Annie Strickland and Cody Jenick met at a Colorado bluegrass festival, dancing the night away as fiddles, five-string banjos, guitars, mandolins, and upright basses strummed American roots music. So when it came time to plan their June 27, 2015, nuptials, it was obvious where the couple would look for a venue. "We wanted a mountain chic, rustic, and elegant affair," says Annie. "We knew we wanted to get married in the Rocky Mountains where we met and have kindled some of our fondest memories together." The couple envisioned exchanging vows outdoors, with the mountains serving as a stunning natural decoration.
But it was also important for the couple to incorporate a bit of New Orleans flair into their day. "We lived there together and adore the music, food and cultural traditions of the town," the bride says. So the couple set out to plan a mountain chic celebration with Southern details, like as a second-line exit from their ceremony and barbecued shrimp appetizers, at the Red Sky Ranch in Wolcott, Colorado. Keeping reading to see each perfect detail, as captured by Laura Murray Photography.
As an artist, Annie felt it was important for her to design their wedding invitations. But the task was not easy, she admits, and finding the right envelopes to match the stunning cream, peach, and gray design she created was tough. "I fell in love with a cream-colored European card stock that had deckled edges," Annie describes. "The problem was that I envisioned light grey envelopes with white addresses, and the manufacturer only made cream envelopes to match the stock." But she didn't give up, and, eventually, Annie tracked down the perfect envelopes to complete the suite.
When Annie slipped on her embellished blush Monique Lhuillier gown, she could feel it in her bones that it was the one. The mermaid design and tulle skirt made the dress both comfortable and light, but still extra-special. "It immediately made me feel like a fairy princess wearing it," she says. Annie's sparkling silver flats stood out against her otherwise romantic ensemble, which she completed with a delicate veil and feather sash.
Annie's two sisters served as her bridesmaids and chose their own dresses. "We wanted something simple, elegant, versatile, and comfortable, made from a flowing, glimmering fabric." The winner? Ivory dresses from Two Birds stole everyone's heart. In fact, the ladies loved the gowns so much (not to mention found them so flattering!) that the bride's mother elected to purchase the same style in a different color. Annie and her attendants carried wild bouquets of peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, poppies, protea, astilbe, sweet peas, scabiosa pods, azalea, dahlias, sage, air plants and more.
Cody donned a three-piece grey suit that complemented the couple's color palette, adding brown leather shoes and shot gun shell cufflinks and carrying a custom-engraved leather flask for the day. His boutonniere was made of ranunculus and succulents, plus seasonal greenery such as sage, while his groomsmen wore a variety of blooms mixed with berries and greenery.
"We wanted an outdoor ceremony site with a mountain view," says Annie. "We loved the sagebrush high desert landscape, so naturally we fell in love with the views from the ceremony site." The couple also envisioned a blossoming arch under which they could exchange their vows, and Lale Florals knew how deliver just the look they were dreaming of. The floral designer created a wild, windblown, woodsy arch that felt like it was part of the natural landscape. "It was almost as if years and years of twigs had collected to create a stunning natural structure," Annie says. Their florist finished the stunning arch with flowers and vines in shades of peach, pink, and red to match the bride's bouquet.
Like the invitations, Annie took the lead in designing their ceremony programs, which included confetti for their guests to toss as they recessed down the aisle. "Designing our own graphic suite meant that all of our correspondence was so gratifying," says Annie. "All of the finished products turned out phenomenally, and we have this suite that is authentic to our personalities and style."
To further personalize their wedding, the couple had their eight-year-old Havanese, Jackson, walk the aisle with their ring bearers, who led him on a leash to the altar. The pup also "stayed and partied all night with us," Annie says.
Annie and Cody's two flower girls wore cap-sleeved leotards, pink tutus, and floral crowns as they sprinkled rose petals down the aisle. The bride walked down the aisle to a live performance of "In My Life" by the Beatles.
"We created our own ceremony based on a handful of examples that we liked," says Annie. That meant a mixture of Buddhist, secular, and Christian wedding traditions that best reflected the couple's own blend of spirituality and sentiment. Then, the couple left in a traditional New Orleans second line recessional. "We danced up the hill to the reception to live horns, in a giant parade complete with parasols, handkerchiefs and all," says Annie. "Not everybody knew what the tradition was all about, but it brought a little southern flavor to our mountain wedding."
The couple hosted their reception under a clear tent strung with cream-colored flags that were assembled by the bride's mother. The rows of flags were inspired by prayer flags that decorate the couple's favorite yoga studio in Denver. "They added so much to the ambiance inside the dinner tent," the bride says. As did Edison bulbs, which were hung at varying heights above tables.
On each table, guests found their names scrolled on place cards, while children were greeted with gold-painted dinosaurs and crayons at their place settings. Flowers included a mix of vibrant and lush arrangements, terrariums filled with herbs, and succulents, moss and, air plants scattered between mercury glass votive candles.
Annie, Cody, and their guests noshed on New Orleans-style barbequed shrimp, and toasted with Moscow Mules in hand.
The couple couldn't choose just one cake, so they had three: A three-tiered confection iced with blush cream, flanked by two two-tier creations that were left unfrosted. Each cake offered a taste of a tantalizing flavor: layers of dark chocolate stout cake, peach butter cake, olive oil cake were sliced up for guests to enjoy, along with dark chocolate caramel, lemon, and peach tartlets.
Annie and Cody shared their first dance as husband and wife to the Grateful Dead's "Ripple." Looking back on that moment and the entire day, Annie says she wished it never ended. To other brides, she offers this advice: "Make it last as long as possible. It goes way too fast. Don't choose a venue that is going to make you shut it down before you're ready, and if you do, then have a plan for the after party."
Venue & Catering: Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club || Wedding Planner: A Vintage Affair Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Veil: Donna Beth Creations || Jewelry: Larkspur & Hawk || Shoes: Bottega Veneta || Hair & Makeup: Three Little Birds Salon || Bridesmaids & Mother of the Bride Dresses: Two Birds Bridesmaids || Groom's Attire: J. Crew || Wedding Bands: Catbird || Florist: Lalé Florals || Invitations: Annie Strickland Design || Stationery Design: Flower & Bone Design || Music: The Drunken Hearts; The Motet || Cake: Megan Joy Cakes || Rentals: Colorado Tents & Events; Elite Entertainment || Transportation: All Mountain Transportation || Accommodations: Sonnenalp Hotel and Evergreen Lodge || Photography: Laura Murray Photography
Did you love this outdoor wedding? Then you'll surely be inspired by another couple's open-air bash in the video below.