Perhaps the ring I wear explains the mentality behind our wedding. I grew up seeing the ring my mother wore, without a single diamond or embellishment — just a thin band of gold worth little in terms of monetary value. But to me, the ring signified something priceless, a lasting love between my parents, a commitment they made to each other and have stuck with for 41 years.
So when Nathan proposed to me, he did so with a plain gold band. It signified his love for me, but also an agreement to live simply and focus on the things that really matter — not the extravagance of a fancy wedding, but a dedication to be faithful to each other in plenty or in want. We set out to create a simple, stripped down and intimate wedding full of meaning and nostalgia, one that would be aesthetically pleasing but allow the focus to be on our love for each other.
We decided on a ceremony with our immediate families and celebrated post-honeymoon with friends by throwing a summer pool party. We were wed on a mountaintop in Manitou Springs, Colorado, the town where I was born and raised. When Nathan’s friend showed us the location, we were instantly taken with the place. The views were breathtaking.
As the only people to have ever been married on that rock outcropping, it felt like God had made that place just for us. With such a naturally beautiful setting, we choose to add minimal touches. Our decorations were either items we already owned, finds from thrift and antique stores, or things we made ourselves.
Our wedding was definitely a DIY event. We did everything ourselves, with the help of family. The day before the wedding, the ladies dug up succulents in my mom’s garden to create my bouquet, Nathan’s boutonniere, and a few terrariums. My talented sister-in-law did my hair and makeup, and I sewed my birdcage veil.
Nathan and I both like to draw, so we drew butterflies and created our own dinnerware using a Make-A-Plate children’s kit. We had wood slabs cut at a lumber mill up the pass, and Nathan sanded and stained them to use as chargers under our plates. We had fun going to a number of antique stores to look for individual gifts for our guests. Each woman received a vintage handkerchief and brooch, and the men received various gifts like baseball card sets, an accordion, a pocketknife or geodes.
For our reception, we had an outdoor picnic by the lake, catered by our favorite local BBQ restaurant. It was at this restaurant that Nathan first told me he wanted to date me (although it was 10 months before I decided I felt the same). At dinner, we set out some of our favorite records, allowing anyone to dj the party as they pleased. My mom baked our cake, and I painted two wooden cake toppers to look like Nate and me.
Perhaps the most meaningful part of our ceremony was the time set apart to have our family gather around and pray for us. Marriages so often fail these days. We wanted to ask the Lord’s blessing on our marriage and acknowledge that our vows were not only made to each other but before a faithful, powerful God.
All photographs by Sean Flanigan.