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The Wild West Gets a Romantic Makeover with This Inspiration Shoot

The Wild West used to mean cowboys, campfires and adventure. Today, the Wild West means, thanks to Tamara Gruner Photography and Belle Soul Weddings, romantic nostalgia mixed with organic beauty and masculine details. Think: designer gowns, natural florals and warm hues. Head to The Vault to see all the pretty!

From Belle Soul WeddingsThe inspiration for this shoot came from the beauty of the honey colored foliage of the Colorado landscape playing against the grey of the rocks and the water. A desire to highlight the masculine details of the rustic terrain by giving the groom equal importance while indulging in the soft bridal romance of the day led us on an incredible journey to create this inspired shoot. With a nod to old Colorado, our bride and groom are a modern version of the spirited romantics of a time gone by.

Details of tobacco leaves, cigars and whiskey add to our groom’s rugged yet elegant styling while our bride and her attendant savor the delicate sweetness of honeycombs, lace and hand dyed silk ribbon.

From the bespoke intimacy of hand calligraphed love notes to stolen moments amidst the deep Colorado canyons, our ruggedly romantic couple make the day their own.

Fresh pear cake with mascarpone filling and a bourbon honey drizzle

Hors d’oeuvres:
Filled phyllo pouches and tiny crab cakes are drizzled with honey and adorned with fresh sage

Eucalyptus, autumn spider mums, hypericum berries and locally grown gold millet

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Photography: Tamara Gruner Photography | Cake: Belle Soul Weddings | Stationery: Nib And Pixel | Rings: Brian Gavin Diamonds | Hair + Makeup: Sunkissed And Made Up | Venue: Castlewood Canyon State Park | Cigars: Palma Cigar | Event Planning, Styling + Floral Design: Belle Soul Weddings | Female model (bride): Rachel G. | Female model (bridesmaid): Sarah C. | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Furniture + Tabletop: Pottery Barn | Groom’s Attire: Menguin | Male model (groom): Nathan J. | Model Agency: Wilhelmina Denver | Riding Boots + Riding Accessories: Dover Saddlery | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Table Runner, Silk + Ribbons: Silk & Willow | Wedding Dress, Veil + Hair Accessories: Emma & Grace Bridal

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Mountains Prove To Be Magical for this Sweet Colorado Engagement Shoot

I was in Boulder once. And fell in love immediately. So I’m not surprised that these adorable lovebirds decided to have their little e-shoot among the city’s natural beauty. Tamara Gruner tagged along and we’re pretty glad she did; with her pics, our Vault just received a burst of fresh air with this gallery of sweet kisses, boho chic style and endless stunning views!

From the Bride-to-be… Avak and I met at a youth service when he came to visit my church. He is really outgoing and friendly so of course he became good friends with many people there, including myself. We just clicked and found each other easy to talk to. As we got to know each other more we realized that we wanted to be more than friends, and now we’re happily in love and getting married!

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More engagement inspiration here!

Photography: Tamara Gruner Photography | Dress: Jarlo | Dark Shirt: H&M | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Lace Up Shoes: Michael Kors | Location: Sunrise Amphitheater | Men's Pants: Abercrombie | Pink Tulle Skirt: Space 46 Boutique | White Lace Top: Forever 21 | White Shirt: Express

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Card Dealing Grandparents Set the Stage For This Meant to Be Marriage

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!

Al Fresco

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!

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Peruse more Colorado weddings here!

Photography: Lisa O'Dwyer Photography | Event Planning: Claire Gordon Events | Floral Design: Flora By Nora | Wedding Dress: Cicada Bridal | Invitations: Sweet Letter Press | Stationery: Designsgirl | Makeup: Bronze And Beautiful | Venue: Bacchanale | Alterations: Donna Beth Creations | Bridal Boutique: a&be bridal shop

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here