I was the lucky “plus one” at a vintage western wedding in Montana this past weekend. The last time I visited Big Sky Country I was just a kid. I can’t remember if it was the summer before or after 6th grade, whether I was 11 or 12, but I’m certain I wasn’t nearly as thankful as I should have been to visit one of the most beautiful places in North America with my family. Back then we went to Glacier National Park, and to this day my mother insists it was one of the happiest times in her life. After this past weekend I can see why. I’d argue with any etymologist that the word “breathtaking” surely originates from Montana. The twinkling night sky is joy, poetry, and heaven manifested.
While the brilliant evening stars and endless mountain views inspired awe, the wedding was pure awwww… Every detail was sweet and highly personal. Although I was just the “plus one,” I felt like I really got to know Marisa and Bill through their wedding, from taking a hike near the Branham Lakes in the Tobacco Root Mountains where Bill and Marisa had their first date (and where Bill proposed) to the location (the wedding was held in Virginia City, where Marisa and her daughter Maya lived when Maya was two years old), to the way they incorporated their friends and families in every aspect of their special day (I told myself I couldn’t possibly cry at the wedding of strangers, but when Bill’s two sisters gave their heartfelt speeches, the tears were unstoppable).
It was a weekend when I couldn’t help but love love. One of the sweetest elements was the handmade gift bags made by Marisa and Bill’s mom, which featured a quote from Maya and said, “I love you more than I love you.”
And lest I forget, this wedding was incredibly fun! It was a vintage western wedding, set in a place that is perhaps best described as a living ghost town. Back in the day (1864) the gold mining town boasted 10,000 people. Presently the population tops out at precisely 132 residents, according to the local Chamber of Commerce. The ceremony was held in Nevada City on museum grounds composed of an assemblage of original gold rush-era buildings as well as historic structures from all over Montana. Guests were encouraged to wear vintage attire, and all I can say is that couple’s friends and family are a wonderfully playful and creative bunch. An assortment of extravagant characters participated in the theme, representing just about every era since the American Civil War, from Victorian top hats and petticoats to the Zoot suits of the 1930s and 40s to hippie bellbottom pants.
If the energy that Bill and Marisa put into their wedding and their attention to the tiniest of details was any indication of their devotion to each other then these two hearts are destined for wonderful and lasting love. Now back in NYC, I’m feeling very grateful to have participated in their special day and for the newly imprinted memory of that miraculous Montana sky. Thank you for reading, and be kind.