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Our Happy Place
Michele & Joseph
Words by Michele Vidarte + Photography by Ashley Merritt
Our story began in 2010 when we met while pursuing the ski-bum lifestyle in Jackson; I was a ski instructor and Joseph was a liftee on the old Casper Lift. Joseph is originally from Virginia, and I am from New York, but we both found ourselves in the Tetons with a mutual passion for adventure, skiing, snow, and travel.
One of Joseph’s friends from Virginia, Caroline, was already living in Jackson when Joseph and his friend, Willis, decided to move there. And, I just so happened to be Caroline’s best friend in Jackson. Naturally, we welcomed Willis and Joseph to Jackson and showed them around town. A friendship became a romance, and Joseph and I began dating soon after we met.
We spent two more years in Jackson, skiing the powder, hiking the backcountry, trekking the Teton Crest Trail, baking for the farmers market, and working at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and at restaurants in town. Five years and many adventures later, including moving to Saratoga Springs, New York, Joseph got down on one knee and proposed to me with a custom-made ring featuring his mother’s engagement diamond in the middle. He had been working on getting the ring made for months, enlisting the expertise of two friends who design jewelry to help create the heirloom piece.
We both knew that we wanted a wedding that spoke to our style and personalities; for us, that meant making sure we stayed true to ourselves …
We got engaged around the holidays and reveled with friends and family. The first question they asked was about the wedding location. Without hesitation, we both wanted Jackson, our happy place. The main must-haves for our wedding were that we needed a view of the Tetons, a great party, and all our friends and family present. We quickly decided on Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club, which offered the views, service, and all-inclusive package that we wanted, especially since we were planning the wedding from New York. We both knew that we wanted a wedding that spoke to our style and personalities; for us, that meant making sure we stayed true to ourselves and not necessarily to the traditional “wedding rules.” We decided to have doughnuts instead of a cake, topography maps of Grand Teton National Park for people to sign instead of a guest book, a bluegrass band combined with a DJ for the best of both worlds, a great friend as our officiant, and vows we wrote ourselves. These elements, combined with the natural beauty of the day, made for the most magical and special wedding that was both personal and beautiful. (And, having the mayor of Jackson DJ our reception was the icing on the cake … or doughnut in our case!)
Our family friends threw us a welcome party at Lift on the Thursday night of our wedding week, which was a perfect, casual way to greet everyone and thank our friends and family members for making the journey. Many of our guests made a vacation out of their trip, and it was so wonderful to hear their stories of traveling throughout the region and experiencing why the Jackson area is so special to us. On Friday night, we had a beautiful rehearsal dinner at the Roadhouse Pub & Eatery, where the food was stellar, and a moose family visited us, much to the thrill of our out-of-town guests. Many of our friends and family members made toasts, and it was an evening of pure joy and shared love.
On our wedding day, we awoke to the first snow of the season; we were giddy.
On our wedding day, we awoke to the first snow of the season; we were giddy. The skies were cloudy, and the mountains were socked in, but nothing could bring our moods down. For the ceremony, we relocated off the driving range to the covered patio since the temperatures were in the 40s, and we wanted our guests to be comfortable. By the time we made it out to the venue, the Tetons were no longer socked in, and the sun was shining through the clouds. This “Plan B” turned out to be brilliant; the enclosed setting with mountain views made for an intimate, close-knit ceremony.
The waterworks began as soon as I made the turn down the aisle with my dad, locking eyes with Joseph as we both laughed and cried at the same time. The ceremony, officiated by our close friend Kim, combined personal elements and even some quotes from my four-year-old twin nieces, who looked on from the first row. It is a moment in time we will never forget. The dance party lasted well into the night, ending with a group dance and hug during the last song, appropriately “Lean on Me.” The entire wedding week was magical, made complete by our friends and family members who traveled from near and far to celebrate with us.
16 September 2017
Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club
Roadhouse pub & eatery
Kim MacKenzie, friend
hair & makeup
hair: Anna Pantone of Frost Salon
makeup: Stephanie Broome
Ashley Merritt Photography
Lily & Co.
invitations & stationery
xowyo paper + press
Jackson Hole DJ
In Any Event, L.L.C.
Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club
Nom Nom Doughnuts
La Tavola Fine Linen Rental
Mountain Resort Services