We met online in August of 2013, on the website OkCupid and talked for weeks before we were able to meet in person, since we were both traveling outside of the state. We texted, and then graduated to phone calls and then facetime, so by the time we were able to meet face-to-face, we were super excited. So excited that our first date lasted for four days straight and we’ve been together ever since!
Kelly planned the proposal all out, with a hike in our favorite spot in Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Half way through the hike, we settled into our new hammock that was a gift from Sarah’s brothers on the shore of Lake Isabelle. Kelly began unpacking her very secret backpack, full of our favorite rose wine and cheeses [the way to Sarah’s heart], and using a ring from Sarah’s grandmother, she confirmed Sarah’s hunch that this was, in fact, not your ordinary romantic gesture. Afterward, Kelly had a surprise engagement party planned with our closest friends and family in the spot where we had our first date.
Sarah is Jewish, so it was important to us that we incorporate those traditions into our day, while making sure that everything was meaningful to our relationship. There are not a lot of Rabbis who are willing to officiate weddings between interfaith couples, so we opted to have a close friend of ours facilitate a “Ketubah signing” ceremony and then the wedding ceremony itself.
We had a beautiful Ketubah [a Jewish wedding contract] created for us by an artist, but we wrote all the language ourselves, because we wanted to make sure that we both connected to it, rather than using the ancient, outdated text that’s traditionally used. We both signed the document, which is now beautifully framed in our home, and we each had a friend and a family member sign as witnesses, as well as our officiant.
Sarah wrote our ceremony and included several Jewish traditions in that as well, such as blessings given to us by our friends and family, breaking a glass at the end of the ceremony, and standing under a Huppah made from prayer shawls that belonged to Sarah’s father and grandfather. We also had a hora dance during our reception, where our friends held us up on chairs [and our parents even got lifted up as well].
Finding our outfits was definitely a stressful part of the wedding planning process, trying to find something that didn’t feel like it was insanely expensive and also matched our personalities and styles.
While Sarah was pretty sure she wanted a dress, she debated between wearing a casual dress that didn’t cost thousands of dollars and hundreds more for the tailoring – ultimately, she decided on both a traditional dress that she found on sale and a more comfortable casual party dress, because she couldn’t decide! She was thrilled to be able to change later in the night.
Kelly was torn between wearing a dress and a suit. Even though she always pictured herself in a wedding dress, her style has changed a lot over the years, and a dress didn’t feel quite like herself anymore. Because Kelly oftentimes has a hard time finding suits that fit her, we landed on a custom-made suit so that she’d have it in the future.
There were plenty of things that didn’t go exactly accordingly to plan on the wedding day, but we honestly can’t even remember them now! Our caterer couldn’t seem to stay on the timeline that we set, and we were glad we hired a coordinator for the day of the event, so we didn’t have to worry about that. We were also glad that we planned the day with some time to relax in the morning and then a first look before the ceremony, and it was really fun for us to walk around Vail together and take photos in so many beautiful spots.
At the farmers market in town, we stumbled on a Dolly Parton cover band where we had our “first dance,” our ceremony was on the very top of the mountain with sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains. We really loved taking the gondola down from our ceremony and having some time for the two of us to just take it all in.
Everything was really perfect, the ceremony and reception were both beautiful, the dance party was amazing, and the late-night pizza we ordered was a huge hit. We also had a park day the day before our wedding, with a BBQ and games by the river, which was such a great way to spend more time with all our guests that came from near and far to spend the weekend with us in the mountains.
Marriage means a commitment to one another for the long haul. Sarah is actually pregnant at the moment, so it also means that we’re creating a family together.
Needless to say, we are anxiously awaiting this next chapter.
Captured by Sarah Arnold