Q&A with the bride and groom (Allie and Reed):
How did you meet?
Reed and I initially met through our older brothers Andy and Jackson, who were good buddies at Ole Miss. Since Reed was a charter boat captain in Louisiana during this time our paths never crossed until May 2013 when our brothers threw a joint graduation party. There we briefly met, and honestly, I was more interested in hanging out with Reed's grandma than him.
Fast forward to January 2014 when we ran into each on The Square in Oxford, MS. I walked passed him and pointed at him and asked: “How do I know you?!”. Reed insisted I was in his statistics class, but I immediately shut that down since I was an art major who stayed as far from the math building as possible. For the life of us, we could not pinpoint how we knew each other until we narrowed it down to our brothers. I welcomed him back to Ole Miss, told him I would see him around, and went on with my evening.
The next day he added me on Facebook and immediately sent me a message saying how great it was to run into me. I responded, gave him my number, and we met for a drink that evening. The rest is history.
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).
Growing up and even after our engagement, the thought of planning my ideal wedding hardly crossed my mind, and I kind of could care less. It was not until I stopped dragging my feet and started making wedding moves that I realized why I was so unenthusiastic about the planning process. It was because the wedding world wasn’t offering much that was aesthetically me.
I started with what I love most, which is color. Much of what is considered to be in style within the wedding world consists primarily of soft color schemes, with maybe a pop of color here and there. I am a fan of color and lots of it. With it being a fall wedding I decided on a dramatic palette of jewel-toned hues accented with gold. These colors bled into our save the dates, formal invitations, bridesmaid’s attire, florals, cocktail napkins, welcome goodie boxes, and ceremony programs.
Reed and I chose to focus on having a destination mountain wedding that was also accessible to all of our out of state friends and family. With about 90% of guests flying in for our big day we wanted to cut down on their travel time as much as possible. Estes Park was a clear choice for us since it is a mountain town an hour from DIA as well as an hour from us in Fort Collins.
Reed and I fell in love with The Stanley Hotel from the moment we stepped foot on the property. From its lush landscaping and breathtaking views of the Rockies to its historical (and spooky) significance, we knew this venue was for us.
All of our wedding weekend festivities took place on The Stanley Hotel grounds, including our rehearsal/welcome dinner, wedding ceremony and reception. It was so convenient and a relief to not have to waste time driving from venue to venue.
The Stanley offered our guests a full range of accommodations from historic hotel rooms in The Stanley, modern apartment-style residences in The Aspire, a bed & breakfast in The Lodge and expansive condos all overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park. These choices ultimately gave our guests the option of not having to leave the premises, which allowed them to relax and feel like they were on vacation.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Bride - Choosing my wedding dress was probably the quickest and easiest decision I made the entire wedding planning process. I wanted a long-sleeved flowy gown, with a contemporary lace design that made a statement and was comfortable.
While scoping Leanne Marshall’s website, the winner of season 5 Project Runway, I found a dress that checked all my boxes. I contacted Emma and Grace Bridal in Denver, a Leanne Marshall stockist, to see if they carried that specific style. They did so I scheduled an appointment for the following week. It was my first wedding dress to try, and was most definitely the one! Sometimes when you know you know.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
Reed and I wanted the entire weekend to feel like a continuous celebration in acknowledgment of this rare occasion where all our favorite people would be with us in one spot. It was also important for us to have the opportunity to spend time with our guests who made the trip out to Colorado for our big day.
With a guest list of 124, we were able to include everyone to our rehearsal and welcome dinner or the pre-reception as we like to call it. We gathered in the McGregor Room at the Stanley for a sit-down meal, toasts, and an evening of live music and dancing. We were able to greet and visit with our guests with ease throughout the evening.
By seeing everyone the night before, Reed and I were able to relax and not worry about having to “make the rounds” come Saturday evening. We were then able to enjoy our wedding, spending as much time as we wanted to boogie on the dance floor.
Speaking of dance floors, it was of the utmost importance to have a wedding band that could knock it out of the park. Reed and I are always the first to hit any dance floor, so booking a quality wedding band was of top priority.
We hired "The Radio Band" from Denver and man did they deliver.
Their string quartet performed during our ceremony with the full ensemble performing for the cocktail hour and later at the reception. We decided to add an entire horn section to the band, which was worth every penny. Turi Gustafson was marvelous, professional, courteous, and did everything to make our day a raving success. Thanks to "The Radio Band" the dance floor was never empty.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We took a little unconventional route with our cake and chose a colorful sprinkle tiered cake from Estes Park Pie Shop & Bakery that Brigitte topped with a collection of fresh florals.
Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
Professionally I am a contemporary painter and mixed media artist. Once it came time to design our wedding, I became incredibly involved in every creative aspect. I saw it as the one day where I had full-on control from a visual standpoint.
Save the Dates:
For our save the dates, instead of sending everyone a photo of us, we gave our guests a one-of-a-kind painting to commemorate our impending nuptials. This decision was genuinely more authentic to the aesthetic they could expect attending our wedding, while also serving as a keepsake for after the fact. I hand-painted each 5x7 card in oil paint and then block printed an abstract design of The Stanley Hotel and Estes Park on top with no 2 of the 100+ cards being the same. The format was like a postcard, with the painting on the front and the date information on the back.
A couple’s logo is nothing new in the wedding world. Although with ours, I decided to add a bit of personal flair by incorporating our home states of Missouri and Mississippi to the design. I integrated branches of our state trees: The Dogwood & The Magnolia, both blooming trees alongside our initials. We used this on our save the dates, cocktail napkins, formal invitations, the welcome goodie boxes, and signage.
Invitation Suite and Ceremony Programs:
While designing our invitation suite, I continued to incorporate the state tree motifs into the layout as well kept with the jewel-toned color palette. For the typography, I chose a traditional script and paired it with a modern font used throughout the entire suite and ceremony programs as well.
The paper was a harder find, but I was able to hand-select a few great hues and weights from Neenah. Once ready, the invitations were engraved and pressed in gold to accent the jewel-toned papers. The suite was then wrapped up in a navy velvet ribbon and sealed with a gold wax stamp of our logo. The envelopes were hand calligraphed and addressed in gold.
Since our wedding was out of state for most and we opted out of a wedding website, our formal invitations needed to include every detail about the weekend. Within the suite, I included the various places to stay on The Stanley grounds, a map from the airport to Estes Park, airport shuttle information, as well as details on a Saturday morning Rocky Mountain trolley excursion and Friday's welcome dinner.
Many shops on Esty claim to sell acrylic wedding signs that appear to be etched, but in fact, are all hand-painted. Since this was the case, I took matters into my own hands and created a collection of laser-etched acrylic signage for our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. These included a welcome sign, large seating charts, and an illuminated sign of our logo each designed with a footed base to stand securely on the ground or a tabletop.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Luckily, I have a dad who is a total planner and lover of spreadsheets. Thanks to him, our ducks were always in a row and on the same page with our vendors. While he was in charge of the logistics, I was able to focus solely on the creative aspects of the wedding. Without his help, I would not have been nearly as hands-on with the wedding aesthetics.
If you do not consider yourself to be an organizer, I suggest bringing in reinforcements. Since a full-on wedding planner to help with the vision of the day was not necessary, I hired a day-of coordinator, and I could not recommend it enough! Linda O’Hare, with Elegant Events by Linda, was incredible every step of the way. She was not only personable but professional and genuinely cared that everything went as planned for our wedding day. With her in charge, we were able to enjoy every second of our celebration!