On July 8th, 2017, we celebrated our love with family and friends from near and far in the mountains of Colorado. It was a day of genuine love, happiness and hygge.
As we began wedding planning, we searched and searched for the perfect location for our hygge wedding. We decided that it was only fitting to bring everyone to the Vail Valley in Colorado, where our paths crossed 6 years earlier. We visited several mountain wedding locations, but only one felt right. We drove up a long dirt road from Minturn to the Tigiwon Community House, a Forest Service cabin in the White River National Forest. The moment we turned the corner and saw the cabin and the surrounding mountainous views, we knew we had found our place. The historic Tigiwon Community House is a cozy one-room log cabin with a massive stone wood-burning fireplace and views of the Gore Range. It was the perfect atmosphere for our hygge wedding - a mountain setting, beautiful views, and an idyllic cabin for an intimate dinner.
The ceremony took place in a shaded grassy area on the side of the cabin. We created our own personalized ceremony and recited handwritten vows from our hygge notebooks made by Koen's mother. The ceremony was truly a special moment of love & connection between the two of us and our family and friends. At the end of the ceremony, Koen popped champagne bottles with his closest friends and they served the rest of the guests. This gave us an opportunity to propose a toast - we expressed our love and gratitude and shared that our door would always be open to everyone. Following our toast, we were surprised with a personalized version of "Home" sung by my sister, her husband and all of our guests. Such a beautiful surprise!
It was a beautiful, sunny summer day so we spent the next couple hours soaking in the sunshine, drinking, eating bites, dancing and enjoying each other's company. In the meantime, our caterers were busy preparing the dinner and cooking over an open flame, which was visible to the party. When dinner was ready, we welcomed everyone into the cabin for a family style dinner. The menu consisted of fresh bread, a summertime beet salad, whole trout wrapped in prosciutto, and open fire roasted leg of lamb served with delicious grilled vegetables. All of the dishes were served family style, so everyone passed the platters and served each other. Bottles of wine were also placed on the tables and passed among the guests. Throughout the meal, in between courses, our fathers and siblings recited warm and entertaining toasts. Sharing the dinner table with all of our loved ones in this intimate cabin setting was incredible - it is a time that we will always hold dear and remember forever.
Following dinner, we all made our way outside for dessert, after-dinner drinks and cigars. We were greeted with a stunning full moon that felt like a universal blessing. We basked in the moonlight and then made our way down the mountain into Minturn. We arrived at the Main St. Cowboy Bar where everyone enjoyed a warm espresso or cappuccino from Delilah, the coffee cart, which was a much needed pick-me-up after a long day on the mountain. Once reenergized the dance party began and lasted until 2am.
Our hygge wedding was truly special, it is a day that we will always remember with warmth in our hearts. The build up before the wedding, the planning, the week of the wedding, the day itself, the days after and all of the small moments in between will be treasured forever.
How to plan a hygge wedding
If you're thinking of planning a hygge wedding, here are a few tips that we gathered from our experience.
1. This is YOUR day. Stay to true to what you find important as a couple. Do you love live music? Then, make sure to splurge on a band that plays your favorite songs. Would you rather the ceremony be more intimate and the party massive - then, invite just a few to the ceremony and all the rest for the celebration. In order to feel completely at ease and comfortable on this day, make sure it's a reflection of what you as a couple value and enjoy.
2. Plenty of good food & drinks. This is probably the most important ingredient for a hygge wedding - make sure that you and your guests are well fed and that there are plenty of drinks going around. Make it a true celebration & indulge!
3. Personalized details. We tried to include lots of personal touches to make the day even more special and show our guests that we truly appreciated them. For example, we did not reveal the wedding location, so our guests were excited and surprised when they arrived at the cabin. On the ride, a pre-recorded soundtrack was played with an overview of funny cultural differences between the Dutch and Americans. Popping champagne at the end of our ceremony and toasting to our guests was a reflection of us and a small personalized detail. We also hired a coffee cart and surprised our guests with a warm espresso or cappuccino before the party began.
4. Special wedding location. Make sure that the location is a true reflection of you both as a couple. You can have a hygge wedding anywhere - on the beach, in the mountains, in a church, inside, outside, or in your backyard - just make sure that it is a place that you both love and feel connected to.
5. Hygge wedding decor. A hygge wedding doesn't need to be expensive. We collected vintage blue & white plates for the dinner, did most of the flower arrangements ourselves and kept the decor fairly simple. Instead of ordering all of the decor from a rental company, personalize it by adding some details yourself. We decorated with lots of soft textures, such as sheepskins on the ceremony and dining benches and baskets of blankets for our guests to wrap up in throughout the evening. A hygge wedding is not about fancy details and perfection but about creating an atmosphere that will cultivate special moments throughout the celebration.
6. Family Style Meal. Our dinner was served family style and we loved the way this got all of our guests interacting and sharing. Because of this sharing atmosphere, the dinner in the cabin felt extremely intimate and comfortable.
7. Make time for Small Moments. Before the wedding, the morning-of or the day before, make sure that you take time to slow down and create small, special moments with your loved ones. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the big details and then you miss out on moments that mean the most. For example, get up early on your wedding day and share a cup of tea with your mother or best friend. Go on a walk with your future spouse the day before and just be together. Write personalized notes to your most important loved ones.
8. Plan wedding week events. We found it really fun and helpful to plan other events around the wedding. We had guests coming into town from the Netherlands and all over the U.S., so we wanted to make sure that we had lots of time with them and that they had a chance to get to know other guests prior to the wedding. We planned a 4th of July picnic, a Denver brewery bike tour, and a Rockies baseball game outing before the wedding and a Hangover Tube river cruise down the Colorado River the morning after the wedding. Of course these events were not mandatory but an option for our guests.
9. Splurge on an amazing photographer. We are so grateful for the beautiful photos that Alison Vagnini captured on our wedding day. It is well worth the investment to splurge on your favorite photographer. We are so happy that we have hundreds of photos to look through to remind us of this incredible day.
10. Go on a honeymoon as soon as possible. After your wedding day, you will be on a love cloud. Make this last as long as possible and go on a honeymoon as soon as you can after the wedding day. Tell your family and friends traveling from afar to come into town a few days before the wedding for extra time together because you'll be leaving!
Photographer: Alison Vagnini
Wedding Venue: Tigiwon Community House
Catering: The Gourmet Cowboy
Party Venue: The Cowboy Bar, Minturn
Flower Girl & Ring Bearer Outfits: Gray Label
Children's flower Crown & Bows: Huckleberry Bow Company
Coffee Cart - Delilah: Uprooted Events
Menu & Place Card Calligraphy: Ink & Root
Flower arrangement on mantle: Sacred Thistle
Sheepskins & Blankets: Hygge Life Wedding Rentals