During the last week in August, Ryan and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, packed up the Versa and embarked on a 5-day road trip through the southwest. Thousands of miles and 35 hours of driving took us through 5 states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. In Part IV, we continue our stay in Aspen and celebrate a beautiful wedding at the top of Aspen Mountain.
Saturday was the big day! The impetus for our trip was my cousin Brett's wedding at the top of Aspen Mountain and what an amazing day for a wedding it was! The air was crisp but warm and there was hardly a cloud in the sky.
My dad picked us up at the campgrounds and we headed to his room at Aspen Inn to get ready, then we met everyone over at the entrance to the Silver Queen Gondola. The Gondola is in the center of Aspen and normally operates as a ski lift during the winter season. During the summer however, you can take the Gondola for a 15-minute ride to the top of the mountain for picnics, disc golf, hikes, or just to take in the ridiculous views.
The morning of the wedding, however, it was only transporting all of the gorgeous wedding guests gathered at the base of Aspen Mountain. And as soon as we arrived at the summit, we could see why it was such a popular place to get married.
Dress: nha khanh // Shoes: Modcloth
The views were incredible every which way. I mean, the altar platform where weddings take place was just totally surreal with the pine trees, the flowers, the mountains and the clouds. It was like something out of a storybook.
After picking up some refreshing welcome drinks, we took our seats and waited for the ceremony to begin. The grooms' mothers walked them down the aisle and the second that Brett's future husband appeared with his mom, everyone started getting choked up. Then my cousin Brett and my beautiful Aunt Ginger headed to the altar and I was a teary mess.
My cousin, the handsome groom!
The reception started on the deck outside of the Aspen Mountain Club. After immediately making our way to the open bar, we had to laugh at the signage that was posted. The sign reminded us for about the billionth time since we'd arrived in Aspen that we were drinking at high altitudes. Shockingly this turned out to not be a problem for us practiced
Did I mention my family is mostly Irish?
Once the brunch began, there was no time to take pictures of the meal because I was devouring each course as it came out. The food was just so very good and we were having too much fun laughing and talking with my cousins at the table.
After finishing our main entrees, my cousin Shane's boys came up to the table to inform us that there was a trampoline that you could do flips on outside. I think that we were probably outside before they even finished the sentence.
To this day, I'm still not sure why this attraction was there or if we were supposed to pay for it. But the guys working it didn't seem to care. One of them even tied his windbreaker around my waist so that I didn't flash everyone. Good thinking!
Ryan and I each managed to get one flip in, but boy was it hard. Maybe it was my lack of gymnastic ability or maybe that high altitude drinking was a real thing after all - either way I got mega whiplash trying to land my flip.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur of food, drinks and family. We headed back down the Gondola and went to my dad's hotel to change again, then went to the Limelight Hotel where the newlyweds were staying. We ate pizzas at The LOUNGE and continued the celebration with everyone at the hotel bar.
Because it was an early morning wedding, everyone started to (understandably) crash early. Luckily, my dad and stepmother had enough energy to check out the Aspen nightlife with us. We stopped for a round of drinks at Escobar Nightclub, which I could totally picture as packed with ski bunnies during the season.
We lasted until a little before 11pm, when we had to call it quits so that my dad and stepmother could catch the final shuttle back to the Aspen Inn. Ryan and I called a cab to take us to the campground. For anyone camping at Difficult - it's about a $25 taxi ride from the center of town.
Way too exhausted to attempt a bonfire, we went to sleep immediately that night. On our last morning in Aspen, we woke up, packed up our site, and stopped at the entrance to take a picture in front of the sign. This took some trial and error with my camera's self timer but eventually we got the shot.
Check out Part V: The Grand Finale