Wedding Wednesdays: Trouble in the Tetons

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wedding Wednesdays: In between law school and sitting for the bar exam, I owned and operated a business/creative team that planned 15 weddings in 15 months.  These are the stories I lived to tell.

It was my first wedding to "do" after my own.  The way my business model functioned was that brides would contract our creative team for certain services (budget construction, planning, flower design, photography, videography, invitation design, signage, cake, dress design, etc.).  For this wedding, I was providing decor pieces, programs, floral assistance (the bride's sister was actually a floral genius so I didn't have to help much there), rehearsal coordination, reception assistance, makeup, and we threw in a video package, in part because we were so dang excited for this wedding.  It was in the Grand Tetons!  We'd never been and were thrilled to make a road trip up for such a special occasion.

Best road trip partners.

By the time we completed the long drive northwestward, it was near midnight -- much later than we'd planned to arrive.  The following day was the rehearsal, so we hadn't missed anything yet.  Even so, it was a relief to confirm what I'd already suspected; this bride was unfazed by our delay.  Overall, she was an absolute dream -- just the epitome of chill and laidback -- who welcomed us with grace and ease.

The world's coolest, most laidback bride.

Arguably the best part of this wedding was that the bride and groom had rented out an insane property for their guests -- a giant, gorgeous, luxury home with room for the parents and immediate family.  With floor to ceiling windows, rustic hardwood floors, and a built-in bar, the house's living space made for a perfect reception venue.  The bride and groom would marry just outside of the residence in a clearing, with a field just beyond it for post-ceremony photos.  Adjacent to the clearing?  A wide deck overlooking the rushing river, which just so happened to feature a cozy hot tub for rowdy wedding guests to cool off (warm up?).  Walking distance from the house: a renovated barn with double beds in each stall, a camping area for the most outdoorsy of guests to set up tents, a two-story apartment-like building for guests with babies and small children who required more private quarters, and an entirely separate bathroom building with showers and toilets that were actually quite nice (the showers came stocked with Dr. Bronner's products!  I loved this!).  Overall, just the perfect wedding venue.  It was an incredibly relaxing environment, and what more could you ask for in a wedding venue, anyway!?

Before we flipped the room from "living space" to "reception hall."

The wedding guests would later put this pool table to good use during the reception.

The hot tub was just beyond those doors.

The bar in the kitchen is where the reception's dinner buffet was stationed.

The next day -- "rehearsal day" -- we started filming, setting up decor, sorting programs, assembling the bouquets, and completing other pre-wedding to-dos.  Joe was in charge of the filming (he's actually a great videographer, being the true Renaissance man that he is) and I took care of the rest -- we were working as a quiet little team of two and everything was going according to plan.  I went over hair and makeup looks with the bride and talked to each member of the bridal party about rehearsal speeches.  Next came rehearsal, followed by rehearsal dinner, and then... wedding day!

There are less serene places to sit while assembling the wedding party's bouquets, am I right?

The beautiful bride, ever chill.

I snuck pictures of the happy couple on my phone while Joe filmed the wedding video.

All went well; the day was a dream.  We couldn't have asked for a better execution of all the plans our ever-laidback bride had approved.  On top of that, she had so many friends and family members helping that the stress levels were as low as they could have been.  When the ceremony ended, we transitioned seamlessly into the reception, which lasted until the early hours of the morning (Joe and I went to bed rather early - once video duties had come to an end - and used ear plugs to sleep in our 'stall').  The next morning, we helped clean up, packed our things, and headed out.  We made it home in one piece, sore from the long car ride but otherwise feeling refreshed and restored.

The cozy stall we shared.

If you're looking for the drama in this story, look no further.  Here it comes.

The following weekend, I sat down to edit the video.  I knew exactly what songs would serve as soundtrack to the beautiful images and scenes we'd captured on video, and couldn't wait to piece it all together.  Editing through the clips, Joe heard me comment to myself, "Oh my gosh - these colors are unreal"...."How special; I didn't realize you had footage of that"....."Oh my gosh, that's perfect!  Her grandma's so cute"....until -- it happened.  I realized what no wedding videographer wants to realize ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.

Joe had captured so many priceless moments of the wedding weekend, without capturing the most climatic moment of all: the bride's. processional. down. the aisle.

I repeat: we didn't. have. footage. of the bride. walking. down the aisle.

I felt a pit form in my stomach as I prepared to break the news to the bride.  I envisioned what I would say, how I would say it, and just how bad her reaction would be.  It is a special kind of torture when you have to tell a bride something as disappointing as, "Oh, you know that moment you've likely envisioned since you were a young girl?  The moment where your dear dad - with whom you are impossibly close - walked you down the aisle and gave you away at the altar to the man who is otherwise known as the love of your life?  That moment?  Well, your 10 minute wedding video isn't going to include that moment, so hopefully you have a good memory of it."

The culprit himself.

I honestly cannot remember how I broke the news to her because I think I have repressed that memory in its entirety but I do have a vague memory of her reaction.  "That's okay," she giggled.  "Can't wait to see the rest of the video!"

I might have predicted her reaction would be so gracious and forgiving if I had allowed my worst-case-scenario brain to venture into best-case-scenario land.  Of course I hadn't, though (my brain knows no such land) so her response nearly brought me to thankful tears of relief.  I finished the rest of the video and she and her husband watched it on repeat that night, texting me countless real-time updates of their reactions.  (Side note: Joe had managed to capture a teeny tiny glimpse of the very end of the processional, so there was at least that, but I still felt sick to my stomach about the whole thing!)

That was the first time I realized something that I would come to realize just a few times over the course of the next 15 months: a reasonable, laidback, kind, understanding, even-tempered bride is worth. her. weight. in. GOLD*.

Gold**, I tell you.


Saying goodbye to Fall River Ranch Resort.  We would love to go back someday.  Would be the ultimate destination for a family reunion.

*Yes, this is foreshadowing.

**So is this.

***This is too.
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