Ski Lifts Carried Guests Up, Up, and Away to This Couple's Colorado Wedding Venue
Long after they'd left home for college, Brooke and Christian connected back in the place where they both grew up while on a school break. "We had lived seven minutes away from one another, but had never met due to the fact that we attended different schools growing up," Brooke says. Five years later, she was on a tour of France with her best friend, Lily, when Christian flew in from New York—without her knowing—on the last day of their trip. He surprised her in the gardens outside of the Musée de Océanographique in Monaco, where he was waiting with an engagement ring.
For their June 15, 2019, wedding, the couple retreated from the hustle and bustle of New York City, where they live, to Vail, Colorado, where they could execute their vision of a "tranquil and natural" big day, Brooke says. At their chosen venue, The Arabelle at Vail Square, "we knew that the beautiful vistas would do much of the work for us," says Brooke, "so our aim was to enhance the natural beauty of our surroundings." With the expert help of wedding planners Calluna Events, that's exactly what the couple did.
Their two-year engagement gave the couple ample time to plan the perfect fête, complete with a white-and-green color palette and a whimsical, but still-classic feel, for their 138 guests. "We decided to take our time with the planning," Brooke explains. "This was great as we were able to secure every vendor that we wanted to work with and we were able to truly focus and be thoughtful each step of the way." But planning the event from a (long) distance did present its challenges: "We knew we were working with the best vendors, but working from a distance means we couldn't be involved in every conversation," Brooke explains. "We are both required to be very detail-oriented and organized for our work, so taking a step back felt unnatural. It ended up working out—and I believe being slightly removed helped keep us sane throughout the process."
The couple chose to host their wedding in Colorado for a meaningful reason: Christian graduated from the Colorado University in Boulder with his undergraduate degree. "Many of our early memories of getting to know one another are from Colorado," Brooke says, "so it's very close to our hearts. Planning our wedding there was a nice way to make sure we were able to share this special place with our loved ones."
Plus, The Arabelle at Vail Square offers "one of the most beautiful views in Colorado," she says, "and [it's] the first place that we skied together. We wanted to share this beautiful place with our family and friends, many of whom had never been to the state."
Picture Perfect Invitations
The couple's invitations, created by Jolie & Co., gave the perfect nod to their venue: The green envelopes were lined with an image of a ski lift ascending over a mountain scene.
She Knew It
The bride works as a buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue, so she teamed up with a stylist there to find the perfect wedding dress. Her A-line Monique Lhuillier wedding dress, with long Chantilly lace sleeves and a sheer bodice, was the first she tried on. "The second that I saw it, I knew it was made for me," Brooke says. "It was the first purchase I made for the wedding."
"I also wore my late grandmother's diamond bracelet to have a little piece of her with me that day," Brooke says.
Brooke's wedding veil was also made by Monique Lhuillier, and featured the same Chantilly lace that she loved.
While some brides shy away from others wearing white on their big days, Brooke embraced it, and asked her bridesmaids to pick their own cream-colored dresses. "I think it is so classic—and with our simplistic theme and vision to highlight the natural beauty of our surroundings, it really worked," Brooke explains.
Christian donned a bespoke black suit with a special detail inside: Embroidered on the inside of his jacket was the couple's wedding date.
Lift Love Up
Chair lifts—like the ones found on the couple's envelope liners—transported guests to the mountaintop wedding.
For their ceremony—which was supposed to be held on a patio overlooking the mountain vistas—the couple left musical accompaniments to a bag pipe player as a nod to Brooke's Scottish heritage.
They kept the service's décor simple, using only two white arrangements to decorate the space. "We wanted to keep the ceremony site uncluttered so that the mountain vistas were center stage," Brooke explains.
Unfortunately, inclement weather forced the service indoors. "The start time was delayed by over an hour," Brooke says of attempting to wait out the rain. "After two years of planning, a 15-minute storm derailed the plans completely. But when we saw each other, all we could do was smile, tear up with relief, joy, and love. [It was an] intensely emotional moment for both of us."
The couple didn't have a first look. "It was important to us that the first time we saw each other was walking down the aisle," Brooke says. It ended up being the "biggest moment" of the day, she recalls.
Guests found their seats on acrylic boards pinned to walls of greenery.
Brooke and Christian picked a clear tent for their reception, then flooded the space with candlelight, greenery, and natural wood tones to create a romantic, natural environment.
Ivy and loose blooms ran the length of the couple's long wooden tables—but tall glass hurricanes were the real stars of Brooke and Christian's tablescapes. The candlelight played into the "whimsical" aspect of the event, the bride says.
Tables were named for the ski runs on Vail's mountains, and were denoted with "ski signs," adds Brooke. "A local artist re-created the ski signs for us and they turned out fantastic," she says.
Farm to Table
Brooke and Christian's menu was sourced from local farms, and included a salad, beef tenderloin, sea bass, tofu, and an assortment of vegetables.
Lounge areas with sofas and coffee tables—with throw blankets and pillows to boot—gave guests a comfortable place to sit throughout the reception.
The couple decided to skip a traditional wedding cake and instead served petit fours. "They were incredible," Brooke says, "and our pastry chef friend went home and tried to re-create some of the selections."
The couple shared their first dance as husband and wife to "Crazy Love" by Van Morrision. "We went back and forth on a few songs but we had always loved the classic and romantic sound of this tune," Brooke says.
Photography, Alp & Isle
Venue, The Arabelle at Vail Square
Event planning, Calluna Events
Flowers, The Perfect Petal
Stationery, Jolie & Co.
Bride's gown and Veil, Monique Lhuillier
Hair, Matthew Morris Salon
Makeup, Liz Wegrzyn
Groom's suit, Michael Andrews