Cortney & Christopher | July 18th
From the bride: We wanted an intimate wedding with our family and closest friends that was comfortable, lots of fun, and highlighted our love of our chosen home—Southwest Colorado. We also wanted to keep it as ‘green’ as possible, limiting one-time use items and reusing whenever possible.
We had looked at a couple of very nice venues, but when we came around the driveway in our truck and saw the Eureka Lodge tucked in the mountains, with the river running in the valley and the sun shining, we both just knew. I started to cry. It was perfect for us.
Eureka Lodge has the most stunning ceremony spot we’d ever seen and it was very ‘us.’ We both love history, especially old buildings, so the history and loving restoration of the lodge itself spoke to us. We also really love Silverton and wanted our family and friends to see it. We were also excited that many of our guests could stay at the lodge, as they were already traveling so far to come to the wedding, we wanted to spend as much time together as possible.
I flipped through the print version of Durango Weddings Magazine to get inspired and get some ideas and used the website for searching and finding vendors. it’s how we found our awesome day-of wedding coordinator, Emily of Emily’s Etiquette & Events.
The ceremony site was a small grassy area that sits above the lodge and overlooks the valley with distant peaks and cliffs and the river winding down below. It was humbling and awe-inspiring. We had a cello and violin duo playing, and it was incredible to hear their beautiful music before and during the ceremony. It felt perfect, really. We had written our own short vows to include with the traditional response versions, and it was just right for us. We each had a sister do a reading, along with my uncle who is also a pastor. The entire ceremony lasted 30 minutes.
My veil flew off during the ceremony! There was a lovely breeze that turned the cathedral length veil into a sail. Thankfully, my maid of honor has quick reflexes and caught it before it went over the cliff! She put the comb back into my hair as everyone chuckled and we continued on…but I did keep a hand on it for the rest of the ceremony, just in case.
For the reception table décor, we used recycled glass bottles, candle holders, and vases. For months, I had a blast hunting for them at all the local resale shops and thrift stores, and saving some from our recycling bin—they were unique, pretty, and cheap (or free!). We filled the bottles and vases with flowers and used battery-operated candles since the venue (historic wooden building) understandably doesn’t allow flames. That ended up working out brilliantly, as they do not blow out in the wind, there’s no dripping wax and no burns.
We had the locations of where we had met, bought our home, got engaged, and where we are going next written on a multi-directional signpost with their mileage from the venue.
We made coasters as gifts for our guests. We sliced them from local cedar trees that had been cut for fire mitigation in the National Forest, branded them with our ranch’s brand, sealed them, and bundled them in twine. It was more work than we had expected, but people loved them and it helped the day feel more connected to our land and home.
We really had the time of our lives. We danced all night, had tons of fun, and were surrounded by our favorite people in a stunning place celebrating together.
At some point, you need to step away from Pinterest, Etsy, wedding blogs, etc. It was too easy to obsess about little details or things I hadn’t thought of that we really didn’t need and were just stressing me out. Budgets are a very real thing, and if you just keep comparing and ‘wanting’ until the end, you miss out on the fun. Choose the details and features that are most important to you, and let the rest go.
Also- Hire a day-of wedding planner/coordinator! We would have been lost without Emily’s Etiquette & Events. Emily not only kept the day flowing, but she helped with set up and coordinated other people who wanted to help. When family members or friends asked how they could help, I didn’t have to try and figure out a task, show them, and then worry about what I would say if it wasn’t how we wanted it—we just sent them to Emily and she got them working on something helpful.
One more thing- Try to get together with your friends and family for more than just that one big day. We had a welcome BBQ at our ranch a few days before and a couple of smaller get-togethers with people, and are so thankful we did. Even though we only had 55 people at our wedding, I still can’t imagine having enough time on the wedding day to visit with everyone. It took a lot of that pressure off.
THE WEDDING TEAM
Venue: Eureka Lodge. Absolutely stunning venue and wonderful service. The historic lodge is a labor of love for the owners, and we so appreciated their handwork and customer service. They lost a barn and a lot of their equipment in an avalanche but worked overtime to get everything ready in time for us.
Wedding Coordinator: Emily Spencer, Emily’s Etiquette & Events. Emily is WONDERFUL! She supported us in so many ways, both those we knew about and then in so many unexpected ways. She truly works towards YOUR vision and is a pleasure to work with.
Hair and Makeup: Hair Fusion
Photographer: Eliza Jane Willey