When any couple approaches me about getting married, the first thing I try to explain to them is that eloping can be any kind of adventure they want. Often, couples want to hike to the perfect peak to say their vows at sunrise. Other times, people seek the ultimate Jeep trail on their wedding day for a little adrenaline and a lot less physical exertion than hiking.
No matter what a couple is after, I always tell them the same thing–it’s your day, so do exactly what you want to do.
When Kaitlyn and Ryan told me they wanted nothing more than to ski the slopes of Breckenridge on their wedding day surrounded by their closest people, I told them the same thing–it’s your day, so do exactly what you want to do.
Truly, they took my advice to heart, creating a day that was so uniquely them, so filled with adventure and so much pure fun that I still think back on it when I envision what an ideal wedding day feels like. Their Breckenridge Ski Resort wedding was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.
When I met them at their Airbnb on a cold March morning, evidence of a party from the night before was all over the house. Cutout photos of the couples’ dogs with cute little comments were all over. Taylor Swift lyrics were pasted on the walls. As it turns out, Kaitlyn’s sweet friends threw her a night-before-the-wedding bachelorette party. Her initial party–which was going to be a Taylor Swift concert–had been canceled because of the pandemic. Her friends took it upon themselves to give her a cute, quaint little Breckenridge bachelorette party right before she said her vows.
The wedding parties got ready, ate breakfast, and took their time as they soaked in a slow, chilly morning. In March, Breckenridge is still the perfect picture of a snowy Colorado. Blankets of white covered everything, and everyone made sure to bundle up to stay warm throughout the day.
Kaitlyn and Ryan got ready separately. We made our way to the ceremony location, keeping Kaitlyn and Ryan from seeing each other. There, in the dazzling white snow, they had an intimate, private first-look moment. Something I love about couples like Ryan and Kaitlyn is that they valued two things simultaneously–spending intentional time alone together on their wedding day and inviting the people they loved the most to spend the day with them.
They’re the perfect example of the sentiment “why not both?” Because when you elope, you really can have both things at once.
We all took our places for their ceremony. Kaitlyn, holding a bouquet with her grandfather’s picture hanging on it, took Ryan’s hands as they said their vows. Her brother officiated the ceremony, tying together another special, family-included moment for the couple. As the snow came down, Ryan and Kaitlyn read their handwritten vows from their leather vow books. When they had their first kiss as a married couple, the snow made everything even more magical than it already was.
Their day had already been filled with so many special moments. But for Ryan and Kaitlyn, the excitement had really only just begun. The entire group headed over to the Breckenridge Ski Resort to kick off the adventure that Ryan and Kaitlyn wanted for their day–a few runs on the slopes with their loved ones. The best part of it all? Kaitlyn and Ryan did the whole thing in their wedding attire.
Kaitlyn strapped on her skis, Ryan grabbed his snowboard, and they and their loved ones hit the slopes to explore and adventure like never before. We stopped for a few photo opportunities, but mostly, they just had a blast tearing up the mountain on their wedding day, dressed in their best, and surrounded by the people they loved most.
The day ended with drinks, food, and a little warmth at a restaurant right near the ski resort. It was a day filled with adventure, excitement, and examples of seriously cool activities. But ultimately, it was a day filled with love, intention, and genuine connection.
That’s the thing about getting married exactly how you want. You can do what you want, when you want, with whoever you want there–and as long as you’re following your heart, the day is perfect.
Kaitlyn and Ryan never hesitated to do something out of the norm. They blended tradition with whatever they felt like doing. Because they, like so many couples out there, really get it–there are no rules when you get married.