Cara and Chris came from Chicago with 75 friends and family to touch down in the Big Horn Mountains, just outside of Buffalo, WY for their rustic destination wedding. Paradise Ranch was a perfectly personal selection for their big day, Cara explained. “Paradise Guest Ranch was the perfect spot for our wedding. It has always been a special place for me. My family vacationed at the ranch multiple times when I was a kid, and later my sister and I both worked there summers during college. It’s a place I’ve spent a lot of time and have really grown to love, but it’s a place I’ve never been able to share with most of my friends in my life back in the Midwest.”
“We’ve both always thought that we have about the best, most supportive family and friends anyone could hope for, and so it was important to us to make our guests feel as special as they have always made us feel.” They did that by planning personal details and gifts throughout the weekend. Welcome bags included theme-appropriate goodies like candy cowboy cigarettes, mustache shaped mints, cowgirl pinup coasters, beer koozies with the Wyoming bucking bronco, and of course the essential snacks and drinks. A family recipe was used for cookies that the bride baked, something her grandma had taught her. She also made packages of homemade Chex mix, using the recipe that Chris’s grandma used to make for his family in Wisconsin. “My mom and Chris helped me make over 700 cookies one weekend, and I made about 8 batches of Chex mix in every pan, roaster, and pot I own!”
The palette for the wedding was a cheerful one of yellows, pink and blues (with lots of candlelight too)!
We love the short dresses!
Since the event was a destination wedding, all were included in the rehearsal dinner, which was an major event in itself! Held as a BBQ style picnic on the hillside overlooking the ranch, guests were treated with gifts of custom Christmas ornaments made by a local metal smith. A circle of copper with the year and signature bucking bronco would forever remind guests of this special time. “I love giving gifts to people, so it was fun to have a gift for everyone at the rehearsal dinner in addition to the gifts we gave our families and friends in the wedding party.”
Then, for the ceremony, the couple tied the knot in the beautiful high beam chapel on property.
A little rain never stopped these newlyweds as they rode off in a carriage outfitted with a “just married” sign.
Of course, what’s a ranch wedding without a few fun photo ops out in the field? Alissa Ferullo captured every intimate moment. “Alissa did an AMAZING job as our photographer! Neither of us are terribly comfortable or natural in front of a camera, and she put us at ease and made us feel comfortable. And she captured some gorgeous images of our day, despite some very challenging weather and lighting conditions.”
For another personal touch, in lieu of table numbers, the couple used table letters – each representing the name of a family member. Then signs and old family photos explained who each letter represented, along with fun facts and personality traits of the family member for fun. Such a great idea!
At the reception, it was all about candles! The bride and her family personally collected hundreds of mason jars for the big event. Filled with candles, the jars served as the focal point of the décor, sitting atop table runners and scattered in windowsills everywhere.
The wedding meal was served up cowboy style – with steak, crab cakes, garlic mashed potatoes, squash, even lasagna, and more! “So many guests have told me it’s not only the best wedding meal they’ve ever had, but simply one of the best meals they’ve had. Kudos to Chef Brian Christensen!”
After dinner, a little rainfall and sparkle was on the agenda! Then it was back to the honeymoon cabin for the newlyweds!
Congratulations Cara and Chris!
Destination Wedding Photographer: Alissa Ferullo Photography
Wedding Vendors: Wedding Location: Paradise Ranch, Gown Designer: Caroline Devillo, Florist: Desava Gardens, DJ: Brad Loftin, Hair Salon: Curl Up and Dye, Photobooth: Party Booths, Invitations: Cards of Wood, Sparklers: Sparkle, Beer Koozies: Kustom Koozies