Kelly Reese and Houston Holt's relationship started in Colorado with a pair of ski boots and some champagne courage. “In December of 2011, my family and I were in Snowmass for the holidays and stopped in a local boot shop to have our boots worked on...and there was Houston,” Kelly remembers. “I had to stop in a few more times to finish the boot repairs, and on New Year’s Eve, I worked up the courage to see what Houston was doing that night!” They rang in 2012 together, and something clicked.
Three years later, Kelly and Houston were back in Snowmass for Thanksgiving and decided to take a hike up the hill. “I followed him down a trail and toward the trees, where we stopped. The powder was deep enough that he didn’t kneel as much as he sank into the snow, and Houston asked me to spend the rest of our lives together!”
The couple decided to say "I do" in Aspen and spent nine months planning a wedding in the same place where they’d met and fallen in love. On August 20, 2016, they exchanged vows at St. Mary Catholic Church before partying in the meadow at T Lazy 7 Ranch (with 213 guests!) in the shadows of the Maroon Bells (two famous peaks in the Elk Mountains). With help from Gold Leaf Event Design, they created an ethereal evening full of blue details—and a bluegrass band! Keep reading to see Ashley Sawtelle's images of their beautiful Aspen meadow wedding.
Kelly wore an ivory silk dress from Leanne Marshall that featured a V-shaped neckline and back, a fitted bodice, and a skirt of flowing chiffon. "I knew this was my dress before I even looked in the mirror," she says. "It was incredibly comfortable, and I loved the way it flowed even when I barely moved!"
The couple’s Pomeranian, Polly Pocket, wore a special flower collar to match the bridal party's bouquets.
The couple and their wedding party headed into the meadow for pictures before the reception. The girls wore dresses by Joanna August in shades of blue and gray. “I loved how pretty the soft gray looked mixed in with the blue I’d chosen," she says.
The boutonnieres and bridal party's bouquets were made from seasonal blooms, berries, and greenery.
Kelly and Houston married in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Mary Catholic Church. Houston had chosen a titanium ring because he wasn’t sure if he’d like a wedding band and didn’t want to lose it, but Kelly had another idea and surprised him with a yellow-gold band to match hers. "He was so surprised when his brother handed it to him for the ring exchange,” she says, laughing.
A bluegrass band played during cocktail hour while guests sipped on "Mountain Mules" (made with tequila instead of vodka!) and the "Pitkin Prosecco," which featured a splash of grapefruit juice and a sprig of rosemary. The open cocktail-hour site also featured a lounge of leather chairs and a whiskey and cigar bar inside a tepee.
Inside the reception tent, escort cards printed with skis were tied to strands of rope. “We named each table after a ski run in Aspen,” Kelly says. The space was filled with tables dressed in soft linens or lined with blue runners and low arrangements of eucalyptus, garden roses, ferns, anemones, and soft-blue larkspur.
Each place setting was set with a blue or gray plate and charger alongside gold-handled flatware.
The simple three-tier cake was covered in fondant and topped with roses and ranunculus. Inside, almond cake was layered with a fresh-blueberry filling.
“I will always cherish the hour we had to take photos together at dusk,” Kelly says. “We really loved having some time alone during such a busy weekend, and if there is a way you can squeeze it into your timeline, do it!”
Ceremony Venue: St. Mary Catholic Church Aspen
Reception Venue: T Lazy 7 Ranch
Wedding Planner and Designer: Gold Leaf Event Design & Production
Bride's Dress: Leanne Marshall
Bride's Veil: Alyssa Kristin
Hair & Makeup: Full Circle Aspen
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August
Groom's Attire: The Black Tux
Engagement Ring: Necker's Jewelers
Wedding Bands: Ehrlooms
Floral Design: Ali Fortunato
Invitations & Paper Goods: Paper Birch Designs
Ceremony Music: Silver City Strings
Cocktail-Hour Music: Frying Pan Bluegrass
Reception Music: The Source by Elan Artists
Late-Night DJ: Who Is Chris Lewis
Catering: Caribou Club
Cake: D'Elissious Cake Studio
Transportation: CTS Aspen
Photography: Ashley Sawtelle
Videography: Jami Davis Films