This is one of those “Wow, it’s a small world” weddings. Their grandparents played bridge together at their Jewish Country Club years ago and their fathers became friends in middle school. So after some smart parental meddling, these two found each other and well, here they are now. Lisa O’Dwyer captured their happily ever after – planned in six weeks may I had – and the results are picture perfect. Head to the Vault for them all!
From the Bride… Like all great love stories, ours started long before we were born… our grandparents were fierce bridge competitors at their Jewish country club in Minnesota.
Our fathers befriended each other in middle school and later, they survived many harrowing ski trips and the 70’s and 80’s as best friends.
Michael and I grew up seeing each other at holidays, family gatherings, and bar mitzvahs. We weren’t in close touch, as I lived with my mom in Seattle and Michael’s family harkened from Denver.
We went about our formative years with no sense of what was to come… We pursued our respective interests, went off to college, traveled, and forged our way toward adulthood with no inkling of our foreshadowed fate.
In the spring of 2011, Michael, who was at that time traveling and working his way through Colombia, decided it was time for a change of scenery and took a job sight unseen, just hours outside of New York. I was, at the same time, living in New England, training horses and riders for national competition.
Through a series of discoveries (instigated, of course, by our Jewish parents) it was brought to our attention that Michael and I were living a mere five miles apart from one another in rural Connecticut!
In late August of that year, we connected for a drink (for our parents’ sake, naturally!). And that very drink turned into (GASP!) a date! And after dates two, three, and four…. we were in love. Instantly. Surprisingly. IN LOVE!
We carved out a life together in the quiet of Litchfield County, amidst a cacophony of crickets, owls, and frogs. We cultivated a wonderful community and prepared for our next steps of togetherness.
I returned to Event Planning, my previous career, and became the Senior Event Planner at Winvian, Relais & Chateaux in the Litchfield Hills, planning high-end weddings and events for the country’s heavy-hitters in fashion, finance, global business, and the arts.
In the winter of 2013, we relocated to Denver to grow our own businesses and be closer to friends and family. Claire Gordon Events made its Colorado debut later that season. Chef Michael created Farmer’s Kitchen, a locally sourced and organic fresh meal delivery business, servicing Colorado’s busy families.
Michael proposed on March 17, 2015 while we were on a venue scouting trip to Mexico with a custom four carat morganite and diamond ring! We deliberated long and hard about how and where to have our nuptials, always mindful of having an intimate experience, a grand departure from the 250+ person weddings that I produce for work.
It wasn’t until we were vacationing at our mountain home in Crested Butte, Colorado over the July 4th holiday weekend that we decided to push the “GO” button and begin planning our wedding…IN SIX WEEKS!
I had an open weekend August 22, 2015 and once we had confirmation from our nearest and dearest 35 guests, it was full steam ahead and the Claire Gordon Events team got to work!
Cicada Bridal, a Seattle-based design house, created my semi-custom gown in five weeks with the help of bridal boutique extraordinaire, A&Bé. Donna Beth Creations crafted a perfect off-the-shoulder bolero jacket to accompany.
I rallied a dynamic vendor team of Colorado’s finest! Both our floral designer, Flora by Nora, and our incredible photographer, Lisa O’Dwyer, rearranged previous commitments to be available for our wedding weekend and dove into the project with love and enthusiasm. We rented a beautiful private residence for our ceremony, featuring 360 degree views of the Butte, Maroon Belles and the Crested Butte valley. We partnered with husband and wife team, Kate and Chris Ladoulis, Crested Butte’s premiere restaurateur and chef, to host our reception. Sweet Letterpress and DesignsGirl created our incredible botanical print inspired invitation suite with hand-calligraphed envelopes.
Together, Nora and I conceptualized the design for the wedding, a modern interpretation of a Victorian aesthetic, updated with whimsical and unpretentious mountain-inspired details. The design reflected a warm palette of bright blooms with French blue details, natural elements like stoneware containers juxtaposed with antique pewter, and late summer stone fruit and figs.
Our ceremony was “Jewish-ish”, featuring an Aspen branch chuppah, a blessing circle and ring warming ceremony, and wine in our Kiddush cup dating back to the year of my birth (set aside 25 years ago by my step father).
The reception featured James Beard Foundation nominee, Kate Ladoulis’ famed tart cherry braised short ribs and Colorado striped bass with a golden raisin and shallot agrodolce. Chris selected Italian wines to pair perfectly with the meal. We enjoyed a smattering of desserts including the guest favorite, citrus crema catalana. Our guests noshed and drank and celebrated until the wee hours of the morning!
Our shotgun wedding (planned in six weeks) exceeded all expectations and the details were truly representative of our history, our families, our autonomous love, and our future!
Photography: Lisa O'Dwyer Photography | Event Planning: Claire Gordon Events | Floral Design: Flora By Nora | Wedding Dress: Jennifer Gay for Cicada Bridal | Invitations: Sweet Letter Press | Stationery: Kelle Anne McCarter | Makeup: Bronze And Beautiful | Venue: Bacchanale | Alterations: Donna Beth Creations | Bridal Boutique: a&be bridal shop