Though the day began with rain, the skies cleared up in time for this Brooklyn couple’s outdoor destination ceremony surrounded by nature and 120 loved ones, many of whom traveled from other countries.
Photography: Sara Hasstedt1 of 24
Whitney, a journalist, met Matt, a financial writer, like many future lovebirds first meet—through a mutual friend. But the location was a bit less traditional, as it was in Venezuela, where the American transplants were both living back in 2009. They dated for five years, relocated to Brooklyn, and set a date of August 23, 2014, to tie the knot.
The wedding took place, surrounded by nature and 120 loved ones, many of whom traveled from other countries, in yet another destination—Woody Creek, Colorado, at a pal’s property in the Roaring Fork Valley. “We didn’t have a theme or color palette, but when describing the mood to our vendors we said we wanted it to feel like a dinner party with our dearest family and friends, where for one night we suddenly had immense floral, culinary, mixology, and musical talent,” says Whitney, who also sums up the fête as “perfectly imperfect and completely unforgettable.”
Photography: Sara Hasstedt2 of 24
After trying on what felt like every dress in New York City, at various bridal salons and a handful of department stores, but not loving anything enough to pull the trigger, Whitney instead opted to go the custom route. An acquaintance mentioned that she had done the same thing, working with Christina Kara of Blue, so Whitney followed suit and went to meet the seamstress. The two women discussed hemlines, necklines, fabrics, and other elements to incorporate, including fringe. “It was one of the most creatively fulfilling parts of the planning process,” Whitney says of commissioning a custom dress.
Photography: Sara Hasstedt3 of 24
Photography: Sara Hasstedt4 of 24
A Floral Accessory
Knowing she wasn’t going to wear a veil, but also recognizing that many acquaintances had said they didn’t feel like a bride until they put on their veil, Whitney decided she didn’t want to go sans topper completely. Instead, Carolyn Riley of Carolyn’s Flowers affixed some fresh blooms to hairpins to tuck into her pixie hairstyle.
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The Bridal Bouquet
An organic arrangement, intended to pair formality with the feeling of wildflowers being picked from a nearby meadow, was made up of ranunculus, clematis, scabiosa, yarrow, lysimachia, seeded eucalyptus, and sword fern.
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Photography: Sara Hasstedt6 of 24
The First Look
Drizzling rain didn’t stop the soon-to-be newlyweds from seeing each other before the ceremony, in the backyard of Whitney’s parents’ home. “We were excited to get the day started,” Whitney recalls.
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The Ceremony Structure
Though it poured during the night before and on the morning of the big day, it started to clear up and the ceremony was set up outside, with nothing other than clouds in the forecast. A simple and natural Aspen wood structure was accented with a cluster of various eucalyptus, dahlias, ferns, curly willow branches, clematis, and roses.
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Matt’s niece and nephew performed the wedding march as a primer before the guitarist began playing and Whitney and her father walked down the aisle.
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Whitney’s neighbor, who runs the Snowmass Chapel, officiated the late-afternoon ceremony. The couple exchanged self-penned vows, both of the bride’s siblings recited readings, and one of the groom’s sisters did a reading while the other sang an original song.
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Vintage handkerchiefs were set on guests’ chairs at the ceremony, adding a pop of color to the white seats.
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Photography: Sara Hasstedt11 of 24
Matt’s Blue Nile gold band was engraved with the wedding date.
Photography: Sara Hasstedt12 of 24
Blessing the Rings
Two friends took custody of the couple’s wedding bands pre-ceremony, tying them to two handkerchiefs (one of which was passed down for generations on Matt’s side). One ring went down one side of the aisle and the other went down the opposite, with every guest having a chance to hold the rings and bestow their blessings and positive thoughts toward the marriage. “It was a way for us to symbolize the importance our friends and family and our community play in our relationship and that we want them to hold us accountable for our vows and help us develop our relationship,” Whitney says.
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Photography: Sara Hasstedt14 of 24
The Second Line
Since the couple had lived in Louisiana, and even considered New Orleans for a wedding locale, they nodded to that time in their lives with the music and a classic tradition—the second line. Local musician Chris Bank gathered three other artists to form a band.
Cocktail hour was moved inside because of the mud, but kept lively with jazz music and “Trout Lodge Sparkler” signature cocktails—made of Campari, prosecco, and an olive. Guests noshed on cheeses, cured meats, nuts, dried fruits, and olives, and also perused family wedding photos that were set up on a nearby table.
Photography: Sara Hasstedt15 of 24
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The Table Numbers
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In the Mix
On some tables, larger arrangements, featuring clematis, roses, thistle, seeded eucalyptus, amaranth, and dahlias, were the showpiece.
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The flowers on the farm tables were organic and arranged in different color palettes, like this mostly pink centerpiece of asparagus fern, ranunculus, dahlias, seeded eucalyptus, curly willow branches, and lysimachia.
Photography: Sara Hasstedt19 of 24
In the Round
The head table was covered with a light-blue tablecloth and was anchored by a sunny arrangement of mostly ranunculus, dahlias, scabiosa, and greenery. “We wanted the space to feel cozy and intimate,” Whitney says of the floor plan. “So we opted for the smallest tent that could accommodate our group size.”
Photography: Sara Hasstedt20 of 24
Guests dined on pumpkin bisque soup and a beet salad with honey vinaigrette and cotija cheese. The main course was a paella with Spanish rice, wild boar sausage, local chicken, white prawns, fresh corn, chiles, and Southwestern seasoning. Like the paella, a platter of grilled summer vegetables was served family-style.
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Photography: Sara Hasstedt21 of 24
After entering the tent, the newlyweds gave a welcome speech, and Whitney’s father followed with a toast. Matt’s siblings spoke halfway through dinner. “It was very special to hear their words and feel the love in the room as people cheered or laughed or teared up over what was being shared,” Matt says.
Whitney’s family followed with a rap and the presentation of a handmade quilt made with patches from guests who could not attend the wedding.
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A selection of desserts were served, including mini ice cream sandwiches, beignets (served in cones made from New York Times newsprint), mini flourless chocolate cakes with fresh raspberries, and raspberry thumbprint cookies. Guests also sipped on coffee—both regular and chicory were on offer.
Another sweet notion: Acknowledging the importance of international work, education, and travel in their lives, the couple donated to Student Diplomacy Corps in honor of each guest in attendance.
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“Walk Through This World With Me” by George Jones played as the newlyweds showed off their footwork on the dance floor.
The bride then danced with her father to Glenn Miller Orchestra’s “In the Mood.” At about 10 p.m., things shifted, and in a nod to the couple’s time in Latin America, the dance floor was transformed into an “Hora Loca” (read: crazy hour). Glow sticks, hats, and other party regalia were handed out, the music went a bit more reggae and clubby, and the crowd went wild.
Photography: Sara Hasstedt