Rustic Fall Wedding at Ranch Outside of Telluride, Colorado

Maja and Marty

Photographed by: Joanna B. Pinneo PhotographyLocation: Montrose, Colorado, United States

“Truth be told, I had spotted Marty about a month before we met and felt sure that he would be my husband,” recounts Maja Clark about the day she and Marty were finally set up with one another. It had been a long time coming, but after several failed attempts to bring the two together, friends finally introduced them at a Yale-Harvard football game. Sparks flew instantly, and two years later, Marty proved Maja right by asking for her hand while visiting Mount Vernon, George and Martha Washington’s historic home in Virginia.

Her parents purchased EdJoe Ranch outside Telluride, Colorado, about eight years ago, and ever since, Maja knew she wanted to marry there. But with the couple living in New York City for most of their engagement, planning from a distance was going to be a challenge. The ranch’s remote location also became a factor. “To bring the party to life in the middle of a field, tents, lighting, power, portable bathrooms, etc. all needed to be brought in. An off-site wedding takes a lot of preparation,” claims the bride. To help execute her dream day she enlisted a Telluride-based wedding planner and relied heavily on her mother and maid of honor for support. She and Marty used their intuition in hiring the rest of their talented vendors and stayed true to their vision of a wedding with an authentic sense of rustic elegance.

Reigning supreme throughout the affair was a symbol of a pink cowboy boot that—along with accents of chocolate brown—had made its debut on the couple’s save-the-date. The pink boots were also brought to life as part of the bride’s wedding ensemble. Indeed, the wedding party and many of the guests (no stilettos allowed!) wore cowboy boots, putting everyone in the mood for the ranch-inspired celebration. Standing out against the rustic setting, the bouquets were made of a variety of roses from petal pink to hot pink and were cleverly reused to create tightly gathered centerpieces at the reception. Other pink flowers such as hydrangea, lilies, and freesia were woven into a garland of seasonal greenery that decorated the custom-made gate that was the ceremony altar. Hanging from its arch was the ranch’s name-for-a-day: “M&M.”

Maja and Marty tried to choose a date that would ensure glorious weather, but unfortunately, Mother Nature always has the final say. “We wanted a fall wedding and thought early October had pretty weather in Colorado. How wrong we were!” The day before the wedding it had been warm and sunny, but ominous skies soon crept in. As Marty entered the scene on horseback, the wind whipped into an audible howl. It began hailing as Maja and her dad made their entrance. “We just laughed the whole way down the aisle,” she says. With bridesmaids huddled under newly gifted pink caplets and the sounds of the string quartet all but lost in the fray, Marty took control of the situation. “He announced mid-ceremony that we were moving indoors to the tent to finish up,” says Maja. There, each of the couple’s parents recited a personal reading, and the bride and groom exchanged original vows.

And once they were finally pronounced husband and wife, the reception went on as planned within the tent’s protective flaps––a dramatic oasis in the middle of a windblown pasture. Guests plucked their seating cards from a “Family Tree” (a nod to Marty’s interest in genealogy) made of branches strewn with wedding photos from both extended families. Handmade margaritas were enjoyed with the Mexican meal, followed by an autumn-inspired wedding cake covered in chocolate fondant and sugared fruit. Spirits were so high that nothing—not even the mud—could stop the group from kicking up their heels on the dance floor. “I have yet to find a dry cleaner who will touch my wedding dress,” laughs Maja.

Luckily, a break in the weather allowed the group to pose for outdoor photos. As if paying tribute to the couple’s first dance song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a double arch of brilliant color even made a brief appearance. But soon the wild weather returned, adding to the excitement in the air. “I think we felt very bonded to our guests since we all had this crazy experience together,” recalls Maja. “The next morning, we all woke up to four inches of snow!”

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