A Family-First Wedding with Custom Nike Sneakers on a Colorado Farm
More important than anything else for Emily Sullivan Canova and John Tichenor Winsorâ€™s wedding day was the focus on bringing in their families together. Each of them has two children so creating a new unit of six people felt more meaningful than fancy flowers or multi-course meals. That said, they had those things too.
â€śThe union of John and I was so much bigger than just us,â€ť Emily says. â€śWe wanted the ceremony to be that of the collective six [and] celebrate all those who have been a part of our lives.â€ť
The couple hired Calluna Events to help them put together the day, which was a second wedding for both the bride and groom. Using â€śthe power of loveâ€ť as a guiding theme, the planning team created a celebration that exuded simple elegance: a ceremony on a floating dock at a family home in Boulder, chic arrangements with pampas grass and protea, a dinner full of Colorado specialties, and a dance floor large enough for the entire group of six to take part in the newlywedâ€™s first dance.
Emily and John personalized the day in plenty of visible ways too. Emily skipped the white dress, opting instead for a hand-beaded, peach-colored gown, and John donned a cravat instead of a bow tie. Their dear friend, Tinker Hatfield, head of footwear design at Nike, officiated the ceremony but also hand-painted sneakers for the couple and their children to wear during the reception. The coupleâ€™s children also escorted each of them down the aisle.
â€śWe all need a community to support each of us on our journey,â€ť Emily says. â€śA strong family gives all of us a foundation with the courage and skills to face the worldâ€™s challenges with beauty and grace.â€ť
Everything about Emily and Johnâ€™s wedding had family front and center, including their collective children: Emilyâ€™s son, Baker, and daughter, Alice, and Johnâ€™s sons Harry and Charlie. â€śWe wanted to emphasize that this union was bigger than all of us,â€ť Emily says.
The ceremony and reception took place at Burning Sky Farm, the family home of Johnâ€™s sister. Itâ€™s a 16-acre farm with expansive views of the foothills in Boulder, Colorado. The ceremony was held on the propertyâ€™s pond, with the couple and their officiant standing on a floating dock.
Sprays of pampas grass and bunches of protea anchored the ceremony space, where guests looked on from chairs adorned with wild grasses.
â€śIt was the collection of family and guests that created such a beautiful evening of celebration,â€ť Emily says.
Johnâ€™s sons escorted him down the aisle, followed by a group of flower boys dropping white petals.
Emily was also escorted in by her children. She says she picked her peach Alice + Olivia dress because she didnâ€™t want to wear white and have the focus be on her. â€śI truly felt honored to wear this dress as each bead was hand-stitchedâ€”many hours of workâ€”a piece of art,â€ť she adds.
We wanted to emphasize that this union was bigger than all of us.
Close friend Tinker Hafield led the ceremony, which included plenty of thoughtful touches, and a blessing by another close friend, Colleen Cannon. â€śWe asked them to just speak and draw from what they felt and observed,â€ť Emily says.
During the ceremony, the couple gifted each child a bracelet engraved with the wedding date.
Colleen led the couple through a blessing that involved an amethyst. Stones were placed on each guestâ€™s seat. Each guest held one as they joined hands and participated in the blessing that brought together all four directions and elements.
â€śHe worked with us to find the words this union signified,â€ť Emily says of Tinker. The coupleâ€™s vows featured the following read by Tinker: â€śYou stand together as you move through the world, and do things for each other, not as a duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of wonder. Give each other room to grow and cultivate flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor. You together are bigger than you alone. From you six build a bigger circle of love that includes your greater family and friends gathered here.â€ť
One of the coupleâ€™s favorite memories from the wedding was the â€śjoy and sense of reliefâ€ť from their children.
Your guests are your historyâ€”your past and present. Really invite them into your day. This is as much about you as a couple as those who surround you.
â€śYour guests are your historyâ€”your past and present,â€ť Emily says. â€śReally invite them into your day. This is as much about you as a couple as those who surround you.â€ť
â€śThe radiance captured us all,â€ť John says of his bride. â€śShe was an angel, something otherworldly.â€ť
The reception took place outside at long wooden tables topped with bud vases and votive candles.
The reception took place outside at long wooden tables topped with bud vases and votive candles. They made use of natural light, but also hung bistro lights hung above the dance floor. They also made a statement out of the growing vines that cover the side of one of the farmâ€™s buildings.
Each table featured mortar and stone vases filled with a variety of flowers: dahlias, protea, ranunculus, pampas grass, roses, and lisianthus.
The eveningâ€™s menu included Colorado-inspired cuisines such as seared steak with ancho chili-lime compound butter, onion-crusted wild salmon, and grilled summer vegetables. That extended to the dessert bar with two seasonal fruit tarts and molten chocolate cakes.
The wedding cake, a three-tiered, peach-raspberry confection covered with fresh flowers, herbs, and fruits.
Emilyâ€™s 13-year-old daughter Alice played a big role in the wedding as well as the proposal. When John wanted to pop the question at Pizzeria Locale, Alice planned the surprise. She put the family ring, a cabochon sapphire with diamonds, in a mound of prosciutto.
The new family of six all sported hand-painted Nike high-top sneakers for the reception, designed by Tinker. Each person picked a word, such as â€ślove,â€ť and â€śtogether,â€ť that represented the union, and that word decorated their shoes.
Emily and John changed into more casual clothes for the party, including a sparkly white jumpsuit, and invited their kidsâ€”sneakers and allâ€”to get down on the dance floor for their first dance to â€śWe Are Familyâ€ť by Sister Sledge. â€śThe powerful wind that swept through the site before the ceremony felt like a powerful renewal, preparing everything and everyone with purity to move forward together,â€ť Emily says of the day.