After dating for three years, Courtney and Shawn were out to dinner on New Year's Eve at one of their favorite places: an Italian restaurant they loved in Aspen, Colorado. The snowbound mountain, the New Year's Eve excitement, and all the champagne had Courtney, a 31-year-old lawyer, convinced that Shawn would propose at midnight. But the new year came and went without a ring. Courtney was about to give up when, at the end of the evening, Shawn pulled her to the front of the restaurant and got down on one knee in front of everyone.
Nine months later, the two returned to Aspen — with 192 friends and family in tow — to tie the knot on the mountain's summit. With the help of Virginia Edelson from Bluebird Productions, they transformed an ordinary ski lodge into a beautiful hideaway, filled with bright fall flowers and one crazy-creative cake.
See James Christianson's photos of their pitch-perfect fall wedding below.
Courtney wore a Monique Lhuillier Chantilly lace gown with a crystal belt. "It was super light and surprisingly comfortable," she says. She paired it with a lace veil and a diamond necklace on loan from her mom. The floral pattern on their invitations looks just right with her lace gown.
Courtney's bridesmaids wore matching J.Crew gowns in a bright poppy hue, to go with their red-and-orange color palette.They carried bouquets of orange, yellow and green blooms to stand out against their vibrant dresses, and against Shawn's ranunculus boutonniere.
Courtney and Shawn's florist, Lauryl Lane, designed a gorgeous asymmetrical chuppah for their Jewish ceremony, covered in the same flowers Courtney used in her bouquet: alstroemeria, ranunculus, roses, dahlias, tulips, cymbidium orchids, berries, zinnias, and plenty of branches. For the processional, live musicians played a medley of the couple's fave Beatles songs.
Courtney's been skiing in Aspen since she was just three years old, and she couldn't think of a more picturesque place to tie the knot. "The Roaring Fork Valley has a special place in my heart and, now, in Shawn's as well. You can't beat the view from the top of the mountain, and we thought it would be a fun experience for our guests to take the gondola up to the summit for our wedding," she says.
Courtney saw some floral arrangements by Lauryl on a wedding blog and fell immediately in love. Though she's ordinarily based out of LA, she was able to work with Courtney, Shawn, and their planner Virginia to deck out the Aspen Wedding Deck lodge with bright red flowers, candles, and plenty of fall foliage. The branch-wrapped chandeliers were seriously stunning.
Courtney and Shawn each had their own signature cocktail for the wedding. Shawn chose a gin and tonic, and Courtney went for vodka, basil, and limonata.
The couple decked out their tables with a mix of tall centerpieces with Aspen Trees, garlands of grapevine, bay laurel branches, and blooms, and short ones with lush arrangements of fall foliage and orange and red flowers. Votive candles gave the whole room a warm autumnal glow.
About their whimsical mountain-shaped cake, created by D'Elissious Cake Studio, Courtney says, "It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen!" On top of the vibrant snow-capped confection sits two cake toppers: one a skier, like Courtney, and one a snowboarder, like Sean. It was almost too cute to eat, but it was worth it to sample the three different flavors: lemon cake with raspberry filling, coconut, and chocolate praline cake with salted caramel buttercream.
The unexpected hit of the night? A photo booth. "I highly recommend it; it's such a fun and silly activity for guests," Courtney says.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Wedding Deck at The Little Nell || Planner: Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions || Gown: Monique Lhuillier || Hair & Makeup: Cheyenne and Christine from Full Circle || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Suit: Brooks Brothers || Groomsmen's Attire: Macy's || Florist: Lauryl Lane || Save the Dates: Express Yourself || Calligraphy: Victoria Hoke Lane || Music: Ceremony - Silver City Strings, Reception - Chase N' the Dream || Cake: D'Elissious Cake Studio || Rentals: Premier Party Rentals, La Tavola || Lighting and A/V: Halcyon Productions || Photo Booth: Social Light || Photographer: James Christianson