Few things are quite so breathtaking as the big open skies of Montana, and today's wedding brings draws on that beauty. Kira and Keith's intimate, outdoor wedding and reception is full of sweetness and beautiful details . Keeping their Big Sky wedding guest list to only 14 of their closest family members, the couple was able to stay on budget while creating a lavish feel! Isn't Kira's bouquet magnificent? I also love how they used the canoe to keep their beverages cool. Enjoy this beautiful wedding featuring the big sky of Montana. xoxo, Jessica
Kira + Keith
August 6, 2015
Missoula, Montana | Gibson Mansion + Private Residence
What was your wedding budget?
Ceremony venue: $1500
Bride & groom's attire: $1200
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
The most special and unique thing about our wedding was the intimacy of it all. We only invited the closest of family (parents, siblings, and grandparents), thus the wedding party consisted of 16 people total, including us! We skipped the bridal party and groomsmen as we felt that everyone at the wedding fulfilled that need! Additionally, we asked my grandfather (Ken) to perform the ceremony… now that was something really special. It was also amazing that we were able to host the reception in Keith's family's back yard. His mother, Shauna did such a beautiful job on her garden.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
The biggest thing we did to save money was to DIY as much as possible! We had a ton of help from our families to help make the big day happen. Whether it be the Groom's sister baking and decorating a beautiful cake free of charge, or gathering decorations from off-price retailers such as TJ Maxx/Marshalls and setting them up ourselves. The Groom's mother also allowed us to host the reception in her beautifully manicured garden which she spent so much time and energy preparing – yet this was also free of charge for the Bride and Groom. Our advice is to be strategic with the strengths within your own family. Have a brother in law who's an engineer? Have him string the lights for you!Have a grandfather with officiant experience? What a beautiful way to experience your ceremony… while also saving money! All of these examples are ways we found to save.
What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?
Our biggest sacrifice was, without a doubt, narrowing the guest list to immediate family only. This helped us cut down our costs in countless ways, yet it was also certainly a sacrifice to not spend this day with more distant relatives as well as friends. That being said, even though it was a sacrifice, it was also one of our favorite aspects of our wedding – it all depends on how you choose to look at it and what attitude you adopt in your approach.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Sometimes advice is best in list form… which brings us to our first piece of advice for the DIY couple:
-Come up with a system to keep yourself organized! This will help ensure you and your partner are on the same page and to keep you both aware of each step along the way.
-Spend time together as a couple to come up with a game plan and talk details together.
-Track your expenses in order to balance your budget.
-Enlist as much help as you can get… and then make sure you tell them how grateful you are!
-Etsy can be your savior… don't feel that you have to spend a lot of money for something to look nice. The amount of money I spent on my wedding dress and veil were surprisingly low, yet as beautiful as anything – and just what I wanted!
-Do you. As much as you want to please others, at the end of the day, you and your partner will be happiest if you stay true to yourselves.
What was your biggest splurge?
Clearly our biggest splurge was on photography. We believe that capturing the intimate moments of your wedding day (and in the most beautiful way) is of the utmost importance. When we first saw Rebecca's work, we knew that her photography was priceless. Her style of film photography is a rare gem in the world of wedding photography and produces some of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen. Her film produces such a romantic and almost ethereal feel. She also made sure to capture all the tiny moments, even when we weren't aware we were being shot, which preserves the mood and spirit of our love and of that day perfectly. Worth EVERY penny!
What was your favorite detail?
Looking back on it, we are so glad that we kept it as small as we did. We were totally free to enjoy ourselves and the evening without any obligation.
From the bride: Anytime we were dancing, all 16 of us were dancing. When we ate dinner together, we were able to have passed plates of delicious farm-to-table food. We were all able to be a part of one big happy conversation… it truly was wonderful and heart-warming. What is the most memorable moment of your day?
From the bride: My favorite memory from my wedding day is a tie between the butterflies I was feeling when standing across from Keith at the altar (I can't believe this is actually happening!) all while feeling that that moment was just so right… (it was a great combination!) and sharing my first dance with my dad.
I think my first dance with my dad was literally the first dance together EVER in our lives. He is a man who shows little emotion/affection, and as my parents are divorced, I did not live with him for the majority of my life. To my great surprise, he cried the entire time through our first dance and it made me realize how much this day meant to him. It was really very sweet and quite shocking. I'm so grateful that we were able to have that moment together.
From the groom: My favorite memory is the beautiful dinner and dancing that followed the ceremony. It was exactly as we had pictured, and it was such an intimate group of 16 that we had an amazing time. The dancing was amazing, and my wife's mother surprised us with an awesome flash mob to a favorite song of ours. It was easily the most enjoyable dancing of my life, and was the perfect cap to the night.
VENDORSPhotography: Rebecca Hollis Photography • Floral design: Habitat Floral Studio • Wedding dress: Erin Fetherston from Free People • Groom's attire: Pronto Uomo from Men's Warehouse • Makeup: Skin Chic • Hair: The Total Look Salon • Ceremony venue: Gibson Mansion • Bride's shoes: Toms • Loose yogo sapphires: Mac's Gems • Bride's headpiece: Camilla Christine • Rentals: Eastgate Party Rentals • Cake: Colleen Miller • DJ | DJ LROCK
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.