Sweet Love of Mine
Lisa & BJ
By Lisa Ridenour Hansen
Photography by Tim Bradshaw
“I found myself a California girl and convinced her to move back home to Idaho with me.” That is BJ’s classic line, his claim to fame, when he describes our relationship. We attended the same college in the Northwest but did not meet until my first summer in Jackson over a decade ago. A year of friendship turned into a few dates and then a deep love for each other. One might say we took our time taking the next step (eleven years to be exact), but we just were not in a rush.
Victor, Idaho, has been our home, but an urge for adventure and travel often sent us gallivanting around the West in our campervan. At the tail end of a monthlong skiing and hot springs tour through Colorado and Utah in early 2014, BJ proposed on my birthday under the Delicate Arch in Utah. With candles, champagne, rose petals, a full moon, and a hand-carved wooden ring, who knew he was such a romantic?
We (let’s be realistic … I) dove head first into planning and decided on a modest budget, a date not too far in the future, and a location close to home. Early on, a friend told us, “You won’t remember how your wedding looks, you’ll remember how it feels.” We took that advice to heart, and since neither one of us comes from families with a lot of tradition, religion, or strong opinions, we had the freedom to do anything.
We dreamed up a casual camp-like atmosphere at Moose Creek Ranch with food trucks, beer-filled canoes, picnic blankets, and yard games. As the sun set and the full moon began to rise in the eastern sky, we ushered everyone to a spiral of straw bales lit by tiny lights near a pond. Two talented friends played an acoustic version of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” as our four sets of parents and BJ spiraled in toward the arbor. Then, Axl Rose’s voice faded in, and I walked by our dancing guests with a sister on each arm. My dad officiated a simple, heartfelt ceremony, and we meandered to the barn to dance to a Johnny Cash cover band and feast on cupcakes from yet another food truck. As the band wrapped up their final song, our guests lit sparklers, and we danced in a circle under the stars.
Putting on our wedding took a village, and we couldn’t have pulled it off without the endless helping hands of friends and family members. As my mom spent the summer turning her 1970s orange wedding dress into something I would wear, BJ’s mom ran around to every garage sale in the valley gathering decorations. A handful of craft nights ensued, and during the week of our nuptials, a community gathered to help us set up the entire ranch and to just be by our sides. We wouldn’t have changed a thing, and anytime someone asks, all I can say is, “We had a blast!”
Wedding Date: 6 September 2014
Ceremony & Reception Location: Moose Creek Ranch
Officiant: Richard Ridenour (Lisa’s father)
Photographer: Tim Bradshaw (friend)
Florist: Friend arranged sunflowers that we grew in our garden over the summer
Entertainment: The Cold Hard Cash Show (Montana)
Caterer: Thaidaho and Teton Pizza Wagon
Dessert: Sissy’s Sweet Shop
Rental Service: Teton Rental