Sunny, windy, and warm. Kayla and Alex's wedding day blew through in style and was 100% perfect. When I arrived to The Historic Crags Lodge in Estes Park for their mountain wedding, I found Kayla jamming out to tunes and smiling with her closest friends and Alex chilling with his guys in the pool room with a beer. There was a light-hearted feel of anticipation in the air.
As a Colorado mountain wedding photographer, one of my favorite locations for weddings (well, really anything!) is Estes Park. While it's often busy with tourists and crazies, it offers beautiful vistas of the surrounding peaks and little quaint hidden gems of history.
Kayla and Alex chose the Historic Crags Lodge as their wedding venue for a variety of reasons. They fell in love with Colorado and wanted to share their love of the mountains with friends and family who are not from the area. The views of the peaks inside Rocky Mountain National Park was unparalleled, and of course the Lodge itself is quaint, unique, and rich in history.
In 1880, sixteen-year-old Enoch Mills came to Estes Park from Kansas. The beauty of the valley filled his heart, and he spent many years working with his brother to establish Rocky Mountain National Park. Enoch "Joe" became a published author, outstanding photographers, English teacher, and football coach at CU in Boulder, CO. Joe and his wife decided to build a hotel on the craggy north side of Prospect Mountain one mile south of Estes Park. The lodge first opened to guests in 1914. Their room rate for two guests was $3.00 / day.
Kayla and Alex had their first date wayyyyyy back in 2008. Alex invited Kayla to have dinner; he asked her where she would like to go, she replied "I want pancakes". Alex was so consumed with their conversation that upon ordering their food, he said "that sounds good, I'll have what she is having" completely unaware of what he had just ordered. When the waiter brought their food, Alex realized he had ordered pancakes covered in sprinkles, whipped cream, and strawberries. So manly. Haha!
They were instant friends and completely comfortable with each other. After their pancake dinner, they spent the remainder of the evening riding four-wheelers together.
When it came time to make it official, Alex decided to propose to Kayla in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. They traveled out here to visit some friends and made a day trip up to Estes Park and into Rocky Mountain National Park. Alex had planned a code phrase with the friends and at the first pull-off with an incredible view, he parked the car and they all got out to explore the area. While the girls were climbing on rocks, he was in the back of the SUV struggling to get the ring box out of his backpack and into a jacket pocket. Ring finally secured, he joined them and said, “Have you guys seen that movie, Bird Man?” Kayla instantly said, “I hate that movie.” The friends knew this was the code phrase. They asked for a photo in front of the mountains and then were asked to grab a photo of Kayla and Alex as well. After the photo, he turned to Kayla and said, “I didn’t just bring you out here for the views”, dropped to one knee and asked her if she would marry him. Through the smiles and tears, she said "Yes!"
My favorite part of their day was when they stood back-to-back, reading their vows to one another just moments before their first look reveal. I fought back years as their eyes welled up and they shared their hearts to the other.
Kayla and Alex are a bright ray of sunshine, optimistic, and fun-hearted. It's been a pleasure getting to know them over the past year during this special time in their lives! Oh and if you missed their rainy engagement photos, you need to catch up here!
Kayla and Alex: your wedding was beautiful and perfectly executed. And those views! Amazing! So much heart-felt love to you both. Enjoy!
Venue: The View Restaurant at the Historic Crags Lodge
Flowers: Sola Wood Flowers (DIY dyed and assembled)
Cake: Happy Bakeshop