One by one, I watched as Scotts groomsmen took the bridesmaids outside and across the terrace. With mom and dad on either side of me, I began taking long, deep breaths. I had never been so excited and anxious in my life. I was ready to sprint across the lawn and see Scott. As quickly as the day had flown by, it felt like I hadn’t seen or talked to Scott in days.
Everything had come together. I was dressed with hair and make-up exactly the way I had hoped it would be. The groomsmen were all perfectly dressed down to their argyle socks, and my bridesmaids were glowing and looked as though they had stepped out of Brides Magazines. My parents each had an ecstatic expression on their face as our wedding planner told us it was our turn. With a final squeeze by both mom and dad, we walked outside into the beautiful sunshine.
I glanced up ahead and saw our wonderful guests turning to watch our entrance. I could see each of my bridesmaids smiling at me from their spot. Scott had his back to us, which I was thankful for. I wanted to be close enough to lock eyes with him when he finally saw me. Guests of the lodge lined the stairs down to the lawn and continued to murmur encouraging words and compliments. They were so nice and respectful of the event they were witnessing. I’m not sure if mom and dad were supporting me as we crossed the lawn, or I was supporting them. I had never been happier to have them on either side of me. I remember we laughed as we walked across the lawn, but to this day I can’t tell you what in the world we were laughing about. I could hear Phil and his guitar as we got closer, and the melody of Canon D filled my ears.
As we hit the scattered rose petals, Scott turned and finally, our eyes met. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I wanted to yell, “I’m here!!” But, clearly from the look in his eyes, he knew. I didn’t notice our guests as we walked down the aisle. All I could focus on was this beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed boy, waiting to marry me. As emotion was clear on his face, I felt my anxiousness melt away. I was instantly as relaxed as I was when I first woke up this morning. As my parents and I came to stop in front of our minister, Patricia, Scott and I couldn’t take our eyes off one another.
As Patricia asked who was giving me to Scott, my parents answered “We do.” After several hugs between my parents and Scott and I, I stepped up face to face with him as he took my hands. As Patricia began reading the words that Scott and I had carefully chosen over the past year, I felt as though I could burst with glee. In my mind, phrases like, “this is perfect” and “this is really happening” kept running though my mind.
As Scott began reading his handwritten vows, I fell in love with him all over again. It’s one thing to have someone tell you how they feel. But to be standing in a place that feels like pure magic, surrounded by the most important people in your life, and hearing words that fill every corner of your heart, it is the most unreal moment ever. I wanted to pause time. I also wanted to throw my arms around him and cover him in kisses. I figured there would be enough time for that later.
I sent up another quick prayer that my voice would not quiver as I began reading my vows to Scott. I spoke them with sureness like I had never spoken before. My mind will forever hold the image of Scott, taking in my lifetime of promises to him.
Rings were slid onto each of our fingers. We laughed throughout the ceremony, there were moments we both had tears in our eyes, and then it was our time to kiss. I wanted to ask Patricia if we could do it again, just because I enjoyed each second of the ceremony so much. Instead, I kissed my husband. As we pulled away, I am pretty sure I squealed in delight. I will have to watch the wedding video to find out for sure. After we went in for another quick kiss, we headed down the aisle towards our party.
Phil began playing “So Happy Together” by the Turtles. It was perfect. A waiter quickly served the wedding party mojitos. I figured that would be one drink that if spilled on my dress, wouldn’t be a big deal. Kisa quickly went to work getting group photos taken and photos of me and my husband. We walked to an area called Lunch Tree Hill. There are breathtaking views of the Tetons and a beautiful woodsy area that gives off a fairy-tale feel.
Our guests enjoyed music by Phil as cocktail hour went into full swing. Hor’dourves were passed and within 45 minutes, Scott and I were ready to join the party. His brother Sean did a fantastic job announcing the wedding party as we walked in. Scott and I went straight into our first dance. It was “You are the Best Thing,” by Ray Lamontagne. Scott and I first heard this song the previous summer while on a road trip. It’s not a typical slow and sappy song, but a more upbeat lively tune. We instantly agreed it would be the perfect first dance song.
During our dance, it was the first time Scott and I were able to really talk about everything that had happened thus far. I learned Scott had slept in his truck the night before as there were too many people in the hotel room and he knew he wouldn’t get any sleep if he stayed there. I also learned that his groomsman Daniel had taken the spot of his personal assistant for the day, ironing Scott’s clothes and cutting his hair. (Thank you Daniel!)
Scott and I both laughed that we had pulled everything off. We couldn’t believe that we were already finishing up our first dance and getting ready to eat. As we made our way through the food line, I was so happy I could barely touch my food! Every step I took was another familiar face that I wanted to speak with and thank for coming. As Scott and I were seated with our food, my cousin Roger gave the blessing. He spoke of accomplishing everything you set out to accomplish. It was a perfect prayer and I don’t think I could have squeezed Scott’s hand any tighter. The little bit of food I was able to eat tasted amazing!
As we finished dinner, the toasts began. My sister gave a wonderful speech about the love Scott and I have for one another. Sean gave a speech about the dependability of my husband and that he will forever be devoted. Poppa finished out the speeches by thanking everyone for coming. We couldn’t thank our guests enough.
Dad and I went into our dance, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. I can’t remember the last time I slow danced with my father, but this time I will never forget. He seemed to be having a ball and I can’t remember the last time I had seen him so happy. Our song was over too quickly. Scott and his mom took the floor next and danced to “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel. I loved watching my husband dance with his mom.
As the night passed way too quickly, Scott and I quickly learned how to cut a wedding cake. As the banquet manager handed us the knife, I looked at Scott and asked how in the world do you cut this? He put his hand on mine and we just started slicing. We had agreed prior to the wedding there would be zero cake smashing on the face or up the nose. I’m happy to report we both followed that rule and ate sweetly from one another’s fork.
The bar was set up outside on the terrace, so our guests floated between the ballroom and the terrace. Phil continued playing some of Scott and my favorites. The dinner dishes were cleared, the cake was passed, and the coffee bar and dessert table were in full swing. Despite not being able to eat much dinner, I did manage to get a plate of smores soufflé drizzled in hot chocolate sauce and a cup of coffee.
Scott and I made an effort to stop at each reception table and speak to our guests. With 59 guests, it was easy to make time for each and every person. As Phil finished playing and the IPOD took over, the dance floor filled up as we did Rocky Top and other wedding favorites. Scott and I snuck outside to stand in the exact spot where hours ago we had said “I do.” We laughed and hugged and couldn’t get our minds around the fact that here we were, husband and wife. We looked at the mountains and gave thanks for all the happiness and love we were filled with. A couple of guests from the lodge walked over to Scott and I and said they had been married in the exact same spot 10 years before. They wished us a lifetime of happiness and wished we could spend our 10 year anniversary as they were currently doing.
As they walked away, Scott and I watched nightfall on the mountains and the elk started bugling. We headed back into the reception and slowly our guests were telling us good-bye and thanking us for the wonderful time. Scott and I were both in shock the day had passed so quickly! Tables were being cleared and the number of guests kept getting smaller and smaller. As Scott and I were heading out to find out wedding night suite, a game of pass the wine bottle broke out with some of the older crowd! Now that was a sight I’m sorry I missed!
I wouldn’t change a single detail about our day. Everyone said it would go by fast, and they were right. We were given very good advice to make time during the busiest part of the reception to sneak away and just be alone together, watching the events of the reception play out. We made sure not to lose touch of each other throughout the reception. We were side by side, eating, dancing, talking, and thanking our guests. After all, they came all that way to spend the day with Scott and I.
A few moments that will forever make me smile;
-The week before the wedding. I loved hiking with family and friends and showing them a place on this earth that I am absolutely in love with. I have no doubt they saw why the area is so special to Scott and I.
-My sister decided at the last minute to wrap Scott’s band in animal fur and carry it down the aisle. I thought it was a little weird, but whatever makes her happy.
-Scott and I discussed during the reception how lucky we are to have the friends and family we have. Not just anyone would travel 1500 to see a wedding. Each and every person that made the voyage did it because of the love they have for Scott and I. That is very touching and is something that will never be forgotten.
-Wedding vendors can make or break the wedding. We had absolutely WONDERFUL vendors. From my beautiful hair stylist friend Katie James that made the trip west, to our musician Phil Round, our minister Patricia Hatfield, our wedding planner Emily Claassen, our fun photographer Kisa Koenig, our hard working videographer Eusebio Romero, the staff at Jackson Lake Lodge…Everyone deserved a HUGE thank you. They helped make the day perfect.
-Scott and I had prepared for anything that could possibly go wrong. We were so prepared, that when small mishaps did happen, we barely flinched. I did not let stress come anywhere close to me on the day. I even heard from a couple vendors that I was one of the least-stressed brides they had ever seen. Mission accomplished.
-There are not a ton of events in life where people are genuinely happy. To see my parents dancing, Scott’s grandma dancing with a groomsman, to watch our friends interacting with one another and having a great time, and looking at the love of my life and knowing this entire day happened all because the two of us fell in love…it was as close to a perfect moment as there will ever be.
I wasn’t surprised to find my eyes opening before my 8am alarm had a chance to wake me from my slumber. I was surprised at the sense of calm that surrounded me. For a girl getting married in mere hours, I felt incredibly rested and relaxed. As I glanced at two of my sleeping bridesmaids buried beneath the down comforter, I quietly slipped out of the bedroom and onto the back deck.
A chilly breeze ruffled my hair and I was instantly glad I had pulled a sweatshirt on. The sun was peeking above the mountains and slowly warming my face as I walked around the deck. I quickly found mom soaking up the atmosphere. She already had a pot of coffee ready and waiting for me. As I graciously took my mug, we walked around the gardens. I think the mountain air had a hand in calming any nerves that may have tried invading my mind. The flowers were glistening from the morning dew and sparkled like the diamond on my left hand.
My sister joined us on the walk and asked typical “morning of the wedding” questions. “Are you nervous?” “Are you ready?” “What do we need to do?” Believe it or not, I think she was more nervous than I. I sent up a silent prayer that the blue skies would hang around all day. We already had been blessed with a week of perfect weather, what was one more afternoon of glorious sunny skies with a whisp of mountain breeze.
Scott and I already decided that we would not see or speak to one another prior to the ceremony. Even though it was only 8:30am, I was already ready to see him and get the festivities started. I was anxious to see what he thought of my dress! He had been a perfect angel about driving my dress to the mountains and not even sneaking a peek.
My sleeping beauty bridesmaids were rolling out of bed as my amazing hairdresser Katie arrived at our home. After a cup of coffee and a couple muffins later, she began her work on the girls. Bobby pins and hairspray flew through the air as we started packing our cars to head north to Jackson Lake Lodge.
Katie decided she could save time by working on Rhea’s hair in the car. With Rhea laying face down in the backseat, Katie sat on her back and continued her masterpiece. Maybe not a legal way to travel, but it worked. Emily, Ashley and I crammed into the front seat of their rental car. With our backseat crammed full of luggage and wedding supplies, we began our 45 minute drive north. Ashley’s legs only fell asleep one time on the drive north. Mom and dad brought up the tail of our wedding parade with another equally packed car.
After a roadside bathroom break, we arrived at the lodge. Jessi had already opened the bridal suite and had the fans going. Instantly we went to work on hair, make-up, and making bouquets. There had been a minor flower issue that popped up Wednesday. Our wedding planner called stating the flowers had arrived, but ½ of them were dead. Luckily, the planner was incredible and contacted the flower shop and had live flowers delivered to the bridal suite hours before the ceremony. Neither Scott nor I had to lift a finger to get the error corrected. For this reason, I recommend a wedding planner to anyone getting married!
The bridesmaids were a little leery of the built-in craft time I had arranged for them. None of them had created a bouquet before, so they were a little apprehensive towards the task. As my sister arranged a mock-up bouquet, the others grew more confident as they arranged spray roses with daisies with lily grass. The outcome was beautiful!! I was more than pleased with their floral talent!!
Our videographer, who may have been the hardest working wedding vendor ever, showed up and went to work taping the girls getting ready and making arrangements. Little did I know, while the girls were making their bouquets and getting beauty-fied, the groomsmen and father of the groom were creating centerpieces in the Explorer’s Room. I had no idea this group of guys had such decorating talent! My bridesmaid Ali was lucky enough to become my personal assistant for the day. She was incredible as she fed me while my hair was getting done, held my phone because I lost it every time I had it, answered the phone calls that became constant, and kept an eye on the time and how things were running.
Our photographer Kisa popped in just in time to capture my dress being slid over my head. While I was excited throughout the entire day, putting the dress on really ramped up the heartbeat. I couldn’t believe it as I looked into the mirror and a bride stared back. My mom gave me the final missing item, my garter. With a quick glance in the mirror, we headed outside to take pre-wedding photos.
Walking through the lodge, I felt like I was floating. Strangers were taking photos of the girls and I and many tourists shouted out “Congratulations” as we passed by. On the back terrace, I caught my first glimpse of the ceremony set up. 60 white folding chairs were perfectly set up in a semi circle, facing the most beautiful mountain range in the world. My father had scattered bright pink rose petals down the center walk-way.
Kisa snapped away as the girls and I hugged and posed. The wedding planner went into super stealth mode as she made sure Scott didn’t catch a glimpse of his bride outside. As pictures came to an end, we headed into the reception hall so the guys could take their place for the ceremony. I was nearly blown away as I walked into the Explorers Ballroom. The wooden dance floor sat waiting for our guests to let loose. Each table was perfectly decorated with the various colored wine bottles that Scott had cut, and filled with colorful wild flowers. Each table name was a reflection of the mountains that sat outside the door. The room was perfect.
Our videographer caught me right as we were about to begin our walk outside. He asked me to say something to Scott. For the first time that day, the tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. What I wanted to say was that I was so lucky and so blessed to be standing there, surrounded by people that we love, and people that love us. I was minutes away from marrying the person that had become my best friend over the past 3 years. Not everyone gets to meet someone that makes them feel so beautiful and loved each and every day, and here I was about to marry that person. Yes, it’s safe to say I became emotional while these thoughts ran thorough my head and heart. All I could squeak out was that I am so happy and that so in love with my soon to be husband. I think Scott got the picture.
As my beautiful group of girls walked into the lobby, which was overflowing with lodge guests, many stood up and began clapping as I walked through the room. Goosebumps covered every inch of my body. In my hands, I tightly clutched my bouquet, wrapped with a handkerchief that had been my grandpa Mike’s. Mom had sewn a little blue heart on it. I hugged my girls and the wedding planner said it was time. With that, Phil our musician began playing his guitar.