Oktoberfest Wedding in Vail, Colorado


October 13, 2023
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Chris J. Evans

Vail, Colorado, known for its stunning mountain landscapes and charming Bavarian influence, played host to the breathtaking wedding of former pro hockey player and Olympian, Mike Testwuide, and his beautiful bride, Maddie. The couple, who shares a love for adventure and the beauty of Vail, crafted a celebration that blended their personal stories, the spirit of Oktoberfest, and the breathtaking scenery of the Colorado mountains.

How They Met

“Mike was playing professional hockey in Korea,” Maddie says. “After an injury, he was able to take a short break mid-season and surprise his family in CO for Christmas. Mike and I were introduced by a mutual friend over the holiday season and met for what was supposed to be a quick drink…that lasted for five hours. After our date, Mike returned to Korea to finish his hockey season but COVID had other plans– Mike returned to the States, and we began dating just as the COVID lockdown began.”

An Oktoberfest-themed Welcome Party

The festivities commenced with an Oktoberfest-themed welcome party at the Sonnenalp Hotel restaurant, Ludwig’s. The venue, with its warm European ambiance, set the perfect stage for the celebration. Guests, adorned in dirndls and lederhosen, immersed themselves in the Bavarian spirit, sipping on German beers and savoring Bavarian pretzels. The atmosphere was further elevated by the sounds of German alphorn and accordion music, creating a lively and authentic Oktoberfest experience.

The couple’s chosen vendors added special touches to the celebration. Anthia Design, the florist, transformed the venue with warm and cheerful arrangements of wildflowers and sunflowers. Blue and white checked tablecloths paid homage to the traditional Bavarian pattern, while custom monogrammed beer steins added a personalized touch to the tablescape. The couple’s attention to detail extended to every aspect, creating a visual feast for the eyes.

Wedding Day in Vail

The wedding ceremony took place at the Four Seasons Vail, a venue suggested by their talented planner Jennifer Pletcher of Gemini Events. Mike, a Vail native, found the location particularly meaningful, with the ceremony unfolding in the heart of Vail Village, at the base of Vail Mountain. The couple’s connection to the venue deepened during a tasting session, where they discovered the culinary delights that would grace their wedding day.

One of the unique aspects of Mike and Maddie’s ceremony was the reading of private vows during their first look, a touching and emotional moment captured by photographer Chris J. Evans. The couple also chose to intermingle bridesmaids and groomsmen, symbolizing the coming together of their lives and friendships.

“My favorite decor of the entire wedding were the beautiful hanging florals over our altar and the custom bar in our cocktail space which featured the same hanging florals inside the lucite bar,” the bride says.

Instead of traditional vows, Maddie and Mike exchanged predetermined promises that serve as the cornerstones of their marriage. The couple stood on opposite sides during the ceremony, allowing them to see their own parents. 

Unique Details Integrated Into the Reception

Personal touches, such as a candy bar featuring twenty different kinds of candy, added a sweet note to the reception part of the celebration. “Instead of traditional table numbers, we chose to name each table after Vail ski runs,” the couple says. “Our head table was ‘In the Wuides’ which is a run named after Mike’s father, Paul, who worked for Vail Resorts for decades.”

Reflecting on the Challenges of Planning a Destination Wedding

The couple emphasized the importance of their fabulous planner, who sourced incredible local vendors and eased the process of organizing from afar. Their decision to hold the wedding in Vail, away from their respective hometowns, added a unique element to their celebration.

As the couple reminisced about their magical day, they offered valuable advice to future couples: “Enjoy every moment.” Maddie and Mike’s wedding in Vail, Colorado, was a testament to the power of love, adventure, and the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains. In the words of the couple, their wedding was not just a celebration; it was a joyous journey that began with a surprise meeting in Korea and culminated in a mountain wedding that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Vendors: Photographer: Chris J. Evans; Wedding Planner: Gemini Event Planning; Wedding Venue & Cake: Four Seasons Vail; Florist: Anthia Design; Stationery: Olive Paper; Hair: BMC Glam; Makeup: Carrie Stockert; Gown Designer: Mira Zwillinger; Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale; Band: Jordan Kahn Orchestra; Lighting: Little Branch Lighting; Videography: Wes Larsen Media; Wedding Submission Services: Published + Pretty; Rehearsal Dinner Planner: Gatherings in Vail; Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Sonnenalp Hotel

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