Home » An Organic Montana Wedding That Complemented the Ranch Landscape

An Organic Montana Wedding That Complemented the Ranch Landscape

by Staff

Once Devin Ashburn spotted Madison Shaffer on Instagram, he knew he was destined to be with her. A few years later, Devin manifested that dream when a mutual friend brought Madison to Devin’s fundraising dinner party in June of 2017. Just like Devin envisioned, they immediately hit it off and started seeing one another shortly after.

Three years later, Devin surprised Madison with a trip to Topanga to celebrate her birthday on July 28, 2020. After spending the afternoon soaking in a natural cedar tub, Devin asked Madison to dance with him. That’s when he dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring. Of course, the answer was “yes.”

After the couple enlisted Michelle Beller to photograph their weekend of events, their wedding vendor team assembled pretty seamlessly. Michelle introduced the duo to the Bash Please team and Cana Family, who they saw were the perfect fit for their planner and videographer. “Overall, we knew we wanted a team that had worked together before and had good chemistry, which I can say we definitely found,” the bride says. 

Soon after, they settled on a locale: The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana. Once the pair visited the resort in the spring of 2018, they knew it would be the best backdrop for their nuptials. “After a few days of exploring all they had to offer, from cattle drives to fly fishing to a full 10-course tasting menu, we left knowing we would find ourselves back there one day,” Madison shares. 

Sure enough, they headed back to the luxury ranch resort for their vow exchange, which took place on October 23, 2021. This time, they got to share the place with 110 of their favorite people. “We love to travel and visit all the unique places we can find, and one of the things that made our wedding so personal was to share a place like Paws Up with so many of our friends and family who would have likely never visited a place like this,” the bride notes. Read on to see how the couple elevated the venue’s natural scenery for their wedding weekend, planned by Bash Please and photographed by Michelle Beller.

Instead of following a specific theme, the couple envisioned a celebration that transported guests to a natural oasis. “We knew going into wedding planning that we wanted to gather all of our closest friends and family and take them to one of the many places we had visited in our years of travel,” the duo remarks. “We wanted to feel like we were living in a village of only our family and friends and to free everyone from the normal everyday life as we all escaped to Montana together.” To coordinate with the surrounding landscape, the duo chose an organic color scheme. They set the tone of their nuptials with Western-inspired invitations affixed with a feather.

The bride and groom introduced their guests to Montana with personalized welcome bags. “Some of our favorites were beanies with our dog’s ears on them, as well as custom printed bandanas with little designs relating to us and our wedding weekend,” they describe. “We often still see friends wearing this gear now, and it always brings us back to our special weekend.” They also threw in breath mints, a deck of playing cards, and a hangover kit for good measure.

To kick off their “Boots and Bolos” welcome dinner, 80 horses were herded from one field to another field, and on their way, they trotted past the wedding party. “Madison and I stood to the side as the large herd of horses stampeded by us, and it made for some great photos and a moment everyone talked about the rest of the weekend,” Devin recalls.

The couple leaned into the Western-themed dress code. Devin sported a gray stitched suit and brown leather cowboy boots, and Madison donned white pants, a long floral top with puff sleeves, and gold heels tied with a bow. They both topped off their looks with matching cowboy hats.

After the show, guests found their seating assignments on saddle escort cards. Brass lanterns, autumnal florals, and fur accents helped bring the theme to life.

Then, everyone dined at a banquet table, decorated with blue linens and lined with fall foliage, fruit accents, and candelabras featuring orange and yellow taper candles. Madison and Devin had each place set with gold flatware, chinoiserie china, brass mugs, striped napkins, and place cards suspended with a tassel.

The following day, Madison’s bridesmaids helped her slip on a silk off-the-shoulder ball gown by Lihi Hod. Since Madison had her eye on the designer before she started shopping for a dress, she decided to attend a sample sale at her local bridal boutique. “My maid of honor and I both started crying the moment I walked out of the dressing room and saw myself in the mirror,” she reminisces. After trying on just five dresses, she knew it was the one. “This dress emphasized all the best parts of my body and really made me feel like a woman who was about to get married,” Madison reveals. Not to mention, she thought it would complement the Montana setting.   

For accessories, the bride wore her friend’s diamond drop earrings as her “something borrowed,” a diamond tennis bracelet, and pearl-embellished leather sandals. She later added a pleated tulle veil by Danielle Frankel for the ceremony.

To prep her skin before the wedding, Madison used Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum religiously. It was the perfect primer for a natural makeup look that emphasized defined eyeliner and long lashes. “My goal was to feel like myself while accentuating my eyes,” she notes. She also decided to embrace her natural hair texture, which was pulled back in a half-up style.

Since the duo traded vows in the fall, Madison wanted to mirror the natural foliage around them. She carried a bundle of honey dijon roses and clematis in gold and white tones.

Devin suited up in a custom velvet Tom Ford getup with peak lapels, Napoleon cuff sleeves, water buffalo horn buttons, and a silk lining. He personalized his look with a black and gold IWC watch, a gift from his grandmother. His boutonniere, featuring snowberry and brown ferns, was also an extension of the landscape. 

It was definitely a moment as everyone watched us ride in on horseback in our wedding attire for the first time.

Madison and Devin have made many trips to the Blackfoot River since the first time they visited in 2018, so they wanted to add their biggest memory yet to that spot. “Having our first look in that same place on the river was truly special,” they express. After revealing their outfits for the day, they rode horses over to their families for another photoshoot. “It was definitely a moment as everyone watched us ride in on horseback in our wedding attire for the first time,” they reflect. 

Madison had her two maids of honor wear custom Brock Collection dresses for the occasion due to the brand’s “beautiful silhouettes,” “elegant fabrics,” and “timeless prints.” Devin’s best man stood by his side in a black Enzo Custom tuxedo. Another important member of the wedding party—their dog—carried out his ring bearer duties in a mustard velvet bow tie with a clasp that held their wedding bands.

The bride and groom held their ceremony in the middle of a ranch, surrounded by wide open space. A hedge of brown grasses and white Queen Anne’s lace and delphinium bordered the aisle, leading to an arch adorned with dahlias and autumnal branches. Guests watched on wooden benches draped with fur blankets.

Madison and her father descended the walkway to the soundtrack of “Sea of Love” by Cat Power. According to the couple, the moment brought everyone to tears.

The bride and groom’s family friend officiated the ceremony, which felt even more meaningful as he was celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary that weekend. For another sentimental touch, Madison and Devin exchanged personalized vows. “We vowed to be each other’s favorite person, to laugh with each other, go on adventures together, support each other through life’s tough moments, be proud of one another, grow old together, protect each other, and find new reasons to love one another every day,” they remember.

After sealing their marriage with a kiss, the newlyweds celebrated while “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac played. Following the ceremony, Madison and Devin relished the moment by taking portraits in the nearby woods.

The next phase of festivities took place in a tent with a show-stopping entrance. Guests walked down a path lined with textured grasses that led to two escort card displays that mirrored one another. Each was decorated with brass lanterns and whimsical florals.

“We wanted the reception to exude excitement,” they explain. To accomplish this goal, chandeliers and string lights with Edison bulbs covered in greenery transformed the ceiling. 

Each table was wrapped in navy velvet tablecloths, which made the runner of neutral taper candles and seasonal blooms likeJapanese anemones, foraged ash branches, and clematis pop. During dinner, guests dined on metallic plates and sipped from crystal glassware. The rock table numbers and iron tablescapes brought a touch of the Montana outdoors inside.

A two-tier white cake embellished with a branch-like design was displayed on a round table draped with mustard velvet linens.

Family and friends helped themselves to their choice of a whiskey sour with local huckleberry or an old fashioned, which were the bride and groom’s respective signature drinks. Their drink menu design and the accompanying florals nodded to the ranch setting.

For their first dance, Devin twirled Madison around the dance floor to “Morning Light” by Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys. “We found this song while dancing by a campfire with a random playlist going on in the background,” they recall. “When this song came on, we both felt that it would be the one.”

Before cutting the cake, the bride changed into a silk Monique Lhuillier dress with a cowl neck and a dramatic slit—the perfect ensemble for dancing.

The bride and groom even hired a tattoo artist to give their guests new ink, a permanent reminder of their nuptials.

To end the night, the newlyweds and their loved ones watched the sky light up with fireworks. From their lush ceremony arch to their autumnal-inspired centerpieces, Madison and Devin’s wedding wouldn’t have been possible without their wedding planner. “Start here first and find the right one who understands your vision and budget,” the couple advises. “Bash Please was our secret weapon, from conception to execution.” 

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