Law student Zak Morse and occupational therapist Meg Leonard began their adventure together on an actual adventure. "We were both participants on a cross-country cycling trip from Virginia to Oregon through a non-profit affordable housing organization called Bike & Build," they share. "The depth and intensity of the experience was something we felt was worth trying to continue however we could, so we signed up to be adventure partners for life!"
In July 2021, Zak made a quick stop down on one knee in downtown Charleston while the couple were on their way to dinner. Meg remembers, "After he proposed, instead of going to dinner, he drove us to the Charleston harbor where our families were waiting to go on a celebratory sunset cruise. We had good food, our favorite wine, and a beautiful sunset to kick off a season of celebrating."
After a year of planning, the celebrations were about to continue for Meg and Zak's big wedding weekend in Aspen, Colorado. Along with the team at GoBella Planning and Design, the couple planned a fun "Boots and Blazers" themed rehearsal dinner at T-Lazy-7 Ranch in the mountain town. "It was honestly really fun and our planners made a destination wedding feel like home. GoBella suggested the best vendors and did a great job of offering input while also listening to feedback," the newlyweds reflect.
The night came together as a celebration of the couple's love and as a great way to get their guests immersed in the Aspen mountain environment. "We worked with local vendors—the venue has been in the same family for over 100 years, and the great-grandchildren now run it," says the pair. "Our caterers have been cooking up delicious meals in the Aspen area for over 30 years and use many local products from ranches and farms in the area. Our bluegrass band were all longtime Aspen locals as well! A truly Aspen, Colorado experience!"
"We first saw T-Lazy-7 Ranch in January when we visited for our tastings. Walking down to the venue, even in the cold and snow, it was overwhelmingly beautiful," reflect the couple. "It was quiet, peaceful, and surrounded by unbelievable views. And, it was even more beautiful in June. Guests were able to walk down by the river, dance under string lights, or sit around the campfire. It was an intimate setting that boasted all of Colorado’s beauty."
The natural scenery, wood signage, and structure of the ranch made designing the space quite simple. The bride and groom share, "The Chuckwagon Grounds on the ranch lent itself as a perfect backdrop that we didn’t need to add much more decor!"
Blue and white checkered linens from BBJ La Tavola, blue glassware, and woven chargers brought the tablescapes and the rehearsal dinner's theme to life. Florals also helped set the tone of the day, with a mix of ranunculus, roses, sunflowers, and hydrangeas in the event's yellow, blue, and white palette.
For the night's attire, the couple fit their boots and blazer's theme to a T. Zak donned an Eleventy jacket, Billy Reid button down, 34 Heritage jeans, and Tecova boots. He adds, "I had a lot of help and great feedback from my very fashionable father-in-law."
Meg went for a more "western chic" look with a stunning belted Zimmerman dress and heeled mules. She shares, "It was SO comfy, stylish, and tied in well with the rehearsal dinner theme and venue. I also had a lot of helpful feedback from my sisters! I am definitely the least gifted when it comes to fashion when compared to my two younger sisters, but they were very impressed with my choices after my solo shopping day in downtown Charleston."
They also donned hats by Kemo Sabe branded with their wedding date as a special touch.
"While we were taking some pictures down by the river, Emily Campbell of GoBella brought Zak and I an entire plate of bacon-wrapped quail. We talked about our rehearsal tasting for months after and she knew how excited we were to eat this particular hors d’oeuvre," says Meg. "It tasted even better night-of down by the river! We love GoBella and were so lucky they guided us to such wonderful, creative, and kind vendors."
Not many people get the opportunity to horseback ride at their rehearsal dinner. Meg took advantage of the stables at the ranch to get in a quick stroll. "Riding the horse along the river trail was one of my favorite memories from the night of the rehearsal. One of my favorite moments and one that terrified my family and the amazing wedding staff alike," the bride reflects. "It gave me some alone time amidst all the talking and picture taking and allowed me to take in some of the other views the ranch had to offer."
"We had a local bluegrass band, the Smuggler Mountain Boys, play for the evening," note the couple. "When the toasts were given, dinner was finished, and the sun went down, Zak and I had the most fun dancing under the string lights with the bluegrass band. We’re not the best dancers, so we were a little nervous being the center of attention while dancing. But it ended up being some of the most fun we had."
After plenty of passed bites including shrimp and bacon-wrapped quail, a family-style dinner was served. The menu featured rack of lamb, wild rice-encrusted locally caught ruby trout, wild mushroom risotto cakes, and plenty of homemade sauces and jams. Meg adds, "The fact that a meal this delicious came from a field kitchen made it even more impressive—I will dream about the quail poppers until I’m back in Colorado again!"
The couple also served a unique groom's cake featuring the natural landscape, a few places along their adventures, and their pup.
"We wanted our rehearsal celebration—the whole weekend, really—to reflect the journey we’ve been on the last five years," reflects Meg. "Zak and I always joke that we chase experiences that make us feel small, force us to slow down, and allow us to revel in the magnitude of this world. We wanted all of our friends and family, especially the ones that hadn’t been to Colorado, to have an intimate and magical introduction to the mountains: delicious food, a bluegrass band, and the best company from home and our wayward travels. T Lazy 7 Ranch offered all that and more."
"The babbling creek could be heard in between bluegrass songs and in tender moments in toasts by loved ones. The moments of stillness Zak and I carved out for the two of us ended up with our necks craned and eyes up on the stars framed by Aspens and Douglas firs."
Venue T Lazy 7 Ranch
Planner GoBella Design & Planning
Bride Outfit Designer Zimmermann
Shoes Dolce Vita
Hair and Makeup Divine Beauty Artists
Engagement Ring Martin Flyer
Floral Design DesignWorks
Invitations and Paper Products Richard’s Notebook
Music Smuggler Mountain Boys
Catering European Caterers
Transportation Aspen Transportation Company
Videography Storybox Cinema
Photography Megan Wynn Photography