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Fire Can't Stop Their Love

Vanessa and Matt had originally planned on having a yard game camping type feel to their wedding. They had booked Chris Park for June 2nd, north of Durango, to help give this wilderness spark to their day. On June 1st the 416 fire started north of Durango. I remember thinking they would get control of it and everything would be fine. Halfway through that day however it became clear it was not going to get under control and that there was no way Matt and Vanessa would be able to have a wedding at Chris Park the next day...

"...we were evacuated the day before our wedding. Our wedding day still turned out wonderful considering we came up with a Plan B and executed it within 10 hours. It was remarkable! We had a non-traditional wedding with our own touches and flare with Hispanic and Native American culture. It was a fun, dance crazy, loving and memorable time with family and friends from all over the country and Australia." - Vanessa (the bride)

I was so impressed with this couple. Not only were they able to get their wedding relocated, replanned and all figured out in less than a day, they did it under incredibly rough circumstances and with smiles on their faces. Many weddings were cancelled or relocated that weekend, but these guys were the only ones to end up in the paper for their efforts. They had already started setting up and decorating at Chris Park when the fire broke out, Matt (the groom) was stuck up there for a while before they could be evacuated out. Many of their guests were supposed to be staying at the Glacier Club that was also being evacuated and needed new lodging. They ended up having their ceremony in a local park and their reception at a local Elks Lodge. They communicated and coordinated with all their vendors and got everything under control to have an amazing wedding THE NEXT DAY.

I was amazed at how calm and collected they were even with some things still up in the air. Matt made his appointment at the Bookcase and Barber to have he, his father and a few groomsmen all shaped up for the day. Vanessa found a VRBO to get all her ladies ready in, and she was still able to put together a little gift and letter to be delivered to her soon to be hubby. (I love letters between couples!) Matt got adorably choked up reading her letter, you could see him just slow down in that moment and sink into the day.


"I wanted to incorporate both my Hispanic and Native American culture throughout the day. I had my dress embroidered with a traditional pueblo pattern at the bottom, very simple, I wore my moccasins and traditional sash belt, and I gave my bridesmaids/flower girls turquoise naja earrings. Matt and his groomsmen all wore personalized turquoise bola ties and pizza socks. My dad and my brother wore traditional ribbon shirts and their moccasins. In my bouquet, I pinned a brooch that was passed down from Matt’s great-grandmother to his mother.  The first drink I bought Matt when we first met was a tequila shot so it was fitting we had tequila bottles serving as water bottles on all the tables. And it just so happens our first shot as a married couple was a tequila shot."


Videography: Kara Cavalca Photo + Video. "Very professional and enthusiastic, she made the whole process easy and fun."

Ceremony Site: Rotary Park. "Close to town and such a large area for an outdoor ceremony."

Reception Site: The Elks Lodge. "A great centralized location. Our guests were able to walk downtown, if they desired. We also liked that it included a full bar & kitchen, restrooms, tables and chairs, and a stage."

Linens & Rentals: Durango Party Rental. "They were super helpful and understanding of our situation. They were quick, professional, and great to work with."

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