I met Erin when I was 19 years old and we were in AmeriCorps together. We had the good luck to be roommates and became instant best friends. That was in 1998 and we have stayed close to each other and followed each other’s journeys into adulthood closely.
I think I can take a small amount of credit for Erin and Michael’s meeting – after sharing my adventures in online dating with Erin, she quickly bit the bullet and made an online profile for a dating site. Soon after she went on a magical date with Michael and said that they were “connected”. When Erin told me Michael proposed I was crying right along with her.
Michael is a perfect match for her and he makes Erin smile even more which I thought was possible! I was honored and excited when she asked me to photograph her wedding. I went searching for an amazing 2nd shooter and found a total winner, Jennie Crate from Green Blossom Photography. You should check her out if you live in the Denver, CO area!
Our wedding was in Evergreen, Colorado at The Barn at Evergreen Memorial Park. It’s this funky and wonderful place about 45 minutes outside of Denver that keeps buffalo and elk. The barn was constructed just over a decade ago out of reclaimed boards and has stained glass that was shipped from Germany.
What were your deciding factors in choosing your venue(s)?
We knew we wanted to be married outside and to have a space large enough for at least 200 people indoors. But really it was about finding a date that would work for this incredible photographer we know who was already half booked for the wedding season, and working around the schedules of our immediate family.
Seriously! There was just elk hanging out really close to where they did their first look.
What was the most enjoyable part of planning your wedding?
All of the interactions with people: hearing from so many friends and family members; creating the world’s most awesome bridal party; working with all the great vendors.
What was your greatest challenge in planning your wedding? What did you feel least prepared for?
The enormity of the project. For a moment there in the beginning, it felt like I was taking on a part-time job. I wasn’t prepared for how much focus we all had to put on the event.
What memory stands out most from your wedding day?
I’m flooded with memories. I will always remember how much the day meant to me, every single part of it, every person there, every word shared, if not actually remembering the parts, people and exact words. It was an incredible feeling.
Did you write personal vows?
We did. Very near the wedding day, too, so they were fresh and a little raw with emotion. We shared them with each other the morning of our wedding day to get each other’s approval. It was a very sweet moment in a day chock-full of sweet moments.
If you had an unlimited budget or simply could redo your wedding day, would you have done anything differently?
Our wedding was a hit, but it could have certainly gone on for another few days and I wouldn’t have minded.
What resources helped you in planning your wedding?
We used the local version of The Knot to get us started. We picked it up at a bookstore after showing up at a wedding planning event, seeing the line, and immediately deciding the event wasn’t for us. It also helped that we have a lot of DIYers in the family.
Do you have any advice for people planning a wedding?
Not really. Good luck. Remember it is just one day and try not to be too extravagant with tiny details. Stay organized by keeping a spreadsheet and making lots of email folders. Be prepared to be emotional on wedding week and make time to share/delegate your worries to your support network.
How did you calm your wedding day nerves?
I just kept trying to remember that the day was going to go so fast and to just enjoy it while it came.
Which moment(s) are/were you most excited to see in your wedding photos?
People enjoying the wedding. I didn’t get to see everyone, and I’m hoping that most of them appear in these photos.
Why did you choose Maureen Cassidy Photography?
Because Maureen has the ability to capture emotion and moments like no other photographer I know. She is pure energy and will always go the extra mile for the great shot or say the extra raunchy joke for the hilarious reactions.
Every wedding I always look forward to the speeches. I am a sucker for people opening their hearts in any form + often there are funny stories. The groom’s father had such a heart felt speech that I think everyone was really touched and teary.
Any funny moments?
Well, Michael and I had this big plan to don a horse (him) and a unicorn (me) mask for our daytime photos – with us holding signs that said “Thank” and “You” for our cards. The masks were inspired by our horse and unicorn cake topper that I randomly purchased from ModCloth (along with my dress). One day, in a toy store, I saw the matching masks and had to have them.
Like so many things you plan, I forgot all about it in the excitement of the day. At around 11pm, our friends found the masks in one of our bags and were like WHAT?! PUT THESE ON NOW!! So we did and were guided upstairs – because you couldn’t see anything in these masks. Just to set the scene, we had an epic dance party of a wedding – Michael and I kicked off the dancing with a choreographed number and then we brought everyone out for the couples-together-longest dance and the dancing just never stopped – our friends get most of this credit for being awesome, but equal credit is due to the most excellent DJ Rockstar Aaron.
The sight of us in our masks, though, sure cleared the dance floor. Suddenly, it’s a circle around Michael and I dancing to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It.” The masks were hot and the song just wouldn’t end. It was apparent to me, even though I couldn’t really see, that we had created the “and then things got weird” moment. On the other hand, it was so hilarious, so we just kept dancing. Shortly after, all my remaining extended family members who had traveled from Michigan to come to our wedding decided to take their exit. The correlation was clear.
Ceremony/Reception Venue – The Barn at Evergreen Memorial Park
Hair – The one and only Stefany Vanderberg who will be coming online in 2015
Make up – My amazing bridesmaid Shannon
Wedding Dress – ModCloth, with alterations by The Wedding Seamstress
Bridesmaids Dresses – Varied
Groom & Groomsmen Attire – Varied, ties from The Tie Bar
Catering & Bartending – Hog Heaven BBQ and Hey Bartender
Rentals (tents, chairs, linens, etc.) – Colorado Party Rentals
Officiant – Friend (my high school English teacher)
Wedding planner – Family (my cousin Beth)
Flowers/Florist – Family (my mom and Aunt Lorie)
Invitations – PaperlessPost for the Save the Dates, Noted Occasions for the invitations, and MagnetStreet for the programs
Dessert (cake and such!) – Friends made cookies and Cake Crumbs made the cake
Photography – Maureen Cassidy Photography & Green blossoms photography
Videographer – Family (my stepbrother Chris and his wife San)
DJ and/or band – DJ Rockstar Aaron
Musicians – Vocalist – Carver Duncan
Favors – Discount Mugs
Honeymoon – We planned our own trip to Italy