College sweethearts Tory and Bryan head to Montana for a beautiful Big Sky wedding.
The Scene: August 11, 2013, at BruMar Estate in Bigfork, Montana
Bryan and I met in college in Chico, California, during our very first week of school. After almost seven years as a couple (much of it long distance), I decided to make the move to Montana, where Bryan is from. When we got engaged, we faced the question of where to hold the wedding: Montana or California (I was born and raised in San Jose).
At the time of our engagement, we had been living together for about a year and had absolutely fallen in love with a special town near Glacier National Park called Bigfork. This was one of the places where Bryan took me on my first visit to Montana, and it seemed fitting to hold our wedding in this amazingly beautiful location. Convincing my family took a little work—and a special visit to Montana—but when we all got a chance to visit BruMar Estate, we knew it was the perfect choice.
We came up with our wedding theme by finding a balance between the beautiful Montana outdoors and influences from my California upbringing. Our venue carried much of the natural beauty from the surrounding forest inside to the reception hall. We decided to accent the natural stone floors and fireplace with gunmetal-colored tables and simply designed ivory flower arrangements. I was lucky to have my older sister (and maid of honor) as the designer of much of our wedding decorations. We wanted to convey classic beauty that didn’t clash with the natural beauty around us.
It was important to Bryan to incorporate pheasant tail feathers into the boutonnieres, bouquets and outdoor bistro table arrangements as a memorial to his late father, whom he enjoyed pheasant hunting with as a child. We also wanted to ensure that we all got to have FUN! To kick off the party portion of the evening, the bridal party and father of the bride rocked out to the Kenny Loggins classic “Footloose.” This got all our guests out on the dance floor, and we couldn’t have had any more fun. Our guests also had a chance to play lawn games throughout the evening.
To incorporate some Golden State influence, we had all-California wines available to guests as well as Korbel champagne from northern California. We also named our “his and hers” signature cocktails after the state flowers California poppy and bitterroot. For dinner, we served surf and turf, pairing local Montana beef with a citrus halibut dish that was very Californian.
Bryan and I both felt incredibly lucky to be surrounded by our 100 guests in a location that required travel from many of them. While we had many special moments that day together, our favorite was that we got to spend the first and last dance of the night alone on the dance floor. We will both remember this as truly the best day ever!
My Wedding Stylist: Danielle Oxford, Nordstrom Valley Fair in San Jose, CA
Shortly after Bryan and I got engaged, I made a trip back to the Bay Area to begin dress shopping. After a few appointments, my family and I decided to stop in at the Wedding Suite at the San Jose Nordstrom location. We didn’t have an appointment; we just wanted to see what was available there. Luckily, my style consultant Danielle and another member of the team had about an hour to fill and they were able to squeeze us in! I kept noticing a gown on the rack that was unlike anything I had seen in any magazine or in person. The only problem was, it was too small for me and it could not be reordered. Then serendipity struck! There was another size in the back that I tried on and loved immediately. I was absolutely not expecting to find something I loved that day.
After trying a few more gowns, I went back to this dress and realized it was the perfect one for me. This was a Tadashi Shoji gown covered with lace scallops. It had a chapel-length train and a strapless neckline. What struck me the most about it was how comfortable I felt in it; I felt like myself. It was perfect for our outdoor setting, yet it still felt glamorous. Danielle styled me in my gown and helped me find gorgeous Nina dropped crystal earrings and a cathedral-length single-tier veil. The gown was completed with a custom crystal belt to replace the ribbon included on the dress.
Not only was I able to find my princess moments at the Wedding Suite, but my maid of honor, mother and mother-in-law were all able to find their dresses thanks to Danielle’s help. To complete the look, my father purchased his suit from Nordstrom. It was truly a special experience, and it was so wonderful to have someone looking after our whole family to ensure we all looked as good as we could.
Photography by Shannon Hollman.
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