Planning Your Jackson Hole Destination Wedding

Valentine’s Day is now behind us and it may seem like everyone you know just got engaged. That may be partially true. While the stats may vary, most agree that somewhere around 40% of all engagements occur between December and Valentine’s Day. If you were lucky to be included as one of the engagements, now is the time to start planning.

At Hotel Terra, we love working with brides to plan their perfect destination wedding. We are also privileged to work with the very talented wedding and event planners in Jackson Hole. We talked to Lindsey Nickel from Lovely Day Events and Virginia Symons from Vibrant Events to get some of their insider tips and suggestions for planning your perfect Jackson Hole destination wedding.

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What is something uniquely Jackson Hole you have seen at a wedding?

LN: Every wedding really finds its own style and way of including unique Jackson Hole aspects. Using local items is the most common way to include unique Jackson Hole in a wedding. Some past things: Having views of the Tetons, or if you venue doesn’t have Teton Views then doing a first look and going around Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park to take photos at iconic locations. Including a local item such individual chocolates as party favors. Of course all the activities that Jackson Hole offers from rafting, to hiking to drinks on the roof of Dornan’s are always popular for highlighting how unique Jackson Hole is.

VS: There are about a million things that are uniquely Jackson Hole and almost every couple incorporates something. One thing that I see a lot of are table names of local places that mean a lot to the couple (i.e. Grand Prismatic, Teewinot, Granite Canyon) instead of table numbers. Logistically it’s a little tougher to set up and usually involves having a floor map available to guests but it’s a fun personal touch.

I also really encourage couples to support local businesses when stuffing guest welcome bags, as it’s a nice local touch.

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What should a bride know before they choose Jackson Hole?
VS: There are pros and cons to having a Jackson Hole wedding. Personally, I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. We have limited vendors in the area, especially when it comes to rental items, which means that you need to book EARLY. And that means that you either have to be on your planning game or be working with a local planner who can take care of deadlines for you.

However, there’s INCREDIBLE talent in the valley – from photographers to videographers to stylists to florists to event designers, Jackson Hole has it all and you won’t have to outsource. I also really encourage brides to think outside of the cliché western box – Jackson Hole can do burlap, sunflowers and buck rail fences really beautifully. There’s also a contemporary side to the valley and a plethora of vendors who can help you make the most of what the valley has to offer in order to create a wedding that is absolutely unique and stunningly beautiful.

LN: Two things. 1) It can snow or rain any day of the year. Many brides call each year thinking that May and early June are summer weather, since it typically is in the rest of the country. Jackson Hole is a mountain town, and part of the magic is the big open skies can turn to storm clouds in a blink of an eye. 2) Your guests will enjoy the wedding as a vacation. Be sure to send the save the dates out as early as possible and provide resources ahead of time for them to explore all that Jackson Hole has to offer.

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What is your favorite part about planning weddings in Jackson Hole?
LN: Seeing the couple radiating happiness all day. Being a part of one of the most important days in a couple’s life is pretty amazing and never gets old or boring.

VS: While I get to live here, most of the brides I work with either haven’t ever been to Jackson, or have only visited a few times. The awe that I’m able to create for both clients and their guests never gets old. Whether we’re working with a venue that has a backdrop with Teton views or not, our valley is just stunning. It just doesn’t get old. You can set any style against the venue of the valley itself and create something lovely.

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If you could give just one tip on where to start planning a Jackson Hole wedding what would it be?
VS: Be honest with yourself and your vendors from the very beginning when it comes to your budget. Planning a Jackson Hole wedding adds up pretty quickly, especially if you’re from out of town and you need to include a couple of planning trips in your budget. If you know exactly what you have to work with from the very beginning, you can select vendors who will help you make the very most of what you have to spend, hopefully without the *gulp* factor of all those little add-on expenses as you close in on your wedding date.

LN: For any couple anywhere here is my tip: The planner in me wants to say, first before anything figure out what your budget is. This will affect all aspects of your planning. The person in me that wants couples to just be happy says: Be true to what the two of you want, when making decisions pick things that feel very “you.”

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All images courtesy of Carrie Patterson Photography

Lindsey+Nickel Lindsey Nickel is the founder or Lovely Day Events, a boutique wedding planning company serving Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The company provides services for weddings of all sizes and styles, and specializes in Essential Coordination/”Day Of” and Partial Planning. Enjoy your wedding day and have fun while your wedding planner executes a memorable celebration.

VPS headshot 2015 Virginia Symons is the owner of Vibrant Events, Jackson Hole’s boutique event planning company creatively focused on YOUR unique vision. John Lennon said that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. The Vibrant team will make sure that your planning experience is stress free, so that you can focus on you, while they bring your vision to life. Vibrant Events is committed to making sure that your experience is not only the very best that our beautiful valley has to offer, but that your event fits you perfectly and is the memory of a lifetime.