Because the love story of Ashley Grossaint and Matt Duchene, a NHL player on the Ottawa Senators, started in Colorado, it only made sense that the couple would make things official there too. Ashley and Matt first met in Fort Collins, Colorado, in 2010 through mutual friends, and were engaged in Denver in 2016—under the guise of celebrating Matt’s recent World Cup win. Outside of their favorite restaurant, Tag, a photographer stopped traffic to take a photo of the pair “for the restaurant’s wall” but instead the groom-to-be dropped to one knee and asked for her hand. “During the meal Matt had surprise number two: He had collected videos from all our family and friends who live out of town congratulating us,” recalls Ashley, who was surprised yet again when they walked into their house after dinner to find her family and best friends waiting to celebrate.
For their July 8, 2017, wedding, the couple dreamed of being outdoors in an intimate, private setting. Luckily their planner, Jolene of Laurel & Rose, showed them the perfect spot to create such an atmosphere—and on the first try at that! “As we were driving on the long dirt road up to the property we instantly fell in love,” says Ashley of Eaton Ranch, which they ultimately chose as their venue. “There were sparkling streams and Aspen trees lining the road the whole way in.” With the venue decided, they set about creating a romantic, elegant occasion that still felt rustic and untouched. In fact, the bride looked to Restoration Hardware as her simple, chic, and timeless inspiration for the day's aesthetic, and directly to the trees at Eaton Ranch for the palette.
Keep reading to see how this couple orchestrated their perfect party in the woods of Colorado—as captured by Callie Hobbs Photography.
Ashley’s lace-and-pearl-lined Berta gown was only the second one she tried on. But as she looked at other dresses, she admits it was the only one she could think about. "When I slipped back into it, the tears started and I knew it was the one, she recalls.
“I loved the train and the lace the most,” says Ashley of her dramatic gown, which she paired with a cathedral lace veil and earrings on loan by Fifth Avenue Jewelers in Denver. “They were not easy to give back after," she says. "I wanted to go very simple with my accessories and just let the dress do the talking.”
The groom's boutonniere was a smaller iteration of Ashley's bridal bouquet of white roses.
The couple had a fairy tale–worthy altar made of Aspen trees, greenery, and neutral flowers to match the stunning scenery, which is one of Colorado’s oldest Aspen groves. Wooden chairs and clear acrylic podium helped create a beautiful tableau to exchange I do's, without taking away from the natural scenery.
After the bride’s father escorted her down the aisle as an acoustic band played Ellie Goulding’s “How Long Will I Love You,” Matt and Ashley recited vows that they wrote themselves. "It was truly the most special decision we made throughout the whole planning process," she says. During their vows, they talked about the journey they’ve taken as a couple and their growing love, but they also added in jokes too. "We wanted to keep each other from totally losing it up there," Ashley explains.
Eaton Ranch has cut logs that they use in fire pits, and the couple wanted to take the woodsy theme and use it in other ways. That's why they rented standing fire pits and used them for late-night s’mores. But the statement wooden display was, of course, the bar at cocktail hour. Eclectic Hive designed the concrete frame, which was filled with logs from the property. From there, bartenders served "Ashley’s Rose" (a cocktail at Tag Restaurant named for the bride) and "Matt’s Moscow Mule," in copper mugs.
For the escort card board, the stationery designer printed all the guest names on a piece of acrylic, which was then displayed on—you guessed it—a wooden base next to the bar. Once they found their tables, guests entered the sailcloth tent, which was complete with a wooden dance floor.
At the reception tables, centerpieces were inspired by Restoration Hardware's signature aesthetic and incorporated concrete vases filled with white, ivory, and blush flowers, tall tapered candles, and on some tables, antique gold vases. At each seat, Ashley and Matt added a customized thank-you card for each guest. "We wanted to remind each guest how important they are to us and how honored and humbled we were by their presence," says the bride.
We wanted to remind each guest how important they are to us and how honored and humbled we were by their presence.
The menu included pre-set “biscuit boards,” a soup and salad, and then duo of filet and Atlantic salmon over risotto before the couple cut their cake—chocolate with vanilla cream cheese icing and a topper that looked like their dog, Paisley—and invited guests to enjoy a candy bar of their favorite sweets.
The couple hired Shutterbus for their photo booth, and after hours and hours of dancing to a DJ, served late, late night—or early morning—snacks of McDonald’s Egg McMuffins. Talk about the perfect way to end the night—ugh, we mean morning!
Venue: Eaton Ranch
Catering & Cake: Catering By Design
Planner: Laurel & Rose
Bride’s Dress: Berta
Bride’s Jewelry & Engagement Ring: Fifth Avenue Designs
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mishka
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amanda Uprichard
Groom’s Attire: Indochino
Hair: Leslee Feldhaus
Makeup: Alchemy Face Bar
Floral Design: Perfect Petal
Invitations & Paper Products: Jolie & Co.
Rentals: Eclectic Hive
Photo Booth: Shutterbus
Photography: Callie Hobbs Photography
Videography: Matt + Jess