The Long and Short of It

Mary Susan & Hunter
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Hunter and I met in 2017 at my former restaurant, Cashio’s Meatball Market, in Birmingham, Alabama. Hunter would come in, sit at the bar, and hang out. Sometimes he would round up a group to join him, and other times he would just come alone. I thought nothing of it at the time, as we were both in other relationships. But looking back, I realize that there was just a natural, unforced chemistry between the two of us. 

Our relationships ran their course, and we both found ourselves single again in 2019. Then, one night in October, Hunter reached out to see what I was up to. From that point on, we were enamored with one another. 

Spending time together came easily, as we shared many friends and were usually both invited to the same parties. We tried to keep our budding relationship under wraps for the first few months to see if it would work out. But, we weren’t as sneaky as we thought, and in a matter of weeks, everyone started putting the pieces together. 

The 2020 pandemic really accelerated our bond. We spent time together exclusively and found ways to entertain ourselves. We connected while cooking in our small COVID friend group, taking mini road trips down to my father’s farm, and watching University of Alabama football games on television. (Roll tide!)

Hunter proposed on June 12, 2022, at our home on the “catio” (which is just a made up name for our patio that is loved by our cats). Hunter caught me completely off guard, which is truly impressive because I don’t like being surprised, and I usually sniff those things out. We had attended our best friends’ engagement party the night before, only adding to my state of oblivion about what the day would hold. It was their weekend of celebrations after all, not mine!  (Or so I thought.) 

We spent the day like we would most other Sundays: invited a few friends over to enjoy the pool, and planned to attend a hibachi dinner at Hunter’s sister’s house. Right after rushing me out the door to go to his sister’s, Hunter told me I had to go see how cute the cats were on the porch. He, then, walked me out to a patio covered in rose petals, sat me down on the couch, and pulled a ring from behind one of the pillows before getting on one knee. We popped the bottle of champagne he had stashed, while our good friend and photographer, Abby Sugden, shot photos from across the park. 

We had a whirlwind three-and-a-half-month engagement, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way! 

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The decision to get married in Idaho was actually all Hunter’s. When we started talking about our engagement, he kept coming back to our 2021 trip to Driggs, Idaho, where my parents are building a house. Hunter thought it would be special to visit our wedding location for years to come, and hopefully, one day, with children.

My parents’ architect and interior designer put us in touch with Alison Kyle, our wedding coordinator. Alison helped us assemble an A-Team of vendors. I can confidently say, without Alison, our wedding would have been a chaotic mess! 

Our welcome party was held at the West Side Yard in Victor, the perfect spot for a casual affair. We themed the party “cowboy casual” to set the tone for the weekend, and hired a local band, Tram Jam, to ensure the festivities got off on the right foot. 

Our ceremony at Teton Springs was nestled among the ponds and Aspen trees, complete with a babbling brook in the background. A short-lived rain scare during the ceremony quickly dissipated, and the sun burst through the clouds and onto us. It was a surreal feeling that we interpreted as love from our heavenly family members up above.

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We chose Hunter’s older brother, Colton, as our officiant. He did such a beautiful job personalizing the ceremony; we couldn’t be happier with our decision. Following the ceremony, we hosted a cocktail hour on the porch of the lodge, complete with signature drinks:

Hers: Jackie’s Spicy Margpuuurita (named after my first cat)
His: Little Man’s Huckleberry Mule (named after our other cat)

Monica, of JH Floral Boutique, quickly became one of our MVPs. She took every single inspo picture and idea I haphazardly tried to explain and ran with it. She mixed my mother’s idea of traditional white and green colors with my love of jewel tones, and brought both of our visions to life. Because—let’s be honest—if the mother of the bride is happy, everyone else is too! The end result was an eloquent, yet whimsical, mix of perfection. My mother and Monica actually surprised me with a hanging floral ceiling above the dance floor (which I thought had been axed in planning). I wanted to sleep under it, instead of in the honeymoon suite, because it deserved more than four hours of life.

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Kelli, head of catering at the Bronze Buffalo Ranch, served the most delicious family-style meal at the reception, consisting of bison, salmon, and a seasonal salad. It was truly a top-notch dining experience, from start to finish. And Jayme Chrisman, our photographer,  captured our whole day beautifully. The weather was on our side, but her artful eye turned moments from our day into memories. 

To bring it all home, Whiskey Mornin’, a Jackson-based band, played at our reception. We were thrilled to learn that they were available on such short notice because their sound and overall aesthetic were exactly what we were looking for. The band’s unique, high-energy playlist kept everyone on the dance floor.

We made our getaway in an old blue pickup truck with tin cans tied to the back. I did a quick outfit change, and then we joined the afterparty at the Bronze Buffalo Ranch. 

Having our friends and family join us on such short notice for our special celebration is something we will forever cherish. It still, honestly, feels like a dream that we pulled it off in only three and a half months, and, in our eyes, it was executed perfectly. We can’t wait to come back and visit this beautiful and special place in the years to come. 

Advice for Couples

Try not to obsess over every tiny detail. My father kept telling me, “You will be no less married if your florals, or cake, or whatever, isn’t straight off of a Pinterest board.” As annoying as that advice was on repeat, it also helped me gain perspective on what a wedding day is really about.

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Wedding Date: September 22, 2022

Ceremony and Reception Location: Bronze Buffalo Ranch Teton Springs Officiant: Colton Houston Photographer: Jamye Chrisman Hair and Makeup: Molly Cummings, of Wildflower Salon in Mountain Brook, Alabama (bride’s hair), Tanya Crocker (bridesmaids’ hair and makeup) Florist: JH Flower Boutique Music: Whiskey Mornin’ Consultant: Alison Kyle of Destination Jackson Hole  Caterer: Bronze Buffalo Ranch Teton Springs Dessert Chef: Foxy Cakes Rental Service: Canvas Unlimited Stationary Design: Jan Pruitt

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