A Colorful Ranch Wedding in Wyoming

In a city of over eight million people, it can be hard to meet someone—which is why many New Yorkers find themselves turning to old-school methods just as much as they do to apps and dating sites. So it's no surprise that in December of 2015 Samantha Bird and Richard Small met the old fashioned way: on a blind date!

The couple had dated for a year-and-a-half before getting engaged, and Dick had planned it perfectly. Samantha's parents came to New York City to spend a few days with the couple, but afterward they didn't go home to Wyoming. "After they had left, we headed to Rhode Island, which is where Dick proposed," says Samantha. "And that's when I realized my parents had gone from the city to Rhode Island to wait for our engagement dinner with the Small family!"

Samantha and Dick wanted a wedding that felt unique and personal, and headed out to Jackson, Wyoming for their big day. "That's where my parents live and where our wedding planner, Elizabeth Kelleher of In Any Event, is based, so it made planning from afar so much easier," says the bride. In fact, her parents were actually the ones who chose Split Creek Ranch as the couple's wedding venue!

Being in Jackson for the week with our family and friends, knowing they were there to be with us, was something I'll always remember.

As their 200 guests enjoyed the mountain air on August 18, 2018, Samantha and Dick wed in a ranch wedding with an elevated rustic feel. Photographed by Carrie Patterson, this summer wedding in Jackson is rustic wedding #goals. Keep reading for more!

"I tried on more than 50 gorgeous designer wedding dresses, so it was hard for me to have 'that feeling' and know I'd found the one," says Samantha. "I loved a lot of them—this one just happened to be my favorite!" The winning gown was a lace mermaid dress from Mira Zwillinger, with floral lace appliqués covering it from shoulders to toes.

The bride asked her 'maids to wear one of three blue-and-white floral dresses to coordinate with the reception design. "I loved the bridesmaids' dresses so much that I actually own one of each design," says the fashion retailer bride. "I knew a nontraditional dress was the way to go."

Samantha's bouquet was a dramatic combination of peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and viburnum berries in shades of pink and burgundy, while her bridesmaids each carried a cluster of one kind of flower. "It made a really pretty statement," says the bride.

The flower girls wore hand-smocked dresses in a blue-and-white print that matched the bridesmaids, while the ring bearer wore a light blue suit. Both had petite floral accessories: the girls wore crowns of sea holly and ranunculus, while the boys had boutonnieres of closed flower buds.

The couple wed in a field with the Tetons towering behind them. An arc of colorful roses, ranunculus, peonies, and gladiolas appeared to grow from the ground, setting the stage for Dick and Samantha's ceremony.

Guests sat on long wooden benches on either side of the aisle. "It actually hailed on our wedding day, but I'm so glad we decided to keep the ceremony outside. The skies cleared and we had sunshine!" says Samantha. She and Dick opted to use traditional vows. "We knew we'd be nervous enough, and liked the idea of using the same words so many people we love have used before us."

After the ceremony, Samantha and Dick made their getaway in a vintage pickup truck. "We snuck away to a field with Carrie, where we popped a bottle of champagne and took some more pictures. It was so fun, and nice to have a moment to ourselves," says the bride. She finally got a look at Dick's custom Mark Pomerantz suit, a navy design with a subtle check pattern.

Guests enjoyed cocktail hour along the creek, which meanders through a colorful garden.

Table assignments were displayed on two acrylic boards backed with a blue watercolor wash. At the base, an organic arrangement of roses, astilbe, sea holly, and eucalyptus added a pop of color.

Cocktail napkins featured the couple's initials and an arrow graphic. "We wanted the food to be amazing," says Samantha. "Cocktail hour is always my favorite part of a wedding!" The menu included grilled Kobe skewers, pork buns, lobster and corn chowder shooters, and crispy baby artichokes.

"Being in Jackson for the week with our family and friends, knowing they were there to be with us, was something I'll always remember," says Samantha.

The blue-and-white theme was carried into the reception space, where tables were also accented with flowers in vibrant pink. Each was topped with patterned runners to match the salad plates, and paired with navy blue taper candles and coordinated water glasses and napkins. Centerpieces combined peonies, ranunculus, roses, clematis, and cosmos in shades of pink and burgundy.

The family-style dinner included a burrata and heirloom tomato salad, grilled bison tenderloin, and steelhead trout with sautéed corn.

The couple and their guests danced to the high-energy sounds of the Party Crashers, starting with "Blue Sky" by the Allman Brothers Band. "They had everyone out on the dance floor all night," Samantha raves. The pair only left the dance floor for a few moments to cut their wedding cake, a vanilla and fresh berry cake baked by their friend Brigid.

"Do your best not to sweat the details," says Samantha. "It will all be over before you know it, and they won't matter!"

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