Dani and Shawn’s intimate ranch wedding was truly a family affair! Filled with thoughtful details and sentimental touches, their big day was not just about Dani and Shawn’s love for each other, but also about the love they have for their families. This sweet couple had an August wedding at Star Meadows Ranch in Whitefish, located in Northwest Montana. They also had an unconventional yet genius adventure photo session in Glacier National Park. I absolutely love how they pulled this off and I frequently encourage my clients to do the same. What did they do differently? Keep on reading to find out!
This wedding is a testament to the fact that a ranch wedding doesn’t have to be completely rustic! Dani and Shawn’s color palette consisted of blush pink, ivory, dusty rose, and raspberry. These colors helped give their wedding the elegant and romantic vibe they were going for. Each bridesmaid’s dress had one of these different hues and their bouquets, including Dani’s, blended all these colors together.
Dani’s wedding dress was a stunning ivory number with a beaded bodice and light, flowy skirt. With her wavy hair twisted into a braided updo and her sparkling jewelry, she looked just like an angel as she came down the aisle! Shawn looked dapper as well in his rust-colored suspenders and matching bow tie. Who doesn’t love a good bow tie?
For the ceremony, we set a wooden arch with a floral spray on either side. We didn’t feel the need to go over the top with the ceremony décor since they were already surrounded by the rolling hills landscape at the ranch. I love when ceremony sites already have natural beauty, as many Montana wedding venues do, because you don’t need to do much for décor. This not only saves my couples money on extensive décor, but it also blows guests away every time!
They also had the cutest details at the reception! We set three long wooden tables facing Star Meadows’ signature stone fireplace. The two guest tables were dressed in gauze table runners with twinkle lights tucked underneath. We then placed floating candles and floral bud vases along the length of the runner and each guest’s dinner plate was adorned with a simple raspberry linen napkin. Finally, Dani and Shawn’s sweetheart table had one of the ceremony arch’s floral sprays atop it along with a white wooden “Mr. and Mrs”. sign and soft, amber candles.
My favorite part of their ranch wedding reception décor though was the guest book and favors table! They chose to have a Polaroid picture guest book, where guests could stick a Polaroid of themselves in the photo album and then sign their names. Then, for the favors, Dani and Shawn made two different goody bags for their loved ones. One was a bag of trail mix that read, “The perfect mix,” and the other was a bag of Hershey’s Kisses that read, “Hugs and kisses from the new Mr. and Mrs.” How creative and cute is that?
The final touches went on the dessert table, where Dani and Shawn served mini cheesecakes to their guests instead of a traditional wedding cake. With mouthwatering flavors like lemon blueberry and red velvet, they were both adorable and delicious!
Before the ceremony started, Dani and Shawn read personal letters from each other and had a first look. They were a little misty after reading the letters, but after their first look, broad smiles lit up their faces and they stayed put until the end of the night!
As I mentioned before, this ranch wedding was completely family-oriented! Dani’s sister officiated the wedding ceremony at the ranch’s Meadow Overlook. They had two cuties as their ring bearer and flower girl and Dani’s father escorted her down the aisle. Dani and Shawn also paid tribute to two dear family members, who had previously passed. They did this by reserving two seats with their names and photos on them. All of these special details reflected the close camaraderie that this family has, and it was incredibly moving to witness the emotions that were ever-present throughout the day.
Once the newlyweds had made it official, cocktail hour began at the Pond and Dani and Shawn jumped into family and couples’ photos. I adored the way that Dani and Shawn made each other laugh all throughout their photos and anyone looking on could tell that they just loved being together!
When they were finished, everyone headed into the Pavilion for dinner and dancing. Dani and Shawn’s first dance was set to “You are the Reason” by Calcum Scott and Leona Lewis (such a good version!). After that, open dancing and more mixing and mingling commenced. I told you about the cheesecakes that this couple served, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that they provided donuts, fries, AND s’mores as well! Talk about good taste! Between the salty and the sweet, I couldn’t pick a favorite!
At the end of the night, Dani and Shawn were overwhelmed by love and happiness. It touched my heart to see them have their best day surrounded by the people they cherish. After the wedding, Dani told me that her favorite part of their big day was seeing everyone that meant the most to them there. Since family is especially important to them, I was overjoyed to see that we succeeded in giving this family such a special occasion.
Now I know you must be curious about Dani and Shawn’s adventure photo session! Many times, couples will bake a photo session like this into their wedding day timeline. Sometimes, that means doing it early in the morning before the festivities begin. Other times, that means doing it late in the evening after everything has concluded. However, Dani and Shawn wanted to maximize time with their loved ones on their wedding day. So, they decided to have their couples’ photo shoot in Glacier National Park the day after!
This is such a great idea for couples who also wish to soak up every moment with their friends and family on the big day. You won’t feel rushed during neither the wedding celebration nor the photo session. Plus, it gives you a chance to get all dressed up again and have your first adventure together as a married couple! So genius!
If you choose to do the same, don’t fret about a little rain! There were some drops on the day of Dani and Shawn’s adventure session, but they made the most of it by getting adorable umbrella shots and some truly beautiful moody pictures.
Congratulations, Dani and Shawn! Your day truly moved me. I loved working with you two as well as hanging out with your families on the day-of. I wish you all the love and joy in the world!
Venue: Star Meadows Ranch
Coordinator: Big Day Celebrations
Photographer: Thewmatt Photography
Videographer: Alysa Jean Studios
Bartender: Maverick’s Casino
Florist: Rose Mountain Floral
Cheesecakes: Cakes by Debi
Hair & Makeup: Melanie Hobus
Caterer: Famous Daves BBQ
Late Night Snacks: Sweet & Salty
Linen: BBJ Linen
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