Brace yourself because this wedding shot by Erik Clausen of Poser Image will knock your socks off. This is a gigantic feature, so I am going to let the bride, Abbey, take the stage:
From the bride, Abbey: Dan decided early on in the planning process that top hats were high on his list of “must haves.” A nod to his British heritage, this started the ball rolling. Having both grown up in theater (with mothers who are both costumers) we knew that drama (and DIY) would play a big part. More than aesthetics, however, we knew we wanted a wedding that was a uniquely “us” and so we set out to incorporate meaning into every detail so nothing was included unless it spoke to our lives, our families and our love.
We rented a 1936 white touring coach from The Ambassador’s Rolls. The coach, which seated 14, was originally designed and used for touring national parks like Zion and Yosemite. My dad’s side of the family was heavily involved in the founding of national parks in the southwest, so we felt that this was an appropriate choice.
Your wedding style? Whimsical, theatrical, traditional (with a twist).
I could not commit to a tight color palette, so I opted instead to keep most of our details black and white allowing our flowers to be a total explosion of color.
Almost everything about our wedding was DIY, from the 10 page booklet style invitations to the website designed with help from my new brother-in-law (https://www.abbeyanddan.com/) to the clay mustaches in our photobooth that we set up with crepe paper streamers, lighting kit, tripod and remote shutter release. We used the same remote shutter release to take our own engagement pictures in DC and had so much fun with it, we knew our guests would too.
We folded cootie catchers, designed and printed signs, made programs that doubled as fans and attractive mustaches and spent a year collecting the vintage globes, books, scrabble tiles, bells (to ring for a kiss), snow globes (from places we’d visited), sugars and creamers and random treasures that decorated the tables. We made arrangements out of wholesale flowers, created a dozen different guest books and assembled photos of every member of our extended family on their wedding day. Even my shoes were a DIY achievement, but more on that to come.
Dan and I both grew up in Colorado, so deciding to host the wedding extravaganza in Denver was a no-brainer.
We were married in Our Lady of Loretto Chapel on the campus of Colorado Heights University (which most Denver-ites remeber as Loretto Heights). The church celebrates its 100th birthday this year. The art history geek in me loved the catholic church trappings, carved canopy over the altar, statues of Mary and Jesus and plenty of stained glass. The non-traditionalist in me loved that there was no resident congregation, and so we were free to choose the readings, music and officiant we wanted.
Our dear friend and Boulder Fire Chief, Andrew Moschetti was ordained for the occasion and did us the honor of officiating. Friends gave readings that ranged from Madeline L’Engle to dinosaur stories.
We chose Mile High Station for our reception because we loved the industrial feel that was so reminiscent of our old warehouse loft that we lived in in Denver before moving to DC. From the polished concrete floors to the incredible chandeliers, the space is fantastic and requires no additional decoration.
We designed, printed and assembled our 10-page booklet-style wedding invitations ourselves. The labels on the front were from Envelopper, Inc. The paper including linen cover stock, velvet interior stock and vellum were all from The Paper Mill Store. The kraft paper outer and RSVP envelopes were from Paper Presentation, and the booklets were bound with black and white twine from Divine Twine.
My dress was custom-made for me by my college costume design professor, and incredibly talented friend, Ted Stark. It was exactly the ruffled-cream confection of my dreams and was all the more special in that it was made just for me.
My mom made my birdcage veil decorated with an antique rhinestone necklace from her mom.
My shoes were a near disaster – and one of my favorite DIY moments. After deliberating for weeks over which pair of shoes to buy (but knowing I wanted blue) I selected a white dye-able pair and brought them to the cobbler so I could choose the perfect hue. Just days before the wedding I received a nervous call; the shoes were somewhat tie-dyed, blotchy and runny, not at all what I had hoped for. My two teenage cousins and junior bridesmaids swung into action with a trip to the craft store, a handful of blue fabric markers and hundreds of clear crystals. Everyone took a shift at the kitchen counter affixing sparkles and the final product was made with so much love, they surpassed anything I could have purchased. They may have dyed my feet blue, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Another very talented friend, Jessica, coiffed my hair along with most of the bridal party’s. I did my makeup myself.
Our moms entered to Simple Gifts; The bridal party to Trumpet Voluntary, and I walked down the aisle to the classic Bridal Chorus all played on the 100-year-old pipe organ.
As soon as we were pronounced husband and wife, a 20 person choir made up of musical friends from across the country erupted in Can’t Help Falling in Love of Elvis fame from the church’s balcony.
Dan and I danced to Ben Fold’s The Luckiest performed by on of our multi-talented groomsmen, Jordan Kenning and we twirled around the floor with my dad and his mom to La Vie en Rose – which it certainly was.
The bridesmaids’ bouquets, boutonnière for groom, groomsmen, ring bearer and dads, and corsages for our moms and grandmas were made by Megan at Happy Canyon Flowers. She did a fabulous job of incorporating all of my different ideas. My bouquet included favorite flowers for the women on my mom’s side of the family. The groomsmen wore craspedia, the dad’s; bachelor buttons and Dan; an incredible fuchsia dahlia. Our mom & grandma’s wrist corsages included vintage 50’s pins that said “Mom” and “Grandma” and our ring-bearer’s boutonnière, a lego man; his favorite.
The groom and groomsmen all wore full morning suits (in keeping with our British styling). Dan’s was purchased and tailored just for him while the rest of the guys rented from Men’s Warehouse. We bought the vests online separately to avoid the shiny backless options at Men’s Warehouse and get something a little more authentic. Each groomsmen wore a different black and white cravat and a set of Chicago U token cuff-links – a gift from Dan to commemorate his bachelor weekend there. Dan finished his look with a purple cravat and grey and purple argyle socks. Our littlest bridal party member, ring-bearer Brandon opted for black Converse instead of dress shoes. The hats that set the whole party in motion were also ordered online.
Catering by Design worked with me to create the family style feast we envisioned. A traditional British meat and potatoes meal featured roast beef and mashed potatoes with spicy mustard and basil mayo with plenty of roasted veggies on the side. Appetizers during cocktail hour focused on our different backgrounds with mini rellenos representing my southwestern roots.
Any advice for brides planning their weddings? Have fun, enjoy the ride, take time to incorporate meaning and let your personalities shine through and find meaningful ways to incorporate your family and friends into building your big day.
My favorite memories of the wedding were of the week before with all of my family huddled around the table, sculpting mustaches, bedazzling shoes and arranging flowers. By the time we got to the reception, they had as much ownership of the event as I did! It was their party too, and I loved that.
Check out Abbey and Dan’s DIY paper goods bonanza on Abbey’s Flickr!
Wedding Vendors (Denver, Colorado):
Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of Loretto Chapel on the campus of Colorado Heights University / Reception Venue: Mile High Station / Photographer: Erik Clausen of Poser Image / Wedding Dress: custom made by a friend / Birdcage veil: handmade by the bride’s mom / Table arrangements: DIY, flowers from Fifty Flowers / Bouquets and Bouts: Happy Canyon Flowers / DJ: 8trac M.E / Caterer: Catering by Design / Wedding Cake: Das Meyer Pastry Chalet / Wedding Cake Topper: Melabo on Etsy / DIY Invitation resources: Envelopper Inc, The Paper Mill, Paper Presentation, Divine Twine / Transportation: The Ambassador’s Rolls