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There is something so therapeutic in the aesthetic beauty of the Bridger Mountain Range near Bozeman Montana.  At any time of year one can look to the mountains, sometimes capped with snow, and see them showing off their beautiful depth of dimension and color giving the beholder a feeling of resounding peace and calmness.  The Bridger Mountains like many other mountain ranges all over Montana balance the juxtaposition of topographical majesty and serenity of nature giving one’s wedding day an inspired rustic charm while bringing out a natural beauty so stunning, it can take your breath away.

Weddings in Montana should never be about competing with the rustic beauty of the landscape, but about harmonizing with its natural inspiration. The very nature of the Montana landscape elicits a beautiful rustic charm and a sense of timelessness.  It can also be unpredictable. Often the changing weather patterns in and around the mountains hold no tolerance for the perfectly primped and planned-out outdoor wedding. Sometimes things don’t always stick to the plan.

With that in mind, I encourage my wedding clients to embrace the unexpected on their wedding day.

You never know when a flash rainstorm might occur. It’s not unheard of for a sudden flurry of snow to happen in June.  It is the imperfections and those impromptu moments that can create an authentic, untouchable beauty to one’s own wedding day. Those are the moments that could never be planned for or prevented, but only accepted and enjoyed. Such was the case for Courtney and Chris’ wedding at the Springhill Pavillion last summer.

The wedding venue sits at the base of the Bridger Mountains just 20 minutes north of Bozeman. It’s a beautiful place and was a spectacular setting for their Montana wedding. Alas, there was a little precipitation on Courtney and Chris wedding day. Despite the rain, the newlyweds kept a positive attitude throughout the day. No amount of unexpected weather could stop their celebration. Their constant smiles and laughter made the hiccup of rainy weather insignificant and it shows in their wedding photography.

Partnering with a Montana wedding photographer who knows how to utilize the unique mixture of scenes and rustic environment (while juggling the unexpected and unforeseen circumstances) helps to create stand out imagery all the while keeping things refreshingly candid and natural. It is the best way to make the most of your Montana Wedding. As a photographer, it’s what I strive for during every wedding I photograph.

The ability to capture candid photos that tell the story of a couple’s wedding celebration is paramount. It’s the beginning of their adventure through life together surrounded by their friends and loved ones. For those who seek to utilize the rustic charm of the rocky mountain landscape, having your wedding in Montana can provide the most vivid of backgrounds and creates a truly unforgettable wedding experience. Rain and all. -M

To view more photos from Courtney and Chris’ wedding day, you can view my blog post about it here.

Special thanks to my amigos at The Social Den for assisting on this post.

A few weeks back I drove over and up to northwest Montana to photograph Brynne and Dustin’s wedding day near Whitefish, Montana. Fall is by far my favorite season of the year and my excitement grew as I made the drive through the mountains landscape littered with bright reds, oranges and yellows of the changing leaves throughout the Flathead Valley. You couldn’t ask for a nicer Montana Fall wedding landscape. Brynne and Dustin’s wedding celebration was held at the Abbott Valley Homestead, a gorgeous northwest Montana horse property with the classic cowboy charm. This was the second time I had the pleasure of photographing her family. After meeting the couple last year when I was photographing her sister Cierra’s wedding in Big Fork, Montana, we hit it off and they booked me over a year out for their own wedding day. Needless to say, I had been looking forward to their wedding for a while. And what a wedding it was! These are a fun bunch of folks to celebrate with. I had a blast documenting the day and the happy familiar faces. Here are some of my favorite images from the day. Wish these two all the best! -Mike Greener

To see all of their wedding photos from the day, click here.

Wow! Is it August already? Time does fly when you are having fun. Looking back on my summer, I’ve been keeping busy photographing weddings and spending the remaining free moments mountain biking around the mountains of Bozeman, Montana. Life is good. I feel lucky to have found such happiness and fulfillment in documenting the love of others with my camera. It’s a continual reaffirmation that fills me with gratitude daily. The only thing better than documenting the big day of my new wedding clients are those times when an opportunity to document a good friend’s wedding comes around. A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching my buddy Levi marry the love of his life Christina in a beautiful and intimate ceremony on a family friend’s property outside of Manhattan, Montana. Levi and his family have been dear friends of mine for many years running. Having grown up in Bozeman, Levi was the guy who introduced me to great people and many places to explore when I first moved to Bozeman and I didn’t know a soul. It was a kindness extended at the time to the new guy in town that I will always be grateful for. I had been looking forward to them tying the knot for some time now. These two love birds met at a kundalini yoga retreat and quickly fostered a strong bond with each other. When it came time to planning their wedding, they decided to have a small ceremony with close friends and relatives contributing food in a potluck fashion. It worked out great. Their wedding day was simple but elegant collaboration. It’s was a great feeling to watch my friend be filled with such joy at having found a wonderful woman and partner in Christina. Here are some favorites from their wedding day. I wish them a lifetime of happiness! -M

 To see all of their wedding photos and to buy prints, go here.

 To see their Photobooth photos, go here.

After a relaxing evening photographing Ali and Drausin rehearsal dinner at the base of the Vail ski mountain at the Manor Vail Lodge Friday night, I turned my attention to documenting their big wedding day. The two Yale alumni chose to have their wedding day at this cute ranch called 4 Eagle Ranch outside of Vail, Colorado. For many of my clients, choosing the venue is a big decision. The venue is the keystone in which all other vendors and wedding task fall in line behind. Once you have it, everything else tends to fall into place a lot easier. For them Ali and Drausin, who were simultaneously planning/executing a long distance destination wedding, moving from Philadelphia to New York City all the while figuring out their honeymoon plans to China, picking their venue was as easy as seeing the background landscape in a photograph on the website and asking where to sign the dotted line. Go figure. I appreciate working with a couple that knows what they want. Getting hitched surrounded by their loved ones while engulfed in the beautiful surrounding Colorado rocky mountains scenery was a recipe for a great time. You could not have asked for a prettier day. With the help of my assistant Josh Couper, we were able to document the fun well into the night including a surprise flashmob dance party coordinated by Ali’s sister. I am so excited for these two. I wish them all the very best and many years of laughter and happiness. -M

To view Ali and Drausin’s entire wedding, you can view them here.

I returned to the rocky mountains of Colorado a couple weeks ago to document the wedding weekend of Ali and Drausin in Vail, Colorado. It was a wonderful crossroad of my past and my future. Ali, has been a buddy of mine for years now. Back in college, while my journalism peers were seeking out newspaper internships, I opted instead to work two summers as a summer camp counselor at Cheley Colorado Camps. Ali was a campfire counselor at the adjacent girls camp. It was a job that paid pennies but rewarded you with an entire summer exploration of the surrounding mountains while sharing your passions, skills and goofiness with great outdoorsy kids. It’s amazing how certain places in your life really leave an impact on you. My two summers in Estes Park, Colorado and the people I met there, like Ali, played a big role in making me a better person. Besides helping to shape me on my path, the experience gave fruit to really great friendships. I was lucky to keep in touch with her.

When Drausin and her emailed me about photographing their wedding rehearsal and wedding day back in the mountains stomping grounds of my earlier youth, I was stoked. I love mountain weddings! The soon to be newly weds decided to have a causal relaxing rehearsal “dinner” at the base of the Vail ski mountain at the Manor Vail Lodge. It was quite the place. Instead of a formal sit down dinner, they had a tapas style buffet and a bar which worked out really well. It allowed everyone to go at their own pace and socialize.

They also spread out the toasts throughout the evening rather than one right after the other. It gave each speaker a chance to really express themselves without feeling rushed. It was so special to listen to the incredibly eloquent speeches from friends and family in such a warm (and green!) setting. There is a lot of love and support for these two newlyweds. Here are some of my favorite images from the evening. I’m hard at work finishing the wedding photos. So excited to show you all. It was quite the weekend. Stay tuned… -M

To see the entire rehearsal dinner photo shoot click here.

Montana! I love it! Especially when it means I get to make a road trip through the state to photograph a wedding up near Glacier National Park. A couple weeks ago, I headed north towards Bigfork, Montana where I photographed Cierra & Brian’s wedding day festivities at the Cougar Trail Ranch. These newlyweds have been making a life together working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but decided they wanted to marry closer to home, their friends and their family and opted for a Montana wedding. The place they found, the Cougar Trail Ranch, was in a classic northwest Montana setting complete with dense, surrounding lodge pole pine forests that opened into golden grass pastures bordering the property line. The big fancy house offered tons of space for the wedding party staging and it’s huge big windows offered this photographer great light to work with. Cierra, an old college rugby friend of mine, contacted me about a year in advance to book my wedding photography services and it was great to finally watch her walk down the isle to marry the boy of her dreams. It never gets old photographing the weddings of old buddies. The day went off without a hitch. As the festivities turned to dancing, I struggled to hold in my laughter at the sight of seeing some of the wedding guests cut loose and begin tossing kids into the air as they danced, celebrated and sang the words to every DJ song. It was one big, awesome Montana party! Such wonderful energy throughout. I had a blast documenting these guys. I wish them all the best for many years to come. -M

 

To see Cierra & Brian’s entire wedding click here.

 I’ve been excited to post these photos for a while now. A couple weekends ago, I drove over to western Montana to photograph the wedding day of Ashley and David at the fantastic Teller Wildlife Refuge Slack House and Barn in Corvallis, Montana. Ashley has been a longtime friend of mine since our time together attending The University of Montana and the two are making a living in Butte, Montana as social workers. You would be hard pressed to find a cuter couple. I had a awesome time photographing the fun throughout their wedding day. Thinking back on it makes me smile. The entire time I was hanging out with them, you could tell their excitement by the big grins they had on their faces all day. It’s such a fun thing to witness two people completely head over heels for one another. I think that emotion really shines through in their wedding photos. Having photographed at the refuge years ago, I had a pretty good idea of where my best images would come from. This place was a Montana wedding photographers dream. I used the rustic Montana farm backdrop to it’s fullest by exploring the variations of color schemes and trying to capture the feeling of their wedding day. It is such a joy for me to document the union of friends. I’m thrilled for these two and wish them all the best! -M

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to return to Montana, my favorite place on earth, to photograph the wedding of an old college friend Christina and her new husband Ryan. I got to know Christina during my time tromping around the Big Sky state while attending The University of Montana in my pursuit of my degree in Photojournalism. In between my time fly fishing mountain streams and trying to make it to class on time, I came to know her through mutual friends and her involvement in the Missoula art scene. Christina, a Montana native, is a very talented painter and ended up getting her degree in the Fine Arts. From there, it was off to New York City for her where she eventually met her fiancée Ryan randomly at a friend’s apartment. Oddly enough it turns out that they both were from the same western Montana town of Whitefish located up close to the entrance of Glacier National Park. I’m always amazed at the curveballs of coincidence life can through at people sometimes. Two years apart in age, Christina and Ryan never new one another growing up but found each other in one of the biggest cities on earth. Go figure. As they grew closer in their relationship, the two parted ways with the “Big Apple” and have since made a life together living and working in Portland, Oregon. When it came to plan their summer wedding the location was an obvious choice.

On their wedding day, I awoke early to drive north of Missoula (where I had been visiting my parents) past the cherry orchards along Flathead Lake and eventually made my way northeast towards the entrance of Glacier National Park. Christina and Ryan chose a cute little 40-acre ranch just outside of Coram, Montana called Glacier River Ranch that was bordered by the gin clear blue waters of the Flathead River. There are few things in life more picturesque than a Montana backdrop and that day I couldn’t think of any. I arrived early so I could scout around the area and get a feel for the place. As family members were helping to set up, I decided to walk around the grounds for possible portrait locations. As I came around the side of a big ponderosa pine tree I startled a young black bear (about 30 yards away from me) and he quickly stood up on his hind legs to get a better view of the blond haired photographer that had interrupted his mid morning berry feast. Soon uninterested, it sauntered off until the delicious smells of a wedding reception food brought it closer to the wedding location so much so that the ranch owner had to scare it off with some warning shots of her deer rifle. Only in Montana. Love it. The rest of the day mimicked the visions of a good Norman MacLean novel. The late August weather was perfect and their afternoon streamside reception was stunning as the golden Montana light lit up the trees as it slowly made its decent behind Teakettle Mountain. Like any proper Montana wedding the rest of the evening was spent eating roasted pig, drinking fine wine and Montana microbrews and dancing to live music from a local string band. It was so great to spend the day photographing such a fun couple and an honor to be asked to photograph the wedding of a old friend. I wish them all the best. -M

You can view the very best images from Ryan and Christina’s wedding under my portfolio wedding stories section here.     Or…

To see the entire wedding take you can see them all on my Photo Archive here.

When Erin & Ryan hired me to photograph their wedding weekend in the Denver, Colorado area, they made it apparent to me that it was going to be a huge celebration. The two have made a successful careers working in Palo Alto, California – Erin at Facebook and Ryan for the AGC of California and they wanted a wedding that could accommodate all of their friends coming in from all across the country. After the last three and a half weeks of processing their wedding photos, I can honestly say that it was one of the biggest weddings I have photographed. My day began with an early morning start with Erin getting ready with her bridesmaids at the home of her aunt and uncle in Parker, Colorado. It was a huge, beautiful custom-designed mansion complete with antique furniture and big windows that cast in a lot of natural light. It really set a nice scene for the pre wedding preparations. It reminded me of being in some fancy European castle.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, photographing Erin’s wedding was a mini reunion for me because I knew her and many of her bridesmaids from high school in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was so great to see them all again. As the girls got ready, they sipped champaign, laughed over old high school stories and helped Erin get ready for her big day. Once they were finished with their make up and hair by the stylists from L Raymond Styles Hair Salon, they got situated into their black, designer dresses from Rent the Runway and we were able to do some Vogue fashion style formal portraits. As the wedding start time approached, we loaded up into a stretch Hummer and made our way to the church. Erin and Ryan decided to have a more traditional catholic wedding held in the Ave Maria Church in Parker, Colorado. It was there that my hired assistant Justin Edmonds, a photojournalism friend and fellow Eddie Adams Workshop Rust teammate, arrived and we worked together to document the story of their wedding day. Having a second photographer to help photograph a wedding allows me to have multiple angles and to provide a much more thorough coverage of my client’s wedding day. It really makes a huge difference and if it’s something you are considering for your own wedding day, I can’t emphasize benefits enough. He was a big help.

Erin got a lot of assistance with all of the wedding details and decoration ideas from her wedding planner Stacy Pisani, of Alexan Events. Where the wedding ceremony followed a tradition catholic undertone, the reception was a stark contrast of hip, luxurious style and design. A large air conditioned tent was setup in the backyard of Erin’s aunt and uncle’s house where you could find a full dance floor with DJ music from Scratch Weddings, a club style lounge with couches, table settings and chairs from Event Rents, an assortment of gourmet food stations from Epicurean Catering and fine wines from The Wine Experience Café scattered through out. It was an incredible evening complete with delicious food, a fun, Greener Visuals photo booth that I set up and the guests danced well into the early morning. These guys know how to have a good time.

This is a sample of some of the photographs from their wedding day. You can see all of my favorites from the day under my wedding stories section hereYou can view and purchase all of the photos from the day here.

Wishing Erin and Ryan all the best with their new life together. Congratulations!