Romantic and Refined Montana Wedding Day

February 23, 2023 BY: Bailey

“My now husband, Tim, and I fell in love with the state of Montana during or first trip in 2020. We stayed in the beautiful cabin on a frozen lake near West Yellowstone and it was the first time that my breath was actually taken away by the beauty of nature. The sun was coming up over the mountains and I walked out onto the frozen, snow-covered lake, and just dropped to my knees and cried over the beauty of it all. It was in that moment that I knew one day, we would have to have our wedding in the mountains of Montana. Fast Forward to December 2022, when Tim took me on path retracing our steps of our first date and stopping at the corner where we had parted ways on our first date. The very spot that I always tell people of the sparks I felt when our hands first touched and how I just knew this man was the one for me. He started by recounting our love story and right before he dropped to his knee, told me that right after we met, he had come across a poem that had resounded with him immediately. The poem was about a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering, (from “The History of Love”) and then he dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. And I gave him the biggest, “YES!” You know they say life throws you curveballs when you least expect them. And that is the next part of our story. Shortly after the happiest moment of my life, we found out that the lung cancer my Mom had been battling had metastasized to her brain. My sister and I immediately moved home to New Jersey to help my Dad care for my Mom. It was in this utter time of disbelief and heartbreak that my love for Tim grew even stronger. I held my Mom’s hand as she took her last breath on March 16 and Tim was there for me, as my rock, every step of the way. We had booked our venue, Rainbow Ranch Lodge, in January with our wedding date set for October 22, 2022. We wanted our friends and family to see how stunning the state of Montana was and to fall in love with the state as Tim and I had, and Rainbow Ranch was the perfect location. I knew our guests would do that magical drive from the Bozeman airport to Big Sky and then only be an hour to Yellowstone National Park. It became apparent that I needed a wedding planner as I realized it was April and the only thing I had booked was the venue. I found Heather Hagg online and she was a true god send. Heather got me organized and got me so excited for my wedding. We booked vendor after vendor. I had found my wedding dress at a bridal salon near my parent’s house while living at home with them, my florist was one of my good friends from college who runs a successful floral business in Colorado. It was all falling into place and I knew my mom was guiding me from above every step of the way. What we hadn’t planned on for our wedding day was it ALSO being the first snowfall of the season for Big Sky, Montana. We joke now that our wedding guests got to experience all 4 seasons in 3 days’ time as the week leading up to the wedding was in the mid-60-degree range and then temps began to drop on Friday for the rehearsal dinner and the forecast for Saturday was a slushy rain all day. My mom has sort of communicated through weather ever since she passed away. That’s a hard thing to explain to someone who hasn’t lost a loved one, but she really does. And I just kept talking to her asking for her to please make some sort of magic happen so there wasn’t rain on our wedding day. And my goodness, she really did work some magic. She turned that rainy day forecast to a winter wonderland that one can only sort of dream of. That DID put a wrench into A LOT of the plans for the ceremony and reception but the wonderful staff at Rainbow Ranch, along with my wedding planner, florist, photographer etc. really all worked together to get all the last-minute changes done to make it such a memorable and beautiful day. Heather’s husband even built a BEAUTIFUL wooden arch for Erin to work her floral magic on since we could no longer to the ceremony by the river by the pergola. I ditched my Jimmie Choo strappy sandals and wore white cowboy boots down the makeshift “aisle” which was half in the restaurant at the lodge and half on the covered deck overlooking the snow-capped pine trees and bright orange/yellow aspen tree leaves. The design concept for the reception was to bring the beauty of the outdoor surroundings inside the tent, with a mix of greens, neutrals, and pops of the autumnal colors. It was breathtaking. Tim and I had taken dance lessons and did our first dance to Etta James, “At Last”. And I have to say, we nailed it! My father and I danced to “My Girl” which was a song that we would sing to my mom everyday in her last days. I felt my mom and so did my dad during that dance. So, when the photos came in, I can’t say I was entirely surprised to see a gigantic orb right on my dad’s suit jacket pocket during that dance. We all danced late into the night and then were able to walk back to our cabins…in about a foot of snow at that point! It ended up being the perfect day and night and I know our guests felt the exact same way!

– Dawn, the bride

Planning + Design: Carefree Events Venue: Rainbow Ranch Lodge Photographer: Sierra Dawn Photography Videographer: Wild Rose Videography Florist: Erin Ashley Design Dress Designer: Monique Lhuillier Bridal Boutique: White House Bride Beauty: Beauty by M Maid of Honor Dress: Houses of CB Bridesmaid Dress: Vivienne Westwood Desserts: Sweet and Tarte String Trio: String Poets Rentals: Montana Party Rentals Rentals: Tailored & Tied Invitations : Jennifer Paper Stationery: Lettered Press Design DJ: Joe's DJ Service

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