Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alena and Billy

So I am absolutely thrilled that this is my second guest blog post, and my first wedding one. There is a reason I am a photographer and not a writer. Alena says it so beautifully. Please read this if you are considering a wedding in Crested Butte, or know someone who is. And if you are one of my brides and want to guest blog, let me know. I'd love for you to do it!

Thanks to everyone who made this wedding what it was:
Flowers: Raincrow Farm, Paonia
Ceremony Music: Tyler Hansen
Hair: Rare Bird Salon
Bridal Salon: Anna Be Denver
Dress: Nicole Miller
Shoes: Betsey Johnson


"I’ve never really been that into weddings. I didn’t dream about mine as a little (or big) girl; I told my parents as a teenager that I planned to elope and wear black; and after the excitement of my now-husband’s proposal began to wear off, all I could think was, how can I possibly make this formal, traditional ritual feel like me, feel like us? It seemed impossible.

We found the answer in Crested Butte.

After months of debating our options – elope, international destination, courthouse, hometown, you name it – we decided that we wanted to include close family and friends, and we wanted them to experience our adopted home of Colorado. Denver, where we live, didn’t cut it. Summit County was too touristy. Boulder was too Boulder. We checked off all the places that we’ve been and came down to our favorite: a little mining-turned-ski town that’s pretty darn far off the beaten path.

Yes, CB presented logistical issues. It’s challenging to plan a wedding from 5 hours away. There are only so many vendor options in town. It was a haul for our guests, almost all of whom came from out of state. But it was absolutely, 100% worth it.

Alison White was the first vendor we met. Her style of photography (and her style of life, frankly) immediately appealed to us. We knew that she would do a fabulous job with the pictures. What we didn’t know, at first, was how instrumental she would be in helping us plan our perfect weekend.

It started with that first meeting when she suggested the Mountain Heritage Museum as a location for our rehearsal dinner. We took her advice, and it was a huge hit. Alison’s influence was even more key in planning for the big day itself. We originally hoped to host the wedding and reception at a private ranch outside of town. When quotes for everything from tents to dishes to bus rides started to come in, however, we realized we needed another option. Enter a frantic call to Alison, our only wedding-ish contact in town. She suggested the Woods Walk and Maxwells. Again, a huge hit with the guests, and a significantly lesser hit to our wallets.

So those are the facts: rehearsal dinner at the museum, with pizzas from Secret Stash; ceremony at the Woods Walk meadow followed by a reception at Maxwells Steakhouse. It was wonderful. But lovely as it was, that framework didn’t make it feel like us: we did.

I loved the way I looked and felt. My dress was simple, flowy, elegant, and looked awesome with my old, beat-up cowboy boots. For the reception, I switched to a pair of Betsey Johnson heels that I got for my senior prom, 10 years ago… which I happened to attend with Billy, my now-husband. Our flowers, from a farm in Paonia, were fresh and vibrant and stunning. The literal crowning jewel was the necklace that my grandmother wore at her wedding, then my older sister at hers. For me, the entire look was perfect.

(Speaking of my dress, one of my favorite moments of the day came right before my dad and I walked down the aisle. We’re standing alone down the path, and suddenly I noticed that something was poking me by the zipper of my dress. Turns out the tag was still attached, although I’d had the dress for months. We didn’t have any tools with us, so my dad proceeds to stick his head in my armpit and bite the tag off. It definitely broke some of the pre-ceremony jitters. )

I loved the way that everyone else looked. The different dresses on the bridesmaids, tiny dragonflies on the boys’ bowties, the little girls all in white, my mom’s self-described “flapper dress”, Billy’s whole outfit… all of it contributed to a look that was cohesive but comfortable, very laidback but, if I may say so myself, quite mountain-chic.

I loved our first look moment. It was my favorite part of the day. Billy and I were both in tears at the sheer emotion of it: here we are, we’re about to get married, and god, do we love each other. With so much adrenaline, so many nerves running through my body, a quiet minute with him was life-saving.

I loved our ceremony. All four of our parents served as officiants, and each shared some words that were meaningful to them. There were tears, and laughs, and small children running everywhere, and it embodied everything that we hoped it would be: an affirmation of our love, our family and friends’ support, and the life we’ve chosen to create here in Colorado. There were no “should do” moments; every minute of it was meaningful. Our dog even behaved himself.

I loved our reception. The food was fabulous. The music was spot-on – I couldn’t stop dancing all night. But what made it so special and surreal was being surrounded by everyone we love. We had about 60 guests, and for us, it was perfect; we had time to really talk to everyone, ask about their time in CB, share stories and laugh and hug and dance. My dad almost strangled me with tear-soaked hugs during our father/daughter dance. Billy and his mom tore up the floor to Footloose. My niece and nephew took about 100 photos in the photo booth. Friends and family who had never met were mingling, chatting, bonding. It was an incredibly fun party, and the perfect celebration to cap off our day.

Amazingly, Alison was able to capture each and every moment that I’ve described. I can’t thank her enough for her help with planning everything, and most importantly, documenting it. Her photos aren’t only beautiful pictures, they will forever bring us back to that place, time and feeling. It was a fabulous day, and her work is a fabulous gift that we will appreciate forever."

Wow. Thanks Alena. I am humbled.


Alison Hardy said...

What an amazing day and the pictures capture it perfectly! Thank you Alison! You helped my sister create the wedding she never even knew she wanted and an event that the guests will never forget!

Altax said...

Lovely pictures.
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