A ceremony as personalized as you are. Five ideas for a unity ceremony.

Personalizing an event can be the struggle of almost everyone – including your planner. There are so many places to draw inspiration from, and though it’s great to have avenues in which to spark imagination, it seems that as soon as you think of something, someone else has done it.

I feel this way ALL. OF. THE. TIME. I come up with an idea and immediately find something like it already done. However, personalization is so important to making your guests feel like they’re truly in your presence. It gives them (and you) a focal point during your event or wedding to really celebrate you. And we don’t mean slapping your name or face on every sign, table decoration or piece of paper you can find. Those are well placed at times, but also do nothing to help YOU feel like you’re in the moment as well.

Which leads me to another point – personalization of your event is also FOR YOU. Especially during your ceremony. Adding readings, special songs, and words of personality into your script intensifies the act of wedd-ing; getting married. So, here is our list of 5 of the most interesting unity ceremonies we’ve seen during weddings:

View More: http://captivatedphotographyco.pass.us/stonecipher-meldahl-weddingPhoto by: Haagenson Photography

  1. One of the most intensely loving pieces of a ceremony we’ve seen is Brittney and AJ’s Foot Washing during their ceremony. At first, it might not seem like you’d want to take your shoes off in front of your family. But trust us, a well placed rug, warm (or cooling) water, and a fluffy wash cloth will make it totally worth it, just the act of having someone wash your feet for you (be at service to you) is deeply meaningful.

    Photo by Lauren Brown Photography

  2.  Kristen & Seth passed their rings around in a tiny box for a Ring Blessing with their family and bridal party. Friends and family gave their best wishes for the couple on the rings, followed by Ring Vows. It added significance and personal engagement for the guests there. Very soon, we’ll do the same with another couple, with the rings tied on a string, passed to many of the guests. Peace and love are passed to the happy couple during this ceremony.

    2109_2015_06_06_WED_GlowackiPhoto by Lauren Brown Photography

  3. Combining families and roots are literally planted together during a Tree Planting Ceremony. Anna and Tom brought a tree that they will plant at their home and combined it with dirt from Tom’s home state/childhood home and Anna’s Home state/childhood home. Therefore signifying bringing the two families together and providing the “roots.”


  4. On the lighter side, but still super fun and unique are the various “Unity Shots” that we’ve incorporated. Anna & Pete have deep skiing roots – both are on the Ski Patrol here in Montana, so their Unity Ceremony was an infamous Shot Ski. It was fantastically funny, but also made a ton of sense to their guests (lots of Ski Patrol peeps), and was significant to them as a couple. Hayley and Weston did a Unity Drink, where they combined two of their favorite beers into one glass. A funny take on the “Unity Sand.”

    View More: http://simplereflectionsphoto.pass.us/kurtandmelanie
    Photo by: Simple Reflections Photography

  5. Hand-Fasting or a Rope Braiding is the bonding together of two lives. Through very old roots, the hand fasting or rope braiding ceremony is another version of uniting the two sides of the couple together in one binding love. Used with ropes or ribbons that match the theme, or with tradition colors of gold, whites and purple, the hand-fasting is performed with our without the Bridal Party to complete the long lasting relationship circle of the couple.

The significance of each of these pieces is developed by the officiant, pastor, or whomever is performing the ceremony, but is ultimately a representation of the couple and what their love means to each other.






Littles and the Event/Wedding Scene

As we finalize our client’s wedding plans for the summer, and their RSVP numbers come in, we find ourselves with the very real issue of kids. Particularly, what to do with them at weddings (or any event really).lakotah+william-443

As I got ready to think about this week’s advice to my clients, I realized that the simple act of inviting kids to an event opens up a whole host of details that, if taken care of, will make everyone’s experience that much more pleasant.

So, let’s take this Step-by-Step.

Step 1: 
No, you can’t simply put “no kids, please” on the invitation. Don’t even ask. You can’t do it. ESPECIALLY if you then turn around and say, “Well, except for my sister’s kids, cause they’re in the wedding.” So, how do we deal with that?
  Option 1: Go back to good ol’ fashion envelope etiquette – address the            envelope correctly, and don’t list the whole family on the invitation and that should be a clue to parents to at least ask.
Option 2: Plan on alternative activity for the kids during your wedding. See below on hiring a babysitter, or at least having options available. Especially for traveling families.

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Step 2:
So, you want to invite kids. We highly recommend that you ask in advance on your RSVP card – remember, the RSVP is YOUR gathering info space. It’s your space to get as much information upfront about who is attending your wedding to give your guests the best possible experience. Here’s what to ask:
       # Attending – that way you know if the kids are coming.
How many kids and what are their ages?
Do your kids need a Kid Friendly meal? This is especially important if you’re doing               a plated dinner.


Step 3:
Figure out what information your caterer needs to make the right food. Ask her what the age breakdown is for per-head pricing? Does she plan something for kids or is that something you need to add on? (it most likely is) Usually, kids are half price or free depending on the age, so make sure you ask.

Then, figure out what you’re going to do for seating. Kids can be tricky – do they sit at the kids table? Do they need a high chair? Can you rent high chairs or boosters? Here’s our key for seating:
Under 3.5: Need to sit with their parents – Should have a high chair or lap.
5 – 14: Can sit at a kid’s table. For younger kids, kids table should be within                           eye shot of parents, but older kids can be trusted to sit at the table.
15+: These kids want to be considered adults. They really don’t want to be at                        the “kids” table, unless it’s with relations, cousins or good friends. Consider a                        table with their parents, or other adults, but one other kid their age.


Step 4:
Be prepared. Here is our check-list for things to consider and get when you’re putting together your day-of details. I have always found that planning ahead for kids will do WONDERS for your relationship with the parents….whether friends, relations, in-laws, etc. Take care of the kids, parents will have an amazing time, and it will be a GREAT party!

  • Research babysitters – having a special space for a babysitters to watch kids at the wedding is great, or look for an off-site space like a rental house where relations can drop their kids and feel comfortable. We recommend 406 Nannies and Dino Drop-In, both do on-site and sometimes off-site babysitting, for here in Bozeman.
  • Plan seating accordingly – ask your planner how/where to get high chairs, etc.
  • Have a kids table – add one more table to your layout, cover it with newspaper or kraft paper so you don’t have to add another linen, and no worries! Then, go out and get goodies for the table! You can find the holy grail of kids table supplies on Pinterest, but DON’T do: Playdoh, stickers, glitter, paint, facepaint!
  • Feed kids first: Have a kid friendly dish at your buffet; offer a kids dish at your plated dinner; give them cake first. Trust me, it’s cheaper and better!
  • Offer kid-friendly drinks: don’t just have sodas. Have some juice boxes, fruit juice and water.
  • Along with the babysitter, consider a breast-feeding space for newer moms. They’re most likely at their first wedding with their kiddo.
  • Buy activity packs for the ceremony! Especially if you’re having a LONG ceremony – head to the $1 section at Michael’s and pick up TV Show Themed activity packs. They’re $1 and they’re worth all the time in the world.
  • Let kids dance! Let the 6+ request songs with your DJ. It’s amazing how kids really brighten up the dance floor. But make sure that if you don’t want the Chicken Dance, that you tell your DJ that that’s off limits no matter how cute the face that requests it is.

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Remember: Happy Kids, Happy Momma and if there’s a Happy Momma, the party will rock.





Little Hidden Gems of Montana…

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.


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.

Quin & Chelsea Williams {August 28th, 2015}-0050.jpg
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.