Real Colorado Wedding: Melanie and Jamie | Independence Day Wedding

By Season Hurd | | Comment

Bride: Melanie, 33 – Environmental Risk Management | Groom: Jamie, 42 – VP of a Wine Importing Company
Date: July 4, 2015 | Location: Althea Center (Ceremony) and Tears-McFarlane House (Reception), Denver

I’m going to tell you a secret. I usually don’t fully read a couple’s questionnaire until I’m preparing the post. That is in part because I’m lazy and make most of my decisions on their photos. (Don’t judge…at least half of you go straight for the pictures on these posts! haha) But it’s also because the inspiration for my introductions usually comes to me like a flash when I’m reacting to their love stories. I don’t want to forget that by the time I publish later. In this particular case, I was richly rewarded for my procrastination and I want to share that with you. Right about the time I found out that he proposed with his mother’s ring I was getting weepy. But the sentences that followed, written with built-in suspense by the bride, gave me goosebumps. Leave it to a Midwestern farm boy to be so stinkin’ thoughtful and romantic. *swoon* Warms my heart on this snowy day.

Now while their engagement day more closely represents our current weather, their wedding was all about summertime! This fun loving couple had a patriotic Independence Day Wedding including all the pomp and whimsy you would expect from this festive day – right down to a parade through one of Denver’s historic neighborhoods! With their planner, Adrienne & Co., they created little nods to the 4th of July holiday throughout their wedding. The bold pink, white, and blue color scheme was used extensively to drive home the theme. Lots of craft decor, BBQ, and a live band brought everyone’s favorite elements of the holiday celebration right into their wedding reception. Did I mention the ultimate Americana artwork used as their photo booth backdrop? This is one theme I can never get enough of because the 4th of July is, without a doubt, the source of some of my happiest memories. I’m sure Melanie and Jamie feel the same way now if they didn’t before!

Their Story:

Mel and JJ met in 2012 while she was on a group date with another person. But that did not dissuade Jamie, who chatted her up after dinner. A series of adorable encounters of the next few weeks sealed the deal and they were an official item. “Honestly, the rest has been a blissful adventure!” declared Melanie. And that adventure would take them to a super snowy day in the Midwest….

Jamie had a plan. I didn’t know about this plan so exercising as much patience as I have (which admittedly is very little!) was tough. We were on a road trip to Iowa for Thanksgiving, which would be my first visit to Jamie’s hometown of What Cheer. It was a cold, snowy day the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It was very pretty but also very cold. And this was the day Jamie wanted to show me the town and the family farm? I couldn’t figure out why we had to go on the one day the weather was terrible. Jamie quickly reminded me I was from Colorado and he grew up there so we’d be fine trekking around in the snow. We got to the farm and it was 0 degrees with blowing snow. I followed Jamie around snapping photos but really just wanted to get back in the car. He kept leading me through the snow drifts, down to the pond (as I cover my face with my arm as much as I can!) and then I realized…this must be it! This must be the spot, as he would not make me endure this for nothing. This was his plan! It no longer mattered how cold or snowy it was, I was warm on the inside. He got down on his knee, in the snow and presented me with his mother’s ring and asked me to marry him. After of course saying “YES”, he described to me this special place. It is the same place his parents were engaged; he wanted to bring me to a place that was special to him so it would be special for me, and it was…it is. And then, we went and fed the sheep (and that’s my Iowa farmboy!!) – Melanie

The Details:

  • The couple wore custom Chuck Taylors featuring patriotic designs and their wedding date embroidered on them.
  • Their custom DIY photo booth included an “American Gothic” replica backdrop painted by Melanie’s mom! Super cool!
  • The pink, white, and blue themed wedding, inspired by the holiday, made finding the right flowers difficult. Their craft flower arrangements were made of pink Italian crepe paper peonies, white coffee filter flowers, and blue silk hydrangea for a fun homemade aesthetic.
  • Their talented planner, Adrienne Coffey, made lots of signs and banners for their guests. They were used in a New Orlean’s Style wedding parade between the ceremony location and reception venue. Love this idea!
  • Mel’s mom made programs that doubled as fans on the hot summer day.
  • The symbol of their day was a fireworks stamp with a heart at the center. It was repeated throughout their decor.
  • Mel’s sister performed an acoustic version of the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” at the ceremony and even wrote an extra verse for them!
  • The same band that played on their first date, Waitin’ on Ray, played live at the reception. Melanie elaborates, “They were amazing and played Annie’s Song (John Denver) for our first dance and Turn Around (Harry Belafonte) for the dance with my dad. They finished up with the ever popular Dick in a Box, which was hilarious!!”
  • Something Old: Necklace that Jamie bought her on their 6-month anniversary | Something New: Boots from the National Western Stock Show | Something Borrowed: Mother’s earrings | Something Blue: Blue sapphire tennis bracelet that she found in a parking lot!! | And she did have a silver sixpence in her shoe. <3

The Best Part: 

Hard to choose just one but one of my favorite moments was the wedding parade (a la New Orleans style procession!). The venues were only a block apart so after the ceremony we marched one block to the party. We handed out noise makers and had a Mr & Mrs banner. We also had a drone taking some still shots (but unfortunately didn’t turn out as great as we thought). Anyway it was the perfect moment of celebration when I looked behind me to see all of our friends and family marching with us! – Melanie

Venue: Tears-McFarlane House | Photographer: Ryan Brackin Photography | Event Planner: Adrienne & Co. | Bridal Gown: DaVinci via Amanda’s Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Anita Piper, Aveda Academy Denver | Bridesmaids Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Groom(smen) Attire: Calvin Klein via Men’s Wearhouse | Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylors (custom) | Rings: William Crow Jewelers | Cake: KareBear Bakery | Caterer: Yazoo BBQ | Floral Design: Love Letters Floral Design | Rentals: Allwell Rents | Signature Cocktail: Spuntino | Decor: Tablescapes by Design

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Cultural Traditions: Jewish Wedding – Breaking the Glass

By Season Hurd | | Comment

Note: I get so much joy out of posts like this because it gives me a reason to research and learn. But I am not a religious scholar! Even within this search there was a great deal of difference in translation and interpretation among my sources. I tried to keep things pretty general. If you have anything you would like to add or explain, I’d be happy to hear it. <3

I have had the honor of attending a handful of Jewish ceremonies (and publishing some awesome ones too). I find the amount of tradition involved to be very interesting and beautifully meaningful. While there are many distinct aspects of a traditional Jewish wedding, today we’re focused squarely on one bit: “Breaking the Glass”. (Astonishingly enough, I don’t see that this ceremony has a Hebrew name.) This act signifies the end of the ceremony in Western Jewish weddings. The groom (nowadays it may be both members of the couple simultaneously or a bride alone in the case of same-sex marriages) steps on a wine glass, audibly breaking it before the wedding guests. The crowd then shouts the Hebrew celebratory phrase, “Mazel Tov!” But what does it all mean? Well, like many traditions with a very long history, there are various takes on that question.

The most commonly held explanation is that it is an act intended to dampen the joy of the moment. But why would you do that? Isn’t that kind of a buzzkill? I again found several interpretations:

  1. The breaking of a glass has origins in the Talmud with a story of an expensive glass being broken to calm down overly boisterous wedding guests. A frequently quoted passage (Psalms 2:11) can be translated to: “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Most articles I read interpreted this to mean that one should never let their joy overwhelm their piety because it is in those moments when we forget ourselves that we are prone to sin. A really powerful example used was of a father carrying his child on his shoulders and dancing around. There is tremendous joy but it is only through his awareness/fear of the child falling that he keeps him safe from harm. (Beautiful no?)
  2. The destruction of the glass is designed to be a metaphor for the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. There is a verse (Psalms 137:5-6) that tells believers to never place even their greatest joys above Jerusalem. This may be taken to mean that one should never place worldly things above G-d. It is a reminder that the joy felt at that moment is temporary by comparison and keeps one’s spirit in check. Other sources say that it is also a reminder that no matter how happy things are, there is suffering and persecution of Jews in the world. The spiritual weight of the moment is enriched by the awareness of how precious joy is and how quickly is can be removed.

In this prevalent explanation, the “Mazel Tov” is simply the return to happiness from the moment of reverence. The breaking of the glass is by no means a joyous act, but a thoughtful one that draws upon heavy feelings. However, many additional interpretations are much more warranting of a joyous exclamation:

  1. One beautiful analogy involves the fractioning of the spirit into soulmates. Much like the destruction of the Temple (and the glass representing it), your soul was broken apart at your birth. Your soulmate was cast asunder and you spent your life finding your other half. The great sadness of losing your other half for so long becomes a blessing because it allowed you both to grow as individuals and truly appreciate your togetherness in a way impossible before. Likewise, the destruction of the Temple separated your soul from G-d and the pain of that separation will be understood upon reconciliation. (Source –
  2. Another symbolic explanation is the ability of the broken glass to be remelted and made anew being an analogy for forgiveness in relationships (including that of mankind with G-d).
  3. Some believers of Jewish mysticism believe that the sound of the breaking glass frightens the Evil Eye or that the act of aggression toward the glass redirects any ill feelings directed at the couple (such as jealousy).
  4. In some ceremonies, the Rabbi equates the numerous shards of glass to the hope for abundance in life or childbearing.
  5. “Another deeper meaning to the custom is recorded in the name of the Rozhiner Rebbe. The Talmud (Sota 17b) states that if a man and woman merit it, the Divine Presence dwells between them. Rashi explains that this is based on the letters yod and hey in the Hebrew words for man and woman. However, these are only two of the four-lettered name. Where are the vav and hey? The canopy under which man and woman are betrothed becoming one is called “chupah”, spelled chet-vav-pey-heh. The letters chet and pey spell “pach” which means vessel. When the glass (“pach”) is broken, chet and pey are separated, enabling the remaining vav and hey of “chupah” to be united with the yod and hey of the couple, resulting in the unification of G-ds name.” (Source –

No matter what symbolism is addressed during the ceremony, the remnants of the act will certainly become a symbol of your marriage. Various beautiful options exist for containing the glass shards during the ceremony. But it’s highly unlikely that you will want a bag of stabby things to take home as a keepsake. I found some really cool options for what to do with all that glass:

Jewish wedding glass keepsakes, breaking the glass keepsakes, mezuzah cases Decorative mezuzah cases: Left | Middle | Right

Jewish wedding glass keepsakes, broken glass keepsakes, break the glass ceremony keepsakes

Melt the shards into another vessel or artwork | Shadow box | Tree of life artwork | Encased fragments

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