Hannah & Jeff
Words by Hannah Hardaway + Photography by Heather Nan
Jeff and I met, like many people in the valley, while skiing and snowboarding at the Village. We were friends for several years and enjoyed exchanging stories of our off-season travels. Years later, when we started dating, one of the first things we bonded over was our mutual love of Asia and Asian cultures. It seemed fitting then that we decided to have an Asian-themed wedding.
To make our wedding vision come to life within our budget, many friends and family members helped us. It was a team effort, and we are incredibly grateful for our amazing tribe. We own land in the Red Top area south of Wilson. It is truly our favorite spot in the valley, so we decided to have our ceremony and reception on our property. One of our best friends, Kate Brennan, performed a moving and insightful ceremony inside a Japanese tea house created by Allowe Allison Lowe, another dear friend. To make a grand entrance, I—along with my family and our flower girl (my niece) and our four ring bearers (our nephews)—rode through an open field on a Chinese junk boat, which a group of our friends designed and built to take to Burning Man years ago. We had many personal touches that our friends helped design and create, like our hand-drawn invitations, floral arrangements and decor, signature craft cocktails, wedding cake, photobooth set, and teepees (one for the kids and another for us to sleep in on our wedding night). We had friends who hand-wrote our chalkboards, parked cars, played DJ sets during the reception, and hosted our rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding.
Our goal was to incorporate and blend many traditions and wedding rituals that spanned our cultural backgrounds and spiritual beliefs. Jeff and I asked some friends to sage the tea house before the ceremony and sage our guests as they walked through the gate into the ceremony space. One friend opened the ceremony by playing a Tibetan singing bowl. Once everyone was seated, Kate gave a beautiful welcome to our guests and asked for all to realize that they were participants in creating this special ceremony space and offered reflection on our merging as life partners. A series of friends did readings on love, marriage, and union. Two others sang a special song while playing guitar. We had three friends and my sister hold four corners of a homemade chuppah during the ring exchange. For wedding favors, my mother, sister-in-law, and I made felt fortune cookies filled with inspirational quotes I selected and printed. My sister, nephew, mother, and I folded tiny little envelopes made from Asian newspapers that Jeff and I had collected on a trip to Sri Lanka and filled them with birdseed for guests to throw at us as we walked out after the ceremony.
By far, our favorite part of the day was the ceremony. I was adamant about it being an “unplugged wedding.” In addition to a sign, we asked our friends to remind people to turn off their phones as they entered the tea house. Also, our officiant reminded everyone for good measure. I cannot tell you how powerful it was to have all our favorite people surrounding us and giving us their full love and attention. We just wish we could go back and do it all over again.
26 September 2016
ceremony & reception location
Private Land – Red Top Meadows
hair & makeup
Heather Nan Photography
Hilary Cantu, A New Leaf Garden Design
Vibrant Events of Jackson Hole
Peak Stretch Tents
Montana Party Rentals