Sydney Burgess and Sam Patterson
By Meda Kessler
Sydney Patterson describes her summer nuptials in Beaver Creek, Colorado, as “perfectly imperfect.”
As a luxury travel adviser and self-described hopeless romantic, Sydney had high standards as she planned the destination wedding. She loves tradition but also wanted the ceremony to reflect her personality and that of her husband-to-be, Sam. The couple would exchange traditional vows, as they find them so meaningful. Sydney’s longtime friend Matthew Minor would stand beside her as her “man of honor.” “He stole the show, of course,” she says.
But life gets in the way sometimes, even for someone as organized as Sydney.
“We originally invited 200 people and planned a big blowout, but COVID changed everything. Four bridesmaids pulled out last minute, my sister wasn’t going to attend because she had a new baby, other engaged friends were eloping and postponing.”
Sydney opted to push forward with a smaller guest list and a positive attitude. “I decided nothing was in my control or worth losing sleep over. I was just happy to be marrying Sam, and our ‘inconvenient’ wedding issues didn’t compare to the upheaval going on in the world. I’m grateful it all worked out, it was better than I ever imagined.”
About 90 family and friends joined the couple at the mainly outdoor event in Colorado. Beaver Creek is also where Sam and Sydney got engaged, a surprise involving both families and planned by Sam. “For the wedding, since we were both born and raised in Fort Worth, we knew we wanted to get away.”
The stunning scenery — even without snow — and a chance to escape the Texas summer heat also made Beaver Creek inviting. The active couple love the outdoors, as does their dog, Stevie Nicks, a Lab who travels with them everywhere. The Park Hyatt resort also checked out as being ADA compliant for one of the bridesmaids — Sam’s adventurous sister, Jenna, who uses a wheelchair and was born with cerebral palsy.
Of course, come wedding day, Mother Nature decided to wreak a little havoc of her own.
“It was pouring rain the entire morning and into the afternoon of our wedding day. I was getting ready and looked up at my 82-year-old grandmother, who said, ‘We made it this far; a little rain won’t hurt us.’ This is the perspective that got us through COVID,” says Sydney. “We trudged one step at a time until we made it to our big day.”
The clouds did part and the sun did come out just as Sydney and Sam — and the entire wedding party — rode the ski lift for photos.
“It was sunny the rest of the afternoon, including for our ceremony and cocktail hour on the lodge terrace. We moved inside for dinner and, as soon as my parents gave a welcome toast, it started to pour again. During dinner the rain stopped, and a dramatic double rainbow appeared. It felt like all our loved ones who couldn’t make it because of the pandemic or who were no longer with us were saying, ‘You made it, and we are all here and love you.’ ”
Photographer Toni Axelrod Studios axelphoto.com instagram.com/toniaxelrod facebook.com/toniaxelrodphotography
Location Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, Colorado hyatt.com
Reception Splendido at the Chateau, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek splendidorestaurant.com
Florals Rose Petals, Vail rosepetalsvail.com
Bride’s gown Monique Lhuillier
Bridal Salon at Neiman Marcus Dallas-Downtown neimanmarcus.com