Weddings June 27, 2013

Princess for a Day

How One Sun Valley Bride Won Her Dream New York Wedding

BY Heather Harder Brown / PHOTOGRAPHY Roey Yohai Photography

For Andre Mercier, 27, a visual effects artist living in Los Angeles, it was an online classified advertisement that led him to the woman of his dreams. Truth was, he was just looking for a roommate to share his condo. Sierra Dickens, 27, a Ketchum native and professional figure skater, had just arrived in LA to pursue acting. After scouring hundreds of classifieds looking for a place to live and the right roommate, Dickens found Mercier’s post. Andre detailed his preferences in a roommate, posted pictures of the condo and even signed the post with an electronic signature. Sierra was impressed with the ad and the price, so she called.

Andre said, “As soon as I opened the door and saw Sierra I knew she was the one.” Sierra remembers they started talking and “realized they had just about everything in common.”  The two hit it off immediately and just an hour after she left the condo, Andre called Sierra to let her know he would like to have her as a roommate. Andre had planned a trip to the East Coast, so while he was out of town the two continued to talk and text. Their bond quickly deepened and Sierra moved in. She came home one evening to find the words, “Will you be my girlfriend?” spelled out in rose petals on her bed. As Sierra revealed, “We knew within weeks of dating that we wanted to get married.”

Groomsmen take the streets of New York in Vera Wang tuxedos.

A vacation to Kauai, Hawaii, a few months later proved to be the backdrop of a beautiful proposal under a private waterfall only accessible by helicopter. There, Andre got down on one knee to ask Sierra to marry him. An overwhelming, “Of course, Yes!” captured in still photos by Andre’s camera was proof. This was really happening.

Sierra’s mother, Karen Dickens, a Ketchum local and owner of Primavera Plants & Flowers, was so touched by the couple’s story that she encouraged her daughter to enter contests to tell their story to win prizes such as a dress or honeymoon package. Sierra was scouring the Internet and like many brides went to, a website where brides-to-be can learn about planning a wedding. TheKnot was having a contest for a $100,000 Dream Wedding; however, the contest was just days from closing. With Andre’s video production experience they were able to put together a stunning application video and submitted it just in time.

Sierra and bridesmaids in Amsal gowns share a laugh before the ceremony.

Unfortunately, they received a call from TheKnot that they were not finalists but rather fifth runners-up. Andre said, “I knew it would just work out somehow.” And it did; in a last-minute change of plans TheKnot added another finalist spot.

The couple went on a marketing frenzy using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to encourage friends, family and strangers to vote for them. With only three voting days left they were determined to make every second count. Andre skipped work to hand out flyers and ask people in coffee shops to break for a moment and vote. The stars aligned for the couple and they won the Dream Wedding contest!

Fans chose a Modern Ice Castle theme which included ice sculptures, crystal decorations and orchids. Couple are all smiles after the ceremony.

Left to right: Fans chose a Modern Ice Castle theme which included ice sculptures, crystal decorations and orchids. Couple are all smiles after the ceremony.

For weeks, though, the couple had to keep their victory a secret. Finally, on January 3, 2013, they were able to tell family and friends that they would be married at the Citi Pond at Bryant Park in New York City on Valentine’s Day the following month.

There was just one catch. Andre and Sierra had to give up all major details of their wedding to the mercy of voters across the country, including their decorations, cake design, wedding bands and even Sierra’s wedding gown! Over 2 million votes determined every detail of their wedding. Fans chose a Modern Ice Castle theme, which included ice sculptures, crystal decorations and orchids, Sierra’s favorite flower. Fans also selected Vera Wang tuxedos for the groom and groomsmen and floor-length Amsal dresses for the bridesmaids. Sierra and her mother traveled to New York City where she was able to try on gowns at Kleinfeld Bridal. She carefully selected four gowns that voters would choose from. Sierra would not see her Pnina Tomai sweetheart ballgown until the very day of the wedding.

Celebrity wedding planner Amy Shea Jacobs made sure every detail was perfect, from the silver linens to the crystal detail to the wintery menu. Surrounded by 100 guests, gathered in a white tent nestled next to the frozen pond, Andre and Sierra expressed their deep love for one another in vows they wrote themselves. The couple also participated in a traditional Japanese sake ceremony, symbolizing the past, present and future, honoring Andre’s heritage. If one thing could set the wedding over the top for this couple, it was when the guests broke out into a flash mob, dancing in sync to urban gospel chorus Djore A Cappella singing “Higher.” Sierra’s encore presentation was a figure skating performance on the ice rink.

Guests danced to the music of Djore A Cappella.

Left to right: Guests danced to the music of Djore A Cappella.Sierra’s wedding dress was a Pnina Tomai sweetheart ballgown and the groom and groomsmen wore Vera Wang tuxedos.
The wedding cake design was intricate but simple and delicious.

This special couple is so grateful for having won and is thankful for TheKnot and all those who were a part of their wedding. A fantasy honeymoon is part of the Dream Wedding. The couple is asking fans to vote for their pick–which is a charity trip to Asia to visit orphanages and give back in every way possible. Visit for a voting link to help them go on their dream honeymoon.-Heather Harder Brown

Sierra’s encore presentation was a figure skating performance.



Simply Sweet Idaho-Style

BY Heather Harder Brown / PHOTOGRAPHY Hillary Maybery

Keep it simple is Morgan Gove’s advice to aspiring Sun Valley brides. Morgan and her husband, Bray, didn’t get carried away with the little details of their wedding weekend. Instead, they turned their attention to the family and friends who gathered to celebrate.

Travel up a long dusty canyon road and you will find the Hook Draw Saloon (a private saloon southeast of Ketchum) and the ideal setting for the couple’s Western-themed rehearsal dinner party. This party was the perfect way to keep in step with Morgan’s Idaho roots and show Bray’s East Coast guests what the West is all about. The attire was upscale Western for the ladies—mostly cocktail dresses and cowboy boots and hats. The men stuck with jeans and some wore shirts and, well, some did not. They drank, they danced and even tried their luck at roulette.

Like most late-August days in the Wood River Valley, this one was picture-perfect for a wedding. With eight bridesmaids and one bridesman by her side, Morgan looked elegant in a Vera Wang gown and Jimmy Choo heels. She even styled her own long hair and Brie Wetmore Fowler, her maid of honor, did her makeup. The bridesmaids wore lavender, a rich accent color. Her handsome groom wore Ralph Lauren and was accompanied by nine groomsmen.

Morgan and Bray at their rehearsal dinner party. Riding in style at the rehearsal dinner.

Left to right: Morgan and Bray at their rehearsal dinner party. Riding in style at the rehearsal dinner.

Hook Draw Saloon was the perfect setting for an Idaho-style wedding rehearsal party. Morgan and Bray share their first dance.

Wedding planner Taylor Sturges organized a gorgeous ceremony and reception that took place in an expansive and green open area at Golden Eagle Ranch. Details like paper lanterns and about 200 votive candles made the clear tent from That’s Entertainment glow against the dark sky and reflect off of the nearby pond. Judith McQueen catered the celebration and offered unique and delicious choices for everyone. Local photographer Hillary Maybery captured the excitement of the rehearsal and authenticity of the wedding beautifully. While the couple appreciated their beautiful wedding and reception, Morgan said, “Having our friends meet and everyone get along during the week” were their favorite moments. Another favorite was the band. Marmalade Hill from Salt Lake City rocked the party and kept it going all night.

Morgan and Bray now live happily ever after in Mercer Island, Wash., with their two children.



Judith McQueen Catering. Photo by Hillary Maybery.

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.



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 gets to relax and have fun with you.


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.


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. Of course, it won’t do that on YOUR wedding day, but rent a tent or have a contingency plan … just in case.


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 article appears in the Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.