When you think of Montana, you probably think of mountains, cattle, and ranches. But have you ever thought about an incredibly sweet couple getting married in front of two horse sculptures surrounded by mountains?! Well, now you should because that was the epitome of my experience in Montana!
In 2015, at photography school, Ashley, Omar and I met and spent the next 10 months together. Throughout the last six years the three of us have only been able to see each other one time. So you can imagine my excitement when she asked me to photograph her wedding and that she wanted Omar to be the second photographer!
Ashley asking me to photograph her wedding was extra special because it was all the way across the country in the beautiful state of Montana! I have never been to Montana and neither had Omar so this wedding was definitely going to be one for the books. We flew in a couple days early and were able to make it to her rehearsal dinner.
We pulled onto Ashley’s family’s ranch and were greeted by her fiancé, Mike, who I instantly had a really good feeling about! Then, looked to our right and saw two massive bronze horse statues that created their ceremony arbor. Ashley was mingling with family and friend when we found her. In a gorgeous barn that has been a labor of love for many people in their bridal party!
Omar, Ashley and I piled into a side-by-side and she took us through the fields of her family‘s ranch for a tour. As we headed to the main house, we saw antelope gallivanting through the tall grassy fields! One of her dogs, Daisy, came along for the ride too. Every place she took us I was an absolute all of the beauty that we were surrounded by. Rolling mountains that were visible every which way you turned. Endless fields perfect for wedding day photos. Even wildlife that roamed free as well as cattle that their family raised. I was already excited to be in Montana to shoot her wedding but this tour had me even more excited!
For those of you who don’t know Ashley, just know that she’s one of the most chill and relaxed people you’ll ever meet in your life. She’s also hilarious and super sweet! I walked into her getting ready space, on the morning of her wedding, gave her a huge hug, and got to photographing all the pretty things! Beautiful cowboy boots that she was wearing under her dress, a personalized necklace with her and Mike’s name on it and of course her wedding ring and dress!
All we had to do is take a few steps outside the door to get the perfect view for some bridal party portraits. Just as we were finishing up, a limo pulled up to take the bridal party to the ceremony space, while Ashley rode in a horse drawn carriage with her brother, flower girl and ring bear to make her grand entrance into the ceremony. It was truly a sight to see!
Ashley and Mike’s ceremony was short and sweet with a little bit of humor and it’s exactly what they wanted. I’ve never quite seen anything like two people getting married in between two giant horse sculptures but I will say it was probably one of the coolest wedding ceremonies I have ever seen!
After they got the chance to embrace some of their loved ones after saying I do, it was on to wrangle this rowdy bridal party to get a few photos all together before we got to hop in the side-by-side again and venture out into the fields for portraits of just Mike and Ashley together.
I remember chatting with Ashley about a week or two before her wedding just to finalize some of the details of the day. I asked her roughly how many people she was planning on inviting in for the ceremony. She said roughly 80 people and then followed up by saying they invited the entire town to celebrate the reception. The. Entire. Town. Although I don’t know anyone from the small town of Wilsall, Montana, I’m pretty sure a large majority of the town did show up to express their love and support for this beautiful couple.
You’ll see a lot of cute pups hanging out in a lot of these images. That’s because their dogs mean everything to them! Having them walking around in the background of their photos was exactly was totally okay with them!
I wish this day didn’t have to end because there’s so many more pictures that I would’ve loved to create. Especially on this land that is so special to their family. I cannot wait until the next time I’m back in Montana and hopefully photograph these two again!
Cheers to you Mike and Ashley! Wishing you a lifetime of beautiful mountains sunsets, a whole lot of love and many days that are filled with laughter!