Brittany Atha and Clark Johnson have college football to thank for their romance. Back in October of 2010, Clark was watching the University of Texas game at his neighborhood bar when Brittany and her girlfriends walked in. They started chatting and hit it off, beginning a six-year romance. And in May of 2016, the couple climbed into the groom's vintage Jeep for an evening cruise through Dallas—or so Brittany thought! But they ended up at Turtle Creek Park, where Brittany was immediately distracted by a fitness blogger doing a photo shoot in yoga postures. “I had no idea she was a decoy to explain why there was a professional photographer in the park,” Brittany recalls, laughing. The next thing she knew, Clark was on one knee and she was crying tears of joy.
For their wedding, the couple knew they wanted to marry in Aspen, a destination they fell in love with on many vacations while dating. There, they worked with EKS Events, and their planner Elizabeth Slossberg had the perfect venue in mind after their first phone call. “She saved Chaparral Ranch as the last venue during our visit, and finding so much gorgeous greenery, a beautiful lake, and a mountain backdrop all in one place felt like a dream come true,” the bride describes.
The couple let the iconic ski town inspire their design, opting for a soft and natural palette full of romantic elements, lie lots of candles. “The theme was definitely Aspen Chic,” Brittany explains. And from their mountaintop rehearsal dinner to the elegant barn reception, this Colorado wedding—and its gorgeous photos by KT Merry—definitely fit that bill!
All of the couple's 230 guests were welcomed to the mountains with a watercolor itinerary, reusable water bottles decorated with aspen trees, and bags of trail mix.
The couple kicked off the weekend with a rehearsal dinner on The Little Nell's Wedding Deck, which sits at the top of Aspen Mountain—at 11,212 feet!
After cocktail hour and photos with sweeping mountain views, guests headed inside for a chic gray-and-gold dinner party, complete with monogrammed linen napkins.
Brittany fell hard for Chaparral Ranch’s tree-lined drive. "It has a Southern feel," she says.
The bride wore a gown by Texas-based designer Lela Rose that featured a sheer neckline and back. “It felt bridal but wasn’t overwhelming, and I loved how the crystals and pearls dressed up the clean lines,” Brittany says.
The bride’s mother is from Mississippi, and the women have both always loved magnolias. “However, they don’t do well in Aspen, so our florist created a magnolia look using gardenias, hydrangeas, and garden roses,” says the bride.
Brittany’s bridesmaids all wore shades of blush. “I put together over a dozen dresses I loved, and had them each pick their top three,” she says. From there, she assigned a different dress to each of the 11 women to creative a cohesive, mismatched look.
The flower girls walked down the aisle in white dresses, topped with crowns of roses. “The oldest was four, and escorted our two-year-old ring bearer to the altar as he showed off his fire truck to the guests,” Brittany laughs.
The ceremony took place over the lake, where a wooden aisle led to a platform flanked with arrangements of magnolia leaves and white orchids. Clark and Brittany exchanged traditional vows, and their officiant personalized the ceremony with letters the couple had written to one another. “We wanted our guests to walk away from the ceremony with an understanding of our love for one another,” says the bride.
The newlyweds wandered around the lakefront property as guests headed to cocktail hour, where they ate spicy chicken dumplings sipped on Greyhound cocktails.
“Our entrance into the barn was our first time seeing the reception space in all its glory, and our first time really soaking up all the people who had come to celebrate with us,” says Brittany. “Walking into that space was so incredible!”
Inside the barn, long tables were topped with antique mirrored runners. White flowers were clustered into low vases, and each place setting was finished with a dove gray menu. Overhead, the space was lit with antler chandeliers, while a wall of candles cast a warm glow.
Clark and Brittany shared their first dance to “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban before cutting into their wedding cake. The three-tiered confection featured textured white frosting on the outside with layers of dark chocolate cake and almond sponge cake inside.
“Our band, Party Crashers, was a huge hit,” says the bride. “Guests didn’t leave the dance floor all night!”
After a sparkler send-off, the couple led guests to their secret after-party. The bar flowed and the couple treated their guests to their favorite late-night Tex Mex cravings. “They had no idea there was a room with a DJ, dance floor, and disco ball behind the band!” says the bride. “The whole night was nonstop fun!”
Wedding Planner: EKS Events || Venue: Chaparral Ranch || Bride's Dress: Lela Rose || Bride's Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti || Floral Design: Aspen Branch || Paper Products: The Mathes Collection || Reception Music: Party Crashers || Videography: Red Mtn. Productions || Photography: KT Merry