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I'm based in Grand Junction, CO and capture the story & scenery of your favorite day. Serving Crested Butte, Ouray, Moab, Aspen and beyond!

Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait at Red Mountain, ColoradoOne of the all-time best resources for brides-to-be in their wedding planning is brides who’ve already been there! They say hindsight is 20/20, after all. I’m going to be doing a mini-series of blog posts with wedding advice from past couples throughout the year. Take note from the first AMP Bride Tribe gal who will be sharing her wisdom today!
First things first, meet Bailey! You may remember her from their mountain wedding last fall. She will be offering her insights today about what she’d do differently in hindsight, and especially focusing a bit on both mountain/destination weddings and DIY bridal issues! I’ll let her give her wisdom in her own words:


What I’d Do Differently | Wedding Advice

Destination Elopement & DIY Wedding Advice from AMP Brides | amanda.matilda.photography

Fortunately, our wedding was, in our eyes, perfect. We had a small wedding on the top of a mountain pass, and then a lovely reception at a large mountain home afterwards. Because the wedding was small, it allowed me to focus on more details, but also allowed me to not get too stressed out over the small things. Thus, items that fall under the “what I would do differently” are few and far between.

That said, one thing that I wish I paid more attention to was the food! We had plenty of food for the dinner and dessert…almost too much. We could have ordered fewer pies for the wedding dessert and maybe brought a few less casseroles and platters of macaroni and cheese – yes, we had mac ‘n cheese as part of the wedding dinner!

Groom kissing brides' forehead beneath Red Mountain, ColoradoDIY Brides

Another tip in hindsight is one I would offer to any brides who are thinking of making their own wedding dress. First of all, it is the most rewarding feeling to know that the beautiful dress you will remember for years to come was made by none other than your own two hands! But, just make sure you have your timeline down and you stick to it. I’m not just talking about finishing the dress, but make sure you take into account any changes that may need to be made and leave plenty of time to make those changes.

I made my dress in decent time, and it fit like a glove… until I started rock climbing and lifting weights much more right before the wedding! I’m already an avid rock-climber, so when I went on with sewing my dress, my maid of honor jokingly warned me to “not climb too much, or you’ll hulk out of your dress.” Oh, how right she was. While the dress fit everywhere else (stomach and hips mainly), my back became a little too…muscular. I had to transform the lovely zipper-back of the dress into a corseted-back so that it would fit. Not something you want to be doing literally one week before your wedding. So, I would also suggest trying your dress on as frequently as possible! If you are ordering your dress from a bridal shop or boutique, then make your fittings count! If you bought your dress in advance and have it at your home, try it on about once every couple of weeks for the last few months before the wedding. Believe me, it won’t ruin the magic of your dress, and it will save you any last-minute fitting hassles!

Mountain/Destination Wedding Advice:
Tips on Planning a Wedding Somewhere You Don’t Live

Bride and Groom walking by Crystal Lake near Red Mountain & Ouray, ColoradoChoosing the Destination

The most difficult part about a destination wedding was…choosing the destination! We both knew we wanted to get married in the mountains and were not interested in getting married in a church. While some would think this made deciding easier, it was quite the opposite. We had so many options! Colorado has so many mountains to choose from!

Initially, we wanted to get married at the top of Independence Pass between Aspen and Buena Vista. But, after speaking with the Ranger Station, we realized there were more restrictions in that area in terms of how many people could be there, what we could have, and how long we could be there, due to the area being protected tundra. So, we thought back to all the small mountain towns that we loved, and remembered Ouray, CO. I called the Ranger Station there, and they were extremely helpful in suggesting where the ideal places were to get married, and we went from there!

So, I would suggest that if you are going to have an outdoor wedding, especially out in the mountains, you take the time to talk to the local Ranger Station to make sure that you aren’t going to be overstepping your bounds when it comes to using the public lands.

Guest ListDestination Elopement beneath Red Mountain - Ouray, Colorado

Having an outdoor/destination wedding also made things easier in terms of the guest list. We knew we didn’t want a big wedding, and having the wedding outside, in the mountains, far away from where anyone in our wedding group lived, at 10,000 feet elevation definitely helped limit the guest list. It is much easier to corral a small group of people in the mountains as compared to a large group in the mountains.

This wedding was also very much a DIY wedding which helped. I made my own dress, the bouquets, and the boutonnieres. My parents made all of the food for the reception, and we brought the pies for the wedding dessert from home. Our friend was our officiant, as well as our wedding band. We found a wedding photographer, Amanda Matilda, that was close by and willing to travel from Grand Junction to Ouray to shoot for our wedding. And we rented one large house and guest house to hold the reception, as well as for all 30 of the guests to stay in during the wedding weekend. This made coordinating dinners, trips to town, and the wedding itself much easier, as we were all in the same spot.


Colorado Destination couple sign in at Trailhead on Red Mountain PassI would say the most rewarding part of the experience was the wedding itself! My husband and I had the attitude that “it’s just one day.” While this common saying is a source of stress for many couples, for us, it was a calming reminder. This was just one day. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be exact. It was our day, to be together in the mountains, and finally be married after 8 years together. We didn’t fret over who was going to be mad that they weren’t invited, or if certain people were going to get along, or if my hair looked perfect. To all future brides, remember that it is only one day, it is your day, that starts the rest of your life!

– Bailey

I want to thank Bailey for helping me with this project and offering your wedding advice! You are such an awesome soul and I am so glad to know you!

Stay tuned in the coming months for more wisdom and wedding advice from my AMP Bride Tribe!


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