Estes Park Elopement with DIY + Handmade Details

Heather + Ross Estes Park
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Heather + Ross
July 4, 2013
Estes Park, CO

Why a Mountain Wedding?

We decided that neither of us wanted a “big wedding”, we wanted something more personal and intimate. We are originally from WI/MN and decided to elope to Estes Park, CO. We decided to get married here because my husband's parents also eloped to Estes Park, CO 32 years ago on July 4th. Even though it was a holiday and a Thursday, we really wanted to have the ceremony on July 4th. My husband's mother passed away 7 years ago after battling numerous illnesses for several years. By having the wedding the same day and the same place as his parents, it was like having his mother there with us. We invited my immediate family (Mom, Dad, and brother) and his dad and mom's side of the family (grandma and 3 sisters).

Where did you find your inspiration?

I found a lot of great ideas on Pinterest! We wanted a rustic country/ vintage feel to the wedding and Pinterest just offered so many ideas that you can use, blend, and make your own.

What were some personal details you incorporated?

Some of the personal details we had on our big day were a picture of his mother on a memory chair, and I had a picture pin made for my bouquet that had a picture of my grandma and close friend that had passed away. I wanted them there (because I knew they would want to be if they could!) and this way they were.

Your favorite moment of the day.

On our way from Denver to Estes Park, CO- our new car broke down on the side of the road and my parents had to turn around and come back to get us. By the time we got to the ceremony site at Lily Lake, it was starting to rain. We decided just to hurry and start the ceremony before it really started to come down. We began the ceremony and about half way through, the officient was speaking about how my husband and I met and our families. He mentioned my mother-in-law and the rain stopped, the sun started peaking over the mountains, and the dock were were standing on was bathed in this beautiful golden light. It was breath taking and brought out emotions in everyone, including my “tough” brother! That moment made up for the hectic start to the wedding and we finished the wedding without a hitch!

Three things you're glad you did.

  1. I am SO glad that we eloped–we were able to capture the real essense of marriage- celebrating the love we shared with our closest family.
  2. I am glad I did almost everything myself- we saved a lot of money!
  3. I'm glad we went down 4 days before the wedding and stayed for 3 days after to explore CO and camp in the Rocky Mountains– a Mini Honeymoon!

Anything you wish you hadn't done?

I wish I hadn't gotten my makeup done. I do makeup for my friends' weddings all the time, but for some reason, I decided I need mine done for the big day. We were rushed for time and I hated how it turned out and ended up redoing it on the way up to Estes Park (I had plenty of time since the car broke down!)

What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?

Live in moment, cherish the day, and remember that after all is said and done- you are marrying your best friend and love of your life. It's not about the cake, the flowers, the gifts, and food. Its about celebrating the love you have for each other and commitment to the future together.

Anything you wish you hadn't worried about?

I wish I hadn't worried so much about our families! We were so worried about them getting there, finding their hotel, making their flights, the driving directions, and just making sure they were having a good time–especially since half the time we weren't sure about things ourselves! Our families handled everything like Champs and were more than helpful with anything we needed. Also, I was very worried about getting our marriage license the day before July 4th–and it was not an issue at all!

Anything You wish you had known about sooner rather than later?

That it takes longer to get your marriage license back when you are not from that state! Being from MN, I had to call a few times to try and get our marriage license back from CO so that I could get a new passport for our honeymoon! It was cutting it close, but it all worked out.

How did you choose your vendors?

We chose Lily Lake because of it's beauty and easy accessibility for us non-natives. All of us drove from Denver to Estes Park, and we had to make sure it was an easy commute. I found April O'Hare Photography on google and she was great from the get-go. She was always answering questions about the area, suggsting the perfect time for the ceremony, and scoping out the location before hand to find amazing spots for photos. She was prompt with getting our pictures back to us and honestly made the day go by smoothly. We had Josh Ratzlaff from Colorado Wedding Officient perform the ceremony. He was great too! We emailed and spoke on the phone at least once a month and Skyped a few times so that we could get a feel for what the ceremony would entail. He gave great suggestions and helped us to pick out our readings, and alot of them were some not so common ones! All in all- it was a great experience! As for a reception, we had it on my family farm in WI a few months after the ceremony.
What is your very best advice to other mountain brides? I feel that your pictures are one of the few things that you will have left after your wedding- make sure you have an excellent wedding photographer that is willing to go above and beyond!

Estes Park Wedding Vendors

Photographer:  April O'Hare Photography |Officiant: Josh Ratzlaff |Hair Stylist:Rebelle |Dress: ASOS | Boutonierre: Etsy Designer: Southern Ever After | Etsy Designer: Willow Road Designs | Bouquet Picture lockets: Etsy Designer: Your Charmed Wedding | Bouquet-DIY
Submitted via Two Bright Lights