Montana Mountain Ranch Wedding

montana ranch wedding bride and groom

Maria & James

All the details of this Montana Ranch wedding were stunning! James and Maria are a beautiful couple who planned with the most sentimental details for their big day.

From Maria:

“On June 25th, 2022 I married the love of my life on the ranch I had the privilege of growing up on. James and I started dating in high school, we spent many hours getting to know each other on the very ranch we’d promised eternity to each other on. I remember all the brandings, hunting trips, horseback rides, and walks we took together on this very land that we only imagined we’d get married on someday. There was lots to do as we prepared for the big day… As you can imagine, land that raises cattle and quarter horses has some work to be done before it is wedding ready. Both of our families took the task upon themselves to get fences and gates fixed, the grass mowed, and of course, all the cow manure picked up. After days of work, James and I’s vision of our wedding on the ranch finally came to life. The night before our wedding it was windy, the tents were blowing and all of James’s groomsmen were holding the massive poles down in hopes we could keep them down and intact before the big event the following day. As most people know, Montana weather is unpredictable and I prayed every night that the weather would come together by the wedding. On the day of the wedding, it wasn’t quite time to relax just yet. James’s sister officiated us, my father-in-law was in charge of having electricity hooked up to the ceremony and the reception, and my family was the caterer. My family has always bonded over cooking together and at the time I thought it would be so special having them cook the meal everyone would enjoy after the ceremony. Little did I know just how much work it was to cater a 180-person wedding. Not to mention all of the flowers and decorations were completed by my mom, my mother-in-law, myself, and my bridesmaids. As James and I finished our vows, and we finally became one, I hold onto the clearest memory from the entire day. We were walking down the aisle, hand in hand, the wind from the following day had finally stopped, and it was 65 and gorgeous. Imagine an open meadow, all of your loved ones in one place, the beautiful Mocassin mountains with a stunning sunset as their backdrop all beside your best friend whom you’ve finally married. The rest of the celebration I felt an immense sense of relief for two reasons. First, I got to marry my high school sweetheart in the most beautiful location, and second, we had finally achieved all of our dreams of having our outdoor wedding on my family’s ranch nestled in Central Montana. Kate captured the entire wedding so effortlessly. Despite the many obstacles that we faced that day, she held her composure while also helping keep me composed. I would hire her over and over again to capture the most special day of our lives.”

Kates’s Story: I woke up to a sunny but breezy June morning. Knowing how unpredictable Montana weather can be I started packing several different coats for what may lay ahead. To my relief, by noon the sun was shining and the sky was filled with beautiful puffy clouds. James and Maria were going to have a perfect June day for their wedding! 

The day I met Maria and James for the first time was a little different. We met at the local coffee shop, visited till closing, and moved outdoors to a little table on the sidewalk. Suddenly, a small burst of rain cut our meeting short and sent us running to our vehicles for cover. My last vision of Maria and James that evening was of them running down the street holding hands and laughing. That is what love looks like even when life hands you a few showers now and then.

Maria and James met in the 7th grade through some mutual friends but did not get to know each other until they reconnected again in High school. There was definitely a strong attraction but circumstances led to them cultivating a friendship for several years before they finally admitted that there was something much stronger between them. 

They only dated a short while before they went off to separate colleges and maintained a long-distance relationship for four years. Many miles on their vehicles, and years of getting to know each other and falling in love led them to this day.

Maria and James chose a location on Maria’s family ranch (The Bear Paw Ranch) with some of the most spectacular views overlooking Lewistown as well as three mountain ranges. It was a breathtaking spot and perfect for the couple to start their life together.

The love between them was palpable. History has a way of bonding two people and Maria and James were no exception! Maria and James’s vows were officiated by James’s sister Katy. There wasn’t a dry eye amongst the guests as she read both Maria and James’s answers about what marriage means to them as well as their own handwritten vows.

Part of the beauty of their wedding was all the sentimental touches. When it came time to get in her dress Maria wore the pearls that her grandfather gave to her grandmother on their 10th wedding anniversary.

With a heart for DIY and exceptional taste for beautiful things, Maria and her family took on the job of caterer, cake maker, flowers, and decorations. Maria’s mom Kelly and her family served hamburgers and some of the most exceptional french fries I’ve ever had. For dessert was an ice cream bar and a decadent cheesecake made by Maria’s brother Landon. Maria and her mom also made the flowers themselves. It just shows all the love and care that a family has for seeing that the couple feels special on their day!

Although we started off with some uncertain weather, it transformed into one of the most gorgeous days that a couple could ask for. The evening followed with a first dance at sunset followed by pictures overlooking the mountains in the distance. At the end of the evening, everyone celebrated with fireworks and dancing.

Venue | Bear Paw Ranch

Flowers |  Maria and Kelly Henderson (mother of the bride)

Dress | Kate Gubanyi

Bridesmaids Dresses | David’s Bridal

Hair | Madison Rodgers + Bailey Collins

Makeup | Hair | Cece Derheim (sister of the groom)

DJ | Steve Knox / Black Sheep Productions

Meal | Kelly Henderson and Family

Cake | Landon Henderson (brother of the bride)

Bar | The Copper Pony + Don Danell

Second Shooter | Sierra Durbin

Love this ranch wedding? To see more, visit Hope & Ryan: Camelot Ranch Wedding, Billings Montana

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