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Category: Weddings


Big Sky Love

We love having a hand in life-changing moments – whether it’s riding a horse for the first time or saying, “I do” surrounded by falling aspen leaves. This past holiday season, we had a chance to welcome two incredible people to our banks and get to know them during an important time in their relationship. Katie and Erik were kind enough to share their story with us and our community. We are honored to be a part of their very special “cowboy Christmas.” 


A Match Made in Miami

We met about a year ago. It was Christmas 2017 and we attended a mutual friend’s wedding in Miami. Erik is a Miami born and raised man and I’m an NYC girl. We met and danced the night away. While we both were there to celebrate the love of a friend, we had no idea what an impact that night would have on our lives…

Though we sent a few messages after the wedding and discussed a possible meeting in the spring, as often happens, our lives got busy over the holidays. It wasn’t until two months later that Erik reached out to me. It was a simple text about an amazing grilled cheese sandwich he’d just had.  He remembered I love grilled cheese sandwiches and he thought of me and wanted to say, “Hi.”


A grilled cheese in the Granite Lodge. We always knew that cheese had the power to bring people closer together!

That simple message sparked everything to proceed. We couldn’t talk enough, and I never wanted our conversations to end. Over the phone, we solidified our love for each other. Though we’d only shared a few dances in a room full of people, we took the time to get to know, understand and love each other. It was like being “pen pals,” an old school term, but very powerful in today’s modern world. It’s amazing to have the chance to get to know someone from afar.


A Long Distance Love Story

After a few conversation about seeing each other, I just knew I couldn’t wait to see him and booked a trip to Miami in March. From that trip on, we had to be together. Though long distance is hard, we didn’t care. We were going to make it work.

We promised to be very present in each other’s lives even from a far. We also agreed to see each other about every two weeks and we did. There wasn’t anything that could stop us. I’m not sure either of us believed in the adage, “once you know, you know,” but we were both so sure this was IT.

Fast forward – In September, I moved to Miami. The first challenge was blending our fur baby family. I had one dog and he had three dogs and a cat. We ended up getting a new puppy together, as well. All of a sudden we became a family of 8! There were definitely times of adjustment, but nothing we couldn’t conquer with love. 

We decided pretty early on in the relationship that we wanted to have a Cowboy Christmas, and that’s where The Ranch comes into play. We researched A LOT of places and this one seemed the best and something we had to do. Needless to say, we were beyond impressed and in love with The Ranch at Rock Creek. Little did I know how much The Ranch would become a part of our love story.


A Mile-High Milestone

It was our fourth day there and we went on our second horseback ride of the week. Chelsea took us out again and all seemed ‘typical’ until we walked up to a very romantic setting on the creek. It was a fire pit, wooden benches, blankets, flowers and champagne. Chelsea sold it to us as a new romance package they were testing out. (Those who know me know I’m so gullible.)

I started to take video/photos of the beautiful set up and as I turned around, my life forever changed. He was telling me how much I meant to him and how much he loved me as he was bending down on one knee. I kind of froze in excitement and said, “YES!” The easiest ‘yes’ I’ve ever said in my life.

We enjoyed the champagne and went back to the Granite Lodge to celebrate. The staff had turned the Great Room into a beautiful setting for two where we could enjoy our engagement and each other.  The rest of the night was a wonderful blur. Wine/bourbon tasting, chef’s tasting menu, bowling, and we were able to share our joy with some of our favorite staff. 

We will forever and always love The Ranch at Rock Creek. It’s was the perfect place to begin our engagement and we couldn’t be happier with where life has taken us. Onto the next adventure! We just closed on our first house and I started a new job. So many things are ahead of us and we are beyond excited. One thing we know is that we will be back and can’t wait to visit our spot on the creek.

Much love-
Katie and Erik 



See how we plan weddings, elopements and other milestones in our unique setting and with Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star service. Get inspired for Valentine’s Day with a sample romantic itinerary.

Category: Weddings


Wedding in a Winter Wonderland at Laurie Arons’ Masterclass

As the forecast hints of snow, we’re starting to think about our exciting winter season. This year we’re offering three new special offers for leisure travelers. However, we don’t want to ignore a very special kind of travel to The Ranch—destination weddings.

We’ve had the privilege to work with Laurie Arons, one of the world’s premier wedding planners, for the past two years. Laurie has been featured on Vogue’s “The Ultimate Wedding Planner Master List,” and we have the pictures to prove that she deserves her title as a “master.” In 2015, we did a Q&A with Laurie after her spring Wedding Planner Masterclass. This week, we welcome her as a guest blogger as she showcases her experiences at the 2016 winter Wedding Planner Masterclass. 



Planning the Ultimate Winter Wedding by Laurie Arons

As a wedding planner, I’ve long been inspired by the beauty of winter weddings—so cozy, intimate and romantic.

Masterclass attendees enjoy a farm-to-table feast during their winter wedding welcome dinner
Masterclass attendees enjoy a farm-to-table welcome dinner in the Blue Canteen. Photo by Jose Villa.

The past two winters I’ve spent at The Ranch at Rock Creek opened my eyes to the potential of a winter affair where guests get to snuggle by the fire and warm their hearts when it’s cold outside.

Guests to The Ranch at Rock Creek can enjoy a roaring fire in the Sweet Grass glamping cabinSweet Grass Canvas Cabin – A three-room glamping tent open year-round. Photo by Jose Villa. 

Read more…

Category: Weddings


Masterful Destination Weddings

How well the words destination and wedding fit together—one describes the culmination of a journey and the other the exciting start of a new one. We were thrilled to host some of the top destination wedding experts during Laurie Arons’ Wedding Planner Masterclass in April. Laurie Arons Special Events is a San Francisco-based business that has managed over 600 events, including tailored destination weddings. Laurie and her Masterclass team (see below), challenged the idea that “nothing’s perfect” by sharing their orchestrated refinement and insider knowledge with talented colleagues and attendees. They turned the rustic beauty of The Ranch at Rock Creek into a Western story book romance. We’re pleased to share some of the Instagram highlights here, although we highly recommend you delve deeper by searching #weddingplannermasterclass for yourself.


Q & A with Laurie Arons

While she was here, we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to pick Laurie’s brain for our 2015 brides and grooms. Laurie answered some of the pressing questions that arise when planning a Montana destination wedding.

We hope you enjoy these masters in their element: Laurie Arons, Mindy Rice Design, Casa de Perrin, Amber Moon Design, Curlicue Designs, Montana Party Rentals, Elan Event Rentals, Jose Villa Photography, Paula LeDuc, Barn Relic, Blush Roses, Joel Serrato, Style Me Pretty Weddings, Geraldine Magazine, Czar Press, Creative Candles and Fellini Salon.

Laurie Arons Masterclass included expertise from renowned wedding photographer Jose Villa and instructions on staging shotsLeft: @pitbullsposies captures master photographer Jose Villa at work. Right: @smpweddings with the results.

What wedding trends do you expect to see in 2015?

Gold has been the metallic accent color of choice for the last couple years, but for the Wedding Planner Masterclass, I wanted to focus on a metal I think will start to inspire a new trend in weddings—pewter. This metal works beautifully with more rustic weddings because of its muted tone, and is more unexpected than gold or silver.

Both the welcome dinner and the formal dinner incorporated pewter through Mindy Rice’s design and Casa de Perrin’s pewter chargers and flatware.  I also loved the pewter letterpress ink on the printed materials.

Wedding details by Mindy Rice design augmented the natural beauty of the bride, groom and Montana landscape during the Wedding MasterclassLeft:@lauriearons bridal shoot. Right: @mindyricedesign‘s inventive boutonnieres with found objects.  Read more…

Category: Weddings


Event Barn Raising: Grand Opening

An Event Barn in Big Sky Country

Although the sky in Montana takes center stage, barns are an essential part of the western horizon. Barns dot the countryside in shades of weathered gray and red. Some have fallen into disrepair, but it isn’t uncommon to see an old barn preserved or turned into an event barn by new generations with a steadfast loyalty to preserving the past.

Often billed as “rustic,” a barn was actually the original rural luxury. It cost more than a home and stored a ranch’s wealth, in the form of livestock, equipment and feed. Barns were painted to seal them from the elements, but the use of red paint was primarily for effect, to showcase a family’s prosperity. It kept horses and cattle safe and warm, stored hay, often in an upper loft, and provided a large space for people to gather.

The New York Times recently published a story about an event barn and the rise of barn weddings, describing some celebrations as disruptive. In Montana, it is a resurgence, since the barn was always a place of safety and community celebration. In our remote setting, a barn is nestled far away from other homesteads. A Montana barn wedding can be as private or inclusive as the family desires.

barn-weddings

According to Chere Jiusto and Christine W. Brown, in Hand Raise: The Barns of Montana, “Barns are an emblem of the importance of rural communities and family enterprise. They remind us that with spirit and ingenuity we can live in balance with the land, that we can support our neighbors who work hard and long to bring food to our tables, and that we can celebrate the bounty of their efforts. Those much-loved barns are an essential part of our cultural landscape.” Read more…