A new take on eloping
Katy Gray

More and more couples are seeking the intimate experience of marrying alone or in the company of only their closest loved ones, as opposed to the big to-do of a traditional wedding. While the days of romantic and spontaneous dash-away-from-the-everyday-to-marry-in-secret are making a comeback, the contemporary elopement is taking on a number of traditional-wedding aspects to create perfectly customized nuptials. An intimate wedding for two can include elaborate bridal bouquets; professional hair, makeup, and photography; private-car service; live music; catered-meal service; and just about anything else on a couple’s wish list. Jackson has no lack of amazing options for lodging, ceremony locations, intimate dinners, and everything in between.

Although planning an elopement may seem a bit counterintuitive, many modern couples seek the assistance of a location-based planner to create the intimate experience of their dreams. The inherent nature of a small wedding or elopement is that it is personal and unique—a step away from the boundaries of traditional wedding ideas. This means that your wedding has the potential to be anything, and everything, you’ve ever dreamed of.

Katy Gray

Roni & Matt
Roni and Matt are from Chicago, but they knew that they wanted anything but the big-city ballroom wedding. They decided that a winter wedding in Jackson was the perfect fit for them. They invited only their immediate family members, knowing that their wedding celebration would be like nothing any of them had ever experienced. Roni’s family is from Mexico, while Matt’s family is from Hawaii, so the beauty of the Jackson winter was truly exotic.

On a sunny afternoon just a few days before Christmas, the couple and their families met at the Granite Canyon trailhead, just inside the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park. Outfitted with snowshoes, the families hiked the quarter-mile from the trailhead to a ridgeline with stunning Teton views. They circled around the couple as they wed in a snowy sagebrush clearing framed by a pair of wooden snowshoes. Each family brought a cultural tradition to the ceremony; Roni’s family tied the couple’s hands with a beaded lasso, and Matt’s wrapped them in a fresh Maile lei (which had been transported with care from Hawaii).

Katy Gray

After the ceremony, the now-united family headed downtown for a private dinner at a restaurant on Town Square. As the evening progressed, snow began to fall. After dinner, they headed back to Teton Village to wrap up the night with hot drinks and s’mores around a bonfire in the softly falling snow.

Bridal Hair & Makeup – A Day of Beauty by Leslee Anne
Flowers – Fleur de V
Car Service – Mountain Resort Services
Snowshoe Rental – Skinny Skis
Ceremony Location – Grand Teton National Park
Ceremony Officiation – Vibrant Events of Jackson Hole
Dinner – Local Restaurant & Bar
Bonfire – Four Seasons Jackson Hole
Photography – Katy Gray

Hannah Hardaway
Hannah Hardaway

Megan & Jesse
Megan and Jesse went to high school together in North Carolina but lost touch after graduation. Jesse moved to Colorado, while Megan stayed in North Carolina, got married, had a son, and got divorced. They reconnected when Jesse returned to North Carolina for a visit. Shortly thereafter, Jesse moved back East, and they began planning an intimate wedding that would include Evan, Megan’s son.

Jesse had good friends in Jackson and knew that it would be the perfect place for them to start their life as a family. Megan, Evan, and Jesse planned a road trip out West that would take them through a number of national parks, finally landing them in Jackson for some time with old friends and an intimate wedding at the base of the Tetons. They invited only Jesse’s two best friends from childhood, who together performed a ceremony that not only bound the two of them in marriage, but bound the three of them as a family. They exchanged vows on the shores of Jackson Lake on a beautiful evening in August.

After the ceremony, they had dinner under bistro lights in a friend’s backyard. A multicourse meal was prepared at the home by a private chef, and they cut a personal-size wedding cake by the light of a bonfire.

Bridal Hair & Makeup – Tanya Crocker
Flowers – Gild the Lily Too
Live Music – Wendy Colonna
Ceremony Location – Grand Teton National Park
Ceremony Officiation – Virginia Symons & Wesley Peterson
Dinner – Unprocessed Kitchen
Photography – Hannah Hardaway

Taylor Glenn
Taylor Glenn

Amy & Mark
This destination couple who hail from Montana knew that they wanted to wed where they first met—in Jackson. They planned a private wedding for two at the Moose Head Ranch in Grand Teton National Park, followed by a reception celebration in Rhode Island, where Amy is from, a few months later.

After dressing in a rustic cabin overlooking a trout pond, Amy and Mark strolled hand in hand down the gravel roads of the ranch to their wedding ceremony location, a bridge spanning a spring creek. A local pastor performed the intimate nuptials. Afterwards, Amy and Mark drank champagne and nibbled on light hors d’oeuvres as they took photos in the waning September light. Then, they sat for dinner at a table set for two under the twilight Tetons. A private chef created a delicious multicourse meal, served in the most intimate of settings. As the sun dropped behind the mountains, they shared petits fours and a bottle of wine they had brought home from a trip to Italy. Globe lights twinkled and the alpenglow lingered, adding to the evening’s ambiance.

Bridal Hair – Tanya Crocker
Bridal Makeup – Krista Hahlbohm
Flowers – Magnolia Ranch
Ceremony Location – Moose Head Ranch
Ceremony Officiation – Reverend Ben Pascal
Location Styling – Vibrant Events of Jackson Hole
Dinner – Chef Danny Filice
Photography – Taylor Glenn

Elopement-style nuptials remind us that a wedding is an intimate union about two people in love. The scale of the celebration is insignificant in comparison to the union it creates. And, the Tetons certainly provide a worthy setting for these lovely moments, which represent intimacy and commitment at their finest.

Virginia Powell Symons owns and operates Vibrant Events of Jackson Hole, a wedding planning and consulting company that is focused on creating truly unique and creative weddings, showcasing everything that Jackson Hole and Teton Valley has to offer. Virginia can be reached at or by calling 307/413-0174.

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