Mike and Garrett married in Aspen, Colorado, on September 22, 2018, during peak leaf season. The wedding was at the Theatre Aspen and John Denver Sanctuary. It was a modern mountain wedding surrounded by beautiful autumn foliage. They asked guests to build a small cairn to symbolize love and marriage.

From Mike: We decided to incorporate cairns into our wedding theme for a couple of reasons: It was an easy way to bring in a natural element into the wedding. Cairns typically represent landmarks or help guide people on a path. For us and for our friends and family attending our wedding, we wanted to show that we are where we’re supposed to be.

The largest cairn at our welcome table was made of rocks we collected from various hikes, camps and travels that Garrett and I made in the year leading up to the wedding; therefore, it became something of a tribute to our adventures as a couple.

From Garrett: We got the cups from Denver Promotional Products and the base cup is the 16-ounce Campfire Mug in blue. However, the cairn printed on them was custom designed by a designer we found on 99 designs. The designer who designed the cairn was in the contest we had for the design of our invites and save the dates, but didn’t win.

We reached out to her separately to isolate the cairn design for us and utilized it as a logo for our wedding, but dropping some of the elements for the cup design like our names. Since we got married in Aspen, we wanted to stick to the mountain theme and an enameled steel cup is one of those vintage camping things that reminded me of camping as a kid. We have photos from guests showing us that they use the cairns, which was important to us as we felt that a guest favor should be something that guests can actually use. This is also why we dropped our names from the logo so that it would be both a cup that they could use at work or somewhere else and yet still remind them of the great time they had at the wedding.

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Cairns are often used as trail markers. They help guide you, especially when the trail isn’t clear. To me, that’s very similar to marriage. There’s no roadmap or defined trail for how to be a married couple, but I tend to think of one of the important things in a marriage is that you are generally moving in the same direction and want similar things from life. So the cairn can be like a goal that we have and we move toward it together. They help guide us along the path as a married couple.

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Photographer: Ashley Kidder

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Theatre Aspen

Florist: Olive and Poppy

Planner: Sweetly Paired

DJ: DJ Guy

Attire: J. Hilburn, Diane Reed

Catering: Occasions Catering

Cake Designer: Yours Truly Cupcake

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