A Magical Outdoor Ceremony Near Boulder, Colorado
Nearly four years after meeting at the Boulder Theater, Cristina Bordes and John Harrington found themselves back thereâ€”this time at their wedding, with 133 friends in tow. While their relationship came full circle at the wedding, the couple's engagement took place far away from home at a lion conservatory in South Africa. "After five days of 'waiting for the right moment,' John proposed to me in the prayer circle of the camp," Christina recalls. "The buildup for John was filled with internal drama. When he shared it, there were quite a lot of twists and turns leading up to the proposal. I was taken completely by surprise!"
After returning to the States, Christina and John started planning their wedding with the help of Heather Dwight of Calluna Events and decided to say "I do" closer to home in Colorado. They found Lone Hawk Farm, a working organic farm that's a short drive from their home in Boulder, and fell fast for its grounds, as well as its owner, Kristin. "It was incredibly lush with beautiful trees, grapevines, and an abundance of flowers," Christina says of her initial impression. "It was magical." After selecting the venue for the ceremony and receptionâ€”an after-party at the Boulder Theater was a given!â€”Christina admits that their vision evolved throughout the planning process. But on September 2, 2018, they ultimately achieved their goal, which was for their wedding to be the embodiment of who they are as a couple. "We knew from the start we wanted to get married outside surrounded by trees and for our wedding to really reflect who we are and what is important to us," she explains. "We also wanted it be magical, sacred, beautiful, fun, and filled with love."
The couple's invitation suite showcased illustrations of their wedding venue, as well as decor details (like feathers) that would later be used in the party's design. Each was also addressed with butterfly stampsâ€”another nod to the illustrations that were used in everything from the ceremony programs to the seating chart and table numbers (or shall we say, names) on the big day.
It took two trips to Anna Be for Christina to commit to her Berta gown. On the first visit, her friend suggested she try it on. "I fell in love with it but wasnâ€™t quite ready to commit," she admits. "I had thought I was going to get something kind of simple and this dress was just so overwhelmingly beautiful!" Yet when she returned with two different friends, both of them had a similar reaction. "When I walked out of the dressing room, one friend started crying and the other was completely speechless," she says. "I knew right then, without a doubt, it was the One!" The bride's entourage wore navy blue gowns by BHLDN.
Cones of flower petals were personalized with a touch of clover as a nod to the groom's Irish heritage. The couple also included the Irish wedding song in their ceremony, and the groom's wedding band was made in the shape of a Celtic knot.
"We wanted to have a ceremony in the round surrounded by trees that echoed the sacredness of the traditional prayer circle in which we were engaged in South Africa," explains the bride. To re-create that moment in Colorado, the couple's planner, event designer, and florist worked together to bring in a circle of trees, as well as Tibetan wood-carved doors, that acted as the ceremony entrance and altar. They also covered the space in rose petals and added two stone lions at the entrance (a subtle nod to their engagement in a lion conservatory). "The overall feel was beautiful, sacred, and in a word, magical," raves the bride.
In addition to creating a completely unique space, the couple customized their ceremony with special song selectionsâ€”like â€śHere Comes the Sunâ€ť by the Beatles for the bride's solo entranceâ€”and handwritten vows. "Writing our vows took some work but it was really truly worth it. We will have those forever," Christina says. "The very last line of each of our vows was 'I love you, you are my home,' which sums up so deeply how we feel about each other."
John wore a navy suit by Bespoke Edge, which he personalized by lining the inside with a map of the world. "This reflected his incredible love for travel," Christina adds.
Christina and John brought in a mix of lounge furniture so their guests could relax around the dinner area. They also set up a tent specifically for the groomsmen to hang, and a stargazing area for guests late at night.
"Each table was named after a place we have been that has special meaning to us and places that we aspire to travel to," says the bride. "Each table was given a symbol like an elephant, rose, or butterfly." The symbols were painted by watercolor artists at Jolie and Co., printed on escort cards, and then arranged in floating glass frames so guests could locate their seating assignments. "They looked like beautiful botanical shadowboxes," Christina adds.
Dinner was set at long farm tables below string lights that hung from trees.
The decor varied by table, as some featured luxuriant flower arrangements that ran the length of the table, while others had runners of moss mixed with flowers, fruit, and candles. Additionally, the newlyweds had their own sweetheart table, where they sat in a special love seat. "It was one of my favorite things," says the bride. "The back seemed to be woven of branches and again covered with vines and even a tiny blue butterfly. It felt enchanting."
After a dinner of bavette steak, rotisserie chicken, and blue corn enchiladas, Christina and John cut into a cake that featured three flavors (crĂ¨me caramel, almond raspberry, and vanilla).
The night ended as the band was playing â€śHey Jude,â€ť a song that is special to Johnâ€™s parents. "We were dancing in a circle holding hands with Johnâ€™s father and mother, and somehow all of our guests spontaneously took each others' hands and created a circle around us with everyone singing," recalls the bride. "As they danced in a circle rotating around us, we got to see the face of each loved one go by us smiling, singing, and offering us their love and support. It was an amazing and indescribable experience."