Although Colleen Mahlmann and Brad Durkin considered getting married in Breckinridge, Colorado where they met and fell in love, they felt a wedding in Houston would be easiest for their friends and family to attend. "We wanted to make sure that everyone close to us would be at the wedding," explains Colleen. Not to be deterred, the couple decided that if they couldn't bring their wedding to Colorado, they would bring the essence of Colorado to their wedding. "We were looking for a rustic, yet elegant look, with rich, vibrantly colored flowers that were free flowing and 'unarranged,'" says Colleen. With the help of their coordinator, floral designer, and the mother of the bride, the couple created a tasteful event with a touch of wild beauty that gracefully brought the outdoors in.
The traditional Christian ceremony took place at the First Presbyterian Church, where the sanctuary's classic lines, tall ceilings, and stained glass windows contrasted beautifully with the lush greenery and vivid flowers brought in for the occasion. Tall pillars wound with ivy lifted snow-white candles to varying heights and created a lovely backdrop for the vow exchange. The bridal party carried blooms in shades of pink, purple, green, and red, and pomanders for the flower girls mimicked the bridesmaid's bouquets. The couple's love for music was also in evidence at the ceremony; a string quartet, an organist, a pianist, and two soloists were all on hand. As a special tribute to their parents, the couple had a soloist sing the Josh Groban ballad "You Raise Me Up" as their mothers walked down the aisle. Finally, Colleen entered the sanctuary on the arm of her father, and as she made her way towards the altar, she and Brad locked eyes. "All day, everyone was shocked that we were so calm," Colleen remembers. "Then, the second we saw each other, we both lost it!"
The ballroom at The Houstonian Hotel was transformed for the reception, beginning with an extravagant cocktail area complete with a "wall" carved entirely of ice. The gilded wedding cake had a place of honor atop a wrought-iron table completely woven with flowers, while two antique credenzas displayed family wedding photos. As guests passed an enormous picture window that looked out on a heavily wooded area of the grounds, they were greeted with the sight of dozens of trees covered in blue fairy lights. "It looked like a winter wonderland!" Colleen exclaims.
The ballroom where dinner and dancing commenced was itself a wooded fantasy dubbed "The Enchanted Forest" by the guests. "It really did look like an elegant version of Colorado," says Colleen. Four tall trees were stationed around the dance floor, their branches decorated with flowers and candles. A variety of floral arrangements in shades of pink, peach, and yellow corresponded with the vibrant lighting design. Hand-blown glass bowls filled with roses, orchids, and green hydrangea accompanied wrought-iron tree stands with matching bunches of blooms accented with orange calla lilies. Larger centerpieces were arranged on rustic, vine-wrapped stands with a halo of flowers at the base. After enjoying an elaborate menu from six different food stations, guests cut loose on the dance floor for hours. "We were supposed to leave at midnight," says Colleen, "but everyone was having so much fun that my dad agreed to let the band keep playing." Individual bottles of Chandon champagne were arranged into a two-tier tower for guests, who took them home as favors as the enchanted evening ended. "We added gold ribbons with the message, 'Thank you for adding sparkle to our celebration,'" reveals Colleen -- the perfect send-off to a perfect night.