A Glamour Meets Rustic Wedding on Durango Mountain

Chelsea & Justin | September 9th

From the bride: A couple came into my work in Phoenix, AZ who recently got married at Dante’s Peak in Durango. They showed me pictures of them standing at the altar and I, having recently gotten engaged, said, “I want to get married RIGHT there!”

My gorgeous bouquet contained white roses dipped in gold paint, mixed with greenery.

Justin made our ceremony entrance. It was two old wooden white doors with a big wooden sign painted, “What God has joined together, let no man separate” on one side and “Here comes the bride” on the other side.

As soon as I got up to the altar, the wind blew, and my veil was beautifully flowing up in the wind. Justin’s dad officiated and it couldn’t have been more special! My favorite memory was reading our personal vows to each other.

Justin made our altar arch from some old railroad ties and a chandelier of mason jars. The chandelier now hangs over our kitchen table.

The guest tables were adorned with sparkly gold table runners, candles, wine bottles painted gold and dipped in glitter, and tall skinny vases filled with white roses and dendrobiums.

Justin made a large sign that said, “The Hoese’s” (our last name). He found the letters at this special vintage yard sale that is hosted once a month in Phoenix. He then found a bunch of rustic wood and nailed them together to place the letters on. He put several light bulbs in each letter so it would light up similar to the classic “Las Vegas” sign. It turned out GREAT. He put the sign on 2 poles and then stuck those in cement inside some old whiskey barrels. Everyone walked under our sign to enter the wedding, “like entering the fair” as Justin said.



Venue: Dante’s Peak at Purgatory Resort. The breathtaking view speaks for itself and the wedding coordinators were great!

Photographer: IlluminArts. Drew is just a fantastic guy! He has a wonderful easy going personality and was very organized and detailed. Not to mention, his work is fabulous!

Hair & Makeup: Mary Beth at Hair Fusion was AMAZING!!!






A Destination Wedding at Purgatory Resort

Ellysa & Casey | August 20th


From the bride:  I wanted to tie together vintage elegance and natural beauty. Most of all, I wanted our day to be classic and understated. I loved the style of my grandmothers’ weddings. Both wore tea-length dresses and were married in small churches surrounded by family. Ever since I was a child, that quaint wedding image has been in my mind for my wedding day.


When choosing a venue for our reception, our biggest concern was having rooms at the same location for guests to stay. We wanted our guests to enjoy the party and not have to worry about driving anywhere after. Purgatory Resort was the perfect choice for us, not only because it could host our numbers at the reception, it also had plenty of rooms available for our guests.

My dad set up two French doors for us to walk through. He painted them sage green to blend in with the greenery around them and I thought they were just perfect. The doors helped bring a little classic architecture to the outdoor ceremony.

Our flower girl learned how to walk on her own about a week before the wedding. We had a wagon ready to wheel her down the aisle, but last minute decided to let her walk with the help of the eldest ring bearer. About half way down the aisle, she tottered and sat down. Her helper didn’t know what to do, but a kind guest reached out his hand and helped her stand up. It took those two a while to make it down the aisle, but it was adorable to witness.

When my turn came to walk down the aisle, I jumped out of the car and was so excited that I didn’t even notice I was missing my bouquet! I just held onto my dad as we walked down the aisle together. It wasn’t until after the ceremony when my mom asked me if my bouquet had run away from home, that I realized its absence.

Casey and I wrote our vows to one another. Listening to his vows knocked me speechless, something that doesn’t happen to me very often! Public speaking isn’t something that scares me and usually comes quite naturally. But, after he said his vows to me, I was a wreck! My first line was supposed to be, “Before I fell in love with you…” but what I said was, “Before I fell on you… Oh… Whoops!” Everyone laughed and it really helped me shake out those nerves a little bit!

For Casey’s wedding surprise, his parents and I arranged to tow his childhood vehicle to Durango from Flagstaff, AZ. Casey loves this Land Crusier, and has pictures from: prom, homecoming, off-roading, and numerous other adventure shots with this truck. It was really special to have it be part of our wedding day.


Take a deep breath before jumping into planning. Talk about what is really important to each of you. We each had a couple must-haves that shaped how we planned the wedding. Once you know the things you just must-have, it is much easier to be united when making decisions.


Venue, Caterer, Lodging: Purgatory Resort
Photographer, Video & Photo Booth: Shutterfreek
Favors: Whipped Honey & Chokecherry Jelly from Honeyville

Reprinted from the 2017 issue.




An Autumn Adventure Wedding in Durango

Jenne Anne & Robert  |  October 1st

From the bride: Our relationship was built on Colorado adventures. Robert proposed on our last winter trip up at Purgatory Resort before we made the celebratory purchase of 40 acres. We are building our first home as well as our life together here and wanted to share all of this beauty with our closest friends and family.

It was important to us that the wedding reflected our adventurous laid back spirits. We tried to implement our favorite things and places in Durango as well as: the outdoors, our pups, local beer, and good food.

The day before the wedding we incorporated the hot springs,  mountain biking, a SKA brew tour, and dinner at Steamworks. On Sunday, we had everyone join us at Carver’s for breakfast and bacon bloody mary’s. After, we rode crusier bikes from Pedal The Peaks/2nd Ave Sports along the river trail.

When I was writing my vows the darkest clouds were coming right over me in the aspens and suddenly I heard everyone shouting, Rainbow. There was a rainbow right behind our arbor just moments before the ceremony.

Our pups (kids) had to be right beside us in our moment, my lovely florist Lilia Floral Design, made them floral collars so they didn’t feel left out.


Our ceremony was located in one of our favorite meadows off Highway 550. The fall colors were at their peak and most of the leaves fell from the aspens the next day! My husband crafted our incredible arbor and built it earlier that afternoon. We had a short intimate ceremony with our closest friends and family.


We chose to have our unity ceremony with two copper custom engraved mugs and a matte grey growler from Steamworks Brewery filled with our favorite craft beer.


Our first dance was pretty magical.

Our reception was short and sweet. We ate and did our first dance, which was pretty magical, then we headed downtown. We were out on the town the whole evening in our wedding attire. I laughed and giggled the entire night!


Your wedding is about YOU don’t be afraid of what others may say or think because you did not follow ‘tradition’. Give them something to talk about!
Also, it is so important to hire a professional photographer. Your wedding will fly by so fast – you do not want to miss out on having pictures of all those amazing memories.


The Wedding Team

Photographer: Salt & Pine  |  Event & Floral Designer: Lilia Floral Design |  Flowers: Linnaea Farm Design and Passion Flower Farm  |  Reception Site & Caterer: James Ranch  |  Linens & Rentals: Heirlooms  |  Wedding Gown Designer: Martina Liana  |  Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell |  Men’s Wear: Men’s Wearhouse

Reprint from 2017 issue







A Farmhouse Wedding in La Plata Canyon

Ashley & Shaun  |  September 24th


From the bride:  The day was incredibly personal because we were able to get married in our backyard! Originally, we had booked a venue closer to Purgatory and then two months before the wedding we closed on our first house in La Plata Canyon. Once we moved in we realized our own backyard was the perfect wedding venue so one month out before our wedding we cancelled our other plans, frantically called guests, reserved a tent and moved the venue to our backyard.



Our style was laid back, farmhouse, handmade, rustic and bohemian with a dark purple, green, and cream color palette.



Our ceremony location was right in our yard with the La Plata mountains as the backdrop. The day before the wedding a freak September snow storm blanketed everything in 3 inches of snow which thankfully melted in the hours leading up to the ceremony. For days the weather had been grey and snowy and then an hour before the ceremony the clouds parted and the sun appeared. It was a very special moment during our vows when the sun finally broke through and everyone erupted in applause that the weather finally cooperated.



My most memorable moment was walking down the aisle and seeing Shaun for the first time. Looking out at the mountains and seeing all our friends and family gathered in our new backyard was so magical. Knowing this was our new home and where we were going to build our life and family was so special. Given we had only been living there for 2 months it immediately gave us a very special connection to our new home.

My brother acted as our officiant, which was very special to us and gave the whole ceremony a very relaxed and personal feel.



We laughed our way through our vows. We were cracking jokes and getting everyone to laugh throughout the whole ceremony.



Our seating chart was made from a window from our family barn in Massachusetts, which was flown all the way out to Durango to bring in a piece of New England.



We held the reception just a few feet away from the ceremony site under a big 40×40 tent provided by Durango Party Rental. We opted for renting long farmhouse tables with benches and decorated with simple burlap runners and wildflowers in mason jars.  All aspects of our reception were simple and handmade. We inherited the old bar from the Cyprus Café and served local Ska beer.



Our tables were named after a peak in the La Plata Mountains.


We had a Pie Bar and I baked the cake we cut which was a recipe from my grandmother.



Our wedding got rowdy! The dance floor was always occupied and the music didn’t stop until late in the early morning hours. Given it was our own house we had no one kicking us out!


The snowstorm the night before our wedding during our rehearsal dinner sent me into a panic. We had to scramble and drape a tarp over the opening of the tent because we had snow blowing in sideways. Luckily, all our rehearsal guests pitched in and we moved in heaters in order to host the dinner. It was one of those moments that we just had to laugh at because there was nothing we could do and I still look back and chuckle realizing how worked up I got over it.


Accept the help of everyone who wants to make the day special for you and spend the money on a wedding planner. Even if you hire a planner just to coordinate the day-of logistics, it’s so nice to have someone else handling the details so you can relax on wedding day.



Caterer: Durangourmet. Working with Jimmy was awesome. His commitment to sourcing locally was such a big part of why we chose to work with him and he came up with a great Southwest themed menu. Many of our guests came from the east coast so being able to show them the flavor of the area was very important to us. The food was incredibly fresh and everyone raved about it.

Tent & Farmhouse Tables: Durango Party Rental surpassed our expectations with fantastic customer service and a great eye for detail. Working with Jill was a great experience and she really took the time to understand the kind of laid back event we really wanted. They respected our budget and helped us think of creative ways to make our rentals work for what we needed. When the weather took a turn we were so glad we were able to add a tent heater to our reservation a few days before the wedding. Also, the setup and breakdown crew did an awesome job of moving things in and out with minimal disturbances. After they took the tent down, you would have never known we had hosted a wedding in our yard.

Flowers: April’s Garden
Photographer: Photo Divine
Event Planner: Piece of Cake Weddings  |  Centerpieces: Jade & Blooms  |  Pies: Serious Delights  |  Transportation: Mild 2 Wild Rafting





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