Petrika & Ward  |  July 12th  |  Ouray, Colorado

From the bride:
Ouray is very special to us–we had our first kiss in Ouray and many shared memories from the area. We wanted our family and friends to experience this special place with us! We love the mountains and that is where we feel the most spiritual, for us it was the perfect place to join in marriage.

Photography by IlluminArts Photography

We wanted to make everything as local as possible, so we worked with all of our vendors to ensure that whenever possible things were sourced locally; this helped us stay “green” and gave our guests a real taste of “local” fare in Colorado. For example, Colorado Boy Brewery in Ouray provided awesome local drinks, and Mesa Park Vineyards in Palisade provided delicious local wine.

Our “First Look” was a surprise to my husband set up at the place of our first kiss before we headed to the ceremony site together—having this special moment with him before the ceremony was worth a thousand words and made it oh so intimate.

It rained during our rehearsal (thus making for the shortest rehearsal time ever!), and it rained for our ceremony. It poured right before we started, drizzled as the ceremony was conducted and poured again afterwards. Folks just pulled out their umbrellas, huddled together and made toasts!—it was wonderful.

We used several elements of nature in our ceremony; standing in a circle for the ceremony, a water ceremony and wooden rings. In the end, Mother Nature decided to give her own contribution and “blessed” us with thunderstorms!

We had our parents bring water from our home towns to “unite” with our Colorado water in our “unity” ceremony.  We had our dog (and best friend)—be our ring bearer. It was so wonderful to have our pup with us!

We took a quick moment alone right after the ceremony to privately congratulate ourselves!—This is something I highly recommend! It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in all of your guests that it crucial to carve out a few moments for just you and your new spouse.

Our wedding weekend was unique because it was so small, we gathered for drinks on Thursday evening, were able to go for a hike with our guests on Friday and share a special rehearsal dinner that night. The day of the ceremony we hired a private yoga instructor to start the day off right—it was so much fun! We also had a brunch, shared some special gifts with our wedding party and I even had time for a soak in the hot springs before starting to get ready! I don’t think a lot of brides get to experience that. We really felt like we had time to spend with each of our guests, we read about so many people feeling so frazzled on their wedding day, so they missed out on spending time with folks that have traveled so far to celebrate with them. We did not want this experience, so having an entire weekend with only a few folks provided us with exactly what we were looking for—time with our closest family and friends.

My advice: Take some time when you first get engaged to just experience “being engaged”—it’s a wonderful time that should not be clouded immediately with the stresses of wedding planning. When you do start planning, sit down with your fiancé and discuss your overall vision and what is most important to you—stick to that no matter what anyone else says. Everyone seems to have opinions about how your wedding should be, but remember it is your day! My biggest recommendation is that in the end– it’s just one day— we should put more energy on the rest of your life together than our weddings. Lastly, whatever happens in the end will feel perfect—so don’t sweat the small stuff.

MY RECOMMENDED VENDORS
Photographer: IlluminArts PhotographyVery flexible and accommodating!   //  Ceremony Site:  National Forest Land, Ouray  //  Reception Site & Lodging: Weisbaden Hotel. Very relaxed atmosphere and we loved having hot springs on site!!  //  Tent & Party Rentals: Park Avenue Parties. They have everything you could need.  //  Caterer: Pine Cone CateringWilling to do something so small and special and use all local vendors/ingredients—amazing!

Honeymoon Location: Skiing in Banff, Canada!