In 2012, when Ellen Goldberg was the crime reporter for the NBC station in Dallas, an attorney she'd been interviewing asked if she'd be willing to be set up on a blind date. "Even though I'm from Alabama, my family loves LSU. He wanted me to meet a friend of his who'd gone to Alabama and was a die-hard fan, even though they're LSU's rivals," says Ellen. "He hoped the shared love of the state of Alabama might spark something." Well, he was right. The night Ellen met Jack Fishpaw, the pair dined on the patio and ended up watching the staff close the restaurant!
Just over a year later, Ellen came home to find a trail of letters leading her to a bottle of Dom Pérignon, three dozen roses, and instructions to get dressed for the best night of her life. An hour later, Jack arrived. "I felt like I was in an episode of The Bachelor," says Ellen. He asked her to marry him, then whisked her away to a local hotel for another surprise: Her parents!
Though they live in Dallas, the couple chose Vail, Colorado for their June 21st, 2014 wedding — and picked a truly unique venue. "We were the first couple to ever get married on the Solaris lawn in the middle of the village," says the bride. They hired Emily Campbell of Bella Event Design & Planning to transform the lawn, as well as nearby Matsuhisa restaurant, all photographed by The Mountain Photographers.
Ellen bought the first dress she tried on at the first salon she went to! "I was engaged on a Friday, and had my dress on Saturday," she says. Though she tried on a few other styles before making the purchase, she kept coming back to this lace Monique Lhuillier design.
She paired the gown with her great grandmother's wedding band, which had been soldered to her great grandfather's band after he passed away. "Everyone in my family has been married with that ring since," says Ellen. Her other accessory? Jack, in a classic tuxedo.
The bride and her bridesmaids carried soft bouquets of hydrangeas, garden roses, and dusty miller, with the bride's wrapped in lace and dressed up with pink blooms.
During the ceremony, beneath an altar of branches and white hydrangeas, the Judge read letters written by Jack's parents, whose health kept them from attending the wedding in person. "There wasn't a dry eye anywhere," says Ellen.
After the couple was pronounced husband and wife, Jack's sons joined him in breaking the glass. "It took a few tries," says Ellen. "I'd ordered Jack a fancy glass on the internet, and we had to take it out of the bag for him to get a better shot at it!"
The bride and groom treated their 122 guests to an 11-course meal at Nobu's Matsuhisa restaurant, including sashimi salad, sea bass tempura, and Colorado lamb chops. Tables were topped with white arrangements of tulips, hydrangeas, and garden roses.
The bar served two signature cocktails: a lychee martini for the bride and a Mexican martini for the groom.
The ruffled cake was filled with almond layers, vanilla buttercream, and wild Colorado strawberries.
Ellen let her hair down for the first dance, to Ray Lamontagne's "You are the Best Thing," then Funkiphino took over and got guests dancing.
Late in the evening, the couple handed out pompoms for their respective teams (LSU and Alabama) and guests waved them around the dance floor.
The couple, who honeymooned in Mexico's Riviera Maya, remind couples to make a decision and stick with it. "There are so many decisions to make, and they'll drive you crazy," says Ellen. "Once you decide on something, stick with it and move on!"
Ceremony Venue: Solaris Lawn || Reception Venue: Matsuhisa Vail || Wedding Planner: Bella Event Design & Planning || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Hair: cKaceeGo || Makeup: Michele McKamie || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Mountain Tuxedo || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Stanley Jewelers || Florist: Bloom || Invitations & Paper Goods: Richard's Notebook || Music: Funkiphino || Catering & Cake : Matsuhisa Vail || Rentals: Alpine Party Rentals || Lighting: Pink Monkey Solutions || Photography & Videography: The Mountain Photographers