The Ultimate Romantic Wedding Surrounded by Majestic Mountain Views

Gather ’round folks because I’ve got a tale to tell about Emma and Joey’s big day. Picture this: majestic mountain vistas, snow-capped peaks kissing the sky, and two lovebirds getting hitched in the ultimate romantic wedding. The air is crisp and clean, the ambiance is serene, and the guests are swept away by the grandeur of the setting. It’s the kind of wedding that makes you believe in happily ever afters, where love is the star of the show. Emma and Joey, in all their glory, exchange their vows surrounded by the majesty of nature. It’s a fairytale come to life, and we’re all just lucky enough to be a part of it. As the sun sets behind the mountains, they kiss under a sky painted with a thousand shades of pink, and we’re left with the warm and fuzzies. If that’s not the definition of romance, I don’t know what is.

How did you meet?

Our relationship blossomed through the summer, even as we tried to stay in touch despite quite a long distance between us—I had taken a summer internship in Alaska and Joey had just gotten a job as a wildland firefighter in Lander, WY. We both moved back to Laramie in the fall to finish our degrees. After he graduated in December, Joey returned to his job in Lander and commuted to Laramie every weekend to see me while I was finishing up my last semester at UW.

What is your proposal story?

As I finished up another summer in Alaska, Joey and I planned our trip from Alaska to what would be my new home in Pullman, WA, so that I could begin veterinary school. As avid nature and mountain lovers, we both wanted to see the Canadian Rockies and Banff Provincial Park, so we decided to stay there for a few days. Joey had suspiciously arranged a portrait session with a photographer in Banff since we didn’t have any professional photos of the two of us, and even had me pick out a dress and a nice restaurant to “celebrate getting into vet school”.

We had a wonderful, memorable road trip on the way to Banff, and the day of the portrait session finally came. After a day of hiking, we met with our photographer at Lake Minnewanka, and she started posing us in front of the gorgeous backdrop. At this point, I was suspicious a proposal was coming, but after Adrienne snapped through several locations, my suspicions had vanished. After all, wouldn’t he have proposed to me at the first location?

Adrienne moved us to a new location and handed Joey a blanket, cryptically saying that he knew what to do with it. While I was puzzling over this new development, she threw her hands in the air and yelled “Gorgeous views!”, which was enough to make me turn away from Joey and look at the mountainscape behind us. When I turned back, Joey was kneeling on the blanket in front of me, holding the most perfect ring. He asked me to marry him, and I absolutely knew the answer–yes!

Tell us a little a bit about your wedding 

We wanted to get married in the Snowy Range, the mountain range just west of Laramie. Emma had grown up hiking and fishing in this area and both of us spent a lot of time together in these mountains. We envisioned a simple but elegant theme, full of chic details with rustic undertones and nature woven throughout. We envisioned pops of wildflowers and strategically incorporated woodwork surprises as we celebrated under the starry Wyoming night sky.
We also incorporated constellations in our wedding designs. We both grew up with glow-in-the-dark stars on our bedroom ceilings, so it should be no surprise that early on in our relationship, we began to call each other “North Star” (or Polaris), to refer to our ultimate goal of guiding one another to fulfill their personal goals, since two stars in the “bowl” of Ursa Major (the Big Dipper) guide astronomers to find Polaris in the tail of Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper). This motif showed up in the wedding favors (pint glasses, wooden coasters), our wedding rings, cornhole boards, and other art and decor collected or gifted to us for the wedding (and now, our house!).

Tell us about your attire choices.

Emma and bridesmaids: Early in the wedding dress shopping process, I had found a dress that I knew I wanted to try on. However, when we went to the boutique to try on the dress, the shop owner explained that it had been sold off the rack just a few days prior! During my next visit to the shop, she surprised us by contacting the bride who had purchased the dress, who graciously agreed to lend it back to the shop for a few hours just so I could try it on! It fit like a glove, and I knew it was the dress for me. I envisioned the bridesmaids in mis-matched dresses, each in a color taken from our color palette in a style that she felt the most comfortable in. I didn’t want to micromanage this process and absolutely trusted these ladies, so after colors were chosen, I let them each find their own dress. We were all so happy with the final result!
Joey and groomsmen: Growing up I was never really into formal dress wear unless I was required to wear it. However, I knew I wanted to eventually purchase a suit, and getting married was a pretty good reason to do that. My suit was a charcoal gray color, and my tie had a topographic map Medicine Bow Peak, the highest peak in the Snowy Range. So that I would stand out a bit from the groomsmen, we put them in light gray suits, with colored ties that matched their corresponding bridesmaid, aside from the Best Man and Man of Honor, who both had a spruce green tie that matched mine.

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?

Joey: One of the most important things to me was being as involved as possible with the planning. Many times, it seems like the groom is not involved in the process and I did not want to fall into that stereotype. I wanted to make sure that it was our special day, and I wanted to help distribute the workload evenly with Emma, who was very busy with her final year of vet school during most of the planning.
We splurged on good food and drinks for the reception, and even brought wine from our favorite winery in Pullman, WA! We also weren’t afraid of spending more on photography/videography, because we knew we would want to look back on our wedding memories constantly.
We skipped the traditional bride/groom reception games, garter toss, and bouquet toss. None of these things were important to us, and we really just wanted to spend more time with our family and friends who had all traveled to see us on this special day!

What were your favorite parts of the day?

Emma: Joey and I planned a short amount of time after we said “I do” for just the two of us. Since our ceremony and reception were at the same location (no time for a personal moment during the drive from one venue to another!), we opted to have a private cocktail hour. After our ceremony, we walked down to the nearby river and had a picnic with some hors d’oeuvres and a bottle of champagne. It was just 15-20 minutes, but was an incredible reset and a great opportunity to soak in the feeling of finally being married to Joey! At the reception, our parents surprised us with a professional-grade slideshow, put together by my mom, that painted a picture of our childhood memories and culminated with our relationship together. I was simultaneously crying and laughing while watching the slideshow and everyone’s reaction to it–a feeling that was only amplified when Sam, my brother and Man of Honor, gave his uproariously funny and sentimental toast.
Joey: While Emma was getting ready with her bridesmaids, Joey and the groomsmen played a round of frisbee golf at the course I went to all the time in Laramie. Classic groomsmen antics ensued (including a groomsman diving into a slimy pond to save a lost disc and Joey monkeying on top of a gazebo to save another stray disc, despite admonishment from the rest of the party). Spending time with my close group of friends, and then my family after we finished, was a special addition to the already special day. Also, Emma and I had a first look in the same location we would later go to for our “get away” picnic. Seeing her in her wedding dress and her for the first time after I said I love you earlier that morning was a very special moment, I was about to marry this beautiful person.

Tell us about your wedding flowers.

We asked our florist to incorporate wildflowers with lots of color into our wedding flowers. We were absolutely delighted with the designs that she created, from the bouquets to the boutonnieres and table centerpieces, and we even had them preserved in resin after the wedding!

Tell us about your wedding cake.

We knew we wanted our cake to be outdoor themed, and had considered many other possibilities, we finally decided on a cake modeled after the beautiful white trunk of an aspen tree. Aspen trees are common throughout many parts of Wyoming, and this design incorporated many meaningful parts of our story together. Our bakery did a wonderful job (both in the design and the taste!), and even incorporated our initials into the aspen “bark”. Additionally, we had two tiny figurines created that were identical to our dogs, Piper and Murphy, which were staged to make it appear like they took a “bite” out of our cake.
Aside from our cake, we also had cupcakes from a local bakery (that we stop at whenever we’re in Laramie!) available for the guests to enjoy as well. Piper and Murphy also received special dog cupcakes during the reception!

What did you do for favors?

We wanted to do something personal and meaningful for our party favors that also incorporated our special connection to the Big and Little Dippers and our love for the outdoors. Emma and I cut, sanded, wood burned, stained, and varnished three inch diameter tree rounds that we gave out in sets of two (one Big Dipper, one Little Dipper) as drink coasters. The tree species used for these favors were sourced from locations in Wyoming and Idaho, and each coaster had information about the tree species and where the tree was sourced from on the back. To accompany the coasters, we also included a custom pint glass that was laser engraved with a mountain and stars motif designed by Emma and her mom. These glasses pulled double duty, as they were used during the reception by guests and were then taken home as a memento.

Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.

There were many aspects of our wedding that were DIY. Emma and I built our wedding arch using an aspen tree that had died on her parents’ property, and was in fact one of the first trees planted by Emma’s parents in 1987. The parts of the aspen trunk not used in our wedding arch formed the “legs” of our dessert display stands; the platforms consisted of with large tree rounds cut, sanded, and stained from a fallen tree in Idaho. Our party favors (described previously) were the most time-consuming DIY project, but were absolutely worth it. Finally, since our venue was outdoors, we knew that we wanted to incorporate a cornhole set or two into our reception. To that end, we also wood burned and finished a custom cornhole board set with an outline of the Snowy Range (that was visible from the venue!), our last names, and the sky full of constellations (including the Big and Little Dippers).

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

-Do not feel obligated to invite people you feel will ruin your day, this is a very special time in your life and no one should ruin that experience for you!
-Your actual wedding day will be crazy! Most things will go right, but even with all the planning there will be hiccups, and in the end it will all work out. The two of you will be the only ones who know what specifically did not go as planned, and since everyone is there to celebrate with you, they won’t care if things are not 100% perfect.
-If you are using a planner/day of organizer, emphasize to family members that if you need help with something you will let them know. Otherwise, they are there to enjoy the day (that’s why you hired other people to help!).