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A Spring Easter Egg–Inspired Wedding at Moonlight Basin in the Mountains of Big Sky, Montana

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Elizabeth Lanier Photography

|Planning by 

Mariee Ami

Kate’s annual girls’ New Year’s trip eventually evolved into a yearly ski vacation with her girlfriends, one of their brothers, and his engineering buddies. For four years, Kate heard all of the tall tales about one of the missing members, Brian. According to the lore, she shares, “He was a great engineer, a great skier, and a breaker of hearts at winter’s approach.”

Finally one year, Brian joined the ski trip crew, and Kate met the urban legend for herself. She was instantly enamored, and so was he. They wanted to sit together for every meal and talk the day away. They soon began dating for the next 15 months. On a cold, rainy November Saturday, with a promise of unending love and their dog, Augie, in tow, Brian proposed to Kate. She said, “Yes!”

The couple soon decided on where they would marry, and it unsurprisingly centered around their mutual love for skiing. Kate grew up visiting Big Sky with her family, and Brian was once a weekend ski instructor. A mountainous terrain was practically a prerequisite for any venue, and the Moonlight Basins view is insurmountably beautiful. Combined with the green grass in the summertime, Brian and Kate knew this is where they would say, “I do.”

Kate’s main design inspiration and color palette derived from an Easter egg. “I wanted colorful details and elevated, dripping florals,” she explains. “Our event planner, Mariee Ami, and our florist, Holly Chapple totally captured that feeling in every element.” Elizabeth Lanier Photography documented the day.

During a Thanksgiving trip to Houston, Kate’s mother suggested Kate and Brian’s mother visit a bridal atelier with her. They went to Casa De Novia, and the second dress was “the one” for the bride-to-be. “It was beautiful but not precious,” she says. “The flowers in the design spoke to the relaxed way the mountains make me feel.” For her jewelry, she consulted her aunt who could not travel for the wedding. Ultimately, she bejeweled herself in pieces from her mother’s and grandmothers’ collections. As for beauty, Kate hoped to look like herself. HMU by Tanya kept her looking naturally beautiful.

On June 11, 2022, Kate walked down the aisle, arm-in-arm with her father. This was an almost transcendent moment for her. “There had been this sprint buildup—though Chelsea and Neillie from Mariee Ami might say marathon—and slow boil of our people arriving and events. Then it was just me and my dad,” she describes. “As the youngest child by far, who thought it would be just her and a bunch of dogs for life, getting to walk down the aisle with my dad was the moment it all hit me—and that the waterfalls went.” Her parents have provided her with so much and have impacted her life so irrevocably. It was incredibly special to share that brief—but momentous—stroll with her father in the whirlwind of her wedding while the String Poets strummed gentle instrumental music.

Kate’s mom, her Aunt Margaret, her Uncle Milton, and Brian wrote the ceremony with Brian’s cousin’s ceremony—which Brian’s mother wrote and his father officiated—as a guide. “I love that all of those people touched our ceremony,” Kate reflects. “Our family friend, Ronnie Snider, who we both look up to in terms of kindness, humor, and zest for work, officiated.” Kate’s very dear friend, John Peretti, gave a reading and an introduction to that reading. She notes and still treasures all he said, adding, “I’m really blown away by John’s writing—he captured us and our journey.”

Chelsea curated all of the table selections for the wedding. “It was such a relief for me that she understood what I liked, and took that—and so many other things—off of me,” Kate confides. 

Cocktail hour happened at golden hour with the sun sleepily hanging over the mountains and free-roaming elk on the ridgeline. The newlyweds shared their first dance to Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” while Green Light Booking’s band, Liquid Blue, took to the stage. “The band never stopped playing, and we never stopped dancing,” the bride notes of the evening. With plenty more grooving, drinking, and admiring the mountain view, the night drew to a close, and the newlyweds returned home. The matrimonial festivities continued in Houston, Texas, where everyone reconvened two weeks later for Brian’s brother’s wedding.