Mary & Nick Andrews - Sonnenalp in Vail, CO
Photographs by David Matthew Fiser Photography
Wedding season is upon us, my fellow planners, lovebirds and loyal attendees. In order to get my head in the game, I decided to take a moment to look back to one of my favorite weddings to ponder what makes certain weddings stand out as especially meaningful.
Of course I needed to do a little research, so I called the beautiful bride from my very first wedding as ONYX Art & Events. Mary and I hit if off from day one working as her full-service wedding planner, and I just haven’t been able to let her go.
Mary & Nick Andrews were married on August 8, 2015 in Vail, Colorado at the beautiful Sonnenalp, a flawless European chateaux-esque hotel in the heart of the village. The day was polished, fresh and fun from beginning to end. The guests enjoyed beautiful summer weather and mountain air, fantastic food from the Sonnenalp, and a wild, prop-studded dance party to end the night.
As we go over favorite details of the day, and silly things we both obsessed over in the planning process, I ask Mary what she would want people to know about her favorite day. I thought this would take some pondering, but my quick-witted friend already had already put her finger on it.
What Mary felt stood out about their wedding, what made it especially meaningful to her and Nick, and what she’d recommend to all couples on the marital march, is to be intentional about designing special moments as a freshly married couple throughout the day.
Mary Andrews, who is truly the next Martha, designed all of the décor, and just about every other aspect of the day for that matter. (I had to remind her to let me do my job at points.) That said, she was the perfect host, and had her guests’ experience in mind throughout the planning process. As we chat, Mary acknowledges a half-truth many of us have experienced - as much as we are told the big day is about the bride & groom, it is just as much a day for the guests.
Mary describes the importance of the day to both of their parents. Her 80 year old grandfather who DROVE from Florida to witness the union. Sorority sisters coming together after being scattered across the country for years. And hard working, new parents that deserve a darned good time.
So that’s what Nick and Mary set out to do, and I’m happy to say we were able to achieve; a spectacular time, with a beautiful backdrop, thoughtful details, and a fun loving crowd.
Still, it was not the 300 varying mercury votives we sourced from all over, or the impeccable service from beginning to end from the Sonnenalp staff that stood out after so much planning. Instead it was the brief moments that the couple set aside throughout the day to keep the significance of that day at the forefront of the their minds. So here are a few recommendations inspired by Miss Style and Grace, Mary Andrews, and her love story with the perfect groom, Nick Andrews. Love you guys!
You should also check out Mary Andrews’ new life guru site – just as gorgeous and inspirational as her wedding day, I promise!
Inspired Matrimonial Moments from Mary & Nicks Wedding
1. Take time leading up to the wedding to WIND DOWN IN WEDDING TOWN.
The bride, groom and their families created a mini vacay in Vail several days before the wedding. Great little luxury if you can swing it. (Staycays count too! Take those days off!) Extra time helps to ease the feeling of investing so much in “one day” and having it flash before your eyes. That way you’ve already spent some quality time with your out-of-town guests, and might actually have some time during the reception to gaze into your spouse’s eyes!
2. “MANDATORY MAKEOUT TIME” for the Bride & Groom
Find a special place for either post-first-look or immediately following your ceremony to reflect on the true essence of the day. Brides and Grooms often find themselves playing host for the whole day, so it’s important have a calm, private moment with the person you’re really there for.
To sneak away, Mary & Nick found the perfect solitary mobile unit - with a view! The Gondola at Vail!
3. THE SURPRISE
Puppy Surprise!!! If I didn’t make this clear earlier, Mary is magical. So she pulled off the incredible feat of having her THREE adorable dogs brought all the way up to Vail without Dad (Nick) knowing, only to magically appear upon their descent, post first-look ON THE BRIDGE in the village, WEARING FLORAL COLARS. Are you kidding me!?! I can take no credit for this, but it does need to be documented forever as a true bridal victory.
4. DETAILS THAT LAST A LIFETIME
For her last well planned, priceless moment, Mary had Nick’s wedding band engraved with the exact coordinates of the ceremony location by the creek where they were married. Nick's interest in orienteering was of course known by Mary and many of the guests, but like the ring, and each of these intimate moments, each one taking time and consideration to pull off, these forever moments can only be truly experienced and appreciated by the bride and groom.
And all of us that want to copy her ideas…