To say our wedding was perfect just doesn't quite capture how perfect it truly was. It was the most incredible day, and weekend, and I'm SO happy with the pictures — I have to share them with you! This is a very small sampling of the pictures Kacie, of Kacie Q Photography, captured from our day. If anyone in Bozeman needs a fabulous wedding photographer, look no further than Kacie! Our friends who recently got married told us that if we were looking for Cairns wedding photographer, they knew a great company. We didn't have our wedding in Cairns so it seemed silly to make the photographer travel such a distance for us! From the very beginning of our planning, Derek and I knew we wanted a wedding that was fun. We weren't so concerned with convention — but I did want it to be classy and beautiful, in addition to just fun. The words "rustic chic" kept coming up during planning, and even made it onto the invitations for the dress code. Not only for the guests but me aswell! I shopped around at so many different stores, but the only one that stood out for me was winnie couture bridal they had some of the most amazing dresses, and the different features were all just so carefully thought about. One of our priorities for the weekend was connecting with friends and family, and spending as much time with them as possible. This was definitely the most frustrating part of the entire ordeal: friends and family fly in from near and far, yet you have very limited time to catch up with each of them! Knowing this would be an issue, we opted for a wedding weekend with three main events: a backyard bbq/dessert/lawn-games party after the rehearsal Friday night, the wedding, and then a brunch Sunday morning. Perhaps the extra events added extra work (which our lovely families took care of, more on this later), but it made all the difference to us to have the time to actually chat with each and every person who came — more than just a quick "hello" through a receiving line. I LOVE this picture of my Mom coming through the receiving line: Our venue, The Lazy B, was perfect. They have a cute red barn, big barley fields, beautifully manicured lawns surrounded by amazing flower gardens. We could have done basically NO decorating and it still would have been beautiful. We had the ceremony in a field overlooking the Bridger Mountains, although wildfires made it a bit smokey, then moved towards the barn for appetizers, drinks, lawn games, and then dinner. The ceremony was done by our good friend Pete, one of Derek's running buddies from college. I think it was the same night we got engaged that I suggested having Pete do the ceremony — and Derek immediately agreed — because we both knew he would do a beautiful job. We pretty much let him run with it, and were so blown away with the beautiful ceremony he created. We each added bits and pieces of ourselves, had both of our moms read, and had a really heartfelt ceremony. We wrote our own vows, which our guests have repeatedly applauded us for — enjoying the humor and sincerity in our words. Perhaps I'll share them here later — I'm hoping to do some sort of artsy-something to keep them visible in our house (I've yet to figure out what that will be!). We both walked down the aisle with our parents (both parents), and for me this was the hardest part! Our wedding party, and Derek, walked down to "Beautiful Day" by U2 — if you know Derek, this makes perfect sense to you. I walked down to Iz Kamakawiwo?ole's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World." You can see my red puffy eyes in the picture of me walking down — I was really about to lose it! The rest of the ceremony was a balance of giggling (both Derek and I smiled so much during the ceremony our cheeks hurt afterwords!) and dabbing away tears. I can't imagine a ceremony more suited for the two of us — outside and laughing. After the ceremony we took fifteen minutes to ourselves, no photographers, bridal party, or family. It was great to relax (and EAT) together, giggle some more, and let the ceremony really sink in. And to admire Derek's beautiful new ring! It looks amazing on his finger! After re-emerging, doing family and bridal party pictures, we joined in the fun at the barn for lawn games, then a receiving line as guests went through the buffet line, followed by dinner, toasts, and dancing! In the spirit of having a somewhat relaxed wedding, more of a party, we wanted delicious but non-fancyshmancy food. Doug and the crew at The Bountiful Table did a SUPERB job not only with preparing delicious food, including a vegetarian option everybody keeps raving about, but they also were great waitstaff and helpers through the night. Such great folks! Our menu was pretty simple: barbecue pork ribs, almond-crusted trout, grilled polenta cakes with a delicious ragout, a wild rice salad, cucumber and tomato and basil salad, corn on the cob, and then dessert! The dessert was perhaps the biggest hit of the night, along with the vows: we had 30+ homemade pies, and 12 bundt cakes. I spent the week before the wedding making (and freezing) a few bundt cakes at a time — 4 each of lemon, black forest, and vanilla bean. I also spent the afternoon of the wedding, between doing my hair and makeup, frosting them! You can see chocolate chips in one of the pictures of me doing my hair — those weren't just for snacking! The pies are another story entirely: my FABULOUS family made them all on Friday. I have a pretty big family, and they really are all fabulous workers — and especially willing to pitch in for each other. I am still in awe and so grateful for everything they contributed throughout the weekend, from pies to setting up, to cleaning up, to the brunch, and more. A group of them whipped up all of the pie dough on Thursday, then each house (they were in three rental houses) tackled 10 pies Friday morning: berry, peach, and apple. By the time I met some of the family for my nail appointment at 10:30 Friday morning, the apple house said they had already finished! What champs! All of the pies were delicious, and beautiful, and it made my life a lot easier to not have to lift a finger to get them done. Details were attended to by me, mostly, and my girlfriends here in Bozeman (a crafting night the week before!), and some bridesmaid help on Friday — cutting burlap for runners, making table numbers, etc. Thank goodness for girlfriends who love to help (and are craftier than I!). Our guest book was a photobook with plenty of blank space for people to sign — everyone loved it, as it had our engagement pictures (and other pictures), and we will love having it around to read! While we're talking about how wonderful everyone is for helping, I should mention that we had to do all of the setting up (and cleaning up) ourselves. We didn't have a wedding planner or any "crew" to do the work, so the entire bridal party packed up our wedding supplies Saturday morning, and headed out to the barn around 10 am. I gave orders (in a very NON-bridezilla kind of way), and everything fell together perfectly. I had strings of lights I wanted hung a certain way — the boys handled it perfectly. I had long white fabric I wanted hung up in the barn — the boys, again, took care of it. I had a vision for the ceremony backdrop that was vague and haphazard — the boys, AGAIN, created something better than I could have ever imagined. While "the boys" were accomplishing all of that, and Derek's mom and aunt were making bouquets, we (bridesmaids and my family) set up chairs and tables, set the tables, decorated the tables, arranged seating, etc. I didn't think it would take quite as long as it did, but by 2 we were in the cottage on the property taking showers (and frosting cakes) while everyone else went back to town to get ready. For those wondering, I did my own hair and make-up (as did my bridesmaids). Kacie arrived at 2:30 to start taking pictures of details, then us getting ready, then US! From there, the day just rolled on. The only thing about the entire day I would have changed, maybe, was timing: I would have loved more time to dance!! We had the ceremony at 5, then dinner around 6:45, so dancing probably didn't start until close to 9. I could have danced all night, I was having so much fun! Really though, I look back on the day and am so so so happy with how everything went. I thought I'd be critical and wish I'd done this or that differently — and I'm not. I have nothing but perfect memories of a giggly, smile-filled day. Now we're enjoying married life — we went on our first "married date" last night and had a BLAST. We both are so grateful for the love and support we've received from friends and family, and it meant so much to have everyone there with us. You might think we're joking, but we really want to do this every year so we can throw an awesome party for all of our friends! Really — mark your calendars.