Whenever the grandmothers and mothers get involved as matchmakers (and the phrase “Must love dogs” comes up), you know it’s going to be a good story. This sentimental wedding in Jackson Hole is full of so many hilarious and sweet behind-the-scenes details from the bride, from the meaning behind their magical ceremony venue and the arch hand-carved by the bride’s father to everyone’s antics on the dance floor during the reception. It’s always such a treat to get a wedding from Snippet & Ink Select vendor Carrie Patterson, and Nikki and Rob’s darling celebration is undoubtedly one of our favorites. We think it’s best if we let Nikki kick things off, herself…
Rob and I were introduced to each other by our grandmothers and with the help of my mother. My mother (Patti) was visiting her mother/my grandmother (Grandma Pat) in Vero Beach Florida. One day when they were leaving church they ran into Rob’s grandmother (Mary Fran, aka, Violet). My grandmother told Violet that her daughter Patti was visiting from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Violet said she had a grandson that lived in Jackson Hole. At the mention of that my mom’s ears perked up and she asked, “is he single, is he tall, and does he have a dog?” Apparently, those were my top criteria in a partner… Anyway, Violet answered yes to all three. My mom then handed Violet a piece of paper with my name and number on it and told her to have her grandson give me (Nikki) a call. After three weeks of his grandmother (Violet) pestering Rob to call me, he finally relented. Less than a week later we went on our first date…
Photography by Carrie Patterson
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We got married on my (bride’s) family’s cattle ranch, the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in front of a cabin my great-grandfather built in the 1930s.The cabin and the property it sits on provided the backdrop for four generations of my family’s memories. Some of my greatest childhood memories were made at the cabin, in the creek that runs next to it, and in the woods surrounding it.
When Rob and began dating it became the place we escaped to on the weekends. It’s where we spent hours and days fly-fishing, walking the dogs, hunting for antlers and morel mushrooms, snowshoeing, and the list goes on. The cabin is truly a magical place and one of the most romantic places in all of Jackson if you ask me. Deciding to have our wedding there wasn’t really something we thought or talked about, it was just assumed.
Your ceremony in three words. Ranch. Outdoor. Catholic. Playful. (Sorry, that was 4.)
How did you go about planning your ceremony? The ceremony was the one part of the wedding where Rob and I took a backseat. Both of our grandmothers (the grandmothers who set us up) are Catholic, and it was important to them that the ceremony was as close to a traditional Catholic ceremony as possible. Luckily they were ok with the ceremony being outside and not in the church – something that was very important to both Rob and myself. Everything we do in Jackson is outdoors, from skiing, to fly-fishing, camping, mountain biking, and so on. Because of this, we wanted the ceremony to take place outside surrounded by all the natural beauty Jackson has to offer. We were also allowed to choose the readings and music and we did our best to make them as lighthearted as we could.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Father Beavers officiated the wedding. He was the priest at Our Lady of the Mountains church in Jackson Hole during my (the bride’s) childhood. He was born and raised in Wyoming, is an avid fly-fisherman and hunter and was very supportive of us having the ceremony outside.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? The only tradition we really included in the ceremony involved the veil I wore. The veil was a family veil that has been used by women in my family (on my mother’s side) since the 1920s. Every bride that has worn the veil has both her and the groom’s initials and wedding date stitched into the lace.
What was your ceremony music? Seating of the families: Arioso, Johann Sebastian Bach // Processional of the Wedding Party: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Johann Sebastian Bach / Bride’s Entrance: Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong // Exchange of Vows and Rings: Ave Maria, Laura Turner // Recessional: Little Martha, The Allman Brothers Band
What were your ceremony readings?
First Reading: Songs of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8:6-7a // Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:12 and 18, 20-21, 22, The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord // Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-17 // Matthew 22:35-40
// Prayer of the Faithful
What were your vows like? We chose to use the standard wedding vows.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? My favorite thing about the ceremony was getting married underneath the log arch my father made from a tree that had fallen down on our Ranch. He carved an “N” into the left footing of the arch and an “R” into the right one. On the log that hung overhead he carved our wedding “brand” and then flanked it with two elk antlers that we also found on the Ranch.
Our ceremony was supposed to be outdoors with no tent. However, the day we got married was one of the rainiest days of the entire summer. At the last minute we decided to have a tent brought in for the ceremony. And instead of placing it in front of the arch (which would ruin the ambiance and photos) we decided to have it set up next to the ceremony site, just in case there was a chance the weather would clear. This also meant that we might not get married underneath the log arch. All of the benches and chairs were also put under the tent in preparation for the ceremony.
About 15-20 minutes before the ceremony I spotted some blue sky headed our way. I turned to my wedding planner, apologized, and asked if she could instruct the guests to move all of the chairs and benches back in front of the arch. She looked at me like I was insane, and said she wasn’t sure people would help with that. I told her those are Wyoming people out there, I promise they won’t bat an eye at my request and getting married outside, under that arch was one of THE most important things for me today. She went back out and asked all of our able-bodied guests to help move the chairs/benches to the original ceremony site. We have some pretty great photos of our guests (most of them being Robs college buddies) hauling chairs across the field. The next day I apologized to many of them, but they said they loved it. Walking through the muddy field made it feel even more like a Wyoming Ranch Wedding.
Seeing that our window of blue sky was small, the groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girls and ring bearer booked it over the bridges and to the ceremony site. Father Beavers did his best to talk fast and keep the ceremony moving and after about 20 minutes (or so it felt) we were married and even had about 10 minutes to spare for some family photos.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We had one of our closest friends and Rob’s former roommate, Patrick Sheehy do one of our readings. Patrick, aka, BigP is about 6’4” and one of our louder/funnier friends. We thought we would have a little fun with his reading, and like I said, we tried to make our Catholic wedding as lighthearted as possible. So, we had him read the following.
“Hark! my lover—here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come! “O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, Let me see you, let me hear your voice, For your voice is sweet, and you are lovely. My lover belongs to me and I to him. He says to me: “Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether-world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away.”
Rob and I couldn’t look each other in the eyes for a solid 5 minutes after this reading because we were trying our hardest (unsuccessfully) to hold back laughter. We were not alone though, every single one of our friends who knew Pat was laughing so hard they were in tears.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received was “Stay present!!” It’s so easy to get caught up in all the craziness of your wedding planning and especially your wedding day. Take some time to pause and be thankful. Take a moment during the reception to step back, look around, and really take it all in.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Make it personal. Decide what the three or four most important elements of your wedding day are to you both and work backwards from there. // And just roll with whatever gets thrown at you on your wedding day. August is typically a pretty dry month in Jackson, yet it poured and poured on our wedding day. Shuttles got stuck in the mud, straw had to be brought in to cover the muddy walkways, the bottom of my dress was so muddy it looked almost ombre, and instead of driving away in my great-grandfather’s 1955 Coupe DeVille Cadillac we rode away on an ATV. Instead of thinking our day was ruined by the rain we think of it as being made memorable by it. No one will forget the time their shuttle got stuck and the were carried piggy back to a wedding by their boyfriend/husband.
How would you describe your reception? Best. Party. Ever. I couldn’t believe how quickly midnight arrived. The band was great, the beer was flowing, and we were surrounded by our closest friends and family. What more could you ask for? Honestly, I didn’t want the night to end. Everyone was dancing, the energy was contagious, and the love was in the air. There were at least a few dance floor make outs that took place…
Why did you choose this location for your reception? We had the reception across the spring creek from our ceremony. Most people who get married in Jackson choose a location with the Grand Tetons “Tetons” in the background. We both love the Tetons but it was more important for us to get married somewhere that held sentimental value to us. The Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch and the Cabin are a huge piece of my family’s history in Jackson, going all the way back to the 1940s. It’s also the place (land) we fell in love at, and it’s the land we hope to pass on to our (future) children.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We wanted every aspect to feel as personal as possible. We used the cabin itself, the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch Ranch, and our favorite elements of Jackson Hole to provide us with inspiration. I’m a 5th generation Jackson native so it was important to me and to Rob to pay tribute to my family’s roots in Jackson. We did this in small, subtle ways such as when we used a photo of one of my grandfather’s paintings (by one of our more famous local artists, Archie Teater) on our invitations and place cards.
In addition, we wanted our wedding to be a celebration not just of us, but also a celebration of our friends and family. We wanted to celebrate all those that have been there for us and provided us with so much love and support throughout our lives. Our reception was filled with so much joy, love, and fun that at times it was overwhelming. The whole night was so surreal and humbling.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? 1) A Reason to Celebrate – A White Cake and Cupcakes with layers of Fresh Raspberries and Champagne Buttercream 2) Espresso Toffee Crunch – Dense Chocolate Cake and Cupcakes with Cowboy Coffee, Espresso Buttercream and Toffee Pieces throughout 3) A Reason to Celebrate (gluten free/dairy free/nut free) White Cake with layers of Fresh Raspberries and Champagne Buttercream
Says bride Nikki, “Me and my sister have a whole host of food allergies and for a while I had accepted I probably wouldn’t be able to have cake I could actually eat at my wedding. But, I was lucky enough to find Ashley from Everything But the Dress who was so so so accommodating of my sister and me. Not only did she make a cake without gluten, eggs, dairy or nuts, but it actually tasted incredible!”
Did you have a signature cocktail? No, but we did have a canoe filled with PBR…
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?
First Dance: “Crazy Love.” by Van Morrison
Father/Daughter: “Daughter,” Loudon Wainwright III
Mother/Son: “What a Wonderful World.” by Louis Armstrong
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Boy, just one. That’s impossible. There were so many! The first dance and father/daughter dances and were two of my favorite parts of the whole wedding. // Our first dance was really the first/only moment we had “alone” together the whole night and even week. It was so nice to finally have it be just the two of us without any distractions. It kind of gave us a moment to catch our breath and connect before the party really started. // My dad and I chose to dance to the song, “Daughter,” by Loudon Wainwright III. We came upon it when looking for our song and when we both heard it we couldn’t help but laugh, the lyrics could not have described our relationship more perfectly. My dad is an incredible swing dancer and I like to think the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree… So when it was our turn, and without any practice prior to the wedding, we walked onto the dance floor and crushed it. My dad is my hero and the dance showed how incredibly close and in synch we both are. And when we walked off the dance floor and past Rob as he went to dance with his mother, Rob turned to my dad and said, “Goddammit Robert, how am I supposed to follow that.” My dad and I just smiled and shrugged. // Another favorite moment was the maid of honor and best man speeches, made by my sister and Rob’s brother. They were hilarious and terrifyingly similar. Rob and I are both the oldest children, me with a younger sister and three younger brothers, and Rob with one younger brother. Both speeches touched on the “tough love” and “wisdom” we freely offered our siblings. They had everyone – including us – in tears. // The worm. My sister and I are known for doing the worm at weddings, parties, and even in bars… So naturally we had to do it at my wedding. We tied the bottom of our dresses in knots, threw on a denim button down (the shirts we got ready in) and hopped in the middle of the dance circle to get our worm on.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? My something old was a beaded purse of my Grandmother’s (the one who set me up with Rob), my something new was my shoes/dress, my something borrowed was the family veil I wore, my something blue were Rob’s grandmother’s (the other one who helped set us up) diamond and sapphire earrings he gave me the week before our wedding.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Yes. We wanted as many of the details as possible to reflect us as a couple, the town we fell in love in, and the land that provided the backdrop to our ceremony/wedding. My dad is also an incredible carpenter, so he was able to help add a lot of personal touches throughout the entire wedding. // My dad built the stunning arch we were married under using a fallen pine tree from the Ranch. My dad pealed, stained, carved and assembled the logs and also came up with the design without any help from me. It was a true labor of love and it really made the ceremony feel that much more personal and full of love. // My dad built three corn hole games by hand. They were beautiful works of art and on one set he carved our initials and the date of our wedding. We got to keep that set and we use it at all of our BBQs and summer parties. We had custom corn hole bags made with our wedding “brand” on them. // We made the table numbers and seating cardholders using logs from my parent’s deck they recently tore down. My dad, sister, and I cut stained and painted each one by hand. We also made all of the signs around the ceremony/reception. // The antler chandelier that hung over the dance floor was made using elk antlers collected from the land surrounding the cabin. // The cowhide rug in the seating area was a hide from one of our cows from our ranch. // The morels on one of the appetizers were foraged on the Ranch by Rob, my family, and myself.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Everything about our wedding was perfect. It may not have all happened according to plan, but it happened how it was supposed to. The only thing I would have done differently was delegate a little better, and to ask for more help, especially the week of the wedding. I was worried about being bossy or needy, so instead I took on way more than I could handle and ended up running myself a bit ragged. I realize now that when people ask what they can do to help, the genuinely want to help you make your wedding the best it can possible be.