Dreamy Eco-Friendly Winter Wedding in Vail Colorado

Vail Colorado Wedding Amy Caroline Photography | Via MountainsideBride.com

Planning a Winter/Fall wedding in Colorado can be unpredictable, It was almost November, and Aubrey and Landon hoped to see snow on the ground, but there wasn't much in Vail. However, like a sweet blessing on their marriage, tiny, perfectly-formed flakes began to float down just as Landon saw his bride for the first time. And Aubrey! Aubrey absolutely glowed in an Augusta Jones wedding gown from Anna Bé Bridal Boutique. Of course this smart mountain girl, kept cozy with a romantic vintage fur stole! The eco-chic florals by Vail Vintage Magnolia were so stunning and the entire day was captured by Amy Caroline Photography.

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Aubrey + Landon
Donovan Pavillion

Vail, Colorado
10/30/2015

Wedding day weather: Light snowfall in the morning, followed by a beautiful (and chilly!) sunny day
Number of guests: 135
Your budget: $60,000-$75,000
Biggest splurge: Either my dress, or the whiskey bar!
Biggest savings: Wanting a ‘green' reception ended up keeping our overall flower cost pretty low.

Why did you choose the Mountains for your wedding?

My husband and I fell in love on drives to one ski mountain or another. Trips on I-70 were when we had our first talks about what we wanted from life, and our hopes for the future. So it felt only natural to get married in the mountains that had shaped so much of our love story. Vail, and particularly the Donovan Pavilion, came highly recommended as a wedding location, and we couldn't have agreed more.

Wedding day theme:

The theme we went for can best be described as simple, rustic elegance, though what we really wanted was for the entire wedding to reflect who we are as a couple. My husband loves the outdoors, so we tried to bring the outdoors “in”, using aspen branches as centerpieces and greenery to decorate the long, family-style tables at our reception. I love candlelight, and so we had candles everywhere. And then we really wanted our marriage to be a celebration of the family and friends who'd shaped us, so showcased our parents' and grandparents' wedding photos. We also seated guests in low rows so that the meal resembled what we had known growing up: a family dinner around a full table.

Where did you find your inspiration?

I honestly had a pretty good idea of what I wanted for our wedding day at the onset of the planning process, and so relied pretty heavily on my “vision,” if it can be called that. Vintage Magnolia, our florist, designed a mood board that perfectly captured my ideas, so they were a huge help in bringing that to life. And, of course, Etsy filled in any gaps that I had!

How did you choose to personalize your wedding?

We tried to add personal touches in a number of places: we used old wooden skis as a guestbook, primarily served libations from local brewers and distillers, and had chalk art signage everywhere (I love chalk art). But the two biggest personal touches were probably the whiskey bar (my husband and I are whiskey drinkers), which served some of our favorite whiskey concoctions, and the wedding favors, which weren't favors at all but instead donations made to some of our favorite charities in honor of our guests.

What was your favorite part of the reception?

I loved the dances – we had a good and very talented friend sing our first dance, as well as our dances with parents. His renditions of the songs were just beautiful, and I especially loved when my husband jumped in to sing a verse while I was dancing with my Dad.

What are three things you're super glad you did?

  1. We hired a wedding planner (thank you, Gemini Events!) to take over planning the month of the wedding, and this was by far the best thing we did. It was such a gift to get to enjoy the weeks approaching our wedding and let Meg and her team at Gemini do all of the final planning and day-of coordinating. I would HIGHLY recommend a wedding planner or coordinator to anyone.
  2. I'm also really glad we did premarital counseling, of sorts, with our pastor friend who married us. Our wedding ceremony was so personal and intimate, and I hear all the time that it was the highlight for our wedding for guests, because of how beautifully it represented our values and us as a couple.
  3. The last thing I'm glad I did was something I didn't really want to do at first: hire a videographer. My Mom was very adamant about having video footage of our day, and I'm so glad that she won me over. Unlike photographs (which are BEAUTIFUL, don't get me wrong), the video of our vows, for example, is something that a photograph simply can't capture. I love getting to re-watch the video and remember what was said because the whole day really does go by in a blur!

What was the biggest challenge in planning your mountain wedding and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was probably the unpredictability of the weather in Vail at the end of October. We weren't sure whether it'd be a crisp, fall day or a snowy, winter day, and so had to plan for both. Our original intent was to have an outdoor cocktail hour (we had heaters rented and everything!) but day-of decided that it was too chilly and that the cocktail hour, and our guests, would be better served inside. So ultimately, we found that we had to plan as best as we could around the weather, knowing that we'd have to be flexible on the actual day.

How did you find and choose your vendors?

Amy Caroline (our photographer) was the first vendor we booked because I knew I wanted her to photograph our wedding day. Not only is she as sweet as they come, but she takes amazing photographs (I'd seen her work after my cousin's wedding). From there, I actually asked our reception venue to recommend a few vendors that they'd worked with in the past. I did some research and met with our florist (Vintage Magnolia) and caterer (Foods of Vail), and realized that each highly recommended the other. Our DJ we met while actually touring the venue – he was setting up for a different wedding, and we got his card. Again, after a little research and a meeting, we booked him. In general, our policy was”if we can see ourselves working with you, and enjoying it, then you're hired!”

What is your best piece of advice to other mountain brides who are planning their weddings?

Have a plan A (and then a back-up plan B and C). The mountains, when they cooperate, are an amazing place to get married; but, being the mountains, they don't always abide by wedding plans. If you have multiple plans, you'll be ready for whatever comes your way!

Vail Wedding Vendors

Wedding Photographer:  Amy Caroline Photography | Dress Store: Anna Bé Bridal Boutique | Reception Venue: Donovan Pavilion | Caterer: Foods of Vail | Event Planner: Gemini Event Planning | Cake Designer: Mountain Flour | Ceremony Location: Vail Interfaith Chapel | Floral Designer: Vail Vintage Magnolia | DJ and sound: DJ D'AmicoHair and MakeupMegan Cary Artistry | Video: Creative Mountain Images