detail. Working with Jill was a great experience and she really took the time to understand the kind of laid back event we really wanted. They respected our budget and helped us think of creative ways to make our rentals work for what we needed. When the weather took a turn we were so glad we were able to add a tent heater to our reservation a few days before the wedding. Also, the setup and breakdown crew did an awesome job of moving things in and out with minimal disturbances. After they took the tent down, you would have never known we had hosted a wedding in our yard. continued on page 90

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From the bride, Jennifer: WHY SILVERTON We decided to celebrate our wedding in the location where we fell in love, Silverton, Colorado. THE INSPIRATION Eclectic antique meets mountain rustic chic. I fell in love with the idea of unique items, mismatched antique candles and vases, old books, wood, and lace, coming together to create a cohesive style.

THE CEREMONY We held our ceremony in the meadow at the Kendall Mountain Community Center (p. 90). It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky. I wanted the beautiful scenery to be on display during the ceremony. We had flowers lining the aisle and an aspen arbor covered in flowers. The ceremony was short and sweet. FAVORITE CEREMONY MEMORY Walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing the look of excitement on Aaron’s face. ADVICE: Don’t stress, you can’t make everyone happy, so just have your wedding the way you want to.


Kendall Mountain Community Center is such a beautiful place! They were very accommodating and easy to work with.

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From the bride, Chelsea: WHY DURANGO A couple came into my work in Phoenix, AZ who recently got married at Dante’s Peak in Durango. They showed me pictures of them standing at the altar and I, having recently gotten engaged, said, “I want to get married RIGHT there”. HANDMADE TOUCHES Justin made our ceremony entrance. It was two old wooden white doors with a big wooden sign painted, “What God has joined together, let no man separate” on one side and “Here comes the bride” on the other side. Justin also made our altar arch from some old railroad ties and a chandelier of mason jars. The chandelier now hangs over our kitchen table.


THE STYLE I LOVE gold, especially sparkly/glittery gold, and wanted it to be everywhere at our wedding.

As soon as I got up to the altar, the wind blew, and my veil was beautifully flowing up in the wind. THE CEREMONY Justin’s dad officiated and it couldn’t have been more special! My favorite memory was reading our personal vows to each other.

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My gorgeous bouquet contained white roses dipped in gold paint, mixed with greenery. 60

RECEPTION DECOR The guest tables were adorned with sparkly gold table runners, candles, wine bottles painted gold and dipped in glitter, and tall skinny vases filled with white roses and dendrobiums.

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Chelsea & Justin FAVORITE DETAIL Justin made a large sign that said, “The Hoese’s” (our last name). He found the letters at this special vintage yard sale that is hosted once a month in Phoenix. He then found a bunch of rustic wood and nailed them together to place the letters on. He put several light bulbs in each letter so it would light up similar to the classic “Las Vegas” sign. It turned out GREAT. He put the sign on 2 poles and then stuck those in cement inside some old whiskey barrels. Everyone walked under our sign to enter the wedding, “like entering the fair” as Justin said. LOOKING BACK One of my best decisions was doing a sweetheart table. I initially thought I wanted to sit with our wedding party at dinner. However, after thinking about it, I realized that sitting down at dinner may be one of the only times throughout the night we would be alone. It was nice to have those few moments alone together during dinner to talk and enjoy being freshly married. ADVICE I would pass along the best piece of advice that I got, which was to not worry about everyone else. Just enjoy each moment with each other. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Venue: Dante’s Peak at Purgatory Resort (p. inside cover). The breathtaking view speaks for itself and the wedding coordinators were great! Photographer: IlluminArts (p. 61). Drew is just a fantastic guy! He has a wonderful easy going personality and was very organized and detailed. Not to mention, his work is fabulous! Hair & Makeup: Mary Beth at Hair Fusion (p. 94) was AMAZING!!! continued on page 90


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From the bride, Katye: WHY DURANGO Andre and I grew up in Bayfield together and love this area. We would never imagine getting married anywhere else. Durango is so unique and beautiful. THE PLANNING Attending the Durango Wedding Expo (p. 5) was extremely helpful. I seriously looked at the Durango Weddings Magazine almost every month trying to get new ideas, I read all of the Magazine’s blog posts, and must have looked at all of the vendors at least a dozen times.


THE INSPIRATION Water was a theme for our entire relationship. Our first date we went tubing, we fell in love hiking to Emerald Lake, and he proposed at Andrew’s lake. We tried to incorporate water into all aspects of our wedding. We got married by the beautiful pond at River Bend Ranch. We lined the ceremony aisle with lanterns. Our tables were named after significant places in our relationship that had to do with water and our centerpieces were flowers submerged in water.

SPECIAL DETAILS I chose lilies for my flowers because Lily is the name of my maid of honor. We included pink in our wedding in honor of my step daughter, it is her favorite color. All of my bridesmaids wore pearls in honor of our son, whose birthstone is pearl. THE CEREMONY We got married by the enchanting pond at River Bend Ranch. We had 180 of our friends and family in attendance from all over the country. Our officiant told our love story, which started back in seventh grade. Hearing all of the moments that led to our wedding was really heartwarming for both of us. We had the bottle of champagne from the night we got engaged that we placed handwritten letters to each other in. We will open the letters on our one year anniversary.

My favorite part of the ceremony was the kiss, and then the guests blowing bubbles as we walked back down the aisle. You could sense all of the love surrounding us.

Durango Weddings Magazine


Katye & Andre THE RECEPTION We wanted our guests to have fun. Andre and I love to laugh, so it was important to us that everyone could cut loose and have a good time. FAVE MEMORY I loved our father-daughter dance. My dad and later my son came to dance with us, it is a memory that I will cherish forever. LOOKING BACK It sounds so clichĂŠ, but I wish I would have enjoyed the day more. I was in such a hurry and wanted to make sure that everything went as planned, that I did not take a second to take it all in. I would have also snuck off for a few minutes right after the ceremony to enjoy a moment with my husband.

We released a lantern at the end of the night. As the lantern was being released, we told each other our wishes and hopes for our future. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Venue: River Bend Ranch (p. 89). Even though they were booked all month with weddings, they really paid attention to us and what we wanted. They were so organized, so helpful, and made everything look as if we were in a story book. Photographer & Photo Booth: Shutterfreek (p. 49). They are really the best at what they do. I am not photogenic and hate having my picture taken. However, Paul made it so easy and truly captured the best part of me. I would recommend a photo booth at any wedding or event. It is a great way to get guests involved in the wedding. Some of my favorite pictures were from the photo booth. Plus, it was nice to have pictures of the people I did not get a formal photo with. Linens: Durango Party Rental (p. 73). They were so easy to work with and had everything that we needed. They also made renting super easy. Hair & Makeup (94): Hair Fusion. They managed to get myself, eight bridesmaids, and my niece’s hair and makeup done in about five hours. More importantly, everyone looked beautiful.

continued on page 90


Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Kaitlin: WHY DURANGO We live in Fort Collins, but absolutely love the town of Durango with all the scenery and surrounding activities that southwest Colorado has to offer. We first visited Durango in 2013 and had made a few visits back, before we decided that it was the ideal wedding location for us. THE INSPIRATION Dean and I decided to take a year off. We quit our jobs, bought a VW vanagon camper van and set off to let our souls be free and explore our various passions! We drove around North America, visiting friends and family along the way, with our three dogs in tow. It was a year we will never forget and we have so many fun, beautiful memories from this time off together. It set the tone for our relationship, wedding and future together. 68

THE STYLE Bohemian mountain wedfest. Some of our favorite things are mountains, good music, food, drinks and parties with our closest friends and family! So what better than a festival themed wedding in the mountains. We chose a color palette of dusty blue, sherbert orange, rose quartz and sea glass green.

We wanted a festival style invitation so a friend painted Dean and I, Lucy (our V W camper), the venue, the band, and our three dogs. It was amazing, personable and so us!

Durango Weddings Magazine


THE CEREMONY We had our ceremony in an intimate setting in the woods with the La Plata River as the backdrop. We were married under a beautiful aspen arbor with wildflower wreaths and draped garlands. Our band did an acoustic set and played the background and processional music while our close friend officiated the wedding. It was the most gorgeous setting for an evening ceremony. After the ceremony ended, everyone followed us on a short nature trail walk through the woods to the event center. Along the way, we had rustic framed photos of us tied up to the trees. On the event center lawn, we had a full band and cocktail hour setup with lawn games under the huge Cottonwood trees.


Kaitlin & Dean THE PHOTO BOOTH Our 1988 Volkswagon Westfalia Vanagon camper van, Lucy, was our photo booth. She was looking SUPER, all decked out in wedding décor and the perfect photo booth for our guests. Everyone had a blast taking pictures in it… especially all the kids!

In the evening, everything was lit up beautifully and we got to dance under the stars until we brought the band inside the event center to crank it up a notch! ADVICE Have fun! Don’t sweat the small stuff, no one, seriously, no one will notice if anything is missing or goes wrong, except you. At the end of the day, you will still be married, so don’t let anything distract you from your beautiful, memorable day. Also, make sure to set aside some brief time with your husband/wife after the ceremony and during the night…. 5 minutes here, a few minutes there…. to step back and take a moment to appreciate it all together. It goes by so fast! RECOMMENDED VENDORS Venue, Event Design & Planning: Ridgewood Events Center (p. 7). We absolutely loved this venue, it was perfect for us, beautiful scenery, serene and out in the country. Joan was our day-of coordinator and she was fantastic. She’s very creative and artistic, and listens to what you want. She created our centerpieces, helped decorate the altar, set up the dessert table, and set the tent with ribbon chandelier. She was wonderful! Photographer: IlluminArts (p. 61). Drew is super! He’s very professional and his work is top notch. He was wonderful to work with, and accommodated our wild group well. Caterer: Durangourmet (p. 89). AMAZING! Jimmy is so great, and his food is incredible. We did family style and everyone loved the food and the portions were perfect. Hair & Makeup: Hair Fusion (p. 94). Amazing. They were lovely people and we were all so happy with our hair and makeup. They did a beautiful job. continued on page 90

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From the bride, Sara: THE CEREMONY We held our ceremony at a friends house at 2 Dogs Estates. The view of Castle Rock was great for pictures and the lighting couldn’t have been more perfect. My cousin, Justine sang as our wedding party walked up the aisle for the ceremony and back down the aisle after. She has an incredible voice, our guests loved it. Our great friend, Bob performed the ceremony, he held the ceremony papers in my husband’s favorite cookbook (he’s a chef). Our dog was the flower girl, which definitely added an element of humor to the event. Both of my parents walked me down the aisle, it was great to share that moment with them. 72

My mom sewed my wedding dress, which was absolutely perfect. It meant so much to wear the dress, knowing that my mom made it. The dress had pockets too, which is a nice thing to have on your wedding day.

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Sara & Ki THE RECEPTION Our reception was at the Sow’s Ear. It was so convenient to have the lodging and additional room space all in one spot. The views are incredible at the Silverpick Lodge and it’s perfect for out of town guests. The food at the Sow’s Ear is probably the main reason we chose the restaurant. The food is made to order and by far the best food in Durango. Our guests were very impressed. THE SEATING DISPLAY We had the guests’ names hanging on a frame. When they took their name card, they replaced it with a polaroid picture. It was so great to have so many candid pictures of our friends. ADVICE We walked around after dinner and greeted many of our guests. It was great to have a few moments with everyone. I would highly recommend this as the day goes by so fast and it’s hard to see everyone. RECOMMENDED VENDORS Reception Site: Sow’s Ear at Silverpick Lodge (p. 29). The food was so delicious, guests were raving about it all night and to this day. George, the owner, spent time with us to pick our menu and alcohol selections. He paid attention to our food interests and budget. Guest Lodging: Silverpick Lodge (p. 29) was perfect. The lodge has a spa, hot tubs, the Columbine room (where personal catering can take place), and an array of rooms that can accommodate many family sizes. It is so convenient to have the lodging and reception in one place. The Columbine Room with the fire pit was perfect for the extra events we hosted for our out of town guests.
 Event Planner: Jill Davis, Durango Party Rental (p. 73). Jill has been in the wedding industry for 15+ years. She is great at collaborating with what you envision and bringing it all together. She offers great insight and truly helps pull the wedding day together.

continued on page 90


I loved that all of our decor was DIY. My mom is my best friend, it was great to know she put so much love into our big day.

Durango Weddings Magazine


From the bride, Brittany: WHY PURGATORY RESORT We met at Purg and got engaged at Purg. Purgatory will always have such a special place in our hearts… we just knew we had to get married there and keep our Purg love story going strong. THE CEREMONY My dad and brother made our arch from aspen trees they found around the yard. The aisle was lined with a blush sequin runner and gorgeous rose petals. The ceremony was short and sweet. We didn’t want anything too long or drawn out. My brother told the story of how we met and talked about the love we have for each other. We said our vows, kissed and that was it! THE RECEPTION DÉCOR The tables were draped in black satin floor length linens with a blush pintuck linen on top. They were adorned with a combination of large black trumpet vases, vintage mercury gold vases, gold candlesticks, black candelabras, rose petals and candles. 76

I hated when the night ended… I just wanted to keep dancing! ADVICE Plan far in advice and make a checklist! There are so many small things that you forget about it if you don’t take notes and keep track. Also, give yourself at least nine months to plan and enjoy it! RECOMMENDED VENDORS Venue, Caterer, Lodging; Purgatory Resort (p. inside cover) Linens & Rentals: Durango Party Rental (p. 73) continued on page 90

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During the ceremony, we did a unity painting, which was a lot of fun. The painting now hangs in our home and reminds us daily of the amazing wedding we had. ~Liz & Gary

(image credits: top: Taylor Jones Photography. Bottom: Popography, Lark Photography, Gracie Bell Photography)

Our aisle was lined with heirloom rugs and candles that led to an arbor under a maple tree my dad planted for me when I was two. I always knew I’d get married under this tree! ~Tina & Mark

Instead of the unity candle or sand ceremony, we did foot washing, which symbolizes living God’s way of life, a life of service to others. ~Jana & Philip

Our aisle was lined with 20 wood slabs that we hand cut and burned special love quotes on. ~Lindsay & Steve

We had our parents bring water from our home towns to “unite” with our Colorado water in our “unity” ceremony. ~Partrika & Ward


(image credits: top: Jeff & Jewels Photography, Jamie Beth Photography. Bottom: Moosehead Design, Photography by Julie, Jesse LaPlante Photography)

We had an artist who started a painting while the guests were being seated for the ceremony. She continued painting us through the night. Guests kept going up and looking at the progress. It was way cool!! ~Mindy & Bob

Using skis from his old collection and some that we found at thrift stores here and there around Durango, my dad constructed an amazing arbor for our ceremony. As a special touch, one of the pairs of skis had my dads name on them, a gift from my mom back in the day! ~Robyn & Jim

My dad and I planted a tree together when I was little with the hope that I would one day get married under this tree. Well, I did! ~Wendi & Paul

We asked our guests to bring a small stone from their home. During the ceremony, each guest placed the stone on the soil of a bonsai tree as a symbol of their blessing of the union and to help support us in our marriage. ~Lorena & Mark

We did the passing of the wedding rings through the crowd so that all our guests could bless the rings before we exchanged them. ~Mandi & Kirk

I painted lyrics from a special song on slabs of wood to line the aisle. ~Melissa & John

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I wrote personal notes to my husband-to-be on slips of paper cut from a Chipotle bag. As each of my eight bridesmaids met him 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 he laughed and wiped tears from his eyes as he read each note. ~Abby & Tyler

(image credits: top: Van Buren Photography. Bottom: Lauren Brown Photography, Brinton Studios)

Instead of the unity candle, we “planted” an oak tree together. We will plant it at the first home we buy (it’s still growing strong!) and watch it grow, as we do, together.” ~Dani & Colby


We had a intimate, warm and joyful candlelit ceremony in our custom made silk pajamas. ~Amy & Patrick I used my great grandmother’s old leather bible as my ring bearer pillow. -Kate & Tom

One of the many things we love to do together is rock climb. We decided to incorporate this into our day with a knot-tying ceremony. We have the rope on our mantle to remember that moment every day. ~Allison & Matt

For our outdoor ceremony in the mountains, we had a table of pashimas (in our wedding colors) for our guests to grab prior to the ceremony so they would not catch a chill. ~Amanda & Steve

We chose not to do a unity candle, but instead a unity brand. We Branded (J heart J) into a log slab. ~Jamie & Jess

(image credits: top: Brinton Studios, Frances Photography, Shutterfreek. Bottom: Alpine Wedding Photography, Kerinsa Marie Photography)

For our outdoor winter wedding, we set up a hot chocolate station inside with thermoses that guests could fill-up and take outside to sip on during our snowy & chilly ceremony. ~Evelyn & Darrin

My husband made our rustic beverage cart that fit 6 crates of cold beverages. It was perfect for our outdoor ceremony. ~Rebecca & Pete

I cut and glued over one thousand paper hearts onto wood craft sticks that I placed in the ground lining the ceremony aisle. ~Gina & Rob We had a family blending ceremony where we presented my daughter with a personalized necklace. The entire rest of the night she told everyone happily that Thomas had married her first. ~Donna & Thomas

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seating displays & table names

Mountain biking together was actually our very first date! So, we really wanted to incorporate bikes into our wedding. Together we own seven bikes, two of them are cruiser bikes - mine, of course, being the pretty red one we used for the place card display. ~Sara & Ty

My mom and I created the escort cards. They were in the shape of lift tickets with our mountain logo. We hung them from metal tags on a chic yet rustic wooden board. We named our tables after our favorite ski trails. ~Jennifer & Peter (image credits: top: IN Photography, Brinton Studios. Bottom: Melissa Yocum Photography, Carrie Patterson, Sarah Roshan Photography)

Our seating chart was a piece of plywood we stained & stenciled together. ~Nicki & Shawn


We attached our escort cards to an old wagon wheel we found at a farm auction. ~Jes & Ben

We hung guests’ place cards on a distressed vintage door. ~Stephanie & Richard

Rather than plain table numbers, we glued number signs on a stick and took photos with our cat & dog. They were a quirky personal touch our guests enjoyed. ~Sasha & Chauncey

(image credits: top: Logan Walker Photography, Chris McLaughlin Photography. Bottom: Brinton Studios, Tyler Freear, IlluminArts)

Our table numbers were old license plates we collected from friends and family. Our guests had a fun time sharing stories from memorable vehicles they once owned. ~Donna & Greg

With some scrap wood we stained, vintage key locks we found at an antique store, and wrought iron numbers, we assembled signs numbered 1-10 for each table. ~Callie & Luke

Our tables were named after native Colorado trees. Being a biology teacher, I included the scientific Latin name below each of the trees to add a little more personalization. ~Allison & Matt

Our table numbers were handmade booklets that everyone wrote their advice in. We plan to read each booklet on the corresponding anniversary (table 1: 1st anniversary, table 2: second anniversary, etc.). ~Rochelle & Franklin

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place cards, favors & more

We wrote each guest a personalized note on their name cards. Chris and I spent way more time than we should have personalizing each note, but it was one way we could make each person—especially those who dedicated time and money traveling to Colorado—to feel special and loved, even if we didn’t get to see them a lot throughout the wedding day. ~Ali & Chris (image credits: top: Pepper Nix Photography. Bottom: Kelli Bicket Photography, Marianne Wiest Photography, Merideth Harris Photography)

To incorporate our love of fishing, we named each table after a favorite fishing spot and found wooden fish at a craft store that served as place cards. ~Jennie & Kirby


Every guest’s name was painted on a river rock from Glacier National Park (where we got engaged) and placed on their table setting. I also handwrote a thank you card that was on everyone’s place setting. ~Robin & Tyler

To honor my Mexican heritage, our escort cards were Mexican tiles inscribed with each guests’ name and their table number in Spanish. ~Gabrielle & Stephen

(image credits: top: JoPhoto. Bottom: IlluminArts, Trystan Photography, Steve Stanton Photography

To thank all the special men in my life (my dad, my brother, my new father-in-law and my husband-to-be), I had a personal note embroidered on the ties they would be wearing on our wedding day. ~Samantha

Our thank you gifts were small bottles of homemade wine my parents made with custom labels. ~Jennifer & Aaron All of my ladies enjoy wine, so I had wine glasses monogrammed with their initials and had wine waiting for us to enjoy while we got ready. ~Mattie & Charlie

We labeled wine bottles with future anniversary dates and asked our guests to place messages in the bottles. This means on our 25th and 50th wedding anniversary we will be able to read advice and loving words from grandparents who have long passed. ~Christie & Andrew

As our guests left the reception, they received a ‘Breakfast in Bed� box to enjoy the next morning. Each box included a croissant, jar of jelly and a virgin mimosa. ~Trina & Zac

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music theme Tyler and I are concert junkies in San Francisco, so we knew we needed as much live music as possible, which ended up being all of it! We had a cellist in the garden for the entry music and processional. As soon as we said “I do”, a bag piper started playing (representing my Scottish heritage) to escort the guests to cocktail hour. At cocktail hour, we had acoustic guitar. After that the band’s fiddle player escorted guests to the reception tent where the band was waiting to play the rest of the night! ~Anne & Tyler Our guest book was a record set, it was created by one of our good friends. The records came with a beautiful wooden record case, which held the records once they were signed. ~Allison & Rick Music is a big part of our relationship. We met at a music festival (Electric Avenue) and have been enjoying going to concerts and listening to good tunes together ever since. We wanted to communicate this part of our relationship to our guests. Instead of numbering the reception tables, we named them after bands and artists we love (Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, etc.). The seating cards were concert tickets that guests’ picked up at ‘will call’ during the cocktail hour. ~Sara & Kellen

(image credits: top: Marianne Wiest Photography. Middle & bottom rows: Kelli Nixon Photography)



travel theme

We had 100 paper airplanes (that we made and hand folded) tossed at us after our I do kiss and as we left the reception to celebrate our future travels together. ~Rachel & Philip Our escort cards were luggage tags with a message from us that read, “Some roads are not meant to be traveled alone”. ~Annie & Colby Since we’ve traveled to 18 countries together, thus far, we chose to name our tables after some of our favorite international cities, like Paris where we got engaged. To find their table assignments, guests located a golden compass with their name. Once opened, the compass had the name of the city they were “traveling” to. The compasses were fully functional and doubled as party favors. ~Alex & Joel We had all our guests sign a globe, which now sits on our mantle. ~Crystal & Ty We had a fun cake topper made of us with a plane (my husband is a pilot and I’m a flight attendant). ~Rosie & Ted We hung maps and placed travel books all around our reception. ~Jessica & George Our tables were named after countries we have visited together. We included a framed picture of us in each country along with a brief story of what we loved most about that country. ~Susan & Gordon (image credits: top: Beth Photography. Polsi Photo, second row: Lori Kennedy, Katie Corrine Photography. third row: Clane Gessel Photography, Katie Corrine. Bottom: Katie Corrine, Marianne Wiest Photography) Durango Weddings Magazine



from the pros

We can’t get enough of hanging wedding decorations. With all the tall cottonwoods surrounding our venue, we have seen so many adorable ideas popping up on our 2017 wedding agendas. Bottles, globes, floral wreaths, lace rings, candles, mason jars, you name it. If it’s hanging, it can be a lovely addition to your special day. We love that it offers a romantic boho feel and draws one’s eye up while adding a twinkle or pop of color in the space above your event.

I like the use of a greenery like eucalyptus and ruscus as focal point in florals to create lovely mixed textures for table runners, ceremony backdrops, framing for photobooths, etc. ~Jill Davis, Durango Party Rental

~Krii Black, LePlatt’s Pond

I am loving the incorporation of unusual metals and stone in wedding styling! From cakes to specialty cocktails, there are so many stunning ways to incorporate these elements into your special day! Rose gold, copper, geode, agate and unusual stones are a big part of this beautiful trend! ~Jill Davis, Durango Party Rental

My favorite wedding trend right now is GOLD everything. It’s such a classy color and I love that it has made a comeback. ~Bree Gonzales, Faith Photography

My favorite wedding trends currently are Boho, the big, over-the-top garden bespoke style, and the clean, gorgeous, elegant look. It is so fun to live in a beautiful mountain town that you can do whatever style you want and it is always fitting and beautiful. ~Colleen Clausen, Lilia Floral Design

(image credits: Top: The Unfound Door, Shutterfreek, The Unfound Door. Bottom: Karen Ann Photography, Lauren Brown Photography, Lauren Brown Photography)


We are going gaga over the greenery wedding decor that’s trending this 2017 season. It’s a clean, classic and elegant look that is applicable across the board incorporating succulents, cottonwood branches, ferns, locally grown items and creamy floral touches. We especially love seeing this color pallet at LePlatt’s Pond, and incorporating elements such as our Pine River Hops grown here on the ranch. Some of our favorite local florists have done a stunning job embellishing floral crowns, bridal bouquets, memorable centerpieces and place settings with the hops vines and cones. ~Krii Black, LePlatt’s Pond We are loving the rustic farm table trend! They look amazing with our mismatched vintage china and glassware as well as our whiskey barrels! ~Jill Davis, Durango Party Rental I have been loving the textures, greens and clean lines of late. Doing bouquets from the 40’s has been a blast as well. Airy, garden beskope, organic and asymmetrical are great too. ~Colleen Clausen, Lilia Floral Design We love “peaceful glam”; an environment created using creamy neutrals, soft fabrics, beautiful flowers, & plenty of open space. We think a beautiful wedding is created with the right color palette. We tend to love photographing greenery with elegant colors. Burgundy is a personal favorite. We also love a couple who can get creative with vertical space, like a hanging installation of lights or flowers. ~Shutterfreek Sourcing locally grown flowers is gaining importance as well as a sustainable menu. Instead of plastic water bottles, we are beginning to see monogrammed glassware and stainless vessels that guests use throughout the day or evening and then take home as a gift and memory of your wedding. Being mindful of waste and renting needed wedding items is a great way to get the look you want without having to find a home or garbage after. ~Colleen Clausen, Lilia Floral Design This season we are sort of obsessed with outdoor dance lounges! One of our favorite things about the 2017 wedding season is accommodating our brides with the option of an outdoor dance lounge. There’s just something magical about having your first dance with the setting sun over the lake behind you! We create a lounge atmosphere around the floor for guests to comfortably sit, stand, mingle and partake in the romance of it all. It’s especially lovely during our warm summer evenings when things can tend to really heat up on the dane floor! Dancing under the stars and drizzled twinkle lights in the cottonwoods is straight out of a fairytale. ~Krii Black, LePlatt’s Pond

(images by Marianne West Photography)

Pictures are such a personalized, fun and affordable way to decorate! I’ve seen a couple use pictures from each trip they’ve taken together as table numbers and reserved signs. I’ve also seen a couple use photos as icebreakers for the reception. They had pictures scattered on each table encouraging guests to find one another based on the image, like a picture of skis and the note “Find our friend who was on the Cross County Olympic Team” and so forth. ~Emily Spencer, The Strater Hotel Durango Weddings Magazine



Durango Weddings Magazine




Jenne Anne & Robert (p. 10) - FLORAL DESIGNER Lilia Floral Design, FLOWERS Linnea Farm & Passion Flower Farm, PHOTOGRAPHER Salt & Pine Photo, CEREMONY SITE 550 Meadow, RECEPTION SITE & CATERER James Ranch, LINENS & RENTALS Heirlooms, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER Martina Liana, BRIDESMAID DRESSES Adrianna Papell, MEN’S WEAR Men’s Wearhouse, INVITATIONS, GUEST LODGING Durango Downtown Inn. Katelyn & Tanner (p. 16) - VENUE LePlatt’s Pond, RENTALS Durango Party Rental, PHOTOGRAPHER Allison Ragsdale Photography, CATERER Bottom Shelf Brewery, INVITATIONS Custom Creations, LIQUOR Star Liquor, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER Maggie Sottero, BRIDESMAID DRESSES Bill Levkoff. Rachel & Kevin (p. 20) - PHOTOGRAPHER IlluminArts, VENUE Ridgewood Event Center, CATERER The Yellow Carrot, LODGING Blue Lake Ranch. Ellysa & Casey (p. 22) - VENUE, CATERER, LODGING Durango Mountain Weddings at Purgatory Resort, PHOTOGRAPHER,VIDEO, PHOTO BOOTH Shutterfreek, FAVORS Honeyville, FLOWERS Floral Expressions, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER, Watters Wtoo Mimi, BRIDESMAID DRESSES J. Crew, MEN’S WEAR Bows-N-Ties. Alexandra & Davis (p. 26) - VENUE, LODGING, CATERER Silverpick Lodge/Sow’s Ear, LIGHTS & CHAIRS Durango Party Rental, PHOTOGRAPHER Allison Ragsdale Photography, FLOWERS April’s Garden & James Ranch, EVENT PLANNER Heirlooms, HAIR & MAKEUP Hair Fusion, DJ Aiko Aiko Sound, CAKE Cakes by Barb. Ashley & Eric (p. 30) - VENUE, CATERER, LODGING, EVENT PLANNER Canyon Crest Lodge, PHOTOGRAPHER Fizelwink Photography, FLOWERS Barton Flowers, OFFICIANT Wild Gratitude, HAIR & MAKEUP Lou Jean’s Salon, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER LaceMarry, BRIDESMAID DRESSES The Preppy Studio, MEN’S ATTIRE Men’s Wearhouse. Blaguna & Mike (p. 34) - VENUE, CATERER, LODGING Durango Mountain Weddings at Purgatory Resort, PHOTOGRAPHER IlluminArts, FLOWERS Linnaea Farm, HAIR & MAKEUP Hair Fusion, EVENT DESIGN & PLANNING The Event Pro, CAKE Skillfully Decadent Desserts, BAND Dyrty Byrds with C.R. Gruver, REHEARSAL DINNER Sow’s Ear. Kaylee & Grant (p. 38) - VENUE & FLOWERS Ridgewood Event Center, CATERER Durangourmet, PHOTOGRAPHER Ginger Moose Photography, MAKEUP Pure Skin Organic Day Spa, GOWN DESIGNER Essense of Australia, LIQUOR Star Liquors, BEER Dolores River Brewery.


Mandy & Ben (p. 42) - VENUE, LODGING, CATERER Silverpick Lodge/ Sow’s Ear, FLORAL DESIGN Lilia Floral Design, HAIR & MAKEUP Hair Fusion, PHOTOGRAPHER Kelly Miranda Photography, DJ Codestar, CAKE Skillfully Decadent Desserts, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER Truly by Zac Posen, BRIDESMAID DRESSES Anthropologie, CARRIAGE Prairie Fire Percherons, CEREMONY GUITARIST Pete Giuliani Shea & Casey (p. 46) – PHOTOGRAPHER Shutterfreek, VENUE & FLOWERS Ridgewood Event Center, RENTALS Durango Party Rental, DJ Mr. Soul Entertainment, CATERER CJ’s, CAKE City Market. Ashley & Shaun (p. 50) - CATERER Durangourmet, TENT, LINENS & RENTALS Durango Party Rental, PHOTOGRAPHER Photo Divine, EVENT PLANNER Piece of Cake Weddings, FLOWERS April’s Garden, CENTERPIECES Jade & Blooms, PIES Serious Delights, INVITATIONS LK Designs, PRINTING Fresh Off the Press. Jennifer & Aaron (p. 54) - PHOTOGRAPHER IlluminArts, VENUE Kendall Mountain Community Center, DJ CodeStar, CATERER Thee Pitts Again, BOUQUET Willowcreek Floral, MAKEUP Tiffany Aukerman, HAIR Rachel Dallmann. Chelsea & Justin (p. 56) – PHOTOGRAPHER IlluminArts, VENUE Dante’s at Purgatory Resort, HAIR & MAKEUP Hair Fusion, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER Moonlight Couture. Katye & Andre (p. 62) – PHOTOGRAPHER & PHOTO BOOTH Shutterfreek, VENUE River Bend Ranch, LINENS Durango Party Rental, DJ Stand Alone Entertainment, CATERER Hot Tomatoes, HAIR & MAKEUP Hair Fusion, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER Stella York. Kaitlin & Dean (p. 66) – PHOTOGRAPHER IlluminArts, VENUE Ridgewood Event Center, CATERER Durangourmet, HAIR & MAKEUP Hair Fusion, BAND The Williams Brothers, CAKE Kennebec Café, FLOWERS April’s Garden, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER Casablanca Bridal. Sara & Ki (p. 70) VENUE, LODGING, CATERER Silverpick Lodge/Sow’s Ear, EVENT PLANNER Durango Party Rental, PHOTOGRAPHER Eppich Photography, DJ Aiko Aiko Sound, CAKE Luda Woodward. Brittany & Dave (p. 74) - VENUE, CATERER, LODGING Durango Mountain Weddings at Purgatory Resort, LINENS Durango Party Rental, PHOTOGRAPHER Allison Ragsdale Photography, FLOWERS Jackie K, DJ Aiko Aiko Sound, MUSICIANS Callie Young & Savannah Kaufmann, WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER Hayley Paige, Meilani Gown, BRIDESMAID DRESSES Simply Dresses, MEN’S ATTIRE Men’s Wearhouse.


comical moments

image by Faith Photography Studio

My train knocked over a candle on the way down the ceremony aisle with my dad. I laughed so hard when I saw the video and noticed my friend who is a firefighter dove to recover it before it lit my dress on fire. I had no idea! ~Brittany & Sean Our ceremony was comical right from the beginning. My veil got stuck on the stone steps of the wedding deck as I was walking down the aisle. I couldn’t get Sergio’s ring on his finger and just before our “I do’s” my veil took flight and my MoH had to jump up in the air to catch it. ~Stacie & Sergio

Funny things happen at all weddings. Those are part of the special moments you will always treasure with your family! My OMG moments happen when issues arise that you aren’t expecting…like the votives being placed too close to the centerpieces and catching them on fire or the cake arriving to a high country venue cracked completely in half. Once when I was working at a ski resort, we arrived to open the venue and a bear had snuck in to the building in the middle of the night and was still in the reception space! Needless to say, those moments keep you on your toes and allow for some pretty creative troubleshooting! ~Jill Davis, Durango Party Rental

As I was hiding behind some trees waiting to walk down the aisle, my dad realized I had giant black ants crawling up my FIVE layers of lace. Eek! We managed to get them all out just in time and have something to laugh about as we walked down the aisle. ~Heather & Tom I was a guest at a wedding where the presents on the gift table caught on fire during the first dance. The fire was quickly extinguished. Then recently a very tall groomsmen passed out during the vows. All the other guys caught him though. He was revived and the ceremony continued smoothly. ~Colleen Clausen, Lilia Floral Design Durango Weddings Magazine



RESOURCE directory

Our vetted collection of A-list venues & vendors. If you seek top-notch service, creativity and a stress-free wedding day, this is the group you’ll want by your side!

Canyon Crest Lodge

{See ad on page 45, featured on page 30} 580 Yeoman Drive • Pagosa Springs, CO 970-731-3773 •

Echo Basin Ranch {See ad on page 65}

43747 County Road M • Mancos, CO 970-533-7000 •

Silverpick Lodge & Sow’s Ear

{See ad on page 29, featured on pages 26, 42, 70} 48475 US 550 • Durango, CO 970-259-6600 •


LePlatt’s Pond

{See ad on page 1, featured on page 16} 311 County Road 501 • Bayfield, CO 970-759-0748 •

Strater Hotel

{See ad on page 2}

699 Main Avenue • Durango, CO 970-375-7124 •

Double R Ranch

Durango Mountain Weddings at Purgatory Resort

19555 County Road 42 • Mancos, CO 970-426-9465 •

#1 Skier Place • Durango, CO 970-385-2164 •

{See ad on page 73}

Ridgewood Event Center

{See ad on page 7, featured on pages 20, 38, 46, 66}

{See ad on inside cover, featured on pages 22, 34, 56, 74}

River Bend Ranch

{See ad on page 89, featured on page 62}

16000 Highway 140 • Hesperus, CO 970-385-4537 •

27846 Hwy 550 • Durango, CO 970-335-8877 •

Town of Silverton

The Lake House

PO Box 683 • Silverton, CO 970-387-5522 •

17460 County Road 501 • Bayfield, CO 970-884-9150 •

{See ad on page 90, featured on page 54}

{See ad on page 89}

Durango Weddings Magazine


Custom Creations

{Recommended on page 19} Janelle Farnam • Durango, CO 970-759-4432 •

Hair Fusion Salon, Spa & Barber Shop {Recommended on pages 28, 37, 44, 60, 64, 69} 969 Main Ave • Durango, CO 970-259-0188 •

Linnaea Farm {Recommended on pages 15, 37}

A specialty flower farm and floral design studio Marje Cristol • Durango, CO 970-946-2712 •


Durango Party Rental

{See ad on page 73, recommended on pages 28, 48, 53, 64, 72, 74}

67 Suttle Street, Durango, CO 970-259-6009 •


{See ad on inside back cover, recommended on page 25} 33633 Hwy 550 • Durango, CO 970-247-1474 •

Norton’s Catering & Hwy 3 Roadhouse 955 State Highway 3 • Durango, CO 970-247-4702 •



{See ad on page 89, recommended on pages 41, 53, 69} Jimmy Nicholson • Durango, CO 970-749-1717 •


{See ad on page 61, featured on pages 20, 34, 54, 56, 66}

1309 East 3rd Avenue, Studio #203 • Durango, CO 970-759-2040 •

Reverend Chessa Gill

Durango, CO 970-749-6859 • 970-259-7133

Faith Photography Studio

{See ad on page 88} Bree Gonzales • Durango & Farmington 505-947-2697 •

Lilia Floral Design

{See ad on page 89, recommended on pages 15, 44} Colleen Clausen • Durango, CO 541-410-9959 •


{See ad on page 49, featured on pages 22, 46, 62} Paul & Katie McPherson • Durango & Farmington 505-860-9901 • Durango Weddings Magazine



image by Shutterfreek



Durango Weddings Magazine - 2017 Issue  

This issue features 20 local weddings guaranteed to inspire! Plus, 20 pages of creative ideas, great tips, and helpful advice.

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