Behind the Scenes

(What you don’t see matters)
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Words by Samantha Simma + PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ardent Photography

The tables are set. The flowers are arranged. And, the signage is placed. 

Such is the scene each wedding guest sees upon their arrival. But what went on behind the scenes to establish such a pretty picture? 

For context: “We’re setting up a fine dining restaurant in the middle of a field, from the tent all the way down to the fork,” says XOWYO owner Cara Rank.

Behind the centerpieces and signage, there are hordes of vendors laying the groundwork to transform an “unassuming field” into a lavish wedding venue. 

Posh Potties

With their elevated surroundings, Jackson Hole weddings are deserving of a more luxury latrine option than the classic outhouse. Enter JH Posh Potty, a restroom trailer owned and operated by Robin Evans since 2017. Upon arrival at the wedding site—trailer in tow—Evans observes the event production going on around her. 

“It’s just a lot of scrambling before the finishing touches are brought in,” she says.

For her, the finishing touches include an exterior drink table dressed in linens and set with hand sanitizer, flowers, breath mints, and a lantern for the evening hours. The champagne-colored trailer’s interior is climate-controlled, features cherry wood finishes, and the vanity’s glass sink has warm water flowing from its fixture. Throughout the event, a bathroom attendant ensures the paper towels remain stocked and the facilities tidy. 

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Photo by Love and Story Studio
Careful Coordination

The unobstructed (and unparalleled) mountain views from Diamond Cross Ranch existed long before the venue began hosting events on the property. In recent decades, the ranch has become a renowned wedding site, but not without effort. 

“It’s a team effort to ensure that the property is looking its best,” says Lauren Long, director of events.

No detail is overlooked by this team—from polishing doorknobs to adhering to a strategic lawn mowing schedule, every consideration is made when preparing the property for guests.

At the family-owned and -operated location, their horses are as much an asset to the venue as its views. The signature of a Diamond Cross Ranch wedding experience is a precisely coordinated horse release during the ceremony. 

“A lot of people think it just happens,” Long says, “But we time it perfectly—usually at the beginning [of the ceremony]—so then the horses are in the background of the ceremony photos. If you have a really amazing photographer, they can get a photo of the horses running behind [the couple] during the first kiss.”

In conjunction with the wedding planner and couple, the team determines when the herd of horses are released into the pasture that lies between the ceremony lawn and the Teton Mountain Range.

Precise Place Settings

When wedding guests reach for their glass to raise a toast to the happy couple, it’s not by chance that said glass is carefully placed within reach and identically spaced at each setting. 

“We go through dozens of yardsticks a summer,” says Rank. (Both arms of XOWYO have an important role in the foundational setup of fine events: Paper + Press curates signage and stationery, while On the Range offers tabletop rentals.) “We set up one setting, mark on the yardstick the spacing of each piece, and then use that as a template for setting every table.” 

Whether it’s a wedding with 50 or 200 guests, every setting achieves the same amount of space between its elements—cutlery, glassware, place cards, etc. The need for such specificity lies in the memories that will live on through the event’s photos. 

“When we’re setting the tables, we’re thinking about the guest experience, but also how it’s going to look in photos.” Rank explains, “If there’s a crooked fork or off-center plate, that’s going to be seen in photos for years to come.” 

Tenting Tetris

In the event rentals field, strategic truck loading skills are a job requirement. Before the tables, chairs, bars, dance floor, lounge furniture, and tents can be placed at a venue, Zach Witts, of Aurora Event Rentals, points out, “Hours are spent strategically loading every truck so that you can ideally make one trip, and that, when everything comes off the truck, it’s in a way that doesn’t require you to carry something twice.” 

Usually two days prior to the event, Witts’ crew will be the first onsite, when the wedding location is in its most natural state. Five to six people are needed to erect the company’s Tidewater sailcloth tents. At times, they’ll confront difficult ground conditions, mountain storms, and the occasional errant ant hill as they work to establish a temporary structure where there are usually none. 

 … And when the tent comes down and the glassware is put away, each and every vendor makes sure to leave no trace, as restoring the natural setting is just as important to local Teton vendors as transforming it—behind the scenes—into a jaw-dropping celebration space. 

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