Planning a Sun Valley Wedding
Courtney Samway & James Richard Bowman
Courtney Samway & James Richard Bowman
July 13, 2013
Locals Courtney Samway and Jimmy Bowman's wedding, under the shadow of the towering Boulder Mountains, was the epitome of "hand-crafted." With D.I.Y. personal touches down to the tiniest detail (like a handmade tipi for the wedding alter, local wildflower bouquets, elk antlers and logs from nearby mountains and homebaked pies), it was truly a one-of-a-kind ceremony. Made with their own two hands and hearts, they celebrated in a way only Idahoans can.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SUN VALLEY?
There’s no place like home, and besides, it’s the most beautiful place in the world.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Courtney was born and raised in Sun Valley, Idaho. James was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and is now a Sun Valley local.
HOW DID YOU MEET?
We met through a mutual love of rock climbing, and soon thereafter found ourselves sharing a ride to climb at one of Idaho's greatest climbing meccas, The City of Rocks. A few belays on the granite walls later, we became mostly inseparable.
HOW DID YOU GET ENGAGED?
Read our engagement story on Sun Valley Magazine's “Hitched” blog.
NUMBER OF GUESTS?
Around 130 guests.
WHAT WAS YOUR WEDDING THEME?
A rustic mountain wedding.
ANY SPECIAL TRADITIONS?
Our wedding was a combination of tradition mixed with backcountry style and our own personal visions.
SONG THAT YOU WALKED DOWN THE AISLE TO?
An acoustic instrumental version of “Home” (written by young local musician, Thor Dickey) played live during the ceremony by The Sheep Bridge Jumpers (Mark Oliver - guitar, Alexandra Land - violin and Chris Johnston - banjo.)
SONG FOR YOUR FIRST DANCE?
”Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show, played live for our first dance by The Sheep Bridge Jumpers.
HOW DID THE NIGHT END?
Our friend Ruth Ann lit the campfire with a primitive bowdrill kit, and live music was played while all the guests gathered, drank and danced around our heart-shaped firepit until late into the next morning... The sky was filled with stars and it was a perfect Idaho night.
WHERE WAS YOUR HONEYMOON?
We are planning our Honeymoon for this winter once the snow begins to fall in the valley. We are planning a getaway to a sunny island paradise.
WHAT MADE YOUR WEDDING SO SPECIAL?
The “handcrafted” element of our wedding meant a lot to us---we truly put our hearts and souls into all the details. It was also incredibly special to share the day with so many close friends and family members, and that meant the world to us.
WHAT WAS THE BRIDE’S FAVORITE MOMENT?
Walking up to the altar with our wedding party and family.
Hearing Courtney’s vows.
D.I.Y. PROJECTS? GUEST FAVORS?
Our entire wedding was a D.I.Y. project... We hand crafted everything. Our altar was a tipi we built from lodgepole pine trees we cut down. The bridal bouquets were made from local wildflowers and grasses we picked and dried throughout the summer. The ceremony aisle was lined with log stumps and elk antlers we found while hiking in the mountains. Our tabletops were simply covered with burlap and decorated with old alcohol bottles turned into vintage picture frames then filled with oil to look antiqued. We also had tin can candle holders, lace-wrapped mason jars filled with dried wildflowers and sage, and pinecones.
The bridesmaids and groomsmen wore feather earrings and boutonnieres fashioned by a friend from birds he has hunted. The grill was manned by our friend, The Vagabond Chef, and the dessert table was deliciously filled with a variety of home-baked pies brought by friends and family. We also hand-built and painted the cornhole games, and our guest favors were mini bottles of whiskey with custom “J & C” bottle labels which we designed and printed at home.
To continue embracing this trend of personal touches, we decided to write our own ceremony and vows. They held a lot of meaning to us that way. And now for the best part... Jimmy made Courtney yet another beautiful ring. And while the engagement ring was uniquely crafted from hardwoods and turquoise, the wedding ring is out of this world... really. He hand-forged it from a meteorite.
TIPS FOR SOMEONE PLANNING A SUN VALLEY WEDDING?
Embrace the breathtaking place we live and find a wedding site that you will always remember.
WEDDING PLANNER: D.I.Y. wedding!
FLOWERS: We picked and dried wildflowers all summer for the bouquets and tables.
HAIR/MAKEUP/NAILS: Kelly Butler Bozzuto (she learned many incredible braid designs on race horses as a young girl).
DRESS/SHOES: Cynthia Vincent Dress / Cowgirl Boots
GROOMS ATTIRE: Frank & Oak Chambray Shirt & Chinos / Wool Tie / Ralph Lauren Chukkas
BRIDESMAIDS/GROOMSMENS ATTIRE: The bridesmaids wore unmatched bohemian lace dresses that were cream and white colored and cowgirl boots. The groomsmen wore navy chinos, unmatched plaid and stripe patterned chambray blue shirts, and chukkas.
EARRINGS/BOUTONNIERES: Feather earrings and boutonnieres made by Rory Mosman , aka The Feather Keeper.
MUSIC: The Sheep Bridge Jumpers and Captain Dano and the Nobodies.
FOOD: Backcountry BBQ by The Vagabond Chef.
DESSERT: Pie table filled with home-baked pies brought by friends and family. Pie pops by The Sweet Crumb.
INVITES: We designed and printed our own invites.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Tal Roberts: wedding photographer. Tessa Sheehan: photobooth photographer
VIDEOGRAPHER: Kiliii Fish
OFFICIANT: Dana Moloney