Bitterroot Valley Wedding from Paige Jones Photography
December 2, 2013
Classic WeddingsTentedSummer Weddings
DIY'ing a wedding with 170+ guests is a ginormously brave undertaking and one that proves this Bride and Groom are so meant to be. Together they crafted their heart and souls into this Montana affair. It's a classic tented wedding in the great outdoors with florals by White Antler Flowers and festivities wrapped in the true essence of easy elegance. Paige Jones photographed all the beauty and you can see even more from the day right here in the full gallery.
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My husband, Fritz, and I met almost five years ago at a friend's birthday dinner. Since then we've traveled around the world (proposed to me on a hilltop in Florence Italy!), moved from coast to coast, and both started our own companies - together - and planning our special day was no different. Although at 170+ people, we considered our wedding an intimate event. Our prerequisite is that we knew every guest at our wedding and that those people had been active parts of our lives together. I was in charge of all the aesthetics of the event, while Fritz handled a lot of the organizational work. We opted to not have a planner, calligrapher, or even an event designer so our guests felt as if they were walking into our homes and experienced the details that are unique to us as a couple.

It was somewhat of a DIY event. Fritz coming from a large family, we enlisted his four younger brothers, cousins, aunts, and our close friends to help with the video production, paper suite, flower arranging, hair, dress alterations, our best man and brother singing our first dance to our friend officiating the wedding. I did my own makeup, hand addressed each invite, and had a lot of things custom made on Etsy. Even my dress was a bit of a DIY project. I purchased an off-the-rack 2009 Jason Wu dress that was a little big and a little too much "floof" but I saw my dream dress in it - so I hired an amazing couturiere to reconstruct it into my dream dress. The transformation was really amazing and now I have a unique one-of-a-kind dress. Maybe I will die it to wear again?!

We chose Hamilton, Montana as it's a city we discovered together, near where I grew up in Idaho. Living in New York, it's a place we love to escape to the outdoors to satiate Fritz's love for fly fishing, be one with the great outdoors, and get much needed r&r. I dream of moving there one day and I think after our wedding weekend, Hamilton has a lot of converts! Our guests probably expected a western affair in a barn, but we opted for the Daly Mansion as our venue as it was more our style with it's Gatsby-like charm. While my vision for the event was "a rustic Gatsby affair" I didn't tell the guests as I really wanted the event to look natural and modern, rather than costume-y. For the reception music we hired a 17 piece Big Band that played 1920's jazz, and I am pretty sure it was one of mine and our guests favorite parts about the wedding. We ended the evening with two hours of Motown spinning on Vinyl. The dance floor was packed until we had to leave!

The single western element was a horseshoe that our officiant had blessed for us by the Dalai Lama. We passed to all of our guests to bless them as well. For our guestbook, we ordered a vintage map of the world and had our guests "pick your home and sign your name" as we basically had guests travel from every continent but Antarctica. It will be the start of our vintage map collection. I didn't really have a color palette but I didn't want my maids in black as I knew having a black tie event most of the guests would show in black. I wanted to make sure that the decor and color palette was in sync with the Daly and it's natural surroundings. I am not one to have things too "decorated".

We were pretty relaxed about the details. One example was our flowers. I had no idea what they were going to look like until I sat down to eat dinner. I used a cut farm called White Antler Farms and could only cut what was in season. I only paid for my bouquet and a few other small details to be done by the owner of the farm as she usually doesn't do floral design, so I enlisted my husband's talented aunt to arrange flowers for tables. They turned out beautifully and better than I dreamed of.

Our cocktails and food were all inspired by the 20's and what could be sourced locally. The cake was a spin on Fritz's favorite cake as a child - dirt cake.. you know the cake with oreo cookie crumbles and gummy worms? Our cake maker landed on a sophisticated spin and made a gluten free top tier for me and other GF guests. We also had sweet and savory pies with salted caramel ice cream delivered around 9:00 PM to fuel guests to keep them dancing until 11:00 PM. I was surprisingly zen on our wedding day. Zero nerves and felt overwhelmed with happiness. Some of my favorite intimate moments were the first look, seeing my bridal party all dressed up in their gorgeous dresses, especially those adorable mini maids, and the crazy wind that picked up during our ceremony and swept away my veil. It was all so romantic and magical and a happy day I will always remember.