I have to tell you when I first met Iona and Tomie, they weren’t engaged YET… but I silently prayed as I ended my day shooting Iona’s sister Ailsa’s wedding that they would contact me when Tomie popped the question. They had made it clear when that day happened, they were getting married in MONTANA!! Tomie’s parents own a small and super quaint historic lodge in the heart of the Beartooth Mountains. When we talked at the reception about our love for mountains and how much I loved Colorado ( I had just gone that early February with Dominic and simply fell in love with the BIG SKY and mountains surrounding you in every direction you turned.) Little did I know months later, when Tomie asked Iona to be his wife, HE would be the one to contact me!
Let me tell you about Cooke City, Montana. Imagine one street of main living, filled with buildings, lodges, and small cabin like motels 4 miles from Yellowstone National Park attracting snowmobilers across the world! They call Montana BIG SKY MONTANA for a reason… it’s all you see, well; besides the mountains. The sky just goes on for DAYS!! This lodge was so cozy. 10 cabins, the main lodge during the winter time that serves homemade comfort meals daily (their chef even makes his own Ketchup and Mayo from SCRATCH!) Kay and Bill (the owners) were kind and welcoming. Over 7,000 feet in elevation, you find yourself out of breath walking up a small hill and don’t get me started about stairs!
Iona and Tomie originally were getting married in September, but a job opportunity for Tomie made them move the day up to August. Just a little over 7 days after my move to Maryland. We basically moved in, unpacked as much as we could and then I packed my bags to head to Montana. My first cross country full destination wedding! It wouldn’t be irony if more twists got thrown on them besides moving up their wedding date. Iona found out she was pregnant!! So not only did I get to see her again, but I got a tiny little baby bump to obsess over. Iona’s heart is as good as gold. She’s kind, loving and her smile literally lights up any room. She listens intently and cares deeply. Tomie is genuine, funny and wears his heart on his sleeve. He feels “lucky” to have Iona’s love. I caught him a couple times locking eyes with Iona after the wedding and tapping his ring finger and smiling. He was a PROUD man.
Their day was a perfect mountainside wedding. With wildflowers in hand and a flower crown twisted in her hair, she walked down a grassy path next to that waterfall nestled in the Beartooth Mountains to the love of her life. Tomie called his reaction nothing but “allergies” but regardless of his reaction- allergic or not- it was simply the most joyful day. Their reception that followed was almost like a backyard BBQ, with live entertainment by the chef himself!!! A homemade burger bar- 50/50, with cheese, without cheese, with mushrooms and BISON! Homemade mayo, homemade guacamole, and salsa, with Tomie’s signature baked beans (Tomie, I want that recipe!) it was perfectly Montana! Most of the vendors traveled far to get to Cooke City, with a population of a little over 300, the cake came from Cody, WY! And can we talk about the cake??? You guys know I’m a big movie buff, and it’s not often now a days you see a “groom’s cake” But– I may or may not mention that a certain shout out may go to a 1989 movie that had a GIANT ARMADILLO in it, “you know, with grey icing, I can’t even begin to understand how you make GRAY ICING” Tomie, however, wanted a GIANT PIG….” the cake part is red velvet cake. He wanted to keep it true… so he could hack off the back side. The fact that he knew EXACTLY that scene when I pretty much quoted it when I found out that this was the groom’s cake…well it made me love him more.
Tomie and Iona, my friends- as the wedding is over and baby mode goes into full swing, remember to love each other daily. Remember when stress get’s high and new parent stress kicks in that August 19th was the first day of your forever. I can’t wait to see you again, thank you for Montana, for choosing me and for welcoming me so well!!!
Venue & Food: Antler’s Lodge
Dress: House of Maya
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie
Flowers: Flower Garage
Cake: Spurlicious CAkes
Tent/Chairs/Rentals : Gallatine Events
Reception Decor: DIY