Weddings……… Who doesn’t love a good wedding?????? Well it’s been exactly a year since I had my dream day, so I think it’s finally time I do a little post and put my feelings down on paper! Gosh, where to begin?? If you don't feel like scrolling for a long time, click HERE to see our wedding trailer (thank you Merge Social).
I guess I’ll start at the beginning. The love of my life proposed to me on a beach in Mexico in mid-February of 2017. Given his profession, we could either get married that summer (hello shotgun wedding), or we could wait until summer of 2018. Seeing as I had absolutely no idea what I wanted as far as a wedding, 2018 sounded about right. However, I was very very very aware that we were celibate, and probably wouldn’t be able to stay that way until 2018. So, you guessed it, 2017 it was going to be. Rumors of an unplanned pregnancy be damned. Kidding Haha
I wasn’t the girl who grew up imagining my wedding, so I really had no idea what I was looking for at first. I always knew I wanted to get married and have a family one day, but I kind of always thought my path to that would be a little bit different than many conventional families. Instead of planning my wedding day as a girl, I dreamed about which briefcase I would buy, what my business suit would look like, or what office building in NYC I’d be working in. Literally, my favorite pastime growing up was playing secretary, and I could be counted on to ask for a cash register for every gift at every possible holiday. Instead of being a high-powered business lady, I took a completely different route. I moved to LA to act, possibly because I had the potential to be any or all of those things I dreamt of, only it was on a set. So anywho, needless to say, I had NO idea where to begin with wedding planning.
The only thing I knew for certain way in advance of my wedding, was that I wanted to get married in the summer in Iowa on a large, scenic piece of land – preferable my Grandparent’s acreage. Unfortunately, my Grandparents had passed by the time my wedding came around, and their property was sold. Iowa just didn’t feel quite as ‘right’ to me after that. So, the hunt began. We toyed with locations like Napa and Hawaii, but every place in Napa wasn’t looking quite green enough, or we wouldn’t be able to have our reception go nearly as late as we wanted to (our friends can throw down, and who are we to not give our guests what they want???). Hawaii had the very obvious problem of distance, price, and the fact that if we had a wedding there, we could probably have counted on half of our invitees attending. Basically, I was having a difficult time finding “the place,” and I was obsessive about finding the perfect venue. I love the city, but nothing quite makes me feel as ‘at home’ as the country. I’ve lived in Colorado half my life, and after dead end after dead end, I realized I needed to look closer to home!
I had only been to Steamboat Colorado once before, but it was honestly one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen! It sits down in a valley with mountains on either side, so you get gorgeous mountain views, but also incredible open spaces and valley views. It is still somewhat unknown compared to the more popular mountain towns in Colorado (Breckenridge, Vail, Keystone, etc.), and is further away and more difficult to get to, which makes it all the more special in my eyes. I started looking for places (we’re only about 3 months out at this point), and most of them were already full for our weekend. This isn’t surprising when it’s an amazing mountain location in the prime of summer. It also didn’t help that I was very adamant that we get married August 6th,at 5pm. Why? That date and time was the exact two year anniversary of our first date (ok, I was late, more like 5:15ish).
After hitting a few roadblocks with venues, I stumbled upon a video of Flying Diamond Ranch in Steamboat. I was on a plane at the time, and literally had chills watching the video, while trying to keep myself from crying. I’m not a crier, so it was obvious to me that I neeeeeeeeeded this venue! I was so amped I felt like I needed to start making contact immediately. Seeing as how I was still on that dang chunk of metal somewhere over the US, I couldn’t make the call myself. What did I do? I texted my older sister (thank you in-flight Wi-Fi) and told her to drop everything (except maybe one of her children) and call this venue immediately to see if they had availability for the one date I was dead set on. They were booked, but after some begging and possibly some pleading and name dropping (I about died when I heard about that garbage – my eye roll could not have been bigger), it sounded like our wedding could be feasible. Thankfully, the anniversary of our first date fell on a Sunday in 2016, so the amazing ranch staff thought they may be able to pull it off!!! They only had to tear down the wedding from Saturday night, work through the night, and then all day Sunday leading up to the wedding. That’s all - haha. Sidenote: I cannot thank the owner of Flying Diamond Ranch – Tammy - enough! She truly made the experience so incredible from our very first encounter. Her and her entire staff are truly incredible!!! As soon as I arrived at the ranch for a tour, I knew it was the perfect spot. PERFECT. In fact, it is my dream property. I just need to convince my husband to trade his basketballs in for a tractor and become a rancher. Goals.
I’ll be honest, planning a wedding in 5 months was rather overwhelming! I thought about just going to the courthouse more than a few times! But, when the day arrived, all the stress leading up to it was absolutely worth it! I couldn’t have dreamt up a better weekend and a better day than we had!
Everything about Steamboat was incredible and it was so cool to have our friends and family in Colorado, many for the first time and to share all the amazing things it has to offer!
We started the weekend off with a Welcome party at Aura, right along the river, just light apps and drinks so everyone could get to know each other. The following morning, we hiked Fish Creek Falls, which is a quick quarter mile gravel trail that ends at a stunning waterfall. Our rehearsal dinner was that evening at Table 79, and oh my heck!!! The food was beyond amaze folks!!! Go there!!!!!!!! I left a day between our rehearsal dinner and the wedding - just in case anyone had a little too much fun or a little too much to drink and needed some extra time to recover (AKA me). On Saturday, those of us who weren’t nursing our hangovers went tubing down the Yampa river that runs right through downtown Steamboat. It was sooooooo fun! Sunday was wedding day and it was magical! It was all I dreamed of and more. I mean, check out the photos. I don’t mean to brag, but…….OK – Yes I do – my wedding was one for the record books folks. It was stunning and I’m so proud of how it turned out. We sent our friends and family off early on Monday morning with an incredible buffet brunch at the Steamboat Grand Hotel, where they were able to get a sneak peek of our wedding video. We were all so incredibly impressed with what they could do, and especially with the fact that they could turn an incredible video trailer around in under 12 hours. Thank you Merge Social!!!
Like I mentioned previously, my Grandparents are no longer with us. None of them. However, the acreage I spoke of belonged to my paternal Grandparents. Their passing was extra difficult for me to swallow at first. I always envisioned getting married at their house, and I never, ever imagined they wouldn’t be at my wedding one day. I spent summers staying primarily with my dad’s parents until High School, and then visiting as much as possible. My grandmother was one of the most influential people in my life, and especially because she couldn’t be there, I HAD to find a way to honor her and how important she was in my life.
I told our planning team how symbolic a hummingbird is for my family. My Grandma had feeders all over her property and loved to stand in her kitchen and look at them. Frogs and hummingbirds will forever be associated with her for me. Ever since her passing, I seem to see hummingbirds at the exact time I’m needing it – almost like when you are struggling, grab your Bible, and flip to the exact right verse at the exact right time. It’s God, and it’s Grandmas. My obsession with all things hummingbird had my planners and events team made sure to incorporate them throughout our entire wedding. Our invitations, table assignment cards (which hung from a tree and were incredible), drink stirrers, and even our dance floor was embossed with a hummingbird. The hummingbird was a huge theme in our wedding. What’s special is that my close friends and family recognized the significance the second they saw it.
I also said I wanted hummingbird feeders out, even if they don’t typically come out in that part of Colorado, or near the time of my wedding - I still wanted to try. Feeders were put up by the ceremony site and in the Aspen grove, and guess what?????? We saw hummingbirds all day! This was one of the most special parts of the entire day for me.
Food was SOOO important to us!!! Ryan and I basically met due to a food show concept so we knew food was an area that we really wanted everyone to enjoy! Not only that but we are major fooooooodies. I mean big time. Our love of food is unrivaled by most. We wanted our wedding to really be a culinary experience for everyone, letting them see little bits and pieces of our journey together. We wanted to share our love of food with the ones we loved, including our favorite wine!
Our wedding planners were from Aspen, Colorado, and they recommended we used a vendor they work with frequently, Caribou Club. Ryan and I were both able to make the tasting in May, and I was so grateful he was there because I don’t think I could have picked the menu without him. Caribou Club really knocked it out of the park and made all of our food fantasies come true!
One thing I knew is that I never wanted people to feel hungry or thirsty at any point in our wedding. We’ve all been there, while a wedding party is busy taking pictures, and we all stand around, starving. Nope. Couldn’t happen. So, we passed champagne and spiked lemonade pre-ceremony, along with truffle popcorn and caprese skewers. We also had cornhole set up at the ceremony site and in the Aspen grove because we couldn’t have our guests getting bored while we took our photos. A must for us was bacon cheddar biscuits with maple butter from our first date. Caribou Club was able to replicate them exactly and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. We had them passed on cute little trays during cocktail hour, and it was a lot of fun to let everyone in on the backstory of the amazing biscuits.
Our cocktail hour was hosted in the most gorgeous Aspen grove I've ever seen. We had corn hole set up over there so everyone could enjoy their drinks with some snacks and a few games.
Our main course choices were a Beef Shortrib or Truffled Chilean Sea Bass. Let me tell you, this was not wedding food - it was downright amazinggggg! I still dream about the short ribs! Oh, and instead of passing bread around with the meal, servers came around with a side of freshly fried chicken with pickles and truffle honey to drizzle over top of it. I mean seriously – divine.
In the spirit of no one going hungry, we also had late night tray pass along with a partying gift as everyone loaded the shuttles. We had cheeseburger sliders, truffle fries, white russian milkshakes shots, mini strawberry shortcake and beignets to go! I’m soooo hungry now just typing this!
I couldn’t decide what to get my girls as gifts. I wanted something to make them feel special and something they could use again! No one wants something they can’t use again right??? I ended up choosing the cutest little robes from Pretty Plum Sugar, Kendra Scott Earrings, and a Nadri necklace with a small pendant so they didn’t have to worry about jewelry for the day. I found cute customizable coffee mugs and little personalized bags via Sweet Simplicity’s site so they could have something to stash all their stuff in that they didn’t want to take to the ceremony. Anyone who knows me knows I have a slight obsession with Chuck Taylor shoes, so I had to customize a pair for each girl with coordinating colors!
I really have to say, I’m thankful my planners stressed the importance of the band! It was an expense that I was on the fence about, but they really set the tone for the entire night! We knew we wanted to mix things up and have a band, a special performance, and then a DJ (in our case it ended up being DJ’s – we’re high maintenance, I know). I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out!
Our band was Ground Control from Elan Artists, if you’re getting married or booking an event, you should really check them out! People still text me asking for their info because they were not only amazing but brought incredible energy! Seriously. Google them. There is nothing they can’t do!
For the ceremony, I had Grammy-winning artist Zach Williams sing me down the aisle to one of my favorite songs by Casting Crowns “Your love is Extravagant.” It’s been one of my absolute favorite songs as long as I can remember and I just think it’s so beautiful to focus on God’s extravagant love and the extravagant love that he brought into my life through him. Zach also sang us out after we were Mr. & Mrs. to his hit “Old Church Choir.” It’s a favorite of not only mine and Ryan’s, but also my bridal party.
My wedding was surreal. Right out of the gate, I knew nothing about how I wanted the wedding to be. However, from the beginning, I said I wanted Zach Williams to sing me down the aisle and sing our first dance song. Never in a million years did I think this would come true. Thank you God!
Zach also sang our first dance song to Florida Georgia Line’s, H.O.L.Y. He killed it and then performed five more songs later in the night. We had a full-on worship service in the middle of our party, and it was beautiful and one of my favorite moments of the entire night!
Zach, thank you for traveling right after a show to come and be with us on such a special day. It was something I will never forget and am forever grateful for! Last but certainly not least, we had DJ Skratchy and DJ Vice close out the night. The only way to describe it was a straight amazing, incredible PARTY! So happy we opted to have the DJ when the night was really ready to get started!
I honestly think you can never have too many flowers! This was something that was so important to me. I loved the venue and how natural it was and I just wanted to highlight that even more with flowers.
I wanted our entire vibe to feel glamorous yet rustic at the same time. I really feel like we found a great mix by leaving some tables bare and using table cloths and elegant flowers and lighting. I was so worried about flowers and them being perfect that they made me two bouquets so I could choose exactly the right one.