Suzzanne and Ethan choose the Deer Valley Ranch for their winter wedding for its cosy rustic decor. This savvy, DIY couple celebrated their nuptials with 120 wedding guests a few days before Christmas. The weather was magical with mostly sunny skies and a few festive snow flurries. The most amazing part, with the help of friends and family, they did it all on a $3,000 budget!
Suzanne + Ethan
December 22, 2014
Wedding day weather: Snowy and sunny
Number of guests: 120
Wedding day theme: The general theme was rustic chic. Although I didn't stick to it exactly; the bottles, wood, flowers and location were perfect for that.
Your budget: $3,000
Biggest splurge: Wood for the decorations, $800
Biggest savings: Invitations, $30 total
Why did you choose the Mountains for your wedding?
My husband and I grew up in the mountains so the Rockies are part of our hearts. I love the dramatic peaks and the beautiful skyline. I wouldn't have been married anywhere else than at the foot of the beautiful giants of my home.
We choose Deer Valley Ranch not only because it is beautiful but because it is where I spent a lot of my growing up years. My parents met at the ranch when they worked there in their twenties. Most of my childhood my parents worked there and I roamed the property. I also spent the summer of 2014 working there on staff myself. Needless to say I am attached the to place as well as the amazing people that run the ranch.
Where did you find your inspiration?
The vision for the wedding was simple and comfortable and warm. My inspiration came from everything around me. Anything from seeing the wildflowers bloom during the summer to books that I read. I just gathered little ideas throughout the year of engagement.
The main color scheme was turquoise, red and yellow. I wanted the day to reflect Ethan and I’s uniqueness as well as show the individuality of our friends and family. That is why we wanted our groomsmen and bridesmaids to pick their own clothes inside our criteria.
In my mind a simple place is always my favorite so with that in mind the center pieces were bottles and the backdrop wood.
The maps used for the invitations and favors reflected our love for exploration and adventure.
Talk About Your Reception
The reception was completely centered on people celebrating and most people don’t celebrate well unless they are comfortable. With celebration the goal we made everything easy.
Coffee and tea welcomed the guests into the lodge where there were fires in the fireplaces, couches and tables to sit at and lots of room to mingle. The decorations were minimal because I believe that Deer Valley is pretty enough on its own.
For dinner we had slider hamburgers and sweet potato fries. Who wouldn’t feel at home eating something with their fingers? We toasted with beer bottles and small cups of wine.
And we finished with dancing. A night of celebration done right.
The inspiration for the wedding cake wasn’t mine at all but Annika Fouch’s. She works at the Buena Vista Roastery as the head baker and a long time friend of my families. I am dairy free and it is actually hard in mountain towns to find people to cater to that. Luckily the talented Annika is not only able to make delicious dairy free cakes but is also incredibly artistic. So the beautiful cakes were her vision and they couldn’t have been more amazing.
The guest favors were quarter pound bags of coffee beans from the Buena Vista Roastery. Ethan is a coffee lover and that is the place that we met so it seemed more than appropriate to give away a little few beans.
How did you choose to personalize your wedding?
Most of the personalization came from doing everything with my family and myself. What I mean by that is we made almost everything. My dad and brothers built all the wooden structures and I made the paper goods. My favorite personalization was our favors, which were coffee beans from the coffee shop where Ethan and I first met.
The ceremony was simple with not much more than a wooden backdrop and a twinkling isle. I believe that is was unique because it was simply us. We read our own vows, my brother played music and we walked out to our favorite song. It might not have been anything incredibly out of the ordinary but it was breathtaking nonetheless.
What was your favorite part of the reception?
Aside from seeing that all of our guest were enjoying themselves so much, I would have to say the food. We had sliders and sweet potato fries. Who doesn't love that?
What are three things you're super glad you did?
- Waiting to see Ethan until the ceremony.
- Buy everything or rent everything from local people or friends.
- Make my wedding exactly the way that I dreamed it to be instead of following other peoples ideas.
What was the biggest challenge in planning your mountain wedding and how did you overcome it?
We had a fairly small wedding which made it hard to decide who to invite and who not to. The way that we fixed it was by inviting those people that have stood out in our lives and not anyone else. Although it was still hard at the end of the day all the people there were our best friends and thats all that we needed.
How did you find and choose your vendors?
All of my vendors are friends of my family so it was an easy choice.
What is your best piece of advice to other mountain brides who are planning their weddings?
Don't stress about the small details because if you're going to get married in the mountains take advantage of the beautiful backdrop that is already set in place and the wonderful feeling that comes from mountain towns. The place does everything on its own.
Deer Valley Wedding Vendors
Photographer: Mary Brunst Photography | Cake Designer: Annika Fouch | Apparel: Anthropologie | Favors and Gifts: Buena Vista Roastery | Event Venue: Deer Valley Ranch | Dress Designer: Free People | Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Mens Warehouse | Shoes: Sundance Sheepskin & Leather | Ties: The Tie Bar | Flowers: Petal & Flour