Katherine Parker and Matthew Bradley first met in May of 2009 at a bar in New York City. "I was there for a birthday party and Matt showed up with a mutual work friend," Kate says. "We ended up talking all night and eating late night food at a diner down the street. I remember that our orders were so different that I didn't think there was any way it was going to work out." Even though Matt ordered an egg white omelet (without oil or cheese!) and Kate went for a waffle with a side of mashed potatoes, something clicked, and when the two ran into each other again a few days later, they knew they had something special. Although they spent a year dating long-distance, the pair reunited in Philadelphia for graduate school, and then moved across the country together to San Francisco.
Four years after they first met, Matt planned a low-key proposal while the pair was on vacation in Mexico. After Kate said yes, the two started planning their March 28, 2015, wedding in Olympic Valley, California. "We picked the Resort at Squaw Creek because it is nestled right into the side of the gorgeous Squaw mountains and we wanted our guests to experience a unique destination for our wedding weekend," the bride says. The idea of planning a winter-themed event came naturally, too, since the pair both loves to ski and their mountain venue offered the perfect rustic-meets-luxurious backdrop. With the help of Ryder Sloan Events, Kate and Matt planned a wedding inspired by a winter sunset, and Angie Silvy was there to document every special moment.
Aerialist Press designed a winter-inspired invitation suite, complete with snowy trees and sleds. These designs were then carried over to other parts of the couple's décor, including their welcome signs and dinner menu.
Since most of the couple's guests were traveling to the Lake Tahoe area for the wedding, Kate and Matt made sure to package up thoughtful welcome bags, packed with their favorite treats and supplies to keep everyone happy throughout the weekend. Hot chocolate mix, noodle soup, lip balm, and wine were among the goodies inside.
Although Kate went dress shopping with a trusted entourage, it wasn't until she ventured into a bridal boutique solo that she finally found her gown. "I met Austin Scarlett at one of the bridal salons I visited and I tried on one of his dresses," she says. "I could immediately see his vision for creating a custom branch-like beading that would incorporate the essence of the mountains and greenery but still feel fancy enough for the black tie reception. I felt immediately comfortable in the hands of his design expertise and I knew the gown would feel unique to our wedding." With the addition of the custom beaded element one of Austin Scarlett's strapless silk cotton trumpet gowns, Kate left the salon as a happy — and beautiful! — bride.
To keep warm despite chilly mountain temps, Kate wore a vintage Norwegian Blue Fox stole. "I customized it with a blue liner from Etsy that had our names and wedding date sewn in script," she says.
Kate's eight bridesmaid's stunned in sparkling gowns. "I wanted them to look amazing and to wear dresses that reflect their own style," she says. "So I asked each bridesmaid to wear a long sparkly dress in a muter, wintery color. It was great to see each of them translate this idea into their own style. Some people went super sparkly and some went more toned-down with beading." The 'maids wore a range of colors, including blush pink, gold, silver, dusty blue, charcoal, and forest green.
The bride and her attendants all carried the same lush bouquets comprised nearly entirely of greenery. Kate and Matt both felt strongly about keeping flowers to minimum throughout their wedding for two reasons: first, they wanted to select accents that felt in harmony with the mountains, and lots of blooming buds felt contradictory to the late winter wedding date. Second, Kate and Matt wanted to waste as little as possible during their day. "We stuck with a palette of silvery greens, berries, and succulents," she says. "We also used lived plants and trees that could be reused afterwards wherever possible." The result was nothing short of stunning and entirely in keeping with their winter vibe.
While the ladies certainly stole the show, the groom and his attendants didn't look half bad, either. The dapper group of guys wore classic black tuxes, white shirts, and sleek bowties.
A welcome sign with the same wintry motif as their invitations invited guests into Kate and Matt's outdoor ceremony space. To keep everyone warm and happy, the couple set up a hot chocolate bar with all the fixings, including marshmallows, candy canes, and whipped cream.
Kate's father walked her down the greenery-lined aisle. Her aunt served as the officiant and worked with the bride and groom to update traditional vows to be more representative of the couple and their relationship. After the couple said "I do," a surprise gospel choir came out to sing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" for their recessional.
The couple asked guests to sign vintage skis in place of a traditional guestbook. Calligraphed escort cards were hung from trees wrapped with twinkling lights.
Long tables were covered in glamorous gold linens. Gold-rimmed chargers, brushed gold flatware, and garlands of eucalyptus helped bring the couple's mountain-luxe vision to life. Guests sipped the couple's two signature cocktails — hers, a Pomegranate Lime Squeeze (named for Matt's nickname for Kate!) and his, a Lion's Tail — before sitting down for a three course dinner of butternut squash soup, lamb chop or vegetarian ravioli, and cake.
Kate and Matt cut into their three-tiered white cake, which was decorated with golden berries and pine cones. Guests enjoyed layers of chocolate cake with chocolate praline filling, vanilla bean cake with dark chocolate mousse filling, and red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.
After late night snacks of ramen noodles, pretzel bites, and candy, the couple set off on their honeymoon in Bali and Hong Kong. "Give yourself a 'forget and enjoy' date," Kate says. "For me it was the Thursday before the wedding. In the months leading up to the date, I kept reminding myself that if something wasn't done or quite right by Thursday, I wasn't going to stress about it or make it my problem."
Venue & Catering: Resort at Squaw Creek || Wedding Planner: Ryder Sloan Events || Officiant: Gwendolyn Parker || Bride's Wedding Dress: Austin Scarlett || Shoes: Kate Spade || Hair: Luxe Hair, Truckee || Makeup: Kiss & Make Up || Groom's Attire: Burberry || Flowers: Jiosia Designs || Invitations: Aerialist Press || Band: Hip Service || Lighting: Crux Events || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals || Tabletop Rentals: Frances Lane || Linens: La Tavola || Videographer: Love Spun Films || Photo Booth: Giggle & Riot || Photographer: Angie Silvy
Want more winter wedding inspiration? Then watch another couple's wintry celebration in the video below.