Bold Red + Orange Mountain Wedding
Kate + Kevin
August 05, 2011
Estes Park, Colorado
This outdoor Estes Park wedding mixed bold modern colors with classic outdoor elegance.
Kate & Kevin wanted a chic mountain wedding; Della Terra was the perfect venue. Details abound in bright orange and red, from flowers to table decor. Kate kept the bridesmaid dresses in simple cream while letting the flowers do the heavy lifting. The chemistry between them is steaming. They knew exactly why they were getting married and showed their love for each other and their loved ones freely.~Rachael Weaver (Photographer)
Tell us a bit about your wedding!
When Kevin and I got engaged, we had been doing a long-distance relationship for about 2 years, first between New York and Philadelphia and then between New York and Austin, TX. The experience was extremely difficult, but it also taught us to value every second we spent together. In planning our wedding we wanted to make sure that above all it was joyous, fun, happy, truly celebratory… not only for ourselves (and the fact that we were finally living in the same state) but for all of the wonderful people in our life that had supported us over the years. At the same time, having grown up in Colorado I had always dreamed of having a wedding in the mountains. So we had the double challenge of planning the wedding from a distance while making sure it was easy and fun for all of the people who we were asking to trek to 8000 ft. above sea level to attend.
To help with that challenge we hired a wedding planner (Amber from Save the Date Events in Denver, CO), and boy am I glad we did — She was indispensable for narrowing down lists of vendors for us, keeping us on track, and setting up meetings for the brief time we spent in Colorado in the months leading up to the wedding. If we hadn’t been planning from a distance I think we may have gotten away with day-of coordinator, but as it was I would have been so stressed out without her. We also spent a lot of time organizing things for our guests to make it easier on them — we helped arrange rides from the airport to Estes Park, we hired a shuttle to take people to and from the wedding, we helped people find cabins (there aren’t a lot of big hotels there), and we made sure to have our wedding and reception all at one place (Della Terra in Estes Park, CO).
My inspiration for the overall style of the wedding was a bright, summer day in Colorado. I wanted the beauty of the landscape to show through, while keeping everything else simple and elegant. For the ceremony itself we didn’t do any decorating at all – it was beautiful outside. For everything else, I chose to really highlight the bright red and orange flowers we had (in my mind, representing the height of summer) by keeping almost everything else white or champagne colored. So we had champagne bridesmaid dresses, white table cloths, etc. I loved the way in turned out — it was light and summery with bright pops of color. The cake especially came out amazingly. It was made to mimic my dress and that flower on it is all sugar! (It was made by Intricate Icings in Denver, CO) I also had them make a surprise groom’s cake/birthday cake for Kevin in the shape of a Rubik’s Cube (one of his many nerdy pleasures). The day after our wedding was his birthday, so after we cut the wedding cake everyone sang him “Happy Birthday” while he blew out the candles!
There were so many other little special details that I’m proud of that I know I can’t list them all, but here are a few:
- Kevin and I met through playing viola in the symphony our freshman year of college — we were stand partners. So as an ode to that we had a string quartet for the ceremony music.
- We had one of our friends bring a flag from our alma mater, Notre Dame, and then we had everyone who went to school there take a group photo with it during the reception, including my uncle, class of ’85.
Things You’re Glad You Did
- We got to know our vendors and spent a lot of time talking to them, but when it came down to it, we trusted them to do their job and we got out of the way. For example, I sent tons of photos of stuff I liked to our florist (Boulder Blooms in Boulder, CO), but I let them work their magic and come up with the designs for everything and pick out the best flowers that were in season. Everything turned out beautifully. Our photographer, Rachael, was amazing. She met us for dinner one of the times we were in town to get to know us personally, and then she took it from there. When she suggested on the day of the wedding that we sneak out during dinner to take some photos during sunset we went with it — and the results were stunning.
- We took our ceremony readings from The King James version of the Bible. Although this is not the version that most American churches use, the passages are so much more eloquent and the imagery much more beautiful.
- We took the majority of our photos before the ceremony. Our wedding party was able to enjoy the cocktail hour that way, and Kevin and I got to spend a few minutes alone together after the ceremony to take in everything that was happening.
Three things you wish you had done?
- In a way I wish we had done a receiving line. I didn’t because I thought that they can be awfully boring for the guests and overwhelming for the bride and groom, plus take away from precious cocktail hour/reception time, but even with only 125 guests we had a hard time finding everyone and expressing our gratitude during the reception. Even with our best efforts there were a few people we didn’t get a chance to talk to. Plus my Dad was so busy talking to people during the reception he didn’t get a piece of the cake!
- I wish we could have found a hotel near the wedding location and gotten a group rate for people coming from out of town. It was really hard to find places for everyone, especially for some of our single friends who didn’t really want to rent a whole cabin all to themselves. Unfortunately I think that’s just the nature of a mountain wedding, depending on where it is.
- I wish we had invited more friends and less “friends of the family”. I think a lot of couples get pressured to send out these types of invites by family members, but it’s not worth it. Already there are people who attended my wedding that my parents have drifted away from and they were never really close to me to begin with; they were invited simply because they were in business with my Dad at the time. Those were precious seats that I could have filled with people that I’m still friends with!
Anything you wish you hadn’t done?
To be honest there aren’t a lot of things we regret.
Things you wish you hadn’t worried about?
- I really wish I hadn’t stressed about having the same number of bridesmaids as groomsmen. There was just no easy number that didn’t result in us feeling like we were leaving people out on one side or the other. We kind of compensated by having some of those people that weren’t included in the wedding party be with us while we got ready and then we sat them at the head table, but it probably would have been easier if we just hadn’t worried about having equal numbers to begin with.
- The weather. We even had a back-up plan, but my stomach was in knots all day as the clouds rolled through. Of course I was worried for no reason — the clouds parted just before our ceremony and it was absolutely beautiful.
- It seems stupid now, but I agonized over how to do my hair… up or down? I was afraid that unless I put it up in a nice neat up-do it would end up messy, but in the end I left it down, which is how I usually wear it, and I’m happy I did because I felt like myself.
What is your very best hindsight advice?
My best advice is to make your wedding your own — go with the traditions you like and don’t feel bad about leaving certain ones out or tweaking them. For us that meant no veil for me and no garter toss, the grooms cake/birthday cake combo, lots of people at the head table, and a very thoughtfully designed ceremony.
I didn’t do a lot due to the distance thing, but we had some awesome help. My mother-in-law designed and assembled all of the stationary for the wedding, and my maid of honor designed and hand-beaded my belt as well as the necklaces that all of the bridesmaids wore. And then I got all sorts of things — purses, my jewelry, the guest book — from artisans on Etsy. The one thing that was kind of DIY that I did was order chocolate truffles for wedding favors from a bulk manufacturer, then I wrapped them in parchment and put them in the little pyramidal boxes that went with our stationary.