This Couple Tied the Knot Under a Chuppah Surrounded by Aspen Trees in Colorado
On a Park City ski trip in January 2016, Lauren and Ian were introduced by mutual friends. The pair hit it off; they quickly realized they had a shared sense of humor and, a few days after getting back home to New York, they went to dinner and (fittingly) a comedy show for their very first date. Four years later, in August 2020, Ian surprised Lauren with a proposal over pizza at their favorite restaurant. "I was confident that it was going to happen later in the year—so I was not even sure what was going on when he got down on one knee," Lauren remembers. Her family flew in from Chicago the next day and the couple celebrated all weekend with family and friends.
Growing up, Lauren regularly vacationed with her family in Vail, Colorado, and she always envisioned tying the knot there. Ian loves Colorado just as much, so a mountain wedding at Eaton Ranch in the nearby town of Edwards was an easy choice. The couple hired Jeni Pletcher from Gemini Event Planning to help fulfill their vision of a romantic, relaxed outdoor event for 200 guests. "It was important to us that it felt warm, personal, and ethereal," Lauren says, "almost as if you stumbled upon a secret garden in the mountains."
The bride enlisted some help from her mom, who guided a few planning decisions, for the couple's September 5, 2021 nuptials. When their wedding weekend arrived, the couple loved running into their closest friends and family in Vail as they trickled in; they hosted a welcome party the night before the big day to bring everyone together. The following morning, Lauren and Ian were married in an outdoor ceremony surrounded by aspen trees—and toasted and celebrated with dinner and dancing during their tented reception.
A Sophisticated Look
Lauren's mom came to New York for some wedding-dress shopping, but because of guest restrictions during the pandemic, they had to FaceTime with Ian's mother, and her sister and now-sister-in-law. She was searching for a gown that was comfortable, easy to dance in, and spoke to her personal sense of style. She ultimately went with a white column Carolina Herrera number with floral embellishments on the bodice and draping ribbon straps. "I am very much a girly-girl, so I was instantly drawn to the ribbon, but I loved that it still felt sophisticated," Lauren says, "Once I tried it on, I knew there was no need to try on any more dresses—this was the one."
She accessorized her big-day look with a tennis bracelet she borrowed from her mother-in-law and sparkly Sophia Webster sandals with a flared heel. "I am typically not into glitter, but there was a small slit in the center of the back of my dress, just about a foot off the ground, and the embellishment of the shoes served as the perfect detail peeking through," the bride says. Lauren wanted to wear earrings that featured both diamonds and pearls, and Ian's mother realized she had the perfect pair to lend her. "She let me borrow her late mother's earrings, and they were insanely beautiful," Lauren says, "I felt so grateful to wear them and to incorporate a piece of Ian's grandmother into the day."
What a Pair
Ian wore a custom dark blue suit paired with Gucci loafers and a gold watch that he received that morning; it once belonged to his grandfather. His wedding band belonged to his other grandfather, and was engraved with his grandparents' initials and wedding date. Lauren's parents gifted Ian cuff links inlayed with the couple's birthstones; these spoke to Lauren's wedding band.
The duo shared their first look in a clearing framed by aspen trees. "We were both so excited to finally see each other after spending the day getting ready separately," Lauren says. The bride also had a first look with her father, and he surprised her with a photo of them when she was younger; it was tucked into the back of his tie. "I instantly started crying," Lauren remembers. "You could tell it was a DIY project that he thought of on his own—it was so sweet."
'Maids in Many Shades
Lauren wanted her attendants' dresses to honor the surroundings—and be comfortable. She asked that they wear shades of purple, blue, or pink in solids, floral patterns, or interesting textures. "Each bridesmaid picked out a dress that felt true to her own personal style, which was just what I wanted," Lauren says, "Together, they looked beautiful and fit in with the venue." They each held bouquets of bleached ruscus, white stock, camellia, Italian ruscus, and seeded eucalyptus; Lauren's arrangement featured blush-and-white butterfly ranunculus and was tied with lace from her mother's wedding dress.
Groomsmen in Blue
Ian's groomsmen donned blue suits with matching ties, which were gifts from the groom. Their boutonnières featured one sprig of white butterfly ranunculus accented with a touch of greenery.
When guests arrived at Eaton Ranch, they were greeted with glasses of cold Champagne and instructed to walk up a hill on a path lined with aspen trees; at the top, in an aspen grove, they found the ceremony spot.
The pair's chuppah was embellished with colorful flowers—which contrast the snow-white aspen trees—and tons of greenery. The couple used Ian's late grandfather's tallit, or prayer shawl, at the top of the structure, per Jewish tradition.
Ghost chairs were set up on either side of the aisle, which was lined with organic arrangements of wildflowers with tall stems. "It felt very romantic and airy, just as we had planned," the bride says.
A Personal Ceremony
Lauren was accompanied by both of her parents as she walked down the aisle to a live rendition of James Arthur's "Say You Won't Let Go." Then, a local rabbi, Joel Newman, led them through a traditional service. "We were extremely impressed by him, and so were all of our guests. He made the ceremony feel very warm and personable," Lauren says. The couple exchanged their own vows, and although Lauren admits she was nervous while speaking, she acknowledges just how special it was. "It felt surreal to stand together under the chuppah in such a beautiful setting, surrounded by everyone we love," she says.
Hold My Hand
Once Ian broke the glass and the couple shared a kiss, the chorus of Jess Glynne's "Hold My Hand" played via the speakers. "It was such a fun way to kick off the celebration," Lauren says.
The Outdoor Cocktail Hour
The duo's cocktail hour took place in another clearing in the aspen grove, where high top tables were dressed in floor-length blue and white patterned linens. The couple set up heaters to keep everyone comfortable as they enjoyed passed appetizers like lamb chops (Ian's favorite) and pigs in a blanket (Lauren's go-to). Musicians set the mood on the keyboard and saxophone while attendees sipped on the event's signature cocktail, which was a play on a strawberry margarita.
Escort cards were displayed on a bed of moss with floral embellishments; the table itself was decorated with a garland of greenery.
Lanterns Lead the Way
Their reception took place underneath a white sailcloth tent. Candle lanterns lined the pathway to the party; the entrance archway was embellished with vines.
Touches of Blue and Pink
Inside, swaths of greenery swags were draped across the ceiling. A mixture of long and round tables were covered in floor-length velvet linens in a rose tone; baby blue pillar candles provided contrast.
Tall and Low
Some tables featured low centerpieces, while others had clusters of pillar candles and raised lush iterations.
Place settings included white charger plates with scalloped edges and gold flatware. Antique mismatched plates were embellished with hand-painted flowers and 24-carat gold accents. "Because the venue was essentially a blank canvas, we had the ability to personalize every detail and create exactly what we envisioned," Lauren says, "From the colorful flowers and the painted plates to the charcuterie boards and lively band, every detail felt very true to us." Sprigs of heather and lavender, placed next to each knife, were the finishing touch.
There were two moss covered bars inside the tent, which were embellished with greens and draped lights that flicked on when the sun set.
Making Their Entrance
The couple's biggest priority was getting the party going, so they kept the dinner portion of the evening short and hired Jordan Kahn Orchestra to entertain until midnight—which is when DJ Garman took over. They shared a first dance to Train's "Drops of Jupiter" and chose "You'll Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins for both the father-daughter and mother-son dances. Bar carts were wheeled around the dance floor all night, loaded with signature cocktails and local beers, so guests didn't have to stop partying to grab a drink. "Friends texted us throughout the following week that their legs were sore from dancing—or that they lost their voices from singing," Lauren says. "It was perfect."
Backed by cheers from the crowd, Lauren and Ian were lifted up in chairs during the traditional hora dance.
The Cake and Dessert
Lauren and Ian's confection featured five tiers of Funfetti-flavored cake. They kept the design simple and opted for fresh floral embellishments. The couple also packed a dessert table with macaroons, s'mores cups, gourmet chocolate covered pretzels, and rainbow cookies. During the after-party, mini pizza bites, soft pretzels, and fried chicken sliders were passed around the dance floor.
The pair remind couples currently planning their own events that none of the rules matter. "Do whatever works for you. We did not feel the need to follow traditional timelines, menus, or anything like that," Lauren says. "We just wanted it to be fun and warm and for everyone to feel the love—and we were able to make that happen by thinking outside of the box."
Photography, Rachel Havel
Videography, Majestik Wedding Films
Venue, Eaton Ranch
Wedding Planning, Gemini Event Planning
Event Design and Lighting, Enjoue Studio Design & Décor House
Flowers, Vintage Magnolia
Officiant, Rabbi Joel Newman
Bride's Dress, Carolina Herrera
Bride's Shoes, Sophia Webster
Hair and Makeup, Christy Kalina
Groom's Attire, Gucci
Catering, Red Maple Catering
Music, Jordan Kahn Music Company (ceremony and reception); Garman DJ
Tent, Sperry Tents Colorado
Rentals, Premier Party Rental