Thanks to photographer Diana Edlinger who wrote this article for us! Diana is a wedding photographer and videographer based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She is sharing some helpful tips for those of you dreaming of a Jackson Hole wedding – but on a bit of a budget! We all love to know where to save when we can! Take it away Diana…
There is no more dramatic landscape in the United States than the stunning, majestic peaks of Grand Teton National Park. The surrounding valley of Jackson Hole features those iconic mountains, the wild Snake River, and a genuinely Western spirit. The sign that welcomes travelers says it all: “The Last of the Old West.”
Jackson Hole has, in recent years, become known as a playground for the rich and famous. It’s a dream location for couples and wedding vendors alike. Whenever I travel outside my Jackson Bubble and tell people I am a professional wedding photographer/videographer, their eyes grow big. The “Wow Factor” this place holds is legendary. Yes, sometimes I shoot stunning six, even seven-figure weddings; but there is so much more diversity and options in our market than most realize. So, how can you have your dream Jackson Hole wedding for less?
6 Tips to Have Your Jackson Hole Wedding for Less
1. Consider having a luxury elopement or micro-wedding
Consider having a luxury elopement or micro-wedding. Cutting the guest count is the most effective way to save on your wedding budget. Curate an intimate list of your close friends and family. These are the people you want to spend a week or weekend enjoying all Jackson has to offer. If you’re not going to feel comfortable on a raft with Aunt Janice, then maybe she shouldn’t be invited to the most important day of your life. Cutting numbers, you can also spend more per person, offering an elevated intimate affair over a budget-superfluous event.
2. Skip the venue
When choosing a location as stunning as Jackson, you don’t need an overly dressed tent or venue as your backdrop. Literally, an open field in Jackson Hole will start at a $10,000-$15,000 site fee, with zero amenities. No bathrooms, no tent, no onsite anything. I recommend an outdoor ceremony in Grand Teton National Park. You need a permit which will run you $200, but you’ll have the stunning Tetons and wilderness as your backdrop. For Grand Teton weddings, you will be limited to six site-specific choices with a limit of 40 guests max. My personal favorites are Schwabacher’s Landing, Colter Bay at Jackson Lake, and TA Moulton Barn. Better yet, contact the National Forest Service and book The Wedding Tree for FREE!
3. Get creative with your reception “venue.”
Jackson Hole is known for its epic food scene. There are so many diverse restaurant options you can choose from. Some even have stunning interior spaces that require little sprucing up. My top choice is Suda Izakaya. Located right in downtown historic Jackson Hole, they can accommodate up to 40-50 guests in their private upstairs dining area. You can rent out the entire upstairs for your modest reception. It includes a prix fixe menu and specialty cocktails at their private bar. Its gorgeous modern, minimalist design means you can skip the flowers and decor, saving even more money. Other favorites that offer private to semi-private dining experiences in beautiful settings are Glorietta’s and Calico.
4. Hire a photographer that also offers timeline creation and vendor recommendations.
Given the expanse of our area and the unlimited options you have when getting married here, you’ll find many photographers actually offer their form of “planning.” Backlight Creative, Erin Wheat, and Foxtails Photography all do full timeline creation and vendor sourcing. You won’t even miss the planner after these vendors have connected you with your officiate, hair and makeup, and florist. If you want to be fully handed off and hire a planner or day of coordinator, I love working with Grand Teton Events, Vibrant Events, and Elope Jackson Hole, who specialize in more intimate Jackson Hole Weddings.
5. Book accommodations in Idaho.
Most people don’t realize Jackson is a stone’s throw from the Idaho state line. Accommodations in Jackson proper are limited and spendy. In the summertime, it’s a scenic 35-minute drive over the mountain pass. You’ll find a wide range of VRBO and AirBnB options in Victor and Driggs, Idaho. Your guests can share the cost of a spacious, fashionable AirBnB and have more money to spend on excursions like white water rafting or a hot air balloon ride.
6. Package photography and videography services together.
Diana Edlinger Studios & Backlight Creative offer All-Inclusive photography and videography services. As someone who works both sides of the aisle, I cannot recommend EVER going without videography. I have seen the most magical speeches, dance moves, surprises, musical acts, and epic gifts captured
on film. To be able to relive those moments fully as they happened is irreplaceable.
Videography is often the last booked and first to be axed when the purse strings tighten. Finding local vendors that don’t require a travel fee and offer both at a competitive price will make you make no hard choices concerning your wedding budget. Even if the photographer you’re hiring doesn’t directly advertise videography services, they often have an inside line on an affordable videographer to capture your wedding.
If you use all or even some of these tips, I promise you’ll be able to curate the Jackson Hole wedding of your dreams. Being knowledgeable and informed about who and what is available will help you navigate away from the flashy big price-tag options. I hope this offered some solid boots-on-the-ground knowledge to help you navigate the overwhelming wedding planning process.
All photos by Diana Edlinger Studios