Friday, August 14, 2015

{Montana Bride Featured E-Session} Meagan + Tim | Missoula MT

Tim and I met in 2014 not long after I relocated to Las Vegas from the East Coast. I didn’t know anyone in the area, and I had a very demanding job at the time. So, I decided to try the online dating thing ( I can’t believe I did that). I met Tim about 3 weeks after moving, and thought the date was going to be a bust, after I was pulled over by a cop on the way there. I was so late to the date that I thought he would have left. BUT surprisingly enough, Tim was waiting at the entrance for me. I was shocked. After talking to him for a bit, I thought he was a sweet guy, but wasn’t sure he was the guy for me. So after the date, we shook hands goodbye and I thought that would be the last time I saw him. Tim was very persistent, and through lots of calls and texts later, I agreed to go on another date with him, and man am I glad I did. With each date, I begin to fall for Tim more and more (I know so cliché) I realized how down to earth he was, and how selfless, and thoughtful he was. And he wasn’t this way to just me, it was anyone he came in contacted with. He genuinely had a kind soul. I knew I loved Tim when he brought me home to Montana for the first time to meet his family. Seeing how he interacted with his siblings and his parents melted my heart. Not only did that do it, but our returning flight home had been cancelled. I was so upset because I had an event to be at the next morning for work, and my dog had been pinned up all day, and my sitter left to go out of town for the rest of the week. My poor animal would be pinned up for over 18 hrs without food, and my apartment complex wouldn’t let anyone else in the apartment without me being there. Tim bought me a full priced last minute one way ticket back the next morning and stayed behind until another flight was available for him to fly standby on. What a gem!

A few more months went by, and Tim and I decided to take a spur the moment trip to Seattle (which is where Tim is originally from). He had the whole weekend planned. Much to our luck, the weather was beautiful! Sunny, and clear skies (weird for Seattle right?) Tim took me all over the city – Pikes Market, Century Link Field, and down by the pier. He started acting really anxious and antsy. We decided to walk down the pier and put our name in for dinner at Fisherman's right on the water. It was PACKED (and Tim gets nervous around big crowds). We walked out by the pier, and after adjusting where we were standing about 15 times, we found a spot by the Great Wheel which is where Tim dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He stated that from our first date that he knew I was the girl he was going to marry. Little did I know he already had reservations made at the restaurant we had put our name in at and had champagne waiting! (Good thing I said yes).


When it came time to picking our wedding venue there was no second guessing – we were going to get married in Montana. It actually ended up working out because we relocated to Missoula about 2 months before the wedding (what were we thinking relocating, buying a house, and getting married in a two month period). Ironically, Montana bride helped us tremendously when planning our wedding. We found our venue (BruMar Estate) our cake lady (Patti Cakes) and our DJ!  We did A LOT of research on photographers before picking one, and there was just something about Dax’s style that we fell in love with. He didn’t just take pictures. He seemed to really capture the emotion in all of his subjects. Especially weddings and engagement.  Tim and I wanted to do something fun with our engagement photos - So we combined our love for vintage themes and aviation together! We laughed the entire time. I will admit, it was quite chilly doing this and I was FREEZING in a lot of these photos because of the storm rolling in but it was worth it. In fact, the Director of the airport actually shut down one of the runways entirely so we could get these shots! We partnered with the national forest service and we were able to use some of their planes as props for our photos too! All in all it was amazing and I think our pictures really tell a love story. 

If I could brides any tips about their engagement session I would say get creative. Don’t worry about all the specific poses and shots. Let the photographer handle that and just go with it. The more fun you have the better your pictures will look. Use props! I think it’s fun having a theme. Dress up, and enjoy the moment. Don’t worry about the weather being perfect either. The pictures actually turn out so much better when there is a little bit of wind, or if there are some clouds in the sky. Or maybe right after a fresh downpour. I know these pictures aren’t our wedding photos, and I know the information is about engagement, but through my wedding planning, that is one thing I wish more places would have posted things about. Engagement pictures set the tone of the rest of your planning and wedding. People use these pictures to put on their save the dates and invites and they are just as important! Knowing how soon to get them done, having extra outfits to change into, bringing some makeup for touch ups, etc.


 Photography by Dax Photography

Monday, August 3, 2015

{Featured Montana Bride Wedding} Kelsey + Derrick | Big Fork, Montana

How we met
We met in Chicago in January 2010. I was a journalism grad student at Northwestern University, originally from Conrad, Montana, and he had recently moved to the city for his first finance job from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I had organized a night out in Wrigleyville for some of my new friends and invited the one person I knew from my undergrad (Carroll College) to come along. Lucky me, he brought Derrick, my future husband! I remember Derrick coming up to introduce himself and when he heard where I was from, he asked me, “What is the biggest city in Montana?” I guess he didn’t know what else to ask—it makes me laugh thinking of that now! We went dancing that night, and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. We went on our first date the next evening, and a month later, on Valentine’s Day eve, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Just a few weeks in, I got the chance to meet his parents and sister when they came to visit, and a few months later, we took the big step of him coming home with me to meet my family. From the very beginning, it felt natural. We could truly be our happiest selves around each other and brought out the best in each other.

The Proposal

Fast forward three years and a month from our first real date, and we were in Montana at my family’s farm for a long weekend, which happened to be both my birthday and Easter. We had looked at rings about three months earlier, but he never brought them up again, so I had no idea he was planning something for that weekend. (I especially didn't think he’d risk bringing a ring in his carryon while traveling with me!) Late on Friday afternoon, Derrick asked me to go on a walk with him. I was suspicious all of a sudden, because while I love to walk, he never wants to go. Just a short way down our country road, he got down on one knee at my parent’s farm and proposed with the ring we had both loved a few months earlier. It was so much more stunning in person, when it was really mine! We went back to the house and celebrated with my family with Champagne and a nice dinner prepared by my mom. 

The Wedding

It took me a few months to really figure out what I wanted. We decided on “Montana elegance” with Southern touches, since Derrick is from Alabama. I wanted it to be very Montana, since that’s my home, but I was adamant it wouldn’t be “rustic.” It had to be glamorous and elegant, without being over the top, and also very “us.” We wanted every detail to reflect something personal about our relationship and our families. 

 The Details
  • Winter wheat picked fresh from my dad’s field a few days before that my florist incorporated into my bouquet and centerpieces
  • Boutonnieres made with cotton picked in Alabama and combined with more wheat
  • Photo lockets on my bouquet of my two grandfathers, who had passed away, and my Grandpa Don’s gold watch wrapped around it; as well as a locket of Derrick’s mom, who died of breast cancer a few years ago, on his boutonniere
  • Wooden rounds cut from cedar trees in Alabama by Derrick’s dad (brought to Montana in the back of a pickup truck driven by his uncle!)
  • A table set up at entrance to ceremony displaying black and white photos of both our parents, as well as grandparents, on their wedding days
  • Dozens of glittered gold Mason jars hand-painted by my mom, filled with stunning bouquets of my favorite flowers that were set up on shepherd’s hooks lining the aisle and used as centerpieces on tables
  • Incredible food prepared by Brumar Estate’s chef that included mini shrimp and grits cakes (Southern inspired!), gorgonzola-filled bacon-wrapped dates (our favorite appetizer) as well as my family’s recipe for cheesy potatoes that have been dubbed “Wedding Potatoes” because they’ve been served at so many family weddings!
  • The best cake I’ve ever tasted by Miss Patti Cakes, that included layers of Pink Champagne cake filled with white chocolate mousse and huckleberry jam
  • Our takeaway gift to guests was fresh-made kettlecorn and a variety of M&Ms they could scoop from jars—our favorite movie snack!
  • Derrick and I had taken dance lessons and for our first dance, we danced to “Lovin’ You Is Easy” by Ben Rector. It was my favorite moment of the whole day, just soaking in everyone cheering for us and dancing with my husband for the first time. So much happiness!
  • Our “getaway car” was a 4WD-pickup driven by one of my Dad’s friends. The windows were painted with “Go Griz” and “Roll Tide,” representing the Montana Grizzlies and the Alabama Crimson Tide, our two favorite football teams. He got a lot of strange looks driving around Montana in the days that followed!
Advice for future Montana Brides. 

  • Enjoy the planning. I got really stressed out about it at times, especially trying to plan a wedding in Montana while living in Atlanta. But now that it’s all over, I miss it so much! It’s worth the time to make it personal to you and exactly what you want. Make sure to follow your heart and make decisions that feel right to you, even if it takes a while to make them.

  • Listen to your vendors. They have a lot of experience and can help bring your vision to life, if you aren’t totally sure what works together. For example, Jaclyn at J. Scott Couture had me try on a dress that I never would have picked off the rack, and it ended up being the one I fell in love with and chose as my wedding gown. And Joyce at Conrad Floral helped tie in my vision of having wheat with romantic flowers like roses and making it all come together and look so elegant and beautiful when I couldn’t exactly picture how to put it together.

  • Don’t schedule your hair trial for the day before the wedding (tough to avoid with a destination wedding). If disaster strikes during the trial, it will strike on the wedding day (unfortunately this happened to me!) Luckily for me, one of my bridesmaid’s sisters stepped in to save the day. 

  • Send thank-yous to all the people who helped pull off your special day, and don’t wait to do it.

The Vendors

Photographer: John & Colette Photography
Rehearsal Dinner: WhitefishLake Restaurant at Whitefish Lake Golf Club
Ceremony & Reception Venue: BrumarEstate
Florist: ConradFloral
Catering & Bar:
Cakes & Desserts: Miss Patti Cakes
DJ: ExtremelyTune
Sound & Lighting:
Hair & Makeup: Christi Dahl (friend of bride)
Wedding Dress Designer: Allure Bridals, Style #8955
Veil / Accessories: Borrowed (my mom’s veil)
Gown Shop: JScott Couture Bridal Boutique
Rings: Jamie Hood Jewelers (Muscle Shoals, AL)
Invitations: Etsy (Event123 shop)
Lodging: BridgeStreet Cottages, Mountain Lake Lodge and Timbers Motel
Officiant: Pastor Tim Bartholomew