Mountain Mayhem: A Colombian Wedding
Viviana Gonzalez (Vivi) and Kevin McGuire of Aspen took a trip to the bride’s native country to tie the knot last fall, with many friends who also traveled from Aspen for the happy occasion.
“One of the highlights of our wedding was the fact that almost half of the wedding party and attendees were from Aspen,” Kevin and Vivi shared. “So many people made it to Colombia, and it was so special for our families to see the close community that we have made for ourselves here in Aspen. It was also great to show our Aspen ‘family’ what Colombia’s culture and people are all about, we were thrilled that so many of them were eager to come and to celebrate with us.”
Vivi’s originally from Colombia and moved to Aspen in 2008; Kevin’s from Rochester, N.Y., grew up in Atlanta and moved to Aspen in 2016 after grad school. They work together at Cloud Nine in the winter; in the summer she works at Betula and he works for Pitkin County Open Space and Trails. They live in Hunter Creek in their home they had the chance to purchase through APCHA after winning the lottery on Closing Day of Aspen Highlands last spring.
The wedding took place on Nov. 9, 2021, at sunset at a magical venue in Medellin called Forest Campestre, surrounded by trees and tropical plants with long-range views of the mountains. Vivi’s cousin Nicolas Bahamon was the officiant, referencing the couple’s life story and incorporating different traditions such as a light blessing, where two candles were blessed and then passed to the wedding party and then to all the guests.
“Medellin is nestled in the mountains of Colombia, with spring-like weather year-round,” described the bride. “It’s famous for its flowers, cleanliness and public transportation. The city was reborn after a troubled history thanks to the proud and genuinely friendly and welcoming citizens. The service that we experienced at our wedding and in Medellin in general was commented on a ton by our friends and family. People from Medellin are called Paisas and they are known for their melodic accent and their hospitality.”
Other highlights of the wedding weekend included a ladies luncheon overlooking the city, a “chiva” tour — a traditional decorated bus converted into a party bus, a brewery tour for the guys.
The bride’s mom handmade several items for the wedding, including Vivi’s veil and the wedding cake topper, which was a couple of Grey Jays set atop an Aspen tree trunk-styled cake.
Following the ceremony was a cocktail hour followed by dinner. Kevin and Vivi had a first dance then the whole party broke into dancing until 1:30 a.m.
“The Colombians were surprised to see how much energy the Americans put onto the dance floor,” said Vivi. “We had a nine-person band that played all types of music including some American Rock and Roll classics. At midnight, we surprised our guests with the crazy hour. In Colombia this is a tradition to dress up and create a type of Carnival, playing old and fun songs. Kevin and I wore Colombian clothes and we gave our guests sombreros and ponchos.”
“Another special thing was to see the connections made between our two families, even though they come from such different places. Staying together in the big house, touring around together after the wedding, and just spending time together felt very special especially after a year where so many of us felt so isolated during the pandemic. Speaking of that we got so lucky that cases were low in Colombia at the time and almost everyone was vaccinated. This was right before stricter ordinances were placed in Colombia and the United States.”
Instead of a trip to Italy due to travel restrictions, they went on a honeymoon to Costa Rica for beach time, sightseeing, boat tours and more.
“We feel very blessed to live in Aspen and to have met each other,” the couple shared. Vivi added that she appreciates how he is “sweet and kind (and handsome) and is a source of peace.” Kevin loves how she “makes him laugh, is super intelligent and logical, thoughtful and kind and giving, and it goes without saying, incredibly beautiful.”
Best wishes to the newlyweds!
“Without any exception the worst snow storm known since the advent of the railroad west of Leadville has been raging over the crest of the continental divide since last Thursday,” asserted the Aspen Tribune on January 31, 1899.