Maddie Hunt and Noah Archibald-Seiffer met over a dead body—seriously. “It was July 2014 and we were both starting medical school at the University of Utah,” Maddie remembers. “We were assigned to the same cadaver anatomy group during the first week of school. We met in a freezing, windowless, cinderblock basement anatomy lab that had more formaldehyde than love in the air.”
Neither was looking for a relationship, but fate had other plans. “We spent our lab sessions talking and laughing, learning how similar our senses of humor were and how much we enjoyed each other’s company. We gradually became study partners, then friends. In October 2014, we made our relationship official.” She continues: “We studied together, stressed together, and failed and succeeded together. In such a competitive atmosphere, we championed each other every step of the way.” In June 2018, Maddie and Noah made a cross-country move together to start their residencies in New York City.
“The day he received his first paycheck as a doctor, Noah started saving money for a ring,” Maddie shares. He also began planning a “quintessentially New York” proposal. On August 11, 2019, he dropped to one knee in Central Park.
The couple shares a mutual love for Idaho, as both spent many summers in Sun Valley during childhood. “Long before we were engaged, we knew [we would get married] in Sun Valley,” Maddie says. “It is a small town full of bookstores, coffee shops, beautiful hiking and biking trails, and fields of wildflowers. It was also famously frequented by Ernest Hemingway, who spent the final years of his life in Sun Valley. Our mutual love of Hemingway was one of the first things we bonded over in medical school, so it could not have been a more perfect fit.”
Still, they wanted to incorporate their newfound love for New York City into their celebration. “When I was searching for inspiration photos for a wedding out West, we saw a lot of flower crowns and guests sitting on bales of hay, and that just isn’t us,” Maddie says. “Our vision was ‘Mountain Metropolitan.’ We wanted our guests to feel what being Westerners means to us—the sunsets, the mountains, the sense of adventure. At the same time, Sun Valley has a very storied, Hollywood kind of vibe stemming from the 1940s when celebrities would come to ski and relax. We wanted to combine those two feelings: the natural beauty of the West with a little metropolitan big-city glamour.”
They had all their vendors—the duo pegged primarily woman-owned businesses from all across the country—booked by the time Covid hit; and, being doctors, they knew they had to act fast. “We moved our wedding really, really early—the first week of April 2020. People thought we were crazy and or very pessimistic, but the truth was that we were both seeing the sickest patients we had ever seen come through the hospital doors in a constant wave,” Maddie says. “We knew this would not be over for a very long time.” With the help of their planner, they rescheduled all their vendors for August 2021.
Even with their foresight, “mentally moving forward after we changed our date was hard for me,” Maddie says. “As you start to plan you get this vision in your head of what your wedding day will look like, and after we moved it, it was like, ‘is this even going to happen at all?’ Moving forward despite the uncertainty was hard.”
But, happen it did—and the results were even better than they could have imagined. Read on to see all the pretty details of their big day, planned by Sam Gray of Sprout Design and photographed by Katherine Marchand Weddings.
“Paper was a huge [element] that tied our event together,” Maddie says. “I am a lifelong collector and lover of all things paper, and one of the ways Noah and I express care for each other is through handwritten cards.” They turned to Shindig Bespoke to design everything from the save-the-dates to a custom wrapping paper for the bride and groom’s day-of gifts to each other.
The suite started with a custom toile that was used as a repeated motif throughout the wedding (and can be seen here on the envelope lining). “From far away it looks like any vintage-appearing toile, but when you get close you see that there are little nods to who we are as a couple: the state bird of Idaho is sitting on a stethoscope, Ernest Hemingway’s face is hidden in there, and there is even a potato! It was so us.”
“As a general rule, I didn’t want to do anything for the day-of wedding look that didn’t feel like me in real life,” Maddie says. That meant short nails polished with a neutral white, fresh and dewy natural makeup with individual lashes for a hint of glam, and a timeless updo to combat the mountain breeze. She used the wedding to justify a splurge on scent, picking Byredo’s Gypsy Water. “It has woodsy notes of pine, sandalwood, amber, and fresh citrus notes on the top. It felt perfect for a mountain wedding.”
Sareh Nouri’s Dakota gown was the second dress Maddie tried on. “But at the time, I thought it was too simple,” she remembers. “I kept going to bridal salons in New York, trying dress after dress, and getting more and more confused.” Finally a relative, scrolling through the photos on Maddie’s mom’s phone, pointed out the obvious: “Wow, now that is Maddie. She is so stunning in that.” The bride says, “I came to my senses, went back to try it on again and realized then that it was simple, but it was also very me. It has a timeless silhouette. Most of all, I knew Noah would love it because I looked like me in it.”
She paired the look with a hair comb and lace veil, a matching mother-daughter Swarovski bracelet, and satin cat slippers by Charlotte Olympia—“a nod to our kitty, Miss B.”
Noah wore a navy shawl lapel tuxedo with a few special accessories: engraved black cufflinks with their monogram and wedding date, and Shinola’s Canfield Sport watch, gifted from Maddie. “It was engraved with the quote ‘I am always in love,’ which is by Ernest Hemingway,” she says.
Everything became so real: The waiting faded into memory and the realization of our wedding hit him like a ton of bricks.
“Like so many couples in 2020 and 2021, the anticipation to our wedding day had a much longer build-up than expected,” Maddie says. “For the full year [of our postponement], we cannot even estimate how many times we pictured our special moment; it almost began to seem more like a fantasy than a real event on the horizon.” She continues: “When Noah finally turned around and saw me in my dress, everything became so real. The waiting suddenly faded into memory and the realization of our wedding finally happening hit him like a ton of bricks—thus the knee buckle. The joy we both felt in that moment was unparalleled, and one of our favorite memories.”
“For the women, I felt strongly that the emphasis should be on their faces, not the dresses, so I had all seven bridesmaids and the maid of honor in neutral shades: champagne, warm tan, pinkish beige,” Maddie says. “The dresses were long, and everyone got to choose the cut of their own dress. They looked great together, and the simplicity allowed the emphasis to be on their faces and the beautiful florals.” Groomsmen were in sharp navy suits that complemented Noah’s tux.
“I remember telling our florist, Emily at Rust & Thistle, that I wanted the florals to feel like the last breath of summer: peachy tones, creamy ivories, tan, sage,” Maddie says. “I wanted them to feel like they seamlessly blended into the natural wildflowers and foliage in Idaho.” Two statement flower arrangements framed the altar and blended in with the natural arch created by the trees.
The couple has a history of letter writing to each other. “It has always been a way for us to express exactly how important each other is in words, and one of the ways we like to communicate our love for each other on special occasions,” Maddie says. So, it only made sense to translate that into writing their own vows. “My vows included how I love doing so-called boring life things with Noah; his vows talked about savoring the quiet, everyday moments together just as much as the big adventures—that love is built on these ‘in-between’ moments.” He included a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “I love her, and it is the beginning and the end of everything.”
“After we said I do, the quartet started to play ‘Wildest Dreams’ as we recessed down the aisle—and at that moment, the sun came out,” Maddie recalls. “It was looking a little threatening and overcast for much of the ceremony. You can see this pivotal shift in the photos, where all of the sudden it is super bright and sunny as we recess down the aisle.”
“We didn’t want anything to feel cookie-cutter,” Maddie says. “Everything—from the photo booth to the seating chart to the venue itself—we wanted to tie in to family traditions and who we are as a couple.” Custom Coke bottles were just one way they did this. “One of the very first trips we ever took together was to Los Angeles. We stopped at this little gas station and bought two Cokes and sipped them on the beach together. I remember thinking, ‘Can life get any better than this?’ So ,we ordered a bunch of Cokes in glass bottles with our names on them and put them in a wheelbarrow filled with ice and decorated with flowers.” Other signature drinks included a Sage Julep and Huckleberry Old Fashioned.
“Each table was named for a different fly fishing fly,” Maddie says. “Fly fishing is a very special pastime in the Hunt family, so we definitely needed to incorporate it into our day. My dear friend Lauren hand watercolored each fly onto paper, which we then framed on each table.” For the corresponding seating chart, they affixed actual lures from a local fly fishing store onto escort cards. “On top of the acrylic seating chart, I wrote in calligraphy ‘Cast a line and catch your seat,’ a little fishing pun.”
“You walk into the tent and it is very light and airy,” Maddie reminisces. “Four wooden chandeliers are wrapped with greenery.” Dual large farm tables featured greenery runners, and a dozen rounds had peach-hued floral centerpieces. “The florals had a very natural, whimsical shape that didn’t look too perfect; there was some movement to them,” Maddie says. Rattan chargers, sage napkins with brass napkin holders, and personalized pearlescent coasters completed the scene.
“My dad gave a dynamite speech; the entire audience was laughing and crying,” Maddie remembers. “It was just very true to who I am and who my dad raised me to be.”
Maddie is a passionate self-taught baker, and has made wedding cakes for nearly a dozen of her friends. “When it came time to discuss wedding cakes, I knew exactly the kind of cake I wanted: something very simple, understated, but incredibly delicious. It also had to be gluten-free, since Noah has celiac disease,” Maddie says. “I made the cakes the week of the wedding at my parent’s house in Utah, froze them, then drove them to Idaho. Once in Idaho, I made the fillings, frosted, and stacked them. I could not have done it without my bridesmaids. They sifted powdered sugar for me, ran to the store last-minute for me, and the morning of the wedding, drove me with the cake on my lap to the venue where we delivered it safely!”
She went with a naked cake design for two reasons: its aesthetic simplicity and ingredients. “I find that after a rich dinner, people just don’t want all that buttercream and it just goes to waste.” Four different flavors included lemon poppyseed, cherry pie, and almond vanilla cake with sour-cherry filling swirled throughout.
An acoustic version of Semisonic’s “Closing Time” was the couple’s choice for their first dance. They had the original version of the song as the closer for the night. “The dance floor was packed until the very last minute,” Maddie remembers.
“Don’t forget to pinch each other,” Maddie advises, looking back. “By that, we mean literally look at each other, and look around the room, and look at all of these people from all walks of your life who came out to celebrate this with you. Never again will you get to have all these people from so many corners of the world gathered in one place. So pinch each other, take it in, and live it up.”