A Look Back at My Favorite Day: October 29, 2016

Since I posted about our fake wedding, I felt it was only appropriate to talk about our real wedding, which happened exactly one year ago! We got married in sunny Colorado, surrounded by our friends and family, and everything was perfect. And I don’t say that lightly! October 29, 2016 was everything I dreamed of and more.

Brandon proposed on April 23, 2016, so we only had about six months to plan this thing. But surprisingly, it all turned out so well — thanks to the support, help and love of so many people. We had a dream team of vendors, family members and friends who helped transform our ideas into reality.


Our wedding was at Church Ranch Event Center in Westminster, which is about 20-30 minutes outside of Denver. This was the first venue we considered, and the very last we visited. We fell in love with the event coordinator, Mitchell, who was one of the many amazing people at Church Ranch helping us out throughout the process. Mitchell is one of those passionate, inviting, and energetic people who go above and beyond to ensure everything is perfect. For example, three days before the wedding, he called and convinced me to move the ceremony from inside to the outdoor space, since the weather forecast for Saturday looked beautiful. In addition to throwing in several freebies, he was willing to make changes to the entire plan (which included rearranging the room setup so the ceremony could be outside) at the last minute, to make it the best day possible. We were so glad we moved it outside, because it was 75 degrees and sunny that day.

The overall colors used were navy blue, various shades of green, gold, and a few random instances of maroon (like the flower girl dresses). The decor used throughout the space was a combination of things I had collected (like fish bowls for terrariums on the tables), some pieces from the venue, and a lot of borrowed items from my bosses at work, Amanda and Katelyn, who set up all of the decor and created our invitations. I could not have had a successful wedding without the help of Amanda and Katelyn! With their company, Ella Vine & Co., they create wedding and event prints, including save-the-dates, invitations, special occasion cards, and more. They created a modern-meets-elegant collection of prints for our wedding, including the invitation, rehearsal dinner invites, table cards, menu labels, and other signage used throughout the space.

My mom helped me tremendously during the planning process, and even up until the last minute. She put together the entire floral aspect of the wedding — using greenery and some roses we ordered from Safeway months before. She hired the girl who worked in the floral department at the store to help put the arrangements together the day before the wedding, and they created the bunches of greenery for the bridesmaids, my bouquet, and all of the succulent boutineers. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome! Plus, we were able to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

My dress was from Little White Dress in Denver. This adorable bridal shop, which used to be a church gymnasium, was our fourth and final stop on our Denver dress tour. This helped in knowing what I did and did not like. I immediately fell in love with this dress — Nadine from Calla Blanche. I chose the ivory with nude underneath, which provides contrast to accentuate the detail of the lace. I knew I wanted a long-sleeve lace dress, but this completely exceeded my expectations.

My hair was done by Chelsea at the Yacht Club Salon in Westminster. I had always dreamed of a fishtail braid for my wedding, and she nailed it! My friend, AriAnne Kraker of Makeup With Me, did my makeup. She offered to do my makeup if I just paid for her plane ticket and hotel. AriAnne is an unbelievable makeup artist with celebrity clients, so I was honored that she wanted to be a part of our day. I had somewhat of an idea of what I wanted, but I trusted AriAnne to work her magic.

Brandon and the groomsmens’ clothes were from Men’s Wearhouse. Brandon bought his suit, because they were having a buy-one-get-one-free sale for suits (but when are they not having a sale?) and he used this opportunity to stock up on suits for special occasions down the road. The guys rented their pants and shoes from MW and each bought the same blue-and-white checkered shirts from Target. I have this strange obsession with all men wearing the same exact shoes in these situations, hence the renting of shoes.

I found my bridesmaids dresses for maybe $30 at Target and their boots from JustFab.com (lol). I think I got all of their shoes for $10 each because I used one of their crazy promotional offers to buy them all at once. You can only imagine the size of the box they came in...

We had the rare opportunity to have so many family members represented in the wedding party, since my family is so big and everyone is married. Brandon’s groomsmen included my brothers and brother-in-law, Adam, Jeremy and Sky, his brother-in-law, Travis, and his friends, Alex and Alan. My bridesmaids included my sister and sister-in-laws, Heidi, Anne and Anna, Brandon’s sister, Brooke, and my friends, Alex and Kaley. This rare opportunity to have so many married couples and family members involved was extra special. I of course planned the order of where everyone was standing so that each couple could walk in and out of the wedding together! (Side Note: We had a groomsman and bridesmaid celebrating with us in spirit — as my cousin, Kayla, and Brandon’s friend, Ben, were out of the country at the time.)

We took pictures with our families at the venue before the wedding, which is my favorite decision I made that day (besides marrying Brandon). This alleviated so much stress of having to track everyone down and rush to get photos between the ceremony and reception. Plus, everyone looked their best at this time!

Brandon’s dad officiated the ceremony, which was extremely special. He did an amazing job, as he was so calm, well-spoken, and shared wonderful thoughts with us. Afterwards, people asked me what my favorite thing about the wedding was, and I always answered: the ceremony. That sounds so obvious, but there are plenty of other things that could have been said — dressing up, the dance party, or seeing all of our friends and family (which is up there on the list for sure). During the ceremony, it seemed as though time stopped, I had no care in the world, everything went as planned, we sang our favorite hymn, the setting amongst the aspens was so peaceful, and I got to marry the most incredible man. Because that is all that matters amidst all of the details of this complex day — that we got married!

After the ceremony, Brandon and I rushed with the photographers and videographers to a field across the street to catch the sunset. We had just the right amount of light to capture some gorgeous shots of us as a married couple. Brooke Smith of 432 Photography was our photographer, accompanied by her husband, Drew. I found Brooke on Instagram and realized she was related to people from our (pretty small!) church in Denver, so we hired her to shoot our engagement pictures and immediately fell in love with her spirit, style and skills. She was super pregnant at our wedding, so we were amazed she was able to keep up with the shenanigans and capture everything so beautifully. I went to highschool with the wife of the husband-and-wife duo who shot the videography at our wedding, Melissa and Andrew of Aziz Studios. They offered to fly all the way down from Seattle to shoot video, and we were so thankful to have them. I was planning on not hiring a videographer to save some money, but I’m so glad I did. Take a look at the stunning video they created!

During our photo shoot, an acoustic guitarist (who is also a bagpiper!) played while everyone mingled with drinks and appetizers. We heard Michael play at Modern Market a few months before the wedding and decided to hire him to fill the transition time from the ceremony to reception. I hear he sounded great, but I have no idea — he was done before we got back from our photo shoot!

Our friend from church, Nate Coray, was the DJ at our reception. Plus, he managed the music during the ceremony. He offered to do all of this for free, and we were so thankful! Since we had a Spotify playlist, we had planned for someone to simply push play and pause, but then realized we needed someone to announce the various wedding activities (cutting the cake, first dance, etc.). So Nate came to the rescue!

Our food was catered from Hearts Desire Catering, who we were connected with via the venue. The food Rebecca (who is also the sweetest human of all time) made for us was impeccable. While we ate very little at the actual wedding, we tried everything at a tasting a few weeks prior, and were sent with a giant to-go box that we devoured after the wedding.

Believe it or not, the cake was from Safeway as well! For some reason, the cake was the thing I cared about the least. Plus, my sister’s cake never showed up at her wedding and they ended up getting cakes from Safeway and no one even noticed. So I figured, why not start there? They created a simple two-tiered lemon cake with white frosting and stuck some greenery around it. Ta-da! Money = saved.

There are so many more minor details from that day that I could go on and on about — but as mentioned, what matters most is the actual purpose of the day. And that was to join together as one, and vow to spend the rest of our days together. Looking back a year later, I am even more thankful for this promise than I was that day. Going through life with this man by my side has been my greatest joy.

Cheers to one year of married bliss!

Venue: Church Ranch Event Center

Photography: 432 Photography

Videography: Aziz Studios

Invitations + Prints: Ella Vine & Co.

Floral: Safeway

Bride’s Dress: Calla Blanche from Little White Dress

Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse

Makeup: Makeup With Me

Hair: Yacht Club Salon

Cake: Safeway

Catering: Hearts Desire Catering

Guitarist: Michael Lancaster

DJ: Nate Coray