We were entranced by this bride's cookie bouquet and demanded to see MOAR! Thankfully, she obliged and gave us this amazing mountainside wedding.

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The offbeat bride: Emily, English teacher extraordinaire (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Jordan, English teacher extraordinaire

Date and location of wedding: Lizard Head Pass and the Telluride Elk's Lodge, Telluride, Colorado — June 2, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: My groom and I are from Western Colorado and wanted to share this area of our beloved state with our friends and family, particularly those who had never been there before. My groom's family has been in the four-corners area for multiple generations and have lots of ties to and traditions involving the land. We wanted to incorporate these traditions, as well as the traditions of my family, into our ceremony and reception as much as possible.

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Our wedding was a commemoration of everything that is “us” as a couple: our friends, our family, and our loves (Colorado, the outdoors, the mountains, Telluride, the southwest, literature, homebrew, cookies, and fly-fishing). Everything was DIY and we tried to keep it eco-friendly.

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Tell us about the ceremony: When it came to the ceremony, we were stumped at first. While I had tons of ideas for the reception, we kept putting off the ceremony because we didn't quite know what we wanted. Neither of us is religious and didn't particularly want to include anything religious in our ceremony. Cue Offbeat Bride!

Our parents walked us down the aisle, and then we had a ring warming ceremony. My parents read Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 and Jordan's mother read 1 Corinthians. I read Pablo Neruda's Sonnet 69 and Jordan ready e.e. cummings' “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond.”

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We had some words from my grandfather and a short intermission to distribute the wedding ale/sparkling cider. We said our dedications and vows to one another followed by the kiss and the toast.

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At the end, our guests threw popcorn since Sunday night popcorn night is a family tradition in Jordan's family and we wanted to incorporate popcorn in some way.

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Our biggest challenge: It was challenging working on a budget in a town like Telluride. Most of the people who get married there come from out-of-town or out-of-state (many have never been to Telluride before!) and there didn't seem to be a lot of options for brides on a budget. Many businesses and venues that were recommended by the few bridal magazines and websites who even mentioned Western Colorado at all spoke down to me when I told them my budget was $10,000 (not exactly the lowest end as far as budgets go). I had people say things like, “when you pay Wal-Mart prices, you get Wal-Mart quality.” Yikes.

Luckily, there were people who were willing to work within my budget — I just had to shop around. For every vendor who said no, there was another who said yes. By sending out emails to every vendor in town and not being afraid of rejection, I ended up with a great list of helpful people who were happy to be involved. I also found that an extremely helpful resource is a town's tourism board. The Telluride Tourism Board was awesome. They helped me with everything: contacting hotels at different price ranges to get block rates secured, looking into transportation for our guests, finding out about recycling in the area, etc. I couldn't have done it without them.

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My favorite moment: I was so honored at how many of our friends and family could participate in our wedding. From our engagement onward, we were able to employ so many of our talented friends in the process. A good friend of Jordan's, Tiandra Cummins, made our engagement rings. A friend of mine, Nicole Arcieri, designed our amazing wedding stationary. We had a friend who homebrews make us a wedding ale that we served during the ceremony.

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Each of our parents spoke during the ceremony and my grandfather delivered a message about love and commitment. My brother-in-law was our officiant and gave the world's best toast at the end of the ceremony. Friends played music before, during, and after the ceremony, and my brother played “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” as I walked down the aisle. Our bridal party was made up of our siblings and cousins. A cousin made all of the amazing cookie decorations as well as the bridal party's cookie bouquets. A friend from high school, Marisa Miller, who is also an incredibly talented photographer took the pictures.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I can't speak to that, but I can say that if you have a village of talented friends and family to help you plan and execute your wedding, use 'em!

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My funniest moment: Somehow, even with practice the day before, everyone involved in the ceremony seemed utterly lost when the big moment arrived. People stumbled over lines and didn't know their cues. At one point I grabbed the mic and said, “I promise this will go more smoothly the next time we do this.” That got a good chuckle!

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The weather. The week before there was a 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms. Looking back that's not that high, but it was enough to send me into meltdown mode. It did rain the morning of, but cleared up right in time for the ceremony. And, unfortunately for Colorado but fortunately for us, there's a massive drought, so everything that is usually muddy and/or buried under snow in early June was dry by wedding day. So that turned out to be beneficial.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? A wedding is not about the decorations or the food or even what is said — it's about the people. In your life you have very few moments to bring everyone together who has made you who you are, for better or worse, and celebrate a milestone like this one. There are so many ho-hum days and daily annoyances in a lifetime that you should take one day to celebrate love with the people you love. If you keep this in mind, you won't regret it.

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Comments on Emily & Jordan’s fly-fishing and cookies English teacher wedding

  1. Not to mention the utter gorgeousness that is you in that dress! Congratulations!

  2. I love your dress! I wore a short dress because I couldn’t decide on a long one…but yours is totally classy and I love the jacket.

    I will say, though, that as a science major, I felt a little anxiety at the take home plants. Moving plants across state lines! What if one gets planted somewhere and becomes an invasive species??!! I’m sure it’s fine, I just freaked out a little in my plant nerdy way.

    • That’s a great point! I thought about that, too, but the vast majority (actually, probably everyone) who took plants home were from the area or the state. We went out of our way to have native plants grown from seeds that were provided by a local greenhouse. Anyone who was traveling a long distance or flying didn’t take anything with them (but we did have gift boxes for everyone!).

    • Also, in regards to the dress, I was fully planning on finding a tea-length dress. I tried this one on and ended up loving it! I still can’t believe I ended up with such a long dress with a train. Completely the last thing I thought I would end up with! 🙂

  3. Congrats, such a gorgeous wedding! I’m completelt in love with your fish guest “book”. Future hubby and I love to go fishing, I might have to “borrow” your idea!

    • Please do! It turned out AWESOME. All the white on the sides is filled up with little messages from our guests and the fish has all of these colorful thumbprint scales. We’re going to have it framed and hang it up someday! 🙂

  4. Your wedding is GORGEOUS! The Walmart comment really irks me. I’m glad you were able to put an amazing wedding together. You should show photos to those snobs.

    • Thanks so much! That comment irked me, too, and I actually heard the same sentiments from a bunch of different kinds of vendors–photographers, caterers, etc. Someone said something like, “there are no do-overs on your wedding day,” and a caterer actually asked me how I got her contact information because she had become “very exclusive” in picking her clients. Sheesh! 🙂

  5. One more vendor plug–the wonderfully talented cousin who made the cookies is based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico and has a business called HannaBits. She did a fantastic job with the bouquets as well as cookie corsages, cookie cake decorations, and cookie sticks that we placed in potted plants. Check her out: https://www.facebook.com/HannaBits

  6. Beautiful wedding!!!!

    “I had people say things like, “when you pay Wal-Mart prices, you get Wal-Mart quality.” Yikes.” Holy cow, I cannot believe someone would say this to you (or maybe I can). Coming from another location where weddings are outrageously expensive, I feel your pain, but your wedding looks spectacular and I’m so happy you were able to find vendors that would work with you!

    Congrats to a beautiful marriage! 😀

    • Thanks! We feel lucky to have had a talented friend to make them for us. We cherish them!

  7. I love this! I am also a Coloradan trying to plan a budget wedding and am discovering what a destination wedding-mecca my state is. The Wal-Mart comment? Yikes. I hope nobody says that to me… I don’t think I’d react gracefully!

    • It can be tough, but definitely shop around! There are cheap options out there and helpful vendors aplenty. Let me know if I can help!

  8. I am working w/ an under 10 grand budget in a city where the average wedding is almost 40 grand. I completely understand where you are coming from and my advice to other brides is don’t give up and do not budge on your budget you will find an awesome vendor willing to work w/ you and not give you ‘Wal-Mart quality’ For example I am just having a baked potato bar on my big day and I had quotes of over $20 per person! Twice what I had budgeted. I finally found a great caterer willing to work w/ me and has gone above and beyond w/ what I was wanting.

  9. Sounds and looks dreamy! So glad you were able to incorporate so many meaningful touches for the two of you!

    I am hosting my wedding reception at the Elks Lodge as well and am wondering if you might share with me some ideas you had as far as where you had tables set up and the general flow of the event. I am struggling with picturing how it will all go down with the layout of the space and there being an upstairs and a downstairs area.


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