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COURTNEY + RYAN // intimate + playful elopement reception at Quail Ridge Lodge

A Love Story in Two Parts

Courtney and Ryan’s sweet wedding story begins in the middle of the Colorado mountains. They both knew they wanted an adventurous elopement as just a duo (aside from their dog as a witness!) before celebrating their new married status back home with family and friends.

young newlywed couple smiles towards each other with held hands centered in front of Quail Ridge Lodge

Bringing Colorado Home to the Midwest

One of my favorite things about their reception was how Courtney and Ryan infused the spirit of their Colorado vows into details throughout the day. For starters, their choice of venue with Quail Ridge Lodge was brilliant. It had all the cozy, woodsy charm of a mountain lodge, and standing on the outside of it’s grand glass front, you get a sense of that tucked-away-in-nature feel you might experience in the mountains. You’re surround by trees, a secluded lake is footsteps away and it’s beautifully quiet with the nearest street some distance away.

In addition to the setting, Courtney and Ryan tied in their elopement story by re-styling their wedding wear. Courtney modified her dress for the warmer midwest weather by removing it’s long sleeves, and Ryan ditched his bow-tie, and later jacket, for a more casual look. As a sneaker head, I personally loved that they chose to sport their custom ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ wedding converse again as well!

close up of grooms right shoe next to the bride's right showing their wedding details on custom match gray hightop Converse
Close up of young newlyweds in royal blue suit and boho dress with foreheads together
Far portrait of newlyweds smiling towards the camera
Chest up cropped shot of young newlywed couple nuzzling noses
bride and groom smile at each other while holding both hands between them far away
Newlyweds pull each other close and smile down to the camera below with a sea of greenery behind them
behind a bride and groom looking out over a small lake at Quail Ridge Park
Wide shot between green foliage of  bride and groom kissing in front a small lake at Quail Ridge Park
Newlyweds hold hands and walk away from the camera towards their glass lodge venue
Exterior shot of Quail Ridge Lodge, a wide A-frame style wood venue with a wall of windows above sliding glass doors
Interior shot of Quail Ridge Lodge set up for wedding reception with burgundy round tablecloths and white chairs
Bride and Groom lift their handles in celebration as they walk through the door into their venue for their grand entrance
Groom lifting his wife into the air as they walk through the door into their venue for their grand entrance

Playful Details at Every Turn

Within approximately 30 seconds of meeting either Courtney or Ryan you know they’re FUN. The kind of duo that’s constantly laughing and joking around. Their silly spirits were amplified surrounded by their tight-knit families (it’s instantly clear where they get it from!) but some details were distinctly them; Highlights include hilarious childhood potty-training photos on the venue bathroom doors and a ‘his and hers’ signature drinks competition to help finally settle the debate over who’s the better drink maker.

By far the best playful moments happened during dinner. When Courtney first approached me about an idea she’d seen for guest “photo bomb” pictures, I couldn’t quite picture the execution. But their playful crew absolutely killed the assignment! In lieu of a traditional receiving line, throughout dinner each table of guests came up to visit Courtney and Ryan at their sweetheart table and take a group picture, with one catch: they could pose however they wanted behind the couple, who couldn’t see what they we’re doing. Not only was it a great way to ensure a picture with each of their guests, but a fun print off to share inside each their future thank you cards.

Free-Flowing Laughter and Celebration

Even forgoing a traditional ceremony, Courtney and Ryan’s reception was filled with sentimental moments. After laughter-inducing wedding toasts, they shared a sweet first dance to Chris Stapleton before opening up the dance floor and patio for what felt like a mini family reunion. Guests freely bounced between the energetic dance floor and periodic breaks outside to mingle with friends and play lawn games. The weather was perfect, the signature drinks were a hit, and all together it was a perfect finale to their elopement love story.

bride and groom share a first dance in front of window wall in Quail Ridge Lodge
bride and groom share a first dance in front of window wall in Quail Ridge Lodge
wedding guests mingle on the outdoor patio

Dreaming of artful + candid wedding images like these?

I LOVE helping couples document their love story in their own way. To learn more about the unique wedding + elopement experience I provide, get in touch HERE!

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