expert advice . the best month to get married in jackson hole

Hannah Hardaway, a favorite photographer of ours, gets asked by brides all the time, “What is the best month to have a wedding in Jackson Hole?”… Thanks for your insight Hannah!

I get asked by brides all the time, “What is the best month to have a wedding in Jackson Hole?” The short answer is, there isn’t one! At least not just one… There are a lot of great months to plan an amazing wedding here, it just depends on what you are looking for!

Insights on the best time to get married in Jackson Hole

By and large, most couples choose to get married in Jackson during the summer months. Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park are absolutely stunning in the summer so that comes as no surprise. Summer in Jackson also offers a ton of different recreation (and non-recreation too ;-) options for couples and their guests to enjoy–everything from simple sightseeing and wildlife tours to endless hiking and biking trails, from gorgeous lakes to paddle board or canoe on to scenic float trips and heart-racing whitewater rafting trips… There really is something here for everyone. and even if some of your guests are not very “outdoorsy,” we have world class restaurants to enjoy, a cute downtown to stroll around, some eclectic shopping and a diverse art scene. The weather in the summer tends to be warm (in the 70s and 80s) during the day and then cools off again at night (which makes for great sleeping!) And since we are in the mountains, it rarely gets “too hot.” We usually only have about two weeks around the end of July where i wish it wasn’t warming up quite so much during the day.

Traditionally the two busiest months in Jackson for both weddings and other visitors  to come have always been July and August, but that season has been getting stretched on both ends in the past few years and for good reason. My personal favorite months in Jackson are June and September when town is not quite as busy and the weather is a little cooler. It can still be nice and sunny and warm during those shoulder months, but you can also head out on a mountain bike ride or hike during the hottest part of the day which I really like. But the tricky part about trying to plan a wedding in the mountains is that you can never guarantee what the weather will bring. You could have an absolutely gorgeous day June 5th or September 30th, or you could have a hail and snow storm on July 15th, you just never know.

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The biggest thing to consider when picking your wedding day in Jackson Hole in my opinion is how adverse weather would affect your stress level. Are you the type of person that would get really tense and anxious if there was even a threat of rain on your wedding day? Or are you a couple that thinks a sprinkle of rain on your wedding day is good luck? Would you be overjoyed if you actually got a few flakes of snow floating down on you as you exchanged your vows or would you be utterly horrified? There is no right or wrong answer, it is just really important that you are honest with yourself because there are definitely months where there is a greater risk of adverse weather conditions than others. Of course, some of those months that are riskier also have the potential for great rewards as well… but the rewards are definitely not worth the added stress if you think that you would be worrying about the weather for the months, weeks, and days leading up to your wedding.

[As a side note : from a photographer's perspective, having some weather roll through on your wedding day can make for amazingly dramatic photos and it also can add some extra excitement and emotions to the day! Some of my favorite weddings have had guests huddled under umbrellas or all leaving their dinner plates to walk outside to witness a beautiful rainbow--though I imagine wedding planners probably are not as fond of the exciting weather as photographers might be!]

The second thing to consider when choosing your wedding date here is how hearty are your guests? Would your friends and family show up at the ceremony with stylish umbrellas and go home raving about how adventurous your wedding was? Or would they be devastated to have to trek through a little mud? Can you bundle grandma up in warm clothes and a blanket if it is cold or wet, or would she probably elect to watch safely from the car?

I don’t want to scare you with talk about bad weather, I just think it is good to consider the “what if”s before you make a decision on your locking in a date. The truth is, we actually have a majority of sunny days here in Jackson during the summer months and chances are weather won’t be an issue.

Insights on the best time of year to get married in Jackson Hole

For what they are worth, here are my completely subjective opinions on the risks and benefits of the different spring, summer, and fall months here in Jackson :

  • April through the middle of May : don’t even think about it. Rain, mud, snow, a combination of all three? Most locals try to get of town for at least a quick vacation during the “off season” and that is why…
  • Last weekend of May through the middle of June : This time of year is definitely riskier weather-wise and still can be pretty cold, but it also can be gorgeous and warm. The earlier in the season, the bigger gamble on weather conditions. But in my opinion, this window is often the most beautiful time to see the Tetons. I love that there can still be a significant amount of snow on the mountains up high well into June and that the valley can be lush and green and *fingers crossed* littered with amazing wildflowers at the same time. It is also before prime-time tourist season hits, so town is usually quieter and your guests might be able to get better rates on some of their lodging, tours etc. It can still get pretty chilly at night, so it could be fun to gift your bridal party with some cute wraps or warm accessories and maybe heat things up with a bonfire or fire pit and some late-night hot toddies at your reception.
  • Middle to end of June : Can be the same as above, or it can be full-on summer (see below for July/August). It just depends on the year.
  • July and August : Sunny and warm/hot. There is always a possibility of  late afternoon thundershowers rolling through, but they usually don’t last very long. July and August are probably your best chance for a clear day, but it can also be a bit hot so perhaps consider scheduling your ceremony for a little later in the afternoon or picking a shadier spot to have your ceremony if it is going to be outside. To beat the heat, you could also provide your guests with fun, summery, hydrating drinks when they arrive at the ceremony or have sun umbrellas and hand fans that people can grab as favors (these make great props for photos too!) A positive side affect of the hotter mid-summer days is that nights tend to stay a little warmer if you are planning an outdoor reception. The downsides to July and August are that they are the busiest tourist months so rates and occupancies for rooms, restaurant reservations etc. will be at their highest and hardest to book. The national park will also be more crowded (but I have to say it really doesn’t get that bad… especially if you are not afraid to get off the beaten path a little.)
  • September : September at its best can still be warm and summery, but without all the crowds. Temperatures usually are back down a little so you don’t have to worry about it being overly hot even during the middle of the day, but nights are starting to get chilly again. At some point in September it starts shifting into more “fall-like” weather, but you can never count on when that will happen here. Once it does shift, the leaves on the trees can be magnificent (though that can be pretty short lived as one big storm can rip all the leaves off of the trees…) I love fall days when the sun is warm on your skin, but the light breezes keep you cool.
  • October and November : There is a chance that the beginning of October can still be pleasant, but it can also be cold and dreary. As for the rest of October and pretty much all of November and into the beginning of December i would say see my comments above for “April through the middle of May”… or to recap, don’t even think about it.

There is also the option of having a fabulous winter wedding in Jackson if you are snow lovers like myself! I love, love, love winter weddings,but I am going to have to save that for a separate post :-)

The most important thing to remember is that whenever and wherever you choose to have your wedding it will be great, how can it not be?

photos: Hannah Hardaway

Expert Advice . Ten things a bridesmaid should never do

I highly recommend this advice on bridesmaid etiquette from the editors at Brides! After seeing most of these behaviors and antics go down at a wedding, it’s nice to see a notable publisher pointing them out. Read up and get your attitude in check!

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photo: Brides.com

Carrie Patterson named a 2014 top wedding photographer by Martha Stewart Weddings

From the editors at Martha Stewart Weddings “A breathtaking bouquet, a blushing bride, a swoon-worthy first kiss: We see thousands of photos every year. [Carrie] consistently captures these amazing moments to create arresting images you’ll love for years to come”…

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Jackson Hole’s very own Carrie Patterson recently earned the distinction of being named one of Martha Stewart Weddings‘ Top Photographers of 2014! See the big announcement over on Carrie’s Blog.

DIY . Spring Bouquet

Go over to OnceWed.com and see how to create your own spring bouquet perfect for your own wedding, or any celebration!

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via: OnceWed.com

 

Expert Advice . Hiring a Wedding Photographer

Martha Stewart Weddings offers advice on wisely choosing your wedding photographer, and explains the dos an don’ts along the way. Read the article here

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photograph: John Dolan

Vendor Spotlight . Aprés Events

Aprés Events is made up of sister duo Karissa and Kailey Tuthill and Amon Barker. We believe the beauty of your day goes beyond the big shots and staged moments. Each of us has a unique eye for what is beautiful on your wedding day. It’s those magic moments you may miss, the look on your parent’s face, loving words and those crazy unexpected dance moves that make our team come alive. By the time we hit the editing studio we have an amazing variety and collection of unforgettable moments for your wedding day story.

Our goal is to make your film a cinematic experience that you love to watch. We use professional cinema cameras and nimble support equipment to capture the little moments that make for big memories throughout your day without being intrusive. With that being said, the best equipment can’t replace our attention to detail, creativity and passion to create a piece of art that will be cherished for generations.

At the end of the day, our favorite part of the process is watching the film with our clients. The expression on their faces as they relive one of the most important days of their lives is the reason why we love this job so much.

Kendra + Alex: Couloir Wedding from Après Visuals on Vimeo.

Vendor Spotlight . xowyo paper & press

I met Cara Rank of xowyo paper and press years ago when she wrote a story about me for Jackson Hole Magazine. I ended up shooting her wedding a few years later, and I also currently shoot for her magazine, Dishing.

Cara recently asked for my help photographing all of her new work for xowyo paper. She started the company in 2009 after creating her own wedding invitations, and she just seems to get busier every year.

Cara is currently working on a new website for xowyo, but here is a sneak peak of new work she did in 2013.

From Cara:

The summer of 2013 was my busiest season yet. I saw many more letterpress orders this year than I have in the past, which is so exciting because it’s such a beautiful form of printing. I also feel like the style of xowyo paper evolved with this season, so I am excited to show off all my new work.

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One of my favorites from the summer was for Alden and Ike, who were married at Trail Creek. Their friend, illustrator Tim Tomkinson, drew the barn where the two were married. We used that image throughout all of their stationery, from invitations to gift bags.

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The hand-drawn antler arches continue to be popular. This year I started working with a new artist for many of my hand-drawn pieces. Prudence Daniels drew my new antler arches, which I absolutely love. And stay tuned to my website for photos of her other work.

Another exciting suite I did was for Jaimie and Miles. The bride is a buyer for Macy’s, so she has amazing style. She let me have fun by mixing in a screenprinted wood rehearsal dinner invitation with her letterpress invitation suite.

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Another couple, April and Lars, found me through I Do Jackson Hole, and they ended up being one of my favorites of all time. One of the things I love most about my job is making lifelong friends with some of my brides and their families. And I feel like April and I just hit it off from the start. She had lots of big ideas and just let me run with them, like the champagne bottle save the date. She only needed to send out 45, which made this project more manageable in terms of cost and labor, but it was still a lot of work. I feel sorry for the people who had to stand in line behind me in the post office. It took three separate trips, but I got all of the boxes mailed out on time.

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Stayed tuned for the new work to be put up on the site. And in the meantime, remember you can find xowyo paper and press cards at MADE (in Gaslight Alley and Hotel Terra), Wool and Whiskey, The General Store and Backcountry Baby.



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