Sweet Santa Fe NuptialsWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Yellow Feather Photography
Hilary and Harry had persevered throughout their relationship and even made it through a period of dating long distance, so the couple was up to the challenge of a destination wedding. While they were apart, Harry lived in southern Arizona and Hilary in Denver, so Santa Fe, New Mexico was a perfect place to meet in the middle.
“Santa Fe was a great halfway spot for us to meet if we wanted to get away for a weekend,” recalls Hilary. “We did a few times and we fell in love with the town very quickly. Santa Fe was also the first place Harry told me he loved me. When it came to picking the destination [for our wedding], Santa Fe came straight to the top of the list.
“We felt it was a perfect ‘marriage’ of our favorite places…the mountains and the desert. Santa Fe sits at 7,200 feet elevation in the aspens, but has beautiful red dirt and the adobe-style homes of the Southwest. We felt it was very symbolic of who we both are and what we love!”
With family and friends spread out from Upstate New York to Hawaii, the couple’s guests were prepared to travel. Thankfully, they quickly jumped on board with Santa Fe. “We had overwhelming support and most were excited to travel somewhere new and different,” says Hilary. “We even had family and friends make a longer vacation out of it and extended their trip to explore the Southwest more!”
The couple jumped headlong into planning and made a couple of scouting trips to their chosen destination to decide on important details like their venue and vendors. In the end, the couple credits the bride’s mother and the venue’s wedding planner with being instrumental in making their destination wedding dreams a reality. “Those two made miracles happen,” recalls the couple.
Hilary and Harry embraced their chosen destination and let the beautiful colors and architecture of Santa Fe be the primary décor for their big day. However, the couple did come up with a unique, DIY idea for their guest favors. “We created a build-your-own trail mix bar as the party favor,” says Hilary. “I shopped around thrift stores and Goodwill for jars and cans, bought some lace and burlap, and painted a wood sign. My mom made custom stickers for the bags and it ended up being a huge hit!”
While the couple agrees they spent more money in the end by opting for a wedding away in Santa Fe, they wouldn’t change their decision for anything. “To this day we continue to get comments from friends and family saying it was the best wedding and party they’d ever been to,” recalls the bride. “That’s something we’re really proud of and also a little sad that we will only ever do it big like that once in our lives! Our guests were so thankful for the experience and loved spending time in Santa Fe – most had never been before and it really is a niche place.”
As for advice for other couples planning their own dream destination wedding, Hilary and Harry have some thoughts to share: “…there is only one time in your entire life that all the people you love will be in the same place with you at once – your wedding. So, soak it up and remember to stop and just be thankful it’s happening! [Also,] we chose to have a weekend full of events for our guests instead of just one night. We were so grateful that so many people wanted to travel so far to help us celebrate and we felt it was only best to provide as much as we could.
“We held a welcome party…everyone attended! It was such a blast and gave all the guests a chance to get to know one another ahead of time and to find their way to the venue. Then [the morning after the wedding] we held a brunch for all the guests. It was a neat time to reminisce the prior evening’s events and have a chance to say goodbye and thank everyone for spending the weekend with us. I really think having an entire weekend worth of events made all of our guests feel appreciated for making the trek.”
Vendors: Photographer: Yellow Feather Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa, Wedding Planner: David Stone with La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa, Florist: Marisa’s Millefiori, Gown Designer: Maggie Sottero, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Vera Wang, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Bill Levkoff/Vera Wang
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