As many know, the 100-year flood devastated Estes Park this past summer. Photos of roads ripped apart by the raging Big Thompson River, homes devastated, families airlifted off the mountain, flooded highways and a town that was drowned by several days of steady rains. Many of us tend to forget once the pictures stop showing up on our newsfeed. We certainly had no idea what to anticipate.
As we climbed into high country, we were in awe of the mass devastation. Roads had been repaved, bridges over the river were being rebuilt, but landscaping that once took your breath away, had been forever changed. Large chunks of mountain sides were washed away, boulders the size of cars were sitting quietly near the roads as though they had always been there. Trees had been ripped out of the ground and gently placed on homes, areas that were once a small area to park and fish were now covered with trucks, tractors, lights and more for those there to help rebuild.
Kris and I drove in silence as we had a small glimpse into what once was the most amazingly beautiful drive to what now looks like a small war zone. As we passed condemned homes that had stoves hanging out of the bottom of the home or mattresses and clothes that covered another, it took us back 5 years ago to the tornado we were in just weeks before our wedding.
Before this gorgeous wedding even began, we were reminded at how amazing our God is and how thankful we are for everything we have. As long as you have God, Family and Friends, you have everything you will ever need.
As we made our way through the devastation from the footprint that the Big Thompson left on Loveland into Estes, we were reminded at how gorgeous Estes Park still is. Quiet. Quaint. Welcoming. All without a single person on the streets. Continuing on Highway 34, we weaved through breathtaking views of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Excitement of photographing at Della Terra grew with every mile we drove closer, until we were finally there!!
Where do you even begin when trying to explain the grounds at Della Terra?
Their site states: "Della Terra suddenly rises up before you, breathtakingly suspended, majestic, solid, yet magical. Nestled in the majestic grandeur of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, this extraordinary venue offers essential amenities and the perfect backdrop for every season." This is so beautifully stated, yet cannot begin to describe the pure essences of everything Colorado. Stunning, just amazingly stunning!
What a beautiful day we were set to have: high of 42, 9 MPH winds and sun! As we arrived at Della Terra it was sunny, 34 and there were 16 MPH winds that were supposed to die down shortly after our arrival. We were very hopeful for a gorgeous Colorado winter wedding!
As Kris and I walked the grounds, prepared our gear and started photographing, we were excited for the calming winds. Shortly after the bridal party was ready for their debut, the winds picked up with fury. Gusts ripping through at 20 MPH, chilling the wedding party beyond belief! With the girls in their gorgeous dresses and exposed shoulders, they were up for anything; barefoot jumps on the freezing pavement, runs back and forth to the venue to stay warm and did photos without coats even though their bride was okay with everyone staying warm! What a group!
The countdown of the groom seeing his soon to be bride arrived. With emotions high, as soon as his bride was reveled, nothing stood in the way of tears of pure joy! The day was set; photos were taken and the time came to GET MARRIED!!!
Guests were instructed to grab a hot cup of coffee, hand warmers and make their way out to the event of the day. With everyone wrapped in coats and blankets, bridesmaids wearing the groomsmen's coats and the bride looking like a snow princess, the 20 degree, windy weather would not stand in the way of these love birds!
Shortly after the main event, guests lined the path back to the venue for a congratulatory petal toss! Guest gathered back in the reception hall waiting for the official announcement of Mr. & Mrs. Tyler Murray and many grabbed another coffee or hot cocoa. Families that were once two now became one as everyone started getting to know one another.
An incredible dinner was served and glasses rang for another glimpse of pure love, shown through a kiss. Toasts were given and a consistent message of ensuring their love in Christ before all else was made clear by everyone. Christ was not only present, but living in everyone they surrounded themselves with!
As we closed out the day, we were yet again reminded why we love weddings so much! I don't think brides and grooms understand that although we capture their day, the footprint they leave on us is forever changing. We are so blessed that you allow us into your lives and even more blessed for the constant reminder that our marriage should be grounded in Christ, before anything else.
To Tyler and Jamie - we Thank You for allowing us into your lives and we're so excited to watch your love for one another grow.
Kris & Lindsay