Kirsten and Conor's relationship was packed with adventure from the very beginning. They first met in the summer of 2007 when both were part of a field crew researching Colorado's Flammulated owl and their relationship took off as they ran through forests in the dark looking for the elusive bird. Five years later, Conor proposed while he and Kristen took in the sunrise from the top of a mountain pass.
As they started dreaming up their August 2, 2014 wedding, Kirsten and Conor knew they wanted an intimate mountain venue that was relatively close to Denver. "We spent months searching for the perfect place," Kirsten remembers. "We wanted to avoid crowded mountain venues as we were in search of a peaceful place where nature could be honored during our ceremony." They fell hard for a private ranch in Edwards, Colorado, with a quaint cabin, an aspen grove, and spectacular mountain views. Keep reading to see Adonye Jaja's photos of their stunning day!
Kirsten loved her fitted Le Spose de Gio gown as soon as she tried it on, but getting a little outside validation that it was "the one" helped too! "I got a thumbs-up from the window washer who was hanging outside the window of the bridal boutique while I was trying on the dress," the bride remembers. Her hair was styled into a side-swept fishtail braid that was decorated with a cluster of flowers.
Conor wore a navy blue linen suit from J.Crew. His groomsmen and Kirsten's bridesmaids all wore suits and dresses of their choosing as the couple felt strongly about staying away from styles that felt too uniform.
"Our Quaker ceremony was the most meaningful time of the day," Kirsten says. "Our guests sat in concentric circles and, after everyone was seated, a string quartet started playing." Instead of having an officiant, Kirsten and Conor recited their vows and then their guests were invited to speak about the couple. After they signed their marriage certificate, guests shared marriage wisdom and tips for the couple. "It was the best ceremony I could imagine."
The reception was held in a nearby tent, which the couple personalized to reflect their style. "We did a lot of DIY projects and relied heavily on the love and dedication of our families and friends to pull it all off," Kirsten says of their wedding décor. One such project? Kirsten and her friends arranged all of the flowers used in the ceremony and reception, including the bridal party bouquets and countless centerpieces. "We bought buckets and buckets of flowers from three local flower growers and I ordered some garden roses from another distributor," the bride says of tackling the project. "I spent the entire morning the day prior to the wedding with some of my best friends arranging flowers."
One of Kirsten's bridesmaids created watercolor paintings of woodland animals that served as table numbers.
After dinner, Kirsten and Conor served a variety of pies for dessert. "Neither of us really loves cake and fresh fruit pies felt more seasonal and fitting for our location," the bride says.
The couple shared their first dance to El Carretero by the Buena Vista Social Club before the band took over and brought everyone out on the dance floor.
Kirsten and Conor, who honeymooned in Bali, suggest that other couples consider involving their loved ones in the big day. "We often reminisce about the things that were said during our ceremony," the bride says. "A wedding is all about your community and it's an opportunity to involve those you care about in an exciting and fantastic commitment."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private ranch in Edwards, Colorado || Day of Planner: Sarah Biggs of the Gourmet Cowboy || Bride's Wedding Dress: Le Spose de Gio || Groom's Attire: J.Crew || Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Polly Wales || Invitations: Bella Figura || Music: The Ricardo Pena Band || Catering: The Gourmet Cowboy || Rentals: RC Special Events || Photography: Adonye Jaja
Did you love this outdoor wedding? Then check out another open-air bash in the video below!