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The Bride Wore Monique Lhuillier and Rasario to Her Summer Wedding at The Little Nell in Aspen

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Sydney Noelle

|Planning by 

Bello & Blue

While Danae Draeger and her brother Grant visited her best friend, Bebe, at school in Boulder, Colorado, they met for margaritas with Bebe’s then-boyfriend Mark and his best friend, Nick Pellar. Nick missed the introductions and assumed Danae and Grant. . .were dating. Once he understood the situation, though, “the rest was history,” as Danae says.

After three years together, Danae and Nick celebrated her 26th birthday in Maui, Hawaii. Danae is no morning person but at Nick’s insistence, she woke up to watch the sunrise with him. They walked onto the beach, and Nick dropped to one knee. “I was so happy I didn’t know what to do,” she recalls. “It was the beginning of forever with my soulmate!” They soon saw a turtle swim by and flip his fin up—an auspicious sign for all of the greatness to come.

The couple lives in the Rocky Mountains and have been longtime fans of Aspen, Colorado. Naturally, they wanted to exchange vows here at the beautiful The Little Nell. They enlisted Bello & Blue to plan the event and design the space. Sydney Noelle photographed the picturesque weekend.

For Danae’s bridal wardrobe, she thought about every look deliberately and considerately. She knew this would be, after all, a once-in-a-lifetime event—plus, she loves fashion. She chose a Rime Arodaky dress and MACH & MACH heels for the rehearsal dinner and welcome party. While getting ready for the big day, she prepared in a white Sleeper set before changing into her Ambrosia dress by Monique Lhuillier. “The veil was my favorite part,” she says. “It truly completed the look.” She slid into simple yet classic blush heels by Stuart Weitzman.

When all of the reception dancing neared, she put on her dancing shoes—white MACH & MACH heels—and a Rasario dress. All of her vintage jewelry came from her grandmother, Dee. She adds, “It was special to have a piece of her with me on this special day.”

The groom sported a tailored sport coat and slacks for the rehearsal and welcome party. For the wedding, he stood at the altar in a custom Hugo Boss tuxedo. Danae’s bridesmaids all dressed in various styles from BHLDN in the color Sedona.

On June 24, 2022, the magical and intimate ceremony took place at The Little Nell deck at the peak of the mountain. The backdrop was something from a film set, but the music by Oncue Entertainment was straight out of Bridgerton. The bride and groom wrote their own vows for the occasion. “Being surrounded by your close family and friends while you commit your life to your soulmate is an experience you can’t put into words,” Danae mentions. “I will never forget it.”

The reception followed with a world-class meal catered by Little Nell. Hors d’oeuvres were bounteous and gourmet—crab cakes with Old Bay aioli, mini lobster rolls, burrata, focaccia, chicken adobo tacos, Morbier grilled cheeses, and fried chicken and biscuits. Dinner was a choice between salmon, beef tenderloin, or vegetarian. A round of toasts and speeches came next, along with chocolate and Funfetti cake with raspberry filling and—the bride’s personal favorite—gelato. Guests ordered specialty His—rum and coke with a lime wedge—and Hers—strawberry margarita garnished with a fresh flower—cocktails. The open bar kept everyone dancing to DJ Dylan all night long after the newlyweds’ first dance to “Hold My Girl” by George Ezra. “Giving people endless champagne and espresso martinis at 11,000+ feet above sea level will set you up for an unforgettable night and a nice hangover the next day,” Danae advises. “We tried to help by providing mini sliders and french fries packaged up for guests to take on the gondola.”