Kiaja + Austin
Hurricane in Colorado = Unforgettable Intimate Backyard Wedding. Wedding planning during a global pandemic? Along with hundreds of other couples, check. Replanning after wildfires burned down our first venue? A devastating check. Hurricane-level winds crashing through in the middle of our Grand Junction backyard ceremony? Yeah, that happened, so another check. After two years of thoughtfully planning and replanning our dream wedding, we watched, with some tears, through the window of my parents’ bathroom as everything flew away. When the winds finally died down, we were left with rainbows, literally and figuratively. We experienced the most unimaginable amount of love as we watched our closest family and friends rush around saving our day. Austin’s groomsmen held down the tent and moved heavy furniture. My bridesmaids decorated my parents’ living room. Every guest helped transform my parents’ home into a beautiful wedding venue. Our vendors made the impossible possible. We watched as everyone showed up for us and created a perfect wedding that would have been impossible to plan. We watched as the skies finally opened up, and our photographer pulled us away to take photos under an insane rainbow. We ended up saying our vows in the same place we celebrate Christmas morning; our friends and family gathered on the staircase looking down at us. Our guests ate their dinner in the same place our family celebrates birthdays and Thanksgiving together. And finally, we danced the night away under the stars, truly surrounded by so much love. Luckily not all of our planning went flying. Our biggest goal was to make our wedding as personal as possible. Austin is a pilot, so our place cards were paper airplanes hand folded by Austin and my sisters. Our signature drink was a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. On the ceremony seats were mini tissue boxes labeled “In case of [e]motion sickness,” and some of our cookie favors displayed an airplane with a “Just married!” banner. We honored our family by displaying their wedding photos dating back to the 1800s. My sister sewed pieces of my mom’s veil into mine, and the father-daughter dance song was the same song my dad sang to me as a little girl. We included items from our hometowns in the guest welcome bags, like Entstrom’s Chocolates (from my hometown, Grand Junction) and New Belgium beer (from Austin’s hometown, Fort Collins). A few of our favorite moments including dancing well past the noise ordinance with the silent disco our family friends gifted us and watching Austin be thrown into the pool, followed shortly by all his groomsmen. We also loved our telephone guestbook that allowed everyone to leave us a voicemail so we could keep the voices of our loved ones forever, truly the best gift we will keep from our wedding. We also enjoyed traveling to Moab a few weeks after our wedding to take additional bridal portraits to remember this special time in our life. So our advice to future couples? Have fun and plan your dream day, but remember what you’re really planning for – the beginning of a beautiful life together. And trust us, true love can weather any storm (or a freak micro-burst hitting Western Colorado).