Sydney and Mike's Wedding in a Gallery Space in Denver
Leafy plants and modern art merged at this creative couple's celebration, which was 20 years in the making.
Sydney and Mike first met 20 years ago in high school, though they were never high-school sweethearts. In fact, they were quite the opposite. "The only time we ever talked was because our best friends had crushes on each other," Sydney says. Fast-forward 15 years, and Sydney—raising a son and daughter from a previous marriage and running a photography business—reconnected with Mike, who had spent a brief period in the military and was now a professional counselor moonlighting as a drummer. They quickly became good friends, and the relationship grew into much more than former schoolmates.
They dated for about four and a half years, and although Sydney knew that she and Mike would get engaged, she had no idea when. "Mike and I had talked quite a bit about marriage. This was not something that either of us wanted to enter into lightly," Sydney says. One Saturday, as Sydney was folding laundry, Mike came bounding up the stairs after returning home from work. The kids rushed into the bedroom to see what the commotion was all about. "With both of them at my side, Mike opened the ring box and asked me to be his wife," says Sydney. The four of them, excited by what just happened, hugged in the moment and moved one step closer to an August 17, 2014, wedding in their hometown of Denver.
Sydney painted and designed the stationery herself. Referencing the potted plants that would be placed throughout the event space, the invites incorporated various green leaves and flowers.
The couple originally wanted to have their wedding in the Colorado Mountains, but then opted instead to keep it local. Sydney had heard about Space Gallery from a fellow photographer and decided to book the modern art venue for the Sunday nuptials. "I knew the walls would be covered in artwork, so I felt that 'rooting' it would give a grounded and warm feel," Sydney says of adding earthy plants and foliage to the areas they'd use.
Gracie's on South Pearl designed the bride's blue vintage-style earrings, while Shane Company designed the couple's wedding bands.
The Bridal Bouquet
Sydney clutched an arrangement of veronica, tea leaves, sweet peas, parrot tulips, and ferns made by Beet and Yarrow.
The groom, the bride's son, and the fathers wore boutonnieres of poppy pods and veronica.
The Flower Girl
Izzy, the bride's six-year-old daughter, was the flower girl for the wedding. Sydney made a last-minute decision to wear a headpiece of baby's breath flowers only after her daughter decided she wanted flowers in her hair.
The Ring Bearer
Sydney's 11-year-old son, Harrison, served as ring bearer. "Having my kids there to be a part of the day was so special for them and for me," says Sydney.
Sydney picked up random plants from Walmart and The Home Depot and potted them in copper-brushed pots to anchor the area where they would stand during the ceremony. The clusters of green foliage arranged along the sides of the aisle were set in clear cylindrical vases.
Hanging on one side of the room were individual ceramic flowers of various shapes and colors. "They gave the room so much texture," says Sydney of her favorite installation on view.
Blackberry mint water, tropical lemonade, and peach iced tea were set out in dispensers before the ceremony.
Setting the Mood
Romantic tunes including "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits, "Layla" by Eric Clapton, and "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley played before the ceremony.
About 150 guests gathered to watch Sydney and Mike tie the knot. The bride's father, Marty, walked her down the aisle to Pachelbel's "Canon in D," while her two kids met her at the head of the aisle.
The Watering of the Plants
Given the plant theme in the wedding décor, the bride and groom felt that potting and watering a plant together would give significance to joining their families as one. "We wanted to do something with the kids that made them a part of the ceremony," Sydney says.
After exchanging self-penned vows, the newlywed couple walked up the aisle to "Dancing in the Moonlight" by Thin Lizzy.
The Cocktail Hour
Large garage doors led to an outdoor patio, where the couple and their guests enjoyed drinks and snacked on hors d'oeuvres prepared by Fat Green Bowl, including the couple's favorite: sliced cucumbers with dill and fresh smoked salmon. For music, a jazz trio played some classic tunes.
The Photo Board
Sydney and her daughter, Izzy, painted a board that showcased photos, which was set up in the entrance as guests walked in.
Several of the instant photos attached to the board were captioned in a style similar to a high-school yearbook—fitting since the pair met back in the day.
That wasn't the only retro infusion. Sydney dug out her old yearbook to discover a funny note from Mike inscribed inside. She blew it up, printed it on an 11" x 20" board, and it doubled as a guestbook for loved ones to sign.
The Escort Cards
Small, square envelopes listing the name of the guest and their table number were laid out on a table. Inside each envelope was an instant photo similar to the ones already pinned up. "We had a sign encouraging the guests to use little clothespins to add their photo to the photo board," Sydney says.
The Reception Tables
Cherry Bomb Events created the flowerless centerpieces using greenery ordered by the bride. Like the other paper elements, the bride created the table numbers.
The Sweetheart Table
The couple sat together at a small bistro table adorned with their own unique centerpiece made of ferns, veronica, sweet peas, and tea leaves.
The ceremony space was flipped to accommodate a mix of round and long tables where guests were seated. They dined on family-style salads and a basket of bread and butter prepared by Fat Green Bowl. Meanwhile, two other trucks were on hand for the main course.
The Food Trucks
Wanting to keep the reception dinner fun and casual, the couple decided that food trucks were the way to go. Guests got to choose from Pink Tank (serving among other things, an all-star combo of chicken and waffles with sweet potato fries) and Biker Jim's (with a variety of hot dogs).
The Sweet Treats
The couple decided to put a fun twist on dessert, serving ice cream sandwiches by Petey Bird in place of a traditional wedding cake. The treats, which were stacked like tiered cakes, included flavors of chocolate peanut butter, mint chocolate chip, and chocolate chip. "We like chocolate a lot," Sydney says, "and what's better than an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer night?"
The evening continued with Mike's band, Sierra Hotel, getting the party started, and then inviting Harrison (an aspiring drummer) to join them.
Photography: Lisa O'Dwyer
Location: Space Gallery
Event Planning: Shayna Papke of Cherry Bomb Events
Catering: Fat Green Bowl; Biker Jim's; Pink Tank
Bartending: Bar Star Divas
Wait Staff: Bartenders and More
Flowers: Beet and Yarrow [bouquets]; Cherry Bomb Events [centerpieces and arrangements]
Stationery: Pig Pen Designs
Dessert: Petey Bird
Music: A Music Plus; DU Jazz Band
Rentals: All Well Rents
Hair and Makeup: Kim J. Beauty
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