A bride and groom pose for portraits on their mirrored ceremony aisle at their forest wedding in the mountains of Aspen.
BEHIND THE SCENES

The Making of a Modern Forest Wedding for Kacey and Royal

Aspen, Colorado
BY SHIRA SAVADA / 11 02 22
Photo by Jose Villa

Every wedding vendor team is created a little differently. In this series we explore how and why each couple selected the right wedding vendor team for their wedding day.

Kacey and Royal have a cabin in Aspen that’s nestled on the bank of the Roaring Fork River. It’s a meaningful place for the Denver-based couple. And when it came time for Royal to propose, he brought Kacey down to the water for a photo shoot—but instead got down on one knee and popped the question. Their families joined them for a celebratory dinner afterward—in a yurt!—and they spent a month or so enjoying their engagement.

Like many, they initially targeted a date the following summer, but were forced to postpone until August of 2021 due to the pandemic.

Lovers of the outdoors and all it has to offer—particularly skiing, hiking, and enjoying the mountains with their dogs—a forest wedding in Colorado where they could celebrate their natural surroundings was paramount. But that gave them many options to consider, and they needed help to make the right decision.

DECISION 1

Wedding Planner, Designer, & Florist

“We knew right away that the wedding that we dreamed of, out in a very remote setting, was going to require a lot of design and planning. It was also important that we had someone to be there to guide us through the process and be with us every second on the wedding day, so finding a planner early on was a must. We booked Bello & Blue Events because Lindsey [Morgan] is a family friend from childhood and so we already had a connection, making it a natural fit!” —Kacey, bride

By hiring Lindsey Morgan of Bello & Blue Events, Kacey and Royal not only secured a seasoned planner, but also one who offered full design and floral services. With her on board, they began their wedding venue hunt. And throughout the process, the planning team made the challenge of producing an off-the-beaten-path yet luxurious wedding seemingly issue-free.

A black and white photograph of a forest wedding with vast mountain views.
An all-white bouquet held by a bride, wearing a wedding dress with pewter embroidery, at her modern forest wedding.
An outdoor ceremony setup at a forest wedding in Aspen, with wood chairs with clear backs facing a white-and-green arch.

The vision for the forest wedding merged high design with the setting’s natural beauty. It was decided early on that instead of bringing color into the wedding, they’d infuse dramatic contrasts of black and white. Kacey requested all white florals, so in addition to classic blooms like roses, ranunculus, delphinium, and lisianthus, Bello & Blue included lots of bleached grasses to balance out the greenery. They designed in a traditional style, but with a slightly wild touch so that there was a sense of movement and variety befitting the surroundings.

“The floral design was breathtaking, and the Bello & Blue team made sure our wedding was exactly what we envisioned!” —Kacey, bride

A modern forest wedding reception in a tent, set with white chairs under a long floral installation.
DECISION 2

Wedding Venue

After touring multiple venues and focusing on locations that could accommodate a tent, the couple chose Star Peak Cabin at Pine Creek Cookhouse. The clearing in the Snowmass National Forest offered 360-degree views of the mountains and the couple knew instantly that it was where they’d get married.

The setting for a forest wedding in Aspen, Colorado, provided mountain views and a rambling creek.
A bride and groom hold hands for a portrait at their modern forest wedding in the Colorado mountains.
DECISION 3

Wedding Band

Kacey and Royal had seen a band perform at several other Colorado weddings, and knew they wanted to hire them. So Tunisia was confirmed almost immediately. Ultimately, after the postponement, they were only able to play the rehearsal dinner, and Stratosphere (from the Jordan Kahn Music Company) came on board to play the wedding. The couple also worked with a dance coach who choreographed a routine for them to one of their favorite love songs, “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” by Harry James.

“It took us almost three months to learn our routine, so to finally dance together on the big day was so rewarding and special! We had a wall of sparklers to really set the fun vibe as we finished our dance!” —Royal, groom

A groom shares a dance with his mother at his forest wedding, which included a tented reception.
Guests dance under beams of light at a modern forest wedding in Aspen.
DECISION 4

Wedding Photographer & Videographer

The couple prioritized wedding photography and videography, so that was the next set of vendors to review. Lindsey shared her recommendations, starting with local options. When their first pick was already booked, they expanded to consider artists outside of Colorado so they could find exactly what they wanted. They considered several incredible photographers, and Kacey had Royal make the final decision. He loved Jose Villa’s work, and thankfully the renowned photographer was available.

“It was immediately apparent that Jose Villa’s color palette and portrait style stood out from the rest of our options. His eye truly captures moments as pieces of art. His professionalism and guidance on our wedding day was such a highlight for us, he truly is the best!” —Royal, groom

A bride and her father share a glance as they are about to walk down the long pathway towards the ceremony at her modern forest wedding.
Before her modern forest wedding in Aspen began, a bride poses for portraits inside, wearing a veil over her head and a strapless wedding dress with pewter embroidery.
A groom and bride embrace during their first look ahead of their modern forest wedding in Aspen.

At the same time, cinematographers were considered, and Kacey and Royal immediately fell in love with White in Revery’s work.

“They are wildly talented and created a video that we can cherish forever.” —Kacey, bride

A groom and his future father-in-law grasp hands as the bride looks on, prior to the ceremony of the forest wedding in Aspen.
DECISION 5

Wedding Musicians

While the reception band was already confirmed, the musicians for the ceremony and cocktail hour were still up in the air. Soon, a quartet was procured via Oncue Entertainment. They performed some songs by Deadmau5 for the processional, and continued to play modern songs on classic instruments after that.

A bride and her father walk down the aisle at her outdoor wedding in Aspen that was part New York glam and part forest wedding.
At a modern forest wedding, the outdoor ceremony's focal point was a mirrored aisle, which the newlyweds processed down after becoming husband and wife.
DECISION 6

Wedding Tent & Flooring

Then it was time for Lindsey to focus on the tent and structural rentals, including flooring. Enter Premier Party Rentals. The local company helped select the perfect placement for the tent, and constructed custom stairs for its entrance, as well as a pathway of decking through the meadow to reach the ceremony aisle.

Inside the tent at a modern forest wedding, a trio of chandeliers hung over a checkered dancefloor. The head table featured a long floral installation above it, with another, larger, lighting fixture.
A glowy tent during the reception of a forest wedding, with mountain views behind it.
DECISION 7

Wedding Hair & Makeup

Jones Beauty & Co provided hair and makeup services, giving Kacey’s long locks soft waves and a natural makeup application that had her looking and feeling herself. They also glammed up Kacey’s eight bridesmaids, the officiant, and both moms.

Brittany Jones, from the very start, brought a level of professionalism and expertise that was unparalleled. With very little direction she was able to make me look and feel my absolute best. I loved that she was able to do both my hair and makeup instead of having two people because it made getting ready seamless and easy.” —Kacey, bride

Bridesmaids wore black dresses and, like the bride, held white bouquets, at a forest wedding in the mountains of Aspen, Colorado.
DECISION 8

Wedding Stationer

From the very beginning, Kacey knew she wanted her invitations to be in a black box and to provide an experience to guests as they opened them. In meeting with two local wedding stationers, Kacey connected with Cristy Fernandez from Lucky Onion on her specific vision. The boxes had a small pocket on the lid which housed the response card and envelope, as well as the details card, and a note about the couple’s monogram—an abstract bunny which showcased their initials and served as a nod to Royal's great grandfather who wrote the Br'er Rabbit books. Royal was given a monogram as a baby with his initials, and Cristy worked with them to recreate it to incorporate both of his initials and Kacey’s. Under that was an etched acrylic invitation, which rested on a bed of eucalyptus leaves (resembling Aspen leaves) to highlight the location of their nuptials.

A change the date notice, sent during the pandemic, alerted guests to the change of plans for one couple's forest wedding.
A boxed invitation suite complete with a clear acrylic invitation atop leaves, set the scene for a modern forest wedding in Aspen.
DECISION 9

Wedding Lighting, Decor & Rentals

After those big decisions were made, it was time to move into the design elements for the forest wedding, complete with their desired “New York glam meets Aspen forest” vibe. During the wedding planning process, Kacey was an interior designer, and she and Lindsey loved working together to create the overall aesthetic for the event, as well as the smaller, personalized details.

Pink Monkey Studio handled all lighting and decor, including the centerpiece of the celebration: a mirrored ceremony aisle. 

“The mirrored aisle wasn't a part of the original plan, but as time went by, and we added more and more, this became a detail we were most excited about. We wanted to create a real moment for the ceremony without taking away from the spectacular setting. A mirrored aisle allowed us to do that, as it reflected the stunning mountain backdrop and the Aspen trees, as well as the fresh floral. It rained just before the ceremony (and even sprinkled a bit during) which gave a very cool illusion to the mirror and a beautiful texture we didn't plan for or expect. We echoed this mirror detail with a mirrored stage facade, and mirrored vases for some of the table top florals as well.” —Lindsey Morgan, planner/designer 

JAK Innovations took care of the cold sparklers during the first dance, provided power, and lit the pathway guests took on their way back to the shuttles at the end of the night.

Rain fell during this couple's modern forest wedding, but the sun soon returned and reflected the bride and groom and the bountiful scenery during their ceremony.
A groom dips his bride during their first dance, as cold sparklers light up the tent during their modern forest wedding reception.

And although they wanted a classic tent and table settings for their wedding reception, Kacey and Royal decided to bring in some untraditional, bold statements including the black and white dance floor, black tableware, flatware, and candles, and some unique textures throughout the linens. Kacey’s custom Reem Acra wedding dress and its pewter beading also influenced the design, with its floral patterned echoed in the reception linens from Nüage Designs Inc. In addition, pieces from Colorado Party Rentals, Event Rents, and Wallflower Rentals were selected.

“We were really particular about the vision within the tent, which meant we needed to bring in four different rental companies. One for the chairs and dancefloor we liked, one for the table top pieces and bars we liked, one for linens, and one for all lighting. It was logistically challenging to time all of their delivery and drop-offs on this remote, dirt road, but at the end of the day, we love how it turned out.” —Lindsey Morgan, planner/designer

A modern forest wedding reception in a tent included black and white floral linens, rental pieces, plenty of white flowers, and faceted chandeliers—all the while letting guests take in the scenery from 360 degrees.
A modern forest wedding reception in a tent included black and white rental pieces, plenty of white flowers, and faceted chandeliers—all the while letting guests take in the scenery from 360 degrees.
DECISION 10

Wedding Catering & Cake Maker

The nearly 150 guests enjoyed a delicious dinner courtesy of Catering by Design, who are known for their creativity. Kacey and Royal loved their elevated take on some of their favorite comfort foods, and that the presentation offered some surprise and delight to the guests. Passed hors d’oeuvres included spicy tuna push pops, trout and toast, paella arancini, and cheese and honey served in savory cones. 

Dinner began with a summer harvest salad of heirloom tomatoes, burrata, arugula puree, shaved croutons, balsamic pearls, and olive oil. Grilled ciabatta with a trio of butters was served family style on wood boards. And guests chose between sous vide beef tenderloin, chicken and waffles, pan-seared halibut, and vegan scallops (made from seared king oyster mushrooms).

Signature cocktails were served during a forest wedding on customized napkins sporting the couple's monogram.
Black tableware and floral napkins set the scene at a forest wedding with modern touches and New York flair.

The meal concluded with slices of wedding cake from Katy Pierson Cake. For the confection’s exterior, the bride and groom wanted a clean white finish with sugar flowers added on. Inside, it was their favorite flavor: red velvet. 

An all-white, four-tier wedding cake was decorated with sugar flowers at a modern forest wedding, and set atop a black linen with black taper candles surrounding it.
While the cake was all white on the outside, it was cut to reveal a red velvet flavor combo during this forest wedding reception in the mountains of Colorado.
DECISION 11

Wedding Drone Show

The night would end with a one-of-a-kind experience: an 8-minute drone show above the mountains,accompanied by music. As guests were on their way to the shuttles, they were treated to a spectacle overhead, executed by Hire UAV Pro.

“We have a flair for the dramatics, so we surprised our guests with a wedding-themed, drone light show to close out our reception! It was amazing to see all those little lights dance under the Colorado stars. The finale of the show included our new family crest, champagne bottles, and even our wedding date!” —Royal, groom

A modern forest wedding, with a mirrored ceremony aisle reflecting the mountain setting.
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