A Rustic Fall Wedding with Western Charm at the T-Lazy-7 Ranch in Aspen, Colorado
Although both Carianne (Cari) Wilder (36 and owner of Kula Yoga) and David Eisenson (30 and head chef at Town) originally hail from the northeast, the Carbondale-based couple headed to nearby Aspen to throw a three-day wedding celebration full of Western charm to show their guests what Colorado is all about. That included a family-style hog and lamb feast, a processional to the sounds of a fiddle, Ariat cowboy boots and a reclaimed wood altar in a sweeping field. David even arrived to the ceremony on horseback. “It felt authentic to who we are,” Cari says of gathering friends and family together in the alpine village, to which David adds: “There was a real communal element.”
“It takes a big effort to travel to the Rockies,” Cari says of the thought she and David put to each guest’s arrival. The couple filled custom welcome totes with locally sourced provisions, including organic soaps made by Cari’s friend and artisanal granola bars, as well as an “altitude sickness prep kit.” Combining the welcome party and rehearsal dinner into one, Cari and David invited guests to a local haunt known for its modern-rustic architecture and rotating art exhibits for dinner, drinks and, of course, toasts. “There were certainly photos from awkward years that brought up some laughs,” Cari says of a slide show created by David’s mother and aunt.
The wedding day festivities kicked off with a ceremony in a field with views of the Maroon Bells. “We wanted an effortlessly elegant but rustic feel,” David says. Cari’s two sons led the procession down the mason-jar flanked aisle after the bridal party arrived by wagon and David by white horse. “It looked really cool from the top of the hill,” David says of his grand entrance. To honor the couple’s yogic lifestyle, the guests chanted a round of “oms” during the ceremony. “It was definitely a powerful moment,” Cari says.
As a mother of two boys, Cari wanted to wear something elegant and sophisticated, yet princess-like for her walk down the aisle. An Anne Barge silk gown with striped scallop detailing fit the bill.
After sipping Moscow mules and snacking on Island Creek oysters to the sounds of a bluegrass band, guests transitioned to a lodge decked out in string lights, thoughtfully mismatched floral and mounted buffalo heads. All weekend, Cari and David’s wispy florals blended burgundy blooms with orange and blush flowers. For the reception, peachy-garden roses accented centerpieces of hydrangeas, pieris japonica, privet berry and grasses.
As a chef, David wanted “dishes no one had ever had at a wedding,” so he called on friend and chef Philip Kendzior to create a whole-animal spread. The menu included mojito-braised lamb, spiced-apple-roasted saddle of swine, boar headcheese and hyper-fresh vegetables from Philip’s garden. “We heard from guest after guest that it was the best eating experience they ever had,” David says. “And that was the point!”