An Elegant Colorado Wedding with Nautical Details
Arden and Brock
Arden and Brock met as college freshmen at Texas Christian University. After spending four years as good friends, they parted ways—Brock to Dallas and Arden to New York City. Just a few years later, their friendship grew into something more—despite the distance—when Arden visited Dallas for the holidays. Shortly after that, Brock, a Texas native, visited Arden in the Big Apple. "After I wooed Brock with only one Yankees game, a Shake Shack burger, and the quickest trip possible to Times Square, it was a done deal," says Arden. "For an entire year, Brock was on a flight to New York City every two weeks until I moved to Dallas."
Brock's original proposal plan failed after storms cancelled Arden's flight, so instead of enjoying a romantic rooftop dinner in Austin, Arden endured a six-hour drive in the rain, arriving to the hotel tired and hungry. When she walked into the hotel room, she found a bottle of their favorite wine and a love letter from Brock, as Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen" (the tune they ended up choosing for their first dance) played in the background. Arden turned around and found Brock on one knee.
Ten months later, on August 27, 2016, the couple wed in a small town outside of Denver, Colorado, called Grand Lake, surrounded by 100 guests—all family and close friends. The Texas residents chose the locale to honor the family heritage: Brock's great-great-grandfather helped develop Grand Lake back in the 1860s, and five generations of his family spent their summers there. "We wanted our family and friends to love it just as much as we do because we'll spend the rest of our lives going there, and plan on raising our children there every summer," says Arden.
Arden spent her summers at a family home on Martha's Vineyard, so the couple decided on a charming, elegant feel in a sunset-inspired palette to blend elements from both locales.
Ivory invites by Cheree Berry Paper played up the theme of the day with blue and gold text and a hand-painted landscape of the lake with sailboats and mountains.
Attention to Detail
The envelopes had a hidden nod to the locale.
The Welcome Bag
Arden and Brock wanted guests to use the welcome bags (and the goodies inside) long after the wedding, so they used their monogram sparingly, opting for a design with mountains and moose instead. Totes by The Detail Department included koozies, info on the couple's favorite local spots, savory and sweet snacks (plus a moose-shaped cookie), and a scavenger hunt with a custom map of the town printed on the back.
Arden wore a blush silk Monique Lhuillier wedding dress with light pink Tabitha Simmons shoes to match. "I had no idea what dress I wanted, but I definitely did not want a strapless gown," says Arden. Though she had planned a girls' trip to New York packed with appointments at bridal salons, she went to one store in Dallas beforehand to narrow down the style she wanted.
"Sisters know best, apparently, because my sister convinced me to try on a strapless dress right before we left," says Arden. "Of course it was the perfect one—strapless, which I swore I didn't want, and pink!" (They still had a celebratory girls' trip to the New York City, anyway.)
Arden's engagement ring was passed down to Brock from his grandmother, who designed it with a diamond originally on a tiepin belonging to Brock's great-great-grandfather.
"The history was unbeknownst to me," says Arden. "I always knew I wanted a unique ring, but couldn't have imagined anything as beautiful, special, or timeless."
Arden also wore her mother's diamond flower earrings, which the bride's three older sisters wore for their weddings, too. The back of her dress featured a pearl circlet from her great grandmother.
The Wedding Party
"Since it was a summer wedding outdoors, we wanted to keep the colors light so it wouldn't feel stuffy," says Arden. Brock wore a blue Ermenegildo Zegna suit. Bridesmaids wore dusty pink Jenny Yoo dresses, and groomsmen wore their own navy suits.
Arden's niece, who is also her namesake, was the sole flower girl. "Little Arden," as the family calls her, wore a BHLDN dress in blush to match the bride.
Brock wore the first gift Arden gave him, horned frog cufflinks that honor the mascot of the couple's alma mater. His shirt cuff had Arden and Brock's initials and wedding date embroidered in purple—the couple's favorite color.
Mother and Father of the Bride
Arden's parents, Patti and Jimmy Elliot, were a few months away from celebrating their 40th anniversary at the time of the nuptials. On the wedding day, Patti wore a Rosie Assoulin ensemble that included an on-palette coral skirt the bride describes as "Colorado chic."
The couple chose the dock of a family friend's private residence as the setting for their ceremony. Lush hydrangeas and roses lined the dock, with a mountainous landscape as the backdrop.
At 6:30 pm, the ceremony began. Arden's father walked her down the aisle as a string quartet played Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love."
The readings included Colossians 3:12-17 and e.e. cumming's "I Carry Your Heart With Me." The pair said their "I do's" and exchanged rings. Arden surprised Brock with the coordinates of Grand Lake engraved on the inside of his wedding band.
Despite the threat of showers and thunder heading straight for the area, the storm blew past, and a blush pink sunset filled the sky immediately after the ceremony—matching the hue of Arden's dress.
The Love Boat
The newlyweds departed the ceremony on a vintage Chris Craft boat. A longtime family friend (and the couple's realtor for their first home together in Dallas) was at the helm. Brock's uncle took photos from the passenger seat.
"That was the only time we were able to truly sit back and take in the moment—look back at all our friends and family who came to celebrate us and take in the beautiful scenery around us," says Brock.
A Stroke of Luck
As Arden and Brock cruised around the lake, an unexpected guest crashed the wedding. "Moose sightings are coveted in Grand Lake, so we were glad our guests had the rare experience of seeing one up close," says Arden.
Guests had the option of traveling by boat or bus to the reception, which began with a cocktail hour on the grounds of Grand Lake Yacht Club.
Arden and Brock prefer wine to cocktails, so they opted for a rosé bar with flat and sparkling selections. Oars marked the bar while tying in the "Ain't Love Grand" motif. Passed hors d'oeuvres included Spanish octopus, pickled deviled hen's egg, and Wagyu beef tartar.
The Escort Cards
"We wanted to give an ode to the nautical since we were at a yacht club, but not go overboard," says Arden. A wall of compasses replaced traditional escort cards, helping their guests "navigate" their way to their seats.
The Place Settings
The couple went for elegant décor with nautical notes—inspired by the Martha's Vineyard meets Colorado theme. Settings of mixed china and flatware lined the tables, marked with sail-shaped place cards atop lemon half 'boats.'
Dallas-based floral designers Bows + Arrows traveled west to create arrangements authentic to the location (they shopped local markets for the blooms). Unstructured centerpieces incorporated the sunset palette to the tables.
The Seated Dinner
For dinner, Arden and Brock went for an ethereal, "Midsummer Night's Dream" feel with a canopy of greenery and flowers. Once guests found their seats, the couple entered the pavilion and went straight into their first dance, set to the tune of Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen." They danced before dinner so the crowd could take to the floor as soon as they finished their meals.
Appetizers included a cucumber honeydew soup and a peach-prosciutto salad with lemon poppy seed vinaigrette. Charcoal-crusted beef tenderloin and Rocky Mountain trout were offered as mains, with crème fraiche mashed potatoes and roasted broccolini sides.
Assorted sweets, including cookies, brownies, lemon bars, and a s'mores bar, replaced a traditional cake.
As dinner ended, Arden and her father danced to another Randy Travis song, "Deeper Than the Holler," a classic country hit that reflects their Texas ties.
Then, the playlist turned to a handpicked selection of hits from the 1990s and early 2000s—including songs like Robyn's "Show Me Love" and Tupac's "California Love." "We love to host parties, and we knew the '90s music would have our guests feeling like they were at a dance party in our living room," says Arden.
Close family and friends waved sparklers as the newlyweds departed the pavilion.
Arden and Brock traveled to Asia for their honeymoon, starting in Tokyo before going to Thailand.
Photography, Rachel Havel
Reception Location, Grand Lake Yacht Club
Event planning, Emily Clarke Weddings and Events
Catering, Epicurean Group
Flowers, Bows + Arrows
Videography, ByDesign Films
Calligraphy, The Left Handed Calligrapher
Rentals, Posh Couture Rentals
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier
Hair, Glamour Bar
Makeup, Dana Rae Makeup
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Flower Girl dresses, BHLDN
Groom's suit, Ermengildo Zegna
Ties, Knot Standard
Lighting, Pink Monkey Solutions