Even though the sunshine is pouring through our windows right now, an intimate, snowy elopement still feels like a pretty way to start the day! And we’re guessing there are more than a few of you who are planning a wintertime wedding yourselves right now, so let’s let Jen + Andy’s simply perfect celebration inspire us today! These two envisioned exchanging their vows in a setting that was rustic, romantic, intimate and relaxing. And we love that by going with their guts, and realizing that a simple elopement – rather than a big, stuffy wedding – was the right thing for them, and they were able to get exactly what they were hoping for!
From Andy, When we made the decision to elope, we felt our options became basically limitless. While initially liberating, this quickly became overwhelming! For example, we asked ourselves… “do we want an oceanside cabin in Maine or a mountain resort in Montana”? The prospects of finding the perfect location (and maintaining affordability) quickly became our biggest challenge. After much Google searching, we discovered Dunton Hot Springs. With that, we instantly knew we found our location. It was an old/abandoned mining town that was saved and meticulously restored to become a luxury resort. While it is completely updated, they managed to maintain the intimacy and authenticity that we were looking for. Add to that, it was only an 8 hour drive from our home in Denver… it was the perfect location! In fact, we made the reservation 15 minutes after first discovering it.
Thanks so much to the talented Benj Haisch for these super gorge images and big congrats to Jen + Andy!
Jen + Andy exchanged their vows in the sweetest little timber structure out in the woods. If that’s not one of the most romantic ceremony locations, we don’t know what is!
Being the non-traditionalist that we are, we had our baby before our wedding. As a couple, we have been together for over 6 years and, in that time, have lived in Boston, San Francisco, and Denver. Regardless of our best plans, our baby Evelyn made a surprise appearance a little earlier than we envisioned. With that said, it was the best thing to happen to us. Not only do we have an amazing daughter, but she was able to be a part of our wedding. Looking back, this is one of the most amazing parts of our ceremony.
The snow! We did not think May 8th would bring winter conditions... but, that is exactly what we had. It had actually snowed a dusting the night before the wedding, and we thought it would clear up. The forecast said 50 degrees and sun... however, the mountains had a different idea. On the day of the ceremony it snowed on and off all day. The temperature was close enough to freezing that as soon as it stopped snowing, it all melted. In fact, an hour before the ceremony, the ground was clear of snow and relatively muddy. At that point, we embraced the idea of a white wedding and actually became hopeful that it would snow (and stick) for the ceremony. This situation was obviously a lot more comfortable for me (the groom) than for Jen (the bride). But, she was an amazing trooper and did not let it bother her... we only briefly went inside once to warm up (and fix our soaked hair).
Though we’re admittedly freezing just looking at her, we’re also admiring that modern gown Jen’s rocking! If you love it as much as we do, pop on over to the GWS shop – it’s in stock there, along with lots of other pretty dress ideas!
Such stunning portraits!
Decide what is important about your wedding day and focus the majority of your energies on those things. Unless you have unlimited resources and time, you won't be able to make every detail 100% perfect. But, if you pick the items that are most important to you and focus on them, you will have a memorable day. For us, the most important things were: [A] to have an intimate wedding that was low stress, [B] an elopement that still felt like a traditional wedding, and [C] an event that was professionally and beautifully documented. When we discussed our priorities and narrowed it to those three, it made the rest of our planning relatively easy. When a topic came up, if it didn't fall into our priority list, we either skipped it altogether (e.g. a DJ/band) or delegated responsibility (e.g. food and drink was taken care of by Dunton Hot Springs). This allowed us to focus on the two of us... instead of all the other aspects of a big wedding (which is what we were originally planning).
A bonus piece of advice for those looking to elope... we actually told most of our family about our plans in advance. This mitigated any stress with "elopment-backlash". The other thing this allowed was for our family to be part of our ceremony... from afar. This was made possible because each of our immediate family members wrote a personal letter that was then read by our officiant. This added a very personal, poignant, and (sometimes) humorous touch to the ceremony.
photography: Benj Haisch // venue, catering + cake: Dunton Hot Springs Dolores, Colorado // event design: Bride and groom! // florals: China Rose Florist // wedding dress: J.Crew Percy Gown // shoes: Jack Rogers // hair + makeup: bride // groom suit: J.Crew