Haley Stewart and Brandon Mason’s “meet-cute” is a total classic: They met at a bar! Back in 2012, Haley had just started working at an Irish pub in L.A. when Brandon came in with some friends. “We spotted each another right away, and after a very long period of awkward eye contact, he came over to talk to me,” Haley says. “He managed to get my number, and I called my parents the next day to tell them I’d met the man of my dreams!”
Five years later, the pair headed to Mount Whitney for a five-day backpacking trip in honor of Brandon’s 30th birthday. “I had never camped that long, so the trip was pretty daunting,” say Haley with a laugh. On the fifth day, they made their ascent to the peak. “At the top, Brandon turned to me and said, ‘We just climbed a mountain together…want to keep climbing mountains together for the rest of our lives?’ and he got down on one knee,” she recalls.
The bride is from Kansas and the groom is from southern California, so instead of playing favorites with their hometowns, they chose to have a destination wedding somewhere in the middle. “Getting married in Colorado matched our mountain-top engagement, and we also have ties to the state,” says Haley, whose grandparents honeymooned at the Broadmoor in 1956, while Brandon’s grandparents live in Denver. “We love the mountains, but knew some of our guests would struggle with the altitude, so we chose the Cherokee Ranch and Castle, just south of Denver," adds the bride. The property offered dramatic views of Pike’s Peak and a spectacular property without climbing above the Mile High City. As for the look, Brandon and Haley hoped for a relaxed, whimsical celebration full of wildflowers and personal touches. “We wanted our guests to be comfortable and at ease,” she says. Their colorful palette extended from the lush flowers to the custom watercolors that Haley, a graphic designer, created. They also included their loved ones in the August 25, 2018, celebration, with a friend of Haley’s singing as she walked down the aisle and the pair’s designated “third wheel” officiating. “Joe Jonas is a really close friend of ours, and was with us on a number of our first few dates,” says the bride. “He has known us since the very beginning, and did the most amazing job customizing our ceremony!”
Flowing embossed script covered the couple’s invitation suite, which was printed with floral watercolor patterns created by the bride herself. “I run a stationery business called Papier Mason, where I create custom wedding suites, so designing our printed materials was only natural," Haley says. "I had been looking forward to it for years!”
Haley and her bridesmaids got ready at the Broadmoor, the same hotel where her grandparents had honeymooned 60 years before. The bride accessorized with earrings from BHLDN that complemented her feminine updo.
“My dress was pink. Pink!” says Haley, who was surprised that she fell in love with a colorful dress. Her Rivini gown featured a deep V-neckline, a sheer corset, and a layered blush organza skirt with a slit. “It was whimsical, but still felt sophisticated,” she says. The bride added rose-gold Christian Louboutin sandals (a gift from the groom), a blush beaded veil, and an organic bouquet of garden roses, ranunculus, clematis, poppies, lavender freesia, and scabiosa.
Brandon wore color, too, donning a baby blue custom suit from Indochino, complete with the couple’s wedding date stitched on the interior pocket.
Haley art-directed her mismatched bridal party, asking her ‘maids to help her narrow down a selection of blush, blue, and light green dresses and then ensuring they had the perfect mix of colors and styles. Designers included BHLDN, Reformation, and Fame and Partners. Each woman carried a cluster of delphinium in shades of blue, lavender, pink, and yellow.
Haley and her father rode to the ceremony in a white limousine, sharing a special moment before he walked her down the aisle—in the rain!
The ceremony was arranged on a hilltop overlooking the mountain range. Rows of cross-back chairs led to layered throw rugs surrounded by a semicircle of ruscus, delphinium, and clematis. “The flowers looked like they’d just been picked from the surrounding fields,” says the bride.
“Our ceremony had lots of humor and really honored the obstacles we have and will overcome together,” Haley says of the words friend Joe Jonas prepared for the occasion. “It revolved around the peaks and valleys of life, perfect for the mountains that surrounded us.”
The bridesmaids and groomsmen (in tan suits from the Black Tux) looked on as Brandon and Haley exchanged personalized vows. “We wrote our own, a decision that terrified us both but that I’m so happy we made,” Haley says. “It was a chance for us to really open up and share our promises to each another.”
But before the couple officially said “I do,” they invited everyone to join them in a celebratory tequila shot. “It took the edge off!” Haley says.
Tequila was brought to the reception, too, where guests—including actress Sophie Turner—sipped margaritas while enjoying the view. “The castle has such amazing history, so we offered tours of the property as pre-dinner entertainment,” adds the bride.
After cocktails and tours, a doorway—decked out in vibrant greenery, pink and yellow roses, and blue delphinium—led to a separate reception area.
Dark wood tables were left bare to match the rustic setting, while textured blue glassware and colorful centerpieces popped against the neutral backdrop. The final touch? Ivory textured china was topped with fresh bread tucked into bags that featured the evening’s menu. “We tied place cards around the silverware with ribbons that designated what meal each guest had chosen,” says Haley. A blue ribbon, for example, was for guests who had chosen the fish entrée.
The dinner menu focused on fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients, starting with a Palisade peach salad, followed by peppercorn-crusted beef sirloin, pan-seared Rocky Mountain trout, an eggplant and goat cheese stack, and vegan grilled cauliflower with tomato marmalade. “As sides, we had sweet corn risotto—I'm from Kansas, after all—and Brandon’s favorite, roasted delicata squash,” Haley describes.
During dinner, the clouds parted to reveal a spectacular full moon. “It was so bright, we could have turned off all the lights. I’ve never seen anything like it!” says Haley.
The jazz and folk playlist the couple listens to on camping trips played throughout dinner, and then the Diamond Empire Band took over for the reception.
At the end of the night, guests grabbed sparkler wands as Brandon and Haley had one last dance, just the two of them. “We danced to ‘Beautiful Thing’ by Grace Vanderwaal as our guests headed outside," she recalls. "It was a really special, private moment that was the perfect end to the perfect day."
Wedding Planner: Isabelle Kline Design || Venue: Cherokee Ranch and Castle || Officiant: Joe Jonas || Bride's Dress: Rivini, purchased from Kinsley James || Bride's Veil: Toni Federici || Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Bride's Jewelry: BHLDN, Roberto Coin || Hair: Ever Good of Second Nature || Makeup: Liz Wegrzyn || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Reformation, Fame and Partners, BHLDN || Groom's Attire: Indochino || Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux || Engagement Ring: Paul Peterson || Wedding Bands: Paul Peterson || Floral Design: Isabelle Kline Design || Paper Products: Papier Mason || Catering: Occasions || Cake: Elegant Bakery || Music: Diamond Empire Band || Rentals: Event Rents || Transportation: A Advantage Limousine || Accommodations: The Broadmoor || Videography: Majestik Wedding Films || Photography: Danielle DeFiore