The Ultimate Set-Up
Emily & Taylor
Words by Emily Catt + Photography by Annalisa Joy
Flashback to the late ’70s.
My dad, an avid skier, left his small, northern Michigan town and traveled out West in search of adventure, eventually landing in Jackson Hole. After a stint spent skiing during the day and waiting tables by night, he left Jackson to attend veterinary school (where he later met my mom). Still, he vowed to someday return to the quaint mountain town that stole his heart.
After graduating, my parents planted roots in San Diego, where I grew up, but we frequented the Tetons on family vacations. Eventually—after my brother and I went away to college—my parents bought a home in Jackson.
My journey with Taylor began in March of 2014 in San Diego. He was set up with one of my girlfriends on a blind group date, and I tagged along to play wing-woman for my friend. Taylor and I made casual conversation throughout the night, learning that we attended the same university, although our paths never crossed. Later, Taylor told his parents he had met someone special on his night out … yet, it was not the girl he was set up with. A few weeks went by before Taylor finally got the nerve to ask me to lunch. From that moment on, we were inseparable.
Similar to my parents, Taylor and I both have a love of adventure. So, a few months into dating, I accompanied Taylor on his first (of many) trips to Jackson. Together, we explored the area and developed a fondness for the beauty and serenity that Jackson Hole has to offer. Thus, began our many years of adventuring together.
On December 21, 2019, Taylor proposed. We planned a dinner date, and, as usual, I was running late. With wet hair, no makeup on, and frantic that I would cause us to miss our dinner reservation, I came running into his house to let him know I had arrived. As I opened the door, my jaw dropped—rose petals decorated the floor in the shape of a heart and more than 500 8-inch by 10-inch photos hung from the ceiling and scattered the floor documenting our adventures together. Taylor’s proposal was a walk down memory lane—reliving all our journeys together, with the promise of more to come.
After five and a half years of dating, I was more than ready to start planning our wedding. We both wanted a destination wedding with an intimate celebration and Jackson seemed like the perfect place. In January 2020, we chose our venue, our wedding coordinator, and many of our vendors. I was simply reveling in wedding preparation!
Then, the news and fear of a global pandemic set in.
As the months passed and COVID-19 cases began to escalate, our anxiety started to build. We knew that hosting a wedding in Jackson was less risky than one held in a densely-populated area, but we still needed to be mindful of the health and safety of our guests. Wedding planning during normal times is stressful enough, and there we were trying to navigate the uncharted territory that comes with a pandemic. Throughout the process, our vendors maintained transparent lines of communication. Protocol seemed to change every week, so our motto became “flexibility.”
It’s so easy to get swept away by planning the décor, food, and ambiance of a wedding. Yet, the uncertainty of the pandemic forced us to shift our mindset to the essence of our wedding, rather than getting caught up in the minutiae.
And, it worked.
Our event was nothing short of magical! We didn’t have a bridal party or groomsmen, so we were able to focus on ourselves. Our “first look” took place at The Wedding Tree—where Taylor was strategically staged, and I was able to walk up behind him with breathtaking views in the background. Then, we caravanned to Diamond Cross Ranch for the ceremony and reception.
Taylor and I are not much for tradition and wanted our wedding to be fun. We rented a mechanical bull, played cornhole games, and danced the night away. My highlight was taking pictures with the ranch’s horses in the pasture at sunset, with the Tetons as our backdrop. I grew up with horses, so this act incorporated my passion into our special day. Overall, we could not have imagined a more magnificent wedding celebration, complete with 46 of our closest family and friends. We love that they were able to experience what we consider our little piece of paradise.
Don’t Skip the First Look
Our photographer convinced us to do a “first look,” and we don’t regret it. We were able to sneak in a lot more photos that way, too. Taylor cried when he first saw me at The Wedding Tree, and then again when I walked down the aisle. Having a first look didn’t dampen the emotions of the day in the least.
August 10, 2020
Diamond Cross Ranch
Diamond Cross Ranch
Tracy Turner (groom’s father)
Hair and Makeup
Musician and DJ
A & B Productions
Special Events Jackson Hole
Jackson Cake Co.
A Black Car Service