We met in 2003 when we arrived at Eastern Oregon University for fall sports’ pre-season – Michael in his second year of football and Jessie starting her collegiate volleyball career and business degree. We immediately caught each other’s eye and it wasn’t long before it was official. After dating through college, Jessie headed off to Seattle to start a career in marketing and Michael ventured off to become a professional athlete. After 6 seasons of indoor football success (and #1 fan cheering), we both landed at home in Seattle, Washington.
Jessie’s insatiable need for international travel has taken us to all ends of the globe — from Tanzania to the Caribbean to Iceland — where we’ve created incredible stories for a lifetime, and hundreds of thousands of photos. On home soil, we share a love for the outdoors and venture out to camp or hike whenever possible.
Roughly 13 years after first catching each other’s eye in the EOU training room, Michael proposed under the tree on his family’s farm in Idaho.
Given our love for the outdoors and being in the mountains, getting married in Jackson Hole, Wyoming was a no brainer. As a “domestic destination,” we wanted to share these beautiful mountains with our family and friends to create special memories in a place that is close to our hearts. And what better place to make anniversary trips to?
Since this was a destination for everyone, we set up several optional weekend activities to ensure we had time to spend with all who had travelled to be a part of the weekend. In addition to the rehearsal, wedding and reception, festivities included a Snake River float through Grand Teton National Park (ponchos included) and a bon voyage Sunday brunch right off the main square in Jackson.
– Jessie + Michael
1. Sit down as a couple and discuss what your priorities are – that will help you determine what you spend money on and what you possibly cut out and how many people you invite. For us, photography and documenting the day for years to come was most important to us, so we budgeted to splurge on an incredible photographer and video crew. It gave us peace of mind, enabled us to enjoy the day and now we can relive our special day whenever we want!
2. Start planning the big things early (when, where, what’s your budget) and then gradually fill in the gaps with smaller details as you get closer to the wedding. Planning in chunks will make it more enjoyable and manageable. Pinterest is your friend.
3. To Wedding Coordinator or not? This was a big dilemma for us. It’s surprisingly a lot of money. Whether you decide to get a full wedding planning service or a day-of-coordinator, let me leave you with this…. you DON’T want to be directing traffic on your special day. And we wanted our family and friends who traveled far and wide to enjoy the day too. At the very least, hire a day-of-coordinator or a super-organized friend from work to know the plan and direct the flow on the day-of. Believe me, you will NOT regret it!
4. We created a wedding website using Square Space to keep our guests informed and a “Wedding Playbook” (nerd alert!) in PowerPoint to document the flow and all the details for our day of coordinator to reference. Psst – everything turned out seamless!
5. You’ll want to talk to everyone (and if you’re like me – please everyone), and that’s great – they’ve likely made an investment themselves to be there for the big day. But don’t forget this day is about the TWO OF YOU and starting your new, married life together. Make sure you have a moment or three to yourselves, soak up all your hard work and this incredible moment you’ll remember for the rest of your lives!