This Couple Tied the Knot on a Family-Owned Ranch with Epic Wyoming Valley Views

wedding couple portrait by water and mountains
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Claire and Mark met while working at the same software company in Dallas, Texas, in the summer of 2016. She was responsible for putting together team events and always hoped to see Mark there. Later, on their first date, Claire mentioned that seeing the Northern Lights in Norway was at the top of her bucket list and that she had always hoped to get engaged there (Mark tucked this tidbit away). Three years after that, the couple went to Norway, where Mark made Claire's wish come true. They went out to chase the lights and Mark popped the question. "Needless to say, it was the trip of my dreams," Claire says.

As soon as they got engaged, Claire and Mark knew they wanted to invite everyone to Mark's grandfather's property in Wapiti, Wyoming, for their future wedding; the residence is less than an hour from Yellowstone National Park. "It's a place that has always meant so much to Mark and his family and in turn, has become such an important part of our life together and the life we're building," Claire says. "When we got engaged, we knew we wanted to share this special place with our closest family and friends for our wedding weekend." They envisioned a welcome party at the Bill Cody Museum of the West, a ceremony in the pasture, cocktail hour and games on the lawn, and a large tented reception with a family-style dinner and dancing. The couple made this dream a reality with Layne Kula and her team at Penny Layne, who planned, designed, and coordinated their ranch wedding for 175 guests.

But when the pandemic hit, the couple made the hard decision to scale back their big plans. "Sure, we wanted to throw the party of the century and celebrate with our closest family and friends—but more importantly, we really wanted to be married," they say of their decision not to entirely cancel their big day. The pair decided to postpone the large celebration, and make their union official with a smaller, more intimate ceremony. They spent just two months setting up the details of their small bohemian wedding at the same family ranch, which took place on August 29, 2020. "We were so lucky to have such gracious vendors who worked with us to postpone the original and some even moved mountains to make the new wedding happen with such a quick turnaround!" the bride says. They invited just their immediate families, 10 guests in total, to join them in person, while two more joined them via Zoom.

01 of 19


nature themed teal and orange wedding invitations
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When Claire and Mark changed their original wedding plans, they sent out change-the-dates to their guests, letting them know they'd be tying the knot in a smaller ceremony with just their families. They worked with Penny Layne's graphic design team to create vintage-inspired images of trout flies to represent their shared love of fly fishing. The notes were calligraphed, stamped, and placed in teal envelopes for delivery.

02 of 19

On Location

wyoming wedding location mountains and field
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Although the couple spends a lot of time in Wyoming, they don't live there, which made coordinating vendors from afar a challenge. Claire and Mark leaned heavily on their planner, Layne, of Penny Layne, to finalize the details. "Even though it was such a small wedding, we truly couldn't have done it without a planning team—it really made it feel like it was the plan all along and allowed our family to relax on the day rather than giving them tasks that would've ultimately taken them out of the experience," Claire says. The pair decided to tie the knot at Mark's family ranch, where he grew up spending holidays. "When we started dating it quickly became a frequent destination for us and ultimately, our happy place."

03 of 19

A New Dress

bride in sheath shimmering wedding dress standing in field
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Claire still plans on wearing her original wedding dress for her big celebration next year. So, for the smaller event, she went with a less traditional option. "I couldn't be more excited that I get to wear two very different dresses—any bride's dream!" she says. She went with a fitted blush Needle and Thread gown with sequin embellishments, tulle details, and flutter sleeves. "I felt like I could really be myself in it," the bride says.

  • How to Store Your Wedding Dress for a Postponed Wedding
04 of 19

All of the Lights

close up of bride and groom with large wedding ring
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Mark designed Claire's engagement ring with a local jeweler in Fort Worth and kept the Northern Lights in mind. The ring features a halo made of Alexandrite stone, which is a unique gem that will change color from purple to blue depending on the lighting. "He wanted it to reflect the Northern Lights and every time I look down, it reminds me of the night we got engaged!" Claire says.

She also slipped on a small gold ring as her something old. In Korean culture, it's customary to give your child a small gold ring on their first birthday for wishes of good health and fortune. Claire's mom held onto her baby ring and gave it to her again on her wedding day. "I loved being able to incorporate my Korean heritage on the most important day of my life to date," Claire says.

05 of 19

All About the Hair

mother putting decorative clip in bride's hair
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Claire styled her own hair in a fishtail braid and accented it with an embellished hair piece.

06 of 19

Dried Bouquet

bride's rustic dried wild flower and twig bouquet
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She held a dried bouquet of foraged materials to complement the natural landscape. It included pampas grass, dried gypsophila, baby's breath, bleached hydrangea and ferns, and local tumbleweeds. The arrangement was tied with a trailing gossamer ribbon in a blush shade.

07 of 19

Tailored Groom

groom in black suit with feather bowtie and boutonniere
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Mark donned a tailored navy suit from Tommy Hilfiger, which he paired with a feather bow tie and pocket square from Brackish Bow Ties. He also wore a boutonnière crafted of dried local foliage, grasses, and bunny tails fastened with tanned leather cording.

08 of 19

To Boot

bride and groom where leather boots standing on the rocks
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The groom finished his big-day look with his signature cowboy boots, while his bride finished hers with textured white Steve Madden booties.

09 of 19

Mountain Ceremony

wedding ceremony white benches set up with mountain view
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Claire and Mark held their ceremony in the pasture with mountain views. White chairs were set up for the small number of guests; blankets were draped over the seats to keep guests warm as the sun set. A small western-style table—topped with a small arrangement of dried blooms and sage brush—was set up to hold the wine and bread for the eucharist section of the religious service.

10 of 19

With Dad

bride and father processing for wedding ceremony
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The bride made her way down the lawn's grassy slope with her dad at her side as "You and Me" by Dave Matthews Band played.

11 of 19

Tumbleweed Arch

couple crying during wedding ceremony with mountain backdrop
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Instead of a floral arch, Claire and Mark opted for a simple tumbleweed installation in a half-moon shape. "It was so simple and beautiful and was meant to be just an extension of the space but mark the area as something special and magical," the bride says.

The couple asked Mark's friend of 28 years officiate their ceremony; both their mothers read a chosen passage of scripture. Then, the duo—who had written their own vows—recited their promises, and there wasn't a dry eye in sight. "Our vows were filled with personal anecdotes from our time together. Thank God for waterproof mascara, as there were so many happy tears," Claire shares.

12 of 19

Near or Far

couple smiling at wedding zoom guests
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Unfortunately, Mark's parents weren't able to make it to Wyoming for the big day, but they participated through FaceTime and Zoom. "A true testament to the idea that love always wins and that anyone can be there, even if it's not in person!" the bride says.

13 of 19

Take Me to the River

couple hugging for portrait with mountain backdrop
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During the cocktail hour, Claire and Mark drove out to the Shoshone River to pose for some portraits. "It was such a beautiful moment to be with each other and take everything in," Claire says. "Being in nature and by the water is so much a part of who we are, so to be able to do that after we had just said 'I do' was the cherry on top."

14 of 19

That View

elegant rustic outdoor table with mountain view
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With social distancing in mind, the reception took place on the veranda of the property, overlooking scenic views of the valley. The overall color palette of the day was inspired by the seasonality of the location, so it featured soft neutrals, tans, and clay tones with elements of dusty rose and teal. Guests were seated at tables with their families underneath bistro lighting.

15 of 19

Palo Santo

elegant rustic wedding place setting with plaid table cloth
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Reception tables were topped with cream gingham table linens. Acacia wood chargers and stemless glassware made a statement at each place setting. An individual palo santo bundle was placed atop each napkin for guests to take home with them.

16 of 19


rustic table setting with plaid cloth, candles, wild bouquet
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Centerpieces included Ikebana-style arrangements in wooden bowls and terra-cotta pots, along with recycled glassware filled with foliage. The couple collected some whiskey bottles to be used for water carafes. Vintage brass taper candles created a glow at each table.

17 of 19

Dinner and Dessert

small pastries on wooden tray for wedding food
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Claire and Mark served a French family-style dinner that started with a mixed green salad with a local huckleberry vinaigrette. For the entrée, attendees had their choice of bison short rib, rainbow trout, or both. Side dishes included roasted fingerling potatoes, broccolini, and spinach basil pesto risotto. For dessert, each guest enjoyed an individual huckleberry hand pie, instead of a slice of wedding cake.

18 of 19

Spontaneous First Dance

couple dancing under string lights at reception
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The didn't plan on a first dance, but at the end of the night, after signing their marriage license, their guests insisted they commemorate the moment by taking one. "Off the top of our heads, a song that carries a lot of weight for us is "Falling Water" by Maggie Rogers, which will now always be our first dance—even if it wasn't planned!" the bride says.

19 of 19


couple holding hands watching across bridge
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Photography, Orange Photographie
Event Planning, Design, Invitations, Flowers, Penny Layne
Paper Products, Paperleaf Press
Bride's Gown, Needle and Thread
Bride's Shoes, Steve Madden
Groom's Attire, Tommy Hilfiger
Groom's Bow Tie and Pocket Square, Brackish Bow Ties
Engagement Ring, Collections Fine Jewelry
Catering, The Wild Table

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