Christine and Zach met in the freshman dorms at the University of Miami…. And the rest is history! They have been through long distance, a PhD program, and new jobs taking them to new places! They finally got to move back in together in 2020 while adding another pup to their family!
In November 2020, they got engaged! So much has happened since then…Christine has become a doctor, they road-tripped with our DIY camping trailer to Montana to scope out the Bozeman area for our wedding, Zach accepted the assistant swim coach position at our alma mater, they moved back to Miami, and they bought a house together. DAMN! I love hearing stories of the couples I photoshoot. This is just the cutest and most lovely story, so I had to give you all a little background on them!
Now, let’s get to the part you’re all wanting to hear. Their big day!!
First stop, getting ready! They decided to get ready separately, and in different buildings. The girls got ready at Roy’s Lodge which has so much amazing space in it! They rented it for the whole weekend so they could also have the rehearsal dinner there. I thought that was a really good idea, because then all the guests and family could really get to know the property and space. We set up hair and makeup in the side room of the lodge so we could close the doors and have a little more of a quiet and separate space so the rest of family could hang out in the kitchen and living room. Then we got her ready upstairs in the loft which was really nice because it was SO clean!!
The guys got ready at an Airbnb because Roy’s barn truly has an old hog barn for the guys to get ready. They didn’t want that. And I wouldn’t either haha! It has a tiny door and low ceilings (see in pictures) I will say, it’s a great place to have bridal party line up before the ceremony and hang outside the hog barn, but I would not get ready in there because there is no AC. AGH! But it’s white and clean inside so you can get good pictures if you need it. So, the guys decided to get ready at this Airbnb and we came over once I was done photographing the girls!
Now that everyone is fresh and ready, it’s time for the First look! They had their first look near their ceremony space at Roy’s Barn. The thing I loved so much about Christine and Zach was how they made so much time for the two of them to really enjoy their day. They had a ton of friends and family come in from Florida, but they did the best job with their wedding website of telling everyone what to expect, and how they set aside a ton of time at the rehearsal dinner and welcome drinks to really chat with people. This way, they could hang out on their wedding day more than anything! LOVED THIS.
Another thing I loved in their plan was knocking out ALL their pictures before the ceremony, so they could be at their cocktail hour and chat with friends and family! Such a good idea, especially if you aren’t set on wanting golden hour pictures or anything like that.
During their portraits and first look moment, they brought a handmade hammock with their new last name on it which is in and from their new home in Florida. Zach brought it from home and hung it in the trees right by the little creek that goes through Roy’s Barn so they could take some pictures on it! Such a cute idea. 🙂
Alright, now it’s time for their Ceremony! The ceremony was at Roy’s Barn, which is such a beautiful venue. They have always wanted to be in Montana for their wedding and have always dreamed about being in the mountains! They had a lot of kiddos on both sides of the family and they wanted them all involved in the ceremony, which was really cute. They had “ring security” that came out to the song bad boys. Seriously. TOO CUTE. Then the girls all came out to “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” Another really meaningful part of their ceremony was that their best friend married the two of them. It was so beautiful and a really great way to tie the knot. The ceremony was stunning. They had all of their family and friends, and they decided to say handwritten vows to each other. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Roy’s barn has a very accessible lawn area for wheelchairs and strollers, which was awesome! However, if the reception is not outside on the lawn, the inside is not accessible for people in wheelchairs or for those that are handicapped. They only have a small staircase to get up to the 2nd floor with uneven flooring. The bathrooms are a trailer bathroom with steps up to them, and they do not have double handicapped bathroom stalls. So, only a section of this venue is Handicap accessible.
They didn’t really have a huge backup plan, and they actually they had to push the ceremony back a bit because of rain. We decided to start cocktail hour and donuts a little earlier than planned so that people could have a snack and drink while we waited! The rain swept over in 20 minutes and they had a stunning ceremony! So it all worked out perfectly! Plus, it is good luck to have a bit of rain on your wedding day!
I know I already talked about this a little bit, but to get into more detail… it’s time to talk about their portraits! We had most of their photos done before the ceremony during the first look, like I said, since they wanted time to chat and have fun after the ceremony. But we did a few right after speeches!
All of the photos were taken in the Roy’s Barn ceremony space area! They have about 6 acres to run around and take pictures! Which was incredible! Plus, the lighting is always the best an hour before sunset, but since Roy’s Barn has a large number of trees, it’s a great location for pictures no matter what time. YAY! That’s always such a sigh of relief.
They stayed in their dress and tux the whole time, so we didn’t need extra pictures of a different dress or anything. What I was super impressed by was that Christine changed from her heels into her Keds for the reception and her mother and mother-in-law hemmed her dress to not drag! Such a smart idea!
We also got all of their family photos done before the ceremony, and then I quickly tucked Zach and Christine away in the small space in the barn so their guests didn’t see them. I then took a TON of pictures of extended family and friends together, which is always fun. I follow a list of pictures that the bride and groom for sure want, and then I relieve them of pictures and ask family if they want any more just for fun. I do this because I think brides and grooms often get drug into pictures that they don’t honestly need to be in.
Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. The Reception! A little backstory first: When Christine and Zach were in Bozeman while looking for venues, they went to Stacy’s Bar and heard this amazing musician! They asked if they could get his business card so they could hire him for their wedding. He didn’t have one but they found him on Facebook and hired him to sing during cocktail hour! He was phenomenal!
So, the second that that Zach and Christine were announced man and wife, he started playing outside of the barn to welcome guests into the reception area while their guests were getting their cocktails. During this time, Zach and Christine went off to the field to hang out and talk about how fun the ceremony was. Perfect. Little did Zach know that Christine hired Roly-Poly Coffee Truck to come in their vintage camper and surprise Zach and their guests with a coffee! Christine also surprised Zach with his late father’s French Press and coffee mugs with Roy’s Barn burned into leather. Such beautiful gifts. I loved every second of this.
After this happened, everyone headed upstairs at Roy’s barn for the dance, dinner and more drinks! Roy’s Barn lets you buy all your own alcohol, but you just have to hire a bartender. Not bad! They decided to get dessert donuts from Granny’s donuts. THE BEST PLACE EVER. And their dinner was plenty of delicious tacos! Since both of their parents have divorced and remarried, they let all of their parents dance to 15 seconds of their first dance song. So, Joe’s DJ made a cute little mashup so everyone could dance to their song. How cute is that? Seriously, this wedding just gave me goosebumps the entire time!
Timeline of Christine and Zach’s day:
- 8:30 AM Christine Arrives
- 9 AM The Gals / Hair & Make-Up Arrive
- 9:30 AM Hair & Make-up Starts by Ceremony Hair and Makeup
- 11:30 AM Photographer & Food Arrive
- 1:00 PM The Boys Arrive
- 1:30 PM Christine into Dress
- 2:30 PM Christine & Zach First Look
- 3:00 PM Family Pictures
- 3:00 / 3:15 PM Bus Arrives @ Hotel / Bus Departs from Hotel
- 3:00 PM Reckless Rooster & DJ Arrive & Set-Up, Joe’s DJ
- 4:00 PM Ceremony
- 4:30 PM Cocktail Hour
- Christine & Zach Alone
- 5:00 PM Christine & Zach Join Cocktail Hour
- 6:30 PM Christine & Zach First Dance
- 6:40 PM Parents First Dance
- 6:45 PM Toasts Laurie …. Michael .. Mary Lou
- 7:00 PM Dinner
- 8:00 PM Dancing
- 8:30 PM Christine & Zach Sunset Pictures
- 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM Polaroids Required at Bar (DJ Announcement)
- 10:00 PM / 10:15 PM First Bus Arrives @ Venue / First Bus Departs from Venue
- 11:00 PM / 11:15 PM Second Bus Arrives @ Venue / Second Bus Departs from Venue
- ~11:45 PM Second Bus Arrives @ Hotel
They had such great detail on their wedding website, which was super helpful to guests if you want to take a look at it for inspiration!!
This wedding day was incredible. Like I said, every detail meant something and was there for a reason. They really thought everything through. I was so honored to be a part of this day, and it gave me a ton of wonderful inspiration for my future brides and grooms! I hope it also gives you inspiration and fun ideas for yours!