A Wedding Sequel
Stephanie & Cory
WORDS BY STEPHANIE KULACZ + PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF THOMAS
I never knew Cory Kulacz in high school, but I sure loved to look at him! We walked the same hallways and, although I had a total crush on him, he was a year older than I and just as shy. Years later, after leaving our small town of Wilmington, Massachusetts, attending college, and becoming engineers, we built completely predictable and separate lives from one another.
In 2015, Cory hit the road to abandon a life of societal norms for one of vitality. I happened upon a video he posted of himself on top of a peak in Grand Teton National Park and thought, That’s wild. What is this guy up to? So, I messaged him on Facebook and asked where he was.
He replied, “I’m out in Jackson. You can come visit whenever you’d like.”
I thought to myself, Jackson, Mississippi? That doesn’t sound right. So, I Googled “mountain towns called ‘Jackson’” and understood the appeal right away.
Just a few months later, I walked off the plane and onto the tarmac at the miniscule airport in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Cory crept up behind me to give me a kiss on the cheek. Right away, I was sold. Soon after, I was taking pictures of my first moose, driving through the perfectly adorned center of town, and riding up the tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to slide down one of the (debatably) greatest ski resorts in the United States.
Cory was nothing short of amazing! Within a week’s time, I fell in love with him, and he asked me to move in with him. Three months later, I left the East Coast to share a new life with my soulmate.
It was March 4, 2019, when we were headed up Four Pines. It was a bluebird day, and I was mid-bid on an L.A. Woman record on eBay as a surprise for Cory. He led me up the last 400 steps of the boot pack (that I am, arguably, never ready for) and we stopped at the top to take pictures. Cory proceeded to set up his GoPro camera to record the moment, and then presented me with his mother’s stunning ring, before popping a mini bottle of Prosecco onto untouched snow in celebration. The experience was cinematic, and, needless to say, I missed the winning bid on that record.
Our wedding was planned for May of 2020, but plans were, like many, derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. So at the very last minute, we decided to elope back home in New Hampshire on the day after Christmas with just our immediate families as witnesses. It was, undoubtedly, the most intimate and emotional moment of our lives and was, truly, our moment in time.
After five months of marriage had passed, it was time for our dream wedding to unveil itself. We started to plan Round 2 of our wedding with the goal of keeping it simple. Thankfully, the venue—particularly Frank at Rancho Alegre—did all of the leg work.
I’m a procrastinator, so, luckily, everything was already set up at Rancho Alegre as we settled into our rooms with our family and friends. We ordered our favorite salad and pies (essentially the entire menu) from Hand Fire Pizza and prepped for the wedding. We reconstructed a cracked Kransekake (a traditional Scandinavian dessert made of almond meal) that came in the mail, and my girlfriends, Christa and Cheryl, baked the cupcakes. It was so nice having our favorite people under one roof in this miraculous place we call home. Everyone was not only obsessed with the unique history of the western Dutch Cape house and all of the stories it had to offer, but they also relished in the property’s unparalleled views.
Because everyone stayed on-site, we were able to get ready with all of our friends and family. Jenny Bragg brought in her heavy hair and makeup artillery, while Jeff Thomas, of Vertex Photography, captured every notable detail leading up to the ceremony. Cory constructed the arch, I made the floral arrangements, and the rest of the family worked together to make everything picture perfect.
The wedding was small—with just under fifty guests—and any more than that would have been a crowd. We cherished the quality time with our loved ones, and keeping the numbers low meant having individual conversations with everyone. The parents’ dances didn’t leave a dry eye, while the speeches were substantial, deep, satirical, and full of meaning. Jeff became everyone’s favorite person, as he made sure that with each passing moment he caught us all in the changing light on that inimitable day. The music was rad, and the food was the best our guests have ever had. Although planning was spontaneous and relaxed, the event and the celebration couldn’t have been more flawless.
Don’t Settle for Just One Wedding!
Everyone should have two weddings! Our first one was impromptu, with only immediate family, and it was the most emotional experience I’ve lived through. Our “big wedding” was carried out so that everyone could celebrate and share a special celebration with us in the Tetons.
Wedding Date: May 29, 2021
Ceremony and Reception Location: Rancho Alegre, Officiant: Jennifer Streigel, Photographer: Jeff Thomas, Hair and Makeup: Jenny Bragg, Florist: Stephanie Kulacz, Music: DJ Echo (Brandon Whitesell), Caterer: Chippy’s Catering, Dessert Chef: Christa Johnson and Cheryl Davison, MandelCake (Kransekake), Rental Service: Canvas Unlimited