John and Rachel met while working for the same global professional services firm in the Washington, DC. Today, they still work together, now in the city of Boston, where they live with their rambunctious one year old dachshund, Isabelle.
John and Rachel lived in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. Rachel and John every night took evening walks together through the area, always through a nature conservatory in the shadow of the National Cathedral called Tregaron. It is sacred to him and Rachel.
John brought Rachel there as the cherry blossoms started to bloom in beautiful Washington, DC springtime – flowers blooming, sun shining… it was romantic, intimate, and authentic.Rachel grew up in Tampa, Florida, by the Gulf of Mexico, John in Denver and Breckenridge in the Rockies. We knew that we wanted to embrace the glory of nature. How do you choose between two beautiful places? However, when it comes to nature and romance, nothing quite compares to Vail. We ultimately toured dozens of amazing venues both in Florida and Colorado, but our vision of natural beauty was won by Vail, the striking combination of rustic elegance and spectacular vistas.
~ Vail Wedding Photographer, Sara Lynn
Natural beauty was the vision of the wedding, and all decisions were made by this mantra. Our color palette was neutral – ivory, blush, white, light yellows and touches of green.
The Vail Chapel is the quintessential meaning of marriage.
Sonnenalp is the meaning of natural beauty, with a glass dome retractable roof that could be opened in the summer. We chose June 30 as it is the peak of summer; we could throw open the glass windows of the venue and let the natural sunlight pour in. As the sun set, we would literally be dancing underneath the stars, with the mountains in the horizon. Sonnenalp also has an abundance of flower decorating the hotel.
Rachel wore designer Pronovias, after visiting their flagship store in New York. After trying on three dresses, she picked an off white, embroidered, strapless mermaid cut dress, with a cathedral length embroidered lace Pronovias veil. She wore Manolo Blahnik Hangisi White Pumps. The combined effect was spectacular in the Vail Interfaith Chapel as the sun came through the trees and illuminated Rachel during the ceremony.
John and Rachel both think that hiring a wedding coordinator was the best investment money could buy (specifically, Jennifer). This was especially important as they were living in Washington, DC while planning the wedding in Vail (and working full time). It made the planning easier, and the night itself a dream come true.
We skipped a photo booth – save the money and hire the best photographer!!!! Where to begin? Having a first look by the Vail Interfaith Chapel directly in front of the creek in the afternoon sun was amazing. After the ceremony, we were whisked away on pedicabs and took the gondola to the top of Vail for a photo shoot. Being driven through town on a pedicab drew a lot of attention – literally every person we passed (there were many, as it was july 4th weekend) cheered and clapped. It was the quaint American version of the Royal Wedding
Our planner, Jennifer, made sure when we got back we had time alone before we joined the reception. She set up a private room with glasses of champagne and hors devours for us that we did not experience during our cocktail hour as we were doing photos.
And finally, with Greg Garman being the best DJ we could have imagined, we danced the night away under the stars -roof open and perfect weather!! We don't know how they got so many beautiful flowers to Vail so quickly! We went with a neutral tone – mostly white and of-white natural flowers. Cappuccino roses, peach roses, Juliet garden roses, white anemones with green centers, white peonies, queen anne’s lace, white ranunculus, gunni eucalyptus, explosion grass and blooming jasmine vine.The cake was courtesy of the Sonnenalp Hotel. We went with three layers and three different flavors, red velvet, chocolate, and sacher, a famous Viennese culinary specialty. As John is from Eastern Europe (Czech) we insisted on Eastern European inspiration.The groom's parents prepared gift bags including small bottles of alcohol, and water and aspirin too. We had custom made cookies shaped like hearts courtesy of Sonnealp in a pale blue, with our initials in white.We had signature drinks designed by our planner – and loved by all!!! The groom had a Gold Rush – true to his Colorado roots – with Breckenridge Brewery bourbon, lemon juice, and honey! The bride’s drink was a blushing bride – French pink champagne, with a splash of gin and lemon juice. We also had temporary tattoos made of us for our guest to sport during the reception shipped in from a designed from France.Our rings were carried on my father’s mothers bible, who passed in 2007. My parents gave me the bible the night before, and their gift to me was her love letters to my grandfather. We also had a unity candle to solidify our commitment to each other in front of God, becoming one. A bit of advice,If you can afford it, save for a planner. Do your research with your vendors. We were blessed to have the best vendors in the world.
~ Bride, Rachel