From the Bride...My husband and I both wanted a simple, affordable wedding, something “no fuss and no muss” that represented our personalities. When we sat down to talk about our wedding, three priorities were set: stay within our $10,000 budget, a small enough wedding that would focus on family and community rather than on ourselves, and a wedding full of pretty handmade details that not only represented our personalities but told a story as well. We managed to keep those goals, except for maybe the “no fuss,” bit.
Choosing our location was easy enough. I had always wanted to get married on a desert island with very few people around. Since the desert island was most certainly out of our $10,000 wedding budget, I compromised when Ben suggested the Greater Yellowstone Area. Both Ben and I grew up out West. His parents live in West Yellowstone for the summer and most of Ben’s fondest childhood memories are from his summers up there. The decision was really a no brainer. West Yellowstone was far enough away to feel reclusive like a desert island and it was most certainly beautiful, but I still had the added benefit of a wedding near a small-town home. We lucked into our location at Harriman State Park with its absolutely stunning views and shockingly affordable prices. With Harriman, we were able to not only invite our nearest and dearest to come spend the day celebrating with us, but we were able to invite them to come spend a whole holiday weekend with us. We got to see all of our 45 guests the day of our wedding, and we got to spend the two days leading up to the wedding sitting down and catching up with those family and friends. We tried out best to make the weekend an unforgettable and fun vacation for our guests. We even did away with having the caterer or a buffet serve our guests dinner and took on the job ourselves. They were our guests after all, why wouldn’t we take the time to serve each and every one of them their dinner?
The rest of our other major planning components, the caterer, the flowers, the minister, the chairs, all came from my mother-in-law’s friends and acquaintances in town. The small town of West Yellowstone—population of about 1,511—really came through for us. It seemed like every time I turned around someone asked about our wedding or was offering to help in some fashion. People loaned us towels, sheets, and pillows (one of the houses at the ranch didn’t have any). A few friends offered up their houses for any guests who planned on coming early or staying after the wedding weekend. One friend even offered to take care of anyone who got sick during the weekend (thankfully no one did). Our caterer gave us an excellent deal and cooked some of the best food I’ve ever had. And our small town florist created arrangements that rivaled those of big time city florists for probably half the price. Without the help of the community of West Yellowstone, we more than likely would have blown our budget. Their support gave us yet another reason to appreciate the importance of community.
There were so many small and large details that went into our wedding weekend. Each small part of our wedding has a special memory or story attached to it. The strings of cranes and water bombs would never have been completed if our girlfriends hadn’t come together to help us string them at the last-minute. The escort cards would never have been finished if our maid of honor’s sister didn’t sit up into the wee hours of the morning with me learning how to fold cranes, and they would have never been displayed or handed out if our groomsman’s family didn’t pitch in to help put everything together the day of the wedding. As I look back now, what I remember most is not the breathtaking scenery of the countryside that surrounded us or the flowers or decorations or any of the other components that went in to the actual wedding. What I remember most is the loving community that surrounded us that weekend. We ended up getting exactly the kind of wedding we wanted. We came in within our wedding budget. We had a small intimate wedding with 45 guests. And our guests were involved in pretty much every small detail and memory that made our wedding the special event that it was.
Wedding Photography: Jodi and Kurt of Jodi Miller Photography / Venue: Harriman Ranch State Park / Florist: Sagebrush Floral / Caterer: High Altitude Catering / Wedding Cake: Bonnnie Hansen (Family Friend) / Reception Dress: Bygones Vintage Clothing / Hairpiece: Fiber & Stone / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew / Bow Ties: Divine Domestication / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Bridesmaid Necklaces: Margiezbeadz (Stephanie’s Grandma) / Officiant: Rev. Benn McCracken / Invitations, Origami + Flower Pots: The Bride + Groom / Centerpiece Dish Towels: Anthropologie