I’ve always known that getting married was something that was important to me. I knew that I wanted to have my relationship be an “all or nothing” type of thing and would not settle for anything less than that movie love kind of feeling. Growing up, I watched my grandparents and parents reach wedding milestones of up to 60 years and I knew that I wanted that too. Something more than just attraction, something that could go the distance. I’m still astonished at how long 60 years is, and am always afraid it isn’t nearly enough.

I had wanted to move to Bozeman since I was a little kid and “live in a camper”. So when I graduated from U of MN and moved to Bozeman from Minneapolis in January of 2000, I was ready to get swept off my feet and let the romance of Montana lead the way. Andy and I met through a mutual friend that summer, and by the time the snow flew, I found myself falling in love with him on a chairlift at Bridger Bowl ski area. In one moment I knew that this was something I couldn’t let go of and was completely terrified to screw up. Sound familiar?

I’ve also always known that a big wedding wasn’t for me. The dress, the fuss, the advice – totally not my thing. So when I met my future hubby, I was not focused on a ring, bling, or anything but him. It took us a few years to really decide to do it, and we both wanted to elope. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved going to family weddings, but I knew that when I did it, it was going to be on my terms. And going off and getting married on your own was kinda seen as crazy back in the day, let me tell you.

We told no one what we were doing, and went to an old fashioned B&B that offered weddings in the area. We didn’t have much of a budget at the time, but we were tired of waiting for life to be “right.” We just wanted to be married. Of course, I couldn’t find a wedding officiant – there was no listing for that in the Yellow Pages. Do you all remember those?? No real internet yet. No rogue ministers ready to hike to a mountain top or show you their favorite waterfall. Fortunately, the local Justice of the Peace was willing to let me take my “red pen” to his ceremony script and help us get married in a way that was right for us.

The wedding itself was short and sweet, with a little Led Zeppelin thrown in, but we were super nervous nonetheless. After dinner together we went to a little casino down the road before retiring to our cabin. It was simple and stress free, and the next day we told our parents. They were a little suprised, but very happy for us, and so we started planning not one but two receptions. Sometimes you can’t avoid the fuss…

Fast forward through different jobs, many outdoor concerts, countless miles on rivers and ski slopes, owning a home, deaths in the family, and one very lovable cat, we have loved (almost) every minute. Over the years we have settled on a few things – a kiss hello and goodbye is non-negotiable, separate bathrooms keep the mystery alive, and Friday nights are homemade pizza nights. We also have grown together in various recreational pursuits and hobbies. He has graciously allowed me to be his ski partner (even on powder days) and I’m still trying to catch up with him. In turn, I’ve gotten him hooked on Ancient Civilizations and Astroarcheology studies. And we both love travelling together – usually to a place where we can hike, camp and raft, or go to a concert for a night or two.

We have been married since 2006, and we are still discovering new things about each other, learning new ways to appreciate the other, and creating new ways to love each other. Having met when we were in our 20’s, we have had plenty of chances to learn from our mistakes and grow into better people. It’s amazing that we have been there for each other almost as long as we can remember, and there is still a precious quality to our relationship that we try not to take for granted.

And now, I can provide the experience that I wasn’t able to find when I wanted to get married for other people looking to get swept off their feet in the mountains. I love showing you my favorite places and helping you tap into that wild romance that is around every river bend. And besides being the best job in the world, it’s also such a gift to our relationship in every way possible. I try to soak up every bit of the joy you feel on your big day and I absolutely love being part of YOUR Montana romance. Seriously, I have to pinch myself every time I get to stand under the Big Sky and say “I now pronounce you…”. It never gets old.

Speaking of getting old, I still feel like we’re just getting the hang of this thing called marriage even though we have been together over 20 years. Every relationship requires consistent effort, room for forgiveness, and strong faith in the other person. I am so thankful we are figuring that out in our own way. I know that each trial we go through not only makes us stronger together, but better individuals as well. It has been awesome watching us grow into this couple and are looking forward to creating a future that both of us can continue to cherish and enjoy.

My Montana Romance

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