Katie and John met on a fundraising trek to Mt. Kilimanjaro and found that they shared a love for international travel and food. So when it came time to plan their wedding, they chose a modern, mountain-chic setting and details that expressed their love of food, wine and travel, and Pepper Nix was on hand to capture every delightful detail.
Katie and John named each table after a restaurant they had eaten at during one of their trips across the world. They were able to represent all of the continents except Antarctica! They also brought in their own wine from Judd’s Hill Winery in Napa Valley. They had shared a bottle of Judd’s Hill on one of their first dates at a restaurant in Salt Lake City.
Katie & John
Deer Valley, Utah
June 01, 2013
Why a Mountain Wedding?
We met on a mountain (Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa…long storyJ) so it only made sense to celebrate our wedding mountainside. When we first met, my husband was living in Salt Lake City at the time (I lived in Seattle), so we spent a lot of time in Utah and grew to fell in love with the area. A lot of our friends and family had never been to Utah, so it was a no brainer in terms of wanting to share the location with them.
Surprisingly…sunny, clear blue skies with a perfect 70 degree temperature – amazing mountain weather. Given the 45 degrees it was Tuesday before the wedding, I felt as if a miracle had happened and someone was looking out for me.
What’s a budget? J
Where did you find your inspiration?
Being from Seattle and growing up in a gorgeous environment, having natural beauty around was important because you don’t have to do much décor wise! We also wanted to bring in sleek and modern touches, reflecting our more cosmopolitan lifestyle and we aimed to pull off an “urban, mountain chic” vibe. When people asked what “my colors” were, they were pretty disappointed when I came back with green, brown and white. We played off the beautiful colors of the mountain in all that we did. The minimalist flower arrangements on the tables at the reception really emphasized that (Shelly from Orchid Dynasty rocked it!).
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a splurge (more of a surprise) but tents (and making them look pretty) are not cheap! We absolutely had to have the reception outside to soak in the amazing scenery but given it was the beginning of June in the mountains weather was a factor we had to plan for with our patio reception. You pay for all of the tent equipment, the service fees associated with the set up and lighting to set the mood. Totally worth it to do it right.
Bringing our own wine and paying the corkage fee. Also, it is easy these days to get out of control with fun food (e.g., themed around-the-world food stations) – we kept it classic and simple because no one remembers the food!!!
What were some personal details you incorporated?
We knew we needed to incorporate the things that our important to us and pivotal to our relationship are: travel, food and wine.
- Guestbook – we had 10 wine bottles serve as the guestbook for guests to slip us a ‘message in a bottle’ to be read at a future anniversary. Reading these messages from our wedding day will be a fun event we will look forward to for many years.
- Escort & Place cards – guests were greeted with individually wrapped cheese wedges (local Utah cheeses!) that had their names and table assignments. To locate their seat at the table, their ‘place card’ was a baguette that had their name
- Table Names – were the names of our favorite restaurants we have eaten at around the world. We have been blessed to have done a lot of travel and experience many wonderful meals. At each table we also had the story of the restaurant, location and why it was an amazing dining experience.
- Guest Favor – I tasked my father with a year-long project of hand making water glasses by recycling wine bottles (removing the top of the bottle). The diversity and amazing hues of green in each glass was awesome from a décor perspective and our guests took home the glasses as a favor. A special hand-made memory of the day.
Your favorite moment of the day.
Going against our photographer’s advice (PepperJ) and not doing a ‘first glance’ and photos before the ceremony. The magic of seeing your future husband for the first time that day as you walk down the aisle is a feeling that is irreplaceable….we both will cherish that emotional moment for the rest of our lives.
Also, my favorite moments during the reception were:
- The amazing and thoughtful speeches given my maid of honor (my sister) and John’s best man (best friend)
- My uncle Jack singing
- My 2 year old nephew joining my dad and I on the dance floor during the father/daughter dance
Three things you're glad you did.
- Selecting the St. Regis Deer Valley as our venue. Our wedding day and weekend was flawless and more than we could ask for thanks to the brilliant team at the St. Regis. We expected the stunning setting and luxurious property, but it was the high-caliber of the team that exceeded our expectations. Throughout the year of planning and leading up to the wedding day logistics, they were incredibly responsive and a true partner in making it ‘our day.’
- Having my brother in law as the officiant. It felt more personal.
- Karaoke at our rehearsal dinner at High West Saloon! We are convinced that some people may have had more fun on Friday night than at our wedding reception J No reason to save the party just for Saturday night…
Anything you wish you hadn't done?
Forgotten about a few family photos we should have taken….oops. Doing the photos with big groups of people is chaotic. Make sure to have everything documented for your photographer and talk about it prior to the day.
What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?
Hire someone to help you….that you trust! Mara from LMG Events became a friend through the process and she was the only one I trusted to pull it off.
Anything you wish you hadn't worried about?
Not really, my husband and I are project managers by trade, so we worried about the right things: guest experience and communications J
If you asked him though, he would have said I worried too much about the weather (hence my best wedding advice, below.
How did you choose your vendors?
I stalked Pepper Nix online because I had seen her work for other St. Regis Deer Valley weddings. She was the first vendor I booked. She introduced me to Mara from Events by LMG and it snowballed from there….every referral Mara had was amazing and because she had the established relationship with them, it made things very easy.
What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?
Be REALLY okay with your Plan B (or C!) for your ceremony/reception if you need to move things inside. I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about the thought of having our ceremony indoors if the weather wasn’t cooperating and that made me a bit more anxious than I wanted to be. Remove the stress by being just as happy with your back up options.
Park City Wedding Vendors
Photographer: Pepper Nix Photography | Hair Stylist: Enizio Inc | Makeup Artist: Enizio// | Invitation Designer: izzy girl | Dress Store: Luly Yang | Caterer: St. Regis Deer Valley Resort | Caterer: St. Regis Deer Valley Weddings | Reception Venue: St. Regis Deer Valley Weddings | Musicians: Calvary Baptist Church Choir | Event Planner: Events by LMG | Cake Designer: Layers Cake Company | Band: New Generation | Floral Designer: Orchid Dynasty | Equipment Rentals: RSVP Party Rentals | DJ: Style Matters DJs
Pepper Nix is a distinguished member of the Mountainside Guide, an exclusive vendor directory featuring the best and most reliable mountain wedding vendors in North America. Mountainside Guide members are screened and vetted for quality of work, reliability, and professionalism, both among their peers and on review web sites.
See Pepper Nix's portfolio HERE.