I wish I had the words to express exactly how Lara + Dan and their New Year’s Eve pizza party wedding in Fort Collins made me feel. They held their ceremony on the last day of 2019—arguably one of the last days of normalcy before 2020 hit us all like a bag of bricks—and I’m happy I spent it with them and their people, dancing and laughing and drinking and sparkling well into the night and early morning. Once the clock struck midnight (and a round of cheers and kisses flowed throughout the room) we made our way outside in the cold New Year air of Colorado, lit up a ton of sparklers, and they signed their marriage papers: a celebration to end a year and an agreement to start the next one together.
Lara and Dan hold a very special place in my heart.
From the very start they made it clear to me that they wanted to throw a party for their favorite people and break as many unnecessary rules about traditions in the process. A wedding on New Year’s Eve with all the necessary sparkles and glimmer and bubbles as is to expected, but with the addition of pizza and vegan donuts and many cans of Montucky? YES.
They introduced me to A Practical Wedding (swoooon!) and have gifted me with understanding, kindness, patience, and friendship at every turn, as they do with everyone they come into contact with. I say this about a lot of my couples and I mean it every time, but it feels especially true this time around: I’m a better and more loving person for having met Lara and Dan. Their love for each other and every single person in their orbit inspires me to love harder and softer at the same time, while migrating ever closer to my personal truth.
As a testament to and in celebration of their wonderfulness, I’ll leave you with a few words Lara sent me after seeing the sneak peek images from their wedding (I also happened to get this email on my birthday, which was one of the best and most unexpected presents I’ve ever received):
“And so, as I’ve been dreaming about that day and getting excited for photos, the ones I was most looking forward to seeing weren’t the ones of our first look or first kiss or first dance (though damn did you make us look good). Instead, the photos I was hoping to see were the ones that documented the energy of the day and showed the spirit of the people surrounding us. And Caitlin, I am overwhelmed by this gift you have given us.
You have given us a chance to relive those priceless moments of smiles and hugs and holding hands and dance faces and donuts and so many inexplicable cans of Montucky. You have shown me all the joy that was surrounding us, the love that I could feel but couldn’t see in its entirety, because I only have two eyes and that energy was limitless. You have given us a way to make that day feel real—not now when everything is still fresh and sparkly in memory—but for later, when the wheel of time rotates again and things get dark and hard.
You have made those memories unshakable and absolute. You have made it so that every photo of that day is imbued with a little happiness magic. You have made it so that even in the darkest night, there is a spark(ler) to help show me that happiness is Real.
Thank you, Caitlin, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for having the eye to see a great photo and, more so, for having the heart to recognize a great moment. Thank you for working tirelessly on the requests for photos of groups of strangers. Thank you for ringing in 2020 with us. Thank you for being you. For being in my life. For being willing to make a friend from an internet stranger.”