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Vail Valley can help bride/groom stay true to their dreams

Special to the DailyYour own personal sense of style can come through in your wedding.
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Express YourselfThink of the last few weddings youve attended. Chances are at least one of them included some elements that countered the typical wedding ceremony and reception. Perhaps bagpipes accompanied the Scottish bride down the aisle, instead of the traditional Wedding March on the organ. At the reception, maybe the bride and groom eschewed a waltz for their first dance, and chose to perform a sexy tango. Or instead of throwing the bouquet to the single female guests, the bride presented it to a beloved grandmother. Maybe the couple was crazy enough to escape to a tropical island to be wed barefoot on the beach, accompanied only by their closest family and friends.Today, its rare to find traditional by-the-book weddings complete with conventional repeat after me wedding vows, ice sculptures at the hotel reception site, chicken cordon bleu for dinner, and Jordan almonds for party favors. With todays weddings, especially in the Rocky Mountains, there are few rules, according to wedding planners from Grand County to Grand Junction and Aspen to Keystone. For avid scuba divers, that might mean getting married underwater off the Mexico coast. For firefighters, they may travel from the church to the reception on a bright-red hook-and-ladder. There are graphic designers who create their own invitations from handmade paper, and bakers who serve apple pie instead of a three-tiered wedding cake. So, if the sky is the limit when it comes to creative wedding planning, here are some examples of brides and grooms doing their own thing for their special day:The AttireThe tradition of wearing a white wedding gown is actually relatively new. Queen Victoria was the first noble to wear a white dress for her nuptials in the 19th century, and thats when the idea really caught on. Before then, brides would just wear their finest dress no matter what color it was. Today, of course, white also symbolizes purity and innocence.But like brides of yesteryear, todays women often blend a hint of color dusty rose, light blue into their wedding gowns. Others might weave a bit of cultural heritage into their attire, such as a Japanese kimono or Hindu sari. Grooms today are similarly creative with their choice of clothes. Formal weddings still call for the traditional or a not-so-traditional tuxedo, while a casual beach affair is better suited for a casual look (remember, men, casual doesnt have to mean sloppy think khakis, linen shirts, loafers).And with theme weddings increasingly en vogue, you might find an entire wedding party adorned in Renaissance garb, Civil War-era or Western duds (see sidebar on page XXX). Now thats marching to the beat of your own drummer!The FlowersFlowers arent just for bouquets anymore. And even when they are in a bouquet, the traditional rose especially in the High Country is often overlooked for the more rustic and wild look of what else? Colorado wildflowers. But how about these for unique flower usages: on the cake; in the invitations; as favors (in the form of seeds); strewn across the tables. Or better still, how about using seasonal leaves, fruits and vegetables (think golden aspen and bright gourds) to give your wedding a seasonal flair?The CakeIf you take a peek at your parents wedding pictures, its likely youll see them cutting a three-tiered, white-frosted sponge cake with a plastic bride-and-groom topper. The tiered cake comes from Queen Victorias era. When one of her children was married there were so many guests that they needed a giant cake. Because a large-diameter cake wouldnt cook all the way through in the middle, they made many small ones and stacked them on top of each other. No more boring white-on-white cakes for todays brides and grooms. Nowadays bakers defer to the favorite flavors of the bride and groom, and that could mean chocolate or lemon mousse, raspberry or coconut. Plastic toppers have been replaced with fresh flowers provided by the wedding florist. The shape of the cakes and the decorations that adorn it are other elements that can be as unique as the couples themselves, or further complement a weddings theme. One area baker fulfilled a brides request for a wacky, brightly multicolored, crazy-angled, jellybean-adorned wedding cake; another made a cake with blue frosting to match a brides blue dress. Seasonal themes are also becoming common: piped-icing snowflakes for winter weddings; cakes with caramelized crab apples for the fall; and so on.The grooms cake, though more popular in the South or parts of the East Coast, do appear at some Colorado weddings. This cake is often situated on a table at the reception, separate from the wedding cake, and made in the grooms favorite flavor or in honor of his favorite pastime (think CU Boulder and Denver Broncos logos or cigar-box cakes for a stogie aficionados).The MusicThere was a time when choosing the music for a wedding was simple: organ music at the church, the waltz as a first dance, a bit of swing to round out the party. Well, those days are over. In fact, a google search for wedding music turns up more than 76 million hits. But like all things in planning your wedding, the first step is to define your style and stick with it are you going for elegant and refined or down and dirty? Do you want to please Grandma or your girlfriends? Need help? Try that google search, or check out theknot.coms Ceremony Music: 101 and Reception Music: 101.The PhotographerYour wedding lasts just one day, but the photos last a lifetime (and more). These pictures whether color, black & white or digitally altered will tell your story for generations to come. With that in mind, most wedding planners agree its important to spend the time to find the right photographer. And the best way to do this: Choose one whose work reflects the look and feel of your wedding. Finding this person requires research: Plan to review at least five different photographers and see their full body of work, not just their favorite portraits or party shots; understand the photographers style and make sure he or she is willing to work with your specific needs. Then, once you’ve chosen your photographer, be clear about the shots you want on your wedding day. To supplement those more formal pictures, many modern couples give guests throw-away cameras for impromptu party shots and, trust us, the results are a true reflection of your style (and friends!).The ExitWho doesnt smile at the sight of a bride and groom driving off in a car with a Just Married sign on the rear window? Traditionally, old shoes were tied to the back of the getaway car to represent the transfer of property from the father of the bride to the groom. Clanking tin cans tied to the back were a means to protect the bride by warding off evil spirits.But here in the Rocky Mountains, options abound for wedding day transportation. Whether its a stretch suburban, traditional horse and carriage, or antique car, you can get to and from the reception in style. And again, anything goes when it comes to making a grand exit, especially at unique mountain locales where gondolas, skis and paragliders have been known to whisk the happy couple away. Todd Patrick Photography, 970-945-2660, http://www.toddpatrickphoto.com Broughton Wedding Photography, 970-485-2472, http://www.mbroughton.com Intermountain Video Productions, 970-331-7914, http://www.intermountainproductions.com Jeanie Dedrick Productions & Consultations, 970-485-5432 Broadband, Aspens premier party band, 970-927-9897, http://www.aspenbroadband.com Devon Meyers Photography, http://www.devonmeyers.com Hearthstone Catering, 970-453-7028, http://www.hearthstonecatering.com All Seasons Catering, 970-468-7414, http://www.allseasonsllc.com Colorado Candies, 970-947-1099 Breck Tux Shop, 970-453-2745, http://www.brecktux,com Vail Tux Shop, 970-748-1133, http://www.vailtux.com Frisco Fun and Formal, 970-668-5732, http://www.friscotux.com Bare Essentials, 970-926-6290, http://www.BareEssentialsUSA.com Petals & Pours, 970-376-8918 Stage Coach Limousines, 970-390-3599, http://www.stagecoachlimos.com


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