Allison + Jeff
September 15, 2012
Estes Park, Colorado
Allison and Jeff wanted a small intimate wedding in the Rocky Mountains. The focused on guest fun and chose to have the ceremony at Overlook Ranch in Estes Park with Rocky Mountain National Park in the background. They said the most important thing for their wedding was for it to be relaxed and fun, so they choose a variety of outdoor games for the guests to play and a smore station towards the end of the night for guests. Even Shelly Coar, who captured this lovely wedding said, “their wedding was probably the most fun I’ve been to!” Check out Allison’s Hindsight Advice below…
Why a Mountain Wedding?
My husband and I both grew up in Colorado and have fond memories of spending time in the mountains throughout our lives. We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful scenery in our state.
Where did you find your inspiration?
As we talked about what kind of wedding we wanted, there were two recurring themes. One was that we wanted to create a wedding weekend and enjoy precious time with family and friends in celebration. We felt it would be special to have all of the people we love the most together in one place to celebrate our wedding. Everything we did had this at the forefront. The second thing that was important to us was to create a fun, relaxed environment. We wanted to create the inviting feeling of a backyard barbeque with close family and friends, set against the beauty of Longs Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park. Plus, we had quite a few family and friends joining us from out of state and we wanted to give them a mini-vacation in a desirable location.
Your favorite moment of the day.
The toasts by our wedding party. We each had our best friend and our big brothers in our wedding party and all four of them made toasts. It was clear that each of them had put considerable time and effort into what they said.
Three things you’re glad you did.
- We involved our family and friends in many details of our wedding. Not only were many of them able to stay on the property with us (the lodge and two other cabins on the seventeen acre property slept about 20), but we were able to include family and friends in the logistics of everything from flowers to favors, decorations to the rehearsal dinner.
- We did everything on-site. We rented the property for three nights (Thursday through Saturday and the wedding was Saturday) and were able to have the rehearsal dinner, photographs, wedding ceremony, reception and lodging for family, friends and us all in one place. This made everyone more relaxed and able to enjoy themselves and all of our time together because we weren’t under pressure to be anywhere at a specific time.
- We hired a DJ. At first, we considered not having one but we are so glad that we did – it made all the difference in getting our friends and family on the dance floor and having fun. I think that was most people’s favorite part of the day.
- Invested in our photographer. We spent a significant amount of time looking for the right photographer whose style matched ours and who had captured images like the ones we wanted. We felt that it was worth the price to hire an excellent photographer and we were thrilled with the result. She captured everything!
Anything you wish you had done?
- We really thought about what was important to us and we did it. We didn’t do anything extravagant, because that wasn’t what we wanted. Our goal was a simple, beautiful and meaningful wedding, and we got it. I don’t think I would do anything differently.
- We had planned to have a campfire and make s’mores after the dancing (we even made smore kits for all of our guests). We had so much fun on the dance floor that we asked the DJ to stay longer. The only downside to this was that only a handful of people got to enjoy the campfire with us at the end of the night.
Anything you wish you hadn’t done?
In retrospect, we would have picked a shorter song for our first dance. We loved the song we picked, but after about four and half minutes on the dance floor with everyone staring at us, we agreed that shorter might have been better.
How did you choose your vendors?
We felt very lucky with our vendors. We knew an excellent designer who created custom wedding invitations for us. A childhood friend of mine is an expert baker and made our wedding cake. My husband’s uncle did our flowers – his family had owned a floral shop and he did an amazing job. It was even more special that people we loved were such an important part of our big day. We found the venue on a vacation home rental website and when we visited to tour the property, we fell in love with the setting instantly. As we spoke with the owner about our considerations for catering, he mentioned that he used to run several restaurants in Estes Park and that he could cater our wedding if we were happy with burgers, chicken and steaks. The food turned out fabulous. Our photographer and DJ were referrals from other friends’ weddings and my hair stylist in Denver drove up to Estes Park to do my hair and makeup the day of the wedding.
What is your very best hindsight advice?
Decide what you want and stay true to your vision. Talk about what you really want, how you want the day to unfold, what you are nervous about in advance so that you have a good sense of what your partner is hoping to get out of the day. And then, figure out how to make it happen. We had lots of lists and spreadsheets (I recommend googledocs so that you and your partner can both be adding to the list and agenda as things come to mind) where we kept track of every detail for the weekend. We were so relaxed the week before the wedding because we had spent the time in advance making sure everything was documented, assigned to someone, purchased, packed and confirmed. Oh, and check out Etsy – you can get ideas for things to make, or you can buy amazing handmade things at really reasonable prices.
- Photographer: Shelley Coar Photography
- Band: A Music Plus Entertainment
- Bakery: Sweet Treats by Lis
- Submitted via Two Bright Lights
- Florals by a friend