Take on Traditions or Make Your Own?

It started with what was hopefully a really great first date…or a date that went so horribly awry that it’s now one of the funniest stories the two of you tell tag-team style at parties. Whichever it was, something special began that night and now, well now you’re throwing the biggest party of your life to celebrate the fact that you’ve decided to commit yourselves to each other officially and forever.

This is what weddings are supposed to be: really great parties that celebrate who the two of you are as individuals as well as who the two of you hope to be as a team. And that’s how you want to approach the planning process but, suddenly, out of nowhere all of your relatives start coming out of the woodwork screeching about traditions and family obligations and before long you’re ready to just toss the planning guide at your Mom and say “you know what? You do it. Just tell me where to be and when.”

Instead–and not just because nobody wants the mother of the bride (or groom) to have a shiner on the big day–it might be helpful to share some of the ways that wedding traditions have been changing…and to show them that some of the things we insist are traditional (like that giant poofy white dress) aren’t necessarily traditional at all. Here are just a few examples to keep in your back pocket.

The Engagement and Wedding Rings

Unlike wedding rings, which are steeped in lengthy traditional rules, did you know that the diamond engagement ring only came into fashion about a hundred years ago? It’s popularity now can be traced back to a seriously aggressive marketing campaign by a jewelry company who wanted to move the stones (while turning a hefty profit). If you love diamond engagement rings, great! But if you’re into a simpler style, that’s great too!

Of course, just because there is a strong tradition behind that single, simple gold band (the wedding ring) doesn’t mean that you have to adhere to it. Many couples don’t anymore. A quick glance at the Front Jewelers men’s wedding rings page, shows most wedding bands aren’t simple gold bands anymore. They are bands made of titanium, bands that are black, silver, gold and some that are even fancier than Super Bowl rings.

Some couples don’t buy rings at all but get matching tattoos (now that’s commitment) around their ring fingers instead.

The Dress

Some women love spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their wedding gowns. If that’s you’re style, rock on. But if you’re on a budget, don’t sweat it. There are lots of great options out there including vintage dresses, dresses that you make yourself and dresses that aren’t meant to be wedding dresses at all but that you love enough to wear on your special day. There are even dresses made out of toilet paper…though we’re not sure you’d really want to wear them.

That white dress with which we are all so familiar was a trend started by Queen Victoria, at a time when red was all the rage in bridal fashion. After 175 years it’s hard to argue that it isn’t actually traditional, at least as far as western culture is concerned.

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image from a & be’s stylebook – view full feature

Still, in today’s contemporary culture, many women are opting for dresses that not only aren’t white, but aren’t fancy or ornate. In fact, according to the Daily Mail, only half of the women getting married these days choose to wear the traditional white dress. They’re choosing simpler lines, less frill. Our advice is to choose a dress that you love and that you will feel comfortable wearing for at least a couple of hours (though likely more). Or, hey: why not go extra rogue and opt for a suit if pants are more your style and let your husband to be wear the dress?

The fact is that there are a lot of wedding traditions that are now old and outdated. For example, having a bride’s father “give her away” is seen by most as an antiquated and sexist ritual. Many are threatening to mutiny if the chicken dance isn’t pulled out of reception rotations. Receiving lines are thought to be more rude than expedient. Couples are writing their own vows and having their friends marry them.

The point is this: your older relatives (and those who are particularly traditionally minded) might get screechy but this day is not only about them. It’s good to find a way to honor them, maybe during the ceremony or a special moment during the reception. But the day is mostly going to be about you. How do you want to remember the day?

Destination Europe

colorado-castleWhen you’re planning a wedding one of the most important decisions you need to make is the choice of venue. Traditionally, brides marry close to home. But this seriously limits your choices. I am obviously biased in Colorado but there is something enticing of a destination wedding. And why not choose a place that you could also enjoy as a honeymoon destination? Perhaps a favorite vacation spot, or childhood haunt could be your perfect wedding place.

For many of us, Europe seems so romantic, traditional and chic. The architecture in those historic cities is just breathtaking. Chapels and Cathedrals just aren’t built like that anymore! If you have ever had a vacation or even a business trip in Europe chances are you were in awe at the spectacle of some of those buildings. How incredible would it be to have one of those as the backdrop to your wedding?

America certainly has some amazing landscapes. There are dozens of places with scenery that just knocks your socks off! But none of it resembles the mountains, rivers, lakes and countryside you can find in Europe. Think about the Alps or the Fjords. In fact, if you’re thinking about getting married in Switzerland then why not make some of this incredible scenery part of your wedding package?

Switzerland is a great country to start a European vacation from too. With so many neighboring European countries all sharing the same currency, you will never run out of things to see and do. Switzerland itself is renowned for its ski resorts. And don’t forget the chocolate! Switzerland is also home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and wedding venues.

You might be wondering how you could possibly organize a wedding so far from home. Usually, when you book a wedding package, the management team at the venue will take care of everything for you. Accommodation will be provided for you and the guests for as long as you want it. Decorations and celebrants will also be organized. You can be as involved as you like, but all you really need to worry about is getting to the nearest airport on time.

If you are marrying in Europe, then you might want to buy your dress in Europe. Some of the Parisian designers are really hot this season. Just imagine browsing in all those quaint little boutiques. For a wedding ring, London is the place to go. There are some jewelers there that have been established for centuries. The best thing is that every city is so accessible, by train, plane and car.

Getting everyone to Europe isn’t too tricky these days either. Most major airports will have connecting flights to almost any part of Europe you have your heart set on. Maybe you want the sun and celebrities of the French Riviera? Or perhaps you fancy the breathtaking beauty of the Alps as your backdrop. Europe can cater to any taste. Best of all, having your wedding catered by Europe’s top chefs means you can be spoilt rotten at your reception. Enjoy French champagne, Swiss chocolate, and Italian fashions at your European wedding next year.

If you are looking for a European feel for your wedding here in Colorado, check out his real wedding at a Castle in Evergreen (pictured above).

photo by mark hayes photography | view full real wedding feature

 

Girls just wanna have fun

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Guest Post by Wedding Planner Pam Zola {LISTmember}: 

Choosing a bridal party can be wrought with anxiety about who to include: questions like who included you, who are you closest to right now, who will you likely be closest to forever, how many is too many, how does your side compare to your fiancé’s, what will everyone wear, whose feelings may be hurt? It may make you want to throw your hands up and forget the whole thing. But that can leave a hole around how to make it so that your most special peeps are close to you for your wedding, whether that be the day of, weekend of, or all the months leading up to as well. Bridal parties provide a kind of support while planning, shopping, and emotionally readying yourself for all the changes ahead. As I prepare for my sister’s bachelorette party this weekend, my mind wanders to all the ways in which we women find or create ways to bond in the moments leading up to marriage. And I consider the ways in which I’ve seen that potential hole made into a really big, awesome circle!

  • 21 Saris: In Sri Lanka, it is tradition for the women to get ready for a wedding all together. Ranmali is Sri-Lankan/American and decided to make up a way to incorporate this into her Florida hometown wedding. Twenty-one of us girlfriends received an invite to this intriguing “21 Saris” party to be held at her parent’s house on the afternoon of her wedding day. While Rami was being hair and make-up-ed, we girlfriends spent the afternoon choosing our sari, watching one another get sari-ed,  peeking in on the bride, laughing and snacking, and being expertly wrapped in our saris by the bride’s aunties. We were beautifully and colorfully sari-ed for the ceremony. Afterwards, we changed into our party dresses, but the special afternoon we had spent with the bride and her closest women was carried throughout the night.
  • Mehendi Celebration: If you’ve ever been henna-ed, you know that this is a process you would not save for a time crunch…like the morning of your wedding. Aside from it being art, there are the logistics of washing and allowing it to set. In India, the bride hosts a mehendi party at her home on the eve of her wedding. It’s a full on rocking party with food, music and most importantly, henna.Elaine is not Indian, but the man she married is. To honor her soon-to-be-husband’s wedding traditions, and because it sounded like a great way to kick off the weekend of celebrations she hosted a mehendi party at her home in Boulder, which turned out to be one of her favorite wedding memories.

Wait, don’t be sad that you don’t have one of the these traditions in your lineage! Make one up that fits for you. Organize a morning hike with your girlfriends. Depending on your crew, the season and various logistics, a bike, ski, soak in the hot tub, 5k run or another favorite activity could work too! Think of what you love to do and what could be easily shared with your special women.

I’m drawn to the ceremonious ways surrounding vows that brides celebrate and bring together the women in their life. From your childhood best friend to your college roommate; your mom’s best friend whom you call ‘aunt’ to your co-worker; your fiancé’s cousin to the groomsman’s wife; your almost mother-in-law to your grandma. There’s something about joining your life with your best guy that makes weaving the women of your life together through a shared experience seem especially appropriate.

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Credits: The beautiful body art is by Hummingbird Henna. Elaine’s henna photos, by the talented Rebecca Caridad at Manzanita. Ranmali’s sari photos, by the fabulous Krystal at Verve Studio. A huge thank you to Elaine and Ranmali for sharing your stories!

Want to brainstorm some more special ways to connect your best girls around wedding time? Contact me at pam@pamzolaweddings.com .

Guest Post by Wedding Planner Pam Zola {LISTmember}: 

 

 

Mountain Chic in Tabernash

Notes from the wedding planner, Heather of Calluna Events {LISTmember}:

Nicole and Alex live in Illinois and had guests coming from all ends of the country to celebrate their wedding. They wanted a weekend-long celebration that included both the great outdoors and posh lodging, and amenities for their guests. Devil’s Thumb Ranch, tucked away in Tabernash, Colorado was the perfect venue to bring everyone together and proved to be the perfect backdrop for this fabulous fete.

Nicole trusted us from the get-go and allowed us to plan the overall look and feel of the wedding, while staying true to her unique vision. While the wood barn was essentially a blank canvas for the couple’s reception, we softened the space with a giant chandelier and some soft drape attached to the wood pillars. Paired with feminine florals and soft lighting, the masculine wood barn transformed into a gorgeous, fancy affair for all of the jet-setting crowd.

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Laura Murray Photography | Venue: Devil’s Thumb Ranch {LISTmember} | Planner: Calluna Events {LISTmember} | Florist: Flora and Folly | Vera Wang | Makeup Artist: Alchemy Mineral Blends

 

Aug 6th: Sail Away…. The Nautical Party

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Rooftop Pool AND Champagne! Yes, please.

I am co-hosting The Nautical Party at The Four Seasons Denver AND you are all invited! Take a break from wedding planning and raise a toast with me!

Presented by Moet Chandon Imperial Ice

Nautical-Themed Poolside Cocktail Party  
Thursday, August 6
6-10 p.m.
Pool Terrace, Four Seasons Hotel Denver

Guests are encouraged to come dressed in their best “Yacht Club” attire.

Dress code enforced. This event is 21 and over only. RSVP on our facebook event page.

Hope to see you there!

Pretty in Pink

Notes from the photographer, Casey of Two One Photography

It was a beautiful day at The Manor House for a summer wedding and Brittany, Jamey and their perfect son decided to tie the knot. The wedding was filled with soft pink, white and gold colors. A Design Resource designed magnificent flower arrangements as well. The two said their vows and enjoyed dancing and special moments with friends and family the rest of the evening. They were lucky enough to have a super moon so of course we had to get some photos with that. The Super Moon was topped off with a surprise helicopter exit. It was an amazing way to end the night.

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Photographer: Two One Photography | Reception Venue: The Manor House | Event Planner: Sapphire Celebrations {LISTmember} | Floral Designer: A Design Resource

Nighttime Winter Wedding Styled Shoot

Notes from the florist, Holly of Love Letters Florals

The styled shoot took place at a Denver’s newest wedding and event venue, The Carmen W Art Gallery, in the River North Arts District of Denver. The theme of the shoot was fresh, modern, and urban with a touch of the outdoors brought in. Lots of fresh greenery, eucalyptus, and white flowers were used in the bouquets, hairstyles, bridal accessories and table florals. The mood was romantic and dreamy with the glow of candles, chandeliers and market lights providing the only light. The bride and bridesmaid bouquets added to the mood with hidden white LED lights that gave them a magical glow. More greenery and chandeliers floated above the head table and made it feel like the table was set under the trees. Miniature bundt cakes were included in lieu of a traditional wedding cake, and the floating gold framed escort card display added a whimsical touch. The whole look is very different from most styled shoots I’ve seen and participated in–it was such a unique and fun way to style a winter wedding!

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Photographer: Libbie Holmes Photography  | Venue: The Carmen W Art Gallery | Design: A Touch of Bliss {LISTmember} | Florals: Love Letters Floral Design | Rentals and Lighting: Artistry Events and Design | Bridesmaid dresses: 50 Dresses | Rentals: Allwell Rents | Hair and Makeup: April Franklin |  Wedding Dress: Maggie Evans Designs | Food and Beverage: Modern Edge Events and Catering | Cake and Desserts: The Bundt Shoppe 

 

Yellow Rustic Chic Mountain Wedding

This Breckenridge wedding had it all…….stellar mountain views, yellow rustic details with a modern twist, and one happy couple.  Designed and planned by one of our LISTmembers, Jessica of JA Special Events.

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Photographer:  Brinton Studios | Event Planner: JA Special Events {LISTmember} | Reception Venue: Ten Mile Station | Floral Designer: statice floral  Dress Designer: Alvina Valenta | Dress Store: anna bé bridal boutique | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids {LISTmember}  | Shoes: Betsy Johnson  | Bakery: Kelley Kakes | Hair Stylist: Matthew Morris Salon | Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Men’s Warehouse

Mint & Blush

Notes from the bride, Molly: 

Weddings along with Colorado weather can present surprises. Unexpected but also perfect at the same time. When planning our April wedding, we were relaxed with what could happen as far as snow, rain, sun or anywhere in between. After a couple weeks of sunny days, of course snow had to happen. However, with the mint and blush color scheme it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Coming from Kansas, about 80% of our guests traveled to Colorado for our wedding weekend. We wanted to give that perfect Colorado experience from the location, to the varieties of alcohol, to the favors. We worked with some incredible vendors to make our day perfect.

All decorations were made by the bride and her mother along with the wedding planning team – Hourglass Productions. Rustic, romantic and soft would be the perfect way to describe the feel of the room. The Pines at Genesee provided a perfect location and setting, especially for inclement weather.

The snow that day made the perfect background for some incredible pictures taken by Ashley McKenzie Photography. We captured every moment, including a Journey guitarist personal shout out.

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Ashley McKenzie Photography | Venue: The Pines at Genesee | Planner: Hourglass Productions | Florist: Love Letters Floral Design | Dress Designer: Mori Lee | Dress Boutique: Reni’s Bridal – Wichita, Kansas | Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist: Brittany Slaughter | Entertainment: Matt Diano – Total Performance Entertainment

 

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