Cristine & Josh’s wedding story isn’t just about an outdoor rustic wedding in west Montana. It’s also not just about how to have a stunning wedding while staying within your budget. It’s about two best friends pledging their love for one another in front of all of their loved ones. It’s about friends being there for each other through all of life’s milestones, big and small. Most of all, it’s about the unique magic that happens during a wedding ceremony and the sacred bond that marriage creates.
This outdoor rustic wedding is extra special to me because Cristine and Josh are my real-life friends! I had the honor and pleasure of officiating their wedding ceremony and it’s truly one I’ll never forget. Make sure to read through to the end to learn all about this couple’s summer wedding. As a bonus, you’ll also find pro tips and tricks on how to pull off your own outdoor rustic wedding without completely blowing your budget.
Plus, it quite literally ends with a bang!
An Epic Elopement:
Here at An Epic Elopement, you’ll typically find me planning and coordinating an elopement, micro wedding, or intimate wedding. I work with amazing couples, who are not only madly in love, but also always up for an adventure! That’s certainly what you’ll find in Montana and especially in the famous Glacier National Park. On any given elopement day, you’ll catch my wonderful brides dolled up in their wedding day gown, jewelry, and hiking boots to trek up to some of the highest mountaintops for truly EPIC views for their wedding.
But I can also officiate wedding ceremonies! I’ve been ordained for nearly as long as this company has been around, and it is one of my absolute most favorite things to do!
I get to know my couples so well throughout the planning process, so it makes perfect sense to also officiate the ceremony. I incorporate as many meaningful and personalized details as possible, so that your wedding ceremony script is truly yours.
When Cristine and Josh asked me to officiate their wedding ceremony, I just about jumped for joy because of how excited I was! Here were two of my real-life friends who I got to watch fall in love, and now I was getting the opportunity to marry them!
I felt like I was getting proposed to all over again, and of course, I gave them a huge YES!
Diamond B Ranch:
Cristine and Josh’s outdoor rustic wedding took place at Diamond B Ranch in Kalispell, Montana. The property offers everything you would expect from a classic Montana ranch: a red barn, acres of lush land, and sweeping views that make the perfect backdrop for a wedding ceremony. But there is a twist that both Cristine and I fell in love with: The interior of the barn is completely modern!
The ceiling of the barn has these gorgeous, exposed, black beams and circular chandeliers whose lightbulbs hang down in varying heights. Three of the four walls are a light, cream color with galvanized metal baseboards to still lend a rustic touch to the space. The accent wall is wooden with a large garage door as the main entrance and exit. Finally, the stained cement flooring pulls it all together, creating a cozy environment for you and your guests.
Outdoor Rustic Wedding Ceremony Décor:
Cristine and Josh chose a light wedding color palette that consisted of mauve, coral, light orange, and ivory. The bridesmaids all wore floor-length mauve dresses in mismatched style and the groomsmen wore rust-colored suspenders with mauve bowties.
The wooden arch at the ceremony altar perfectly highlighted the lake and distant mountains in the background. Cristine and Josh adorned the arch with draped white fabric and a garland of greenery.
Outdoor Rustic Wedding Reception Décor:
At the reception, rather than decorating the tables with flowers, Cristine and Josh opted for a botanical theme. Each guest table featured assorted, potted succulents and herbs in terracotta vases. These centered around the wooden table numbers, creating simple yet elegant centerpieces.
Utilizing greenery and other types of plants, like succulents, is a fantastic way to save money while still having beautiful décor. Traditional flowers are quite expensive and can be one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding, so this was a smart move of this couple!
To further the botanical theme, they decided to have cupcakes decorated like succulents and flowers instead of a traditional wedding cake. They ended up being SO cute, not to mention, delicious!
Cristine and Josh also repurposed the greenery garland from the ceremony arch as the centerpiece for their head table. Repurposing décor items like this is my top tip for couples looking to maximize their money. If you have a garland like Cristine and Josh did, or floral sprays on your ceremony arch, it’s an excellent idea to repurpose them at the head or sweetheart table.
Another way to repurpose items it to use your bridal bouquet and bridesmaids’ bouquets as additional table décor! You can have empty vases waiting on each guest table or even on the bar or cake table for the bridesmaids to plop their bouquets into post-ceremony.
A final way to stay within your décor budget is to ask your friends if they have any wedding or event décor that you can borrow! You can even join wedding Facebook groups in your area, where brides sell their leftover wedding items for a discounted price all the time.
Luckily for Cristine and Josh, I happen to have a full décor inventory that I offer free to my clients! They chose to incorporate the wooden table numbers, reserved signs, and Mr. and Mrs. Sign from the inventory, and it didn’t cost them a thing!
The Big Day:
On the day of their outdoor rustic wedding, Cristine and Josh had a first look in one of the open fields on the ranch. Cristine was a VISION in her white satin gown with off-the-shoulder sleeves and matching veil. Josh clearly thought so when he turned around and saw her for the first time. His expression said it all!
When it was time for the ceremony to begin, Josh and his mom led the processional down the aisle. The wedding party, along with the two cutest ring bearers and darling little flower girl, followed before Cristine made her big entrance. At the center of the altar, I was lucky to have a prime spot to witness my dear friend walk down the aisle as a bride. In that moment, I thought through our sweet friendship that led us to this point and I nearly teared up! I can only imagine how Josh felt!
The ceremony was totally ethereal and full of love. Cristine and Josh chose to have a hand fasting unity ceremony, where their hands are wrapped together by a ribbon. This symbolizes that two become one in marriage.
There’s something magical that happens during a wedding ceremony. Time seems to stand still, and an all-encompassing awe falls over everyone present. A sacred bond is solidified in that moment and it’s an absolute privilege to watch it all happen, let alone officiate the ceremony.
When I pronounced Cristine and Josh husband and wife, they shared a kiss that represented the journey they had taken to get to the altar. They made it through every high and low that life threw at them, and now they were officially married!
The Happily Ever After:
After the ceremony, I made sure to have Cristine and Josh sign the marriage license with me before taking photos. Usually at that point, I would run over to the reception space to ensure everything is all set there, but at this wedding, I was also a guest! It was time for me to take off my officiant and planner hats and put on my fun, party one!
My husband, Joe, and I had SO much fun at the reception. We loved watching the newlyweds’ grand entrance, first dance, and parent dances. We very much enjoyed the BBQ they served for dinner, but our favorite part was the party! We danced the night away to celebrate our dear friends, and I soaked up every minute of it! It’s not often I get to be on the dance floor at a wedding!
At the end of the night, we all sent Cristine and Josh into their future with a bubble exit and a BANG! Fireworks lit up the night sky in a private show just for us. It was a surprise for the guests and the perfect way to end a perfect day!
And they lived happily ever after!
Venue // Diamond B Ranch
Officiant // An Epic Elopement
Photographer // Thewmatt Photography
Rentals // Celebrate Event & Party Rentals
Caterer // Porteus BBQ
Cupcakes // Sugar Happy Cupcakes
Floral // Rose Mountain Floral
Wedding Dress // David's Bridal
Suit Rentals // The Black Tux
Need an Officiant for your Outdoor Rustic Wedding?
Based in Kalispell, Montana, An Epic Elopement specializes in all-inclusive elopements, micro-weddings, and intimate weddings. Here, you get the full experience of having a traditional wedding, but with a little more adventure included!
Are you ready to start your elopement journey? Send me a note describing your elopement vision and let’s make it happen!