With family coming from across the country and around the world, this couple had a hard time deciding where to say "I Do." But once they picked the Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado, they had merely two months to plan a wedding to celebrate all of the people who got them to this point in their lives.
Karine, 27, a sales analyst, and Carl, 29, a product distribution manager, met through friends in 2010. The pair bonded as they trained for an upcoming half marathon–their evening runs were a perfect opportunity to chat and get to know one another. "I have never run so fast in my life," says Karine, "which Carl picked up on when he finished the half marathon an hour before me. The things you do to impress a man!" Well, whatever she did worked. Two years later, after a romantic dinner at their favorite Houston restaurant, Carl proposed on the couple's walk home to their new house. They had a whirlwind six-month engagement, but didn't choose a venue until four months in. In only two months, Karine and Carl planned an adventure for 43 friends and family members in the remote Colorado town of Dunton for their wedding on May 5, 2013.
"We booked the venue sight unseen," says Karine. Dunton is a restored ghost town-turned-resort nestled in the mountains an hour from Telluride.
Because everyone was from out of town, Karine and Carl gave each guest a welcome box complete with water, traditional Scottish treats, and an illustrated map of Dunton.
With a rustic mountain venue, Karine chose to go simple with her wedding dress. She got her cream-colored dress with a lace overlay from BHLDN. Says Karine of her gown, "While not very traditional, I couldn't have been more comfortable."
Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and temperatures dropped into the 30s on Karine and Carl's wedding day–even though it was the first week of May. The bride borrowed a fur stole from a friend of her mother's to fight off the chill.
Karine's all-white bouquet featured roses and scabiosas. The loose, natural feel of the bouquet was completed with twine wrapped around the stems.
Bridesmaids wore the J.Crew dresses of their choice in cream. When the temperature began to drop the week before the wedding, Karine ordered peach pashminas to keep her sisters, sisters-in-law and maid of honor warm.
One of the few things Karine was adamant about was the inclusion of her Scottish heritage in the wedding. Carl obliged, wearing a kilt of his family's tartan, with all of the traditional accoutrements. The groomsmen rented kilts for the weekend and, says Karine, "we were a bit concerned they would be wearing them home!"
The intimate ceremony was performed outdoors, with Karine's mom doing a reading in honor of all she did during the wedding planning process. Thick wool blankets were provided to keep guests warm as the bride and groom exchanged their personalized vows.
"Because Dunton is so remote, we were limited in what we could bring in without large costs," says the bride. This allowed the couple to simplify the planning process and focus on enhancing the inherent beauty of their location.
Having the wedding at Dunton allowed the couple to spend the entire weekend with their family and friends, sharing communal meals and playing lawn games. "We were incredibly lucky that we had so many of our family and friends join us on such short notice. They made the weekend so special," says Karine.
The barn reception was cozy and casual. The couple served a gluten-free meal that included prime rib and ruby trout.
With only 43 guests, Karine and Carl seated everyone at a U-shaped table, perfect for conversations and lots of laughter! Their signature cocktails were a Manhattan for the groom and a French 75 for the bride. As she says, "I don't think I drank anything but champagne all weekend!"
Flowers were kept loose and natural, playing off the forest green and gold color scheme. White hydrangeas and ranunculus were beautifully accented by the aspen bark vases.
The décor was simple and clean, giving the wedding a luxury camping vibe. Gold flatware and gold-rimmed plates elevated the natural wood tables.
Karine's mother made the couple's wedding cake, as Carl is gluten-intolerant. Cutting the cake was a memorable moment, but for an unexpected reason. "Mum still doesn't quite know what went wrong with the icing," says Karine, "but we couldn't cut through it–it was rock solid." It was an unexpected test of teamwork only hours into Karine and Carl's marriage.
After dinner, guests joined the couple outside for a fireworks display against the pitch black sky, a dramatic ending to a beautifully simple celebration. With the added challenge of planning a wedding at such a remote venue, Karine's advice is for couples to "learn early on how each person handles communication and work with that when planning; most people don't pick their partner based on how well they work together in these types of situations." What's up next for the duo? A Thanksgiving honeymoon road trip from DC to Charlottesville, then on to Nashville and Louisville. Says Karine, "It's going to be an amazing trip of local food, drinks, and exploring." Bon voyage!
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Dunton Hot Springs || Planner: Jessica McTaggart of Pink Champagne Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: BHLDN || Hair & Makeup: Angie of Sahaira's Salon || Wedding Bands: Jannie Bean Designs || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Kilt: Tailor-made in Scotland || Florist: Tess Jordan and Natalie McLain of April's Garden || Invitations: Paperless Post || Paper Goods: Rocket Ink || Catering: Dunton Hot Springs || Cake: Made by the Bride's Mother || Photography: Laura Murray Photography