A Barbecue with a Wedding on the Side

From the bride, Joy:
We love playing outside, especially in the mountains, and wanted a day that reflected the easy-breeziness of the simple joys of sunshine and wildflowers enhanced by the refreshing taste of ice-cold beer on a perfect Colorado summers day.


We kept it simple and stayed true to doing exactly what we wanted to do – we wanted everyone to go home tired from all of the good things, refreshed and excited from a fun-filled, stress-free weekend.


We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen because Nick and I have both been in our fair share of weddings and hate spending money on clothes we’ll never wear again. Instead, we invited those nearest and dearest to us who would’ve been the bridal party to go kayaking the day before the wedding. This was a genius activity, a better use of dollars, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s having a summer wedding in Durango!!


 We rented a school bus to shuttle guests to the wedding site.  After getting dropped off, guests walked up a lupine-laden road that ended at the opening of the property, where guests were met with the smell of barbecue and the sound of bluegrass. A half dozen towering oak trees in full green splendor shaded a primitive wooden cabin with a wrap-around porch that featured a popcorn machine, personalized mugs for lemonade, iced tea, wine, whiskey, or Ska beer, and a picnic table Nick and I built that served as our guest book.

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We aimed for the ceremony to begin around four o’clock in the afternoon on  the day of the Super full moon. The weather was absolutely perfect: 72 degrees, blue sky, slight breeze, and sunshine!


The bluegrass band played “Come Thou Fount” while my dad and I rode in on a beautiful black-and-white horse. As I came out of the woods and into the clearing, I saw all of my favorite people in the world standing in a casual circle around the hitching post.


We had written our vows, so Nick went first and knocked it out of the park. Not a dry eye in the crowd. 


I read mine, and we exchanged rings. The whole ‘ceremony’ took about five minutes.


As soon as we kissed, the speakers began playing “Stand by Me” by The Drifters, and the ceremony rolled right into the reception.


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Nick and I danced to “You and Me” by Penny and the Quarters as our official first dance.


Each picnic table was decorated with brown burlap sacks, off-white linen cloths, and empty old whiskey bottles with simple flower arrangements of mostly baby’s breath and sunflowers.


We had mason jar mugs personalized with a bicycle stamp that guests used for the party and then took home as a favor.


Everyone ate ribs, cornbread, and mac n’ cheese, while the Flume Canyon Boys played some tunes.

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The moon was enormous, casting long shadows over our ridiculous display of white people making moves. So many smiling, sweaty, happy faces around! It. Was. Epic.


Advice: Take this opportunity to plan your idea of the PERFECT day. Whatever you enjoy doing, imagine sharing that with your dearest friends. Don’t be selfish, but don’t sacrifice what you think others expect you should do for what you REALLY want to do… DREAM BIG!!!



Photographer: Shutterfreek. Paul captured some awesome candid moments. Fast mover!

Rentals: Durango Party Rental. They were timely and accommodating. We rented a popcorn machine, dance floor, and horse trough (for beer kegs and ice).

Venue: Family property  // Caterer: Back Porch BBQ

Honeymoon Location: Nick and I drove to Telluride the next morning for the end of the Bluegrass Festival and saw Jackson Browne that evening. We camped that night and then spent the next two days hiking, climbing, swimming, and relaxing in our luxurious hotel robes from the Mountain Lodge where we were upgraded to a sweet suite just because it was our honeymoon. And so ended the best week of my life!