When Grace emailed me about her intimate Bozeman wedding, I knew I wanted to shoot it. So we met up in Bozeman and talked about what she needed for their day. My smallest collection was still a little too much for what they had planned. So we customized it. They were planning a backyard wedding at an Airbnb, with photos up a canyon with the fall colors. Grace really wanted fall colors, which as all Montanans know, is hard to time.
A couple weeks prior to the wedding the Airbnb was a no go. Apparently the owner decided she wanted another $1,000, even though she was aware of the wedding when they initially booked. So they said nope, got their money back and started the search again. Not to hate on backyards (I love backyard weddings) but they found an amazing spot on forest service for their ceremony. Forest. Mountains. YASS. Ben had camp set there for a few days so no one would move in on their spot. 🤣
So October 5th I arrived in Bozeman early for brunch + coffee. I always try to show up early, so after food I parked near the place they were getting ready. Then grace texted me. “Macy, I have the stomach flu. I’m trying really hard. Is it possible to postpone things by an hour?” Now this was a first. If you know me you know I like letting things unfold naturally and am not a plan maker/keeper. Of course I make timelines and keep on track for photos, but today was different. Due to the nature of the couple and the guest list, we were able to move things around and it didn’t screw anything up. And
I was so cool with it. I offered my help for anything and went to a coffee shop to edit.
They moved the back ceremony an hour. And I headed up to the house to just be there in case any of the family needed help. Grace and Ben then got back from the clinic and got dressed. Grace still wasn’t feeling 100%. So she took it as easy as she could, chugging Parents Choice electrolyte solution. We headed out to the mountains where they wanted to do their first look + private vows. We trekked up the trail aways, into a small opening. The fall colors Grace wanted were there…and snow. It had dumped quite a bit the night before. They just rolled with it (theme of the day).
After some amazing moments, tears, high fives, laughs, waving at stranglers in the trial, we headed out to the ceremony site. I had no idea what to expect. So we get there, drive up a muddy road, and at the top of this hill is an incredible geometrical arch Ben made, amazing views, and 50 of their closest loved ones. The ceremony was gorgeous. The lighting, the scriptures, and the Bridger’s in the background.
We ended our time on forest service with a group photo of everyone there + portraits of Grace + Ben. Everyone headed back to the house for a dinner, and I followed the newlyweds. As I was driving down the highway behind them, the colors on the side of the road were just screaming “stop!” I just hoped Grace heard them too. And she did. We pulled off the road and took some amazing photos with a accurate depiction of a Montana fall. Rich colorful trees + fresh snow capped mountains. An elk bugled in the distance and their faces were gold. The surprised look turned into a shout of “I love this day” from Grace. Some of my favorite photos of a genuine moment. We hoped back in our trucks and met everyone for dinner.
I’m not sure who did the cooking but it looked amazing! Dutch oven cakes + the guys manning the grill outside. I couldn’t stay long because I had a meeting in Bozeman at 8, but I know I left when I should’ve. Right as everyone was visiting, putting the last touches on dinner, and pouring screwdrivers. I hope they had an incredible night celebrating the day.
The more intimate weddings I do the more I adore them. That’s all.
Grace+Ben, you guys. I’m so glad to have been the only vendor invited to your special day. It truly was an honor and I hope you remember all the amazing things your day stood for when you look through your photos. Thank you for having private vows and thank you for getting married in the forest. 🖤
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