A beautiful spring wedding for this sweet couple happened this past April at the Hart Ranch. It was a beautiful setting nestled in Gallatin Gateway. If you have ever driven up to Big Sky Ski Resort, you have probably seen a ranch on your left called the Hart Ranch. Gabe & Shelly chose the perfect venue to say their vows with the family & friends present.
As always a spring wedding in Montana can be full of sunshine, rain and snow all in the same day! We got sprinkled on a bit, but the weather held out until the reception started and the snow just started dumping on us! If you don't follow Leighton and I over on instagram you should because we had some fun insta stories of us out in the snow! When we left the wedding my windshield wipers wouldn't even budge the snow was so wet and heavy.
The day started in the beautiful bridal suite at the Hart Ranch and from their unfolded into a beautiful ceremony and love story. Gabe and Shelly's kids were part of the bridal party and made it so fun for their parents big day. There were lots of laughs and tears, but ultimately you could feel the love and happiness as these two families joined together to be one.
Gabe has been a long time friend of my husband and I's and it was an honor to capture this day for him. I love documenting love stories like this one in the heart of the Bozeman valley. Rain or shine, this wedding was full of joy and emotion.
I truly believe despite the weather and all the wedding day prep, it comes down to spending the day celebrating the love for one another with your family & friends.
Here are some sneak peeks from Gabe & Shelly's beautiful Bozeman, Montana wedding!
This story begins a while ago, when these two first met in high school. But really my story begins when I met Leighton, when she was in about 4th or 5th grade. She stole my heart as a sweet little girl and has now grown into such a beautiful and amazing young woman. It was so beautiful to watch her grow into who she is today. I had the honor of taking her senior portraits, her sisters senior portraits, her engagement session and now her wedding. I think I had just as must excitement to photograph and document her wedding as she did planning it and getting married. It was truly a day to remember and the wedding that kicked off my 2017 summer wedding season here in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. Truly this place is one amazing place to get married in the summer!
Conner and Leighton are truly an amazing couple together. To capture their love story was amazing! Their day started with the girls getting ready at a hotel and the boys getting ready at the groom's family ranch in Bozeman. To have an amazing second professional photographer for this wedding was a must to capture all their amazing details!
Getting Ready to Get Married....
This is one of my most favorite times of the day! The excitement is building and the bride is getting pampered and feeling like a complete princess before she see's her groom! Leighton was one of the calmest brides I've worked with. I think a big part of it was the group of friends and family that surrounded her and loved on her that day. They were truly there for her...best bridesmaids! Girls you did a fabulous job supporting your friend and bride on her big day.
Her hair was styled by one of the best stylist's in town, Jessica Stainer at Zuri Salon in Bozeman, MT. Her mom, Shannon helped as well and Shannon has been a stylist here in Bozeman for years and is amazing too! I love both of these girls and they have each been a big part of my life, so it was fun to get to hang out with them for the morning while I documented the process!
The Bride's Details...
Leighton had an amazing gown from Eskay Bridal Boutique here in Bozeman, Montana. It fit her beautiful and she said Sarai and her crew were amazing to work with finding a wedding gown. A big shout out to Sarai and Eskay Bridal, Leighton looked amazing! The flowers and the colors were so beautiful and complimented her whole wedding perfectly. Her cowgirl boots were a gift from her sweet groom and her ring was a family ring! I fell in love with this ring. And well, ring shots are my favorite....haha I think your going to find that I have lots of favorites on wedding days! But rings and photographing their detail are right up there, I just love bringing out the details in the diamond, the band and the cut.
Prayer Time & Pillow Fights....
Once all the bridesmaids and brides hair and makeup were complete, they all sat down to take a moment to pray over this precious bride. It was such a honoring moment....to have her friends pray blessings over her and to hear their love for her was truly a moment that flooded my heart with emotion. You see this sweet bride, was in the junior high youth group at our church that my husband and I lead. This is where we really got to know Leighton and her heart for Jesus and her love for others. I always loved seeing her bright smile every Wednesday night at church. So to see her prayed over, was such a honor to see.
Then they all broke into a pillow fight to shake off the nerves! We should've cranked up Shake It Off LOL. It was a fun pre-cursor photo op before all seriousness happened getting into dresses and shoes and all things girly! No pillow fights happening in your wedding attire! **disclaimer**no hair or faces were hit in these images! It was all fake! LOL
The best part is seeing the bride for the first time in her gown. Leighton's mom and her sister Jesse were there to help her with all the final touches before we headed out for formal pictures!
The maid of honor was Jesse Hirsch, the brides sister. I just love these two and so glad they got to celebrate this day together!
A Beautiful Montana Bride....
Oh Leighton! Your beautiful inside and out! And as long as we waited and anticipated your big day, I agree with you and wish we could push the rewind button and do it all over again! Your day was filled with so much love, fun and laughs that I didn't want it to end for you! But I know this is just the beginning to so much more than one special day! I am so happy for you my dear!
A Montana Groom....
Conner, you were so much fun for my second shooter Michelle to photograph! I laughed so hard looking through all your images with you and your groomsman! We had an amazing location to shoot, right on your parents ranch property north of Bozeman. The mountains for our back drop and all the barns, it was a photographer's haven to photograph!
Thanks so much Conner for your energy and fun in front of the camera! We love our jobs, but love it even more when the guys allow us this many smiles and laughs!
Groom's Photo Credits: Michelle Pritchow | Michelle Pritchow Photography
The boys! I don't know who had more fun, the groomsman or my second shooter! They were all serious for the first photo and then from there it was all laughs and fun!
This is how you photograph a bunch of Montana groomsman! Just having fun, nothing too serious! Michelle, you did an amazing job with these images and I can't thank you enough for covering the grooms day, while I focused on the bride!
Bride & Groom First Look....
Leighton & Conner choose to do a first look prior to the ceremony! I am so glad they chose to go this route and I will tell you why in another blog post! Just for the brides planning their 2018 Montana Weddings!
Their first look was very intimate and quiet. Just the two of them on a hill together, stopping the chaos and busyness of the day!
They were so excited to see each other! It was the sweetest moment ever! While Michelle and I hung back and tried to give them our privacy (with our long paparazzi lenses), we got some amazing shots of their first look on their wedding day!
The portraits resumed with some fun and silly bride and groom portraits!
So we did the classic dip pictures and guess what happened! YUP, you guessed it! The groom ripped his pants....and I think the rip was bound to happen with all the shenanigans with the groomsman pictures prior to the first look! LOL, we all laughed!
The Bridal Party
The wedding party was amazing and fun! We had so many laughs during formal portraits! Of course we had to do the traditional groomsman with the bride!
These boys were so funny....I asked them to fix the bride's dress and this was the shot I got! I told him to flip it around to the front so they didn't step on it! LOL, I love the animated flip of the train I got!
This shot was the best! Leighton was covering the rip in his pants and we told the guys to pop a hip like the girls usually do! They were so funny trying to figure out the pose!
We tried to get the ring bearer in the wedding party shots, but this is what we got! Leighton tried to hold him and right when she set him down, he ran away as fast as he could! I absolutely love candid photos like this! Not all my photos are posed and formal, my team and I try to capture every moment we can to make the memories even sweeter!
And with that we were off the chapel to get married!!
Leighton and Conner said their vows at the Holy Rosary Catholic church in the beautiful downtown Bozeman, MT. This church is absolutely beautiful inside and out!
Their vows were heartfelt and were blessed by the priest. It was a beautiful ceremony with their parents, family & friends beside them to support them in their marriage convent before God and the congregation gathered.
After the ceremony, we spent sometime outside the church celebrating and getting some great downtown shots!
And off to the reception we went! We of course had to get the classic shot of crossing the street with the beautiful and quaint downtown Bozeman in the background!
Of course a June wedding was not a wedding with a big downpour on the way to the reception! We were nice and protected though in the beautiful venue at Copper Spring Ranch west of town! It was amazing and everyone had such a great time dancing and celebrating the day!
The cake and cupcakes were beautiful and delicious too! The cupcakes were made by the bride's sister!
I could blog forever about this wedding....it was a special day for me to photograph and I know such an important day to Leighton & Conner! Thank you again for having Mariah Allen Photography and associates photograph your big day! Congratulations again Leighton & Conner!
Hair: Jessica Stainer & Shannon Hartman at Zuri Salon
Makeup: Sage Spa
Dress: Eskay Bridal
Venue: Copper Springs Ranch
Ceremony Site: Holy Rosary Church
And a huge shout out to my second shooter and friend Michelle Pritchow of Michelle Pritchow Photography out of Edumclaw, WA! She did an amazing job and helped capture so many different angles! She was assigned to the groom and groomsman, so photo credit to her on those images!!
Let me introduce a very special couple! I had the honor of photographing their wedding this past summer and it was a blast.
I asked Shaelyn if she would write a guest blog post for me about her wedding. When so many details go into planning a wedding, the best part is being able to share it!
"Growing up I never thought I’d have the courage to be a military wife. Tyson & I met April 2014 at a grocery store in Dillon, MT. The day I laid eyes on Tyson I knew I wanted to get to know him more. It didn’t take long to find out he had recently enlisted in the Navy & in June he’d be going to boot camp. We stayed in touch for eight months until we saw each other again & never looked back. Tyson proposed during a port call at a country concert in Chula Vista, CA on August 16, 2015.
Tyson & I had to make many sacrifices while he was stationed in Japan, while I was still in MT. Wedding planning wasn’t easy with him living so far away, but we’re very grateful for our friends & family’s help. We planned our wedding date to be exactly a year after he proposed. Our color scheme was chosen knowing Tyson would be wearing his dress whites for some professional photos. The color chosen was Navy Blue with Sunflowers. Even though the Navy was the highlight of our relationship, Tyson is an avid hunter who wanted to tie hunting into the wedding, so we used shotgun shells to make the boutonnières.
We were very fortunate to get married on his grandparent’s property in “Paradise Valley” in Livingston, MT. It was a beautiful summer day full of sunshine & sunflowers. There were two houses rented next door to his grandfather’s house for each side of the wedding party to get ready in. 16:30 was when the ceremony began. Tyson had his father be our officiary, while both of my parents walked me down the aisle. Tyson’s Aunt & Uncle also played a big role. His Aunt created a breathtaking bouquet out of silk flowers & his Uncle shared the meaning behind it at the ceremony.
"The bouquet represents the lives of Shaelyn & Tyson. There are three sunflowers. The one on the left is Shaelyn & the one on the right is Tyson. The sunflower in the middle represents Christ, as he should be the center of their marriage. The two white spider mums represents the purity of their love coming into this union. The pearls are the pearls of wisdom that they will collect throughout the years. There is twine and ivy that wrap all this together with Christ as the center of this marriage." – Aunt Joann
After we shared our personal vows, we conducted a “blending of the sands” ceremony. The two sands that were used were symbolic. Tyson brought home black sand from Invasion Beach on the sacred island, Iwoto (Iwojima). The black sand was combined with tan colored sand from Montana. The tan sand used was from the location where Tyson & I first went shooting together.
Following the ceremony, appetizers, dinner, toasts & dancing began. One of the biggest highlights of the reception was Tyson’s toast that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. “The Longer the Waiting” by Josh Turner was our first dance song. Choosing our first dance song was an easy agreement. The first time Tyson heard this song was during his first deployment & emailed me to listen to it; I got tears in my eyes instantly.
Our entire wedding was better then we could’ve imagined. We are again very grateful for everyone’s love, patience, & support from planning to the moment we said, “ I do”. Tyson & I agree that the greatest part about the wedding was seeing all of our family and closest friends from all walks of life come together to celebrate our big day."
Wedding Dress: Mimi's Bridal
Men's Rental: Knock About
Hair & Makeup: Polson's Cutting Edge
Flowers: JoAnn Zorn
Catering: FeedLot 49 at The Pop Stand
Cake: Crust & Crumb Bakery
Beer: Blackfoot River Brewing
The wedding venue....
Getting Ready for the big day....
Montana groomsman at their best....
I seriously love when bride and grooms come up with fun stuff like this to incorporate! Finally, the guys have something that says best man and groomsman. The bridesmaids used to have all the fun with wedding wear!
And this beautiful bride! Isn't she gorgeous?
This ceremony was so special and so many fine details went into from the beautiful wedding arch (which is now for sale!!) to the pouring of sand and how they wrote their own vows. There were lots of laughs and lots of tears! It was so awesome to be a part, to listen and to hear their love for one another!
This couple and their love for one another! I loved hearing their vows!
The bride and groom choose not to see each other at all before the ceremony....it was a special time for them post ceremony to have some moments together capturing the sweet moments as newly weds!
One of my favorite images from the day! Kissing with their wedding party behind them!
Tyson & Shaelyn choose to use this last photo to send out to all of their guests that attended their wedding! I was excited to get one in the mail with a sweet note!
Some of the most amazing speeches were given at the reception! One of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer is getting to here the reception speeches!
Just a sweet baby staring back at me with these piercing blue eyes! I had to snag the picture!
And to top the night off there was an amazing sparkler exit up against the beautiful mountains of Pine Creek!
I love capturing emotion, love stories, reactions and details. Each image I take on a wedding day, I take it knowing that if I was that bride and groom, I would want that shot, that emotion, that documentation to pass along to generations to come! Its my job to create the story from beginning....My dream as a wedding photographer in Montana is to capture many more memories for these amazing couples that come into my life! From the time they decide to welcome their first child into their family (dog, cat, horse, adoption, baby...however they choose to start their family) to their anniversaries, to their children graduation high school to their first grand child and so on....
Thank you Shaelyn & Tyson for choosing me to capture the beginning of your story together as husband and wife! I hope to see you in front of my lens when you return from serving overseas. Until then, I thank you for both of you for serving our country and making the sacrifices many military familes endure. I love seeing your posts from living abroad!
This sweet senior was such a joy to be with! We had many laughs and fun during this senior portrait session! Her parents were even along for the ride to make her laugh and truly get her silly personality to shine! I love it when parents join me for their child's senior session! We even got a couple of mom and dad loving on their beautiful girl! Kyra, I hope you love your senior pictures and thank you for the laughs!
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