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Montana Wedding Planning Guide

dreams We specialize in


In the heart of downtown along the Clark Fork River

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Table of

contents Features 10 plan a smooth wedding day

22 planning a


bridal budget





Don't scrap the scrapbook

50 Mailing your invitations

58 Have a pro

set the bar

montana weddings

6 Brandon & Devon Serve up a 18 Joseph & Jasmine classy 30 Martin & Megan 44 Skyler & Lyla cocktail 54 Doug & Meagan bouquets 64 Tanner & Claire make a bold 74 Robert & Jennifer

60 68

statement Publisher

Mark Heintzelman Advertising Director

Jeff Avgeris

section editor

Mindy Glenna Creative director

Adam Potts


80 Montana Marketplace 82 Countdown to the Big Day 90 Planning your Wedding 92 A Guide to Vendors & Venues

Advertising Sales

Keshia Kailey, Taylor Miller, Bryon Bertollt, Lauren Ford, Debbie Larson, Jodi Lopez & Kathy Kelleher Cover Photograph

Marianne Wiest Photography Lake McDonald, Glacier Park Bride & Groom: Matt & Crystal 8/8/2016

Brides and Grooms is a publication of the Missoulian, a division of Lee Enterprises. ŠCopyright 2017 by the Missoulian. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. For more information about advertising space in Brides and Grooms, contact Mindy Glenna at (406) 523-5211 or To request copies of Brides & Grooms, please email Rachel Philips at or call (406) 523-5223.

A Publication of the 4

You’re dreams are priceless. Trust us, we did the math.

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Montana Weddings

brandon & devon


Brandon Hartstein & Devon Alter Married july 3, 2016, at The lodge at whitefish lake in whitefish, montana

How did you meet? We met at a happy hour, but it took 5 months (and one more chance meeting) to get to our first date. That night was a bit bumpy: I thought it was dinner, he thought it was drinks, and I was VERY hungry. Normally I would have ordered food anyway, but didn't want to scare him off. The joke became that he was the guy who didn't feed me. But once he learned I am much happier with food in my belly, it went much more smoothly. (All said in jest of course, but I do love eating!)

canceled on us. We could not have done this without her!

Tell us about the proposal! I knew we were taking a July Fourth vacation, but the location was a surprise. All I knew was that it was a beach. The day we left I learned we were going to Belize! We went to an amazing little island called Thatch Caye and had an over-the-water cabana. This island was all inclusive with amazing food and a scuba shop on site! On our last night, he took me out on to the balcony of the cabana and proposed. (I was afraid to drop the ring in the water, so we went back inside where he proposed again.) That night was a big themed dinner with extra guests on the island, so it felt like our own engagement party.

Do you have any advice for other couples who are wedding planning? Pick the top few things that are most important to you. (Music, food, venue, etc.) Then let the rest just flow. If you spend too much time trying to make every little thing perfect, you will stress yourself out of enjoying it. It also helps to balance incoming opinions from family and friends when you can let go of some of the pieces and let them help.

How did you choose your wedding vendors? With the help of our amazing planner Autumn. She helped us sort through tons of options to find the best ones for us, and even spent extra time helping us find a band when our first choice 8

What would you do differently if you had the chance? I had grand plans to have a schedule ready for all of my extended family so they knew when to be where. I never got around to it so ended up having to wrangle people a bit more than planned for family photos and such. A few people didn't make it on time, but we made it work!

Where did you take your honeymoon? We are about to leave on a six month adventure to Southeast Asia! We will be exploring the region, experiencing the cultures, trying amazing food, and volunteering along the way where we can to support the communities and encourage responsible tourism. We are very excited!

Photographer Marianne Wiest Flowers Mum’s Flowers Event design Events by Autumn Catering The Lodge at Whitefish Lake Pie Pies from Just Desserts by Joyce and ice cream from Sweet Peaks Pie Flavors Huckleberry, Strawberry Rhubarb, Wild Orchard Ice Cream flavors Huckleberry, Coffee, Vanilla Music Mojo Party Band (from Idaho) Rentals Oh So Chic Boutique & The Party Store Bridal Shop Stardust Celebration (Plano, Tx) 9


Plan a Smooth

wedding day


may be an OCD type A wedding planner, but I'm here to tell you that organization is 100% the key to enjoying your wedding day. Without it, people will drive you NUTS with asking questions, needing help, wondering where to go and what to do. After you've booked your vendors, and have a good idea of how you'd like things to be set up, you'll need to organize all that information. If you thought that booking your vendors was enough to make a smooth wedding day, you're in for a long day. I GUARANTEE what you told one vendor four months ago is not the same plan that you communicated to another a few months later. It’s OK. That happens to everyone. But those vendors all have to work together. So here are 10 tips to organizing this information and making sure vendors are on the same page: TIMING IS EVERYTHING Your timeline is more than just "ceremony at 4 p.m., dinner at 5:30 p.m." Your timeline should list the times that each vendor arrives on site for setup, when their contract for the night is over. It should also list the times that each space needs to be ready for photos, and when YOU need to be dressed and ready for photos. It should encompass all the food service "ready" times and also all the activities that you

by Autumn Kozimer

have planned: speeches, cake cutting, garter toss, etc. Once you have all of these items listed on a timeline, you can visualize how these times either work or don't. You can see "oh crap, my cake person is coming at 4:00 p.m., but the florist leaves at 3:00 I'd better make arrangements to have someone else put the floral arrangements on top of the cake!" Once that timeline is down on paper, think about whether it makes sense or not, and then make the necessary adjustments to make it flow. I will let you in on a little secret - the only time on the timeline that REALLY matters is the dinner time. Who cares if you start your ceremony 15 minutes late? As long as hot food is hot and cold food is cold, your guests will never know that you're running behind. A timeline is helpful for organizing, but on the day of, your vendors will treat your timeline as a flow for the day using it to formulate the order of events. WRITE IT DOWN I create what's called a "Banquet Event Order" for every event I put on. A "BEO" is like the bible for that day. It lists setup notes, power needs, timelines, food & beverage orders, contact information, and more. And it details all that information for each part of the wedding: Ceremony, Cocktail Hour, Reception, Late Night, etc. My

opposite page: photo by 5ever photography 11

Above: photo by jamie reil photography

BEO’s are one document, which is typically about five pages long. I sit down and I think of each part of each event as if I'm in the room, walking around. Close your eyes and think: What tables do I need? What decor is going in there? Are there any signs I need to put out? If I'm serving food, which utensils will I need? And so on, and so forth. This document contains the written instructions for setting up your wedding day. I send this out to vendors about two weeks before the wedding day, so they can make edits, and typically the edits they make are things can potentially could have caused a stressor on a wedding day. Therefore, this document is KEY to a wedding's success. Yeah, taking a few hours to 12

write this all down is a major pain in the butt, but I promise it's worth it! MAP IT OUT I create maps for ALL aspects of a wedding day. I frequently take Google Maps and screenshot the area, and mark where the cocktail hour, ceremony and reception will take place. This helps make sure vendors drop rental items in the right spot, so you don't have to lug 200 chairs to a completely different location. I also make layout maps of the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception spaces. It's important to make these to scale, so you know that all your tables and chairs will fit in the space! It also helps you visualize the flow through buffet lines, and avoid bottlenecks in service.

above: photo by becky wharton photography

SKETCH IT: I'm a visual person, so I draw out a lot of a weddings' elements. I sketch how the tables will look with their chairs and linens, what centerpieces will look like, and any silverware or glassware on the tables. I also sketch out each place setting (how I want the forks, knives, spoons, plates, napkins, glassware set out at each place setting). That visual image makes sure that what I wrote on the BEO is actually what I want! Just a "double check" of sorts. MAKE NOTES OF WHAT HAPPENS DURING TRANSITION TIMES: So there's this time between the ceremony and cocktail hour and

between cocktail hour and the reception where a lot of behind the scenes things take place. During the first transition period, I'm often carting chairs from the ceremony to the reception tent (if my client didn't want to order a second set of chairs). And sometimes large floral arrangements get repurposed from ceremony to reception. And during the reception, it's smart to lock up the gifts. Sometimes an entire bar needs to be moved from cocktail hour to the reception. What I'm saying is, think about what happens during these transition periods, and assign people to each task. That ensures it gets handled quickly, and no one feels like you were ill prepared. People don't mind helping out at weddings, but it's a lot better 13

if you plan for their help and they're anticipating it. INVENTORY EVERYTHING After my BEO is done, I can literally run through it and make a checklist of every single item that needs to be brought to the wedding - from flowers, to signs, to silverware, to clothing. I make this document just because I'm responsible for every last element of the wedding day, and I don't want to forget anything when I'm on top of a mountain with no cell service! The inventory should list the item name, a quantity, a purpose (like cake table, or ceremony), and most importantly, WHO is bringing the item! Once you've made this list, run back through all your rental orders and contracts with vendors, and make sure what you need is what you've put on hold. Even as a professional event planner, it's this document that has saved my butt time and time again. It not only tells me what to pack up after a wedding is over, but it helps me to rent the proper quantities of everything I need to pull off that dream event. COMMUNICATE If you've asked friends or family to help out on the wedding day, make it clear what their jobs are, and when they need to be ready. For your bridesmaids, have a clear agenda for the wedding day, like "you're free in the morning until 10 a.m., and that's when we start hair and makeup! Please bring X items with you, as we'll be leaving directly from here to the ceremony. And you'll need to be in your dress and ready by 2 p.m., for photos." This clear communication keeps bridesmaids (and groomsmen) from wandering off or being late to any festivities. 14

MAKE A RAIN PLAN If you don't make a rain plan, it will rain on your wedding day. That’s just Montana weather for you! If you DO make a rain plan, we suggest you start with a timing deadline. That means you set a time when you must make the rain plan decision. As an example, we suggest a 2 p.m. deadline for a 4:30 p.m. wedding ceremony. By setting this time, and knowing what that alternate plan is, it really alleviates the stress caused by a last minute scramble to set up the alternate arrangements. No one WANTS to use their rain plan, but if you have one, it's far less stressful if foul weather strikes! SONGS, FESTIVITIES & MORE Make sure you detail out your ceremony before the rehearsal - which songs you want to play, what order people are walking in, how they're standing up at the front, etc. What activities will you have during the ceremony? A sand ceremony? A special prayer or speech? Don't just wing it - things run much smoother if you can practice a set plan. Same goes for the reception - if you're having toasts, make sure to list the order in which they'll take place. And list the songs you want for first dances, etc. Think of your wedding day as a screenplay. YOU need to know who’s doing what, and they need to be informed before the wedding day! If you approach things this way, it will run a lot smoother and your guests will appreciate it. DO NOT FORGET CLEAN UP At the end of the event, communication is key too. I see it time and time again that Uncle Joe decides that it's late (when it's only 9:30 p.m.),

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and he's ready to leave. So he starts cleaning up centerpieces, removing linens, and stacking chairs while all the guests are on the dance floor. I don't know about you, but when I'm a guest at a wedding, and I come back and my table is cleaned up, without a linen, I feel like the party is over. I hate that. As a planner, I stop those folks and explain that clean up is my job! If you have assigned someone to this task, make sure you don't ask someone who will want to start cleaning up well before the festivities have wound down. And also make sure that those who clean up know what their jobs are. If your cousin cleans up the cake table, and just folds cake crumbs and icing in the bag with the linen, YOU are the one who will be penalized for

the mold that will surely grow in the next 2 days before the vendor picks them up after the weekend and washes them. And it would be a shame if your friends threw out all the flowers from the centerpieces, if you'd made alternate arrangements for them. So always assign responsible people to your cleanup duties. Happy planning! Autumn Kozimer is a Professional Wedding Planner, Fine Artist & Graphic designer, Incognito Cowgirl, Mountain Dew Connoisseur, and Amateur Homesteader serving all of Montana and beyond. Find more about her at

Little Blue Joint & The Sawmill Saloon • Full service catering • Full service alcohol catering

opposite page: photo by jamie reil photography

119 N. Main, Darby, Montana 406-821-0023 cafe

• Natural food • Custom menu available Certified chef on duty

Chef Michael's cell for inquiries 406-381-6240 • 17


Montana Weddings

joseph & jasmine


Joseph Gersitz-McClain & Jasmine Epperle Married october 2, 2016, at The Daly Mansion and Bitterroot River Inn in hamilton, montana

How Did You Meet? Joe initially messaged me on Facebook. We talked for a while and he asked to come hang out. I was with my friends downtown at the time, but I said he could come meet us. What I didn't know, was that he drove all the way over to Missoula from Philipsburg, Montana that night to come meet me. We spent the night talking and playing pinball at Stockman's. After hanging out for a few months, we started dating. Tell Us About The Proposal! Joe, Joe's daughter Lyza, and I went to the little town of Harlowton, Montana to meet my family for our annual Fourth of July gathering. While we were wandering in a cute little second hand shop, Joe purchased a “temporary cheap-o“ ring...haha. That night, outside the county rodeo during the sunset, under a big oak tree, Joe randomly got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I of course said yes! We went back to my grandparent's cabin and shared the good news! After a few months of saving, Joe got me an amazingly beautiful ring that has me written all over it :) How Did You Choose Your Wedding Vendors? I did a lot of Googling and asking around for references. Weddingwire and the Knot websites were extremely helpful as well as the advice from my photographer who is also a wedding planner! 20

Tell Us Your Fondest Memory From The Big Day! Our fondest memory was Joe finding out from the justice of the peace that I cried when I saw myself in the mirror. Along with crying and feeling beautiful, I also had the “Oh crap, this is really happening!” moment. What Would You Do Differently If You Had The Chance? The only thing we would've done differently is made sure we had a ladder for the big group photo because people were hidden among others! Besides that, I wouldn't change anything about our special day. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Couples Who Are Wedding Planning? Look around! Don't go for the first vendor you see. Compare! As for photography, pictures last a lifetime so spend the extra money! We weren't planning on spending very much at first, but when we saw our engagement pictures, we knew we had to have that photographer, no matter the cost. Where Did You Take Your Honeymoon? We have not had our honeymoon yet due to having to go to work and school the very next day after the wedding! We are planning to go to Las Vegas in February to celebrate our honeymoon.

Photographer GSquared Weddings Flowers Bitterroot Flower Shop Event Design bride and groom Catering food provided by the whole family! Cake A Cake Occasion Cake Flavor Chocolate and Vanilla Music Mountain Strings Quartet Bridal Shop Rococco Bridal Tux Rentals Men's Wearhouse 21


Planning a

bridal budget


e pops the question, and within mere moments, it’s already Facebook official: you’re engaged! The congratulations pour in. You’ve gone from a typical dating couple to one planning a future together. You have secretly built your Pinterest wedding pages in anticipation, and ideas are coming out your ears in the form of a few hundred photos. Some you’ll keep. Most you won’t because, well, there are just too darn many to squeeze into the average wedding celebration. There are get-togethers with family and friends, dress shopping, securing the venue, picking your colors, ordering flowers, and a hundred other little things to be done. It will be a whirlwind year of preparations. Now when you add up the cost of all the things you want for the perfect wedding, the estimate comes to about $25,000. Yikes! That won’t do. You’re on a $10,000 budget—or less, if you can swing it. Budgeting for your wedding can seem overwhelming, but the key is to give yourself enough time between the engagement and wedding to find the right people to help you plan and implement your big day as well as give yourself research options for everything from venues to photographers to

By julie cowan

decorations, rather than making rash decisions because your back is up against a timeline crunch. It seems academic, but remember, time is money: if you don’t have the time, you’re going to spend more money to pay others to get things done. If you have the time, you will save money by rallying the troops and having friends and family lend a hand or be able to negotiate the best price for your budget. The first thing a couple should do after getting engaged is to embark on their first lesson in budgeting. Family dynamics (blended families, single parents, no living parents of the bride, etc.) may dictate how the budget is sliced, but generally the bride’s family pays for the wedding; the groom’s family covers the rehearsal dinner. Whatever the situation, be realistic and don’t let the details of the day overshadow the joy of the occasion. Venue Churches offer the most reasonable accommodations and require the least amount of work, especially if you decide to hold a reception there. Churches are the venue of choice for traditional marriage ceremonies, and most churches are free for members; many churches do not rent their facilities to non-members. Even if you choose to go elsewhere for the reception, the church

opposite page: photo by marianne wiest photography 23

venue is still the most affordable option. When planning an outdoor wedding/ reception combination in western Montana, take advantage of what most people come to our area to see—the beautiful views. You can have an event at a venue with a view without breaking the bank, but it depends on your priorities. Do you want the rustic upscale barn and manicured lawns and gardens, or would you be OK with a relative’s house in the outskirts of town? You have to ask yourself if it is more important for you to pay for the perfectly coiffed location or one that is more homey. Both are nice, but you have to determine what will work for your guests in terms of travel, parking and, maybe even more importantly, if you have bathroom facilities to accommodate your number of guests (porta-potties may need to be rented). If you choose a relative’s home, you and family members may have to take a few weekends before the wedding to do some lawn and garden work. That’s where the time-is-money philosophy comes into play. If you consider that your wedding is a joining of your two families through you, it may be an opportune time to not only get friends and family together for a workday or two, but also as an opportunity to get to know one another better with a good ol’ bonfire and barbecue, especially if families of the bride and groom don’t know each other. If you’re willing to cut back in other areas, such as the size of the bridal party and guest list, you can even take advantage of some of the destination locations, which, around Missoula, will cost you in the ballpark

of $3,000-$3,500 (and up, depending on how much pampering you want to pay for) for a 48-hour rental (noon Friday to noon Sunday allows for set-up, rehearsal dinner, wedding on Saturday and cleanup). Usually that includes an overnight stay for a small wedding group, but some venues have extra charges for rooms. This fee also does not include, in most cases, tables, chairs, plates and eating utensil, tents for outside events, and serving/cleanup crews, so take that into account if you go this route. You will need to figure those costs into the budget plus manpower to bring those in and set them up. You have to decide what is most important to you for your wedding. Likely, an event venue like this for someone on a $10,000 budget means your guest list is smaller (50 or below) so you can reduce the cost of seating, food and tent rentals. Many venues can handle a smaller event inside, reducing the need for tent rental/set-up outside, while a few venues include the cost of a tent with their rental fee. Tents will cost you anywhere from about $375 (no side walls) up to $1,200 (walls and windows) to seat about 100 people. Tables can be rented for about $8 to $10 each that seat anywhere from 8-12 people; chairs run the gamut from $1.50 for a standard folding chair up to $8 or $10 to rent an elegant, formal chair. If you’re looking for a rustic log cabin venue close to Missoula, one of the most cost-effective venues may be the Sheep Mountain lodge, located on 20 acres along the Clark Fork River between Superior and St. Regis. It offers a reasonable fee ($1,400 for 48 hours) for weddings looking to accommodate

opposite page: photo by night owl imagery 24


Above: photo by j willis photography

up to 150. Two buildings that can sleep 18 people in six bedrooms are included in that price, and the commercialgrade kitchen allows for ample room to prepare food. It can handle 50 people for an indoor wedding, and 150 people for an outdoor wedding. Like most venues, tables, chairs and a tent/tents need to be brought in at your expense to accommodate guests. Another location, though not rustic, sits in heart of Missoula. Renting the Caras Park Pavilion is $975 per day on weekends ($700 per day MondayThursdays), which includes the pavilion tent with walls plus tables, chairs and 26

staff to set up and take down after your event. (Anything you bring in such as food, beverage and decorations must be cleaned up by you.) Its central location is both an advantage and disadvantage. The good news is, it’s in the center of downtown Missoula, easy to get to, has lots of room with gorgeous views. The bad news is, it is not a secure location, so anyone can just wander in. You may need to have a guest list at the door, provide tickets for attendees, or have guests bring their invitations for entry. According to Caras Park Operations Manager Sarah Ferguson, who coordinates the park’s rentals for

above: photo by jamie reil photography

the Downtown Association, the 9,000 square-foot tent can comfortably seat 350-400 people. Catering According to Bill Worden, owner of the Shack Cafe in downtown Missoula, when you are looking at catering costs, $25-$30 per person is a good rule of thumb for sit-down dinners, with buffets costing slightly less, depending on the menu, and $10-$15 per person for an hors d’oeuvres menu. Chain restaurants around Missoula have catering menus starting at about $11 per person and professional catering

companies like A Moveable Feast in Missoula personalize the menus for their events, starting at about $18 per person on up. Best bet is to call or make a personal appointment with caterers rather than email to talk about details and get a feel for the personality of the caterer. Flowers Unless you are providing your own flowers out of your garden, figure anywhere from $700-$1,200 for wedding flowers, depending on the size of your bridal party, the types of flowers and arrangements you want. 27

Bridal bouquets in the Missoula area run about $100-$300, bridesmaids’ bouquets $25-$75 (might I suggest how stunning one large flower surrounded by a large clutch of baby’s breath can be?) boutonnieres $7-$20, corsages $15-$35, table/ alter arrangements depending on containers, $25-$150, arches, $75-$200-$300. Some flower shops have a minimum order for wedding flowers. Others, like Bitterroot Flower Shop in Missoula don’t have a minimum order and even sell bulk flowers if you have the ability to do your own arrangements. Photography Everyone has a digital camera these days, so be careful when choosing a wedding photographer. Look at websites, ask for referrals of former clients, look at portfolio photos. Even good photographers are not necessarily wedding photographers. It takes experience to know how to pose someone for a portrait all the way up to large groups of people in the light that will be available. Expect a good chunk of your budget to be consumed by a photographer, somewhere in the $2,000-$4,000 range. Packages can include any combination of engagement photos, prints, digitals and photobooks. If you are on a tight budget and want to take a chance on a photography student or students just starting into the business for less than $1,000, it’s a good idea to have a comprehensive list of photos you want, as well as insist on them using a second photographer or assistant. Don’t choose anyone who doesn’t have a strong portfolio of event photography. A studio photographer is not what you’re looking for on your wedding day. Assuming most people have a set 28

dollar amount for their wedding event, it’s best to start your budgeting by prioritizing the must-haves on the list. What is most important for you not to compromise? List your priorities in order, and keep a running total of the costs. Things lower on the priority list may have to be eliminated. The bottom line in planning and budgeting for your wedding is remembering what is important about the day. Are people coming to see you or the location? Get a free meal or celebrate your union? If the lowest possible expense is your bottom line, then be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort ahead of the event to make it special, and hire the professionals for things you don’t have the time or expertise to provide. Oh, and smile. It will be your happiest day to date! Julie Cowan is a freelance writer, editor, photographer and digital scrapbook designer from Missoula who is working with her daughter to plan her 2017 wedding. She edits for the Boone & Crocket Club’s Fair Chase magazine and, among others, and she serves on the creative team at Contact her at

(406) 871-3524

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Montana Weddings

martin & megan


martin greye & megan hunt Married September 17, 2016, at six mile estate in swan lake, montana

How Did You Meet? Marty is a Midwest boy born and raised in Wisconsin. Me, a Southern girl with deep roots from Mississippi. We both headed West at a young age to explore a new life of adventure and finish school at the University of Montana. We originally met up in Whitefish at a social gathering when I was living there in 2010. Shortly after I moved to Missoula. Within two months of me moving, we randomly bumped into each other and the rest is history. We have been together every day since. Tell Us About The Proposal! We were fishing on the Dearborn River on a beautiful August evening not a soul for miles. He was insistent that we cross the waist high river to get to a certain spot on the river bend. The water was freezing so he carried me across the river to the most magical place. We sat down on the rocks to enjoy the moment with the colorful Big Sky and he turned to me and asked “Do you know how much I love you?” Then he popped the question. Immediate tears and of course a big YES! It was the best moment of my life. How Did You Choose Your Wedding Vendors? All vendors were mutual connections from friends in and around Missoula. You know you live in a great place when that can happen! 32

Tell Us Your Fondest Memory From The Big Day! Most definitely the dancing! I danced with my dad first to 'George Straight - You Look So Good In Love'. My dad then handed me to dance with my husband to 'Gerry Rafferty - Right Down The Line'. It’s been our favorite car song for years! Once we got engaged, we immediately knew it would be our first dance song. Both songs were so intimate and by far made it my favorite part of the night! What Would You Do Differently If You Had The Chance? Hire a videographer! You spend so much time and energy planning this huge life event, it would be nice to be able to relive the whole day through video for years and years! Do You Have Any Advice For Other Couples Who Are Wedding Planning? You only get to do this once, do it how you want! My favorite thing about our wedding is that it was so US! Where Did You Take Your Honeymoon? We backpacked and traveled around Thailand for three weeks! Our thought process there - go somewhere you wouldn’t take kids.

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Don't Scrap

the scrapbook


e have become a visual world. When planning your wedding, the photographer is one of the most important parts of your wedding day. Between the photographer and the cell phone cameras of every guest at your wedding, most couples are uber-covered on photos of their wedding day. But, what about that whole year before the wedding? You do lots of important things preparing for this big day. After all, your wedding day doesn’t just unfold like magic the day of the ceremony. You have family, friends, acquaintances—and sometimes even their friends—who help along the way. Many couples say they remember little about their wedding day because it is such a whirlwind of activity surrounding the ceremony, old friends and far-away relatives wanting just a moment of their time to wish them well. The same can be true of the year leading up to your wedding, so capture it in an “engagement-year” scrapbook (not to mention a wedding-day scrapbook). “A scrapbook can help you pull together content from all sorts of places. You can include photos from different cameras and different people, as well as journaling and notes and even ephemera,” says Marisa Lerin, co-founder with her husband Jordan of the online scrapbooking website, which they started in 2010. It has become one of the top

By julie cowan

sites for scrapbookers of all types. “For an event such as a wedding, there is so much content you'll want to remember, you definitely want to try and collect it in one place.” Lerin, through her interactions on the site, has encouraged people to get involved in whatever scrapbook community they feel most comfortable. She offers free Photoshop tutorials on her site, and free daily downloads of digital supplies, not to mention the loads of inspiration from fellow designers and community members. Granted, the old adage of “if you’re a guy, wedding plans take care of themselves” is a bit more true than not, but more men in these modern times are getting involved in the wedding planning, so don’t forget to snap those selfies when you go shopping for decorations for the reception or go for the tuxedo rental. Besides, one of the classic American authors, Mark Twain (a.k.a., Samuel Longhorne Clemens) is considered to be an early “scrapbooker” with his collection of photographs, newspaper clippings and souvenirs, and if it was important enough for him, then we all should take notice. Most of today’s young couples are well plugged into social media like Facebook and photo sharing sites like Instagram, Imgur and Flickr, among others. With all these readily available sites, you can share all your photos with a click of the mouse or a tap on your 37

above: Designed by Julie Cowan with Toolbox calendar template available from Janet Scott at

phone, right? Well, yes. But the stories behind those photos, while fresh now, will fade as the years go by, your job responsibilities increase, and your family grows, taking you into dozens of directions in a given day. It’s important to document our major events and put them into a memory book. At the very least, it reminds us of details we will forget over the years; at best, it’s a keepsake that will be treasured by generations of relatives to follow. There are three types of scrapbooks. Traditional scrapbooks use printed 38

photographs adhered to colorful paper backgrounds embellished with various memorabilia and decorative elements to enhance the look of the page as well as help tell the story. Digital scrapbooks are created with design software on the computer and either kept digitally or uploaded to an on-demand print service (Creative Memories, Mixbook, Persnickety Prints, Costco, Walmart, etc.) to print a hardbound photobook, similar to a high school yearbook. The most popular and versatile software to create pages is by far Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop

above: Designed by Julie Cowan with "Our Special Day" journal cards bundle available at

Elements, but Artisan offers a powerful Photoshop-like program for a fraction of the cost. There are a plethora of home-use programs that allow you to design pages. Online photobook printers like Mixbook provide free downloadable software and even some free digital paper backgrounds and elements, though they are limited. You can also upload your own elements and papers. The drawback to those types of programs, while free, is that you have to be connected online, and you have to upload all your photos and any additional elements or digital

papers before you can import them. On long trips, while my husband drives, or while I’m in an airport, on a plane, or at our friends’ cabin, which has no internet connection, I like to take my laptop with me and work offline. That’s why I have the Adobe Creative Suite of programs (the older version without the creative cloud subscription). Hybrid scrapbooks use a mix of both—either printing out a designed page with photos and adding memorabilia such as theatre tickets or autographed items or by printing out digital elements or designing it 39

above: Designed by Julie Cowan with "Artsy Layered Template 26" available from Anna Aspnes Designs at

themselves and adding it to a traditional or pocket page. (Digital scrapbookers will scan or take a photo of these items and include them on the digital page, keeping the actual items in a photo-safe page or box.) No matter which style of scrapbooking you choose to do, you will want to include journaling about the time, date and significant details of the event depicted by the photos. According to Anna Aspnes, a scrapbook expert who mentors and teaches scrapbook techniques online at, we are all connected by our need to tell stories. She is a master of creating photo blending and masking techniques to create a painted collage-type look for scrapbook pages. “Photographs capture only the visual 40

aspects of the story, but many of the meaningful details are lost without tying it all together with words,” says Aspnes, whose digital designs at fall into what is known as the art-journal style of scrapbook design. “Scrapbooking enables the images to be supported through personal storytelling, providing not only a complete sequence of the events, but the ability to inject a personal account of the occasion. This journal style approach and combining creativity with photos enhances both the emotional and personal components of our lives enabling us to find that human connection in photos.” There are many ways to design a scrapbook page. A popular method, and probably the easiest, is Project Life® by Becky Higgins.

Phone: (406) 822-4561

email: Location: Exit 55 Highway 90 West 31 Westfall Rd, Superior, MT 59872 View photos and information at Facebook Page: Lozeau Lodge Montana

Contact Jessica Deese, Michelle Houghton or Jatanna Kammerer for an appointment


Heritage Hall at Historic Fort Missoula An affordable venue in a beautiful setting.

For tours & bookings call Northern Rockies Heritage Center

(406) 241-9162


“If you haven't done a lot of scrapbooking, an empty 12x12 paper can be very intimidating, says Lerin, who has done a lot of pocket scrapping, as well as designed many journal cards to fit pocket pages. “Working with the defined spaces of the pockets will help beginners from feeling overwhelmed and also help you create a cohesive and stylish finished project.” Lerin started out in the traditional scrapbook world, moved to designing digital scrapbook files, and now, naturally, does hybrid work, too. Whether it is designed on a computer then printed in a book or by physically placing photos in a scrapbook, these “pocket pages” allow even the noncrafty among us to pop together an entire album in just a few short hours (see photo 1). There’s a Project Life app now for your iPhone or iPad, and you can literally take some photos and have a page designed in minutes. Another style of scrapbook page is a calendar design (see photo2), which is a great option for capturing a lot of everyday events that by themselves don’t warrant a whole scrapbook page, yet you want to make sure to document. A selfie or two is all you will need to document the event with a sentence or two to describe it—things like ordering invitations, choosing a napkin design or having a planning lunch with one of the bridesmaids. One very nifty and clean template I have used is Janet Scott Design’s Toolbox Calendar quick page kit at She has made slots at the top or the bottom for including larger photos or journal blocks, with a calendar that can be filled in with dates, journaling, or even other photos. You could use this template each month leading up to your wedding or just use it for those months that had 42

a lot of little activities to document it. Don’t forget to include everyday events you share with your fiancé. It will be fun to pull it out on your 10th wedding anniversary to remind you how your lives have changed since starting this journey together. The other advantage to using the calendar design is that it may be useful to share your timeline with friends, or down the road, your own children, when planning their own weddings. A third popular scrapbook page style, though definitely for the more advanced scrapbooker, is the art-journal page (see photo 3). While this technique is best achieved through digital design because of its tremendous ability to allow you to blend multiple photos, art and words into a cohesive look, an art-journal page can be achieved through multimedia techniques applied to traditional scrapbooks too. Paints, pastes and ink blending techniques can be combined with special photo brushing techniques on traditional photos. The drawback is that it would come at a much higher cost than with digital design—and a lot bigger mess. Traditional or digital, it all is an art expression with the ultimate goal of documenting this special period of your life. If you’ve dabbled in photo editing software such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, there are a plethora of free resources online to learn the programs, not to mention an external hard drive’s worth of free digital scrapbooking resources available all over the internet. The best way, truly, is to take a basic course or find a beginner’s tutorial online, open up the program and play with it. Aspnes recommends a free trial of Photoshop at to see if it’s for you. The bottom line with documenting

above: photo by becky wharton photography

the year before your wedding is to include first, the important people in your life who are helping you plan your big day. Secondly, make a to-do list and mark the day(s) you have worked on or accomplished each task. Take pictures. Jot down notes in your calendar or in your notes section of your phone. Third, take photos of options you consider along the way, e.g., dresses, flowers, decorations, venues, etc., as well as cards and letters of well-wishers that come in before, the day of, and after the wedding. Even if you don’t finish your book before the wedding, you can come back to it later, or even have the photos

and notes so a friend or relative can help you put it together. Maybe you still have enough of that honeymoon glow to talk your spouse into a joint effort on the book. And maybe that will be the first compromise of your marriage. Or not. You never know until you try. Julie Cowan is a freelance writer, editor, photographer and digital scrapbook designer from Missoula. She edits for the Boone & Crocket Club’s Fair Chase magazine and, among others, and she serves on the creative team at Contact her at 43


Montana Weddings skyler & lyla


Skyler Wiemokly & lyla brown Married july 2, 2016, at the stone tower estate in stevensville, montana

How did you meet? I was bartending my way through college in Skyler's hometown in Massachusetts. Skyler was home from the fire academy and stopped in. We talked about skydiving. A year later we were in the exact same situation but this time we talked about rock climbing. We ended up going rock climbing three times a week that whole summer before dating. Tell Us About The Proposal! Skyler surprised me with a trip to Banff (a huge hit on my bucket list). He told me to get the map out of the back pocket of his seat and instead I pulled out our passports. We were close to Glacier at the point so I just started crying because I knew we were headed to Banff. We woke up before the rest of the town our first morning there and went for a walk. We walked across this footbridge. I was taking a photo of the mountain in front of me and when I turned around he was on his knee. How Did You Choose Your Wedding Vendors? I did a lot of Googling, reading reviews on wedding wire, and reading the Montana Brides and Grooms magazine. I had a coworker who had just gotten married too so I asked her a lot of questions. Tell Us Your Fondest Memory From The Big Day! When we were deciding who would do readings during the ceremony, we knew Skyler's dad had to be one! His 46

mom told us not to pick anything emotional. We though she was being dramatic but we picked a simple non-emotional reading for him. Well during the ceremony he made it to the second sentence before his voice started cracking. He couldn't get past the fourth sentence. He was crying and so was everyone there. Skyler's mom finished the reading for him. What Would You Do Differently If You Had The Chance? I would re-do my make-up after the ceremony. I cried so much and I wish my make-up looked better in the photos. Also I would keep my bouquet away from my dress! I had a grass stain on my boob all night. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Couples Who Are Wedding Planning? I would say stress out up to the day before. Once it's time for your rehearsal just breathe and count your blessings. Anything that comes up in the last 36 hours is out of your control. Just let it be. It rained on our day but it was still everything I wanted it to be. Because there was SO MUCH LOVE. Everything that matters is already there and if you look at all the people you love, who love you, you'll realize that a budget-breaking cake or more flowers doesn't matter at all. Have fun with the planning! This should be the best time of your life! We also did a last minute splurge on a videographer and that was the best decision we made.

Photographer Hixson Studio Flowers Costco Catering Caffe Firenze Menu Cranberry Walnut Chicken, Rockfish Picatta, salad roasted fingerling potatoes, roasted asparagus with hollandaise Pie Genevieve's Hot Pies of Polson pie Flavor 4 Berry Rhubarb Music RMF Entertainment Bridal Shop David's Bridal Tux Rentals Rococo Wedding decor Whimsical Garden Party 47

A Unique Wedding Event


Featuring artisans, traditional wedding vendors, and a party-like mood

Save the Date FEB.



11 A.M. – 3 P.M. University of Montana 3rd Floor Ballroom This event is something unusual, and crafty. We are combining an array of local Montana artisans, with traditional wedding vendors, handcrafted goods and a party-like mood. This wedding fair promises to be a fun filled interactive day of wedding planning and shopping. Montana Brides & Grooms has partnered with Rococo Bridal to bring this new and exciting event to Missoula.


A Storybook Wedding at the

251 Eastside Hwy Hamilton, Montana 406.363.6004 Photo courtesy of Bon Ton Photo Co.

Stash The Dress, Not Trash The Dress Expert Wedding Dress • • • •

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Both Locations Open M-F 7:30 am-5:30 pm 49


Mailing your



love everything about wedding invitations. I love the paper. I love the fonts. I love the ability to customize graphics to someone's specific theme. I love adding fabric and twine, and ribbons, and making them one of a kind! And through this process I've learned lots. These are some of my top tips: SPLURGE ON CALLIGRAPHY Seriously, modern calligraphy is beautiful. Some calligraphers can even mimic your invitation fonts! Remember invitations are the first impression you're giving someone about your wedding. If you want your wedding to "wow," start with that first mailing. RETURN ADDRESS Yes, you need a return address on your invitation envelopes. Consider using the same return address styling on your RSVP envelopes too. Proper etiquette says the return address is to be embossed on the back flap of the envelope. We say, OK. . . keep the return address there, but be careful HOW you write the address. Some methods of embossing can be hard to read, so be sure to use an ink that’s easy to read. You can have your envelopes printed for you, or you can buy a

by Autumn Kozimer

custom return address stamp that you can use for future return address needs! Putting the return address on the back of the envelope leaves you with an entire blank slate to have fun with calligraphy on the front of the invitation! HAND CANCELING When you mail something at the post office, they run the mail through a machine that cancels the stamps (so you can't use them again). Hand canceling is just what it sounds like - they hand "mark" the stamps instead of running them through the machine. This is ideal for wedding invitations, especially if your envelopes are a bit thicker with invitation pages, RSVP cards, and more! If you run a fat envelope through the machine, it may eat them! Usually it's 50 hand canceled envelopes for free, then typically $0.05 for each one after. Plus it looks much cooler than some crappy machine stamp on the invites you just spent money on. Want some hand canceling tips? Call the post office in advance to make sure they do this. Go during NON-busy hours when you ask them to do this. AND, don't wait until the last minute. An emergency on your part does not make it an emergency on their part.

opposite page: photo by Stella Kelsie photography 51

above: photo by jesse & nelli photography

WEIGHT MATTERS Take one invitation into the post office and have them weigh it. Also make sure that your invitation isn’t too thick, or you’ll have to add more postage. The post office can tell you how much postage you need. Do you know what happens when you don't put enough postage on an envelope? The post office sends a postcard to the addressed person (NOT YOU), asking them to come to the post office and pay the difference to pick up that piece of mail. That person doesn't know who the mail is from, so they won't know it's your wedding invitation. You'd better hope they're curious and are willing to pay to see who it's from. We think that's embarrasing. Avoid this mistake at all costs. Just weigh your mail. 52

RSVP CARDS & ENVELOPES Please don't forget to put an address and stamp on your RSVP card envelopes. Do not rely on your guests to do this for you. And another tip for the RSVP cards that we love - in pencil, on the back of each RSVP card, lightly write a number (one through the number of invitations you've printed). You can even purchase an invisible ink pen and blacklight if you want to make it even less visible to your guests. On a spreadsheet, make a note of which number RSVP card is mailed to who! If someone forgets to fill out the "M" line (which happens more often than not), you don't have to play guessing games - you can just reference your spreadsheet. If you’re hoping to save

above: photo by marianne wiest photography

money on your RSVP cards, consider printing postcards, since postage is less expensive for postcards! USE STAMPS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE This is the one time I'll tell you I don't care if you already have the 100 FOREVER stamps at home because you bought a roll last week. These are your wedding invitations. Pick a fun stamp in your color scheme or wedding them, which costs the $0.47 or whatever the going rate is. Or pick a bunch of stamps that make up the proper postage. THIS DOESN'T COST YOU ANYTHING EXTRA (unless you're using real vintage or custom stamps!). You know how many invitations you need to mail, so just buy that number of stamps.

Use this as an opportunity to do some thing cool on your invitations, and you won't have a million $0.01 stamps left over at the end! Stamps come in all colors and styles, and you can even order customized stamps with your own graphics, or your picture on them! Autumn Kozimer, owner of Happy Huckleberry Studios and Events by Autumn is a Professional Wedding Planner, Fine Artist & Graphic Designer, Incognito Cowgirl, Mountain Dew Connoisseur, and Amateur Homesteader serving all of Montana and beyond. Find out more about her business at



Montana Weddings

doug & meagan


doug gilmore & meagan hash Married July 23, 2016, at The brumar estate in bigfork, montana

How did you meet? We met as college students at a party. We got to chatting, and at one point I thought he was asking me for my number, but was actually asking about someone I had come with (I later learned that it was to coordinate an event, but at the time I was pretty put off!) The next day he contacted me and we continued to spend time together. We dated through college, our study abroad semesters in Denmark and East Africa, and ultimately moved to Spokane together! Tell us about the proposal! Doug knows my love for Montana and had that in mind when picking the proposal location. He had planned an engagement weekend that our friends and family knew about but I didn't; I thought we were all just going to Montana for the Fourth! We were all driving back to Kalispell when we stopped to fish on the Little Thompson river. Doug offered to pick my fly out for me, and when I turned around the end of my line was in the ring box. He proposed and I couldn't have been more surprised! How did you choose your wedding vendors? We chose our vendors based on their experience with working in the Flathead Valley. We wanted experienced people that we knew we could trust. We were able to develop great relationships with all of our vendors...we couldn't have done it without them! 56

Tell us your fondest memory from the big day I remember during the speeches looking around at all of our friends and family and being able to literally feel their support, encouragement, and joy. It was an incredible night to share with Doug and with all those we love. What would you do differently if you had the chance? I would try not to get too focused on the small details. While they were so fun to plan, on the day of it truly was the last thing I cared about! All I wanted was to walk down that aisle and be with friends and family! Do you have any advice for other couples who are wedding planning? Delegate! While I know better than anyone how hard it is to let go of something you have been planning for quite some time, take some of the pressure off and utilize your family and friends who are willing to help. Where did you take your honeymoon? We started in Kalispell and went to the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton where we went on hikes and enjoyed sunsets over the lake. From there we drove to Calgary AB where we did a guided fishing trip on the Bow River, then went to Canmore, AB and Banff National Park where we hiked, visited hotsprings, explored, and just lost ourselves in the joys of adventure!

Photographer Marianne Wiest Flowers Memories in Blossom Catering Brumar Estate Cake 3 Tier Chocolate and huckleberry cake with white cream cheese frosting Music Doug Trost Rentals Montana Trolley Co. & The Party Store Bridal Shop Bridal Collections of Spokane, WA Tux Rentals Bridal Collections of Spokane, WA 57


Have a pro

set the bar


rganizing, planning and hosting an event of any size can be a large task, especially if the event is your wedding. Planning the caterer, photographer, flowers, venue along with all the other details can be overwhelming. The planning as well as the actual event should both be fun and enjoyable, hiring professional help is a great way to ensure your day will go as planned and be enjoyable for all. The beverage process can consist of unknown rules, along with things to do and not to do for a wedding bar. Many questions can arise in this process: How much will guests consume? How do we know if we are providing enough beverages, ice, cups, etc.? Where do we rent bar supplies? Who is responsible for guests being over-served? Hiring a professional beverage caterer can help alleviate stress, take the pressure out of planning and most importantly, take the liability or serving alcohol out of your hands. We Spoke with a few newlyweds and beverage catering experts and compiled a list of the top four reasons to hire a caterer for your big day.... Liability By hiring a licensed and insured beverage caterer, your event will be covered. This can ease your mind of guests being over served. Some venues also require you to have alcohol

by melissa wagner

insurance and additional permits. Hiring a beverage caterer can take care of all needed alcohol permits, licensing and insurance that maybe needed for the event and required by the venue. Save time & Stress in planning Your professional beverage caterer will assist you with all the major todos and don'ts of the bar, as well as how much product to order, all bar supplies and rentals, such as glassware, ice, mixers...etc. Instead of multiple phone calls to rent glassware, a bar, order booze, mixers, etc. and then hiring a friend to manage the bar, the beverage caterer can handle everything professionally with one phone call. They can also handle all set up, tear down and clean up duties for the bar, allowing you to focus on what is really important. Creating custom cocktails and beverages unique to your event Not sure what to serve, but want your cocktails to standout? A beverage caterer can help you create specialty cocktails to fit the personality and style of your event, while staying in your budget. Creating a his and her cocktail menu or cocktails that reflect important milestones leading to your wedding day

opposite page: photo by marianne wiest photography 59

above: photo by marianne wiest photography

can be fun, unique and add a story to your bar.

as ensure no guests will go thirsty as they celebrate your big day.

Attention to detail Hiring a beverage caterer includes professional bartenders, who will add the attention to detail that the bar may not otherwise have. Pouring tableside wine, ensuring the ice is stocked on a hot summer night, or keeping the beer flowing from a keg can all go awry easily. Having a professional bartender to manage the bar can eliminate the chance for any issues at the bar as well

Melissa Wagner is the catering manager for Badlander All Beverage Catering baised in Missoula, former event planner and coordinator for Vail Resorts, with an edicational background in marketing and business management. Outside of the event and catering world you can find her paddling rivers or snowboarding Montana's coldsmoke powder


Steak, Seafood, ChopS & Catering

CATERING for all events both on and off site Let us help you create the event of your dreams!


Your free online resource for planning your western Montana wedding!


Offering full service wedding and event catering.

(406) 544-8390

Badlander Catering All Beverage Catering For reservations call 406.830.5644 or email 61

Serve up a

classy cocktail Grapefruit & Thyme Montgomery Whyte Laydie Gin, Thyme infused simple syrup, Grapefruit Juice, Soda Water, Thyme Garnish

Ginger Arnold Palmer Flathead Ginger Vodka, Fresh Lemonade and Iced Tea

Blueberry Cooler Montgomery Distillery Blueberry Shrub, Montgomery Distillery's Vodka or Gin, soda water, garnished with Mint & Blueberries

Classic Montanan Montana twist on a Classic Manhattan. Montgomery Distillery Sudden Wisdom Rye, Sweet Vermouth, bitters, and a cherry garnish


liven up your reception with these great cocktail recipes featuring montana liquors! cocktails mixed by the badlander | photos by tyler wilson

Sage Greyhound Montgomery Distillery Quick Silver Vodka, Pink Grapefruit juice, Sage infused Simple syrup, garnished with sage

Coffee Bear Spotted Bear Coffee Liquor, Spotted Bear Vodka, Cream & cinnamon garnish

Raspberry Lemonade Montana Distillery Raspberry Vodka, Lemonade, Splash of soda water & lemon wheel garnish

Champagne Cocktails Champagne, Thyme Garnish, fresh blueberries Champagne. Rosemary & Lemon Garnish



Montana Weddings

tanner & claire


tanner oertli & claire piester Married june 25, 2016, at teller wildlife refuge in corvallis, montana

How did you meet? We were set up on a blind date! Tanner had a minor procedure performed and his nurse taking care of him afterwards, who was friends with Claire, thought that they would get along. She gave Tanner Claire's phone number, name and email address and left it at that. Tanner ended up calling Claire a few days later and it was quite the awkward conversation. " name is Tanner and my nurse gave me your phone number. Would you like to go to lunch next week?" Claire obviously agreed and the rest is history! Tell us about the proposal! We love to go on weekend adventures, camping, hunting, fishing, you name it! We were on a weekend getaway and decided to stop at Gem Mountain in Philipsburg, Montana to pan for sapphires! About an hour into digging through buckets of dirt and rocks looking for sapphires, Tanner had a worker slip the ring into our final bucket and Claire found the best rock of all...a diamond! How did you choose your wedding vendors? We wanted to support our local businesses. The decisions were easy for us, we went to the businesses we loved and knew that we wanted to share them with our family and friends. Tell us your fondest memory from the big day Getting married...of course! We 66

are so blessed to have a huge group of family and friends who love and support us. We were overwhelmed with joy the entire day, everything fell in place perfectly. Even the weather cooperated, 68 degrees and sunny! We were determined to ride our 1960s refurbished tandem bike on our wedding day, and it was quite the attraction! Do you have any advice for other couples who are wedding planning? Don't sweat the little things and do not put too much time or effort into decorations. Work with your environment and embrace what the Montana scenery has to offer...your out of town guests will be simply amazed! ENJOY your wedding day. Take time to eat, dance and socialize! We held a BBQ the day before our wedding and invited everyone on our guest list. It allowed us to spend more time with our guests and enjoy their company more than just on the wedding day. Where did you take your honeymoon? We went to Outlook Inn Bed and Breakfast in Somers, Montana for a few nights, amazing views of Flathead Lake! We also went to Glacier National Park and camped and kayaked around Kintla Lake, our favorite getaway. We did not want to go on a traditional honeymoon because we both agree that leaving Montana in the summer is just plain crazy!

Photographer Drew Piester Photography Flowers Maureen Gary Catering The Silk Road Pie Break Espresso Ice cream Sweet Peaks pie flavors Strawberry rhubarb, Blackberry peach and Triple Berry Ice cream flavors Huckleberry and Vanilla Music Gladys Friday Band Rentals Eastgate Rentals Bridal Shop Breeze Bridal of Columbia, Missouri 67


Bouquets make a

bold statement


ontana brides plan their weddings to make the most of their stunning backdrop, their unique lifestyle, and their fierce personalities. Flowers are no exception. Montana brides follow trends, but maintain their individuality by incorporating subtle elements of this lifestyle into their arrangements. They keep it local, they explore the possibilities, and they are loyal to the vision they have for their big day. Your local florist vs. DIY flowers The age of Pinterest has brought on a new era of wedding do-it-yourselfers. It’s understandable. It’s cheaper, and looks easy enough to do. Montana brides especially, are women who can pull up their bootstraps and do it themselves. However, keep in mind, the flowers are one element of your wedding that will be seen by all guests, and later in photos from the big day. The last thing you want to worry about-- or even should be worrying about on your wedding day-- is getting all your floral arrangements done. The average wedding bouquet when professionally done takes anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours to complete. Not to mention, the bridesmaids bouquets, the boutonnieres, and any centerpieces or

by Meri DeMarois

additional floral décor. After ordering your own flowers, you then have to cut, arrange, and store them days before your wedding. You risk not getting the color or type of flower you were expecting, you risk the outcome after arranging-- which is trickier than it looks—and also not getting your flowers in time, or not having all the arrangements done in time, or having them wilt before walking down the aisle from lack of proper care. Local florists are professionally trained. They know how to take care of different varieties of flowers in all sorts of environments. Most importantly, they have the expertise to carry out any ideas and provide additional creativity to make your wedding day everything you wanted. Additionally, local florists use locallysourced flowers and greenery whenever possible. They do this for three reasons: it supports the local economy, it’s better for the environment, and when the worst happens, it’s easily fixable. This means if flowers need to be replaced, the grower is in the neighborhood and the product is readily available. The floral budget is often the first place people look to save money, rather than investing in the expertise of local florists and their skills in creativity, care, and delivery. Your budget is something

opposite page: photo by Marianne Wiest photography 69


opposite: photo by night owl imagery above: photo by j willis photography

your local florist will take into consideration while helping you create the wedding flowers you want. Upcoming trends in the floral world To sum up the newest trends in the floral world in one word it would be greenery. From succulents to new alternatives to the traditional bouquet, this season is all about your greenery. Succulents has to be the biggest trend for wedding bouquets in the last couple of seasons. Florists carefully string these delicate plants into the rest of the arrangement. While painstaking, the outcome is striking. Succulents

add a breath of fresh air to bouquets. There are several examples of entire bouquets made of succulents, and they’re everything if you want a frosty and edgy alternative to lush greens and flowers. Similarly, bouquets made entirely of greenery will be featured more this year, especially since the Pantone Color of the Year is actually called greenery. Branching off from succulents and greenery, alternatives to traditional bouquets are cropping up more and more, commonly in the form of wreaths. A lot of brides that have done this have used long spindly branches, with 71

a cluster of greens and flowers in one section to still give their arrangement some decoration. Coming back into trend is the cascading bouquet. These were wildly popular in the eighties, and it’s suspected they’re coming back because bohemian, wild-looking bouquets are very popular right now. Like succulents, these are tricky for florists to engineer, but the outcome is gorgeous. They provide movement and look effortless. Peonies are ideal to use for summer weddings, and in late summer or early fall sunflowers and dahlias are in season. For winter, roses and berries, and the best of the pine tree boughs are available. While in spring, brides should utilize the tulips that bloom during these months. This is another thing you and your local florist can discuss. They are completely up to date on the trends in the floral world and flowers in season, and will know exactly how to create what you’re wanting. Making it your Montana wedding Montana bride Kaitlin Pearsall admitted she didn’t really know what she wanted her flowers to look like at her wedding last September at a cabin up Rock Creek. However, she said she did know that like most Montana brides, she wanted incorporate her and her husband, Alex’s favorite things about Montana, and honor the life they are awarded by living in the last best place. Kaitlin said she wanted unique arrangements that went with her stunning Rock Creek backdrop, and there was one special detail she wanted Garden City Floral florist Danni Babin to include in her bouquets. 72

“Alex hand-makes metal flowers for me every Valentine’s Day,” she said. “They are a very special tradition I always wanted to incorporate into our wedding.” Along with the metal flowers, Pearsall also incorporated hops in her arrangements, since she and Alex met over a pint of beer years ago. They were in her hair, her bouquets, the groomsmen’s boutonnieres, and her flower girl threw them before she walked down the aisle as an alternative to flower petals. Kaitlin said she thinks Montana brides are unique because they desire to emphasize their lifestyle and beautiful backdrop. “Montana brides celebrate without the typical traditions of matrimony,” she said. “We can raise a pint and dance until our dresses are shredded and muddy.” Local florists are wizards at incorporating personal touches into wedding flowers. Flower arrangements in general have the ability to express emotion, which is why they have stood the test of time as a token of one’s feeling. As a Montana bride, you should never settle for less than what you want and you should never feel limited when it comes to your wedding flowers. Florists are able to work with you to provide these two important services. It will make your wedding planning less stressful and more enjoyable, leaving you time to savor the moments with the people you love in the place you love. Meri DeMarois is a journalist, floral enthusiast, Ina Garten junkie, professional ice cream scooper and hockey spectator, and born and raised Missoula businesswoman.

Weddings at ....

The Hilton Garden Inn

What We Offer Our Bridal Parties Plated or Buffet Dinner | Standard White floor length Linens | Plates, glassware, silverware etc‌ | Head table/sweetheart table with twinkle lights| Dance Floor | Comp Room for Bride | Complete Set-up and tear down | Complimentary Cake Cutting Service | Bridal Room | Complimentary Champagne Toast | Package Pricing | Customizable Menu’s | Online Group | Booking Tools

3720 N. Reserve St. | Missoula, MT 59808 | | 406.532.5300 73


Montana Weddings

robert & jennifer


robert Maurer & jennifer Lewis Married august 20, 2016, in a backyard in missoula, montana

How did you choose your wedding vendors? Events by Autumn helped pick out all the vendors. When you hire Autumn, she works closely with you on BOTH your wedding budget and your wedding wants. You tell her what you want, and she creates a budget, mapping out what it would cost. Once you’re satisfied with this basic overall plan (and cost), then she begins referring vendors in each category based on your style, and what your budget will allow. From there, you typically get a few vendors to choose from, and you’re free to interview, do more research, and make your own decision. Researching vendors and trying to figure out your wedding budget takes about 95 percent of your wedding planning time, and is often seen as the “not-so-fun” part of your job as a bride. So if you can hire someone to take that stressful part off your plate, leaving you with only making the fun decisions, it’s a recipe for an enjoyable wedding day.

What was your goal during the planning process? Jen called me at first, and wasn’t sure a “wedding" was what she really wanted - I remember her saying that all she wanted was to be married to Robert, but a traditional wedding wasn’t at all what she wanted. So the goal of the day was to do something elegant, but also keep it intimate and private. As a planner, it was really my dream come true - to have a couple say “this is our color scheme, this is our budget, and this is our style...make it happen.” And so I did!

Tell us your fondest memory from the big day? My favorite memory from this day took place just before the ceremony started. Because it was such a small gathering, they knew everyone who was supposed to be a part of the big day. So when the ceremony start time rolled around and we were still missing a handful of guests, we waited. And Tell us your fondest waited. I kept relaying to Jenn who memory from the big day? we were waiting on, and she waited Marrying the love of my life! patiently. But every so often, I’d catch glimpses of her anxiously/excitedly Do you have any advice peeking out the windows of the house for other couples who and out the door into the hallway. She are wedding planning? kept trying to sneak looks at Robert, Use Events by Autumn as your and also see who was there to share this wedding planner. She is amazing and day with her. As a planner, this is one of made my dream wedding a reality my favorite things - a bride so relaxed, but also so excited to start a “new” life The following answers are provided by with the man of her dreams! Autumn Kozimer, the couple's wedding planner. 76

Photographer Stella Kelsie Flowers Habitat Event design Events by Autumn stationery Happy Huckleberry Studios Catering Blue Canyon Hair & Makeup Shear Art Salon Cake Blackcat Bake Shop Cake Flavor Vanilla pound cake with fresh raspberries and cream cheese frosting Music Wildflower Trio Rentals Oh So Chic Boutique Montana Party Time Vintage 44 Bridal Shop Velvet Bride Tux rentals Men's Warehouse 77

Find all of your

Wedding Needs in one place!

Fine Wines, Table Wines, Imports and Domestics as well as catering and deli trays to fit any budget! Our floral department can create arrangements for all of your wedding decor needs. The bakery team at Missoula Fresh Market is excited to help you with handmade cakes and baked goods for your wedding.

800 West Broadway Street 406-721-2549 3801 South Reserve Street 406-251-3311 78

Oh So Chic Event Rental Bring your event to life with Missoula’s premier event rental company and their creative staff and vast selection of one-of-a-kind rentals!

• Farm Tables • Round & Banquet Tables • Chandeliers • Archways/Backdrops

• Linens • Fruitwood Chairs • White Resin Chairs • Furniture

• Bar Options • Whiskey Barrels • Vintage & Rustic Classic and More!

Call 406.552.7550 to schedule your appointment today! and find us on Facebook! Photo credit: Tamara Gruner Photography





Sugar and sage designs Future Mrs. Mug/Wine glass and personalized bridal party gifts! Prices start at $10 per item, discounts for large orders. SugarAndSageDesigns


Paula Jean's Garden Wedding Flowers and Decor, Lavender Bouquets, Dried and Fresh Flower Crowns, Boutonnieres, Corsages, Table Arrangements, Ring Pillows, Vintage Table Linens, $149 Accessories, and Cakes

Vinyl Krazy Mama Signs for your reception, cute messages on your cake table, gifts for your bridal party, personalized tank tops or flip flops‌ the possibilities are endless! Vinyl Krazy Mama can bring your ideas to life! opposite page: photo by j willis photography 81


Countdown to

the big day


ou’ve found the love of your life and the two of you are getting married! Now what? Your wedding is one of the most complex events you, your spouse-to-be and your families may ever orchestrate. A solid plan moves the process forward, reduces stress levels and gets your marriage off to a happy start.


months to go

Select date and time for your wedding Start a wedding planning binder Arrange for parents to get together, perhaps at an engagement party or informally over dinner Interview wedding planners Discuss budget with everyone who will contribute financially; establish priorities, including honeymoon expenses Narrow down and book ceremony and reception sites (some locations need up to 18 months) Select catering service, if not provided by the reception site. Sign contract and pay deposit. Select efficient and visit with him or her to discuss wedding preparation and procedures Choose members of the wedding party Begin to compile guest list Begin Dress Shopping Research legal requirements for marriage license in location where you will wed and mark pertinent dates on your calendar

opposite page: photo by night owl imagery 83


months to go

Book photographer and videographer Book ceremony musicians and reception band or DJ Select florist Reserve party rental equipment (tables, chairs, tents, dĂŠcor, lighting, linens) Shop for and order bridal gown accessories Select dresses for bridesmaids Consider items for registry Arrange Wedding cake tasting and order cake Research honeymoon spots Close in on the final guest list Mail save-the-date cards, especially for destination or holiday wedding Make master to-do list; share copies only with those who need to know


months to go

Attend pre-wedding counseling, if required Order wedding invitations, thank-you notes and personal stationery (earlier is better) Reserve location of rehearsal dinner and caterer if needed. Sign contracts and pay deposit Arrange accommodations for out-of-town guests Select and order formal wear for men; schedule fittings Finalize decor Reserve wedding-day transportation to church, from church to reception, reception to wedding-night location Plan honey-moon and make reservations Secure travel documentation; renew or get passports Complete registry



months to go

Finish addressing invitations Meet with caterer to finalize plans for food at the reception Complete honeymoon plans Select and order wedding rings Set appointments with hairstylist/makeup consultant for rehearsal and wedding day Select gifts for attendants, parents and each other Choose favors and guest book Complete cake order Book room for wedding night


weeks to go

Pick up wedding rings and arrange engraving Have final fitting of wedding gown Have run-though of bridal hair (with headpiece, if applicable) and makeup; experiment now, not later Check that bridesmaids have arranged fittings for their gowns, groomsmen for tuxedos and shoes Finalize catering menu for rehearsal dinner Draw up seating plan for ceremony and reception Finalize song lists to ceremony musician and reception band or DJ Finalize plans with every wedding vendor, including photographer Mail invitations six weeks before wedding, earlier if destination wedding or if many will travel, design map for out-of-town guests Write and order programs for ceremony Create wedding day timeline for vendors, wedding party and those helping throughout the day Create a plan for cleanup Attend bridal shower 85


weeks to go

Final gown alteration appointment; bring maid of honor so she learns how to secure it Write vows, if desired; write toasts Ask those who you would like to speak at your wedding to prepare a speech Review guest list and provide caterer with final count Finalize seating arrangements Make a check list of personal and emergency items to bring Plan for food and drinks in dressing area


day before

Give schedule to those needed for photos including family and wedding party Double-check that you have all personal items on your checklist, with backups just in case; put bag in competent hands Finalize tips and ensure that any outstanding vendor payments are ready

On the

big day

Eat a healthy breakfast, drink lots of water Give groom’s wedding band to maid of honor and bride’s ring to best man Allow extra time to get dressed Be sure to make the rounds at your reception and thank your guests for sharing in your dream day


above: photo by marianne wiest photography

After the


Write and send out your thank you notes Have your wedding dress cleaned and preserved Keep in touch with your wedding photographer so you get your photos in a timely manner Live happily ever after!





Call Travel Café Today to Plan Your Destination Wedding or Honeymoon (406) 721-5100 • • Bridal Registries Available

*Offer subject to change without notice; other restrictions may apply.



your wedding


et a budget and stick to it. It may seem like obvious advice, but experts say it also is one of the pieces that might have the most impact on your stress level. There are good, solid options for every budget from invitations to venues to achieve your wonderful day.

above: photo by 5ever photography 90

description Engagement Party

budget $

deposit $

Payment $

balance due $

Wedding Planner Ceremony Location Reception Location Photographer Videographer Music for Ceremony Music for Reception Florist Caterer Rental Supplier Bridal Gown Veil/Headpiece/Accessories Invitations/Stationery Favors Honeymoon Wedding Cake/Cake Top Rehearsal Dinner Jewelers Groomsmen's Formal Wear Limousine/Transportation Decorations Beauty (hair, etc.) Attendants’ Gifts Marriage License Gown Preservation




Experience total wellness at The SPA at the PEAK. Steak, Seafood, ChopS & Catering

CATERING for all events both on and off site Let us help you create the event of your dreams! 406-887-2020

5000 Blue Mountain Road Missoula, MT 59804 (406) 251-8200

We know beauty 2412 River Road, Suite D Missoula, MT 59847 (406)214-3112 Book online


Offering catering for all events 247 West est Front Street • (406) 926-1344


Catering & Events



(406) 544-8390

photography The Northwest's largest and most reliable DJ service.




Serving Montana brides for over 100 years 2510 Spurgin Road Missoula, MT



(406) 871-3524




registry weddings + engagements

Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bridal Registry and Gift Registry have the best selection of kitchen, bedding and bath items and more! Be sure to check out our online wedding planning tools.



Your free online resource for planning your western Montana wedding!

Pots Pans & Knives too let’s fill your kitchens with something new!

Rachel Berge Director 406-471-2729

sound bath

PLAN4IT EvENTs,™ LLc specializing in Event and Wedding Planning



Himalayan Singing Bowl Sound Bath A unique relaxation experience (406) 241-4189



Let The Barn at Finley Point make your event the experience of a lifetime. 33213 Finley Point Road, Polson, MT 59860 406-887-2444 • and

Arrange for a Tour

Call 406-273-7745 or Email

8500 Mullan Rd • Missoula, MT 59808

Call Nikki Lane to schedule your tour: 772.214.4530

406.363.6004 251 Eastside Hwy Hamilton, Montana

406 888 5454 • 12400 U.S. 2 West Glacier, MT 59936

WWW.KWATAQNUK.COM US Highway 93 East - Polson, Montana 59860 Direct Toll Free: 1-800-882-6363 | Phone: 1-406-883-3636


venues Fresh Montana air & stunning scenery will create the perFect wedding atMosphere.


Moonshadow Estate Experience your special day in a unique barn built into a rock cavern We also offer a house atop the world

open year-round

877.541.5117 Stevensville, MT • 777-7150 Exit 55 Hwy 90 West of Missoula email: Phone:(406)822-4561 Covered outdoor event center equipped with lights, ceiling fans, heaters for cool evenings, dance floor, bar and prep area, chairs, tables with covers, and much more, including new modern restrooms on scenic landscaped property in Western Montana with cabins fully furnished with linens and accoutrements needed for a comfortable stay. Different packages are available to fit your plans.

Missoula’s original venue

since 1879 historic & affordable



Snowbowl offers indoor and outdoor seating for 100-300 guests. Last Run Inn has a full service bar with a variety of catering options.


Premier Wedding Event Center Welcome to Atanaha! We are an event facility located on 12 wooded acres nestled at the base of the Swan Mountains. Our goal at Atanaha is to offer a commitment to provide quality service and excellence that make our facility an unforgettable enchanted experience, creating memories of a lifetime.

29048 Broken Leg Rd, Big Fork, MT | | 406.837.2231


Advertiser index


Missoula Textile Services������������������������������������������������49

Beauty Lovin Color Salon ����������������������������������������������������������41 Shear Art Salon��������������������������������������������������������� 29, 92 The Peak Salon and Spa������������������������������������������� 15, 92

Catering A Moveable Feast����������������������������������������������������� 61, 92 Badlander ������������������������������������������������������������������������61 Dickey’s BBQ Pit��������������������������������������������������������������15 Finley Point Grill ����������������������������������������������������� 61, 92 Good Food Store ��������������������������������������������������������� 100 Little Blue Joint����������������������������������������������������������������17 Missoula Fresh Market ��������������������������������������������������78 The Silk Road ������������������������������������������������������������������92 The Notorious P.I.G��������������������������������������������������������92

Churches St. Timothy’s Memorial Church������������������������������������89

Financial First Security Bank������������������������������������������������������������5

Florists Garden City Floral����������������������������������������������������������93

Invitations Noteworthy Paper and Press������������������������������������������34

Jewelry Mikesells Fine Jewelry����������������������������������������������������35

Music RMF Entertainment��������������������������������������������������������93

Photography 5 Ever Photography��������������������������������������������������������61 Becky Wharton Photography��������������������������������� 34, 93 J. Willis Photography������������������������������������������������������41 Jamie Lynn Photography������������������������������������������������93 Marianne Wiest Photography��������������������������������� 28, 93 Night Owl Imagery ��������������������������������������������������������94 98


Bitterroot Wedding Association����������������������������� 61, 94 PLAN4IT Events, LLC����������������������������������������������������94

Registry Bed, Bath, and Beyond ��������������������������������������������������94 Good Food Store ��������������������������������������������������������� 100 Pampered Chef����������������������������������������������������������������94 Trailhead��������������������������������������������������������������������������99

Rentals Oh So Chic Boutique������������������������������������������������������79 Eastgate Party Rental������������������������������������������������������35

sound bath Create the Way����������������������������������������������������������������94

Transportation Beach Transportation�����������������������������������������������������15

Travel Travel Caf���������������������������������������������������������������� 89, 93

Venues Atanaha����������������������������������������������������������������������������97 Daly Mansion����������������������������������������������������������� 49, 95 Dunrovin Ranch��������������������������������������������������������������95 Fairmont Hot Springs ����������������������������������������������������88 Glacier Raft Company����������������������������������������������������95 Hilton Garden Inn����������������������������������������������������������73 Holiday Inn-Parkside��������������������������������������������������������2 Kwataqnuk������������������������������������������������������������������� 3, 95 Linda Vista Public Golf Course������������������������������������29 Lolo Hot Springs��������������������������������������������������������������96 Lozeau Lodge ����������������������������������������������������������� 41, 96 Missoula Downtown Association ��������������������������������29 Montana Event Services ������������������������������������������������79 Moon Shadow Estate������������������������������������������������������96 Mountain Lake Lodge����������������������������������������������������89 Northern Rockies Heritage Center ������������������������������41 Sky Ridge Ranch������������������������������������������������������� 34, 96 Snowbowl ������������������������������������������������������������������������96 The Barn at Finley Point������������������������������������������������95 The Barn on Mullan��������������������������������������������������������95 Western Montana Fair Grounds������������������������������������96


Gorgeous Gifts for the Bride & Groom

Delicious Gifts for All Their Guests 1600 S. 3rd St. West | Missoula | 406-541-3663 100

Montana Brides and Grooms 2017  
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