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IlluminArts Photography (see story on page 66)





09.10.11 Durango Mountain Resort Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride... I always wanted to get married in the mountains in the fall, which is my favorite season (we don’t really have a colorful leaf change in Phoenix), so Durango was the perfect place to have our wedding. We started planning a year before, and knowing that vendors book quickly in Durango during the summer, we booked everything right away. I wanted to keep it simple and did not want to stress about a million details. It was raining the day of, but I was not worried. I would have no problem standing in the rain. If it happened, it happened. As luck would have it, the weather cleared and the sun came out. Seeing each other for the first time before the ceremony was so memorable! We decided to take as many pictures as we could before the ceremony so we could have more time to enjoy our reception. The ceremony was held in Boyce Meadows overlooking Engineer Mountain. The walk down the aisle with my dad was very emotional. Reverend Chessa Gill helped us craft heart-felt vows that incorporated nature. My brother and his wife, who live in England, watched us get married live via Skype. We loved everything about our day, especially being able to have family and friends with us to share this memorable time. We did not want the day to end! My advice is to take your time, make it your own, and don’t try to do too much.



Sarah and Nathan... Our reception was both fun and intimate. The food was great and the DJ got everyone on the dance floor.

The invitations were silver with a navy flower on them, tied together with a navy ribbon. My blue shoes, in my favorite color, served as my something blue.

The bridesmaids all wore cowboy boots that added to our rustic, laid-back with



a country feel theme.

We used tree trunks from Nathan’s family’s home in the décor and cake stand.

Centerpieces were made from sunflowers placed in mason jars filled with rocks, then tied with ribbon and surrounded by fall leaves and pinecones. We had a three-tiered cake surrounded

by sunflowers and ribbon.

Our favors were jars of honey from Honeyville (see page 92).

During the speeches, my dad got so chocked up he could barely talk. I’ve never seen my dad cry, so it was a very special moment I will never forget. We danced to Van Morrison, “I’ll Be Your Lover Too” for our first dance and it was perfect.

For our reception entrance, we came sliding down the mountain on the alpine slide as all our guests watched. It was so much fun!

Recommended Vendors...

IlluminArts Photography

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15) | Venue/Caterer/Lodging: Durango Mountain Resort (see inside front cover) DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 65) | Officiant: Reverend Chessa Gill (see page 94) | Hair/Makeup: Hair Fusion Salon & Spa (see page 94)



Kelli and Keith


08.05.11 Durango Mountain Resort Photography by Cardwell Auckerman Photography

From the bride... Our ceremony was held at Dante’s Peak at 4 pm. The view of Engineer Mountain was stunning! We were blessed with perfect weather; the sun was shining and there was a slight breeze. My father and I arrived in a horse-drawn carriage with a beautiful white horse. Upon arriving, I was so nervous. I kept crying and pretty much couldn’t stop; I was just so happy and excited! Our officiant did a wonderful job of calming me down – she kept me laughing and it helped take my mind off of my nerves. Keith was cool, calm, and collected the entire time! Good thing one of us was composed! Our ceremony site was gorgeous! The surroundings were the decorations; we hardly needed anything to enhance the beauty of the site! One of the things that quite a few people commented on (besides the BEAUTIFUL surroundings) was the way my veil was blowing in the breeze. It was sparkly and caught the light in just the right way. My mother surprised me with a little detail on my bouquet. She had given our florist her veil from her wedding 32 years ago and the florist incorporated it into my bouquet. I loved it! After the formal pictures, the sun was beginning to set and the view was absolutely amazing! This time was one of the most extraordinary parts of the day because Keith and I just got to enjoy one another’s company. It was really the first time we had seen each other since the day before and we were both blissfully happy as a newly wedded couple! Our wedding day was one of the best days of my life!



Kelli and Keith...

Keith proposed to me under a tree at the top of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, NM. For the longest time I could not figure out what we should have as a theme. Then one day I was looking at invitations and saw one that had a tree that looked similar to the one we got engaged under. Instantly, I knew I had the perfect theme, Carved in Love. The details were so much fun to plan! Our guestbook was made of wood and had “K+K” and our wedding date carved into it. We had “bride” and “groom” wood hearts that hung on our



chairs. Even our wedding cake sat on wood slabs. Oh, and our cake topper was a wooden tree carved with “K+K.” For decor, we had wine colored tablecloths, sunflower colored napkins, and burlap runners. We filled mason jars with daisies, sunflowers and calla lilies in our color scheme. Each table was named after a ski run at Durango Mountain Resort and marked using a chalkboard slab of wood. For favors, we got little jars of Honeyville (see page 92) jams and honey. We made thank you notes and

tied them around each jar with twine. Honeyville has some of the best jam around! Our first dance was to Lady Antebellum “When You’ve Got a Good Thing.” We took dance lessons and decided upon a Rumba for our first dance. The lessons were a blast and Keith learned he’s actually a pretty good dancer!

My dad made me laugh the whole time we were dancing. He was humming along to the music and being silly – it was classic!

Durango is one of the most beautiful places on earth. There is an aura about this town that gives us a sense of peace and comfort whenever we visit.

Recommended Vendors...

Cardwell Auckerman Photography

Ceremony Site: Dante’s, Durango Mountain Resort (see inside front cover) | Reception Site/Caterer/Lodging: Purgy’s Lodge, Durango Mountain Resort (see inside cover) | DJ: Aiko, Aiko Sound (see page 65) | Formalwear Rentals: Occasions Bridal & Events Boutique (see page 55) | Cake: Celebration Cakes (see page 94) | Officiant: Reverend Chessa Gill (see page 94) | Rehearsal Dinner: Sow’s Ear at Silverpick Lodge (see page 24). The intimate setting was perfect for our rehearsal dinner and everything was DELICIOUS! Both the food and service at the Sow’s Ear is incredible!



Kim and Jesse


08.13.11 Echo Basin Ranch, Mancos Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride... My sister had a beach wedding last summer, so we wanted another destination, something different with lots of outdoor activities. Durango has always been a favorite vacation place for our family and a favorite place to bring the horses for some scenic mountain trail riding. Durango is beautiful, and has so many things to do, something for everyone. Getting married in Durango was the perfect choice for us. On our wedding day, Jesse and I got up really early and went for a ride, just the two us, before all the hustle and bustle of the day began. The gorgeous sunrise in the mountains, on horseback, was so amazing. We held our ceremony outside overlooking the LaPlata Mountains surrounded by 60 of our closest friends and relatives. The weather was beautiful and the day could not have been more perfect. Blake, our son, was the highlight of the day! He was so adorable in his crisp white shirt, brown vest (that I made out of a brown linen jumpsuit) and his little cowboy hat. He was a perfect angel the entire day. It started raining about 30 minutes after the ceremony, just after we finished our group photos. We ran to the barn for cover and started taking photos with our horses. These images turned out to be some of my favorites!



Kim and Jesse... Family, friends and cousins all helped to set-up and decorate the reception, it ended up being really fun…and just perfect. Our invitations were silhouettes of two horses touching noses.

For our wedding cake, my mom made



her famous angel food cake, which she hauled from Iowa on dry ice! Our favors were gift bags with western photo frames and organic granola bars.

We danced to “Rhythm of Love” by the Plain White T’s for our first dance. My advice to other brides is after

you pick the location and reserve everything, the color palette, gown and attire are the next priority. Also, don’t overstress on the details. On your wedding day, family and friends seem to be around at the right times in the right places to help and it all works out.

We wanted an outdoor wedding with a relaxed western theme. I chose a coral color palette and incorporated wildflowers in the dĂŠcor.

Recommended Vendors...

IlluminArts Photography

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15). TEN STARS! | Venue/Caterer/Guest Lodging/Honeymoon: Echo Basin Ranch (see page 14). Everyone raved about the food! All our guests stayed in the cabins on the ranch. Some guests stayed the weekend, while others stayed all week. We spent our honeymoon week at the ranch; we brought our own horses and enjoyed lots of hours in the saddle.



Jane and Mike


06.18.11 Family Home, Durango Photography by Kyla Jackson Photography

From the bride... We didn’t have an exact picture of what we wanted our wedding to look like. We did, however, know what type of feeling and atmosphere we wanted to create, which was warm, rustic, and casual, yet elegant. The day couldn’t have been a success without the hard work of our family and friends. They were involved in every step of the way, from prepping the property, to hanging lights, to cleaning up the day after the reception. We felt extremely blessed to have their love and support. It was important for me to spend the morning with my family and bridesmaids at my parent’s home. I will always be able to look back at our photos from the day and see this time together in a place with significant meaning to me. We held our ceremony at St. Columba Catholic Church and incorporated prayers and readings reflective of our spiritual beliefs. All went smoothly, except we kissed before saying our “I Do’s.” Because many of our guests traveled from out of town to Durango, we had several events planned prior to and after the wedding that helped make the weekend extra special. One of which included a private whitewater rafting trip down the high waters of the Animas River. Despite a flipped raft in the cold rapids of Smelter, everyone survived the adventure with an interesting story to tell!



Jane and Mike...

We chose earthy colors such as grey, cream, and green, with a few splashes of pink for our color palette. The outdoor dinner reception was held at our family’s property in the Animas Valley. The red cliffs of Hermosa and a rustic barn created the perfect backdrop for our warm celebration.

Trees wrapped in white lights and candles hanging from glass globes surrounded the open tent where the tables, dance, floor, and stage for the band were set.



Mike handmade the cardholders for the seating arrangements and the candle boxes that served as our decorations from different types of wood from the Durango area. We chose a watercolor mountain scene created by a local Colorado artist as the focal point of our invitations. This same piece of art was incorporated in our ceremony programs and guest book. The centerpieces consisted of a glass cube filled with river rock, a submerged peach sugarbush protea with curly willow and a floating candle.

We had a four-layer square cake trimmed with green grass and decorated with small clusters of peonies.

In lieu of favors, we chose to make a donation to the La Plata County Humane Society on behalf of our guests. We wanted to honor our animal friends that had meant so much to us over the years. The High Rollers band brought out our guests best dance moves to the point that the floor was breaking at the seams by the end of the night!

The wedding is your first major event together, so work with one another to make it a special and meaningful celebration. Keep in mind that the wedding is just the start to a life-long commitment with each other.

Recommended Vendors...

Kyla Jackson Photography

Photographer: Kyla Jackson Photography (see page 1). Kyla and Wesley are true professionals and masters of their craft! Tent/Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 44) | Flowers: Wildwoods Fine Flowers (see page 94)



Valerie and Jason


10.08.11 Silverpick Lodge, Durango Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride...

Our ceremony was held outdoors in an aspen meadow on a sunny Fall day. All the aspens surrounding us were in full color and a storm had recently blanketed the mountains with snow. The setting was absolutely gorgeous! We had a small ceremony that our officiant perfectly tailored to Jason and I. Toward the end of the ceremony, it began to snow lightly, which went perfect with our nuptials which were about nature and weathering life’s storms. We had a remembrance tree with a ribbon to remember those family members who had passed or who could not attend the ceremony. We also had a live aspen tree that we brought with us to symbolize our marriage and growing together. Jason’s family brought soil from Arizona, which we each placed in the container for the tree. We then added rocks from the Animas River to symbolize the coming together of our two worlds before we met, which had now become one. My advice is to relax, relax, relax! Have fun planning, make it enjoyable for yourself. Don’t worry about the small things... at the end of the day, you’ll be MARRIED.



Valerie and Jason...

Our theme was nature, destiny, storms, trees (specifically, aspens), growth, harvest and renewal. The color palette was copper, ivory, cranberry and chocolate brown.

The invitations were ivory with brown script and copper aspen leaves which were embossed on the invitation.

IlluminArts Photography

For centerpieces, we used tree saplings wrapped in ivory tulle which were placed in guests’ wine glasses so that



each guest could take a tree home to plant. We had an intimate dinner with all of our guests surrounding us. Aspen leaves were hung in iron chandeliers and the room was lit with the soft glow of candlelight. We had an aspen leaf cake with ivory fondant aspen leaves that changed colors from green to red to gold as they went up the cake!

Our first dance was to “Someone Like You” by Van Morrison, which was special because Jason and I searched for so long to find each other and it made all the things that we had gone through to find one another worth it. We bought bags of glowsticks and gave them out to guests on the dance floor. It was so cool to see all the glowing colors and everyone having such a good time dancing!

Recommended Vendors...

Jason and I decided to get married in Durango because it is the place that we feel destiny intervened and brought us together!

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15). Can’t say enough good things about these folks! They...were...GREAT! Our photographs are stunning. | Venue/Caterer/Lodging: Silverpick Lodge (see page 24). The Sow’s Ear restaurant has awesome, awesome, awesome food with a beautiful and intimate location. | DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 65). Kept the party going all night! | Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 65). I cried when I first saw my gorgeous bouquet! | Rehearsal Dinner: Silverpick Lodge (see page 24). We had a bonfire and BBQ.



Brandi and Craig


07.29.11 Durango Mountain Resort/Strater Hotel Photography by Keri Doolittle Photography

From the bride... Our ceremony was held in a meadow with Engineer Mountain serving as the backdrop. We were surrounded by fields of beautiful wildflowers and clusters of aspens that were appropriately dressed for the occasion. We shared our first kiss as husband and wife just before the clouds became too heavy to hold back a light mountain shower. The most memorable moment for me was after the ceremony when our families left to go to the dinner location. Craig and I remained in the meadow with our photographer as she captured our first few moments as husband and wife. I felt as though we were the only people on earth! I am so glad those moments were captured on film. I look at those pictures now and smile because I can see the joy and excitement in our expressions. My favorite detail was the location--it couldn’t have been more majestic or magnificent. I look back at our photos and only the meadow and the mountains could come close to competing with the magnitude of joy in that moment. The mountains provided the most beautiful “church” ever.



Brandi and Craig...

For favors, all of the women received black pashminas and the men were given monogrammed handkerchiefs.

Our photographer wanted to take a photo of us dancing in the streets of Durango. So, at about 7 pm in the evening we stepped into a cross walk and midway across we started dancing with each other. There were other people crossing the street at the same time as us and traffic was stopped in all directions while we did this. We didn’t realize how everyone in downtown



Durango had stopped what they were doing to watch us. When we kissed at the end of our short dance, everyone on the streets began applauding us. Neither of us like being the center of attention but it was a real nice moment together. From the Groom... Because this was a very small, non-traditional outdoor wedding, there was not a moment where the doors to a sanctuary opened and the bride walked down the aisle. Instead, when I saw the car Brandi was

riding in arrive, I turned my back to everyone and chatted with the minister while admiring Engineer Mountain in the background. I really don’t remember any of the conversation, but I do remember getting lost in the moment just admiring the beauty surrounding me and thinking what an amazing place this was. Shortly after that, I felt a tap on my shoulder and there was my bride looking as beautiful as ever.

We enjoyed a lovely private dinner with our families at the Mahogany Grille in the Strater Hotel following our wedding ceremony.

Recommended Vendors...

Keri Doolittle Photography

Ceremony Site: Durango Mountain Resort (see inside front cover) | Reception Site: Mahogany Grille at the Strater Hotel (see page 25)



Kristina and Gabe


09.24.11 El Dorado Ranch, Durango Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride...

The ceremony took place on the upper meadow of our family ranch, the El Dorado. The aspen trees were beginning to change colors, and the rain from the week before had turned into beautiful bright blue skies making it the ideal day for our wedding. The wedding party, myself and Gabe arrived in restored vintage cars and trucks. After we said ‘I do’ we were all surprised by a herd of longhorn cattle (cued by the cowboys) running through the ceremony site. Needless to say, we were all a bit startled. Our guests are still talking about this. One of our favorite moments was the time we had by ourselves after the ceremony (eating pie in the kitchen) before the photoshoot. It gave us time to unwind and realize how happy we were to be married. My advice is to make your wedding personal for the two of you. Include touches from experiences you’ve had together. During the planning process and the day of your wedding, take a deep breathe and remember what the day is really about…your love for each other.



Kristina and Gabe...

During the cocktail hour, guests played horse shoes and listened to a fabulous blue grass band.

The reception took place by the river on the ranch. Near the outdoor entrance to the tent was a beautiful antique cart filled with flowers in vintage vases. This created the atmosphere for the evening to follow. Our colors were purple and green with the theme of “vintage/western/elegant shabby chic.” We used antique mismatched plates



for the dinner service. The floral arrangements were done in vintage milk bottles and mason jars. We chose flowers that looked handpicked to capture the elegance of their simplicity. Chandeliers and lanterns were used to give the reception tent a romantic, rustic feel and beautiful aspen trees in full color were displayed in the center of the tent. We had two different photo booth areas for our guests. One was a restored 1950’s truck and the other was a staged

western looking living room with an outdoor fireplace.

Our donkey, Duke, was the star of the party. He ate the wedding parties’ flowers, kissed guests and provided amazing photo ops. We had a 1969 Bronco decorated with flowers and balloons as our getaway vehicle. When the reception ended we all continued celebrating at The Office Spiritorium at the Strater Hotel.

For us, the most memorable moments were the performances by our friends and family, the heartfelt speeches by our parents and wedding party, the photo booth pictures and just spending time with each other and our guests.

Recommended Vendors...

IlluminArts Photography

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15) | Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 35) | Caterer: Durangourmet (see page 45) DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 65) | Tent/Party Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 44) | Guest Lodging & After Party: Strater Hotel (see page 25) | Hair/Makeup: Hair Fusion Salon & Spa (see page 94)



Joy and Danny


07.03.11 Silver Mountain Guest Ranch, Durango Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride... Our ceremony was in a meadow with Silver Mountain behind us on a beautiful Summer day. We started by having four dear friends invite the four directions (from the Native American tradition) as a way to ground us in the moment and bring in the sacred, the divine. It was intimate, yet involved many of our close family members. We wrote our vows together and said them to each other, which was the best and most intimate part of the ceremony. We also did a sand ceremony as a symbol of combining our lives while also keeping our individuality. After the ceremony, Danny and I had a few moments alone in the trees. We sat on a straw bale together, sipped champagne and ate chocolate covered strawberries. Those few moments we shared together before the reception were the sweetest. We had a brunch the next morning for all our out of town guests and family along with local members of the wedding party where we enjoyed some additional time to say “thanks” and “goodbyes.” My advice is to enjoy this really sweet time of preparing for a ceremony and celebration while recruiting lots of help from your dearest friends and family. Start early and take the time to make decisions together.



Joy and Danny...

Our theme was “Mountain Casual” with a pink and orange color palette.

I was so happy with the flowers! I used only organic flowers grown in Durango.

Pink and orange bandanas arranged with flowers and tea light candles in glass holders made up our centerpieces. They were simple, festive, and bright.

The vases and candle holders were our favors.

My favorite detail was the invitations and place cards handmade by my sister and mother. They were a little bright representation of their love!

We served margaritas and local beer. That was among one of our BEST decisions!



We served carrot and chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. To be honest, we were so busy, we each only had one bite.

Preparing for our first dance was very memorable for Danny and I. We spent many hours with an incredible dance teacher. We danced to “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole and surprised our guests

who stood and cheered in delight!

Our closest out of town guests stayed in the cabins at Silver Mountain Guest Ranch, which were a short walk from the ceremony and reception site. It was very fun to have our friends so close for the whole weekend! For our honeymoon, we drove away to Telluride the next day in time for the best fireworks I had ever seen and several days of rest and hiking in our beautiful backyard!

The reception was under the pole barn at Silver Mountain Guest Ranch that was brightly and beautifully decorated. There were many heartfelt toasts, wonderful food loved by all, and then lots of dancing!

Recommended Vendors...

IlluminArts Photography

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15) | Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 35) | Venue: Silver Mountain Guest Ranch (see page 44) | Tent/Party Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 44) | Officiant: Reverend Chessa Gill (see page 94). Chessa was great!



Devon and Kyle


07.02.11 Durango Mountain Resort Photography by Cardwell Auckerman Photography

From the bride...

The day was perfect! I was so excited when we got to Boyce Meadows and I could see all our friends and family waiting to witness us take our vows. I could not wait to get down the aisle! During the ceremony, we had family members sing “When You Say Nothing at All,� probably my favorite part of the wedding. The ceremony felt like it flew by! I love butterflies! One of my favorite pictures was a butterfly flying by us right after the ceremony! Plan out your weekends! My husband built a schedule far enough in advance that allowed us enough time to finish everything we wanted prior to the wedding, so we were not overwhelmed with last minute details.



Devon and Kyle...

The biggest thing I wanted from my reception was for people to have fun! I wanted lots of mingling and dancing.

Kyle, his father and I made our ceremony arch out of aspen logs, cut down from Kyle’s family ranch. Kyle and I put together all the mason jars we gave out as favors. We tied tags of the wedding date on them wrapped in pink and orange ribbon.

My father-in-law made us a cupcake



tower out of horseshoes he welded together. The lemon and spice cupcakes had little butterflies and our family brands on top!

My Dad and I put together a father daughter dance that really got the party started. It started off with The Beatles, “In My Life”, and cut to N’Sync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye”. We really wanted to do something unexpected, especially since anyone who knows my Dad would never expect him

to do something like this.

For our first dance, we chose “Yours and Mine” by Kyle Park.

My only wish was that I would have danced with both of my grandfathers. That was something I forgot to do. My advice to other brides is to delegate when you can! People really do want to help. If someone asks, give them a job! Especially things that need to be done the day of, like set up or break down.

If you are on a budget, allow enough money for a really good photographer. I am so thrilled with my pictures, and so thankful that I splurged on the only thing you really get to keep from the wedding.

Recommended Vendors...

Cardwell Auckerman Photography

Ceremony Site: Boyce Meadows, Durango Mountain Resort (see inside front cover) | Reception Site: Purgy’s Lodge, Durango Mountain Resort (see inside front cover) | DJ: Aiko, Aiko Sound (see page 65). Michael Jordan was awesome! | Officiant: Reverend Andrea Miller (see page 94) Hair/Makeup: Lemon Head Hair Salon (they saved my day!) | Guest Lodging: Durango Mountain Resort (see inside front cover)



Taylor and John


09.03.11 San Juan Country Club, Farmington Photography by Shutterfreek Photography

From the bride...

Our ceremony was held outdoors on the golf course under a gazebo. It was small and intimate. We wanted a very simple and romantic ceremony which included songs that were a part of our relationship. A unity candle was used and traditional vows recited. One of the most memorable moments was when I was walking down the aisle, feeling everyone’s eyes on me, but all I could focus on was the alter. At the end of the ceremony, my husband picked me up and kissed me while spinning me around, that was pure joy and happiness. My advice to other brides is to take your time, and plan the wedding of YOUR dreams, not what your family and friends want. Looking back, I wish we would have taken a longer engagement to plan more!



Taylor and John...

Our wedding inspiration was “Country Chic” with a yellow, orange, brown, and ivory color palette.

We incorporated lots of sunflowers and cowboy boots to show our country roots!

I used blue rhinestones on the bottom of my shoes spelling “I Do” for my something blue. All the groomsmen wore cowboy boots



and aviator sunglasses.

Our centerpieces were made from mismatched containers and mason jars filled with flowers. We hung flower balls from the ceiling.

We served a country meal of BBQ and beer! Dessert was strawberry & cream filled white cake, assorted cupcakes, and homemade biscochitos.

For favors, we had hand soaps, wishing wands and candy jars. My favorite details were all the country touches. It showed how casual we are as a couple and how much we love the outdoors. My husband and I had our first dance to “Honeybee” by Blake Shelton.

A very entertaining father-daughter dance filled the reception with laughter!

Recommended Vendors...

Our reception had lots of energy and two-steppin! It was a beautiful mixer of family and friends that brought so much joy into the celebration.

Shutterfreek Photography

Photographer: Shutterfreek Photography (see page 54) | Bridesmaid Dresses: Silk, A Bridal Boutique (see page 54) | Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 65) | Tent/Party Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 44) | Hair/Makeup: Hair Fusion Salon & Spa (see page 94)



Amanda and David


08.14.11 Molas Lake, Silverton Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride... The day before the wedding we all hiked up to Ice Lakes early in the morning. We originally wanted to have the wedding up in Ice Lakes basin, but due to obvious logistical concerns, we could not make that happen. It was great to visit such a beautiful area with our friends and family the day before the ceremony. Molas pass is a special place for us. As mountain bikers, runners, and backcountry skiers, we have camped at Little Molas campground many times and spent many days and nights in Silverton, so it was the perfect choice for our ceremony location. I attended an olive oil tasting party and got a massage the morning of our wedding day, while David went for a great mountain bike ride with out of town friends. The entire weekend was absolutely perfect. We tried to focus the weekend not only on our marriage, but also on showing thanks to all of our friends and family for coming out to celebrate with us. Everything came together smoothly and quickly and throughout the process it seemed that we, the bride and groom, were the least stressed of anyone.



Amanda and David... We used nature as our theme and our inspiration! The color palette was white, grey and green.

For the invitations, we wanted to keep them simple with an aspen tree design



that tied into our nature theme.

Our reception was fun, relaxing, easy, short and sweet.

Our favorite detail was being able to have our two basset hounds with us during the ceremony. They are a big

part of our life and it wouldn’t have been the same without them. My advice to other brides is to keep it simple and meaningful.

Our ceremony was simple and fi lled with love! Recommended Vendors...

IlluminArts Photography

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15) | Tent/Party Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 44) | Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 65)





and Jay

08.20.11 Echo Basin Ranch, Mancos Photography by Thru The Lens, Weddings by Ben

From the bride... We wanted a venue with a beautiful outdoor setting that would make for a great country wedding. We also wanted a place where our family could stay the night, not have to drive anywhere, and make a weekend out of our wedding. Echo Basin Ranch was the perfect choice. Our ceremony was awesome! It started out a little scary (it rained from about 10:00am to about thirty minutes before the ceremony started at 3:30pm), but the rain broke and the overcast skies made everything cool. We wanted to have an intimate feeling so we had Jay’s brother play acoustic guitar. We had our family members bless our rings before the ring exchange. This was one of the most exciting parts because I had no idea which wedding band Jay had chosen for me, it made for a very sweet surprise. As part of the vows, we had our officiate add some funny little movie lines (mostly to break up my crying). We shared a kiss with our mothers before we had our first kiss (I really wanted to involve our mothers). My advice is to not sweat the small stuff. I would find myself getting caught up in some little detail and I would have to remind myself that when it came to other weddings I had been to, those things were pretty forgettable. What makes a great wedding is focusing on the things that make the two of you special and unique as a couple.



Celena and Jay...

I tried very hard to make our day special and personal by creating a lot of DIY touches. One of my favorite creations would have to be my boots. I found these old cowboy boots at goodwill and I revamped them to be my wedding boots. I even painted the bottom to say “I Love Jay�. That made for a really cute picture.

Thru The Lens Photography

Rather than having a lot of focus placed on the guest book, I painted a large canvas and provided paint markers for our guests to write their advice. We had some really funny advice, most of



it told Jay to remember that Celena is always right!

All of our centerpieces were made by my wonderfully talented mother. She incorporated barbed wire which gave them a great country twist. I still have two centerpieces and I will love them forever. Our favors were wildflower seed packets with a George Strait song quote tied with little horse shoes and bows. We wanted people to have something they could take with them and actually use.

One of the most memorable moments of our wedding was our first dance. We started our dance with a slow song that abruptly ended, at which point, I ran behind a privacy screen and removed the bottom piece of my dress, then we danced the rest of our dance to a fast swing. It was very theatrical and I still cannot believe it worked out so well! The only thing I regret, was that the night went by so quickly, I did not get a chance to visit with all of the special people who had come to our wedding.

I made special little charms with my Grandmother’s and deceased sister’s initials to hang from my bouquet. It was great having them with me as I walked down the aisle.

Recommended Vendors...

Photographer: Thru The Lens, Weddings by Ben (see page 64) | Venue/Caterer/Lodging: Echo Basin Ranch (see page 14) Formalwear Rentals: Silk, A Bridal Boutique (see page 54). These ladies were very helpful!



Dana and Tripp


07.30.11 Family Home, Durango Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride... I wanted to get married at my grandparents house that held sentimental value for me. I also wanted my friends and family to have an excuse to take a vacation and have fun. My husband and I love the mountains and knew there was no better place than Durango to bring everyone together! My grandma did a wonderful job preparing for the ceremony. There were mason jars lining the aisle leading to the most beautiful mountain view. The property looked gorgeous! My wedding gift to Tripp was a journal with prayers for marriage I had written each day throughout our engagement. It was a very sweet moment. The ceremony was emotional and intimate. We read our own vows. It was so sweet hearing our words for the first time. I think everyone could really feel our love for each other! There was a high chance of rain for our day. During the ceremony I thought it was going to pour down rain. Fortunately, it did not start raining until the drive to the reception. As we arrived at the reception, the rain stopped and a rainbow appeared. The weather could not have worked out any better! It was so special to have family and friends travel so far to be with us on our special day. It was a blast riding bikes around Durango, rafting on the river, shopping and eating out with friends and family! It definitely helped calm the nerves. Looking back, I realized that the day flew by way too quickly, so my advice is to ENJOY EVERY MINUTE! It goes by so fast!



Dana and Tripp...

Our wedding theme was fun, laid back, vintage and rustic all mixed in one! We had a color palette of coral, cream, white and yellow. The reception was perfect! There were so many personal touches. We had a delicious dinner inside the event center and a tent set-up for the dancing outside. Every single person danced the night away! There were even grandmas breaking it down!

IlluminArts Photography

In place of a guest book, guests signed fabric squares that will be made into a



quilt for our one year anniversary.

Tripp made a vintage looking window that had all the guests names and told them what table to sit at.

We gave our wedding party cowboy boots as thank you gifts. For favors, we had honey from Honeyville (see page 92). We had a photo booth filled with different props I made.

We both love S’mores so we had a S’mores bar with all kinds of different

flavors to try!

Our first dance was to “Feet Don’t Touch the Ground” by Stoney Larue. My dad was really nervous for our father-daughter dance, he was so cute and tried so hard. I will never forget how proud I felt dancing with him. He is the greatest! We passed out sunglasses to the song “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” that had our wedding date on them. It made for some fun pictures.

Something I will never forget was my daddy’s toast. It was the sweetest and most thoughtful toast I have ever heard, there was not a dry eye in the room.

Recommended Vendors...

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15) | Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 35) | Reception Site: Ridgewood Event Center (see page 64) | Caterer: Durangourmet (see page 45) | Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 65) | DJ: Aiko Aiko Sound (see page 65) Tent/Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 44)



Caitlin and Chris


06.04.11 Downtown Durango Photography by Kyla Jackson Photography

From the bride... Both Chris and I met and lived in Durango for years before our wedding. It seemed like home to us and we wanted to get married somewhere that had meaning. In my opinion, Durango is a beautiful town surrounded by the most enchanting mountain landscape I have ever seen. Our wedding theme was based off of family and my heritage, I wanted a close knit celebration at The Irish Embassy Pub, where I had worked for two years and it felt like home. In honor of some guests who were not able to be with us on our day, we displayed photos of all of those who could not make it. After watching “Father of The Bride,” my Dad started a tradition of presenting his daughters with a pair of decorative shoes on their wedding day. I received a unique pair of sneakers to wear during the reception. The most memorable moment for Chris and I was walking in to the Pub and being introduced as a couple. I cannot explain the overwhelming feeling of being able to see everyone we cared about welcoming us! The Pub was completely transformed into exactly what Chris and I had envisioned, and that was one of the most treasured moments! One of my favorite parts of the wedding were the wonderful choices of color in my bouquets! With the help of April’s Garden and Kyla Jackson Photography, the colors of the dresses and especially the flowers popped in every photo!



Caitlin and Chris...

We wanted the reception to be laidback and focused on the celebration of Chris and I as a couple. Our color palette was blue, yellow and green.

The invitations were simple with a silver embossed Claddagh on the top. I used them to tie in with some hints of the theme of the wedding celebration. The place cards were made on black cardstock in the shape of old fashion price tags with burlap string. The



table numbers and names of guests were written with white chalk paint and displayed on the edge of the bar downstairs to let everyone know where to sit when they moved to the upstairs part of the Pub. Centerpieces were made from candles placed in mason jars with split peas around the base to bring out the green on the walls of the pub.

Our cake had a red velvet center with cream cheese frosting. Willow and garden roses adorned the sides. It

looked and tasted amazing!

Our favors were Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory’s Apple Pie Apples.

We danced to “Happily Ever After In Your Eyes” by Ben Harper for our first dance.

I think it’s important for brides to remember that things always go wrong at weddings. I found in my case, the things that went wrong only made my wedding that much more memorable and entertaining!

We wanted close family and friends with a warm atmosphere! We wanted to provide the feeling of community and what would have been similar to a traditional Irish Pub Style wedding.

Recommended Vendors...

Kyla Jackson Photography

Photographer: Kyla Jackson Photography (see page 1). I am not one to enjoy having photos taken of me, however Kyla and Wesley did a fantastic job at blending in with the family. They were sweet and fun to have around! They were social, professional and everyone thought they were guests at the party! | Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 65). April’s Garden was an absolute delight! They made sure to pay attention to every detail and knew exactly what I wanted! When the time came to deliver all the flowers to the reception, they made sure to describe how I wanted everything put together! I would recommend them to anyone and everyone. | Cake: Celebration Cakes (see page 94). Hair: Hair Fusion Salon & Spa (see page 94)



Sarah and Cody


06.25.11 Ridgewood Event Center Photography by Red Scarf Shots

From the bride... I walked down the aisle with my Dad to “Crimson and Clover” toward all of our smiling friends and family and the love of my life under a blue sky and a La Plata Mountain view. We wrote special messages to each other and then took traditional vows. It was short and perfect. Our friends and family were amazing. I had coveted an aspen arch for some time, but to rent one would have blown the budget. To our surprise, a friend hand-made the most beautiful arch for us! One of my bridesmaids is a graphic designer and she designed a special last-minute program. (I had completely forgotten about a program). My mom and sister slaved over crafts during what would otherwise have been their vacation. From the music, to the photographs, to the flowers, to the getaway car, our friends and family were so generous, and deeply involved with our wedding. We are so thankful and could not have done it without them. My most memorable moments included my husband’s face when I walked down the aisle, my dad’s toast and my mom having so much fun on the dance floor. Looking back, I would have taken my pictures before the wedding and relaxed more. My advice to other brides is to not lose sight of the important stuff, your family, your friends, and each other.



Sarah and Cody...

Our inspiration was 1890’s Victorian, put in the woods and roughed up a little… with peonies. Honestly, kind of like a tutu with ink poured over it. The color palette was shell pink, grey and black.

I think I stressed (and had the most fun) on the invitations. I painted an Art Nouveau-style portrait of the two of us that was featured on the back side of the invitation. I also painted the border for the front side of the invitation featuring pink roses and black ink designs.



Escort cards were seed packets tied with baker’s twine. The centerpieces were vintage mason jars set atop aspen rounds.

For my flowers, I picked all the lush, yummy blooms that I have always loved: peonies, garden roses, hydrangea and lisianthus accented with privet and blushing bride protea. Natalie from April’s Garden put her heart and soul into my bouquets and centerpieces. I made our table runners from burlap. Each one featured a different

memorable place that we have traveled to and pretty Victorian designs that I stenciled in black.

I loved our cake. It was a three-tier white cake with lemon curd, raspberry, and buttercream frosting. It was decorated with cream and black striped ribbon, sugar paste peonies, and a bird cake topper that I made. Our friend has a vintage black Citron and he dressed the part of the driver in a little cap, spoke in an accent and everything! It was so much fun!

The reception was all about libations and rock and roll. I loved the fact that so many of our friends and both sides of our family were under one roof dancing. When does that ever happen again?

Recommended Vendors...

Red Scarf Shots

Venue: Ridgewood Event Center (see page 64) | Gown: Silk, A Bridal Boutique (see page 54) | Flowers: April’s Garden (see page 65) Caterer: Norton’s Catering (see page 94) | Hair/Makeup: Hair Fusion Salon & Spa (see page 94)



Kristina and Nimit


09.04.11 Ridgewood Event Center Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride... We recently moved to the Southwest, and we wanted to share what we love about the area with our family and friends. With beautiful scenery and easygoing, open hearted people, Durango truly embodies the reasons why we moved here. We wanted this to be a small, intimate, informal family affair, with great food, local wines and brews from Colorado and New Mexico. The day before, we had a traditional Mehndi ceremony, which involved placing intricate henna tattoo designs for adornment. Nimit and I had two ceremonies on the day - a traditional Hindu ceremony, and a non-denominational Christian inspired ceremony. I am Catholic, and Nimit is Hindu, and we wanted everyone to witness our commitment to each other and see the openness in which we embraced the totality of how we were raised, while giving allowances to each other’s idiosyncrasies and everything that has made us different. Nimit and Nimit’s family wore the Barong Tagalog, a traditional Filipino formal outfit made of pineapple and jute silk in the non-denominational ceremony. The centerpiece of the ceremony was a Mandap (ceremonial tent), that is sort of similar to a huppah.



Kristina and Nimit...

We revolved our theme around the fact that we had two diverse ceremonies; the Hindu one, which seemed to be a festive ritual, and the Filipino Christian one, which is more sentimental, and that we wanted to showcase the beauty of the new area that we had settled in. We strived to make small personal touches, and work with the great people, things and resources that Durango and Farmington had. Our red and gold color palette is the traditional, auspicious Indian wedding colors, and represented how ardently



sentimental a Filipino wedding can be, and so reminiscent of the beautiful fall colors that the Southwest can bring.

We served Indian and Nepali food and appetizers, and even if technically there is no cake-cutting in a traditional Indian reception, we decided to still retain that given that it is part of a Flipino ceremony and it is our personal homage to the Indian tradition of giving sweets at the end of an auspicious occasion. Nimit was enamored by the idea of having no formal entertainment in the affair, but having a karaoke machine

and stage set up - which was TRULY a Filipino way to celebrate a party - to make others loosen up and be more connected to each other through fun. We were delightedly surprised how everyone let their inhibitions fall away and let loose on the mic! Our wedding giveaways came from Honeyville (see page 92) in Durango and New Mexico Coffee Company, which was our own special way of sending our out of town and country guests a little something from the Southwest.

My Indian wedding dress weighed about 20 pounds because of its intricate layering and crystal work, and its veil was a challenge in terms of time and effort to place correctly. Recommended Vendors...

IlluminArts Photography

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15) - who we respect and have so much affection for, who poured so much of themselves in the process, and affected us positively by their energy! | Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 35). Mandy Miller-Winn and the rest of the team at Celebrations provided structure, fun, guidance, enthusiasm, and a gentle guiding hand. | Venue: Ridgewood Event Center (see page 64) Officiant: Chessa Gill (see page 94) - her gentle authority underlined her creativity and intuitive understanding of us with gravitas. She had given up a significant personal event to be part of our day, and for that we and our families are eternally grateful and touched. | Tent/Party Rentals: Durango Party Rental (see page 44) | Cake: Celebration Cakes (see page 94) | Flowers: Wildwoods Fine Flowers (see page 94)



Sheena and Jason


09.10.11 Sophia Peace Center, Dolores Photography by Cardwell Auckerman Photography

From the bride... We were engaged on 1/1/11 and we immediately planned a wedding for 9/10/11 to keep with the idea of clever dates. We also knew that we wanted an outdoor wedding in the late summer/early fall. We both consider fall to be our favorite season, and one of the greatest places to experience the change of seasons is in southwest Colorado. We decided to have the wedding in Dolores because that’s where I grew up and I liked the idea of getting married in my hometown. We tried to pepper the ceremony with small personal touches (like having our dogs as our ring bearer and flower girl) and including long time friends and family members in the ceremony. Our pastor had been my minister and youth group leader growing up and that was special as well. For the wedding, we had clothing specially made for our dogs. We take our dogs everywhere with us and they are very big parts of our lives, so we wanted to include them. Spartan, Jason’s dog, wore an ivory tie while Scout, my dog, had the same sangria flowers that my bridesmaid wore on their shoes. We thought a fun and unique way to end the ceremony would be to release butterflies after we were pronounced husband and wife. Unfortunately, not all the butterflies were ready to fly, so in addition to butterflies flying out of the box, some just sort of haphazardly fell out of the air and onto the ground. It sounds kind of sad, but it was really funny and it’s one of those little moments we’ll always remember.



Sheena and Jason...

For our color palette, we chose sangria as a main color and chocolate brown and watermelon pink as compliments.

We had white embossed invitations with flowers and one of our favorite quotes on the inside that starts, “Today I will marry my best friend…” I love flowers and they were a big part of our theme, so all of my bridesmaids had a watermelon-colored flower in their hair.

Cardwell Auckerman Photography

All the groomsmen, including Jason,



wore brown, low-top Chuck Taylors (Jason’s favorite shoe).

The ring pillow was made by one of our close friends out of my great grandmother’s doilies.

My dad had a metal piece of art made for us that said IX.X.XI (9.10.11) that you could see as soon as you walked into the reception. Because our reception was at the same place as the ceremony, the day before the wedding, my family went up and

prepared the final details that made the reception special. It was also a great way to get Jason’s family acquainted with everyone before the wedding. We spent hours tying ribbons onto glass bubbles, folding Japanese napkins, stringing hanging lights and placing beautiful wooden-looking candles around to give it the right ambiance and set the mood for the big day. My advice to other brides is, “deep breathes.” Don’t sweat the small stuff and try and enjoy every minute of it!

Our reception was exactly what we wanted it to be – close friends and loved ones having a good time, sharing in our special day. You can’t really ask for anything more than that.

Honeymoon Location...

Maui, Hawaii. Once again a fun date - 11.11.11



Brooke and Casey


09.17.11 Ridgewood Event Center Photography by IlluminArts Photography

From the bride... We had a co-officiated, interfaith wedding ceremony, which, other than the fact that my family’s long-time pastor participated in and is not Jewish, felt like a Jewish wedding ceremony. We crafted the entire wedding ceremony ourselves. We were married under a chuppah which my brother made. Neither Casey nor I had any potential ring bearers in our families, so, as a joke, I suggested that we have a goat bring the rings down the aisle. The joke kept getting repeated throughout the wedding planning process until it seemed perfectly clear that we just had to have a goat bring our rings down the aisle. Our wedding planner was able to track down a local goat for the job. I managed to lose the wedding license the day of the wedding. After a long and extensive search we finally found it. After that, all my nerves were gone and I felt so much more present in the day. (Casey’s nerves, for the record, didn’t go away until he saw me walking down the aisle.) In classic Colorado fashion, there was a huge storm the hour before our photos were scheduled. While the rain did stop and it started to clear before making us too late, the downside was that it was really, really cold. The upside was there was fresh snow on the mountains. I did feel bad for my bridesmaids though, they were popsicles by the end of the ceremony.



Brooke and Casey...

The theme we chose for our wedding was “Rustic Whimsical”, which basically ended up being anything that felt like “us.” The color palette was royal purple and sage green.

Our wedding invitations had a picture of a tree that ended up inspiring our version of the unity candle: a lemon tree. We asked each of our families to gather soil from their hometowns and bring it to Durango. We had soil gathered from Michigan State (Casey’s favorite college team), San Diego, Los Angeles and Denver. During the



ceremony, our mothers went through the crowd and gathered all the soil, then we added it together to the lemon tree. That was a really fun way to get our whole extended families involved in the ceremony. For favors, we gathered favorite family recipes from both sides of the family and put them together in little booklets for people to take home. My favorite details were my cowboy boots and Casey’s purple patent leather hightops.

Casey’s best man was ultimately unable to attend the wedding because he got deployed to Kyrgyzstan. But, he was able to record a heart-felt speech for us which we played during the reception. There was not a dry eye in the house. So many of our friends at the wedding are current or former military (most as graduates of the Air Force Academy), it was particularly meaningful. Our first dance was to “Have a Little Faith In Me” by Joe Cocker.

We wanted to have a relatively casual, comfortable, upscale BBQ theme for the reception. We wanted everyone to feel warm, welcomed and ready to celebrate. Recommended Vendors...

IlluminArts Photography

Photographer: IlluminArts Photography (see page 15) | Event Planner: Celebrations (see page 35) | Venue: Ridgewood Event Center (see page 64) | Flowers: Wildwoods Fine Flowers (see page 94) | Hair/Makeup: Hair Fusion Salon & Spa (see page 94)



Image by IlluminArts Photography


Profile for Luxe Mountain Weddings

Durango Weddings Magazine - 2012 Issue  

Amazing weddings from southwest Colorado.

Durango Weddings Magazine - 2012 Issue  

Amazing weddings from southwest Colorado.