Destination I Do

Colorado Winter Wonderland Wedding

Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Joanna Pinneo

winter destination weddings

The setting for the Aspen wedding of Carrie Van Heyst and Peter Johnson had a soft, romantic quality to it -- gently falling snow outside and a cozy warmth inside the Aspen Chapel. It was the exact feeling that Carrie and Peter hoped to create for their Rocky Mountain wedding.

The mountaintop setting was also fitting because Peter is a downhill skier and the pair loves the Colorado Rockies. They chose the Thanksgiving holiday weekend so their guests could also enjoy vacation time along with the wedding.

Carrie and Peter met as a result of their common concern for the environment. Carrie was an advisor on a combustion engine project and Peter found himself involved in the same project. One thing led to another and they discovered they wanted to spend their lives together.

Peter may have intended to ask Carrie to marry him in a romantic, candlelight setting, but his anticipation took over when he had the ring in his possession. He had just stepped out of the shower, wrapped in a towel when Carrie came in. He was so excited that he whipped out the box and popped the question.

They had only 3 months to plan their wedding so it helped to have the assistance of Richard Newton, a wedding consultant in New York City. He handled many of the arrangements and orchestrated the wedding day events. Carrie and Peter also set up a web site to provide travel, activity and accommodations information for their approximately 100 guests. The details all fell into place and before they knew it the wedding weekend arrived.

Guests who were in Aspen by Thanksgiving shared the holiday meal together in a condo at the Gant. The Aspen ski slopes had just opened, so Peter coordinated skiing for their guests and others visited nearby Snowmass. Everyone who was in town was invited to their rehearsal dinner at the Mother Lode the night before the wedding and more than 70 guests attended.

The next day, Carrie and Peter exchanged the vows they had written in the Aspen Chapel.
They shared, "It was a tender time with the holiday setting, family and friends together."

There was softness to the atmosphere in the chapel with the candlelight and fragrance of gardenias. Carrie wore a Peter Langner gown, perfect for the snowy setting. Peter wore a dark suit with a Briani tie and their attendants each chose their own attire.

After the ceremony, all of the guests rode the Silver Queen Gondola up to the top of the mountain where the reception took place at the Aspen Mountain Club. Carrie said that riding the gondola at night was an incredible experience in and of itself. "As you went up the mountain in the darkness you could see the lights of Aspen begin to fade. It was beautiful."

Carrie, Peter and their guests had dinner and danced to the music of a Denver band, 'Moments Notice.' They wished they could have extended their time on top of the mountain, but the National Forest Service determined their departure time down the gondola.

"Destination weddings are more work for people to get there, but they are also more enjoyable. The parties and events leading up to the event allows the guests to get to know one another." While the decision to have a destination wedding may seem overwhelming, their recommendation is to "stick to it, make the most of it and spread it over a few days."

"We agreed that the beautiful mountain peaks -the snowcapped backdrop of Aspen - best expressed how we feel about each other and the once-in-a-lifetime moments we wanted to capture with our family and friends."

Carrie and Peter honeymooned in Hawaii and will be enjoying a second reception on a lake in Michigan to celebrate with those who were unable to attend their wedding in Colorado.

Joanna Pinneo 

Makeup Artist
Katherine Gordon (970)544-5557 
(she also coordinated the hair stylist) 

The Little Nell
David Kaso (970) 920-6322 & Shelli Frisella 

Floral Art
David & Denise Clark (970) 927-4947 

Fine Pasteries
Blue Fine Pasteries 
Kim Boos, Kitchen Manager (720) 565-9092 

Laurie Doctor (303) 447-9852 

Bride's Attire 
Peter Langner Collection (Flavia) 

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