Yearlong Wedding Plans Go Up In Smoke

Kayla & Chris | June 9, 2018


From the bride…We wanted to take the opportunity to share our love for each other and southwest Colorado with our friends and family that could make the trek. We had originally planned for our wedding to be in Durango at the Silverpick Lodge, but the 416 fire started the weekend before our wedding and caused us to change venues last minute.


Mountain invitations | Durango Weddings Magazine


We both surprised each other in how well we responded to the news of the 416 fire and just started brainstorming to figure out how we could still have the wedding weekend of our dreams. We ended up hosting the welcome BBQ at our own home in Mancos Thursday evening.  We moved our “Hike with the Bride” to the McPhee Overlook trail above the McPhee reservoir, which was low but still stunning.  We moved the “Mountain Bike Ride with the Groom” to Boggy Draw which was pretty much right across the street from the new venue.  We decided to keep the rehearsal dinner in Durango on Friday night. It was well worth the drive from Dolores and many of our guests thought so too!  Then on Saturday, we held the ceremony and reception at the Sophia Retreat Center.  It took a dedicated team to pull it all off…but we did it, and it really was remarkable to see it all come together.



Flower bouquet by April's Garden | Durango Weddings Magazine Flower bouquet by April's Garden | Durango Weddings Magazine



We wanted a lot of greenery and wood accents along with a pop of color for the summer.  We figured this was perfect for a wedding in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Our color palette included sage Green, light purple, rose gold, & grey.


Flower bouquet by April's Garden | Durango Weddings Magazine


I had my bouquet wrapped with one of the lace sleeves from my mom’s wedding dress.



Flower bouquet by April's Garden | Durango Weddings Magazine Dessy Group dresses in a color Seagrass | Durango Weddings Magazine



My dress was from Essence of Australia (D2174); it was a fit and flare with a high neckline and illusion back.  The style was very different from what I thought I wanted when going in to try dresses on, but I fell in love with it!  The girls wore Dessy Group dresses in the color Seagrass.  They were all floor-length, but each had a unique style.


Bride wearing Essence of Australia (D2174); it was a fit and flare with a high neckline and illusion back.


Chris & I had written private vows to each other in cards that we exchanged just before the ceremony. Our photographer helped arrange for this to be done without us seeing one another, but we got to speak, hold hands, and calm each others’ butterflies.



Bride & Groom read private vows to each other in cards that they exchanged just before the ceremony.


Walking down the aisle, my veil blew off and landed right on top of my dad’s head.  Everyone broke out in laughter and it really set the mood for the entire ceremony.  My dad said he thought it was my mom’s way of saying she was there with us.


Bride's veil blew off and landed on her dads head while walking down the aisle. Ceremomy | Durango Weddings Magazine



We ended up getting married under a beautiful awning overlooking the mountains. My eldest cousin, David, officiated our ceremony and he was the perfect man for the job; he made everyone laugh and offered such a personal touch.  We also wrote our own vows and performed a unique unity ceremony where we combined different colors of frit (glass crystals) into a vase, which we plan to bring to a glass-blowing studio in a few weeks to make our own blown glass pieces to display in our home.



Ceremomy at Sophia Retreat Center | Durango Weddings Magazine


I will never forget walking out of the ceremony and realizing how lucky and happy I was to get to spend the rest of my life with Chris.  I had known for a long time that I wanted to spend my life with him, but knowing we just made the commitment official made it different for me somehow.


Happy bride & groom | Durango Weddings Magazine  Wedding Party | Durango Weddings Magazine Wedding Party | Durango Weddings Magazine Happy bride & groom at Sophia Retreat Center | Durango Weddings Magazine Happy bride & groom at Sophia Retreat Center | Durango Weddings Magazine


The reception was held in the grand room in the lodge at Sophia Retreat Center.  The room is beautiful, with exposed logs and crossbeams, double french doors at one end leading to a beautiful garden area, and a fireplace at the other.  We chose to have our sweetheart table by the double doors and had some long rectangular tables lining both sides of the room and some circle tables in the middle, which we removed later for dancing.



Reception at Sophia Retreat Center | Durango Weddings Magazine

Reception at Sophia Retreat Center | Durango Weddings Magazine



Dancing with everyone was a blast!  I got to dance with my daddy, do the twist with my grandmother, shout with my friends and cousins, and slow dance with my new husband.  The kids were competing doing the floss dance that has been all the rave this year.


Reception dancing at Sophia Retreat Center | Durango Weddings Magazine



Sitting at our reception, Chris and I just took a minute to sit back, watch, and take it all in.  Realizing that everyone in the room was there for us, supporting us, & many of them had traveled across the country to get there; to see them all so happy and enjoying what we had worked so hard to plan… the moment brought me to tears (happy tears, of course). The feeling was surreal and made us feel so incredibly loved. I get choked up even thinking about it.


Bride & Groom | Durango Weddings Magazine


Our wedding day was not what we had originally envisioned given that the 416 fire started the Friday before; however, the final outcome was better than we could have imagined.  We were so honored to witness the community around us come together to help us pull off re-planning a wedding weekend (that we took over a year to plan originally) in just a few short days!  Ultimately, we were surrounded by love and all of our friends and family that planned to be there made it safely.  Our vendors were all so incredibly accommodating despite the circumstances and it all came together just fine!  What more could we ask for?  If anything, it made it all that more special.



Happy bride & groom | Durango Weddings Magazine


Stay calm as you plan!  Planning a wedding in a year and then re-planning in it a few days made us realize that we could do anything together, especially with the help of family and friends.  Don’t be afraid to take people up on their offers to help!  We would not have pulled off our big day in our new venue if it weren’t for the generosity and assistance from a multitude of people.  We had dear friends cater, serve, and bartend, we had some help decorate and set up chairs/tables, we had others run errands.  It wouldn’t have been possible without everyone coming together and for that, we are incredibly grateful.  It made the weekend all that more special!

Keep a list of those that offer to help throughout the planning process and do not be afraid to take them up on their offers.  You never know when you are going to need it!  After all, we had a natural disaster impede on our wedding weekend and if it weren’t for those around us, the wedding wouldn’t have come together as well as it did considering all the last-minute changes.



Happy bride & groom + goat at Sophia Retreat Center | Durango Weddings Magazine



Photographer & Video: Shutterfreek – AMAZING!  Paul & Katie are so down to earth and wonderful to work with.  They helped us, our wedding party, and guests feel so at ease.  I would recommend them to anyone.  We used them for our engagement photos and will definitely go back to them for family photos in the future.

Floral Designer: April’s Garden – Another vendor that was beyond accommodating given the circumstances of the fire!  The flowers were delivered all the way to Dolores at no extra charge.  On top of that, the flowers came out gorgeous!  The girls and I loved our bouquets!

Favors: Honeyville – We did travel size jars of whipped honey for our favors.  Our guests loved taking home a little taste of Durango with them. We’re already getting requests to mail some out for Christmas gifts.

Venue & Lodging: Sophia Retreat Center. Mary and her staff were beyond accommodating; we still can’t get over their kindness and generosity.  They greeted guests, moved furniture around for us, prepped all the rooms for arrival, helped decorate, and more. They satisfied nearly every request, regardless of how small or little.  We really feel we couldn’t have pulled it all together without their help. They enjoyed helping us so much that they purchased a lot of our décor with the hope of hosting weddings more frequently.  Now a friend of mine is actually getting married there as well.

Original Venue: Silverpick Lodge. Originally, we planned to have our reception in the Sow’s Ear Restaurant of the Silverpick Lodge.  Chris at the Silverpick Lodge was delightful to work with.  Throughout the entire year of planning, he really encouraged us to make it our weekend and to add our own personal flare to the weekend.  Even when the 416 Fire caused us to change venues, Chris treated us with kindness and the utmost respect.  The Silverpick Lodge will always hold a special place in our hearts and we will be back to visit.

 Event Planner: Lucky Events | Caterer: Matt Schuster & Crew | Hair & Makeup: Envy Salon

View this wedding in the 2019 issue >>