Adventurous Colorado Mountain Wedding

Years ago, after Bryan Schupp’s work took him to Durango, Colorado, he invited his girlfriend Tara Anderson to wander about the mountains with him. Against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks that reach toward the heavens, it’s no wonder the Texas couple fell in love. They drove along the jaw-dropping Million Dollar Highway in Silverton, explored the vast wilderness, and ducked into charming cafes in small historical towns like Ouray, Telluride and Montrose.

Knowing how much the mountains meant to their relationship, Bryan plotted a wedding proposal during a trip with friends to Europe. Once the couple reached the Swiss Alps, he dropped on one knee and popped the question. Without hesitation, Tara said yes. 

When time came to plan the wedding, there was no question that the event would be held in Ouray, a cherished Colorado town affectionately known as “The Switzerland of America.” This hamlet, named after beloved Chief Ouray of the Ute Indian Tribe, served as a popular gold-mining town in the 1800s. It is now home to quaint restaurants, cozy inns, and snug shops tucked in among hot springs.

The Beaumont Hotel was the couple’s first pick for the wedding’s home base. Built in 1886 at the height of the gold boom, this historic hotel has welcomed famous guests including Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, King Leopold of Belgium, Chipeta, widow of the Ute Chief Ouray, French actress Sarah Bernhardt, and media megastar Oprah Winfrey. Restoration by owners Chad and Jennifer Leaver has resulted in an intimate property that boasts modern comforts alongside well-preserved historical grandeur.

As seen here on Wedding Chicks

Fall in Ouray can be highly unpredictable, and weather backup planning is an absolute must. Luckily for Tara and Bryan, they awoke to the most perfectly crisp October day, without a drop of rain (or snow!) in the forecast. Their mountain adventure ceremony dreams would finally come true.

The bride and groom saw each other for the first time on their wedding day at the bottom of the grand historic staircase at the Beaumont Hotel. Before they knew it, it was time to dry their happy tears! Switzerland of America arrived with open-air Jeeps to whisk them away to the top of the Colorado mountains with their wedding party.

While the bridesmaids and groomsmen enjoyed s’mores at the ceremony site, guests bundled up and loaded into more Jeeps for a once-in-a-lifetime wedding adventure. The warm sun smiled upon the crisp fall day as the group climbed their way through rocks and rugged trails to reach a clearing staged for the couple’s vow exchange. Pop-up metal camping chairs rested in rows surrounded only by lush pampas grass arrangements and cliffs stretching straight into the sky.

 Guests were hushed to stillness when a groomsman rounded a group of trees while playing guitar. The notes danced through the air, piercing the complete silence of the clearing, and the ceremony began.  Wisps of campfire smoke drifted through the air as the wedding party entered.

Tara and Bryan began their marriage surrounded by powerful, serene mountains that have stood the tests of time. In the great balance of life, however, it’s important not to take everything so seriously – and just after the couple pledged themselves to one another for life, a lone dirt-biker ripped through the mountains, shouting an encouraging, “Woo!” After a hearty laugh, the couple celebrated their marriage with their first kiss as husband and wife.

The group returned to the Beaumont’s dramatic ballroom for the reception. The room’s deep mahogany paneling and plush emerald carpet were complimented by long banquet tables covered in floor-length sage linens. Dahlia Floral Design added lush rustic centerpieces filled with blushing bride protea and cascading greenery. Creamy ivory taper candles added romantic light, and guests found their seats marked by river rocks with white and copper calligraphy.   

Attendees savored a romantic, rustic dinner presented by chef Bertrand Marchal. Marchal lives one half of the year in Telluride, and the other in the south of France, where he leads chef-driven bike tours across the countryside. In spring prior to the wedding, Tara and Bryan cuddled up with friends at the chef’s plush mountain home for a special tasting dinner. Marchal entertained the guests not only with pastoral French comfort food, but also with stories of hunting for Chanterelle mushrooms in the woods nearby.

The wedding meal began with a classic Caesar salad with crispy fried parmesan. The groom is an avid hunter and loves wild game, so the couple was eager to add some adventure to the menu. The main course featured a hearty duo of roasted venison loin and juicy chicken breast with a fresh wild berry sauce. Simple yet flavorful accompaniments included celery root puree and fresh root vegetables. For dessert, Tara and Brian skipped the traditional wedding cake and instead opted for alternating dishes of classic crème brulee and bread pudding. Since the intimate guest list was limited only to the couple’s closest friends and family, the menu quipped, “Sharing is caring!” Partygoers warmed up with bourbon, coffee, and tea before the dancing began.

 After the best man and maid of honor toasted the happy newlyweds from the Beaumont’s historic ballroom balcony, DJ Nate Nelson of LeForce Entertainment turned up the Texas country music. Guests cozied up on the dance floor and at the plush Beaumont bar to celebrate the new Mr. and Mrs. Schupp long into the cool, crisp evening.

Destination Wedding Vendor Team: