Gorgeous Outdoor Colorado Wedding: Sara & Michele
September 6, 2014
Sara and Michele met in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2004, while completing a post-graduate fellowship in leadership and service with the United States Golf Association Foundation. Although they were friends, they didn’t become close and start dating until they completed a week-long strenuous Outward Bound leadership course rafting down the Colorado river together with their colleagues.
After the fellowship, Sara moved to Ohio to attend law school at Ohio State University while Michele helped to run the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open in the Lehigh Valley, Pa. They lived apart for three and a half years but were able to sneak away to spend weekends with one another on a monthly basis. Once Sara graduated from law school, the couple moved back to Denver, Colorado, and then to Washington D.C. before making the decision to get married in the state where they first fell in love in 10 years ago.
Sara and Michele didn’t have a formal proposal. They talked about getting married, but never felt like the time was right. After the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional in 2012, they felt like the right way to celebrate the their commitment to each other was to legally get married!
Colorado was special to the couple as they had met there and spent much of their time their together. It was the perfect destination to celebrate their lifelong commitment to each other. Chautauqua offered an outdoor ceremony site with the flatirons as the backdrop, amazing food, and simple but elegant décor for the cocktail hour and reception. Guests could enjoy hiking and the property was an easy walk to restaurants and shops, and also featured on-site cabins allowing the majority of guests to spend the entire weekend with the brides.
Many of the wedding details held special meaning for Sara and Michele. Their seating chart included a map of the US with nail and string lines connecting Colorado to the locations where their guests came from. It now hangs in their house over their fireplace. The favors were colorful bags of “candy salad”. Sara’s family had a tradition of giving this to each other on birthdays as children.
The ceremony was made even more meaningful by the brides’ friend, Blair Bodine, who sang “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles. The couple’s dog, Tucker, was incorporated into the ceremony even though he wasn’t there physically. Sara and Michele rescued the awesome 7-year old yellow lab when they lived in Denver. They couldn’t fly him to the ceremony, but felt it was important to have him there in spirit. If he had been there, he would have been lying in the grass right next to Sara — so they thought it was fitting to put his face on a stick and plant him in the ground next to her. He also ‘wrote’ a special note to the guests. It was included in the program along with a word search that guests could do while they waited for Sara and Michele to walk down the aisle.
Reciting vows that they wrote together was one of Sara and Michele’s favorite memories of their wedding day. They were amazing. The brides cried, their guests cried – the moment was magical.
Asked to share advice for other same-sex couples, and engaged couples in general, Michele answered, “I think our advice has always been the same for everyone: just do what’s comfortable for you. Don’t feel pressure to follow any traditions (unless you want to). Just do what feels fun and right for you for your big day.”