I am not even sure where to begin with this amazing couple and their mountain micro wedding. I was lucky enough to photograph Stacie and James’ dreamy Sawtooth proposal in late July on a perfect summer day. James asked for my help to plan the ultimate surprise proposal and we pulled it off by surprising Stacie. It was the dreamiest day and, shortly after getting engaged, these two emailed me about planning a super quick 6-week micro wedding. They knew that in the uncertain times with a global pandemic, having a huge wedding wasn’t going to be in the cards for them. Rather than waiting, they decided to throw together their dream wedding with the most important people in their life in the same place they got engaged!

Emily Aitken Events pulled off the ultimate dreamy intimate Sawtooth wedding. Couples, if you are planning a Stanley wedding, I can’t recommend Emily enough. This gal knows all the vendors in the area on a personal level. Let’s just say… getting married in Stanley has its challenges and this lady knocks it out of the park every time! Stacie and James wanted their wedding to be meaningful, FUN, and full of intention. Their relationship is rooted in serving others and sharing their light with others so creating an environment that felt full of love and warmth was the top priority! They booked a group of cabins in town where their families and guests could all stay. The property has a beautiful lawn right on the river which was the perfect setting for an intimate reception. They rented the Stanley Meditation Chapel for their ceremony which is perfectly perched above town with sweeping views of the Sawtooth mountains and coincidentally the same place they got engaged!

Stacie and James also wanted to have a private memory of their day that was just for them. The bonus to an intimate wedding is that you can plan your schedule around your needs and dreams. With flexibility in their schedule, Stacie and James woke up before sunrise to get ready and shared their first look on the edge of Stanley Lake. They said their vows privately alone, with fog lifting off the lake and the sun coming up over the ridge to illuminate the mountains. Then… the ultimate wedding day surprise. Stacie’s Uncle owns a vintage wooden boat. Between her uncle and mom, they got the boat out on the water and took a little boat ride after their first look and vows for an adventure! It was such a serene and meaningful way to start their mountain micro wedding day.

Several hours later, I met Stacie and James back at their cabins to hang out with them and their families as they got ready. When I arrived, Stacie was laying on the ground with her feet elevated and in ultimate relaxation mode. It was perfect. James and his brothers got ready with their mom helping with bow-ties and last details. Stacie’s mom and sister helped her get into her dress out on the cabin deck and we then piled into separate cars to head to their ceremony!

My favorite part of their day coincided with the story of their perfect proposal. Stacie lost her father three years ago and loved to fly planes. He had a small plane himself with a red stripe on the wings. On the evening of their proposal, there just happened to be a plane with a red stripe parked above the chapel in perfect view. Stacie said it felt like a sign from her father that he was with them when she got engaged. Well, on Stacie and James’ wedding day, as we pulled into the chapel for the ceremony, the same plane happened to be parked again. Her dad was there once again to keep watch and watch his daughter get married.

Other memories I’ll never forget from their day: watching James’ face light up when Stacie walked down the aisle, seeing James’ mom and Stacie’s mom hold hands together with their heads bowed in prayer with tears streaming down their faces, the “we’re married!” look Stacie and James exchanged that was full of complete bliss and joy, and Stacie’s nieces embracing her after the ceremony was over. After the ceremony, we headed back to the cabin for an intimate dinner and casual dancing. It was truly the perfect wedding day from start to finish. 

Thank you so much, Stacie and James. It’s so rare as a wedding photographer to feel as cherished and loved as these two made me feel. The moment I saw Stacie as I picked her up for their sunrise first look, she took my hands and asked me how I was, how I really really was. Being so cared for and being able to be so open with a couple is all I can ever ask for. When I tell couples I hope to collaborate, the relationship I had with Stacie and James is exactly what I mean. Being able to share openly about our struggles, our triumphs, and getting real right away creates lasting and meaningful photos and memories that will never leave. I always hope that beyond the photos, I can provide a personal connection and experience so couples always remember how they felt at the moment when we took photos. It’s truly the best feeling in the world to know I could help give these two special people the wedding of their dreams!

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I hope you enjoyed seeing a sneak-peek into Stacie and James’ mountain micro wedding day. If you’re planning your own intimate or micro wedding, check out this chic McCall micro wedding at Shore Lodge!

Planning and Styling: Emily Aitken Events // Florals: Two Hands Floral // Catering: Dutch Oven Catering // Venue: Stanley Meditation Chapel // Dress: Emma & Grace in Denver 

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