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Kelsey & Hank
Words by Kelsey Brehm + Photography by Heather Erson
Hank and I met the first day of our freshman year at the University of Denver. I couldn’t believe the cute guy in Spanish class started talking to me. Within a month, we were practically inseparable. On Halloween 2009, Hank asked me to be his girlfriend. In the nearly nine years between that day and our wedding day, we experienced so much together. After graduating from college, I stayed at the University of Denver for an extra year to complete my MBA while Hank moved to Vail. After a couple of years of driving the treacherous I-70 corridor every weekend to see one another, we knew it was time for a change.
Hank finally convinced me to move to Jackson in October 2015. To say that he dragged me out here is an understatement. I had never been to Jackson and was terrified to move away from my family in Denver. As pretty much everyone who has said they were coming to Jackson for only six months knows, after those six months were up, I could not imagine living anywhere else. Hank and I are extremely glad to call Jackson our home now. The natural beauty, skiing, and, most importantly, the sense of community in this town blows me away every single day.
One July day in 2017, Hank took me hiking to the top of the Sleeping Indian for what he now tells me was “one final test.” He proposed to me at the summit. My response was, “What took you so long?!” Once we started planning our wedding, we immediately knew there was nowhere else in the world we would rather get married than Jackson.
It was a blast planning all the wedding details. Hank had always wanted a “wedding sword,” and soon after our engagement he got his wish. I bought Hank a full-size “Lord of the Rings” replica sword, and he declared his excitement to wear it at our wedding. We incorporated personal touches throughout the ceremony and reception, including a moose and “Lord of The Rings” cake topper, skis to sign instead of a guestbook, and of course cutting our cake with Hank’s sword.
The months immediately following our engagement were some of the happiest of my life as we planned, laughed, and shared the excitement for our big day with our families and friends. However, everything changed when, just a few months after our engagement, my father passed away very unexpectedly. It was devastating. The thought of getting married without my father by my side was impossible to fathom for a long time. Hank was by my side every single day, supporting me, loving me, and assuring me that my father would have wanted us to have the wedding of our dreams. I am so thankful for the eight years my father and Hank had together, getting to know one another, drinking whiskey, and laughing at my clumsiness. I’m most grateful that Hank was able to ask my father for my hand in marriage before he passed away. It gives me so much peace knowing that my father knew that Hank would take care of me forever.
We went ahead with our wedding planning, incorporating my father into our special day in as many ways as possible. One special way we remembered him was by teeing off a golf ball full of his ashes the Friday during our ceremony rehearsal. It was so special to me because when we arrived at Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis on Saturday for the wedding, I knew that my father was already there.
I awoke on our wedding day nervous and missing my father. When I started walking down the aisle with my brother, we both felt the loss of him. However, as I arrived at the altar and turned to face Hank, a gust of wind picked up and blew my veil off. I knew in that second that it was my father, teasing me from Heaven and letting me know that he was there watching. All my nervousness dissipated as I married the love of my life and my father reminded me that he may not be here on Earth, but he will never leave me.
22 September 2018
ceremony & location
Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis
Mike Wallace, cousin of the bride
hair & makeup
Jenny B. Artistry
Heather Erson Photography
Snake River Flowers
Steady Jake Mobile DJ
Parker Thomas Events
Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis
cake: Lady in the Wild West
Nom Nom Doughnuts
Mountain Resort Services
other specialty vendors
Signs: BBD Designs