One Couple's Modern Wedding Weekend in Montana
Kaitlin Chad met Jeremy Moss in college their junior year. They flirted over ice cream and many "study" dates—and the rest was history. After dating for a few years, they decided to take a last-minute trip to Europe. The journey took them to London first, where after sleeping in until the late afternoon, they ventured out into the city. "There was something very off about Jeremy that day, but I blamed it on the jet lag," says Kaitlin. The pair went headed to a restaurant for some Champagne and cheese (two of their favorite things), and Jeremy ended up knocking a fork off the table. Next thing Kaitlin saw was him on one knee, holding an engagement ring. It turned out he had wanted to propose atop the London Eye, but after too many other tourists boarded with them, he opted to delay the opt for a more romantic setting—thus explaining why he was being a little awkward.
Knowing they wanted a summer wedding, they were engaged for just shy of two years, and set the date for September 2, 2017. The Denver-based couple (she's a blogger and event stylist, and he's a project manager for a construction company) invited 95 loved ones to their Labor Day wedding weekend outside of Whitefish, Montana—a place the bride has visited since she was a baby and which she now visits at least twice a year with Jeremy. For their modern mountain celebration, they chose Green Valley Ranch, and with help from Greenwood Events, celebrated a clean and fresh aesthetic, the beautiful scenery, and a neutral color palette with golden accents.
The weekend kicked off with a colorful welcome dinner in the spirit of big sky country, with a sleek, muted, black-tie wedding the day after. The couple celebrated their love of one another and the area, not to mention bringing in key parts of their life together—their beloved dog, a shared best friend who officiated, and illustrations of some of their favorite activities to dress up cocktail hour in a charming way.
The invites gave guests a hint at what was to come thanks to a velvet backing, gold tones, a clean black font, and brass plates with the weddings' modern mountain logo. Cast Calligraphy designed the suite, and Lucky Onion, who created the map illustration, printed it all. Successful Signs & Awards provided the metal bits.
Welcome to Montana
Metal wired welcome baskets were filled with gold-and-white goodies—most of which (except for the S'well water bottles) were from local purveyors. The treats included a recipe card with two shooters from Spotted Bear distillery, kettle corn from the farmers' market (in case guests got "hangry"), match boxes with the couple's wedding logo, and a candle that smells like Montana forest. Welcome packets outlined favorite restaurants and coffee shops and listed the weekend's itinerary.
Starting the Celebration
The night before the big day, the couple, their families, and the wedding party joined together for a welcome dinner at the Chad family's cabin. It's a spot where many Fourth of July parties have taken place and where the bride envisioned a fancier dinner party to begin the weekend's celebrations—she had dreamed of having an event at the home since she was a little girl. The 50 guests enjoyed cocktails, mingling, and live music before sitting down for dinner.
Have a Drink
The signature cocktails were made with locally-distilled alcohols—the first was a Limoncello vodka Collins (the same recipe provided in the welcome basket) and a whiskey sour served in copper mugs. "I wanted the whole event to give our guests a taste of Montana," says the bride. Illustrations of the offerings (and the couple's dog) topped the menu.
A few pairs of Kaitlin's mother's cowboy boots (she has a large collection) were used as décor for the Montana-themed evening.
Hitting the Beach
Jeremy joined some groomsmen and close friends for a snapshot on the sand.
On the Menu
The menu was all family-style barbecue, intended to feel like it was a meal the couple could have cooked at the lake. There were baby back ribs, oven-roasted herb chicken, twice-baked potatoes, roasted corn pudding, and a mixed berry crisp. The menu was printed in a large scale for all to see as they found their seats.
One Long Table
One long table ran along the edge of the garden, just by the lake. Lights strung overhead added a bit of magic, and since the following day's color palette was very muted, this celebration was notably bolder.
A teal blue runner inspired by the nearby lake anchored the table, with copper chairs, chargers, and vases playing up that the home's name is the Copper Lodge. Colored glassware, potted herbs, horn-handled flatware, rust-colored napkins, and sunset-hued groupings of dahlias made for a memorable setup. As the dusk light hit the lake, the light bouncing off the glassware was pretty magical.
Fun for All
The floor was opened for speeches, and all other guests were invited for post-dinner drinks, a s'mores bar, and lounging by the firepit.
Kaitlin wore Oscar de la Renta's "Giovanna" wedding dress, which she got at Marina Morrison. She had tried it on once before and loved it but wanted to consider another option before making a decision. When she tried it a second time she knew it was "the one" and immediately started dancing around the salon. "I would have walked right out of there with her still on if I could have," says Kaitlin. "I truly never felt more comfortable and beautiful." The silk gown boasted hand-sewn appliques and pockets, too.
Jeremy wore a custom Suitsupply tuxedo to the black-tie affair.
In Her Shoes
Kaitlin wore these block-heel Chanel sandals, which were finished with pearl embellishments. "I loved all the fun details on them, plus they were extremely comfortable!" she says.
Kaitlin has always loved the look of bridesmaids all in white, but decided to mix it up by dressing her attendants in gold and ivory, too. To suit each girl's personal style she let them pick their own gowns and loved how fashionable everyone looked on. Her bridal party included Jeremy's older sister, and seven dear friends from various stages of the bride's life. In addition, Kaitlin had a "house party" of four high school pals.
For the Girls
"Since we were basically at summer camp all weekend out at the ranch, I decided to have a theme for the girls: Troop Green Valley," says Kaitlin. It was a play on Troop Beverly Hills, and each bridesmaid was given a backpack filled with a simple white sleep shirt to get ready in, Herbivore Botanicals rose spray and rose clay mask, a necktie from Donni Charm with their initials embroidered on it, and huckleberry macarons. Kaitlin also gave her maid- and matron-of-honor leather Converse sneakers.
The groomsmen wore The Black Tux tuxedos and velvet loafers, while the officiant stood out in a white Ralph Lauren dinner jacket. Jeremy's attendants were comprised of Kaitlin's older brother, his brother-in-law, and six friends spanning childhood to adulthood. The couple's dog got in on the action, hanging with the guys for some portraits.
A Guest of Honor
Winston, the couple's two-year-old Havanese pup, was there to celebrate. "Though it's a little cliché, we couldn't not have him be a part of our day," says the bride. "He's a huge part of our life and relationship. I truly think having a pet together and loving something together like that makes you love your significant other even more."
Though the couple's friend Cameron carried him down the aisle, here he got scooped up by friend and officiant Gus Kenworthy. Jeremy and Gus grew up skiing together and through the years Kaitlin formed a friendship with him as well. "Neither of us could agree on what wedding party side to put him on, so we settled on the middle," Kaitlin explains.
The first time Jeremy went to Montana, the duo was walking through town and stumbled into a jewelry store. They went inside just for fun and came across Tacori rings. Even though it was early on in their relationship (and they were still in college) she felt comfortable telling him how much she loved them. Five years later, he surprised her with one.
Kaitlin designed her wedding band with her mom, and Jeremy went with a simple gold band, which was engraved with "my moon and my stars" as a play on a line from Game of Thrones, a show that the bride and groom are huge fans of. They tucked the pieces into monogrammed boxes from The Mrs. Box.
Kaitlin also tackled her "something borrowed" thanks to her mom's diamond earrings, and her "something blue" via her late grandmother's wedding ring which had sapphires in it.
A rounded ceremony arch was constructed in a field with views of Glacier National Park in the distance, with delphinium spijker lining the aisle. Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love" was played by a pianist as the bride and her father entered. "We didn't do a first look, so I fell in love with her all over again," Jeremy says of seeing his wife-to-be walking towards him. "I'm not sure why I felt so strongly about forgoing the 'first look,' but I would say I am more of a traditionalist. Knowing that this is my one and only wedding, I wanted to see my beautiful bride coming down the aisle, and in hindsight I'm glad I made that decision. Even though I got more emotional than I anticipated, it made everything that much more real and impactful."
Kaitlin and Jeremy's best friend, U.S. Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy, officiated—he got ordained just for the occasion. He read a speech that incorporated both of them individually and as a couple. "If you know Gus, it inevitably was going to be hilarious," Kaitlin says. "Our guests were laughing the entire time, which we love because Jeremy and I are very goofy people." Gus adds, "Getting to wed Kaitlin and Jeremy was incredible! I absolutely adore them both individually but I love them even more as a couple and it was a great privilege to help them tie the knot and to be a part of their big day!"
They wrote their own vows—keeping them simple but including things they love about one another, what they were willing to compromise on, and that no matter what they will always love each other. The bride notes that writing them with her husband-to-be helped her cry less when she recited them on the big day.
You May Now Kiss the Bride
The couple took dance lessons and practiced their dipping kiss, which was a great way to kick off married life. "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles played as they walked up the aisle.
Cocktail hour took place in the "pole barn" just steps away from the ceremony. The open structure allowed guests to take in the Montana scenery, while being softened up with ivory fabric draping. A three-piece jazz band played old school songs, while attendees nibbled on a charcuterie board and other light bites.
Vogue-style illustrations of the couple (and their dog) in their favorite places or doing their favorite things were created by Michael Gambriel and printed on cocktail napkins. The same artwork was framed and set out among the simple escort cards.
Signature cocktails were developed to honor the spots they love most—like "The Montana" (a huckleberry vodka lemonade), "The Punta Mita" (a spicy margarita), and "The Colorado" (an old fashioned made with a Denver whiskey).
Into the Tent
The reception took place in a tent, where rectangular tables were outfitted in ivory velvet (incorporating the velvet from the invitations) and arranged below a mix of modern light fixtures. "I loved how much the flowers stood out on the tables by completely filling them" notes the bride. "The tent was by far my favorite detail of the whole wedding. It was so dreamy and glamorous. Greenwood Events perfectly tied in the modern elegant feel with a bit of Montana."
The Place Settings
All details on the table were white, gold, and clear, with tented menus outlining the meal, and engraved brass tags wrapping around the napkins to guide guests to their seats.
BRAVO! Catering prepared the meal, which began with a salad dressed with Huckleberry vinaigrette (a Montana staple). Whole-roasted beef tenderloin with butter-poached prawns followed, with La Braccesca wine served as a nod to Kaitlin's recent trip to Italy with her father.
A pair of Plexiglas cocktail tables were filled with the blooms of the day and placed near the bar, giving guests a place to rest their drinks and chat. "We had delphinium spijker flown in from a farm in Kenya—the only place on the globe that had it available at the time," notes Darci Greenwood of Greenwood Events. "I loved the black eyes amongst all the romantic softness of the tall stocks of petals and how it worked with the black details throughout the day. It had this subtle lavender tone to it and really created a stunning detail."
The father-of-the-bride kicked off the speeches by speaking about a 12-day river rafting trip he had just completed with the bride's brother—using it as a metaphor for the adventures and ups and downs of a marriage, and that you have to work to get through the rapids and sometimes it is going to be really hard, but in the end, you will make it home safe. Additionally, Kaitlin's matron of honor and maid of honor spoke, as did the best man (who has known the groom since preschool). "They were all amazing and had us all in tears, but also laughing," says Kaitlin.
The live jazz band performed Leela James's "Fall for You" for the couple's first dance. Kaitlin heard it on the radio one day, long before they were engaged and weirdly knew it would be the song they chose for the occasion. "Jeremy and I fall for each other every day, so what more fitting song than that," she explains.
The bride let her father choose the soundtrack for their spin on the dance floor—and he picked "Handprints on the Wall" by Kenny Rogers. As for the groom and his mother, they danced to Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is." Old school jazz songs played throughout the evening, with a DJ spinning lots of throwbacks from the early 2000s.