September 24, 2016. Telluride, Colorado. The day we said “I do”. And all of the chaos and planning and fun that led up to it. Calligraphy, designing save-the-dates and invites, painting signs, making welcome baskets, and the back and forth communication with vendors. Granted, I know we made the decorations and planned a wedding on our own, but it was a whirlwind. And it turned out to be absolutely perfect for us. Each and every detail was better than we had anticipated and Mother Nature blessed us with the perfect fall day, complete with golden aspen leaves and snow-capped mountains.
We drove in Wednesday night; the roads so pitch black that even with our headlights, we couldn’t make out the color of the leaves. That night we had nightmares about an aspen grove where the leaves hadn’t turned or had already fallen off the branches, starkened by frost. Our dream wedding revolved around the colorful aspen grove and our hopes would have been dashed by anything other than the idyllic view we came across the next morning. On Thursday, we drove up to our ceremony site for the first time since the prior winter when we had booked the venue. The 360-degree mountain panorama and postcard view of Wilson Peak stopped us in our tracks. We were both giddy with joy, snapping pictures every second, praying that the weather wouldn’t change too much before our wedding. We directed the tent company where to set up and delivered all of our decorations to the log cabin at the site. We then headed to town to get our marriage license from the adorably quaint brick courthouse in Telluride. They even gave us “love mugs” to congratulate our marriage.
On Friday, we drove up to Schmid Ranch for our final run through with the day-of coordinators and our rehearsal. It started snowing during our rehearsal, blanketing the site in crisp white. With hopes that it would melt by the next day, we headed into the log cabin to have a moment with our families. We had written each person a letter, expanding on how they had shaped us into the women we had become and how much their support and love had led to that moment. There were tears, and more tears, and some laughs as my parents handed a single tissue back and forth to catch the droplets of love. We then headed into town for the rehearsal dinner where all of the guests awaited us at a beautiful Italian restaurant. Our fathers made touching toasts and pasta, gelato, and wine was spread around the tables.
On Saturday, Whit and I headed our separate ways as she was getting ready in town with her family, and I went to Schmid Ranch to start decorating. My parents suffered through a non-heated log cabin for hours as we set up, in about 30 degree weather, until the owner of the ranch started a fire in the furnace. Since there wasn’t any electricity in the cabin, my mom curled my hair using the generator as a power source inside the reception tent. I then used a tiny hand mirror to apply make-up. There were no mirrors in the cabin, so until seeing the photographs, I had no idea how I looked the entire day of the wedding.
About an hour before guests arrived, Whit and I had our first look. I cried, because I always cry, and we hugged and laughed and twirled each other around to admire hair and dresses. The shock of her overwhelming beauty stopped me in my tracks as I came around the side of the barn. I couldn’t believe we had finally made it to our special day. We then spent about an hour frolicking to and fro various epic views for photos. Our photographers even indulged us and let us throw leaves in the air for a photo. We then headed back up to the log cabin so guests could walk down to the aspen grove and get seated for the wedding.
The procession included our mothers walking together, then our brothers as our groomsmen, followed by my niece and nephew as flower girl and ring bearer, accompanied by “In Your Arms,” by Kina Grannis. Each of our fathers walked us down the aisle, one at a time, to “A Thousand Years,” by Christina Perri. And again, I cried. I know, totally shocking. Our ceremony was unique and written by our officiant, Patricia Eagle, and ourselves. It highlighted important moments in our story together and our commitments both to each other and ourselves. We had written our own vows that moved us both to tears. We exchanged rings and had our first kiss as wife and wife. We had both sets of parents be the witnesses for our marriage license and signed it surrounded by friends and family. After some family pictures, we walked back up to the reception tent to celebrate.
Our brothers gave beautiful speeches and I’m pretty sure every guest was crying at some point. We had a popcorn bar with candy toppings for appetizers, a delicious BBQ dinner, and cake, pies, and caramel apples for dessert. We bypassed the s’mores we had planned on due to the 20 degree temperature outside. Our first dance was to Brandi Carlile’s “I Belong to You,” followed by father-daughter dances. The bouquet toss was hilarious, as there were only about five or six non-married women at our wedding, and we threw two bouquets. Pretty good odds for them! Blair, Whitney’s sister-in-law, got the dancing started and we all belted out to Fleetwood Mac. Lucky for us, one of the catering staff went outside to wash dishes and noticed an alpine glow cascading across the range. She hurried inside to grab the photographer and us for a quick photography session. Before we knew it, every guest was outside snapping pictures with huge grins plastered on their faces. We ended the night with a sparkler send off. It was perfect in every way
Reminiscing about our wedding gives me all the feels, musters up nostalgia that aches in my bones, and causes a sense of longing for reliving the moment. Especially the most important part to me, the vows: “With this union of souls, I promise to respect and love you without bounds, to support you in every endeavor, and to appreciate your love language. I promise to never reign in your free spirit. I promise to continue to stoke the wild woman within you and support you in any way possible to become the best you can be. I promise that we will continue on our journeys of self-realization together, pursue the path of following our bliss, and embark on many more escapades. And never forget, although we thrive on exploring the foreign and the familiar, you are and always will be my greatest adventure.”