Vows With a View

Photos by Kendall Pavan Photography

Andi wasn’t the sort of girl who dreamed about her wedding day.

“I spent more time imagining the guy I’d end up with,” she says. So when she and fiancé Dan began planning their Telluride wedding, her requirements were few: colorful wildflowers, cowboy boots and a “rustic, vintage barn feel.”

The laid-back Colorado couple was very clear, however, about the experience they wanted to create for their 190 friends and family members who would travel from around the country to attend the celebration. “We wanted them to feel like they were coming to our place for a backyard barbecue,” Andi says. Only this time, the backyard was a scenic spot perched high above the town of Telluride and bordered by daisy-speckled meadows, aspen groves, a glittering alpine lake and unobstructed views of Mount Wilson and the rugged San Juans.

We fell in love with this spot,” Dan Resnick says of the hillside near Telluride where he and bride Andi exchanged wedding vows. An altar made from aspen boughs framed a dramatic view of Mount Wilson. Galvanized-metal buckets brimming with sunflowers and delphiniums hinted at the reception tent’s rustic vibe.

That was all the direction McKinley Hale and Kristen Kull, owners of Telluride Event Collective, needed. For eight months, the event planners designed special details—including tents customized with massive wooden barn doors and a 40-foot-long wood-slat wall built by local carpenters—scoured antique shops from Idaho to Utah for vintage ware, and refinished 75 old wooden chairs. Then, for several weeks leading up to the event, their team worked dawn to dusk transforming the empty grass-and-dirt lot into an intimate outdoor chapel and pair of rustic “barns”—one for the reception and one for lounging and dancing.

The newlyweds upheld the Telluride tradition of posing for a photo on the town’s main street with Bridal Veil Falls in the background. 

On a warm Saturday afternoon in late June, with Andi’s grandfather officiating, the couple married beneath an arch Dan and his groomsmen fashioned from aspen boughs. Andi paired her gown of rose-tinted lace with a simple veil and cowboy boots. Her bridesmaids’ champagne-colored dresses harmonized with their loose bouquets of vibrant orange and white blooms—and their own Western boots. Jackets and ties were noticeably absent, but not missed. “Neither one of us really likes to get dressed up, and we just wanted everybody to be comfortable and have fun,” Dan says.

Dan’s mother made an array of wooden signs to personalize the outdoor space.

Guests did just that in the hours following the ceremony, playing games of bocce and cornhole, tossing handfuls of fish food to the lake’s leaping trout, and chatting over local brews and summery cocktails served from WolfPig’s vintage truck bar, before sitting down to a dinner catered by chef and family friend Ross Martin.

As streaks of purple and orange smudged the sky, the revelers danced, gathered around fire pits to toast s’mores, and nibbled on cupcakes and pigs in a blanket (“a few extra bites for guests who weren’t used to drinking at 10,000 feet,” Dan notes).

Though the evening was a blur of memorable moments, one in particular stands out: “At some point in the night, Dan and I escaped, sat under our aspen arch and just talked,” Andi says. “It was our only moment of alone time”—and the best part of the day for a bride who, from the very beginning, really only cared about the guy.

Guests gathered near a sparkling pond after the ceremony and tossed fishfood to the jumping trout.

Custom-built barn doors displayed escort cards. 

To provide seating for nearly 200 guests, Hale and Kull refinished 75 vintage wooden chairs, which they mixed with rented cross-back seats. Weathered ladders became one-of-a-kind dessert stations. 

Vintage finds, like this scale, were transformed into unique serving pieces.

The customized table numbers and menu cards are from minted.com.

Hale and Kull commissioned local carpenters to build a 40-foot-long wood-slat wall, which provided a rustic backdrop for the bridal party’s table. 

Flower girl Haddie and ring bearer Brayden stole hearts in outfits handmade by Andi’s aunt.

 A cozy fire and soft blanket helped the happy couple ward off the evening chill.

Individual s’mores kits were a sweet after-dinner surprise.

With sparklers in hand, friends and family gave the newlyweds a festive send-off. 

Event planners McKinley Hale and Kristen Kull share how they created this rustic celebration’s warm and welcoming style:

FIXED-UP FURNITURE: The duo bought all the vintage wooden chairs they could find in Montrose, Durango and Telluride, then “Shabby Chic-ed them” with coats of blush and antique-white chalk paint and furniture wax to create a consistent, antiqued look.

ARTS & CRAFTS: Simple, rustic signs—handmade by the groom’s mother from wood boards and paint—personalized the event space. To create the custom table-number and menu-card holders, Hale chopped old wooden fence posts into cubes, then used a table saw to cut a thin slit in the top of each piece.

VINTAGE ACCENTS: Hale and Kull scoured the region’s farms and antique shops for perfectly worn tabletop accessories: Old glass milk jugs served as water pitchers, vintage scales became cupcake pedestals, and rustic wooden boxes, wheel- barrows and galvanized-metal buckets held colorful floral displays.

FANCY BURLAP: “Many people love burlap accents for mountain events, but a natural linen offers the same organic quality with a bit more polish,” says Hale, who selected the fabric in a wheat color for the reception tent’s tablecloths and billowing ceiling drapery.

FLOWER POWER: A mix of floral centerpieces, single blossoms and long garlands “provided the only color in the entire reception tent,” Hale says, so big bright blooms were a must. Floral designer Frannie Major Aura of New Leaf Design delivered with “wild-looking” bouquets of dahlias, peonies, poppies, ranunculus and cattails.


EVENT PRODUCTION/DESIGN/PANNING: Telluride Event Collective FLORAL DESIGN: New Leaf Design CATERING: Martini Concepts Catering CAKE & CUPCAKES: The Golden Crumb MOBILE BAR: WolfPig LINENS: Wildflower Linens  MUSIC: DJ Harry  PHOTOGRAPHY: Kendall Pavan Photography  BRIDAL GOWN: Casablanca Bridal  TENTS: Viking Equipment RentalsSaveSave

Categories: Entertaining