An Intimate Outdoor Wedding in Denver, Colorado
In 2013, Allison was hired as a therapist for a treatment program in Boston, where Aimee worked in operations. They instantly hit it off. "I think everyone else could see that there was more there, but it took us about six months to acknowledge it, and another few before I got my courage up to do anything," says Allison. "Everyone expected her to make the first move because she is such an outgoing personality, but I beat her to the punch!"
The pair embarked on a whirlwind romance, and they started thinking about marriage after a year and a half together. They knew that both wanted to ask and to be asked. "There is something so incredible about having someone declare they want to merge lives with you. But equally, there is something deeply humbling about having to work up the courage to ask," says Allison.
Unbeknownst to each other, Aimee and Allison both planned holiday proposals. Every Christmas, they give each other four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. As Allison's "something to read," she wrote her proposal to Aimee at the end of a journal she keeps, which reads "like a wonderfully romantic novel of our relationship" according to Aimee. As it goes, Aimee planned a similar proposal: "I had kept the texts from the entire first months of our relationship and had them made into a bound book that I aptly titled The Preface. On the last page I wrote to Allison my proposal to her."
Shortly after moving cross-country to Denver, Aimee and Allison tied the knot in Lone Hawk Farm in Longmont, Colorado, on July 14, 2017. Fifty people attended the outdoor ceremony, and then 80 guests celebrated the following night with a reception at Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver. The intimate festivities featured rich jewel tones, meaningful symbolism, and a vast appreciation for family and friends.
The Stationery Suite
The stationery suite designed by Jolie & Co. had a blue watercolor design, which the brides loved because of its inherent uniqueness and imperfect beauty. "The stationery was one of the elements of the wedding that I felt really strongly about," says Aimee. "I wanted the language and the design to all feel really intentional and to have the same feel of the ceremony."
Aimee and Allison started planning their wedding two months after moving to Denver, and they used their wedding as an excuse to pull everyone to their new home base—by committing themselves to one another at Lone Hawk Farm in Longmont, Colorado. "The moment we were on the property, Aimee got choked up and we both felt really connected to it. It had that element of intimacy, and while it was in line with the outdoor/rustic/farm vibe that we wanted, it also had all of these unique quirky elements that made it unlike anywhere else we had seen," says Allison.
"While I appreciate the tradition of spending the night before apart and not seeing each other until the first look, it wasn't for us," says Aimee. "At each step of the process people were surprised to hear that I wanted Allison to be a part of it. The wedding dress, the makeup, and hair trials... the truth was that her opinion was the only one I was really interested in." So, the couple opted to share a bridal suite divided by a curtain, which allowed them to chat while getting ready. The set-up also built anticipation for the first look.
Aimee, right, and Allison, left, both purchased off-the-rack dresses at anna bé Bridal Boutique in Denver. Allison chose a Rue De Seine gown with intricate lace details. "I put it on and pretty much refused to get out of it!" she says. She paired it with Madewell shoes. Aimee wore a Nicole Miller dress (the second one she tried on), as well as earrings and a necklace from Ashley Schenkein. According to Allison, "It was really special to get to pick out our dresses together. We didn't see them again until our first look and they had entirely transformed" because of necessary alterations. For example, Allison adjusted the neckline, added buttons to the back, and hemmed the sleeves—"This may be total wedding dress blasphemy, but I had fun making it my own, and I would encourage anyone to do the same!" she says.
According to Allison, "My Grandma Lil lived in Phoenix, Arizona, for most of my childhood. She had some impressive turquoise jewelry that I grew up ogling. Sadly, her home was robbed and she lost most of it. But she still had this one turquoise ring that she wore all the time. She knew how much I adored it and one visit she gave it to me." Even through her grandmother couldn't fly out to the wedding, Allison wore the ring as her something old and something blue. The bride also wore a stack of turquoise bracelets, many of which came from Aimee. "When I met Aimee, I told her that I wanted to be old and gray with turquoise bangles up both arms. She now buys me a piece every year on my birthday, which is the best tradition ever." One silver bracelet served as Allison's "something borrowed" from her mother.
On the hunt for ethically-sourced jewelry, the brides chose matching engagement bands from Bario Neal. "To most people, the shape of the ring symbolizes eternity. For us, the hidden crescent shape in our ring and the slightly lunar pattern of the diamonds symbolizes our value of relational evolution. We strive to always be changing as individuals and as a couple, even as we come back to one another over and over again," says Allison. The brides ended up choosing similar wedding bands as well. "We will continue to add bands and create our own unique stacks, but I'm a big believer in timeless and understated design when it comes to certain things," explains Allison.
Allison's mother married her father in the early 1970s, and she wore a daisy crown for the ceremony. Therefore Allison asked Yonder Floral & Decor House to create a simple bundle of chamomile flowers and small daisies to make up her bouquet. Instead of flowers, Aimee carried a leather-bound book that contained the couple's vows. She had actually gifted the journal to Allison years prior, and the couple decided to document their next chapter (marriage) within its pages.
The First Look
The couple did their first look in a field behind the barn. Allison walked over a bridge, and as she rounded a corner, her soon-to-be wife came into view. "We were both pretty blown away. We knew what the other was going to wear since we had bought our dresses together, but seeing the whole thing come together was still breathtaking," says Allison. Aimee also found the moment memorable. "I'm floored by Allison's beauty so often, and seeing her walk around the corner was astounding. We were both so immediately complimentary of one another and it was one of the first moments that day when it became so real, that we were getting married."
The Ring Bearers
Aimee's nephews, Carter and Liam, served as ring bearers. They also have an adorable little sister, Eden.
Aimee and Allison chose to embark on their processional together as a sign of unity. They walked through a field, then crossed over a footbridge to reach a small grove of trees. The brides circled their witnesses while "A River Flows In You" by Yiruma played in the background. Aimee credits the moment as her favorite of the day. "We were able to hold each other's hand, listen to my Papa (who officiated the ceremony) speaking to our closest friends and family, and then enter as the one we were about to legally become," she says.
Before the wedding, Aimee and Allison took a trip to the mountains to write their vows and ceremony together. They drew on their letters, cards, and proposals to each other for inspiration. "In some ways, our vows were part poetry and part secret code," says Allison, adding that the pair recited the same vows. The late-afternoon service also had three readings: a quote by Louis De Bernieres, Sonnett XVII by Pablo Neruda, and a poem Allison had written for Aimee. To cap off the non-traditional nuptials, the witnesses said vows to the couple on behalf of their relationship.
A Loving Officiant
Aimee's maternal grandfather officiated the ceremony. The 82-year-old veteran from Wisconsin had recently taken a course to officiate wedding ceremonies—including same-sex ones. "When my Papa called to let me know that he had taken a special course in case we wanted him to officiate, I could barely speak because I was so choked up. I have and will forever be completely overwhelmed by this gesture," says Aimee.After the ceremony, the couple recessed to "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac, one of Aimee's favorite bands.
The Cocktail Hour
During cocktail hour, guests explored the grounds of the farm. The playlist, created by the brides, included R&B classics mixed with newer artists like Amy Winehouse. Guests enjoyed champagne advertised with sweet signs by Jolie & Co.
Aimee and Allison put up a "love wins" sign, which has sentimental value to both brides. According to Aimee, "I came out when I was 17, and this is the first relationship that I have been in where legal marriage (recognized in all states) was even an option for me. This isn't a right that I have always had access to, and in June of 2015 when the Supreme Court finally ruled (Obergefell v. Hodges) for marriage equality, the #lovewins hashtag was used to celebrate."Allison adds, "We wanted to remind people that the only reason we were able to have that day, was because of this equal right that was so recently afforded. We are so grateful to be in love in the time we have been in love, where the vision for our marriage was not a surreal hypothetical but a real prospect. Love did win, but only because of the collective efforts of so many people that we will never be able to know and personally thank. For everyone who continues to fight for and uphold equal rights, thank you."
Guests created an instant scrapbook by snapping pictures on mini polaroid camera. "It was so fun to look over the silly photos and sweet messages that our friends and family gifted us with. It's like the best scrapbook ever!" says Allison.
The Dinner Tables
Guests sat at one large table arranged in a serpentine pattern, which created an intimate setting. "We kept thinking of that collection of people as our collective family, both by blood and by choice. We had this desire to have the meal be constructed like one big family dinner," says Allison.
The Place Settings
Glittering taper candles and overflowing floral by Yonder Floral & Decor House, which also included persimmons and artichokes, adorned the table. Gold chargers and decorative accents complemented the color palette nicely, while clear glassware added understated elegance.
The meal, catered by Blackbelly, began with a charcuterie board of local cheeses and in-house meats. As a personal touch, the coordinates of the wedding venue were branded on the boards, which doubled as favors. Guests also dined on salad, cacio de pepe pasta, and salmon. Dessert was a thyme, olive oil cake with lemon glaze and blueberries.
Planner Brynn Swanson of First Look Events understood Aimee and Allison's close connection with their guests, so she suggested they write personalized thank you notes for each one. "Writing them put us in touch with the real depth of our gratitude for each person," says Allison. "Words are a real gateway for my emotions, and it pulled me out of the logistics of wedding planning and into the heart and soul of it." Unbeknownst to the couple, Brynn contacted each guest before the ceremony and asked them to write warm wishes to the couples as well. Brynn compiled the letters into a book, which she gave to the brides on their wedding day. "It was basically a day of love letters exchanged in all directions!" exclaims Allison.
Love All Around
After tear- and laughter-filled toasts, guests enjoyed coconut-lime flavored cupcakes by Fluffed and Frosted and tequila shots. Aimee and Allison danced to a version of "Stand by Me" by Florence and The Machine. Allison also danced with her dad to a trumpet rendition of "Someone to Watch Over Me." She says, "I started crying almost immediately as I walked up to him, and so to make me laugh, he started very seriously whispering in my ear a cross comparison of life insurance plans that I needed to explore now that I was married. I was crying and laughing the whole time, it is one of my favorite memories."
The next day, about 80 guests attended a reception at Wynkoop Brewing Company in downtown Denver. "This allowed us to have the intimacy that we wanted for our vows, while still being able to celebrate and enjoy with our extended family of incredible friends and family," says Allison, who loved getting ready with Aimee before the celebration. "We got ready in our hotel room that day, and after we finished hair and makeup, we helped one another into our wedding dresses. This was just such a unique thing to be able to do—to help your spouse into wedding attire, who gets to do that?" she says.
Afterward, Aimee and Allison spent time with friends, eating snacks from Seven-Eleven and singing Disney songs in their pajamas until three in the morning. Soon after the reception, they began married life in Venice, then went down the Dalmation Coast of Croatia, island hopping to Vis and Hvar and ending in Dubrovnik.
Photography, Lucky Malone Photography
Event planning, First Look Events
Flowers and rentals, Yonder Floral & Decor House
Videography, Rising Moon Films
Stationery and calligraphy, Jolie & Co.
Cake, Fluffed and Frosted
Allison's gown, Rue De Seine
Allison's shoes, Madewell
Aimee's gown, Nicole Miller
Aimee''s necklace and earrings, Ashley Schenkein
Hair and makeup, Faces by Liz
Alterations/ Tailoring, Anne Thomas