Geneoh Photography strikes again, this time with a whimsical woodland wedding in Aspen, Colorado. Aside from throwing one heck of a party, Tori and Adam with the help of their friends, handmade most of the decor items — including their invitations and cd favors that were designed by Tori’s friend, Jennifer Woockman. If that wasn’t enough reason to love this wedding, Tori shared that their wedding cost around 10k. Proof that you can have a gorgeous wedding with any budget!
Choosing a venue was actually one of the most difficult parts of the wedding planning process for us. We had two other sites in Colorado that we almost used before finding this gem! We knew we wanted an intimate wedding and we’ve always loved Colorado and the mountains, so it seemed only natural to take all our friends there to get hitched. We ended up choosing a nature center in Aspen (Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, or ACE’s). We loved this site for so many reasons. First of all, they don’t do very many weddings, so their prices were incredibly reasonable. We even ended up doing a bit a trading (they had an event the next day, so we gave them our centerpieces in exchange for the use of various kitchen accessories). We loved their core values and their organic garden :). Amazingly enough, I didn’t even see the site until the weekend of the wedding. We found it online after already visiting Colorado for the wedding planning. We weren’t entirely satisfied with our current venue so we decided to switch it only 3 months before the wedding! People thought we were crazy for taking such a risk, but it felt right and so we went with our gut ;).
We wanted our wedding to feel as intimate as possible. We invited only a small number of our closest friends and family and began our ceremony holding hands in a circle. We wrote cards to each of our guests and used these as the place settings. A destination wedding was perfect for us as we loved getting to spend quality time with our guests throughout the weekend leading up to the wedding.
I wanted the wedding to have a vintage, woodsy, romantic, and bohemian vibe! We had a loose color scheme, including bronze, gold, and copper (mainly in the bridal party’s attire), robin’s egg blue, and muted jewel tones (in the flowers and table arrangements).
DIY projects: I was a nanny for the year leading up to the wedding so I collected all the baby food jars I used, along with jars from thrift stores and flea markets and used those as the base for the lanterns we hung in the trees. My friends and I twisted wire around them, filled them with sand from the Moab desert (where my husband and his groomsmen went camping for his bachelor party) and stuck LED tea lights inside them. We ended up making just under 200 of them! The centerpieces were composed of old bottles my uncle found as an underwater welder and tin cans I had collected, stripped, and spray painted gold, brown, and turquoise. The tablecloths were lace pieces I had collected from garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores over the past year. My friends and I cut the burlap to use as table runners.
I collected vintage and goofy costume items throughout the year to use as photo booth props, as well as chalkboards so our guests could write messages to us. I collected blankets and vintage crates to hold them so our guests could sit on the ground or use them to keep warm when the sun went down. We put together a cd of music that represented our story of us as our wedding favor. Our friends helped us design the cover and cd label and we all assembled them before leaving to Colorado. A friend of mine designed the programs and put twigs through the tops of them to keep with our woodsy/rustic theme.
As I mentioned earlier, we wrote cards for each of our guests to use as the place settings. A friend of ours did the calligraphy and we glued various tulle and decorative paper shapes to the front of the cards. We both love to read so I collected unique/vintage looking books to use for the table numbers. My sister and I bought wooden numbers and painted and glued them to the front of each book. We propped these up on each table.
Quite possibly the biggest DIY project was the ceremony itself. My husband and I really wanted to write our own ceremony from start to finish. We incorporated Jewish traditions (like writing our own Ketubah) and Quaker traditions (like self-solemnizing and allowing time for silent worship). We also collected our favorite quotes and poems to be shared throughout the ceremony.
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? I would say don’t be afraid to be different, or even to disappoint people, for the sake of staying true to who you are as a couple and sticking to your convictions. In having a non-traditional, small destination wedding, we didn’t always feel supported, but ultimately, we are so glad we stayed true to who we are. Don’t be afraid to question or throw out entirely any traditions you don’t jive with. Our favorite elements of the wedding were the most risky, those which were entirely different from anything we’d seen before. Everything we did that day had particular value to us and that made the day so much more rich and full of meaning!
I would also encourage brides to include their grooms in on the process. Some of my favorite ideas were ones my husband suggested and it meant so much more because we decided them together.
I’m convinced that weddings do not have to cost a fortune to be beautiful and unique! We did everything we could to not be duped by the wedding industry and are so glad we had our friends so intimately involved in the process.
Lastly, even if you are a micro-manager like myself, I encourage you to let go and let people bless you the day of your wedding. I loved being surprised by the beauty my friends created with my DIY projects when I chose to let go and trust!
We did things a little differently for our processional (and well, for most of our wedding!). Instead of having an aisle, we decided to have Adam, my husband, lead everyone to the ceremony site where I was already waiting. This was really special for me! Because our wedding was at a nature center, we did very little with magnifying music. The only music at our ceremony was an a cappella rendition of Holy, Holy, Holy by two of our friends (Sufjan Stevens style). Our first dance was to our song, “The Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel. Paper Bird also played a rendition of “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes at the dance as we often sing that song to each other! As wedding favors, we gave each of our guests our “soundtrack,” the music that told the story of us. Our soundtrack included:
Us, Regina Spektor (Soviet Kitsch)
The Chain, Ingrid Michaelson (Everybody)
A Song for Christine, Anathallo (Sparrows – EP)
White Blank Page, Mumford & Sons (Sigh No More)
Saviour King, Hillsong United (All of the Above)
The Wolves (Act I & 2), Bon Iver (For Emma, Forever Ago)
Awake My Soul, Mumford & Sons (Sigh No More)
Ára Bátur, Sigur Rós (Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust)
Wide Eyes, Local Natives (Gorilla Manor)
The Cave, Mumford & Sons (Sigh No More)
Colorado, Paper Bird (When the River Took Flight)
Northern Lights, Bowerbirds (Upper Air)
Vesuvius, Sufjan Stevens (The Age Of Adz)
The Book of Love, Peter Gabriel
Can You Tell, Ra Ra Riot (The Rhumb Line)
Wedding Vendors (Aspen, CO + Minnesota):
Ceremony and reception locations: Aspen Center for Environmental Studies / Wedding planner: friend, Elisha DeGrave / Florist: We purchased our flowers from Mountain Flowers of Aspen, centerpieces and bouquets made by a friend / Photographer: Gene Pease, of Geneoh Photography / Wedding Dress: Allure, style #8634 purchased at Rush Bridal / Wedding Shoes: Aldo, and turquoise moccasins from H&M / Hairpiece: Brides of France / Jewelry: Target / Bridesmaid Dresses: Anthropologie / Hairpieces: Rayna Jaye on Etsy / Groom’s cardigan: Banana Republic/ Band/Ceremony Musician: Paper Bird / Caterer: bride’s friend, Johanna Raymond, contact email@example.com / Wedding Cake (or other dessert): My sister and I both have gluten allergies so we decided to have gluten free cupcakes for the wedding. We offered pomegranate margarita and champagne pear flavors from Happy Cakes and they were delicious! / Wedding invitations: Jennifer Woockman / Videographer: couple’s friend
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