Elegant Montana Ranch Wedding: Lindsay + Steve

paws up wedding

I hope you enjoyed Lindsay + Steven’s fun rehearsal dinner we shared this morning. Now, it’s time for their gorgeous wedding! Carter & Cook Event Co. worked with Lindsay + Steven to create a charmingly beautiful and elegant wedding among the gorgeous and very rustic environment in Montana. They choose Montana for their wedding since Lindsay had so many fond memories from her childhood and growing up years since they visited the Big Sky state each year. Because Lindsay’s father passed away when she was in high school, it was extremely important to them to find ways to incorporate him and his memory into their wedding. The very idea of having their wedding in a place he loved so much made her feel like he would be that much closer to her on her wedding day.

The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana allowed them to have all wedding festivities on site and for all their guests to stay on property — exactly what they wanted for a fun-filled weekend where guests could mingle, party, and enjoy the gorgeous scenery at their leisure!  Their goal was to keep the rustic feel while bringing in a sense of elegance to the day. So stunning! Thanks so much to Michele M. Waite for the gorgeous photos and to Lindsay + Steve for sharing lots of details from their wedding weekend!

mountain wedding invitations

paws up wedding


The wedding day started with clay shooting for the boys and horseback riding for the girls – such a fun way to start the day!

pink peony bouquet

first look

paws up bride and groom

paws up bride and groom

Of course walking down the aisle and seeing my partner of 10 years at the end of it will never be forgotten, but my favorite moment is actually from the Welcome BBQ the night before. The BBQ was set up near the river, where, of course, there is no source of electrical power. Accordingly, we needed to bring generators in. Unfortunately, the generator kept blowing which means the band’s sound would turn off and the lights went out and would plunge us into darkness.

Truly, though first a bit upset, it made it the whole evening that much more fun. People mingled; the bourbon was passed straight out of the bottle; the band played acoustic sets; and everyone cheered each time the generator would come back on. By the time the generator was fixed and stayed on for good, it seemed that everyone at the BBQ was life-long friends. The party ended with Steve twirling me in circles with every single guest surrounding us and singing at the top of their lungs to Garth Brook’s “Friends in Low Places” (my dad’s favorite song which I had asked the band to play). Being in my husband’s arms, seeing the blur of faces of every single person that we loved and was important to us, and knowing they were having an absolute blast made it truly a very, very magical moment.

paws up bride and groom

paws up bride and groom

paws up bride and groom

paws up bride and groom

mismatched bridesmaids

mismatched bridesmaids

little ones

groomsmen


For the ceremony, Carter & Cook Event Co. custom made the lace and tulle backdrop by hand dying it in blush tones – so gorgeous! The pillows were all shades of the color palette and also custom made to provide cushions on the wood benches.

paws up ceremony

paws up wedding ceremony

paws up wedding ceremony


The wedding party was carted to the ceremony site in buckboard wagons. Guests grabbed programs from vintage fishing creels that belonged to my paternal and maternal grandpas. My dad’s Stetson cowboy hat sat on the pew closet to me. Steve and I were married under an arch that featured eucalyptus leaves and seeds in honor of Steve’s uncle who made Russian “sauna brooms” from eucalyptus. My bouquet was wrapped with my maternal Grandma’s engagement ring — which she gave to me when I was 18 and which I did not take off until I received my own 10 years later.

The ceremony was written entirely by Steve and I and featured both Catholic (me) and Jewish (Steve) traditions. We drank our first glass of wine from the kiddush cup that belonged to Steve’s paternal grandmother. An excerpt from “The Gift of the Magi”—a favorite story that my dad would read to me at Christmas every year — was read. While Steve and I said traditional vows, we also took the opportunity to state our own personal intentions — something I would highly recommend, it was so utterly personal (and really got the tears flowing). Constructing our ceremony was one of the most difficult things we endeavored to take on, but so very worth it. Please feel free to e-mail me if you are writing your own ceremony and would like our script to use as a reference (particularly if you are Jewish/Catholic).

flower girls here comes the bride sign

paws up wedding ceremony

Processional: Wedding Party: God Only Knows by The Beach Boys; Bridal Processional: Pachelbel's Canon in D

Recessional: All You Need Is Love by The Beatles

First Dance: At Last by Etta James

paws up wedding ceremony

paws up wedding ceremony

paws up wedding ceremony

paws up wedding ceremony

paws up horse carriage


The reception took place in the newly restored old working barn which made for a gorgeous reception space. Our menu featured local specialties — venison meatballs as a passed appetizer, trout and a duo of bison and elk as main course options, and bison sliders as a late night snack. My absolute favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake — so a shortcake bar featuring lots of yummy toppings satisfied guests’ sweet tooth. The head table was set with the wedding china my paternal grandmother received when she was married 66 years ago. Guests took home huckleberry jam — huckleberries are unique to the Northwest region, and, particularly, Montana—and served as a tribute to Steve’s maternal grandmother (whose rolling pin adorned the jam table) since she always made Steve fried crepes filled with jam when he was a kid.

pink tablescape

paws up reception

barn reception

goblet floral centerpieces

tall skinny candle reception

jam favors

first dance

first dance


We, of course, danced the hora and continued the party with The Blue Jack Band belting out classic tunes. We started the night with a bit of joke by having the band play “Knock on Wood” because Steve is extremely superstitious and anyone who knows him knows that he is constantly knocking on wood (a by-product of his Russian upbringing!) and we simply kept the party going from there. After the reception, we retired to the resort bar where Steve and I had Karaoke set up for some late night fun, along with fried cheese curds, lobster corndogs, and bison sliders for the guests! Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” was the Karaoke winner, in my mind, but there were great performances all around :)

At some point you have to stop looking at inspiration, and make decisions. Do this sooner rather than later!

Hire a great photographer—best decision I made! Pinch other places in your budget if you have to in order to make this happen.

Find ways to include those you love, but who have already passed, into the wedding, or simply family traditions you have with those that are still living. I had quite a few guests tell me “I wish I thought of that when I got married” when they read all the tributes in our wedding program and the ways we incorporated our families’ special belongings into the ceremony and reception. Invest more time in these details and less into details like seating cards — you’ll end up with a much more meaningful and personal wedding.

If you can, have a brunch the next day so you can relive the prior night’s antics!

Congrats to Lindsay + Steven and thanks so much for letting us share your gorgeous wedding!

photography: Michele M. Waite Photography (see lots more from the day here) // event design + coordination: Carter & Cook Event Co. // venue + catering: The Resort at Paws Up // florist: Habitat Floral Studio // linens: La Tavola // invitations: Dingbat Press with Little Miss Press Calligraphy // chairs: Events Boutique, Missoula // shortcake bar: The Resort at Paws Up // ceremony + cocktail hour music: Black Tie String Quartet // DJ: Kaleidoscope Entertainment // band: Blue Jack Band // paper goods (programs, menus, escort cards): Ding Bat Press // wedding dress: Monique Lhuillier // bridesmaid dresses: Five out of my six bridesmaids wore separates from J. Crew. My sixth bridesmaid was pregnant and so wore a French Connection dress // groom suit: Armani

This wedding features rad artists fromThe GWS Wedding Artist GalleryThe Resort at Paws Up is a Featured Artist in the GWS Artist Guide! Find more rad artists for your day in our Gallery
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Comments

  1. Oh how lovely – and those horses really did it for me! :-)

  2. I would LOVE the script from your wedding if you don’t mind – we’re also trying to incorporate Jewish and Catholic traditions! What’s the best way to get it from you?

  3. Lovely Wedding. So thoughtful to blend in details related to the family traditions.

    Love all the bridesmaid dresses.

  4. Wow – this wedding is absolutely breathtaking! I love love love the ceremony backdrop and how elegant everything is while still incorporating family and religious traditions. Congratulations!

  5. What a beautiful wedding! I would love your ceremony script as well! I will also email! What a generous offer. Thank you for some great advice as well. Im on inspiration overload! Time to make some final choices-3 months to go!

  6. This is such a unique wedding. I am loving all the details and the bridesmaid dresses!

  7. Stunnging pics. Congratulations to you both. These pics are exactly what I hope mine will look like in December (we’ll also be celebrating our 10 year anniversary on our wedding day). Our wedding is in the south of Western Australia and your beautiful landscapes look like they could have been shot in the same location with the same lovely light. Makes me excited just thinking about it!

  8. Really beautiful setting!

  9. Beautiful wedding!!! love the landscape!

  10. Absolutely beautiful! where did the mother of the bride’s dress come from? its gorgeous!

  11. very charming wedding! lovely arragements!

  12. Love the girls attire – and the kids! Beautifully individual yet picture perfect :)

  13. lovely wedding very elegant and simple but beautiful in every way!

  14. hi! love this wedding! i would love to email you about some of the jewish/catholic traditions as i’m having a similar wedding soon! how would i go about this? thanks so much!

  15. Love paws up! Love this one Jen, thanks for sharing! :)

  16. I look at a LOT of wedding photos and your wedding is the tops! A nod to the photographer who brought such beauty to the story through pictures.

    Now I want to visit Montana…

  17. Gorgeous setting! :) Love the bridesmaids dresses here.

  18. Montana is the perfect setting for a beautiful rustic wedding!

  19. Montana Weddings have such a wonderful natural element to them that you miss at so many other weddings. I thought the rehearsal dinner was great for this couple, but this landscape blows you away…wow.

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