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S’mores Filled Forest Birthday Party

This 3rd birthday celebration is the culmination of a photographer mom with a fab eye for design and a venue near and dear to the family’s heart. That mom is Shannon Von Eschen and with the help of Ashley Nicole Events, she crafted a third birthday celebration at the family’s tree farm with loads of greenery from Bare Root Flora and s’mores front and center. Basically it’s every kid’s dream and maybe a few grownups too (ahem, me). Head to the vault for even more.

As a mother who’s also a photographer, I tend to only want to throw parties that have an abundance of style, details, and a sense of over-the-top decor. So, even though Eli was turning THREE, I wanted to create a space that would not only bring our families together, but also tell a story and create a sense of “home.” I love curated spaces with clearly-defined color palettes and though I slept hardly at all the week prior, the whole day was worth it.

My husband and I own a tree nursery in Boulder so I chose to host his birthday party once again at “work” in an old barn on our property. The party was planned within one month’s time on my part, but because it was held at “work,” it was a bit easier than holding at a venue since I could prep, plan, style, and design it in-between clients and editing while still being with Eli during the day. (He was even able to nap in the next room while I set up all the decor!) But the best part about these parties I throw are how many family members of mine pitch in to bring my visions to life. My father helped me build almost everything pictured that’s made of wood. As a master carpenter, I’m lucky enough to have him work for me…so, when I have a vision, he can make it come to life using some old tree and his hands. I wanted this party to feel like you were deep withing a forest. So, along with bringing in 30 live Christmas trees (which, even for me as a tree farm owner, was harder than I’d though given that I needed them months before most lots are open), I wanted feel-good forest decor: A campfire with a s’more station, a bench with cozy blankets for sharing, a wall of ferns, a rustic, mushroom & fern cake, hand-made tree puzzles, a hot chocolate & cinnamon bar, and old, wooden tables covered in forest greenery with copper accents that highlighted the most perfect color palette of the great outdoors. The fire-pit, the tables, the wooden trays, the cake stand, shelves, candle holders, wooden figurines, the wooden crates, the picture frames, the wooden signs, and the tiny “DIY” evergreen trees, were all hand-made by my father.

My sister-in-law and mother made most of the delicious & styled “forest” foods for this party, while my grandmother (Eli’s great-grandmother), planted the wooden-log planter that sat as a centerpiece on the main table. She hand-picked each tiny fern-like piece and to this day, I cherish it! My close friend Robyn, with Bare Root Flora, custom designed smaller, wooden-stump pieces, and one very large planter of greenery and forest finds that decorated the dessert table. And my brothers spend long hours with me into the morning after work helping me set it all up…moving every last fern branch and evergreen tree into place.

The wooden candle-holder and mini trees, were all made from beetle-kill wood and older trees had had died in the flood at our tree farm. The “seats” for the tables were old stumps from trees at our nursery, and I used old drying racks of my mother-in-law’s to hold a string of Edison bulbs. A hand-made woodland animal–with interchangeable antlers!– sat at each table setting to greet the children who arrived, and after building their own tiny trees to take home, they “roasted” marshmallows and made s’more after s’more all afternoon.

The whole idea for this party started with an image I’d taken in Montana of a forest floor filled with pine-needles, ferns, and mushrooms blooming along the shadows of the fallen trees. From the simple joy a hike or just a walk through the forest brings, this vision came to life before my eyes better than I could have imagined! And though I hadn’t intended it to be as big of a hit as it was, Eli’s requested a fire pit at his “next party.”

Photography: Shannon Von Eschen | Event Design: Ashley Nicole Events | Event Design: Shannon Von Eschen | Floral Design: Bare Root Flora | Cake: Leaf & Crumb | Invitations: Lana's Shop | CreekSide Tree Nurery: CreekSide Tree Nursery | Fern Log Centerpiece: Bernice Krause | Food Prep & Styling: Kendall Von Eschen | Name Cards: Lana's Shop | Signs & Drink Labels: Taryn Eklund Ink | Smash Cake: Martha Crabbs | Vintage Stamps: Viginia Sauder | Wooden Decor: Frank Crabbs

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Veteran’s Romantic Mountain Engagement Session

This engagement session is beautiful, there’s no doubt about that.  From the breathtaking mountain scenery to the stunning florals from Bella Lu Floral to the love-filled moments captured brilliantly by Emily Sacco.  But peel back all of the gorgeous details and you’ll find a story of a brave veteran risking it all for our freedom and the devoted woman who stood steadfastly by his side.  Love conquers all, my friends… and you can see every heart-warming moment right here in THE VAULT.

From Emily Sacco… This is a very special couple! Nick and Samantha flew in from Tennessee to have their photos taken in front of the beautiful flat irons in Boulder, Colorado. Last year, Nick was out for deployment in Iraq and was badly injured. It’s taken several jaw surgeries, and a lot of recovering for Nick to get back on his feet. Still healing, the couple is doing better than ever! To make things even better- their engagement photos are romantic and heartfelt with a gorgeous Free People Dress, a bouquet beautifully created by Bella Lu Floral, a deer sighting and a custom Save the Date made by Kelsey Malie Calligraphy. 

From the Bride… Upon meeting Nicholas, the one thing I knew leaving our first date was that I wanted to talk and listen to him forever. Our all of our dates and time spent after that confirmed my feelings. We talked, laughed, and grew closer and closer each day and before long there wasn’t a day we didn’t see each other.

Months went by before Nick was scheduled for a deployment. I hated the thought of him leaving, being away from me, and being around so much danger. The fact that he was leaving for more than a few hours didn’t hit me until I laid down for bed that night. We hadn’t been apart for a whole night in quite a while. A day or two went by and he finally made it to his destination. Part of me was relieved he was done traveling and part of me was terrified. I got to hear his voice before bed, and after all his travels he was going to bed, as well. It was a good feeling, for some reason, a safe feeling. It was hours later, around 3 in the morning, when my world fell apart. One day I received a phone call from one of Nick’s commanding officers. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t talk, or cry. All I could do was sit there and listen to the news. My Nicholas had been injured during battle. I was useless so far away, scared waiting for updates, and devastated he was in so much pain, but he was strong. He recovered best he could and came home to me.

The months following his return home were not all pretty. He was suffering from a head injury, broken jaw, multiple surgeries, seizures, and on multiple medications. He fought the best he could to remain himself, but at some points depression would sink in. I fought too. I tried my best to support him sometimes doing a better job than others. Depression would sometimes over take me, as well. Our love was tested. We struggled to save our love, as well as ourselves. Love conquered. We grew and learned and loved. I am so excited to marry such a strong and loving man!

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See more Engagements in THE VAULT!

Photography: Emily Sacco | Floral Design: Bella Lu Floral | Dress: Free People | Hair And Makeup: Treehouse Hair Spa | Calligraphy: Kelsey Malie | Venue: Boulder Colorado

Elegant + Intimate Al Fresco Colorado Wedding

On a scale of 1-10 how obsessed are you with this intimate affair? Personally, we’re off that charts in love, but we’re trying to keep out obsession in check and scaling our rating in at a level 15 – because for us it doesn’t get any better than a Calluna Events celebration. With Laura Murray Photography behind the lens, this gallery is one you won’t want to miss. See it all beautifully unfold in THE VAULT!

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Summer

From Calluna EventsAs a former student at University of Colorado Boulder, Annie, the bride, saw fit that her and Thomas’ wedding took place with the breathtaking backdrop of the Flatirons. The bride’s vision for her special day was a casual yet elegant wedding with gorgeous flowers and close friends.

The bride and her mother worked closely to make this dream become a reality, thus curating a farm table themed reception. The day began on a picturesque cloudless afternoon where the beautiful couple said their forever vows at the St. John’s Episcopal Church. The bride was an absolute vision! She wore a Lela Rose gown which was simplistic yet absolutely stunning. After the ceremony, Laura Murray Photography was able to steal the happy couple away for a few stunning shots up at Chautauqua Park.

During this time, the couple’s guests enjoyed cocktail hour outside on the St Julien Hotel & Spa’s patio overlooking the Flatirons. The cocktail hour concluded as the sun set behind the towering Flatirons and guests found their seat at the outdoor farm table reception complete with market lights illuminating the evening. As the sun set, they dined under the stars. The temperature was absolutely perfect for lingering into the evening. The tables were overflowing with eucalyptus and flower garlands cascading down the tables. Everyone enjoyed their dining experience al fresco with the Flatirons as the backdrop.

After dinner, all guests were invited into the ballroom where they were greeted with a warm ambiance of twinkle lights surrounding the ballroom with a glow. The couple was able to enjoy their first evening as a married couple surrounded with their closest friends and they were able to dance the picture perfect night away!

See even more colorado weddings here!

Photography: Laura Murray Photography | Cinematography: 303 Motion | Event Planning: Calluna Events | Floral Design: Beet & Yarrow | Wedding Dress: Lela Rose | Cake: Shamane's Bake Shoppe | Ceremony Venue: St. Johns Episcopal Church | Reception Venue: St Julien Hotel & Spa | Lighting: LMD Productions | Band: Tunisia | Chair Rentals: Charming Chairs | Paper Goods And Menu: ColleenInCursive | Rehearsal Dinner: Oak At Fourteenth | Table Rentals: RC Special Events

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