Though Claire Fontanetta, senior beauty editor at Refinery 29, and Kyle Hamlin dated for nine years before getting engaged, once he popped the question in upstate New York, the Colorado natives didn’t waste any time in tying the knot. “We didn’t want to wait an entire year to have a summer wedding, so we set the date for just 52 days after Kyle proposed,” Claire reveals. Yes, less than two months later! They planned the wedding for August 17, 2018, reserving the solarium at the Denver Botanic Gardens and inviting 40 guests to join them.
With their venue booked, Claire and Kyle quickly assembled a team of vendors, including FRVR Events, whose cofounder—a friend of Claire’s—provided recommendations and served as the day-of coordinator. “She helped me with the logistics when we first started planning, and made researching our options so much easier,” Claire says. The couple chose a lush garden theme, creating a personal and organic celebration that was perfect for the intimate setting. “A hard part of planning so quickly was figuring out what to let go of, and which details to prioritize,” says the bride. For example, the bride went all-in on centerpieces, but the couple skipped the wedding party flowers (which meant they only bought a bouquet for Claire—a money- and time-saver!).
Want to see how the couple made their wedding dreams a reality in only 52 days? Take a peek at the photos by Ke-Li Photography, below.
“I had a really hard time finding a dress that fit my aesthetic, would be ready in time for our wedding, and fit into our budget,” says Claire. Thankfully, the bride’s mother came to the rescue. “My mom was a seamstress and photographer in France before she moved to the U.S., and used to work with artist and fashion photographer Guy Bourdin,” she explains. “She stepped in to custom-make my dress, and lived in our Jersey City apartment for two weeks, turning our guest room into an atelier. I helped her assemble over 300 silk flowers, and she created a completely custom gown for me.”
The full silk organza and silk chiffon gown had floating layers, a simple bodice, and cascading blooms on the skirt. Claire donned silver sandals she found at DSW (after her dream Miu Miu shoes failed to arrive in time) and did her hair and makeup herself—she is a beauty editor, after all!
Claire wanted the floral arrangements to feel loose and free, and adored the bouquet that Keep Floral created. It paired white, ivory, and blush dahlias, ranunculus, and lisianthus with deep greenery.
Kyle and Claire had their first look outside of the Ramble Hotel in downtown Denver, where the bride got ready. The groom wore a blue Sandro tuxedo with black lapels.
The ceremony took place outside the glass solarium, surrounded by the Botanic Gardens’ natural beauty. “Having such a stunning venue meant we didn’t have to add any decor,” says Claire.
The couple wrote their own vows, and had planned to share them privately before the ceremony. At the last minute, though, they opted to read them during the ceremony instead. “When I was at the altar with Kyle, it felt like we were the only ones there. It was so personal, and I wasn’t nervous to read them at all,” Claire recalls.
Could you ask for a more naturally gorgeous setting for wedding photos?!
Kyle and Claire made a toast before inviting guests inside the solarium for the reception.
Long farm tables were left bare, topped simply with linen runners, a few white and blush centerpieces, and colorful menus. “A good friend of mine is a graphic designer, and created menus to add color to the table,” says Claire. The menus paired watercolor flowers with bees and hummingbirds for a soft, romantic look.
Dinner was served family-style, so the couple kept the decorations to a minimum to allow space for the delicious food!
Kyle and Claire skipped the traditional caterer, instead turning to a Denver restaurant they love called Cuba Cuba. “It’s where we celebrated our second anniversary, so it has a special place in our hearts,” she says. The menu included ceviche, a mango and cucumber salad, shrimp curry, lechon asado (slow-roasted pork), and a vegetable habanero dish.
A five-piece jazz band played throughout the day, from an instrumental version of “La Vie en Rose” for Claire’s processional to French ballads during cocktail hour and jazz during the reception. “We weren’t allowed to have amplified music in that part of the garden, but the jazz band was perfect,” says Claire.
The couple’s simple white cake had layers of Italian meringue buttercream and fresh berry compote. “We had a hard time finding a baker who would make a ‘wedding cake’ on such short notice, so we told a little white lie and told them it was for an event. Sorry!” says Claire.
The couple may have pared down their celebration to make it happen quickly, but that didn’t make it any less special. Adds the bride, “Your guests won’t remember the exact place setting or the colors of the flowers. They’ll remember the overall setting and the ambience you’ve created. If you’re having fun, they will too!”
Day-of Coordinator: FRVR Events
Venue: Denver Botanic Gardens
Bride's Shoes: DSW
Groom's Attire: Sandro
Engagement Ring: Taylor Lanore
Floral Design: Keep Floral
Paper Products: Jordan Kopstein
Catering: Cuba Cuba
Bartending: Peak Beverage
Cake: Ruby Jean Patisserie
Music: La Pompe Jazz
Rentals: Colorado Party Rentals
Accommodations: The Ramble Hotel
Photography: Keli Photography