Lily Collins' Whimsical Woodland Wedding Lives in My Mind Rent-Free

Who would've thought marrying in a ghost town could be so chic?
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Aug 29, 2023

Emily may be in Paris, but some of us have never moved on from Lily Collins' wedding in Colorado. (It's me, hi.) In the world of celebrity weddings, we've pretty much seen it all: ritzy venues, gorgeous gowns, dazzling decor. But there's something—or, in all honesty, quite a few things—about Lily Collins' wedding day that live on in my mind.

Back in 2021, the Emily in Paris star wed director Charlie McDowell at a strikingly beautiful and remote log cabin resort in Colorado. The scenic alpine valley is also an abandoned ghost town, giving the setting an aura of mystique and magic. Adding to the wedding's allure was the bride's wedding dress: a custom Ralph Lauren gown with a lace hood.

All this to say, Lily Collins' wedding was something out of a storybook fairytale. Here, we look back on her big day and relive all the captivating photos and details.

Charlie McDowell and Lily Collins' Wedding Photos and Details

Lily Collins and Charlie McDowell got married on September 4, 2021, at the luxurious Relais & Châteaux resort of Dunton Hot Springs in Dolores, Colorado. The site is a far cry from typical celebrity wedding venues we often see, like historic European chateaus or swanky oceanfront resorts. Dunton Hot Springs is a restored, abandoned mining town whose last inhabitants departed in 1918. Located at the base of the Dunton Hot Springs, part of the land has since been converted into an exclusive resort, ideal for nature-infused weddings and thrill-seekers who love a good ghost story.

Besides the jaw-dropping venue, Lily Collins' wedding dress is another reason her nuptials live on in my mind to this day. The bride opted to wear an elegant, Victorian-era-inspired, long-sleeved lace gown by Ralph Lauren. The true pièce de résistance, though, was the matching lace cape with a hood that gave a sophisticated, bridal twist on Little Red Riding Hood's famed attire. Like, who would have guessed a bridal hood could be this chic?!

Playing into the magical vibe, the actress alluded to fairy tales in her subsequent posts on Instagram, as she revealed the splendor of the local landscape. "What started as a fairytale, is now my forever reality," she shared in one post. "I'll never be able to properly describe how otherworldly this past weekend was, but magical is a pretty good place to start…"

The couple's wedding venue has a 40-guest cap, so we know that it was an intimate affair. Collins' Emily in Paris co-star and real-life bestie Ashley Park was in attendance, as were the couple's famous parents. Collins is the daughter of famed singer Phil Collins, and McDowell's mother is actress Mary Steenburgen, while his stepfather is Ted Danson.

In an exclusive interview with The Knot about her 2023 movie Book Club: The Next Chapter, Steenburgen actually gave us the inside scoop about a special, never-before-told moment the couple shared on their big day. "At my son's wedding, he whispered something to [Collins] during the vows that none of us heard," she shared. "I loved that so much because they claimed that little moment. Much of it was shared with us, but that little moment was just between the two of them and I thought that was really beautiful."

With the help of Elsa Jagniecki from Heirloom Design, Lily Collins and Charlie McDowell transformed their wedding venue into a bucolic, rustic oasis. Clusters of wildflowers, vintage furniture, colorful rugs and ornate glassware decorated the outdoor space while the bluegrass quartet Birds of Play provided thematic ambiance. Adding to the earthy, early-fall aesthetic was the couple's wedding cake by Kelly Gray, which was covered in white icing and accented with a cluster of handmade sugar flowers in muted shades of orange, red, pink and ivory.

The couple's photographers, husband-and-wife duo Nate and Megan Kantor of Cedar and Pines, captured the inherent beauty of the abandoned and since-transformed destination. (You might recognize them as the pros who also captured model Taylor Hill's rustic Colorado wedding.) "We had the incredible privilege of shooting @lilyjcollins and @charliemcdowell's wedding this weekend," they wrote on Instagram. "It was quite literally a fairytale."

On Instagram Stories, the vendors added more details about the bride and groom. "Some of the most beautiful humans we've had the chance to meet," they wrote. "Inside and out."

Days after celebrating his wedding, McDowell added several notes about his new wife on social media too. "I married the most generous, thoughtful, and beautiful person I've ever known. I love you @lilyjcollins," he wrote.

Lily Collins and Charlie McDowell's Engagement Details

Lilly Collins and Charlie McDowell got engaged in September 2020, just before Emily In Paris caught viewers by storm. "I've been waiting my lifetime for you and I can't wait to spend our lifetime together…" the actress wrote at the time. The Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile star also revealed a close-up of her engagement ring, which features a pink cushion-cut center stone in a gold bezel setting.

"In a time of uncertainty and darkness you have illuminated my life," McDowell added on his end. "I will forever cherish my adventure with you."

The couple first sparked dating rumors in July 2019 when they were spotted together in Los Angeles. Collins confirmed the relationship a few weeks later on Instagram. "Always got your back…" she captioned a photo of herself hugging her beau from behind.

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