On August 31, 2013, actress Kate Bosworth married writer-director Michael Joseph Polish in the Treasure State of Montana.
Their big day was all about the big sky of the West, where Victorian touches melded with western flair.
Luckily for couples in search of a western wedding, Kate and Michael invited Martha Stewart along for their Montana weekend, lending ideas and insight into recreating a wedding where the West won over all those in attendance.
In order to achieve Kate Bosworth’s Montana affair, we have come up with a few ideas for bringing a little cowboy elegance to your wedding day.
Make a Weekend of It
In true, relaxed western spirit, Kate and Michael decided to make a weekend of it for their friends and family. They centered their wedding day on various other events and parties to make for a long weekend. The four-day weekend consisted of a Mexican fiesta on the Thursday before the wedding, a rehearsal dinner hoedown on Friday, the wedding ceremony and reception on Saturday and a farewell breakfast on Sunday.
Couples looking to emulate Kate and Michael’s wedding will need to organize a wedding weekend, not merely a wedding day. Kate and Michael left their guests to their own devices on the ranch, but fly-fishing, horseback riding and hiking were always available. If you want to recreate this western wedding, guests will need to be able to kick up their boots at a number of activities and events for your wedding weekend.
Select a Western Location
Kate and Michael almost used their wedding location as a tie in for every element of their wedding weekend. The couple tied the knot at The Ranch at Rock Creek near Philipsburg, Montana. The property afforded the pair 6,600 acres of Western wilderness, complete with rolling hills, rivers, mountains and meadows. Kate and Michael exchanged vows not in an indoor space, but rather on a bluff looking out on the property’s mountain scenery. Kate told Martha Stewart Weddings that she was always drawn to wide open spaces and the big sky that the West brings.
To achieve Bosworth’s western location, couples should seek out properties that either function as ranches or are set up in a ranch style. These locations should also be private and rustic, two key elements for Kate and Michael’s wedding location. While the property had the acreage, the couple also sought a space that could accommodate their smaller wedding of 90 guests. For a truly western wedding in style and execution, couples should also narrow their sights on the geographic West such as Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and even California. Big skies, open spaces and mountain meadows should drive the couple’s wedding location. Some locations in the West similar to Kate and Michael’s wedding setting include the Lower Lake Ranch in Pine, Colorado and Old Glory Ranch in Wimberley, Texas.
Dresses to Impress
Kate wore an Oscar de la Renta satin strapless ball gown for the ceremony. With its long cathedral train, she kept the front of the dress simple. Brides seeking out a similar look should remember to keep the dress simple and light but also dramatic and cinematic at the same time. Another way to achieve Kate’s wedding day look is by changing into another dress for the reception. She wore a second dress for the reception with plenty of embellishments in the crystal and pearl department. In true Kate Bosworth fashion, her makeup and jewelry were timeless and simple.
For a western wedding, the sky is truly the limit in terms of what you want to wear. In Kate’s case, one dress wasn’t enough. If you are looking to change the feel from your ceremony to reception, two dresses might be one way to accomplish the task. However, brides should keep in mind those timeless yet simple elements such as lace or satin to stay true to the West when selecting their gowns.
Arrive in Style
For her walk down the aisle, Kate didn’t just saunter up to her groom. She rode up to the outdoor altar in a rustic horse drawn carriage. While a small detail, this decision evoked the sentiment of the Wild West. Couples with the West in mind for their big day should seek out properties that offer carriages or try hiring a separate vendor for the bride’s grand entry. Couples can even use horse drawn carriages to help transport guests to wedding locations if their wedding settings are far a part on a property.
Throw a Horseshoe Around The Décor
Throughout the Bosworth-Polish wedding weekend, the West was always present in the décor. For the rehearsal dinner, the couple used camp lanterns, votive candles, bandana napkins, horseshoes and wildflowers picked from the ranch to set the mood for the wedding day to follow. For the actual wedding reception décor, lace was added to the tables and menu cards for a more upscale western look. Floral arrangements were still kept loose and romantic as vines and candles adorned the ceiling.
Couples looking to mirror Kate and Michael’s wedding décor can keep their rehearsal dinner fun and whimsical with plenty of horseshoe detailing and bandana napkins. However, for the main act, literal western elements should be toned down to make way for more Victorian inspired touches. For example, the couple still kept their wedding day décor in keeping with the western spirit by adding lace to escort cards and loose roses to the cake. At the same time, the more literal western connections such as a made-to-look vintage map of Montana to act as the guestbook provided subtle Western charm without being overly in your face western. Couples can borrow the décor ideas from Kate and Michael such as the map guestbook or rustic metal vases of centerpeices. For the ceremony, you can turn programs into paper fans for those outdoor ranch affairs or even just kick off the western spirit through your invites and save the dates.
Make a Howdy of a Welcome
If you are trying to achieve a western wedding like Kate and Michael, you will need to greet your guests with a warm welcome. Whether your wedding will transport guests away for the weekend or not, your favors can reflect the spirit of the West and also your wedding location. In Kate and Michael’s case, they literally took the spirit of the West by handing out whiskey and bitters as a wedding favor. They also greeted their guests for the weekend with a welcome bag composed of burlap and filled with weekend essentials such as bug spray, trail mix and even engraved flasks. Couples can easily borrow this western welcome for guests and add their own touches to make it more personal to their wedding weekend.
What did you think of this Montana wedding? What western elements would you add? Share your ideas with us...