I had 6 weeks to plan our wedding which left little time for dress shopping. I wanted something simple, yet elegant… I’m almost 40! With a November wedding nestled in the Timpanagos, it was important to find something suitable both for the weather, as well as mountains. I did not want my dress take away from the natural beauty of the Sundance. My selection was a silk chiffon dress from JCrew, in ivory; and in keeping with the natural and authentic feel that exudes all around Sundance, I paired that with my favorite cowboy boots. For warmth, I selected a fabulous faux fur shrug ivory in color, from Tootsies, located in Houston. After ring shopping with my girlfriend, who was about to become engaged as well, I went home and described what I liked best to my husband. Together, he and his jeweler designed precisely what I had described.
My husband surprised me at our Rehearsal Dinner in the Tree Room with wedding day jewelry. He said a little birdy told him that I hadn’t determined what jewelry to wear, nor did I have my “something blue”. There at Sundance, with the help of that “little bird” he picked out a lovely bracelet and fabulous blue labradorite earrings, which not only served as my something blue, but also a memento from Sundance. I love them and think of my wedding every time I put them on!
My only request for wedding attire was that the women come in Western Chic and I asked that the gentlemen come dressed in blue jeans and jackets and boots, if you’ve got‘em! Ties were strictly forbidden! Since this was an incredibly intimate ceremony, we chose to ask one person each to stand for us. I asked my sister in law, Michelle, just hours before hair and makeup. Thankfully, she said yes! My daughter was our “flower girl” and chose something completely opposite from what she initially declared that she wanted to wear, “nothing poufy”. In the end, she selected a fabulously poufy dress from Niemen Marcus and paired it with furry snow boots and a faux fur shawl. Her shawl was sort of a plum color which matched flowers in my bouquet. Delicious! The groom selected a pink shirt and paired it with a chocolate brown suede blazer, Western Cut. His best man, Kelly wore jeans and a blue blazer.
Once I arrived in Utah, the main priority was to relax, enjoy the surroundings and prepare accordingly. A FIRST LOOK was not a priority. In fact, there was a scheduling conflict and the final chance I had to go in was for just one hour. That time was spent talking about simple makeup and a mock trial for hair and a super quick description with a photo of what I thought would like adorable for my daughter. Not only did the stylist promise to practice the look, she perfected it on my wedding day, we couldn’t have been more happy!! While I tend to be more laid back than to follow tradition, my husband leans the other way and to have seen me or me in my wedding dress would have wrinkled many feathers for him!
Enizio Hair and Makeup Artistry helped me on my big day. I selected them simply because they were very friendly and had the flexibility to come to our mountain home and work simultaneously on hair and makeup. Traditionally, allowing someone to put makeup on me is somewhat a fright, however, these girls did a wonderful job! We were of mixed sort of gals which ranged from 7 on up to mid-50 and we were an enthusiastic group-laughing, eating, drinking and dancing. We kept the girls from Enizio in stitches because we had everything from Willie Nelson to Tupac on the playlist!
For the ceremony, we chose Reverend Craig Gordon and to help accent the natural ambience we invited Classical Guitarist Michael Luccarelli. While I did not hear much of what he sounded like as I went down the aisle, my guests said he sounded excellent! My personal request was that he play That’s Amore as we returned down the aisle together. It sounded lovely and it was a way for me to incorporate some of my roots. For personal reasons, I chose to walk down the aisle without an escort. I had considered asking Ryley, my nephew and in retrospect, I wish that I had. The memory of having him literally beside me, would have lasted a lifetime… plus I could’ve used him to help me balance my nervous excitement! We did not have programs for our ceremony, it was too basic. Maid of Honor, Best Man and Flower Girl… facing the mountains. Outdoors. Wilderness. Little accents needed! My favorite part of the ceremony was peeking out to see my daughter, Erin walking with her bouquet of giant Mylar balloons, instead of the traditional flowers… it was surreal. Ed’s favorite part was when he looked a bit confused and I asked if he was ok (while the efficient was speaking to all), he giggled and motioned for me to look back at Erin who was playing peek-a-boo with him, behind my back! Too cute and such a statement for our gang!
The most important component of our wedding, besides the obvious, was our location. We weighed several locations, including Costa Rica. When it came right down the raw details, we opted to go with something that would less resemble a “destination wedding” and sort of offer what we felt would be a fabulous retreat away from the busy hub bub of Houston, Texas. Plus, it tends to run hot through October and we truly felt like Utah would be a fabulous opportunity to all to bust out their “winter wardrobe” items that get used perhaps once a year! Years ago, I lived in Salt Lake City and a dear friend had suggested a beautiful Saturday drive that was just about an hour away, but promised peaceful and quiet surroundings. Jamie was completely accurate and I never forgot that drive first and only drive up to Sundance- I moved back to NY shortly thereafter.
When Ed and I were considering location, we ultimately agreed on mountains and from there, I suggested Utah. I’d never forgotten Sundance or the authentic western feel that it left me with. So after several conversations with the appropriate event planners there, I went to Ed with my suggestion. Not only was he all in, he too had discovered Sundance years before while visiting on business. Bonus! The rest of the details became less important to us. My entire focus was on keeping the themes organic and authentic as I imagined it was the goal of Mr. Redford to keep when he purchased the resort in 1969. I knew the story of Mt. Timphaven and shared it with all of my guests prior to their arrival. I wanted everybody from Rhode Island and Texas to try to understand why I chose Sundance, to understand its beauty and to offer perspective on what some probably considered a precipitous choice in location for a wedding.
With just six weeks to plan a wedding from Houston, Texas I quickly realized I was going to need help, a lot of help! The coordinator at Sundance offered a list of local venders for all aspects of a wedding and reception, from planners to musicians. My choice was incredibly simple. I wanted to work with somebody who had plenty of experience planning weddings and had familiarity with the resort. Silver Summit Wedding & Events was at the top of my list and the only phone call that I made. Chris LaVoie, general manager, was a perfect fit for me. Originally from Upstate, New York (as am I), had previously worked on the property for 8 years and had knowledge of every plausible detail that I could imagine. Chris is a professional to the extreme and there was no desire or request left unfinished. He’s amazing to work with and I was lucky to have worked with him! Per his suggestion, I started a Pinterest board with all my wedding desires and linked Chris to this. I had very few selections and Chris used these as tools when creating my bouquet as well as the ambience for the ceremony and reception. My bouquet absolutely gorgeous and hand tied with cafe au lait dahlias, ivory ranunculus, blush garden roses, ivory Andromeda, blushing bride, accented with mini plum callas, plum willow foliage, stems tied with champagne velvet ribbon. For the reception, the idea was to incorporate flora’s and soft candle lit trios of hurricanes to serve merely as subtle accents to the rustic vibe of the Screening Room. With the actual ceremony located outside the Redford Center, Chris suggested we provide camel colored cable knit blankets alongside the benches for guests. Though it was a glorious, sunny day up at Sundance, the blankets were much appreciated especially since the bride was 30 minutes late!
There was nothing traditional about our wedding weekend and we consider all our guests are considered family and we simply couldn’t bear to split into tables… so I opted to have one long dinner table set for 24 guests where Ed and I sat in the middle. Our chairs were marked with his and hers cowboy hats, another fabulous idea from Chris! After the ceremony, Chris had each blanket rolled and tied with burlap, on display nestled in a basket located near the guest book, for guest to take with them at the end of the evening. Genius! My daughter and husband later had several blankets monogramed with the location and wedding date, Sundance November 9, 2013.
After the ceremony, we offered a champagne toast and sparking grape juice for the younger guests. Passed h’ordeurves included hummus flatbread pizzas, jumbo lump crab cakes, BLT on mini biscuits with an aioli dipping sauce and chicken satay on a stick with peanut sauce. Dinner was served with a Wedge Salad with blue cheese or Vinaigrette dressing on the side; and the main course features were Pecan Crusted Trout Filet and Braised Prime Beef Short Ribs, both accompanied with seasonal vegetables. The bride’s cake was Butter Cream Icing with Rustic / Western Detailing; the bottom layer was a Chocolate Ganache and top layers were Salted Caramel. Since the groom is in the matching business, the bride had his cake made in the shape of a nut, like that on his business card and was flavored Italian Crème and the outside in Silver Fondant.
My absolute favorite part of the day was surprising my husband and guests. Since our reception was located in the Screening Room and there was an actual screening room attached, I arranged for an old timey film to be shown to our guests, while we went about the property for our photos. My film selection couldn’t have been more appropriate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There was an old fashioned popcorn machine with those cute little bags we used to get at the theaters, “way back when…” and we had a bartender at the start to offer our guests a cocktail with their film. My only regret is that we couldn’t sit for the entire film. However, it gave Silver Summit time to set up the reception area and us the time needed for pictures. This brings me to perhaps the most important detail of any wedding, pictures! Location, food, music, those all matter, but when it’s all over with, what brides most look forward to are the pictures, right? Pictures provide the opportunity not only to relive the event, but to show occurrences that as the host, we don’t always get to see.
Pepper Nix Photography was truly another no brainer for me. Though I was provided a short list so suggestions, the name alone, Pepper Nix was intriguing. I surfed their website for hours and was blown away by the events they had photographed and the details that were captured on camera. When I mentioned to Chris that I was eager to hire Pepper Nix, I think he almost leaped through the phone! He had worked with them so many times and was well aware of what we could expect, what I could request that would be off the beaten path, the excitement just grew! With little guidance, our photographer Logan Walker moved about the property to the cabins and guest mountain homes where we were staying for the duration and snapped images that would’ve been lost in our minds. Logan went to photograph Ed who was spending time watching a football game with Ryley, my nephew. She captured a very relaxed part of their day and went on to photograph Ed helping Ryley with his tie and then was able to capture when the best man, Kelly who came join them and Ed presented with a token of appreciation. Logan also came up to the mountain home where many of the gals were getting ready and took aside my wedding jewelry, dress, cowboy boots and staged them for what would become some of my favorite photos!