July 22nd - Woodland Park, Colorado
A real Colorado fairytale.
When Jared proposed in January of 2018, we’d been dating nearly 10 years. We’ve quite literally grown up together. The adventures we’ve racked up in that amount of time are too many to count. And I wasn’t about to wait much longer for this next one. - Ally
Jared and I manage a spectacular private mountain property in the Rocky Mountains, and have done so, together, for the past 4 and a half years. This place is rich in cultural history and ecological wonder, and has shaped our very souls. Our relationships, with each other and with the natural world, have been completely transformed by the opportunity to live and work so closely with this land and its inhabitants. The property owners very graciously allowed us to use the property as a venue for our wedding.
We are so intricately tied to this place, physically, emotionally, spiritually. We’ve learned, taught, laughed, cried, and loved here. It’s a place we will one day move on from, surely in search of new adventures and new mountain views, but a piece of us will always be here. And the opportunity to immortalize it in the minds and hearts of our loved ones who attended the ceremony was so overwhelmingly special to us.
My mom and sisters were extremely supportive throughout the planning process. I don’t think I would have made it down the aisle without them. They flew out from Minnesota a few months before the wedding day to help me pick out my dress. It was the first dress I tried on in this little shop we went to, which was recommended by a dear friend of mine. It reminded me of the the wildflowers that pop up on the slopes of my favorite hiking trails.
Jared knew his groomsmen’s attire would include Chacos, probably before he’d even proposed. They’ve carried him across thousands of miles of hiking trails throughout Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Canadian Rockies, Ecuador, and many other places. He put a lot of thought into designing a custom pair for our wedding day, which he made to include turquoise and had our initials and wedding date embroidered on the heels. Of course, they arrived in the mail the day after our wedding. Luckily, he had a back up pair.
I couldn’t imagine this day without our two rescue dogs, Mesa and Pippa. My sister, Tessa, handmade their flower collars for the occasion.
My favorite part about my dress wasn’t discovered until Jared and I were walking through the meadow for our “first look”. The many layers of mesh that made up the skirt had collected hundreds of tiny moths as I walked through the grasses. The dress had become my very own butterfly house. My sisters were quite concerned that I was walking around with bugs in my dress, but I was thrilled. An unintended but welcomed effort to incorporate this special place into our special day.
After our vows, the maid of honor and best man wrapped us in a blanket to signify our unity. The butterfly woven into its fabric is representative of a particularly difficult time in our relationship when we were living long distance from each other. At one point during this time, Jared told me that whenever he was really missing me, a butterfly would appear and land nearby. I think it’s you, he said. He called it a sign from the universe that I was where I needed to be in the world, but there with him in spirit. Butterflies have been our symbol ever since. The more commonly known symbolisms of transformation and growth seemed to fit the day’s theme as well.
We had each of our guests take a quartz rock, which we’d collected the week prior while hiking with family and friends. It’s an extremely common mineral here, but one we still enjoy treasure hunting for during long hikes in the woods. After Jared and I read our vows, each guest was asked to come up and place their quartz within a circle that represented our love for each other. For me, this was hugely symbolic. Each of the people who attended our wedding had in some way shaped or supported Jared and I at various points in our relationship. The support I felt from all of our loved ones over Jared’s and my many years together all seemed to culminate in this moment. On top of contributing their stone, our guests came up to us individually and offered there well wishes. There little pieces of advice, or anecdotes, or compliments were so heartwarming, and something I’ll never forget.
We didn’t have to do much as far as decorations go, and tried to highlight the surrounding landscape as much as possible. All of our decorations were bought second hand or thrifted, with the exception of the turquoise candlesticks. My mom is a master of DIY projects and refurbishing, and she really put so much heart into making the ceremony, dining and reception areas look so natural and beautiful.
We decided against a traditional wedding cake in favor of a Norwegian kransekake, an homage to our family’s ethnic heritage. Colorado is not nearly as well known for Scandinavian influences as Minnesota is, but I was able to find someone well-versed in baking these cookie-cakes in Fort Collins! In Norwegian tradition, not dissimilar to cake cutting, the bride and groom work together to break off the top layer of the cake. The number of layers that break off with the top layer is said to predict how many children you’re going to have. We got a few more layers than we were hoping for, but this made for lots of laughs.
We knew our wedding day would be a day to celebrate our love, but we decided that we wanted it to also be a celebration of our friends and family, to thank them in a small way for the roles they’ve played in our love story. So much love went into making this day a reality. Our amazing friend Allie did all the signs and lettering, my dad made the yard games by hand, my grandmother (a skilled sewer and quilter) gave us the fabric for our table settings and chair covers, my bridesmaids did all of the flowers, our friend, Jake, played our ceremony song, Jared’s family put tons of working into getting the site cleaned up and ready to host, so many others helped with setup the days prior, and my mom orchestrated it all. You don’t realize the magic that is your own wedding day until afterward, when your routine returns to normal, friends and family return to their home bases, and all those things that never got checked off the to-do list no longer matter. But we will always remember how everyone we love and who loves us came together at the same time, in the same place, braving lightning storms for us, and dancing in the moonlight. And that was pure magic.
Brides Dress - Danelle’s Bridal https://danellesboutique.com/
Groom’s suit - ASOS https://us.asos.com/
Bolo ties - found on Etsy
Music: Woodshed Red https://www.woodshedred.com/
Hair and Makeup: Wedlocks Bridal Hair & Makeup https://www.wedlocksbridalhair.com/
Norwegian Wedding Cake: Amy Jo Martinson https://www.facebook.com/NorwegianGlutenFreeorOriginalKransekake/
Venue: Private residence