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GETTIN' HITCHED IDAHO STYLE
The setting was perfect for the marriage of Jessica Stoecklein to Rich DeFelice. The sky was blue and expansive, the sun was warm and the Three Sisters Mountain peaks rose in the distance above the reflection pond where the two exchanged their vows—at the picturesque setting of Walter and Shelley Stoecklein’s Three Sisters Ranch (named after the distant peaks and also in honor of their three daughters) in Mackay, Idaho. The window boxes and flower beds were overflowing with blooms started from seed by friend and Mackay local Julie Buckwalter over the winter. The ranch grounds had been perfectly maintained (and coaxed out of the damage caused by a wintering elk herd and a surprise 40-minute hail storm just six days prior to the wedding) by Mike Turzian and the Sun Valley Garden Center crew.
Bales of hay wrapped in burlap (something borrowed, as they were on loan from a local rancher and were reused after the ceremony) stood at the ready for the 150 guests and a horse-drawn carriage draped in flowers arranged by Tara Bella Flowers stood at the ready for the bride and her father.
Everything was set. It was perfect. And the wedding went off without a hitch (other than those provided by Three Sisters Ranch). “We have been on the ranch over 20 years and that night was the most spectacular light and sunset we have ever seen in all that time,” says Shelley Stoecklein, the bride’s mother, who adds that she feels it was a work of art aided by the spirit of Jessica’s grandmother and cousin who had both passed away the previous year. “I really feel it was their way of saying, ‘Even though we’re not there, we are with you.’”
A beautiful clear-span tent was set up to allow guests to experience the incredible Mackay sky and miniature wreaths of flowers floated on the pond with tiny lights that twinkled late into the Idaho night. The bride’s dress, a beautiful creation by Tomasina, a Pittsburgh designer who also designed her birdcage veil, was both stunning and functional. The designer came up with the idea of making the dress in two pieces, so that the heavy train could be detached completely, which allowed Jessica to dance with Rich and their guests late into the night. The detachable train also allowed Jessica to show off her hand-tooled and custom-made Rocketbuster boots from El Paso, Texas (her sister and Maid of Honor, Merideth, sported a custom-made pair by Rocketbuster as well).
The high alpine evenings can get chilly, so cozy, soft wraps were rolled up in a big basket as favors for the female guests and pre-made gift bags welcoming each guest to town had also included other essentials—flashlights, packets of natural bug repellent, (just in case), water (essential for hydration at altitude) and a box of locally-made Cowgirl Truffles and other local food specialties. In a nod to the Idaho locale and the Famous Potato state, the gift bags were crafted of burlap bags and hand stamped with a sponged brand from the Three Sisters Ranch.
Dancing & Matches: Craig Wolfrom / Food, Tent and Flowers: HillaryMaybery
“The wedding was special in every imaginable way because there was so much thought, time and detail put into every aspect of the day,” says Jessica, then adds that she was thrilled to be able to share the West with all their friends and family from the East Coast. There were activities all week—with guests staying at the Stoeckleins’ ranch in Mackay, a neighboring ranch, Wild Horse Creek Ranch, down the road toward Trail Creek Summit, and also in Sun Valley. Guests shared in the experience of the West, including a raft trip down the day stretch of the Salmon River with White Otter, fishing, golfing, enjoying the trails and scenic vistas of Sun Valley and Mackay, and an amazing Mexican-themed Welcome BBQ at Wild Horse Creek Ranch for nearly 133 guests that Judith McQueen pulled together on Friday night.
“Rich and I are both huge ‘foodies,’” says Jessica, “and we were so blessed to find Judith. Her menus were truly amazing.”
It was a week filled with activity, sunshine and new memories. And the evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display high across the deep Idaho night and above a tent that looked like it had been made of glass for a clear view towards the future.