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After a chance encounter in Texas through a mutual friend, it was clear there was instant chemistry between Lauren and Jack. Many miles separated them –- she lived in New York, and he was in San Francisco –- nevertheless, a whirlwind courtship ensued and a cross-continental love affair began. The couple officially started dating in January of 2010 and by April Lauren knew that Jack was the one. She moved to California that summer and Jack proposed to her on a bluff overlooking the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
They tied the knot on July 21, 2012, and kicked off their wedding weekend in Aspen with a rehearsal dinner full of country charm.
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The night of Lauren and Jack's engagement, Lauren's family friends graciously offered the use of their exquisite property as a wedding gift. Nestled at the foot of the breathtaking Colorado mountain ranges, Last Chance Ranch turned out to be the ideal meeting spot for the bicoastal couple’s family and friends and their wedding festivities. The bride also spent much of her childhood in Aspen, so it was a natural fit. The property's picturesque landscape manifested the couple’s desire to create an intimate, warm welcome dinner that would double as the rehearsal dinner. The fete was held inside a 200-year-old restored wooden barn, speckled with the glow of authentic oil lanterns.
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Constructed out of reclaimed wood, the venue’s doors were magnificent in stature and served as the inspiration for the stationery designed by Lauren’s father. The cover of the invite featured a photograph of the barn doors which opened to reveal the event details.
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"Our goal was to instantly transform our city slicker guests into seasoned Aspenites," said Lauren. Guests arrived dressed in equestrian wear and leather-clad cowboy boots for the mountain-chic celebration.
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His and Her Getup
Lauren wore an all-fringe dress from Haute Hippie and a heart-studded cowgirl hat. For her "Something Blue", her mother lent her antique turquoise jewelry.
Jack was outfitted in authentic threads from head-to-toe, from a Stetson hat to ostrich boots. The buttons on his shirt were mother-of-pearl and his belt buckle was customized with his initials.
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Hay bales lined with colorful serapes framed the al fresco cocktail hour and doubled as seating arrangements for revelers. The couple’s favorite accent was the 1950's candy apple red truck that was the piece de resistance of the hour.
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An antiquated set of iron wagon wheels draped in authentic cowhide served as a Western-style watering hole.
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Cocktail napkins were embossed with a cowboy boot and the couple’s name. The bold red highlighted the color palette of the evening.
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Guests sipped on “peacharitas” made from local fruit, noshed on Southwestern appetizers, and danced to the tunes of a traveling country western band led by Twirp Anderson, a local favorite.
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Embracing a minimalistic approach, escort cards were printed with a red cow and guests’ names. The edges of each card were individually hand-dirtied for a rugged feel. Old clothespins secured the cards onto rows of twine, which were strung across the barn doors.
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Dinner is Served
Rain started to fall just as the first chimes of the dinner triangle signaled Lauren and Jack’s 160 guests into the warmth of the pastoral wooden lodge.
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A Quiet Sentiment
Throughout the entire planning process, the couple demonstrated a selfless concern for their guests. Wanting to express their supreme gratitude, they handcrafted a thank you letter for each place setting. The sentiment was printed on kraft paper, headed by a heart cutout matching the bride’s hat.
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In keeping with the idyllic countryside motif, tables were cloaked in burlap and dotted with tufts of cotton. Red bandana runners complimented the metal camping flatware, and illuminated lanterns added a soft glow. Napkin rolls were tied with twine and topped with a mini cowbell.
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Arrangements consisting of a variety of different red blooms dotted the reception tables in country-chic vessels.
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Tacked onto distressed wooden plaques, the edges of dinner signs were burned to create that "Wild West" look. The menu featured mouthwatering BBQ, beef brisket, smoked chicken, Louisiana shrimp and grits, and corn muffins.
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A Nod to Aspen
The couple wanted their weekend to be a "love letter to Aspen" and opted to include native wildflowers with pops of red daisies and softer hues of white cotton stems. Arrangements were placed in mason jars tied with burlap bows or vessels wrapped in Aspen-white bark.