This Couple Made the Most of Their Scenic Micro Wedding in Colorado by Treating Their Six Guests to an Epic Meal
Emily and Ryan met on Bumble and shared their first date at a popular wine bar in Santa Monica on August 1, 2017. Ryan arrived earlier than Emily, and he accidentally started the date with the wrong girl—he didn't realize until he saw her walk in. "Looking back, it is one of the funniest stories," Emily says, noting that it was nothing but uphill from there. "He texted immediately after he dropped me off. Always a good sign!"
In March 2019, the couple started having serious conversations about getting engaged, and even went ring shopping together. They had just purchased their first home, and on a quiet Saturday morning before the big move, Ryan decided to use that time to pop the question. Almost immediately, the couple began planning their wedding at Devil's Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colorado, for 160 guests. But just six weeks before the big day, Emily and Ryan knew they needed to rethink their plans because of COVID-19. "We attempted a few postponement dates, then a possible elopement plan, but ultimately, we were able to get married at our original venue," Emily says. "They were so amazing and worked with our new plan for a micro wedding." The couple looks forward to celebrating with all of their guests next year, but on June 20, 2020, they asked their parents, Ryan's brother, and Emily's best friend to join them for their nuptials. Thanks to the smaller guest count, everyone was able to stay overnight at the ranch.
They spent less than two months re-planning their big day with the help of their month-of coordinator, The Styled Soiree. The end result? An intimate outdoor ceremony with a view of the continental divide followed by a private dinner reception with tons of flowers. Emily and Ryan were starting their new life together in Colorado, so it was important for them to invite their guests to experience a beautiful part of the state—they made sure to pay homage to the locale amply throughout their small event.
The couple worked with Maria from Jolie & Co. to create two custom watercolor paintings of the views at Devil's Thumb Ranch, which they used on the save-the-date cards and envelope liners. "The watercolor paintings created an experience for our guests when they opened the invitations," Emily says. "It was frame-worthy!" Maria also created a custom monogram for the invitation suite, which was printed on ivory cardstock with gold foil typography and calligraphy.
A Gown with Oomph
Emily originally bought a simple wedding dress, but after her first fitting, she decided she wanted an ensemble that made more of a statement. She went with a strapless Anne Barge gown with a V-notched bodice, full ball gown skirt, and hand-beaded floral embossed jacquard. "When I saw this dress in all of its glory, I knew it was the one," she says. "There was nothing about it I wanted to alter and I knew it was just the one for me."
Emily held a natural, hand-gathered, garden-style bouquet. "We wanted the locally sourced blooms to have the same lush feeling as the other floral elements used throughout the design," says the bride.
The Groom's Look
Ryan wore a midnight navy tuxedo from The Black Tux, which allowed him to stand out from the other men, who wore black.
The First Look
Emily and Ryan were driven to a remote location in the woods for their first look. "Ryan is the kindest man I know—it was the best moment to see his face when he turned around. It felt like we were the only two people in the world at that moment," she says.
A Ceremony with a View
One of the main reasons Emily and Ryan chose Devil's Thumb Ranch was for its sweeping mountain views; the venue even allowed them to host their ceremony in an open field, an area that isn't typically used for weddings. "Truly a fairy-tale location!" Emily says. Just three chairs with round backs and carved legs were placed in an arc on either side of the aisle. The focal point was a lush floral arch filled with locally sourced blooms.
Melodies and Horses
As the service began, a string quartet played songs including "Bittersweet Symphony," "The Way You Look Tonight," and "All You Need Is Love." Horses, grazing in the background, were visible from the ceremony area.
The couple asked a close friend to officiate their spiritual nuptials, during which they exchanged vows while enjoying views of the continental divide. "From the beginning, we knew we wanted someone we knew to officiate, not a stranger," Emily explains.
Emily's parents held hands as she and Ryan read each other their heartfelt promises.
A Room with a View
The location of the couple's reception changed from the largest barn on the property to a small room that boasted stunning views with floor to ceiling windows. Just one round table was placed in the center of the space for the intimate dinner reception.
Emily really wanted to bring the outdoors inside for the reception, so she worked with Jenny from Sugar n' Stems to create a hanging floral installation above the reception table. The arrangement included delphinium and greenery. "I wanted to feel like we were eating dinner in a magical garden with flowers growing from the ceiling and corners," the bride shares.
"We realized that the majority of our celebration would be spent enjoying an incredible meal, so we focused our reception décor on the tablescape," Emily says. The couple worked with Kara of Enjoue Studio to curate antique dishware and unique elements for the tabletop, which was dressed with soft blue linens with white embroidered leaves; hemstitched napkins held hand-lettered menus and a single delphinium. The dishware was unique to each course and included vintage pieces from Lenox, Dresden, and Haviland Limoges collections, paired with gold flatware.
Low, oblong centerpieces were arranged organically to mimic the bride's bouquet. Blush taper candles and tea candles were scattered throughout the station.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the couple wasn't able to offer food stations or passed appetizers. Instead, they decided to embrace the change and serve a five-course plated dinner, something that would have been difficult to do with 160 guests.
The meal began with a field green salad with house-made ricotta, toasted hazelnuts, orange slices, and an orange gastrique dressing. Guests then enjoyed a vichyssoise soup, crispy seared salmon with a spring pea purée and pickled black radish, and a palate cleanser. The main course was a wagyu ribeye center cut with scalloped potatoes and lemon grilled asparagus. "The dinner felt truly elegant and sophisticated and was incredibly intimate—it was a wonderful way to spend time with our families," Emily says.
The First Dance
Emily and Ryan shared their first dance to Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You." "It felt like the song was written just for us," Emily says. "Getting married in a pandemic when the world around us felt like it was upside down, Ryan and I found comfort in one another."
The couple says their band, Midnight Social, made the latter half of their big day so special. "Even though we were a total of 8, the brand brought the energy as if they were playing for 100 people," Emily says. "It was like a private concert just for us!"
So Much Flavor
The couple's wedding cake from Katy Pierson Cakes was placed on a table topped with delicate linen; the table was framed by the ceremony floral arch. The cake itself featured the couple's monogram and was decorated with fresh flowers. Emily and Ryan selected three different flavors—lemon thyme cake with cream cheese buttercream and berry compote, cinnamon sour cream cake with a ribbon of cinnamon and berry compote, and chocolate pistachio cake with vanilla bean buttercream.
To couples currently navigating the challenges of planning a wedding during a pandemic, Emily shares this advice: "Remember this is still a special time for you and your loved one. The outcome is still going to be that you are married and no doubt it will all turn out to be absolutely perfect!"
Photography, Alp and Isle
Videography, Christian Dacosta
Venue and Catering, Devil's Thumb Ranch
Wedding Planning, The Styled Soiree
Flowers, Sugar and Stems
Stationery and Paper Products, Jolie and Co
Bride's Gown, Anne Barge
Bride's Veil, Galia Lahav
Bride's Shoes, Loeffler Randall
Hair and Makeup, Liana Conway
Groom's Attire, The Black Tux
Music, Midnight Social
Cake, Katy Pierson Cakes
Rentals, La Tavola Linen; Enjoue Studio
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