Summer weddings in Sun Valley can be absolutely magical… here are a few we found particularly amazing, along with wedding tips and a vendor list to help you plan your perfect day!
AN IDAHO FIRE ENGINE WEDDING
Written by Kate Elgee
Photography by Kristin Cheatwood
Sun Valley has long been renowned for its “mountain town” personality and no couple has ever captured that better than Erin Bahoshy and Chris Brown when they tied the knot on August 27th, 2011. Bringing their own personalities and fun-loving spirits to a “casual but elegant” celebration, while keeping it classy like only those Californians can, the couple combined the rustic sense of Idaho beauty with the playfulness of a ski town—riding down Main Street in a fire truck, taking pre-wedding party “shot-skis” and passing out escort cards designed to look like Bald Mountain lift tickets.
Erin explained, “It was all about creating an atmosphere that was comfortable, welcoming and fun while staying true to ourselves, as well as staying true to Sun Valley.”
Erin, who grew up in the Wood River Valley, first met Chris at a friend’s birthday party in Palm Springs a week before her college graduation. “We both knew the attraction was immediate but never would have guessed that those feelings would grow into such a deep and unconditional love,” Erin remarked. After a romantic, starry-night proposal on the beaches of Italy, they immediately decided the wedding should be celebrated in one of their favorite places in the world—Sun Valley.
From Manhattan Beach, California, where Erin currently works as an MTV account executive and Chris as a firefighter/paramedic, they planned a destination weekend wedding for their friends and family in the Gem State. But being about 1,000 miles away from their nuptials location, they enlisted the expertise of long-time local wedding planner, Amanda Seaward. “I have never known a bride so focused on making everyone else happy. There were more personal touches in this wedding than I’ve ever seen before,” Amanda said.
Erin and Chris personally put together small welcome packages with Sun Valley shot glasses, mini bottles of tequila and personalized M&M’s. They hand-made cocktail and dinner menus, designed the save-the-date invitations themselves and passed out customized matchbooks, napkins and beer koozies stamped with their name and wedding date. “They are an incredibly caring couple. You could see it in all of the attention to detail, all of the effort they put in just to make their guests happy,” Amanda explained.
Together, with help from Sun Valley Company and family, they mapped out a Western-themed welcome party, cocktail hour and rehearsal dinner at The Kneadery, beer and burgers at the Grumpy’s patio and plenty of outdoor activities, including golfing, hiking, biking and fishing (and one BIG six-wheeled surprise).
The ceremony itself took place at Trail Creek Cabin following a cocktail reception on the grounds. A gray, yellow and cream color theme complemented the surrounding hills. “We wanted the natural beauty of Sun Valley to shine through,” Erin mentioned. With Baldy towering in the background, the bride walked down an aisle strewn with rose petals—bubbles and an acoustic version of Ben Harper’s “Forever” floating through the air. But the big surprise came when a bright red fire truck arrived, decorated and honking loudly—a surprise even for the groom.
“Erin planned the whole thing,” Amanda said, “and I have no idea what strings she pulled to do it!” The couple jumped aboard and was escorted in style through town, waving and cheering with “Just Married” smiles, to the reception party at River Run Lodge. “Not only was it both special and meaningful,” Erin noted, “but it also gave the two of us the opportunity to have a few minutes alone to relish in all that we just did.”
For the couple’s first dance, Erin’s father played the piano and sang his own version of “The First Day of My Life” by The Bright Eyes. They spent the night dancing to the rhythms of Kevin Misajon and were hoisted in chairs above the crowd while Chris grabbed the microphone to perform an impromptu version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Erin and Chris were two of the last people on the dance floor, singing and swaying arm in arm with all of their friends and family. “We wanted to be there until the end,” Erin explained. And they were.
WHEELING & DEALING IN “I DOS”
Written by Kate Elgee
Photography Dev Khalsa
For two people who love the outdoors as much as Julie Lyons and Blair Choate do, what better place to get married than Sun Valley, Idaho? Where else in the world can you have your guests mountain bike, horseback ride and raft the day before the wedding? Where else can you recite vows at 7,289 feet, hike up to a honeymoon yurt under a full moon, still wearing a wedding dress and tux, or ride down the aisle together on a vintage tandem bicycle? Fortunately, Sun Valley provided all of this and more for the happy couple, who tied the knot over the Old West-style Wagon Days Weekend, September 3rd, 2011.
For these two outdoor enthusiasts it ended with “I Do’s” in the same place that it began—Galena Summit. “We had our first date Nordic skiing at Galena,” said Julie. “By the second date, which was downhill skiing, I knew he was the one.” They decided to have the wedding at Galena Lodge because it represented, as Julie explained, “who we are and how we met. It was somewhere we wanted our families to see and be a part of.”
With an outdoor ceremony held under the shade of the Sawtooth Mountains and an indoor reception at Galena Lodge (with chef Don Shepler on the grill and local bluegrass band, Slow Children Playing, on the mic) it’s no wonder that by the end of the celebration guests began to truly understand why Julie and Blair picked Sun Valley as not only their wedding location, but their home.
Coming from disparate parts of the country—Julie from Massachusetts and Blair from Santa Barbara—they were both lured to Sun Valley by a mutual friend. The same friend, in fact, who was in charge of their “chance” meeting at St. Luke’s Hospital, where they both currently work, and the same friend who lent them the vintage green Schwinn they rode at the wedding.
“We are both big mountain bikers,” Julie said, “and Blair is a triathlete, cyclist.” So when it came time to plan the wedding, it seemed only fitting to combine their two loves—wheels and mountains. The bike theme carried over into the personalized beer mugs, the invitations and even the grand entrance, where the bride pedaled down the dirt road with her father (to the uneasiness of the groom, who was wary about the logistics of riding a tandem bike in a wedding dress) and rode out with her new husband, waving and laughing. “That was the best part of the whole wedding,” said Blair, with a smile. The green bike, which sat behind the altar during the ceremony, can still be seen around town being ridden by the new couple.
Besides a gorgeous outdoor location and a freewheeling adventure, the wedding was special, Julie explained, because of the small personal touches. “I wanted everyone to be part of the wedding in some way, to contribute. That way it felt much more intimate,” she said. With Birchwood centerpieces handmade by her mother, a bouquet made of flowers grown in her “other mother’s” garden, bike-styled invitations and gourmet food all made by close friends, the wedding was brought together entirely by the bride and groom’s loved ones. It was more of a cooperative effort than the bride’s single focus, giving a new meaning to the idea of an “intimate” wedding.
The original honeymoon, at Redfish Lake Lodge after Labor Day Weekend, was a peaceful and much-needed escape after all of the festivities. As Blair put it, “We had the entire beach almost to ourselves.” But the real honeymoon, which came a few weeks later as a surprise to Julie, was on the even bigger and warmer beaches of Kauai. “It was everything you would ever picture a honeymoon in Hawaii to be, and probably more,” said Julie, rubbing her rounding belly and smiling at Blair. As if the story couldn’t get any more perfect, they are expecting a little mountain biker—that’s right—on the very day of their first anniversary. A child who will no doubt grow up to ride the same trails around Galena Summit that their mother and father rode down on their wedding day.
WEDDING TIPS FOR A SUN VALLEY WEDDING
Photos: Kristin Cheatwood
Planning a wedding in Sun Valley? Why not learn from the pros—former brides. Check out the dos and don’ts we’ve gathered from Sun Valley weddings and ensure that your wedding day, or week, is the very best it can be.
1. DON’T STRESS
The best way to ensure a stress-free day is to plan ahead. The biggest cause of wedding stress: Last-minute details that show up unannounced. So hire a wedding planner to help guarantee that everything is under control. That way the duty doesn’t fall on close family and kin and everybody from the mother of the bride to your sisters, girlfriends and the groom get to relax and have fun with you.
2. HAVE FUN
One of the most common tips given by all our Sun Valley brides is to remember to have fun at your own wedding. Sounds elemental. But in all the details and planning, it can often get overlooked. Plan a wedding to reflect your personal style, as well as your likes and loves … and the rest should take care of itself. Just remember to plan a few moments to actually enjoy some of the activities and festivities that you have planned.
3. RENT A TENT
Our mountain weather can be, if nothing else, completely unpredictable. We have a saying here that “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” While a bit of a local exaggeration, it has snowed in July and even August (a magical occurance, to be certain, but a shock to anybody in a spaghetti strap sun dress). Of course, it won’t do that on YOUR wedding day, but rent a tent or have a contingency plan … just in case. You don’t want to be caught out in the cold.
4. ALLOW FOR DOWNTIME
You and your beloved will be busy greeting out-of-town guests, family, friends and distant relatives that you may have never even seen before. It can be a whirlwind of activity and socializing, so remember to plan a few moments all your own. This can be as simple as a walk by the river after the ceremony or a moment of reflection before your first dance. Everybody is gathered in celebration of you, so take a few moments to enjoy it together.
5. GET COMFY
When choosing foot attire (a tip specific to the ladies), don’t forget to consider the location. Many popular outdoor wedding locations, such as River Run and Trail Creek, are located on grass, which can make walking in high heels in front of 200 guests a challenge. Consider a wedge or platform sandal if you still want height, but leave the spiked heels (which will only sink into the grass) at home—or save them for the rehearsal dinner.
6. ASK FOR HELP
Enlist the support of family and close friends for special projects related to your big day. A sincere request can make them feel special, and helps to include them in the memory of creating your wedding celebration. It also provides a great way for members from both sides of the family to get to know each other.
7. PLAN ACTIVITES
Remember that not all of your guests will be consumed with wedding details, so plan fun activities and gatherings for them to participate in while visiting you in Sun Valley. Hiking, biking, golf at Sun Valley Resort (with 45 holes and stunning views), fly fishing, waterskiing, skeet shooting at the Gun Club, horseback riding, ice skating at the historic Sun Valley outdoor rink—there is so much to do, your guests might appreciate a little direction with a few planned events. This also has the added bonus of creating opportunities for guests to mix and mingle … and bond over shared experiences.
8. WELCOME GUESTS
Put together a welcome packet for all of your out-of-town guests—include things like a map (with a list of your favorite local haunts, hikes and watering holes), sunscreen and a small water bottle (exposure at altitude demands more water and lots of sunscreen). Add locally made snacks or goods (issues of Sun Valley Magazine are always full of all kinds of fun stuff to do in the area), dining out suggestions and a full schedule of wedding events.
9. ALL THE EXTRAS
Consider having wraps and throws on hand at evening events to help guests bundle up against the chill so they can enjoy the clear Idaho night skies in warmth and comfort. Plan to be up late? Provide small flashlights in a bucket on the way out to help guests locate their cars.
10. BE FLEXIBLE
It can save the day and what unfolds may surprise you.
Local Wedding Vendors
There is no better place on the planet to get married than Sun Valley and its surroundings. To make sure your nuptials are nothing shy of magical, here are some of the Valley’s finest wedding vendors.
Chic Nail + Beauty Bar
fAffordable luxury with top-of-the-line products for natural nail and glowing skin care. Indulge your senses and experience a complete beauty bar with facials, waxing, manis and pedis, spray tan and Happy Hour Fridays. Come pamper your feet, hands and face on your special day!
208.788.1355 / www.chicnailandbeautybar.com
Judith McQueen Entertaining
Judith McQueen Entertaining’s events exemplify the quintessential Sun Valley experience. From classic destination weddings to memorable local fare, we provide world-class catering and event coordination—making your entire experience weightless and, more importantly, fun for all.
208.788.7716 / www.judithmcqueen.com
Weddings are very special events and create memories that last a lifetime. There are numerous decisions, from the overall theme to the littlest details of the table setting. Let Riccabona’s Catering guide you through every step, from designing a delicious menu to arranging for every detail of your celebration. With experience in hosting a number of events, we can accommodate any size, theme, and individual requirement. We will work closely with you to create your memorable experience.
208.721.7808 / www.riccabonas.com
Toni’s Ice Cream
Exquisite, eclectic, exceptional and handmade in Sun Valley, Idaho. Toni’s Sun Valley Ice Cream company offers a myriad of ice cream options—from lovely herbal-infused delights such as honey chamomile and rose petal ice creams—to traditional chocolate chip. Whether the event is for 20 or 2,000, Toni’s Ice Cream promises a unique, delectable experience that your guests will not soon forget.
208.720.6251 / www.sunvalleyicecream.com
Natural beauty and romantic design are brought together to create the perfect secluded mountain venue. Nestled in the Sawtooth Mountains, Galena Lodge offers the perfect backdrop for your wedding reception, rehearsal dinner, bridal luncheon or a small intimate dinner. A unique mountain setting with incredible handcrafted food.
208.726.4010 / www.galenalodge.com
Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch
Privacy and breathtaking natural beauty create the picture-perfect setting for your wedding or private party at historic Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch. Charming accommodations, excellent cuisine and a gracious staff provide a perfect celebration event. Martha Stewart Weddings named IRMR an outstanding wedding destination venue.
208.774.3544 / www.idahorocky.com
Sun Valley Resort
Whether you envision your special day as a quiet retreat in the mountains or a celebration as spectacular as the setting, Sun Valley’s wedding services can help bring your dream wedding to life. We offer a number of wonderful locations, both indoors and out, that add an unmistakable natural beauty to your occasion.
208.622.2101 / www..sunvalley.com
Luxurious comfort and unmatched hospitality create the perfect setting for you and your out-of-town guests. Enjoy spacious rooms with luxurious triple sheeting for effortless enjoyment and a refreshing night’s stay. Our locations place you steps away from fine dining and shopping, making us the place to stay in the Wood River Valley.
The Wood River Inn: 877.542.0600 / www.thewoodriverinn.com
The Tamarack Lodge: 800.521.5379 / www.tamaracksunvalley.com
Wild Horse Creek Ranch
If you’re looking for a supreme Idaho wedding experience, look no further than the Wild Horse Creek Ranch. Nestled in the incomparably picturesque Copper Basin, just 20 miles east of Sun Valley, the ranch is located in one of the West’s most spectacular and serene landscapes. Whether it’s for your next group retreat, or for a truly unique and unforgettable Western wedding, the Wild Horse Creek Ranch is waiting. Come, be inspired in the Pioneer Mountains of central Idaho, at a guest ranch that offers the authentic West.
208.588.2575 / www.wildhorsecreekranch.net
Whiskey’s Upstairs offers a full-service bar and spacious room where you can host up to 240 people. Two decks boast Ketchum’s best views of Baldy and Dollar Mountain for your summer- time event. The perfect spot for your wedding reception or welcoming party. We have a large projector, excellent sound system, amazing staff, decadent food … It’s all here at Whiskey’s Upstairs. www.whiskeyjacques.com
Photo: Kristin Cheatwood
EVENT PLANNING & RENTALS
A-List weddings – Ashley Dyer
Recently engaged? Are you or someone you know getting ready for their big day? A-List Weddings is dedicated to making those special occasions effortless and extraordinary! Offering complete wedding and event planning, we will help you envision your day and take care of every detail to perfection. We look forward to hearing from you.
208.720.5764 / www.alistweddings.com
Absolute Weddings is a full-service wedding and event planning business that has been operating and making dreams come true in this Valley for over 10 years. We will help you with all details, from invitations and save-the-dates, to appointments, vendor selection and budgeting. Absolute Weddings’ hands-on approach allows you to relax and enjoy this special time with friends and family, and we will take over all details to make your event, day and experience stress-free.
208.720.4713 / www.amandaseaward.com
Barbara’s Party Rentals
With 25 years of experience, Barbara’s Party Rentals has everything you need to make your special event perfect. Classic and transparent tents, wedding and party planning, beer and wine sales, tables, chairs, linens, dance floors, and casual to elegant place settings and clever accessories to personalize every detail. They’re the local know-it-alls that you can trust to deliver quality to your event.
208.726.3778 / www.barbaraspartyrental.com
Heather Minor Events offers creative wedding planning and event planning services that will help you create an event that reflects your own personality and style. We are here to make your magical day a reality from start to finish. Our proven approach ensures that your event will be meticulously planned and perfectly executed so you can sit back and enjoy. We look forward to working, with your help, to plan your big day or next event.
208.309.1014 / www.heatherminorevents.com
At That’s Entertainment, we believe that every wedding should be as one-of-a-kind as the bride and groom at the center of it. We carry a wide variety of everything from tent styles to china to specialty linens to help you create a setting that is uniquely your own. 30 guests or 300, simple or sumptuous—we will work with you to bring your vision to life.
208.726.8800 / www.thatsentertainmentsv.com
Ketchum Flower offers beautiful fresh-cut flowers and tasteful arrangements for your wedding day. The store has created strong bonds within the community and continues to exude a vibrant, local feel.
208.622.7364 / www.ketchumflower.com
Primavera Plants and Flowers is Sun Valley’s premier florist specializing in weddings, parties, and home décor. Orchid plants, blooming and foliage plants, baskets, candles, pottery and planters. Gourmet gift baskets, fresh, silk and dried flower arrangements. We deliver and wire flowers anywhere.
208.726.7788 / www.primaverasunvalley.com
Sue Bridgman Florist
Specializing in innovative and stylish floral design, Sue Ellen Bridgman Florist is the leading floral design studio in the Sun Valley/Ketchum area. Our reputation for quality and service is built on years of creating beautiful and spectacular weddings, parties, conventions, and distinctive events. From the exotic and bold, to the simple and elegant, we can do it all.
208.725.0606 / www.bridgmanweddings.com
Tara Bella Floral Designs
Tara Bella specializes in beautiful destination weddings and eye-popping special events. Celebrated for her unique style and meticulous attention to detail, Tara Ooms and her talented staff tailor custom elegant floral designs for every occasion. Ooms’ passion for flowers shines through with the grace and hospitality that only a true Southern belle could possess.
208.788.4046 / www.tarabellaflowers.com
Black Pine Photography
Focusing on creative, artistic and candid photography that captures the elements of true emotion in the moments that tell your story. Based in Sun Valley and Boise; Available for destination weddings worldwide.
208.630.3610 / www.blackpinephotography.com
Christine Olsen specializes in capturing families, brides and children in the most beautiful and authentic way that they are. With an easygoing and fun style, she will capture all your special moments on your big day (and every day), from candid hugs and kisses to impeccably beautiful portraits.
208.720.8809 / www.christineolsenphotography.com
I am a documentary photographer at heart, but to me photographing weddings is more than simply capturing the moments before me. Providing truly great images goes beyond technical expertise. It requires insight, intuition and the ability to connect on an emotional level. Success, for me, is measured by the amount of laughter and tears my images provoke. My goal is to create images that are bold, authentic and enduring. As a wedding photographer, I am devoted not only to creating spectacular images, but also to ensuring a wonderful experience for my clients.
208.788.2849 / www.devkhalsaphotography.com
Kirsten Shultz Photography
An award-winning editorial and wedding lifestyle photographer, unobtrusively documenting the beauty of the day as it unfolds. Available in Sun Valley and worldwide.
208.481.0138 / www.ksweddings.com
Travis Jones Photography
Weddings are filled with laughter, tears, beauty and joy. With a unique style informed by both fashion and documentary work, Travis captures world-class images of the people, the setting, the details and the magic that come together to make the day one you will never forget.
208.721.8579 / www.jonesphotosv.com
Photo: Dev Khalsa
REGISTRY & GIFTS
Girl Friday provides the Valley with eclectic, affordable gifts and awe-inspiring clothing. Located in the same building as Ketchum Flower, the store has created strong bonds within the community and continues to exude a vibrant, local feel.
208.622.7364 / www.ketchumflower.com
JAM Designs Jewelry
Julie Anne Molema (JAM Designs) first discovered her love for jewelry at age 12 when she got her ears pierced at Castletons in Salt Lake City. In 2010, Julie founded JAM Designs to take her passion for sparkly things a step further. Today, her creations translate into reasonably priced, hand-crafted items that make an instant impression. Make all of your wedding day dreams come true and work directly with Julie to create custom wedding party jewelry.
208.928.7506 / www.jamdesignsjewelry.com
STATIONARY & INVITATIONS
Celebrating in Sun Valley? Let Willow Papery help. A full-service stationery boutique, Willow Papery carries a wide range of invitations, gifts, greeting cards, wrapping paper, ribbon and Kristy Logan Jewelry. We’re also here to assist with last-minute printing needs: menu cards, place cards, gift tags and so much more.
208.726.0456 / www.willowpapery.com