What happens when you take two travel nurses with adventurous spirits and natural affinities for being in the wilderness? One heck of a destination wedding in Montana! Rebecca and Dave held their intimate nuptials at Whitefish Mountain Resort on a beautiful August day. 20 of their closest relatives surrounded them as they said, “I do,” on top of a mountain with a view of the sky that made it seem infinite. This was followed by a celebration at their AirBnB in Whitefish, where dinner, good conversation, and much laughter ensued.
In this post, you’ll find the full story of how Rebecca and Dave met, fell in love, and came to have their perfect Whitefish Mountain Resort wedding.
Warning: This wedding story may blow your mind about what a destination wedding can look like!
Once upon a time, there were two travel nurses named Rebecca and Dave, who coincidentally, each decided to sign a contract to work in Lander, Wyoming. It must have been fate from the start because the hospital where they worked was a small, critical access facility that may not have been other nurses’ first choice.
They were both assigned to work the night shift and oftentimes, they were the only two people in the unit. Again, fate had to have been a part of this equation because these two nurses got to hang out with each other all night on most nights. Naturally, they got to know one another pretty well and formed an easy friendship.
After many shifts of talking and working alongside each other, they both soon came to develop an interest in hanging out outside of the hospital. They wound up going on a hike together as their first date. Dave’s dog tagged along and helped seal the deal for his dad. After that initial hike, Rebecca knew that Dave was someone special.
Over the course of their dating relationship, they nurtured their love by going on more hikes and spending much of their time in nature. So, when Dave popped the big question and Rebecca gave a resounding “Yes!” as her answer, they both knew it just made sense to have their wedding outdoors surrounded by nature.
Off to Montana they went!
When Rebecca and I started planning their destination wedding in Montana, she expressed that it was important to her to have just her closest family members present. She wanted to be able to spend quality time with them all weekend long. She also wanted the focus of the weekend to be on her and Dave’s love and the beginning of their marriage, not so much on all the frills and fancy that may come with a larger, traditional wedding. This became the driving force behind many of our decisions while planning.
We decided to schedule Rebecca and Dave’s adventure photo session in Glacier National Park a couple days before the actual wedding. This way, the nearlyweds could spend some time together with just the two of them before the big day. The national park is so vast that anyone could spend hours, if not days, exploring it all. Thus, we wanted to ensure that Rebecca and Dave wouldn’t feel rushed doing so. Capturing these photos beforehand also ensured that they could spend as much time as possible with their family on the day-of, instead of splitting their time between photos and family time.
When selecting the venue, we found that Whitefish Mountain Resort would be ideal for this micro wedding. Their ceremony site is called The Summit. It is aptly named because you take a ski chair lift from the resort level up to the very top of the mountain. There, you discover an incredible view of the majestic surrounding mountains and blue sky as far as you can see.
For the reception, Rebecca and Dave found the cutest AirBnB! It wass just the right size to host their party of 20. The room in which we set up the reception table featured glass windows all around. This made it so everyone could enjoy even more gorgeous views while celebrating the newlyweds.
On the morning of the big day, I met Rebecca at the AirBnB to check in on her. I also helped manage the installation of the reception rental items. Along with the Empress team, I set up the long wooden reception table with an ivory gauze runner, various bud vases, small hurricane candles, and gold votives. I also set gold geometric terrariums down the center of the table.
At each place setting, I set individual place cards that Rebecca made along with Glacier National Park cards. To complete the tablescape, I placed a mini champagne bottle adjacent to each plate. Rebecca’s vision of a cinnamon and rust tablescape had come to life, and it was stunning! I would definitely say that we achieved her original idea of creating a “boho meets the mountains” feeling!
After the team and I set everything up, Rebecca and I made our way to Whitefish Mountain Resort. Once there, we took the chair lift up to The Summit and hid the beautiful bride away, so no one could see her before it was time.
At that point, I lined everyone up for the processional. Dave’s dad was the officiant, so he led the way and kickstarted the ceremony. Dave went next, and then two adorable ring bearers and two darling flower girls followed him down the aisle. This was SO cute! They entered the ceremony to “Life is a Highway,” and one of the ring bearers even had a ring pop with him!
When it was Rebecca’s turn to walk in, the first notes of an instrumental version of “Here Comes the Sun” rang out. She then floated down the aisle on her brother’s arm, wearing a simply chic white gown with off-the-shoulder sleeves and a long train. Rebecca later told me that she chose this to “create a statement with the summit of the mountain.” She also relayed that her mom had taken some lace off of her wedding gown, and they incorporated that into Rebecca’s bridal bouquet. I LOVE that!
The ceremony was beautiful! Rebecca and Dave had a hand fasting ceremony as their unity ceremony. Each of their moms wrapped the hand fasting cord around Rebecca and Dave’s hands while their aunt and uncle prayed over them. Hand fasting is symbolic of two individual people coming together in marriage. It was very sweet to witness!
And just like that, Rebecca and Dave were husband and wife! Time to celebrate!
After the ceremony concluded, I left Whitefish Mountain Resort and headed back to the AirBnB to ensure that everything was set and ready for the reception. Rebecca, Dave, and their family stayed behind to take family and couples’ portraits.
They even ran into a few passersby back at the ski lodge, who invited them to shotgun a beer with them. It was their big day and they had just gotten married: Why not?!
When everyone arrived at the AirBnB, they sat down together to share dinner. They ate, drank, and were very merry the rest of the night, as they simply spent quality time together. It was exactly what Rebecca and Dave had envisioned, and I could not have been happier to see them soak up every minute of their big day!
“Give your wedding planner ideas of what you want and let their creative mind go to work. Katie knows how everything goes together for decoration, she knows the best local caterers, the best way to have your day flow smoothly. If something is important to you, communication is key! I gave her my basics and she worked her magic to make all my random ideas work. Let Katie worry about small details while you focus on what’s important to you!”
Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Cook! Your ceremony at Whitefish Mountain Resort was a dream! I was so honored to get to be a part of it. I also had so much fun planning your reception tablescape with you. It turned out beautifully! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness together!
Venue // Whitefish Mountain Resort
Coordinator // Big Day Celebrations
Photographer // Elsa Eileen Photography
Florist // Forage and Floral
Baker // Sammy Bakes
Hair // Mountain Soul Event Styling
Makeup // Makeup by Alexa Elise
Caterer // The Chef Guys
Rentals // Empress Tents & Events
Linen // BBJ Linen
Big Day Celebrations offers full-service wedding planning, coordination & design services, and micro-wedding packages, so no matter how you envision your wedding, we will make it happen and have a whole lot of fun along the way!
Ready to get started? Drop me a note below and let’s do this!