Nothing Short of a Misfire

Suzanne & Joel
suzannejoel 1

Suzanne and I met after I returned from my deployment to Desert Storm for the United States Marine Corps in 1991. We had a magnetic connection at first sight. (In fact, both of us can recall exactly what the other was wearing and the specific things we said that night at the party at her parents’ house.) Neither of us acted on that attraction, however, and we remained family friends for the next 25 years. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic, Suzanne and I reconnected during a birthday party for my future mother-in-law and learned of our mutual attraction for each other. We also learned that we both thought the other was unattainable. However, we immediately found out that we were each other’s “dream partner,” and that it truly was love at first sight many years ago. 

At the start of our relationship, Suzanne and I traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Pacific. Then, a fall trip to Yellowstone included a visit to my aunt and uncle’s ranch on the Hoback River in Jackson Hole. We instantly knew we would marry there and eventually call Wyoming home. The pristine environment, the majestic wildlife, the private airport, the immense solitude, and the overall ambience of the Teton region was, once again, a love-at-first-sight experience.

Suzanne and I got engaged during a private dog-sled tour at the base of the snow-covered Tetons and with the help of the amazing staff at Call of the Wyld Tours. The dog-sled outing was supposed to be a surprise—something different. I told her we were just going to look for wildlife. It was snowing very hard that day, and my aunt and uncle (who knew what was going on) gave us very nice down and fur coats to wear. I think Suzanne suspected something. 

On the tour, I did the typical one-knee proposal and gave a customized speech. She accepted, our tour guide congratulated us, then he took our picture. After the tour, I had roses waiting inside the vehicle, sitting on Suzanne’s seat. 

The outing was followed by a memorable dinner at the Westbank Grille at the Four Seasons in Teton Village, where we watched the snow fall as Suzanne admired her new emerald-cut engagement ring designed by Genesis Diamonds in our hometown of Nashville. The temperature was falling, Rendezvous Peak emerged intermittently from the clouds, and it was a very cold and magical March evening.

We chose The Spotted Horse Ranch, located on the banks of the Hoback River, as the location for our early spring ceremony due to its natural beauty. Plus, the owner and family friend, Sam Blount, was also a former Marine. Our micro-wedding was attended by both of our mothers, my aunt and uncle, and my cousin and his fiancé (she caught the bouquet). Our ceremony followed a Scottish theme due to our common ancestral roots and family ties to the Scottish Highlands. To make the ceremony special, we solicited my uncle David Clay Prescott, a Scottish Lord, Wyoming resident, and former Marine, to officiate. David obtained his Credentials of Ministry certification just in time for our ceremony. (David is 83 and usually refuses any kind of tests, questions, and prerequisites, so this was kind of a stretch for him.) 

During the exchange of vows, I read a poem I wrote for Suzanne about two years before we got married. Everyone really enjoyed it, as it made them all think I was more romantic than I actually am. Each of the four women in attendance also recited a Scottish poem. The ceremony concluded with Uncle David declaring us married. He proceeded to fire his 1900 Deringer pistol to announce the new couple to the State of Wyoming, but the rounds had to be custom made, and it was very difficult to cock and fire. Subsequently, everyone laughed and said two Marines shouldn’t have such difficulty with a pistol.

We toasted our marriage at the Spotted Horse Ranch bar, and then headed over to the Lazy Owl Ranch, the home of David and Gerri Prescott, located just down the road on the Hoback River, for a cake cutting and additional toasts.

The amazing views and backdrop that surrounded the Lazy Owl Ranch provided the perfect opportunity for pictures with Gerri and David’s vintage Land Rover Defender. Since the bride’s mother was staying at The Cloudveil, we took additional pictures inside and outside of the hotel property overlooking Snow King Mountain, and then around the famous Jackson Hole Town Square, making for a truly memorable experience. 

Suzanne and I concluded our special day with a reception meal at The Bistro in Jackson—with both of our mothers and my aunt and uncle—featuring bison tenderloin, cipollini onions, English peas, wild mushrooms, and horseradish whipped potatoes with a huckleberry bordelaise and champagne toast. The Bistro patrons clapped for us when we entered the restaurant, and everyone joined in on the toast with our party.

Our lives haven’t changed much since our wedding. We still live in Manchester, Tennessee, and continue to be best friends. We make many trips to Jackson Hole and have very similar dreams—namely to someday be full-time Wyoming residents (and to curb Suzanne’s unbelievable obsession with Persephone Bakery). 


Use due diligence in the selection of your wedding photographer. The knowledge and skill of this chosen individual will determine and capture moments that will last a lifetime. Your photographer will also tie in all the loose ends and can be a crucial source of valuable information, including date, time, location, and logistics. So, pick your photographer first, and then include their input in all your wedding-planning decisions.


Wedding Date: April 8, 2023

Ceremony and Reception Location: Spotted Horse Ranch Welcome Party Location: Lazy Owl Ranch Officiant: Minister David Clay Prescott (uncle) Photographer: Madison Webb Hair & Makeup: Olivia Black, Champu Salon Florist: Lily and Co. Consultant: Gerri Prescott (aunt) Music: Judd Grossman Caterer: The Bistro at The Cloudveil Desserts: Lauren Estay Langer, Seven Confections Rental Service: Menguin (tuxedos) Transportation service: 1990 Land Rover Defender Stationary Design: Zazzle Wedding Dress: Milla Nova Royal Collection 2022

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