“It was the most amazing weekend of my life, after the wedding weekend, of course,” says Jacqueline Yaraghi of the proposal from Matthew Mezer during a staycation at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. Matthew, an executive oncology specialist at Janssen Biotech, had popped the question by wrapping the custom engagement ring in a handkerchief, one that Jacqueline gave him during his second deployment when he was in the military. “He had kept it all this time,” adds Jacqueline, a senior buyer at Safavieh.
There was no question that she’d say “yes” and no question that they’d say “I do” in Colorado, the state that served as home base for much of their relationship. Matthew, a graduate of West Point, was based in Colorado for six years during his military service, and Jacqueline would fly from the east coast to visit him. It’s where they fell in love, she says, and it felt natural to start their marriage there too. Plus, they wanted to show off everything that they admire about the place to their friends and family.
Planning a destination wedding is no easy task—the couple lives in New York City—so they tapped Bluebird Productions to pull off the 200-person celebration. The decor was inspired by the surrounding nature, using lots of greenery and cream blooms, and day included Persian traditions in honor of Jacqueline’s heritage. The couple found sweet ways to incorporate their family and friends, including a memorable toast by the father of the bride and a ceremony presided over by Jacqueline’s cousin. Possibly the most incredible memory, says Jacqueline, is having all of their close friends and family sign the ketubah after the ceremony. “It’s something we will never forget,” she says.
Two weeks before the wedding, Jacqueline redesigned her Oscar de la Renta gown. “Feeling like the best version of yourself in the dress is half the battle,” she says of the tulle A-line gown with 3-D appliqués reminiscent of Colorado greenery.
“Think of a dress that you’ve worn to an event with the same dress code as your wedding that made you feel like your most powerful, beautiful self,” she advises of dress shopping. She paired her gown with Jimmy Choo heels, a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace, and custom diamond earrings, a gift from her parents. In a sweet nod to her soon-to-be husband, she also wore all the jewelry that Matthew had given her.
Matthew wore a custom Tom Ford tuxedo with a pocket square embroidered with his and Jacqueline’s initials.
Full of light and love and happiness, out in nature away from the hustle and bustle of our lives was the perfect place to start our marriage.
“Full of light and love and happiness, out in nature away from the hustle and bustle of our lives was the perfect place to start our marriage,” Jacqueline says.
In addition to bridesmaids and groomsmen, the couple had 11 children attendants, who wore white outfits and for the girls, flower crowns of baby’s breath.
The ceremony took place in a field at Maurin Ranch in Old Snowmass, Colorado. The wedding featured Persian traditions, including a sofreh table covered with photos and artifacts from the couple’s courtship, sweet treats, and crystal vases filled with white blooms.
Matthew was escorted down the aisle by his parents.
The flower girls and ring bearers all entered together. The flower girls carried wicker baskets filled with rose petals.
“It was the greatest honor of my life, and I cry every single time I see videos of it,” the bride says of her unique entrance. Jacqueline began her walk down the aisle escorted by her brother. Halfway, they met their parents, who continued her walk to the altar while a recording of Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s “Liz On Top of The World,” a song from the film Pride and Prejudice.
Jacqueline’s parents embraced her and Matthew in hugs before taking their seats for the ceremony to begin. Jacqueline’s cousin, Asal, performed the ceremony.
Guests watched the ceremony with some shade, thanks to petite white parasols.
Traditional Persian weddings include a sofreh table, which features items and foods thought to bring the couple good fortune and prosperity.
“I really can’t describe in words the way that every single person at our wedding showered us with love,” Jacqueline says. “It was just incredible.”
The couple wrote their own vows but didn't read them aloud during the ceremony. Instead, they had them printed on the ketubah.
The couple invited their close friends and family to witness the signing of the ketubah in honor of Matthew’s background. Though they had assigned two specific witnesses to sign the document, everyone signed it anyway. It’s now one of the couple’s favorite moments of the day, and they have the framed ketubah hanging in their bedroom as a “reminder of all the love and support.”
“We come from different cultures and faiths and so we really wanted to combine our traditions,” Jacqueline says of fusing Persian and Jewish customs into the ceremony. “It was beautiful.”
Your wedding should be a reflection of your love, and that’s what stays with people.
“Your wedding should be a reflection of your love, and that’s what stays with people,” Jacqueline says.
Following the ceremony, the couple took a brief moment to do a photoshoot in a field of wild grasses. “I only knew I wanted it to be outside, in a field in Aspen,” Jacqueline says of the guiding vision for the wedding during the planning process.
One special touch at the wedding? The children attendants and other small guests had their own play area featuring games, toys, pillows, and blankets. “The wedding could be a fun playdate for them all,” the bride says.
The tented reception featured birch tree covered tent poles and tall arrangements of greenery to bring a natural element to the covered space. Low arrangements of white blooms, classic flatware, and crystal stemware added elegance and sophistication.
The energy really hit a high when the couple was introduced as husband and wife. The musicians played a traditional Persian wedding song, and the couple broke out in dance—so did plenty of the guests.
The reception featured a DJ with accompanying musicians, including a violinist, guitarist, drummer, and vocalist. “The party started right there,” Jacqueline says. “Everyone was going absolutely crazy. I don’t think we made it through dinner without dancing.”
“My dad gave a speech that still gives me shivers,” the bride says. “Nothing in the world means more to me than knowing my dad is proud of me and the choices that I’ve made.”
“In 20 years, no one will remember what flowers were there or even what you were wearing,” Jacqueline says of planning. “They’ll only care about the life all around them.”
“It felt like my life was in slow motion,” Jacqueline says of being lifted in chairs by the guests for the hora.
Jacqueline later changed into a svelte white Alessandra Rich gown with a low back and a bit of sparkle for the first dance to The Beatles’ “Something in the Way You Move.”
The father-daughter dance, to a Frank Sinatra song, was special for Jacqueline, especially after her father’s touching speech.
Needless to say, the night was a party. “You really don’t know until you see it all come together that day what everything will look like, but with help from your planners, fiancé, and family everything comes together,” Jacqueline says. “All the worrying goes out of the window.”
Venue Maurin Ranch
Planner Bluebird Productions
Bridal Gown & Veil Oscar de la Renta
Reception Gown Alessandra Rich
Jewelry Van Cleef & Arpels
Shoes Jimmy Choo
Hair Salon Tullio
Makeup Faces by Liz
Mother of the Bride Dress Oscar de la Renta
Flower Girl Attire Isabel Garreton
Groom’s Attire Tom Ford
Floral Design Flora by Nora
Stationery Kelsey Malie Calligraphy
Music Style Event
Catering Tyson Harding; Aspen Event Solutions
Cake Donna Lilah
Transportation CTS Transportation
Videography Elysium Productions
Photography Catherine Mead