A Relaxed, Rustic Wedding at Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado

Hannah Towle and Luke Barthelmess have known each other since elementary school, but lost touch when Luke transferred to a different high school. But luckily, when he was a senior, he transferred back and they reconnected. “I was only a sophomore, so we only had a few months to date before Luke went off to college,” Hannah remembers. The pair did long distance—and in 2015, when Hannah was a college senior, she and Luke headed home to see their families. “Luke brought me over to my grandparents’ house, by the pool where we’d first met as children, and showed me what I thought was another funny cat video on Facebook,” Hannah remembers. But it wasn’t a cat video at all—it was a montage of the couple’s family and friends helping Luke decide if he should propose!

The pair quickly got to work planning their July 9, 2016, wedding at Dunton Hot Springs, a resorted ghost town turned luxe resort, in Colorado. “I grew up skiing at Keystone and seeing brides in the village, but we wanted something more private,” says Hannah. When she and Luke visited the historic hot springs in southern Colorado, they immediately fell in love. “It reminded us of childhood camp experiences, traipsing through the grass and spending so much time outdoors,” Hannah says. They were inspired by the natural setting and rustic cabins and worked with Love This Day Events to create a romantic weekend-long celebration full of relaxed elegance and activities. Photographed by Ryan Ray Photography, check out how Luke and Hannah celebrated their summer wedding at Dunton Hot Springs, surrounded by family and friends!

“We wanted an intimate setting where all of the events were in the same place and everyone could be together from Thursday to Sunday,” says Hannah. Dunton Hot Springs can only accommodate smaller groups so they couple only invited 60 guests to attend. “It felt so intimate, and we loved it. Every single person there was super special to us," she adds.

Hannah was originally against lace (and especially an all-lace dress, at that!) but fell hard for her Anna Maier design, which featured French lace over a champagne slip. “I got to meet the designer while we were shopping, and he told me the story of how he found the lace in Paris,” Hannah remembers.

The stone in Hannah’s ring has been in her family for 200 years! Her grandmother gave it to Luke, who worked with with Single Stone to create a custom setting.

The bride paired her all lace dress with nude Aquazzura block heels, which were perfect for the grassy setting.

The bride’s bouquet featured a soft, warm color palette of Juliet roses, distant drum roses, ranunculus, viburnum berries, ivory anemones, smilax, and foraged greens.

“Our wedding was so small, so we didn’t do a big wedding party,” says the bride. Hannah's sister served as maid of honor and her brother stood at the altar with her; Luke’s brother served as his best man. Hannah’s cousins served as flower girls and looked adorable in linen dresses and flower crowns.

The coulple's golden retriever, Frisco, was dressed for the occasion in a garland of greenery.

Hannah made her grand entrance on the arm of her father as they walked through the property's grounds en route to the ceremony site.

The ceremony took place at Dunton Hot Springs’ open-air chapel, where Hannah’s grandfather officiated the ceremony. “He has so much wisdom and is so thoughtful and experienced," Luke says. "He really knocked it out of the park!”

After the ceremony, guests sipped grapefruit drinks while Hannah and Luke explored the grounds and took portraits.

“We had so much fun doing portraits after the ceremony that, when we got to the reception, we’d missed cocktail hour and guests were already on their first course," says the bride, laughing.

The reception took place inside the venue’s dance hall. The tables were topped with cheesecloth runners, garlands of smilax, and clusters of ranunculus and roses in shades of peach. Copper flatware flanked white chargers, which were topped with gray napkins and printed menus.

The fresh local menu included a San Juan nettle soup, topped with pancetta and Meyer lemon crème fraîche, a melon and heirloom tomato salad with applewood smoked chevre, and a choice of pan seared wagyu filet mignon or Colorado trout en papillote with foraged berries. “Some of the ingredients even came from right on the property!” says the bride.

Hannah loved the idea of three large tables instead of smaller ones, which gave the reception the feel of a medieval banquet. “Instead of sectioning people off, it was all about togetherness,” she says. “After a few days together, it was so cool to get to our reception and see people who hadn’t known each other beforehand just having the greatest time together, deep in conversation. That’s the whole reason we did it this way.”

The couple's semi-naked cake featured layers of lemon lavender cake, filled with vanilla Bavarian and brown butter cream.

At the end of the night, as the DJ started playing “Firework” by Katy Perry, guests headed to the deck with sparklers. To their surprise, all of a sudden, a firework display started! “My parents had planned it as a surprise, we had no idea!” says Hannah. And after a whirlwind weekend and months spent planning their intimate celebration, the bride has this to say: “Spend time thinking about how you want people to feel by the time your wedding comes to an end, and use that as inspiration for your celebration. And hire a wedding planner or coordinator—it’s so worth it!”

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