A Stunning Colorado Ceremony With Jewish and Persian Traditions
â€śIt was the most amazing weekend of my life, after the wedding weekend, of course,â€ť says Jacqueline Yaraghi of the proposal from Matthew Mezer during a staycation at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. Matthew, an executive oncology specialist at Janssen Biotech, had popped the question by wrapping the custom engagement ring in a handkerchief, one that Jacqueline gave him during his second deployment when he was in the military. â€śHe had kept it all this time,â€ť adds Jacqueline, a senior buyer at Safavieh.
There was no question that sheâ€™d say â€śyesâ€ť and no question that theyâ€™d say â€śI doâ€ť in Colorado, the state that served as home base for much of their relationship. Matthew, a graduate of West Point, was based in Colorado for six years during his military service, and Jacqueline would fly from the east coast to visit him. Itâ€™s where they fell in love, she says, and it felt natural to start their marriage there too. Plus, they wanted to show off everything that they admire about the place to their friends and family.
Planning a destination wedding is no easy taskâ€”the couple lives in New York Cityâ€”so they tapped Bluebird Productions to pull off the 200-person celebration. The decor was inspired by the surrounding nature, using lots of greenery and cream blooms, and day included Persian traditions in honor of Jacquelineâ€™s heritage. The couple found sweet ways to incorporate their family and friends, including a memorable toast by the father of the bride and a ceremony presided over by Jacquelineâ€™s cousin. Possibly the most incredible memory, says Jacqueline, is having all of their close friends and family sign the ketubah after the ceremony. â€śItâ€™s something we will never forget,â€ť she says.
Two weeks before the wedding, Jacqueline redesigned her Oscar de la Renta gown. â€śFeeling like the best version of yourself in the dress is half the battle,â€ť she says of the tulle A-line gown with 3-D appliquĂ©s reminiscent of Colorado greenery.
â€śThink of a dress that youâ€™ve worn to an event with the same dress code as your wedding that made you feel like your most powerful, beautiful self,â€ť she advises of dress shopping. She paired her gown with Jimmy Choo heels, a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace, and custom diamond earrings, a gift from her parents. In a sweet nod to her soon-to-be husband, she also wore all the jewelry that Matthew had given her.
Matthew wore a custom Tom Ford tuxedo with a pocket square embroidered with his and Jacquelineâ€™s initials.
Full of light and love and happiness, out in nature away from the hustle and bustle of our lives was the perfect place to start our marriage.
â€śFull of light and love and happiness, out in nature away from the hustle and bustle of our lives was the perfect place to start our marriage,â€ť Jacqueline says.
In addition to bridesmaids and groomsmen, the couple had 11 children attendants, who wore white outfits and for the girls, flower crowns of babyâ€™s breath.
The ceremony took place in a field at Maurin Ranch in Old Snowmass, Colorado. The wedding featured Persian traditions, including a sofreh table covered with photos and artifacts from the coupleâ€™s courtship, sweet treats, and crystal vases filled with white blooms.
Matthew was escorted down the aisle by his parents.
The flower girls and ring bearers all entered together. The flower girls carried wicker baskets filled with rose petals.
â€śIt was the greatest honor of my life, and I cry every single time I see videos of it,â€ť the bride says of her unique entrance. Jacqueline began her walk down the aisle escorted by her brother. Halfway, they met their parents, who continued her walk to the altar while a recording of Jean-Yves Thibaudetâ€™s â€śLiz On Top of The World,â€ť a song from the film Pride and Prejudice.
Jacquelineâ€™s parents embraced her and Matthew in hugs before taking their seats for the ceremony to begin. Jacquelineâ€™s cousin, Asal, performed the ceremony.
Guests watched the ceremony with some shade, thanks to petite white parasols.
Traditional Persian weddings include a sofreh table, which features items and foods thought to bring the couple good fortune and prosperity.
â€śI really canâ€™t describe in words the way that every single person at our wedding showered us with love,â€ť Jacqueline says. â€śIt was just incredible.â€ť
The couple wrote their own vows but didn't read them aloud during the ceremony. Instead, they had them printed on the ketubah.
The couple invited their close friends and family to witness the signing of the ketubah in honor of Matthewâ€™s background. Though they had assigned two specific witnesses to sign the document, everyone signed it anyway. Itâ€™s now one of the coupleâ€™s favorite moments of the day, and they have the framed ketubah hanging in their bedroom as a â€śreminder of all the love and support.â€ť
â€śWe come from different cultures and faiths and so we really wanted to combine our traditions,â€ť Jacqueline says of fusing Persian and Jewish customs into the ceremony. â€śIt was beautiful.â€ť
Your wedding should be a reflection of your love, and thatâ€™s what stays with people.
â€śYour wedding should be a reflection of your love, and thatâ€™s what stays with people,â€ť Jacqueline says.
Following the ceremony, the couple took a brief moment to do a photoshoot in a field of wild grasses. â€śI only knew I wanted it to be outside, in a field in Aspen,â€ť Jacqueline says of the guiding vision for the wedding during the planning process.
One special touch at the wedding? The children attendants and other small guests had their own play area featuring games, toys, pillows, and blankets. â€śThe wedding could be a fun playdate for them all,â€ť the bride says.
The tented reception featured birch tree covered tent poles and tall arrangements of greenery to bring a natural element to the covered space. Low arrangements of white blooms, classic flatware, and crystal stemware added elegance and sophistication.
The energy really hit a high when the couple was introduced as husband and wife. The musicians played a traditional Persian wedding song, and the couple broke out in danceâ€”so did plenty of the guests.
The reception featured a DJ with accompanying musicians, including a violinist, guitarist, drummer, and vocalist. â€śThe party started right there,â€ť Jacqueline says. â€śEveryone was going absolutely crazy. I donâ€™t think we made it through dinner without dancing.â€ť
â€śMy dad gave a speech that still gives me shivers,â€ť the bride says. â€śNothing in the world means more to me than knowing my dad is proud of me and the choices that Iâ€™ve made.â€ť
â€śIn 20 years, no one will remember what flowers were there or even what you were wearing,â€ť Jacqueline says of planning. â€śTheyâ€™ll only care about the life all around them.â€ť
â€śIt felt like my life was in slow motion,â€ť Jacqueline says of being lifted in chairs by the guests for the hora.
Jacqueline later changed into a svelte white Alessandra Rich gown with a low back and a bit of sparkle for the first dance to The Beatlesâ€™ â€śSomething in the Way You Move.â€ť
The father-daughter dance, to a Frank Sinatra song, was special for Jacqueline, especially after her fatherâ€™s touching speech.
Needless to say, the night was a party. â€śYou really donâ€™t know until you see it all come together that day what everything will look like, but with help from your planners, fiancĂ©, and family everything comes together,â€ť Jacqueline says. â€śAll the worrying goes out of the window.â€ť