A Romantic Garden Wedding at Highlands Ranch Mansion in Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Brittany Hayden (19 and self-employed) and Nicholas Link (20 and a banker) were high school sweethearts who also attended the same college. They got e

Brittany Hayden (19 and self-employed) and Nicholas Link (20 and a banker) were high school sweethearts who also attended the same college. They got engaged after two years of college and got married shortly thereafter in a charming garden-themed wedding, with shades of dusty blue, cream and blush at the beautiful Highlands Ranch Mansion in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The couple opted for food stations rather than a sit-down dinner, and they didn’t serve alcohol. Instead, they served Italian ice cream sodas with multiple flavor combinations. “We didn’t have to worry about tipsy guests driving home,” Brittany says. “And friends and family love talking about it.” When people ask “Why the rush?” Brittany says, “We knew what we wanted right away. We knew that we were meant to be together.” She admits that yes, they may face challenges because of their age (“a lot of our peers are out partying and aren’t working hard at a relationship”), but she also knows the value of “always having my best friend by my side.” Nick and Brittany support each other, laugh together, respect each other and work together to be “the best people we can be.” Her advice to other couples? Don’t get too stressed if a wedding detail isn’t perfect. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the tablecloths you ordered aren’t the exact shade you thought they’d be. This wedding is for you to have your soulmate by your side the rest of your life. This is the person who will catch you when you fall, the person who will continue to rise you and the person you'll get to experience life with.” And that’s a pretty amazing thing, no matter your age. —Chrissy Sorenson

The ceremony and reception were both held at Highlands Ranch Mansion in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The ceremony was outdoors, and the reception was inside.
Brittany's Nina open-toed heels, embellished with a bow on the back, were her something blue.
“We called our theme 'a romantic garden' and centered everything on this,” Brittany says. Invitations set the tone for the August wedding with a palette of cream, dusty blue and light peach-pink, mixed with hints of gold and glitter.
Brittany wanted her look to be feminine and romantic. She created the perfect satin-and-lace gown by removing layers of tulle from a ball gown for a dress best described as “between a ball gown and an A-line.”
Nick went above and beyond in his proposal by putting together a film with the help of friends and family that detailed different ways he could propose to Brittany. In the film, every idea he brainstormed wasn’t deemed good enough. His final idea? To propose to her “live.” He kept the project a secret from Brittany, then invited her on a double date to the local movie theater. When he got up to get snacks, the “trailer” of the film came on—it was Nick’s video. “I got to see him ask my father for my hand in marriage, which was really special to me,” Brittany says. At the end of the trailer, it showed Nick walking into the theater, and when the movie ended, Nick really did walk into the theater, get down on one knee and propose.
Brittany's dress featured delicate lace-cap sleeves, a keyhole back, a thin sparkly belt and little buttons down the back, leading to a train.
Nick wore a light gray suit with a blue bow tie, a crisp white shirt and a gray vest. The groomsmen followed a similar style, only without the jackets.
With a garden theme, flowers are a priority. Brittany's bouquet consisted of white and pink garden roses, pink peonies, baby’s breath and alstroemerias, a type of lily.
The bridesmaids wore knee-length eyelet lace dresses in baby blue; the maid of honor wore a darker shade of blue. Color and visual interest was added with slim gold belts and gold flats.
Brittany wore a sparkly headband instead of a veil because “it fit a summer wedding better,” she says.
Flower pots of garden roses were placed on pillars surrounding the terrace, adding to the garden theme.
During the outdoor ceremony, every other chair lining the aisle was decorated with a mason jar of baby's breath flowers.
A string quartet played “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake as Brittany walked down the aisle. The processional was “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates, a nod to a scene in one of their favorite movies, "500 Days of Summer."
The flower girl carried a gold bucket, scattered petals down the aisle and wore a modified version of Brittany's gown. Guests received paper cones of rose petals to throw in the air—as the couple walked by—during the processional.
Brittany’s dad built the ceremony arch, stained to the perfect color. Chiffon drapes were added, then the florist decorated the arch with garden greenery and flowers. To personalize the ceremony, the couple went with a play on Nick’s last name and nickname, “Link.” The officiant spoke about them “joining and connecting their lives together,” demonstrated by Brittany and Nick "linking" pieces of paper that featured their handwritten vows, similar to a countdown-to-Christmas paper chain. Guests wrote their own messages to the bride and groom on strips of paper and linked onto Nick and Brittany’s chain. “Eventually we ended up with a big chain that we can place on our fireplace mantel or Christmas tree during the holidays,” Brittany says.
Natural garden colors of dusty blue, cream, peach, blush and gray created a mix of calming and pretty hues for a garden-themed wedding.
Chalkboards were used to ask guests not to snap photos during the ceremony, show where the reception was, feature the seating arrangement, show the menu and let guests know about a sparkler send-off.
One of the reception decorations was a custom wooden board, stained to match the ceremony arch that Brittany's dad made. The board was inscribed with a CS Lewis quote: “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” The quote, Brittany says, “represented that moment in our lives.”
Rustic rafters in the ceiling didn’t exactly fit the garden theme, so chandeliers were incorporated to “tone it down.” In lieu of traditional lighting, the florist created rings of leaves decorated with hanging candles. These special decorations “made the space magical,” Brittany says. To add another soft, romantic glow, market lights were weaved through the rafters.
Round tables were decorated with blush pink tablecloths, overlayed with off-white crinoline. Chairs were crystal ghost chairs with white cushions. The centerpieces, naturally, were arrangements of garden flowers.
The four-tier cake featured a layer of Italian cream, decadent chocolate, poppy seed and another layer of Italian cream, decorated in icing that resembled flowers, lace eyelets (to match Brittany’s dress) and gold sequins. The “love” cake topper was ordered on Etsy.
Tables were set with small glass vases of flowers, gold chargers and candles for a soft and romantic vibe. The head table was decorated with a garland of baby’s breath and a wooden block, painted gold, spelling  “love.”
To make their first dance truly memorable, Brittany, who had changed into a tea-length gown for the reception—used her musical-theater background to choreograph a wedding party flash mob dance. She and Nick started the dance to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John. Thirty seconds into the song, there was the sound of a record scratching and “Uptown Funk” came on. Bridesmaids and groomsmen hopped off their chairs and started dancing. A minute into that song, just the guys danced to “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO. “Everyone thought it was hilarious,” Brittany says. After doing some “signature poses,” the bridesmaids danced to Selena Gomez’s “Come & Get It,” with nearly the same dance moves Gomez does in concert. To conclude the six-minute set, the wedding party came together and danced to “Bye Bye Bye” by 'NSync. “We’re still young, and weddings don’t have to be stuffy,” Brittany says. Other elements that showed their fun side? A photo booth, complete with silly props and a s’mores bar with toppings ranging from traditional (chocolate) to unconventional (bacon).
Guests cheered the newly married couple off into the night with a festive sparkler send-off.