When we began our wedding planning, our main objective was to throw a wedding that was extremely different, fun and visually stunning. After throwing around ideas like destination weddings to Iceland or Alaska to tie the knot under the northern lights, we eventually stumbled upon the Ice Castles after seeing a beautiful music video by our beloved Piano Guys.

So that was our plan. We chose the Colorado location, because who doesn’t love Colorado? We hired the most wonderful wedding planner, Elizabeth (Ebs), and started looking for venues and vendors. We set the date for January 2015 and, with plenty of time to plan (10 months or so), got to work! Native American ceremony inside the Ice Castle, dress & colors inspired by the Snow Queen (or Elsa, if you prefer), hot cocoa, fireplace reception…it was going to be perfect! We were even going to have a photo shoot in the Ice Castle after sunset, with the ice lit up with pretty colors (still chasing the northern lights idea).

Well. That didn’t work out so well. With the big day only a couple of months away, we got the bad news. The Ice Castles weren’t coming to Colorado in 2015. After going through the stages of grief (mostly denial from my husband), we looked to Ebs to find us a venue that would really be memorable. And of course, she did. The Keystone Ranch in Keystone, Colorado.

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But…even though the reception plans were still moving along, we both felt like something would be missing from our wedding day. That bit of flair we had been looking for from the beginning was gone. I got to thinking, what could make losing our “dream” venue hurt a little bit less? What could replace the Ice Castles?

The answer…puppies!

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Puppies make everything better. So we started planning a group dogsled ride for our wedding day.

But something was still missing. The ‘visually stunning’ element, the northern lights inspiration. So, after a little time on Pinterest, I had an idea. We knew our photographer would have uplighting available, so I started looking into fog machines to use with her lights.

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And that’s when things got really crazy. What about smoke grenades? Like the ones used in paintball? Oh yes, we did.

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So, with the backstory explained, here are the pictures and venue & vendor details from the coolest winter wedding ever. That we’ve ever been to, anyway!

Getting ready

Hair by Paige at Roots Hair Studio, Breckenridge, CO

Makeup by Joy at Blush Skin Care, in Breckenridge, CO

Dress made by Diana at Diana’s Couture and Bridal in Washington, DC

Photographs by Katie at Studio Kiva

Wedding Planner – Ebs from  Distinctive Mountain Events in Breckenridge, CO

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I gave Diana a picture of the dress I wanted, but asked her to re-design it with (gasp) sleeves. What a concept. Seriously, ladies and wedding industry. What is with the anti-sleeves movement? I know, from my own searches, that many brides out there would like sleeves, and I also know, from the reactions I got to my dress, that dresses with sleeves are well-received not only because, when done right, sleeves can look beautiful, but also because people are tired of the same sleeveless dresses. Why is getting creative and demanding that your wedding dress fit in with your style suddenly a taboo subject when it comes to the sleeves! Well I demanded it, and if I can, any bride can. Brides, the bridal dress industry has to cater to brides’ demands, so if you don’t want a sleeveless dress, don’t get one. I would never wear a sleeveless dress or shirt anywhere except the gym, so why would I have my wedding dress, the dress I would be wearing in hundreds of pictures, be in the style that I don’t like and is not flattering on me? And it’s hardly a secret that the sleeveless dresses are not flattering for a lot of people. Ladies who wore sleeveless wedding dresses, rock on. I am absolutely certain that you looked stunningly gorgeous and loved your dress. I just think it’s time to stand up or speak up, because we’re not all the same and we don’t all want the same thing. Wedding dress styles are not something that women should be conforming for. It is nothing short of a shame that there isn’t more variety for brides, and although I’m happy that Diana could make the dress I wanted, it is really silly that I had to get a custom made dress just because I wanted sleeves.

The Ceremony

Officiant Leon Littlebird of Littlebird Music

Venue Keystone Ranch in Keystone, Colorado.

Flowers by Bec at Bec’s Blossoms of Denver, serving Denver Front Range & high county, CO

Photographs by Katie at Studio Kiva of Breckenridge

Wedding Planner – Ebs from  Distinctive Mountain Events in Breckenridge, CO

My husband and I are both introverted and private people, and aren’t too fond of big crowds. I’m also known for being particularly independent, so when it came time to decide on the size and structure of our ceremony, we ditched the formal wedding party, limited the guest list drastically and focused on sharing an intimate moment with our closest friends and family. This also prevented our friends and family from having to rent or buy bridal party clothes – we told our guests to wear what they were comfortable in, because we just wanted them to enjoy themselves!

We greeted our guests with gift bags full of awesome treats (travel mugs, hot cocoa, lip balm, hand moisturizer, hand warmers (remember, wedding in January in the Colorado mountains!), Rocky Mountain Chocolate, Breckenridge sweets – all sorts of fun treats). Pictured below, next to my bridal boots. BEARPAW Kola boots and man, were these boots amazing. Everyone just loved them, they were so warm, and comfortable. I didn’t want to take them off – even during the reception inside; I had flats ready in case my feet got too warm, but nope. Perfect winter wedding boots!

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The Dogsled Ride

Our tour guides & hosts Good Times Adventures

Photographs by Katie at Studio Kiva of Breckenridge

Last image (group photo) credit to Good Times Adventures

Wedding Planner – Ebs from  Distinctive Mountain Events in Breckenridge, CO

Our group was split into two teams and we all had a blast taking turns riding in the dog sled, driving the dog sled, and riding in the passenger sleighs pulled by our guides on snowmobiles. We took turns on our sleigh, having my best friend and dad drive the sleigh with both of us in the sled. Many thanks to Good Times Adventures who took a very late group on an excellent ride through the forest, stopping to set off a smoke grenade, and managing to get us all back to camp at the same time. We even grabbed a couple of photo ops with King, the horse. I will say that we created quite a stir around the camp, first with the bride & groom both refusing to be stuffed into the snowsuits provided by the guides, and later when the word got out that there was a woman in a wedding dress driving a dog sled through the forest.

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Dogsledding

The Photo Shoots

Photographs by Katie at Studio Kiva of Breckenridge

Now time for the photo shoots.

Katie and Victor of Studio Kiva whisked us off to the mountains to take some breathtaking shots, and then we set off some more smoke grenades. I had done some research beforehand, regarding the smoke and it’s ability to stain clothes..particularly white clothes. But I can report, that other than sparks flying off the grenade and landing directly on your clothing, the smoke is stain-free. I got a speck of purple on my sleeve when I was holding the grenade, but other than that, everything worked out perfectly.

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First we started by mixing blue & purple (our main flowers were blue dendro orchids, and as you can see, my bouquet is made up of blue and purple hues)

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Then we started working with green & blue, to mimic the aurora borealis

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We did a second photoshoot after dark, with long exposure

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Then just long exposure shots, and then with the fog machine

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The Reception

Venue The Pioneer Club inside Main Street Station, Breckenridge, CO

Caterer Black Diamond Gourmet, serving Summit County

Decorator Tents and Events of Silverthorne, CO

Photographs by Katie at Studio Kiva of Breckenridge

Flowers by Bec at Bec’s Blossoms of Denver, serving Denver Front Range & high county, CO

Cake made by Katy at Sugar Breck of Breckenridge

Wedding Planner – Ebs from  Distinctive Mountain Events in Breckenridge, CO

Our reception was decorated in a sexy winter style, complete with ice accents, a dessert bar, hot cocoa and chai, steak & trout for our guests, and also Batman. Did you notice the Batman cufflinks from the ceremony? Yeah, there is a lot more Batman hidden throughout the reception. Can you find them all? Photos without the Studio Kiva logo were taken by our guests.

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The Dessert Bar. We wanted to add a touch of childhood wonder to our reception. And if you don’t recognize some of the candy, that’s probably because you’re from the US, and I grew up in Canada, so we had my parents bring some candy from my childhood.

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The Cake and…other dessert bar.

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If you’ve been paying close attention, you may now notice that the cake topper on the wedding cake bears a striking resistance to the real bride and groom. Well, you’re not going crosseyed from reading too many wedding blogs, we had our cake topper custom made by BobbleGram who design custom cake toppers. Couples send pictures of their faces, and the bride can be fully customizable from hair style to dress. I sent a picture of the dress (before it was even made, I sent them the stock photos I sent Diana! wow, what an impressive job they did!) and my planned hair style (they even added the detail of my Celtic Knot tiara), and they made our topper from wax mold to finished product. We first found them when looking for unique cake toppers, and stumbled upon…what is on the groom’s shirt? Yes, that’s Batman. BobbleGram has all sorts of themes, from Star Trek and Star Wars to military themed and same-sex couples all the way to the downright weird.

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Mario Kart

Although we partook in the official bride & groom dance (which we practiced in private) and the father and mother dances, my husband and I are otherwise completely opposed to dancing (us dancing…we don’t care if other people like to dance, all the more power to ya!), I mean we physically get uncomfortable and panicky, it’s rather sad, really. Anyway – my husband suggested, in what he thought was jest, that we play video games at our wedding, instead of have a dance, since who likes wedding dances anyway? I agreed wholeheartedly, and we started planning how to get the Wii plugged in at the reception. Although GoldenEye would have been highly entertaining, we decided that Mario Kart would be more appropriate for a wedding. And it helps, for my husband anyway, that he is incredibly good at Mario Kart. We held a Bride vs. Groom match, which I, of course, lost, despite my other best friend’s efforts to sabotage my husband.

Bride – I got this, psssh.

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Yes, distract him!

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Bride in need of some backup!

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And I still lost. Look at my husband, judging me.

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My buddy tries to seek retribution on my behalf

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And of course, my husband won, again. He always does.

Now the four of us square off!

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Yes, my husband got 1st again. No wonder he suggested Mario Kart for the reception entertainment. After the Mario Kart fun, we settled down for a game of Cards Against Humanity.

If you have any questions about the venues, vendors or products we used, leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to help you out. All in all, our wedding was fun and unique, and our guests all had a great time. If you’re looking for inspiration for your wedding, the one thing I can suggest is make it your own. Do you. Even if you is weird.

Another shoutout to our wedding planner, and wedding planners in general! It was so worth it for us, by the time our wedding was over, my husband and I felt like Ebs was a close friend. Ebs and the people at Distinctive Mountain Events made our day perfect from start to finish, and considering we’d never stepped foot in Breckenridge until a few days before the wedding, that’s a heck of an accomplishment!

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