Just Say “Zucchini”

Annie & Mike
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Our story began at Santa Clara University, where Annie was studying public health, and I was studying finance. Despite different interests and separate social circles, a shared love for the university brought us together. We were both student ambassadors—although Annie would quickly point out that she outranked me as the “lead” ambassador—and we spent part of each week educating prospective students on the appeal of college life in sunny Santa Clara, California. Just before graduation, a scheduling fluke had us both working Saturday mornings. It was then that we finally got to know each other. We chatted about classes, our study abroad experiences, and weekend plans. Near the end of the school year, it was up to me to ask Annie out. At that point, the entirety of the undergraduate admissions office was cheering us on. With plenty of encouragement (aka heckling from friends), I finally asked, and we’ve been together ever since.

After graduating, we crisscrossed the country and hit many milestones: First, moving to San Francisco and starting careers in the tech sector—Annie in marketing and myself in corporate finance—then pursuing graduate degrees in Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia. We added a dog, Hudson, and a horse, Bailey, and our latest adventure included settling down and purchasing a house in Seattle.

During this time, the constant that felt like “home” was Jackson, where Annie’s father and stepmother, Mario and Amy, live nearly year-round. Some of our happiest and most formative memories took place here. I learned to ski at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (a prerequisite for joining the Espinosa family). I can still vividly recall the image of Mario calling out, “Mike, follow my tracks!” as he carved effortlessly down the mountain, while I, desperate to impress, tottered stiffly behind. Aside from skiing, each visit was filled with family hikes, attending local Jackson events such as the Fourth of July parade, and lunches at Piste, our favorite spot. In short, since Jackson was a source of so many fond memories, we knew it would be an incredible place for our eventual wedding. 

But first, I needed to ask the big question. 

I am usually horrible at keeping secrets (and tend to get misty-eyed when it comes to Annie), so I planned a low-key private proposal in our backyard in Seattle during the summer of 2022. The week prior, I picked up her ring, called Annie’s parents, who happily provided their blessing, and gave a heads-up to Annie’s best friend (since the first grade!) and future Matron of Honor, Jacqui Mullen.

Armed with love and support from everyone, I got to work. I decorated the yard with string lights, candles, and flowers. I even put tissue paper over the windows so Annie couldn’t see into our backyard when she got home. This was, perhaps, the only flaw in my plan since it took some extra coaxing for her to trust that it was a “good surprise” waiting outside. Once I took my place and hit “play” on my carefully curated Spotify playlist, it was just the two of us together, and Annie said, “Yes!”

We wanted our wedding to be a warm, intimate affair, where friends and family could come together and truly get to know one another. To help us on our way, Alison Kyle from Destination Jackson Hole was the obvious choice as a planner. She created a timeline, recommended vendors that fit our budget and priorities, and, most importantly, provided a reassuring presence whenever we needed it. 

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We felt wildly blessed to have the Tetons as our backdrop, so we kept all our events in Teton Village to be as close to the mountains as possible. We worked with Dom at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to book Solitude Station for our welcome event, complete with a gondola ride, views of the Snake River, and locally inspired cocktails. This lovely kickoff to the weekend was hosted by Annie’s mom, Beverly. 

Our wedding was held at a private venue near Teton Village, which was perfect for an outdoor ceremony and cozy family-style dinner. We also added our own personal touches. For example, we decided against a traditional cake, opting for a dessert bar complete with gourmet Kit-Kats (which might just be the best dessert we’ve ever tasted!).  

Alison connected us with Monica Grimberg at JH Flower Boutique, who somehow translated a few inspirational photos we sent into stunning flower arrangements. We booked DJ Jake Nichols, who brought so much energy and joy to our reception. We asked our guests to choose one song they would like to hear at the reception. Jake seamlessly flowed from Eminem’s “Without Me” into Big & Rich’s “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” without missing a beat. It was quite the dance party! 

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Our photographer, Janelle Rose, included a late-winter “engagement session” in her package to help us get comfortable in front of the camera before the big day. Her prompts to elicit a smile and laugh were unforgettable, including asking me to whisper my favorite vegetable into Annie’s ear. It worked almost too well. My choice: zucchini.

On our wedding day, the sun broke through as the ceremony began, and cottonwood seeds drifted through the air. Our dog, Hudson, happily executed his ring-bearing duties with only one minor detour on his walk down the aisle. Our officiant was a longtime friend, Jason Von Raesfeld, who brought a calming and grounding presence to the scene. There were no nerves. Just joy. We hosted our dream wedding surrounded by friends and family, and we are so thankful to everyone who made it happen. 


Wedding Date: June 3, 2023

Ceremony and Reception Location: Private venue Welcome Party Location: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Officiant: Jason Von Raesfeld Photographer: Janelle Rose Photography Florist: JH Flower Boutique Consultant: Alison Kyle, Destination Jackson Hole DJ: Jake Nichols, SteadyJake DJ Dinner Chef: Chef Luke Biewick Dessert Chef: Chef Jaclyn Bernard Neumann Rental Service: The White Antler Transportation Service: Mountain Resort Services Stationary Design: minted.com

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