A Love Story
Mark and I met at a church we both grew up in when I was 12 and he was 14, I know, crazy. Immediately when I saw him I somehow knew we would end up together. (he is my lobster) We liked each other on and off for years until we finally realized there is no one else in the world more suited for each other then we are. We started dating when I was 16, and 2 ½ years later, he proposed! I never saw myself getting married so young but it turns out that the cliche holds true when you know, you know.
How He Proposed
At the very beginning of our relationship, I told Mark that I wanted him to build me a canoe, as a joke of course. I mean who actually builds a canoe when someone jokingly asks them to? Mark does, that’s who. Up until this point, we didn’t talk much about when he was going to propose and I wasn’t expecting a proposal either, but when he started building the canoe I thought it was too romantic of an opportunity for him to not propose to me in it eventually. I wasn’t allowed to see it until he was finished, and the first time I saw it happened to be on the morning of my birthday… We headed out to a little lake in the middle of the mountains with his brother (who happened to be a photographer) and his dad, who was “just helping out with the canoe.” When we got out on the water, Mark was acting nervous but I honestly didn’t think he was going to propose. He reached into his backpack to grab a drink but pulled out a ring instead! Now just for reference, the canoe is 15ft long, so we were sitting pretty far from each other. He reached over to me and put the ring on my finger and we had a tight hug in our life jackets. It was the sweetest, most “us” kind of proposal, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
I wanted to look for my dream dress right away, I went to A and Be Bridal, all of the employees were so sweet and made looking for a dress so easy and fun. The dress I chose ended up being the exact opposite of what I came in looking for. I wanted a long sleeve, flowy dress, and I left with an all lace, mermaid style Pronovias gown- my dream dress.
When it came to the venue, I knew I had to have an outdoor mountain wedding. I came across River Bend wedding venue in Lyons, Colorado through Pinterest and when I saw it I felt a connection immediately. It is a 200 max guest venue with tons of open space with a big rock wall as the backdrop. YES PLEASE.
The small details of the wedding were the most important part to me, I wanted the perfect invitations, centerpieces, lanterns, rugs, and everything in between! I created my own wedding invitations when I realized how expensive it would be to custom order them, Mark and I spent two months hand- tearing each and every invitation and then I tied each one with string. WELL, we made 200 invitations because that was the number of guests we were inviting and I didn’t think about the fact that every single person doesn’t need an invitation… oops. It’s a wonderful thing that I married a forgiving/ understanding man because we now have 100 invitations laying in our closet.
Everything was coming together so well and it seemed like we were just cruising through the wedding planning process… my only concern was the weather, the one thing I couldn’t control. I checked the weather a week before the wedding and it said that it was going to pour rain, ALL DAY. I obviously had a mental breakdown and cried and cried. After I had calmed down I decided that it was going to be okay and to just roll with the punches.
THE WEDDING DAY
Sure enough, it was a rainy day. We weren’t able to do our ceremony outside and we couldn’t use a lot of the decor I bought due to the rain ruining them. A few tears were shed and I was honestly disappointed that it didn’t seem to be clearing up at all outside. After remembering that the weather is completely beyond my control and decided to be optimistic and not let it get in the way of having the happiest day of my life!
We drove to Rocky Mountain National Park for our first look and it was the dreamiest scene I could’ve asked for. The rain let up just long enough for us to have our first look and take some photos with our bridal party.
When Mark turned around to see me, my heart dropped into my stomach, I couldn’t even believe it was real life. Every single moment goes by so fast and it’s so important to let them soak in because the moment passes and becomes a memory sooner than you realize.
Create little moments that are just for you and your significant other are so important because so much of the day is all of the people trying to get your attention with photos and conversation that you don’t get much alone time. For our little moment, we drove to our favorite coffee shop in Estes Park and enjoyed honey lavender lattes and hid from everyone. Apparently, we did a great job, because our drivers left without us and we had to call multiple people in order for them to turn around. You’d think they wouldn’t forget about the bride and groom, but alas!
When we got to River Bend, everything was set up so beautifully and Kayla from Dahlia Events and Designs helped everything run so smoothly and made sure everyone was where they were supposed to be and I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I HIGHLY suggest at least a day-of-coordinator to help with the details of the day.
The ceremony was held in the tent instead of under the trees, and the rain was pouring so hard on the tent you could barely hear the song we walked down to. (I Get to Love You by Ruelle) My dad would not let go we when we got to the front of the aisle and he kept telling me in my ear “I won’t let go,” I couldn’t help but tear up.
I can barely remember what was said during the ceremony because I was just staring at Mark the entire time. We exchanged our vows, and just like that, we were husband and wife!
Right as the ceremony ended, the rain stopped for a bit and we were able to take all of our photos and have a bonfire! All I wanted was for everyone to have a fun time, and I believe they did. We had lawn games and limited the program of the wedding to 30 minutes to have more of a free for all the rest of the time. Growing up going to traditional Russian weddings where sitting the entire time is practically a rule, I wanted the exact opposite.
Food is one of the most important parts of a wedding and the food from Zolo Grill definitely did not disappoint. I love the fact that they source all local ingredients, it was a beautiful farm to table meal.
As the night was coming to a close, Mark and I snuck off to the dance floor to have our first dance, of course, neither of us can dance so we just held each other tight and swayed around. The rain started to get heavier but at that point, I did not care at all. By the end of the night my dress was ridiculously heavy to carry because of how much water it had absorbed. People kept coming up me and asking “aren’t you cold?!” “You’re going to get sick, go put a jacket on!”
But I felt just fine, it rained on my parade (literally), and it was the best thing ever. Marriage is so much more than just the wedding day. So no matter what unexpected turn happens on your big day, just go with it! All that matters is celebrating love with the people that matter most.
Photographer: Bekky Shindyapin, Full of Happy Photography
Makeup: Vert Beauty
Hair: salon cosabella (Maysie)
Caterer: Zolo Grill
Florist: Natalia Smetanin, Lena Russ
Invitations/ Calligraphy: Lily (the bride)
Day of Coordinator: Kayla Hinrichs, Dahlia Events & Design
Dress: A and Be Bridal, Pronovias gown
Venue: River Bend, Lyons
Formalwear: Men’s Warehouse
Bridal Party Attire: Jenny Yoo NYC
Rentals: All Event Rentals
Wedding Cakes: Kim and Jakes Cakes