Laura and Finn married in a sweet and unique wedding in the beautiful ski resort town of Vail, Colorado.
And it was gorgeous.
A stylish couple who carved their own day exactly how they wanted it, they tossed out tradition and had a beautiful wedding filled with personal touches – all captured by the wonderful Selah Photography (whose black and white shots are just stunning!).
A chilly al fresco ceremony was made all the warmer with sweet words, and sweeter hot chocolate.
Then on to a reception with giant blooms, an abundance of candles, and chic vintage furniture, for a night of dancing to great music and chowing down on some of the couple’s favourite food.
All set against the backdrop of some of Colorado’s prettiest peaks, see out ski season in style with these beautiful mountain nuptials.
Much of our inspiration for theme and décor came from our location – we wanted the décor and style to fit with the casual yet elegant style of Vail itself.
I found my dress early in our planning process and I do feel like it helped to set the tone for the wedding, even though Finn didn’t see it until I was walking down the aisle!
Gretchen with Chairished Vintage was great to work with, as her vintage style fit in perfectly with our vision.
Our bouquets were made of ranunculus, Juliet garden roses, lilac, spray roses, tulips and eucalyptus.
Dress shopping was by far my favorite part of wedding planning! I found my dress with my mom and sisters within a month of being engaged at a great bridal shop in Denver called Emma and Grace. My dress was a shade of blush rather than white, which I loved.
I thought dark navy complemented my dress well, so this is the color I chose for my bridesmaids and then incorporated different shades of light pink and blush into their bouquets. I wanted them all to have the freedom to choose a dress style that they liked for their body type, especially because one of my bridesmaids was 36 weeks pregnant, and another had just delivered a baby one month prior, so I found a fabric and color at J. Crew that I liked and then let them choose any style in that fabric.
We had no idea what the weather would be like in April in Vail, and the ceremony was outdoors, so I found these cute faux fur shawls on Etsy for my bridesmaids to wear which worked out perfectly. I wore an ivory faux fur shawl during the ceremony and when we were outside for photos, but walked down the aisle without it so I wasn’t hiding my dress.
Finn’s tuxedo was a dark navy. For our groomsmen, we wanted to avoid the traditional black rental tux. Finn found a great company online called Indochino that makes custom menswear. Each of the groomsmen sent in their measurements and had a grey suit custom made for them. We were very happy with the final look and the groomsmen were happy to have a nice suit that they could wear again.
Finn and I wrote our own vows and didn’t show them to each other in advance.
As part of his vows, he read the poem “Love” by Roy Croft, which was absolutely perfect. Our goal was to keep the ceremony fairly short but meaningful – which I felt like we did.
We loved working with Jackie with Selah Photography, as well as her husband Matt, who serves as her axillary shooter.
We had wanted a photographer with an artistic, photojournalistic style who was comfortable with more candid shots rather than going through a checklist of posed photos, as we wanted our photos to capture the feelings of the day.
We were incredibly happy with the photos in the end.
We held our weekend in Vail on closing weekend, which was meaningful to us. Finn owns a hotel in Vail that he has been managing for the past 6 years where we have spent a lot of time during our five year relationship.
He has been working on a plan to tear the lodge down and redevelop, which came into fruition this year, so this was his last season running the lodge. Thus, in addition to closing weekend of Vail, it was also closing weekend of his lodge, which was a symbolic close of a chapter and the start of a new one.
The wedding reception was held just a few blocks from his lodge and several of our out of town guests were able to stay there, which was fun.
The Decor & Details
We decorated with flowers – real as well as oversized paper flowers, vintage furniture, and candles.
My parents put together a s’mores bar which we set up right outside the reception venue that was a lot of fun – and encouraged guests to go outside.
One of Finn’s brothers set up a TV screen behind one of the bars that streamed photos throughout the night. In addition to photos of us together and through the years, if the guests used the hashtag #vowsinvail, the photos showed up on the screen in real time.
We served hot chocolate with white and pink heart-shaped marshmallows to our guests upon arrival to the ceremony, which was a big hit.
Our main goal for our reception was for our guests (and us!) to have fun. We wanted to encourage our guests to dance and to be up mingling with other guests so we chose not to have formal tables with assigned seating. Instead, we informal seating – several vintage couches and chairs, two large farm tables, standing cocktail tables, and round tables scattered throughout the reception venue.
We felt like this worked perfectly – the dance floor was never empty and several of our friends ended up making new friends that they otherwise may not have talked with. Even though there were more guests than chairs, I don’t remember ever looking around and seeing a shortage of places to sit.
The food was catered by one of our favorite restaurants in Vail, The Left Bank. We love the lobster rolls they sell at the Vail farmer’s market during the summer so these were a must.
All of the food was easy to eat standing up since we didn’t have formal seating – in addition to the lobster rolls, we had a great selection of cheeses and meats, mini quiches and BLT sandwiches, poached salmon on toast, roasted vegetable skewers, lettuce wraps with seasonal vegetables, shrimp salad in lettuce cups, etc.
Late in the night, we brought out trays of Croque Monsieurs, which were a huge hit. The Left Bank is a French restaurant, which was also special to us, as we were engaged in Paris.
We had a guitarist play at our ceremony. The wedding party walked down to the song Blackbird by the Beatles, I walked down the aisle to Canon in D, and Finn and I walked out to The Wedding March.
Finn and I danced to an acoustic version of the song We Found Love which our band learned for us.
One of the highlights of the night was when my parents surprised us with a dance they had prepared that included a mix of various songs – from The Twist to Gangnam Style.
The photos that Jackie and Matt captured of our expressions watching them were some of my favorites.
We love dancing so we chose a great band who could play music that we liked (and specifically avoid certain songs we don’t) and we started the dancing as soon as we could by starting the speeches (which we limited to the maids of honor and best man and my father – anyone else who wanted to say something did it at the rehearsal dinner, which worked really well) immediately upon our arrival, followed by dancing.
We also hired a DJ to play music during the band’s breaks and when the band was done playing to keep the energy up the entire night.
Advice for Other Couples
I think my best advice for other couples planning a wedding would be to not get caught up trying to do things the way “everyone else” does them. One of the reasons I think we were so happy with our ceremony and reception was that we didn’t do anything that wasn’t meaningful to us.
We started our planning by thinking of what we did and did not like about weddings we’d been to. We don’t like long boring ceremonies so we kept ours short and sweet but still significant based on what we did choose to include. We didn’t find meaning in traditions such as the bouquet and garter tosses, neither of us really like cake, and we don’t like it when you get to the reception and are starving and waiting to eat – so we left some things out, didn’t serve cake, and had food readily available before we even got there so people could start eating right away if they were hungry.
In order to stay within a budget, Finn researched every detail of the wedding as much as possible and got price quotes from multiple vendors before making a decision. He spent an incredible amount of time doing this – I couldn’t have done it without him.
Vail is an expensive place to get married but we were able to save money by holding the wedding closing weekend, as rates at the end of the season for hotels tend to be lower than in peak season. This way we also avoided peak wedding season, which helped us when looking for vendors, as most people we checked with were available that weekend so we had more options of people to work with.
We were not, however, willing to save money by doing everything ourselves during wedding weekend – we didn’t want to be decorating, cleaning up, etc., and wanted to avoid having to ask friends and family to help with these sorts of things as well.
We were very happy to have hired Chairished Vintage and Candlelight Ambiance to take care of decorations and tear down at the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception.
Isn’t it just gorgeous – you know how much we love giant flowers. So many pretty details, and Vail looks like such a beautiful town. And we just can’t get enough of hearing a bride praise her groom for getting so involved in the wedding planning.