Love is King
Dina & Derek
I’ve been in Jackson since 1997, and Derek since 2002. At the time we met, while skinning up Snow King in 2013, I was certain I knew every single guy in town and didn’t want to be with any of them. Then, many years later, I unknowingly announced our engagement in a travel article about Snow King that ran on the cover of the Washington Post’s travel section in February 2021.
Ten minutes after I shared the story with family and friends via email—as I do with all my travel stories for The Post—my mom called, “Umm, is there something you want to tell me?”
I had no idea what she was talking about.
“There’s going to be a wedding?!” she exclaimed.
“Yeah, we’ve been talking about it for years,” I said.
“Not with us!” she reminded me.
My favorite text was from my brother, one of the groomsmen, “Most baller wedding announcement ever.”
Derek and I had been talking about getting married on the summit of The King for a couple of years. It never dawned on us—because there was no definite date—that we hadn’t mentioned it to anyone else. No one ever proposed to the other, and we’d been together for so long—weathering the storm of my Stage III breast cancer—that we were already committed for the long haul. So naturally, we just rolled right into wedding planning.
For a couple of years, our actual “wedding ceremony” existed only in our imagination, as we joked that we couldn’t get married until there was a gondola to the summit of Snow King. (The resort had been talking about it for years, but it never seemed remotely close to happening.)
And then it did. very quickly.
We started planning, picking a date in mid-June of 2022 when the Jackson airport was still closed. We worried about asking guests to fly into Salt Lake City or Idaho Falls instead, but also knew that town might be less crowded while the airport was closed. It turned out most guests opted for Salt Lake (due to direct flights) and loved the scenic drive. We offered different routes and things to do along the way.
The day before the wedding, we ate bagels and went on a short group hike to the top of Nelson Knoll, a five-minute walk from the Nelson Trailhead, which is right around the corner from our house. A friend of ours, Ruth Ann Petroff (the former owner of Snake River Roasting), parked her camper van at the trailhead and made coffee for guests with her professional espresso machine. Then, about two dozen of our family and friends went for
a bigger hike with us up Crystal Butte. The rehearsal dinner at Mike Yokel Park was low-key and relaxed and really set the tone for the weekend.
Due to gondola installation, the summit of Snow King was an active construction site during our wedding ceremony. Derek and I had a lot of fun leaning into this. In fact, we leaned into it so much that we totally neglected getting any “serious” wedding photos of the two of us in front of the Tetons. Instead, we had stickers made that said, “Derek & Dina Did it in the Dirt: 6/11/2022.” We put the stickers on Hydroflask™ cooler cups (our wedding favors) featuring our wedding colors, pink and orange. Guests didn’t mind the construction at all, and June 11 turned out to be the first non-snow, or rain, weekend in the valley since March. After the ceremony, about 40 guests hiked down Josie’s Ridge and back around to Snow King‘s base area with Derek and I.
Our happy-hour reception, held on the rooftop deck at The Cloudveil overlooking Snow King, could not have been more fabulous, even when the gunshots went off. (We totally spaced the Town Square Shootout!) Our reception was followed by a dinner for immediate family and the wedding party, which included my bridesmaids: my sister-in-law and my two nieces.
Now for the ring. I’ve had—for years—a diamond ring I designed (with the help of Jeter Case at JC Jewelers) using the engagement diamond from the grandmother I’m named after. So, I did not want a typical engagement/wedding ring for the ceremony, and instead, opted for custom diamond and Cobaltoan calcite earrings made by a Denver jeweler.
Since this was my second wedding, I didn’t feel the need to wear white, and found a fuchsia dress I loved at Terra in Jackson. My dress set the tone for the wedding colors—fuchsia and orange (orange is Derek’s favorite color). Our wedding party wore Stio shirts of similar colors, and I changed into a floor-length Etro gown for the Cloudveil reception.
Advice for Couples
We loved how everything was informal and relaxed. I do love dressing up, but I didn’t feel like allowing guests to wear “whatever” prohibited me from doing so. We also loved the multiple events (even if they were little and low-key, like the coffee-and-bagels-hike.) Our guests enjoyed the events, too, because it allowed them to meet our friends and other family members. We heard a lot of them say, “We’ve never felt so taken care of at a wedding.”
Wedding Date: June 11, 2022
Ceremony Location: Summit of Snow King // Reception Location: The Cloudveil // Officiant: Jeremy Hastings // Photographer: Brad Boner // Florist: Jackson Hole Flower Company // Hair & Makeup: Grace Spa // Dessert Chef: Tiny Town Culinary/Erica Linnell // Brunch Catering: Persephone // Rental Service: Canvas Unlimited // Stationary: Minted // Other Specialty Vendors: Doug Perry Design (custom earrings), Terra (wedding dress), Stio (bridesmaid and groomsmen attire)