Casey and Manuel had such a gorgeous, intimate Christmas wedding at the Sacajawea Hotel, and I am fully obsessed with this whole day. There were so many details and moments I loved, so I wanted to share more about their special day with all of you! Now you can be inspired for your upcoming wedding or maybe you saw some of their pictures and wanted to see/know more about it. Either way, I’m happy you’re here! With that said, let’s get into Casey and Manuel’s day!
First things first, getting prepped and ready! They wanted to get ready separately, and were both able to do so at the Sacajawea Hotel. One thing I really REALLY love about the Sacagawea Hotel is that they have a lot of opportunity and space to stay separated with rooms/size of hotel but yet everything is super close in case you need to run back and forth between bride and groom! Casey got ready upstairs in one of the beautiful historic rooms and Manuel got ready in one of the ‘cabins’ near the back of Sacajawea. With the size of their wedding party and guests being around 100 people, it was almost a full take-over of the entire hotel. Which made everyone so close and it was almost like they had the whole place to themselves! They got married right before Christmas, so the hotel looked even more magical with all of their décor, the beautiful Christmas trees around, and of course all the hot chocolate and cookies for everyone who checked in. PLUS, since it was winter time, it really wasn’t too busy with tourists which made the ceremony in the lobby feel like our living room!
Next up, the one and only first look! They LOVED their first look, and really wanted to take time to themselves since they had quite a crazy week with family in town! Manuel graduated from college on Friday, they got married on Saturday, and then on Sunday they got ready to pack up and move out of their apartment since they were starting their big kid jobs on Monday! WHEW! Insane, right? Casey’s dress was so unexpected and stunning, Manuel was blown away at the first look. It was such a cute and teary-eyed filled moment, and I loved every second. Casey has an incredible Instagram page full of all her fashion and thrift finds, so even though he knew how stylish she is and knows her style, he was shocked (in the best way!) Which always makes first looks even more fun! Also let’s give a round of applause for how good Manny looked!! WOOO! I have never really loved a white tux look, but Manuel killed it! They wanted their first look to be outside, even though it was super freakin’ cold, but once the first look happens, their happiness and hugs would warm them up. We set Manuel up outside first, then I brought Casey out to meet him where he was while the family stayed inside. It was stunning. Especially with the black accents on her dress, really popped against the snow.
Da da da daaaaa! Time for the ceremony! They got married in the lobby of the Sacajawea Hotel right in front of one of their Christmas trees. It was such a stunning location. I just have to take a second to really hype up the staff at the Sacajawea Hotel! MAN! They were amazing!!!! The best staff during and at a wedding I have ever experienced! They juggled all the wedding guests so well, while also checking in hotel guests and taking time to redirect non-wedding guests so they wouldn’t be in the way of the wedding! Also, it was very impressive how they were able to flip the ceremony room into the reception space SO quickly so the family and guests didn’t have to lift a finger! I was shook. Insane. I love them all.
The wedding was pretty intimate, but they had around 100 close friends and family there to support and celebrate with them! Their family was very involved which was awesome and helpful!! Casey and Manuel wanted everyone to wear sparkles, glitz and glam to dress up the occasion a bit! So fun! It felt so classy and fun! Their pastor who took them through marriage counseling married them, they did personal vows (which were so cute and full of love), and Casey walked down the aisle to the same song her mom and dad had as their wedding song. Casey also had her grandmothers ring as an extra part of her accessories, which is so meaningful and lovely. UGH, TEARS ARE COMING BACK AS I TALK ABOUT IT.
I think the Sacagawea Hotel is very accessible even though it may be a bit off the beaten path for guests. They did have great parking which was a huge plus! If people are from Montana, I think they would love being able to explore the town of Three Forks for the day and find it charming! But if you’re not wanting to do that, or if you are wanting to explore Bozeman instead, it’s about a 35-minute drive to downtown Bozeman, and a 25-minute drive to the airport! In the hotel, Room 101 is a super accessible room for anyone who might be in a wheelchair or have a harder time walking. They have a walk-in shower, and the room is right next to the lobby in case that guest wants to lie down in between events, it would be easy to do so! The owners of the Sacajawea have small children, so I think they try their best to think about young families in the space.
BACKUP PLAN NEEDED?
I am so thankful to say that they always wanted to do an indoor ceremony and reception. Whew! Sort of takes a weigh off of everyone’s shoulders. Especially during winter time! Casey’s family is from Montana so I’m glad they were able to find a beautiful indoor space for their family to relax and enjoy the heated and historical building after all the travel and hard work of getting there in the snow.
For the portrait part of the day, we did a couple portraits right after the first look for a minute since we were already outside, then we ran back inside to get warm! We headed to the restaurant to take some pictures in the entryway with the beautiful lighting coming in through the door. I then spent a bit of time with Manuel to do some of his portraits in the upstairs bar, which was really fun too!
Something I love about winter weddings (that may seem like a downer when you wake up and see it, but it truly is a photographer’s dream) is a nice cloudy overcast day! It’s a god sent for great pictures when we’re outside! For real! I promise! But then you will definitely need a photographer who is comfortable in low light situations when you’re taking the rest of the pictures inside.
Casey had a few different iterations of her wedding dress, so that made it really fun to work with during portraits. She had a little shrug for staying warm, and had a veil that she could take on and off when she wanted to! Manuel wore his tux shoes for most of the day, then changed into these super fun custom converse that accented his outfit so well. I love a good set of chucks!
We also had a chunk of time set aside for family portraits as well. Manuel’s family came all the way from Portugal and Japan to celebrate! How amazing is that? What a wonderful and supportive family. So we got a TON of family pictures for Manuel to look at when he’s home sick. His sisters pulled up a picture that they wanted to re-create of all of them from prom! So funny, I love to re-create pictures from old family photos. Just in case some people or family gets uncomfortable with pictures being taken of them so much, just know that I try my best to over communicate what to do with all of your limbs so that everyone looks natural! I won’t make you look uncomfortable or ‘awkward’. I gotchu!
Party time!! The reception was also at the Sacagawea. Right after the ceremony, the Hotel opened the Pompey Grill to start happy hour while they flipped the room from ceremony into reception! It was really nice to get all the most important pictures done before the wedding so Casey and Manny could now spend their time with all their family and friends and toast the wedding! Dinner was incredible!! The food was to die for, and they brought it to table, so we didn’t go through any lines. For drinks, you could go up to the bar and get whatever your heart desires! Chef’s kiss!
Since they had a smaller guest list, Casey and Manuel had hand-picked Christmas tree ornaments for every single guest! You heard me, EVERY SINGLE GUEST. How cute are they. They had each ornament in little boxes with other sweet gifts to go along with it. It really was so cute to watch everyone up their gifts and see how excited they were that Manuel and Casey thought of them. This moment truly had that Christmas morning feeling. I’m usually not the biggest fan of speeches, BUT the speeches given were all so sweet and from the heart. I really enjoyed listening to all of them, and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces. I also thought it was great how Casey and Manuel decided to have their own little sweetheart table to soak in the moment together after such a crazy week of fun! Casey’s aunt made the wedding cake and it was delicious!! Then everyone went downstairs to the Sac Bar for first dances and to party the night away!
For their timeline of the day, they had about 5 hours of coverage. Pretty quick! We decided not to do any getting ready shots in the hotel rooms for either of them. I got there around 3pm and they were both dressed, so I had her mom fake zip her dress up by the window because it was such great lighting. We had to! The ceremony was at 5pm and then reception, food and dance after that! I was only there for about 30 minutes of the dancing downstairs in the bar until around 8pm. I wanted to capture a bit of the fun that was had before I left! Just got a taste of it 🙂
If they had wanted more pictures outside, I would have pushed to get there around noon because it gets unbearable to be outside by 4pm in December. That is something to really think about when you are planning a winter wedding in Montana. Make sure you REALLY like the indoor of your venue. Because you never know if you will be able to be outside, or if you can even see the mountains with the weather. Keep that in mind, future winter or Christmas brides!
All in all, this was a beautiful day with a beautiful couple and amazing family. I had so much fun, and was honored to be a part of your day! Congrats Casey and Manuel!
Her Insta: @caseycmonteiro
Her style page: @thriftbycasey
His insta: @manelmbmonteiro
Their golden doodles page: @ralphiefrankie
The Hotel: Sacagawea Hotel