Though Kevin and Dana Vega were in the same engineering class at Notre Dame, the pair didn't meet until they both headed to London for a six-week summer study abroad program in June of 2008. They quickly became friends and, before they headed back to the States, they had their first official date at an outdoor restaurant overlooking the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. How's that for a romantic start to a relationship? "We love to travel together, and are so lucky to have started it all with such an awesome adventure," says Dana.
Five years later, Kevin took Dana for what she thought was just a beautiful morning walk in search of coffee. But he surprised her when he led her into a small park and got down on one knee beneath an old oak tree. Kevin insists that Dana asked if her mom knew before she said yes, and luckily he'd already thought of that: Both of their parents were waiting nearby to celebrate! "My parents live in Minneapolis and his live in New Orleans, and they'd all flown to Houston to spend the weekend with us. It was perfect!" Dana remembers.
The travel-lovers knew they wanted a destination, and settled on Jackon Hole, Wyoming as the location. They kept the wedding small, inviting only 31 guests to the mountains for a weekend full of adventures, food and fun. And on June 21, 2014, the college sweethearts made it official. Keep reading to see their sweet, intimate celebration, coordinated by Lovely Day Events and photographed by Katy Gray Photography.
Dana thought the first dress she tried on was The One — until she tried on this flowing a-line gown by La Sposa, complete with beaded lace and crystal straps.
To complement her gown and the mountainous location, Dana carried a textured bouquet of peonies, dahlias, thistles, and ranunculus in burgundy, pink, purple, and white.
Kevin wore a dark gray three-piece suit, which he paired with a blue-and-white striped tie that matched both his and Dana's brothers.
The couple's stationery featured a custom watercolor painting of Teton Village, which was used on everything from the invitations to the programs. Inside the programs were the lyrics to the Notre Dame alma mater, which everyone sang before the processional.
The ceremony took place in the Our Lady of the Mountains, where both of Dana's parents walked her down the aisle for the Catholic ceremony. The priest is also a close friend of the bride and groom, so he added a personal touch to the homily. "He asked us to each write him a letter explaining why we were ready to get married, and then read parts of our letters during the ceremony. We had no idea, and it made it even more personal," Dana says.
As a finishing touch, the couple put their own spin on Notre Dame's iconic "Play Like a Champion" sign and hung a sign that ready "Marry Like a Champion" near the door to the sanctuary. "Each of our guests slapped the sign on their way out, just like the players do when they go from the locker room to the football field," the bride explains.
With such a small group, Kevin and Dana opted for an intimate dinner at two long tables and decided to skip the dancing. They chose the patio at Calico restaurant, where guests dined on lasagna, chicken parmesan, risotto, and wood oven pizzas at tables decorated with flowers that matched the bride's bouquet.
"We collected almost all of the vases ourselves at antique fairs in Texas," says Dana. The couple painted the vases in neutral colors, then arranged them on top of burlap and lace runners they'd bought on Etsy.
As a twist on traditional place cards, Dana and Kevin found pictures of themselves with each of their guests and attached them to white tiles to create a Polaroid-type look. "It was so fun to do, since some of the pictures go back to when we were growing up," she says. The printed menus were tied with twine and included twig pencils so guests could complete the custom crossword puzzle on the back.
The single-tiered cake was covered in fondant, then frosted with a mountain scene. Beneath the crocheted bird toppers were layers of chocolate cake with hazelnut mousse, Nutella, and chocolate buttercream.
"The best part of our wedding weekend was that, between welcome drinks, hikes, dinner, and our farewell brunch, we were able to spend time with every one of our guests individually," says Dana. "And we got to watch them all become closer with each other, too. I'm so glad we focused on what was important to us instead of having the wedding we were 'supposed' to have."
Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of the Mountains || Reception Venue & Catering: Calico || Day-of Coordinator: Lisa Mack of Lovely Day Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: La Sposa || Shoes: Menbur || Veil & Jewelry: Brides of France || Hair & Makeup: Tanya Crocker || Groom's Attire: Banana Republic || Best Man and Man of Honor's Ties: Suit Supply || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Adler's Jewelry || Florist: MD Nursery & Landscaping || Invitations & Custom Watercolor: Wide Eyes Paper Co.|| Paper Goods: Handmade by the bride and groom || Cake: Persephone Bakery || Rentals: Canvas Unlimited || Videography: Tower 3 Productions || Photography: Katy Gray Photography
Did you love the look of this Wyoming wedding? Then watch another couple tie the knot in rustic barn wedding in Washington, below!