An Intimate Lakeside Wedding in Telluride

McKenzie and Brandon

Heather Payne Photography

Right before the summer of 2007, Brandon Autry moved to Ruidoso, New Mexico, to attend technical training school. While speaking to his new school's president he couldn't help but notice a photograph of a smiling brunette on her desk. The president told Brandon of her daughter and how she was away at church camp. Much to McKenzie Brackeen's surprise, she received a call later that day from her mother telling her how she had a boy she was anxious to introduce her to. As fate would have it, as soon as the two met in person, sparks flew instantly. With time, Brandon got down on one knee and asked McKenzie to be his wife, while both of their families peeked out the windows of the bed and breakfast Brandon rented for a post-engagement celebration.

"The instant I saw her I thought, 'Wow, I'm going to marry that girl,'" says Brandon, and seven years later he did. On June 28, 2014, 12 of McKenzie and Brandon's family members ventured to Telluride, Colorado, to witness the couple's 'I Do's.' The duo opted for an intimate wedding weekend surrounded by the natural elements at the Observatory at Alta Lakes, tucked into the San Juan Mountains, where they felt closest to God. The panoramic views provided a majestic canvas for the couple's detailed ceremony and wine-filled feast that followed.

Watch McKenzie and Brandon's Wedding Video

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The Invites

Heather Payne Photography

The couple sent each guest a wooden cigar box filled with the details of their special wedding get-away weekend. The inside top of the boxes displayed a photograph of the aerial view of the Observatory at Alta Lakes and where exactly the festivities would take place.

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The Stationery

Heather Payne Photography

Brown Linen custom-designed the stationery suite for McKenzie and Brandon with an invitation including a hand drawn picture of the venue and a watercolor pamphlet outlining the weekend's events.

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Sealed in Gold

Heather Payne Photography

Also included in the guests' cigar boxes was a wax-sealed glass tube containing a piece of cotton paper with a gold number at the top. Instructions to write a note for the bride and groom on the anniversary coordinating with the number they received were included, too.

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Weekend Itinerary

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The water-colored activity itineraries were included in both the cigar boxes and in the welcome baskets guests received upon their arrival to Telluride. In the days leading up to the wedding, guests participated in activities such as getting pampered at the spa, four-wheeling, fishing, and hiking.

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The Venue

Heather Payne Photography

The small group spent their long weekend at the Observatory at Alta Lakes, located across from the main ski area in the mountains of Telluride, Colorado. The serene venue provided the couple and their guests with breathtaking views of waterfalls, mountain peaks, lakes, sky-high pine trees, and plenty of wildlife.

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The Ring

Heather Payne Photography

McKenzie's engagement ring was an oval-cut diamond design by Verragio.

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The Dress

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When McKenzie first saw the "Chantilly" dress by Claire Pettibone, she knew she wanted to marry her groom in it.

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Bridal Details

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To accompany her lace gown, the bride donned a pair of white patent leather Christian Louboutins, pearl jewelry from family members, and an Italian veil that was worn by both the groom's grandmother and mother at their own weddings.

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The Bouquet

Heather Payne Photography

The bridal bouquet was a fragrant white and green creation of garden roses, ranunculas, tulips, local sweet peas, tuberose, pieris, bay, and dusty miller, made by Philosophy Flowers.

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The Bridesmaids

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The blushing bridesmaids rocked matching BCBG vertically-hemmed dresses and strappy metallic heels.

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Groom's Gear

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Sophisticated accessories such as Mezlan shoes, a Tom Ford polka-dot bow tie, white boutonniere, and a custom pocket watch gifted by the bride, made for a dapper groom's look.

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His Wedding Band

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Brandon's wedding band was desert ironwood with a solid titanium inner band by Stefano Dimalta.

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The Groomsmen

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The groomsmen (Brandon's two brothers and McKenzie's older brother) wore their own gray or black suits for the occasion.

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The Ceremony Site

Unkempt Willow Branch Wedding Arch with Pink and Orange Flowers
Heather Payne Photography

The duo was wed lakeside with an extensive mountain view.

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Ceremony Details

Heather Payne Photography

The pair exchanged their vows in front of an installation inspired by the crest on their invitations. Kelly from Philosophy Flowers adorned the custom metal structure with bay leaves, dusty miller, delphinium, and bride veil nigella.

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The Procession

Heather Payne Photography

McKenzie's father walked her down the aisle to her awestruck groom. "It was like you've waited for something your entire life and you turn around and it's completely better than you could have ever imagined. I actually said, 'it's just not fair' out loud because her beauty was so overwhelming," says Brandon.

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An Artistic Ceremony

Heather Payne Photography

The groom's older brother, Brice Autry, married the couple—seeing that Brice is an artist, he incorporated artwork into the ceremony. He led the pair through a painting, conveying emotion through the piece.

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The Vows

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McKenzie and Brandon wanted every detail of their ceremony to be personal, including handwritten vows.

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The 'I Do's'

Heather Payne Photography

McKenzie and Brandon were announced man and wife amidst a serene lakeside setting with the love and support of their immediate family. Promptly following the recessional, the party joined in a small blessing for the newlyweds, while Brent Autry strummed a gentle tune on his guitar.

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The Love Boat

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Post-ceremony, the newlyweds spent time alone by canoeing on the lake, where they soaked in the significance of what had just occurred.

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Floating Details

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The canoe was decorated with a lush arrangement derived from a plethora of yellow and white flowers and greenery.

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The Reception

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Following the ceremony, the party joined in a festive celebration of food, wine, and music under the stars. The guests enjoyed a feast of Caesar salad, venison carpaccio, snapper with crawfish sauce, filet mignon, and chocolate and Nutella desserts.

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The Table Settings

Heather Payne Photography

The table settings consisted of vintage plates collected by the bride's mother and grandmother and Japanese ribbon placed upon a monogrammed cotton hemstitch napkin.

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Reception Décor

Heather Payne Photography

The long feasting table was draped in a cool gray linen topped with silver flatware, white floral arrangements in a variety of gold vases, and crystal glassware—perfect for clinking in celebration of the newlyweds. Since the gathering was so intimate, each member of the group said a few words at the reception, bestowing blessings and wishes upon the couple.

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Heather Payne Photography

Photography: Heather Payne

Location: The Observatory at Alta Lakes

Event Planning and Flowers: Philosophy Flowers

Catering and Cake: 221 South Oak

Videography: Ready Set Film

Stationery and Calligraphy: Brown Linen Design

Music: Jacob McCoy Burton

Rentals: Viking Rentals; Diamond Rental; La Tavola Fine Linens

Hair and Makeup: Allure by Abby

Gown: Claire Pettibone

Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin

Groom's Suit: Zara

Groom's Shoes: Mezlan

Groom's Tie: Tom Ford

Rings: Verragio; Stefano Dimalta

Bridesmaids' Dresses: BCBG

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