Sunday, June 10, 2012

Getting hitched at Paradise

There was a wedding at Paradise Ranch yesterday; co-owner Leah’s niece Kara was marrying her beau from Chicago, Chris. It was all hands on deck to prepare for the big event, with everyone pitching in where required - wranglers helping in the kitchen, ground crew serving hors d’euvres in the saloon. I spent the afternoon braiding the manes of two magnificent Belgium draft horses and two ‘outrider’ horses who would accompany the bridal party from the chapel to the reception; then I took up my post as official ‘ranch photographer’ at the ceremony.

                           (my handiwork on the horses)

The Wyoming weather wasn’t the most co-operative; after a glorious morning, the clouds blew in and refused to go away, with guests arriving during a torrential downpour. But the soft afternoon light in the hillside chapel - a beautiful log church built as a memorial to a former staff member killed in a car accident - was just divine, with Fan Rock and the expansive Paradise valley perfectly captured through picture windows.

The bride wore a cute mid-calf taffeta dress buttoned down the back in traditional western style, sensibly changing into cowboy boots after the ceremony - such a cute touch. Then the wedding party piled into the wedding buggy, complete with umbrellas, for the classic ‘just hitched’ moment back down the hill to the saloon, where pre-dinner cocktails were served.

It really was a beautiful occasion, with the warmth of a close family and a loving couple really shining through. I’m sure to bring friends from all over the US for the weekend was a huge undertaking; but the sense of togetherness, and the gift of this glorious Big Horn landscape made it a truly memorable event.

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