Ryan and I met back in 2015. I had just recently moved back to Helena after graduating from Montana State University and he had just moved back to home to Helena after serving 4 years in the Marines. We both grew up in the Helena area and have many mutual friends, but for some reason had never met before then. I often think about timing and how it must have been meant to be. We were both out one night and saw each other across the bar. We kept making eye contact all night and all I remember is thinking who is that hunk! We finally exchanged numbers by the end of the night and the rest is history.
Ryan proposed to me on my birthday trip to New Orleans three and half years later. We were staying in a beautiful hotel in the middle of the French Quarter that had an stunning roof top. That morning he suggested we take a walk up to the roof to see the view before going to breakfast. It was up there that he popped the question, and I of course said yes!
Then started the wedding planning! We started planning our wedding in mid-2019 for July 2020. We booked the venue, DJ, bought my dress, and much more. We had so much fun dress shopping with Linda. Her shop has such a great selection and she was able to help me find the dress of my dreams.
Then COVID happened..... As any 2020 bride would know, planning a wedding in the middle of a pandemic is well...less than ideal. We stayed the course for our big wedding through March, April, and May. The stress of the unknown was a lot though. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that many tears were shed. I am so thankful for Ryan during that time. He was so supportive and really was able to see the positives and keep optimistic. At the end of May we decided that a final decision had to be made on whether to proceed with the big wedding, postpone, or cancel. After many discussions, mostly over a bottle of wine, we decided to cancel our big wedding. There were a lot of factors that played into that decision, but at the end of the day we knew it was the best decision for us.
I was feeling quite down after we made the final call to cancel, so Ryan took me on a drive around the lake. The lake is our favorite place and he knew that it would make me feel better. As we were driving around Canyon Ferry, we came across this private camp area at Yacht Basin. We walked down to the water and just knew that this was the place we wanted to get married at that summer, even if it was a small gathering. I am so lucky I get to have Ryan as my husband. He completely took over the planning the follow days and was able to book the camp area for the weekend before our original date. Linda was so supportive as well. I called to tell her about the date change, and she said no problem we will have your dress ready!
I also want to thank all my family for being so flexible and helping pull together our small wedding last minute! It really was a team effort. The wedding ended up being more perfect than I could have ever imagined. There was something so special about being surrounded by 50 of our closest loved ones and friends to celebrate our love. Although it wasn't our original plan, the small intimate wedding was so "us" and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.