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Love at Keyah Grande Ranch

From the bride, Meme:
Once Evan and I got engaged, I joked that I felt like I was planning my third wedding even though I had never been married!  As the last of three daughters to wed, the process seemed very familiar (not to mention I’d been a bridesmaid a couple of times over).  Both of my sisters had Texas church weddings, which meant gorgeous, traditional, and large! Eager for something different, we decided on Pagosa Springs, Colorado as it was where Evan and I fell in love and where he proposed as we were floating
in a hot air balloon over the San Juan Mountains.  We discovered the diamond of Pagosa Springs, Keyah Grande Ranch.  The venue was absolutely perfect!

We were married on a crisp September morning, a morning I will never forget and a one I often revisit through pictures captured by Durango’s premier photographer, Kyla Jackson .  It remains fondly in my memory as a morning filled with friends, laughter, delicious food, incredible views, and a promise of ‘til death do us part.

Memorable Moment
Evan and I enjoyed our brunch on a private balcony – just the two of us. This was my favorite part of the day.  I will never forget sitting at that thoughtfully set tables overlooking the San Juan Mountains, and enjoying lunch with my best friend and husband!  It is a memory I will cherish forever.

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Down by the River

Tana & Kevin |   September 17th |  Durango, Colorado

From the bride:
Our wedding was very “home-made.”  It was a great effort of family and friends.  It was not fancy or formal and things were very relaxed, just the way we wanted it.That particular weekend in September happened to be an extremely rainy one.  I thought for sure that we would be getting married under our tent in the mud instead of by the Florida River, which as “retired” raft guides was extremely important to my husband and me.  It had rained so much that the ground under our tent had turned to mud after hosting the rehearsal BBQ there the night before.  Kevin spent our wedding morning getting plywood to lay down a make-shift floor in the tent.About an hour before the ceremony I was in my cabin and we opened the door to get a little more light and for the first time in two days we saw blue sky.  Within 10 minutes of the scheduled ceremony time the skies completely cleared and the sun came out.  Our ceremony was officiated by a friend, spoke of rivers and mountains, we wrote our own vows, My favorite part: After Kevin said his vows, I took the microphone and simply said, “And I you.” That is a quote from his favorite movie, Braveheart.  We had joked all year that he couldn’t just use the speech from Braveheart as his vows.  We all laughed and then I said my vows. The most memorable moment was spending time with Kevin down by the river after the ceremony.  We just talked, took it all in, and enjoyed the sunshine!We collected all of the guests’ response cards and had them write some advice on them the night of the wedding.  These were collected and put in an old wooden box with a bottle of wine for Kevin and I to open either on our 10th anniversary or if we ever run into trouble. For favors, I collected recipes from all of our family and friends and compiled them into a cookbook to give away as gift at the wedding.  I love to cook so this was a very sentimental gift to me.  I included recipes from my Grandmothers since both of them have passed on.  We used the aspen image from our invite as the cover for the cook book. All of our plates were collected from thrift stores by my mother and I (which took almost a year!).  We had a lot of fun collecting them.  We also collected mason jars for beer mugs.  A month before the wedding my mom visited and helped me paint chalk board paint on all of the mugs so that people could write their names on their cups to keep track of them.  I even made mason jar luminaries, but because of the rain never ended up putting them out! I made a small cake for Kevin and I to cut and our cake topper was a set of antique owl salt and pepper shakers.  Many friends and family from the area stepped up and brought a dessert of their choice to serve instead of cake. My advice is to take your time, don’t stress about every little detail.  When the day comes, you won’t care about them anyway!RECOMMENDED VENDORS
Photographer: IlluminArts Photography  //  Tent & Rentals: Durango Party Rental  //  Hair & Makeup: Hair Fusion  //  Liquor:  Star Liquors  // Invitations: Minted // Venue & Lodging: O-Bar-O Cabins

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Classy & Cuban-Inspired

Surrounded by towering pines, aspen trees and our chuppah that overlooked the mountains, the day could not have been any more idyllic .  We included family and friends in every part of the ceremony – from our puppy as the ring bearer to our parents reciting blessings.   We chose to honor my heritage with a Cuban-themed reception (1950s pre-Castro Havana). The venue was transformed into a classy Havana night club.  We served fresh from scratch Mojitos for the cocktail hour and a custom Cuban menu of ropa vieja, pollo mojo, arroz y frijoles negros and platanos maduros for dinner.  We even had an authentic cuban cigar bar.  Every detail of the day was an opportunity to share something about our lives, to honor somebody we love, or to commit ourselves to the life we want to share.  –Naphtali

Photography by  Kyla Jackson Photography

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The ring pillow we used once belonged to my deceased older brother, and was used by my mother in her wedding.

-The cup of wine under the chuppah was Joshua’s Bar Mitzvah kiddush cup.

-A large poster of Cuba was our seating chart.

-Vintage post cards from various cities in Cuba were used to identify the tables.

-The table décor consisted of burlap, exotic flowers, coffee beans, oranges, limes, cigar boxes and candles.

-Our favors were Colorado Ponderosa Pine saplings wrapped in little burlap sacks with our initials on them.  Each sapling came with a card that described the type of tree, the story of the Missionary Ridge Fire and an invitation to join in planting the saplings, and a message from us expressing how we hoped that planting the saplings would be a new beginning for the Ridge, just as the wedding was a “beginning” for us. With the permission of the Forest Service, on the afternoon after the wedding, members of the wedding party trekked up onto Missionary Ridge to plant them in areas devastated by the fires of 2002.

-The favors were placed on an enormous Cuban flag that was given to me by family in Cuba.

-Joshua’s grandmother recited the Shabbat blessings using her grandmother’s silver candle sticks rescued from Nazi-occupied Belgium.


Photographer: Kyla Jackson Photography.   Five stars for Kyla & Wesley’s amazing eye, their fantastic personalities and their impressive professionalism.  We had so much fun!

Venue/Food/Lodging/Transportation:  Durango Mountain Resort.  The chefs at Purgy’s did a fantastic job creating a custom Cuban menu and the service staff was friendly and attentive.

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