A Sophisticated Wedding with a European Vibe at a Historic Colorado Hotel
Hillary and Erik first crossed paths in 2011 when Hillary, who was preparing to move to Los Angeles, spent a weekend scouting apartments in the city. On that Sunday afternoon, the pair found themselves at the same bar with a group of mutual friends, and though Erik, a singer-songwriter, gave Hillary one of his CDs as they parted ways, they didn't exactly hit it off: Hillary turned down all of Erik's suggestions to get together after she became an official L.A. resident later that year.
Nearly five years later, however, Hillary was planning another move—this time to Nashville, where Erik lived—and when she realized they were both attending the Sundance Film Festival, she invited him to get together. This time, they clicked, and two years after that, Erik proposed by a waterfall on a hike near home. "Neither of [us] really remembers what exactly he said, but the answer was an instant yes!" says Hillary.
The couple wanted a formal wedding that honored Erik's Italian heritage and chose The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to host 185 guests for their Mediterranean-inspired nuptials on August 17, 2019. "We wanted a European feel, even though we knew that we wouldn't actually get married in Europe," says Hillary.
The Broadmoor's aesthetic spoke to this, and, best of all, was in the bride's home state. Hillary drew inspiration for the party's color palette—pale pinks, blues, and yellows—from an image of an elegant Parisian table setting, and the couple added personal touches that included handwritten notes at each place setting and a surprise performance from one of Erik's close friends and groomsmen, country singer Brett Young. "We wanted our wedding to feel timeless and embody simple elegance," says Hillary, adding that they hired Sarah Viera Events to help them bring it all together. "We felt so honored that people were traveling in from all over the world to celebrate with us, and we wanted to make sure that everyone had a great time."
The Perfect Paper
Hillary and her mother made a special trip to Wiley Valentine to design the invitation suite, which featured calligraphed text letterpressed onto handmade paper. "I have always been obsessed with paper and stationery, so picking out our suite was one of my favorite parts of the whole process," says Hillary. The couple sealed their set with silk ribbon and added a wax seal before placing the papers in a dusty blue envelope. "Roses have special significance for Erik's family—his grandfather's name was Generoso," explains Hillary, "so we featured a rose in the wax seal."
A Family Favorite
The majestic landscaping and interior detailing at The Broadmoor Hotel helped create the continental atmosphere Hillary and Erik wanted—and added a sentimental touch to the event. "It has always been a special place for my family," says Hillary. "My grandparents honeymooned there and my extended family has visited The Broadmoor for special occasions for generations."
Miniature bottles of tequila, sparkling water, and snacks filled custom totes that the couple left at the hotel for out-of-town guests. "We included a painting of our beloved dog, Olive, on our welcome bags," says Hillary. "Our guests loved that Olive made an appearance and we still get photos of people using our bags months later. It cracks us up that Olive's bag is being carried all over the country."
Hillary had one simple requirement for her wedding dress: "The only thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want a dress that was pure white," she says. She was instantly charmed by a silk organza Anne Barge A-line gown with a corset bodice and metallic detailing—and loved its subtle golden color and metallic embroidery. "It might sound a little strange to say, but on a rack of crisp white dresses, I loved that this dress felt like it had a soul." She personalized it by extending the train, lowering the back, and adding thin, lacey straps. Simple jewelry—including a solitaire necklace made from her great-grandmother's engagement ring—completed her look.
Pretty in Pink
Hillary's bridesmaids wore rose-colored chiffon gowns from BHLDN tied over their shoulders, and her junior bridesmaids wore pale pink. "I wanted a dress that would be both flattering and comfortable for all my bridesmaids," she says.
The women carried bouquets of lush ivory, white, and soft pink roses and peonies. Deeper burgundy accents added a rich contrast.
In the Black
Their First Look
After a first look with her father and her bridesmaids, Hillary met Erik at the hotel's chapel for portraits before the ceremony. "I was starting to feel a lot of butterflies. I don't typically like to be the center of attention, so thinking about our ceremony was making me nervous," she says. "Erik is usually the person I turn to when I'm feeling overwhelmed so it was hard to be apart all day. I'm so glad we decided to do a first look because as soon as I saw Erik, I felt totally calm and could really enjoy being in the moment."
Four of a Kind
Erik's four nieces wore white tulle dresses with pale pink sashes and crowns of baby's breath to join the bridal party as flower girls, though Hillary and Erik were prepared for the day-of nerves to overwhelm one or more of the girls. "I was so happy that all four girls wanted to go down the aisle when the moment arrived," says Hillary, "and I didn't find out until after the ceremony that their father, Erik's brother, had promised them each a penny—which he had fished out of the fountain in the hotel lobby moments before—and paid each of them when they made it to the altar."
The pair asked their florist, Design Works Events, to create tailored arrangements that enhanced the beauty of the venue. "The Broadmoor Hotel is so picturesque that we wanted our décor to complement the beautiful setting and not distract from it," says Hillary. "We had two beautiful European-inspired arches and floral arrangements down both sides of the aisle. Our seating was reminiscent of the chairs you see in parks in Italy and France."
At the Altar
Hillary and Erik asked a longtime family friend—the best man from her parents' wedding—to officiate their ceremony. "He was so thoughtful and made the entire ceremony so personal to us by incorporating a lot of sweet stories and special readings," says Hillary. "He even wrote us a rhyming poem! There were lots of laughs and happy tears. It really was the perfect way for Erik and I to start our life together."
Erik and the bridal party waited at the altar as Hillary's father escorted her down the aisle while Palladio Strings played Pachelbel's "Canon in D."
He Said, She Said
The duo incorporated a reading from the Bible and their own custom vows into their ceremony. "I'm a bit of a cry-baby when I get emotional, so I tried to convince Erik to stick to standard wedding vows, but he insisted we write our own," she says. "In the end I was really happy that we did because it was a special moment between us—and for our family and friends."
The New Mr. and Mrs.
Oversized floral arrangements flanked the couple as they posed for portraits after the ceremony on a terrace overlooking the water. "In the days right after Erik and I got married, we wrote down every single detail we could remember about our wedding weekend while it was all still fresh in our minds," says Hillary. "Now we have so much fun reading over the list from time to time and reliving all of our favorite moments. There are always little things that we have forgotten and having the list is such a wonderful reminder of all the special memories, both big and small."
Sip and Stroll
As the couple decamped for portraits, guests "took a stroll around the lake to the cocktail hour," says Hillary. Along the way, they sipped French 75 cocktails or lemon water as they enjoyed the view.
Inside the dining room, the couple paired a combination of long and round tables—covered in pale blue linens—with antique white Dior chairs. "Our color palette was based on a picture of a Parisian table setting I saw on Pinterest," says Hillary. "I just fell in love with the soft, romantic hues."
From the Heart
Intricate Finezza charger plates, traditional flatwear, and white linen hemstitch napkins created an opulent backdrop for the couple's menu card—which included the rose wax seal from the invitations—and notecards with a custom illustration of the hotel. "We wrote a personalized note to every guest and had it waiting for them at their seats at our reception," says Hillary. "Erik and I had so much fun thinking about every single person who attended our wedding and what they meant to us."
Center of Attention
Centerpieces in antique gold footed bowls included accents of figs and Champagne grapes. Charcuterie boards on the tables acted as a first course.
Other menu items included roasted heirloom beet salad, blood orange sorbetto, and four different entrée choices.
Fountain of Love
A flower-ringed fountain brought an Old-World vibe to the space.
The hotel's pastry chef created a three-tier vanilla bean wedding cake with Italian buttercream, which the couple decorated with a garland of fresh flowers in shades of pale pink and yellow.
One of Erik's best friends, country singer Brett Young, took a break from groomsman duties to surprise guests with a performance of his song "In Case You Didn't Know" during the reception. "But as an even bigger surprise—even to me!—Erik jumped on stage with him to sing the second verse," says Hillary. "Both of them have terrific voices and it was definitely a highlight of the wedding."
Perfectly in Sync
Hillary and Erik chose Natalie Cole's "This Will Be (an Everlasting Love)" for their first dance, and then opened the dance floor with "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." "Erik has a background as a musician so he was in charge of finding a great live band," says Hillary. "Syndicate was amazing and had everyone dancing all night."
Spending the evening on the dance floor capped a wedding weekend that met all of the couple's expectations. "Erik and I were so happy that our family and friends got to know each other over the course of the whole weekend," says Hillary. "By the time we made it to the reception, it was so fun to look around the room and see everyone dancing together as if they had all known each other forever."
Photography, Carrie King
Location, Catering, and Cake, The Broadmoor Hotel
Event Planning, Sarah Viera Events
Flowers and Lighting, Design Works
Videography, White in Revery
Stationery, Wiley Valentine
Music, Palladio Strings (ceremony); Syndicate Denver (reception)
Rentals, La Tavola Fine Linen Rentals
Bride's Gown, Anne Barge
Bride's Accessories, Little White Dress veil; Stuart Weitzman shoes; Tiffany & Co. jewelry
Hair and makeup, Megan Cary Artistry
Bridesmaids' Dresses, BHLDN
Groom's attire, Joseph Abboud
Menswear, Men's Wearhouse
Transportation, Gray Line Tours of Colorado Springs
Favors, Max & Bella
Guest Book, Starboard
Press Photo booth, MIHI Photo Booth
Rings, Christian Bauer; Tacori
Save-the-Dates and Illustrations, Pier 9 Design