Little Hidden Gems of Montana…

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Photo by Lindsey Mulcare Photography. Yellowstone Under Canvas, West Yellowstone

Ok, y’all. It’s time to get serious about tourism. Tourism season in Montana is just about to come into full bloom, and the streets and sidewalks will be lined with people here visiting for all of the same reasons we escape our home haven – to enjoy the surroundings of a new and beautiful location.

Many people can argue that there isn’t a place more beautiful than Montana. I’m one of those that whole heartedly agrees that this is the most beautiful places to live and play. I mean, why else would Bozeman be the fastest growing town in the state (if not the nation).


Which is why people flock to visit, and they also flock to get married here. Which leads to many, many people visiting for a long weekend around their loved ones’ wedding day. Just this morning, I was at a VERY local restaurant and pottery shop – The Coffee Pot – with my kids. We were sitting next to a family, all of whom had charming Southern accents (dead tourist giveaway) and they were chattering about their two free days before the wedding, and what were they going to do?

**Ok, ok, insert the fact that I was eavesdropping. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE giving tourist advice. It’s my fav

I leaned over, noticed the Auburn sweatshirt, gave them a hearty WAR EAGLE! (because, War Eagle) and asked if I could give them some suggestions or any recommendations on what to do while they were here. Because, besides loving to do that, they were talking about going to a museum that is over 4 hours away, without knowing exactly how far that was given that they had just driven up here from Salt Lake City…a mere 6 hour drive.

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The conversation ended with a warm, “Welcome to Montana! Enjoy Your time!” and well wishes for the bride and groom – who are getting married at Rockin’ TJ Ranch on Sunday – they’re not our client, but we wish the all the best.

All of this long story gave me an blog idea…so here they are, the suggestions that I gave these super friendly and lovely people from Alabama. And if you ever need more, I’d gladly write you up your own customized tourism list.

Breakfast at the Cafe at the Inn on the Gallatin. Ok, I’m breaking out a SUPER local spot right off the bat. You’re welcome. If you’ve never had breakfast at the Cafe at the Inn. Get there…like tomorrow morning. But go before 9am or you’re in for a wait. Also, don’t take a group more that 6 people, ’cause in a space build for about 10 tables of 4, that’s just greedy. And if you want a cinnamon roll – order it as your sitting down. Those babies go FAST.

Headwaters State Park. Super fun and known spot for the locals. But how cool is it to see the beginning of the second largest river in the US? To know that the water that starts in Montana, will travel all the way to the Gulf of Mexico? I don’t know, I think it’s cool. But it’s such a great spot for a family picnic, to gather some local history and be outside for a flat and not strenuous walk.

Buffalo Jump State Park. Again, a chance to get outside. The signs may be a bit outdated, but who cares? You can pair it with the Headwaters State Park. It makes for a great local history day, and a day outside where you don’t need to worry about how the elevation climb will affect you. About 45 minutes from Bozeman, this little gem is certainly off the beaten path.

Dinner at Willow Creek Cafe. Ribs. That’s all I have to say. Oh, and Russian Cremés. Ok, that’s it. But again, go early. Have an amazing dinner with the locals in the tiny, tiny town of Willow Creek. And don’t be deterred by the drive. You’re not going to die out in the wilderness.

Downtown BozemanNot off the beaten path? Well of course not – Main St. is a US Highway! But man. There are few places I love walking around more than I love walking up and down Main Street in Bozeman. I have lived here for 15 years, and I always find something new. Some store or restaurant that I still haven’t been in, and the treasures and people and store owners are my absolute favorite. I mean, Lisa over at HeyDay can attest to how much time I spend in that store.

Hike to the M. Again, not off the beaten path. BUT, there are few places to go with better views of the Gallatin Valley than hiking up to the M. Also, its a great “starter” hike for those that want some exercise but don’t want to drive a long ways. Just make sure you go to the LEFT. Do not go right at the start of the trail. You’re going to seriously regret that.

Tinsley House at the Museum of The Rockies. This was my final recommendation. The Museum of the Rockies is going to be the first thing out of every local’s or hotel front desk person’s mouth. But my favorite part? The homestead. Especially this time of year – it’s so fun to see what they have cooking literally and figuratively around the ol’ homestead. Plus wandering around the Museum is always a good time-waster. And I mean that in the best possible way.

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Photo by Notarius Photography. South Bozeman, Montana

There you have it, a really long blog post to get to the point that I just love giving out Bozeman and Montana tourist information and giving them the right information. Having an intimate knowledge of the surroundings is SO helpful and SO fun. I maybe give out too much information, but it’s better than getting bored, yes?

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, y’all.
Speaking of which, I’ll be at a camp ground near Natural Bridge State Park.

Cheers!

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5 Tips for Thank You Notes

If you head over to our instagram on Tuesdays, you’ll typically see our #tiptuesday – our tip of the week. We try to impart a bit of wisdom on our followers every Tuesday, giving tips, tricks and suggestions for creating personal and successful events.

View More: http://sarajeanne.pass.us/schlender

When thinking about this week’s Tip, I felt like it warranted more information, and since I needed a blog post – here we go!

I am a HUGE stickler on Thank You notes. I’m crazy about it, and the etiquette that goes with them. I believe that Thank You notes are becoming a lost art – you know, that thing where you put a stamp on the envelope and actually use that box outside your house? Mail is an incredible thing. And how fun is it to open up your own mail box and get something that isn’t a political flyer, a request to sell your house or a bill. Thank you notes are something you receive, and send, that gives both people a warm fuzzy feeling.

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So, here are my Top 5+ a bonus Do’s and Dont’s or Tips on Thank You notes for ANY event.

  1. Don’t put off sending your thank you notes. Emily Post says you have a year to send them after your wedding, but with any event – give yourself a two week to a month deadline. Especially if it was any event other than a wedding.  How do you accomplish this? Read on…
  2. Do make a list of gifts as you receive them – as you receive a wedding gift, immediately jot it down on the list. During a birthday party, shower, or other event – have someone take notes as to who and what.
  3. Do put Thank You notes on your shopping list! As you’re purchasing decor, food stuffs, balloons and more – add Thank You notes! Then, you’re not making a separate trip after the party. You can start right away. (Add stamps while you’re at it).
  4. Don’t just, or rather, Do send that email. Send your guests a “Thank you for attending” email or text. But follow up with a hand written Thank you note.
  5. Thank You notes for a wedding? Here’s our biggest tip. You know that list you’re making? Do write thank you notes as you receive gifts. As you receive gifts in the mail or prior to your wedding, write your thank you notes then, and there. Get them ready! Then, as you head out for your honeymoon, pop them in the mail! it saves you time, memory power and more.

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And for the bonus tip.

Don’t forget all of the vendors and individuals that helped you during your event. Event professionals, especially the owners, so, so appreciate a well thought out Thank You note and review. It is such a great feeling to hear from your clients after spending a year or more with you! Sometimes you’ve developed a close relationship, or sometimes it’s been a great working relationship – either way, we appreciate you and hearing from you!

If you need help coming up with a creative Thank You card – ask your wedding planner! We can collaborate with your photographer to create a great image during your engagement shoot. Or, we can collaborate with your invitation designer to make sure Thank You notes get included in the list of print materials needed.

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Cheers!

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A Montana Birthday, Part 2

Did you check out Part 1 of Blake’s 40th Birthday Party? That day was fun. I think my favorite parts were first, the bus pulling up to staff and friends holding up “Blake Faces” as a silly surprise to start the weekend. And second, the custom-picked animal suits for all of the guests. It was so fun running around to tents and leaving them in the tents for the guests to find upon check-in.

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The next morning started with a private yoga class thanks to Shelby Nordhagen. A large group gathered to do yoga under the bright morning sky, inside the tent. Which is the best part about tents…they’re so multipurpose, and can be used throughout the weekend for each need. As the sun poured into the tent, things warmed up and made for an incredible practice.

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After that, while we transformed the tent for the evening, guests went on their own Montana adventures. Some of the group fly fished, some of the group went on a tour through Yellowstone, and some of the group went horseback riding. Everyone came back with their own personal experience of Montana, and wanting more!

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The second dinner was the main event. Blake’s big birthday bash. We worked hard to match his style in the table top decor and the lounge areas. And again, another event of A.MA.ZING costumes!! Guests were asked to come as Burning Man inspired, and it. rocked.

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The evening started out with a tribute video to Blake, which his wife Heather made, and collected over 1.5 hours of content! It was heart warming to see people from all over the country wishing Blake a Happy Birthday in their own special ways. There were some unexpected tributes as well, which was so incredible.

We followed the evening with an amazing dinner, cake and then got partying. Blake had requested a Silent Disco. Which is so fun to watch. In case you’re new to the idea…everyone wears their own headphones, listens to whatever music they want, and they dance around on the dance floor. YES! It was very cool.

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The evening went into the late hours, but what a stellar birthday party! The weekend was not over, and I think the final day, a Montana-style lazy day, was my favorite. Stay tuned for Part 3! Hint: it involved a fork of the river and these bad boys…

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Thanks again, to the amazing group of vendors that helped:
Photography: Lindsay Mulcare Photography
Venue: Bar N Ranch & Yellowstone Under Canvas
Tent: Under Canvas Events
Rentals: Montana Party Rentals
Staging: Centre Staging
Florals: The Flower Hat
Linens: BBJ Linen
Cake: CottonTop Bakery
Yoga: Shelby Nordhagen
Adventure Rentals: Big Boys Toys
Calligraphy: BonTemps Calligraphy

Cheers!
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