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Kara & Drew’s Colorado Hoedown

There are some weddings that, when the pictures land in my inbox, I just can’t stop grinning. Kara & Drew’s wedding is one of those. I dare you to look at these wedding pictures and not grin your head off. It’s a stunningly beautiful wedding, but what lights up my soul is the infectious grin on the brides face when she looks up and the groom, and the way he looks down at the bride with quiet adoration. Kara, take it away…
Our names: Kara and Drew
Location: We were married on September 13 in Gold Hill, a tiny mountain town built during the gold rush, just outside Boulder, Colorado. We held the ceremony on a bit of open space land overlooking the Continental Divide (free), and then went into town to the Gold Hill Inn (an old miners’ cafeteria that is now a restaurant) for the reception.
What made it creative, thrifty and sane: Drew and I really tried to center our day around our love of the outdoors, food, and music. The ceremony was outdoors overlooking the mountains, we chose a popular restaurant for the reception, and we had a bluegrass band. We also tried to strip the wedding down to just the things and events that were important to us. For example, I love crafting, so making the invitations, programs, and other various signs and details for the reception was fun — and sometimes therapeutic — for me. We didn’t have wedding colors, but I purchased a few different, colorful printed papers from Paper Source and used them for various projects throughout the ceremony and reception. We also avoided having a strict theme, but I tried to stay true to the feel of the Gold Hill Inn, which was pretty rustic.
Small guest list and lunch reception: We limited the guest list to close family and friends for a few different reasons. We knew wanted an intimate event, we both have fairly small families, and the Inn could only accommodate 110 in the main dining area. We invited around 100 people, and ended up with 60 for the ceremony and lunch. We also invited our coworkers to come up for cake, drinks, and music after the lunch, which worked out really well.
Ceremony: We held the ceremony on Boulder County Open Space land. We rented a few chairs for people who needed them; everyone else stood for the 20-minute ceremony. All of the ceremony extras, including programs, signs on the chairs, parasols, and Izze sodas, were bought on sale, donated, or DIY. Drew and I wrote the ceremony together; we found a set of vows that we liked online, but added a few lines on our own, expanding on the phrase “I love you because…” It was a perfect fall day and we were happy that our guests, almost all of whom traveled to the wedding, got to experience such beautiful weather in the mountains.
Reception: We wanted our reception to focus on the food and music. We did away with any tradition that either didn’t mean anything to us or didn’t sound fun. We kept the toasts, first dance, and cut the cake, but didn’t do any tossing of any sort. We didn’t have an official parents’ dance, but I ended up spontaneously dancing with my dad to a faster song and found out that he is a crazy dancer! Overall, the afternoon was full of great people and fun dancing!
Drew’s parents decided that they wanted to arrange for a bluegrass band as our gift. When the original band fell through, they ended up booking Hit & Run Bluegrass. They were incredible and people were on the dance floor all afternoon!
Wedding Elves: I found a wonderful photography team that was just starting out, so we got a great price and I couldn’t be happier with our photos! When we realized that videography was not in our budget, I found a videographer who had a Super 8 camera and wanted to get into weddings who offered to shoot our wedding for free(!). I hired a florist (Boulder Blooms) to make bouquets and corsages for the moms, but ordered boutonnieres from etsy and spray roses for the reception from an online wholesaler.
Apparel: My dress was my one big splurge; I bought a Vera Wang. I sort of compensated by wearing a bracelet and cowboy boots I already owned (it was a Colorado wedding, after all), and purchasing earrings from etsy and my headpiece during a sample sale. Drew bought a great navy pinstripe suit from Banana Republic that he has worn several times. Although I didn’t intend to have the bridesmaids in matching dresses, I suggested the J.Crew beach dress and they all ended up with that. We just asked the groomsmen to wear suits that they already owned, and the officiant surprised me by wearing a blazer with jeans and cowboy boots, which ended up being exactly perfect.

Exactly perfect indeed. Congrats you guys! May the magic of your wedding day live on in your everydays.

All Photos by Real Photography

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