I know this is a long post, so let me start by saying a big thank you to all of our friends and family who really made this happen. We could not have done it without you!
We live in California, but the wedding was in Montana, just near the Idaho border. Getting to our location meant all of our guests came to our destination....and then traveled down about 25 more miles of (only partially flooded) dirt road....in an area where no maps or real road signs exist (except for the ones we made)....just to make it to our location. We ended up with 75 guests and we are so happy all of you joined the adventure! We hope you thought the scenery was worth it.
Speaking of the scenery, our amazing photographers Shelley & Jaramy Freckleton of Freckleton Photography did such a beautiful job! I found Shelley on-line and fell in love with her photos. After meeting her and Jaramy, The Cyclist and I felt like we made two new friends. I can't say enough good stuff about them, really. They are moving to Denver, so all of you Denver peeps are lucky to be getting them!
Our location was Elk Lake Resort. Their official address is Lima, MT, but they are actually much closer to Island Park, ID (or West Yellowstone, if that is more familiar to you).
The owners, Craig & Lerrina were as equally amazing as our photographers. They were so nice and helpful! They did a wonderful job hosting our crew.
Elk Lake, or "the Ranch" as we took to calling it, has cabins on site. So, about 30 or so of our friends and family were able to stay with us from Friday through Sunday, the wedding was on Saturday.
It was great to have so many friends and family there because they ALL helped hugely with putting the wedding together. We wanted to do everything outside, so we had a tent brought in from Signature Party Rental in Idaho Falls (they also brought our chairs, arbor, tables and dinnerware). We used a plain old piece of burlap from Home Depot for the aisle runner....our friends set all of it up for us.
When I tell you everyone was involved, I'm really not kidding. One of The Cyclist's best friends, at our request, got himself ordained and married us! Thank you Rickie!
We put together some special baskets for our "cabin dwellers" and named each cabin for the people staying in it. Ours was The Honeymoon Hideout! Instead of baskets or throw-away goods, we used the canvas collapsible boxes from Home Depot to pack everyone's goodies in. I'm happy to know most of the guest's who scored the box still use it!
The property sits on the edge of Elk Lake, which was a bit too cold to swim in, but pretty still.
In the process of planning our wedding I discovered Etsy. If you haven't visited Etsy, you should! It's a collection of hand-made and vintage items from a bunch of different sellers.
Our rings were our first Etsy purchase.
Mine came from SingleB and is palladium and moissanite. I didn't want a diamond and I love the idea that the original versions of my stone were found as part of a meteorite. As soon as I found SingleB's shop I knew that ring was the one. The Cyclist's ring is from Minter & Richter Designs and is made of titanium, wood and turquoise. It's super light, it always surprises me when I pick it up!
I looked at Etsy longingly for a dress, something I always thought I'd have made specifically for me. My hips don't lie, I'm almost 6 feet tall and a short torso and long legs don't make me an easy fit. I went to try on dresses to get an idea of what I might order and to share the dress trying-on fun with my sisters and friends (so fun!). Surprisingly, I actually found my dress at David's Bridal! I was really shocked. My older sister picked it out of the catalog and the photo of it was totally princess like, check it out...
I thought there was no way it would work and then....it was the one! Minus the gloves and crown obviously!
This picture makes me giggle! The Cyclist wore a suit from J Crew and a tie and shoes that he picked. It makes me happy to have a stylish husband because shopping isn't really my thing. He's better at picking clothes for me than I am too!
It's funny, right after we got engaged The Cyclist told my mom and I that he imagined me wearing flowers in my hair. I had never pictured that, but once he said it, I could see it too. I had been spying a headpiece on Etsy and I was hoping I would find a dress that it would work with, thankfully I did. The headpiece was from Whichgoose.
Other than the headpiece, I kept the jewelry simple (as I usually do). I wore my mom's pearl stud earrings and a special necklace from my Grammy, who at the last minute was not able to make it due to health reasons - the only other thing I would have changed about the wedding if I could have.
The necklace is an antique poker chip. It's really cool, one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. The last piece I wore came un-planned with my little sister and maid of honor - a pearl necklace that was her mom's (my step-mom) who passed 7 years ago. It was so special to wear something of hers on my wedding day. Thanks sissy! I turned the necklace into a bracelet and I love the way it worked.
Speaking of that sister o'mine, she lives in Washington and is also not a shopper. Picking a dress for her was hard, but we found this Alfred Angelo dress that I ordered on-line from a discount vendor and shipped to her.
She is a seamstress and I, the lady-who-can't-sew-a-button, am not. Apparently the top was sewn funky so she had to get it altered pretty good, but it turned out nice. My favorite part of her dress was that it had pockets!
The Cyclist's mom (Nana) made our cute ring pillow out of burlap and pretty embellishments and in the family tradition, my mom made me a garter (one to keep & one to throw).
Our Save The Dates and Invites were from Ella Mae Designs on Etsy.
Ella Mae Designs did the whole save the date, which was a fridge magnet! For the invite, I bought the above pdf file and printed it onto invites that I found half off at Target. Unfortunately I forgot my transfer device to move my photos of the whole invite from the camera to the iPad today, so urgh, I'll have to update this post later tonight to show you how cute they are.
We bought the flowers un-arranged from Sagebrush Floral in West Yellowstone. My good friend Jaime-kins did the beautiful arrangements for us. I knew I wanted sunflowers and didn't know much else, so Jaime was a huge help in picking what would look beautiful and hold up. I'm so happy she was a florist once upon a time.
Thank you for all of your hard work Jaime! The flowers were beautiful. I really didn't want to throw my bouquet.
In addition to the bouquets and boutonnieres, Jaime also did our table flowers. The centerpieces were a vision of my sister in law, who is known on this bloggy as Beezlebum, but we'll call her by her real name, Christie, today.
I was at a loss as to what to do for the centerpieces. I tried all kinds of things, wicker balls, buckets, whatever. All of the centerpieces I came up with on my own were small, The Cyclist kept saying they need to be bigger, we have a big tent, they need to be big. I couldn't envision this, but I knew he was right. So, I called Christie and my sister Michelle and said "Help!".
We spent a day giggling and messing around and Christie and I came up with the perfect centerpiece. I owe most of it to Christie really. This was the thing that really got me being able to "see" what the wedding was going to look like.
I got the vases at Ikea (best deals on vases!) and we used long willow branches for height. Initially I bought the willow branches at Michael's, but then one winter afternoon I saw a whole pile of them in front of our neighbor's house - score! The Cyclist and I pulled up the Subie and filled her up! For the rest, I found them at our local farmer's market for a better deal than Michael's. We started with just moss in the bottom, but I later added the river rocks because I was afraid they would blow over without some weight (weather changes quick in Montana!). I also found the moss on-line cheaper than at Michael's (darn that Michael's can be pricey!), in fact I still have a huge box of it...I'll have to check Pinterest for some moss projects. It's hard to tell but there is a feather detail on each of the centerpieces, we found the feather sticks at Michael's. It was Jaime's idea to add the head of a sunflower inside each vase. In the end, I think they turned out perfect.
Our runners are a burlap linen mix that The Cyclist's mom sewed for us. Burlap is known as "Idaho Lace", so I was excited to incorporate it into the wedding (thanks Old Man Hunt for that piece of knowledge!).
Being people who love to eat, food was totally important to us. Initially we were going to have Craig & Lerrina do the food, but it was getting tricky knowing how many guests we were going to expect, etc. In the end, we did something I never expected to do - pick a caterer on-line! Because they were so far away, we didn't get to do a tasting. Thankfully some family friends gave us the thumbs up and the food turned out great. The Cellar out of Idaho Falls was our caterer.
Cellar House Salad - Tossed with a Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette and a Goat Cheese Crouton
Grilled Steak Medallions - Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Sauteed Vegetables, Red Wine Demi Glace
Chicken Broccolini Alfredo Pasta - Parmesan Cheese, Garlic Panko Breadcrumbs
The food turned out sooo good! We were impressed with the service and quality, it totally did not taste like banquet food at all. We had table service, so our guests didn't have to walk around with their plates either, which was nice. We didn't want to assign seating because we liked the idea of people mingling. We solved the problem of who ordered what by putting a card at each place setting that had a cow on one side and pasta on the other. We asked our guests to flip the card to the dish they ordered and it worked out great. We did have a kids dish; although The Cyclist and I aren't fans of kids menus, it was just way easier (and less pricey) to offer a kids meal ahead. Everything in moderation right? The kids seemed to like their chicken fingers and fries, so be it. Additionally, we did serve appetizers, but The Cyclist and I were busy having our pictures taken, which meant that Shelley was with us, so no pictures of those (and we didn't get to eat them either! bummer!). We were told they were great though.
For drinks, we collected wine over the year. We didn't want to stick to one kind of red or one kind of white. Living in Northern California means we have a large selection available to us at all times (and usually good prices). We set up a self serve wine bar and let our guests serve themselves, our caterers also had a bottle of each on every table during dinner. In the spirit of buying local, we bought two kegs from Lone Peak Brewery. Loan Peak is in Big Sky, but they brought our kegs to West Yellowstone for us so we didn't have to go so far. The owner's were great and they serve the best fish & chips we've ever had. Oh yeah, the beer was great too! For non-alcoholic beverages, I found these great containers at TJ Maxx. We filled one with lemonade, one with water and the other with my Grammy's famous iced tea, also self serve. All of the beverages were set up on the porch of the lodge, which allowed for seating and easy access to the bar if our guests wanted to purchase mixed drinks.
Let them eat cake!....Err....Let them eat PIE!
That's right, we served pie, not cake! We had a variety of pies all made by Lerrina (you can read about the process here) including huckleberry which is a signature product of Montana. I would like to mention we did taste delicious cake at Sweet Pea Bakery in Bozeman, but the uniqueness of Huckleberry pie for our wedding dessert won us over in the end.
Last but not least, we wanted to send our guests home with a memorable favor, so in the spirit of the huckleberry, we asked The Cyclist's mom (Nana) to make huckleberry jam as our gift to our guests. Nana makes a mean jam and I think the huckleberry is our favorite to date.
The jam jar labels came from Grace Printables on Etsy, but it looks like the shop is now closed. We found a fun fabric and added it to the jar for decoration, tying the labels with twine.
There is a big wagon on the property, so we lined it with burlap and some plants, then filled it in with all of the jam jars.
The party got started and we had a lot of fun. Thank you Mike for being our awesome Emcee!
Some of our guests had a beautiful view on the way out....
....and the rest of us sat around on hay bails around the campfire eating s'mores.
Here are some more great shots from Shelley & Jaramy Freckleton...
If you've made it this far to the bottom, thank you for reading this extra-long post! I hope that this can be a resource for other brides and anyone getting married in the area we did. Everyone we worked with was great!
Happy Anniversary Cyclist! I ♥ you!