Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Montana Made Wedding Fair - Vendor Blog

If you're reading this, odds are you've registered to be a vendor at our upcoming wedding fair!  November 5th at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds, to be exact.  We're so happy to have you on board!  Here's the deal:

  • If you've signed up to be a participating vendor, then you've agreed to help promote our show.   Our marketing budget this first year is small - so the success of this show depends on you, as a vendor, sharing our show information!  Nowadays, people need to see something 10 times before they remember it.  So please post the wedding fair information, and through sheer numbers, we'll stick out in bride's minds!
  • Please share on both your business pages AND your personal page.  The crowd that follows each is typically completely different!
  • Remember - we are also having a bridal consignment event as a portion of our wedding fair.  Consider sending an email to past clients (even clients from 2+ years ago!) to remind them that they can sell any leftover decor, linens, dresses, etc. at the Bridal Haus!  Visit for more information!
  • HAVE NO FEAR!  We've made the social media posting easy on you.  We've created Facebook posts FOR you!  You just need to post them a few times a week.  Click HERE to view the posts.  You could easily schedule them (learn how to schedule a post HERE).  We would LOVE it if you were able to sponsor a few posts too, but we understand that's not in everyone's marketing budget.
  • We have a vendor handbook, which was made as a guide to help you know what our wedding fair plans & rules are.  Click HERE to read that handbook.
  • We have a Q&A meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 29th, at 6pm at the Stevensville Library, to help answer your questions about the wedding fair, and to review the handbook.  We will also make a video recording of the workbook information review, so if you don't attend, we'll email you a copy, so you can know what's expected.
  • Stumped on booth ideas?  We've created a Pinterest board (click HERE) to give you some inspiration!
Any time you want to review the vendor information, you can see it on our website at:

We will be assigning booths in the coming weeks - we wanted to wait to assign booths until we knew all the participating vendors, so we didn't put like vendors near on another.  We also wanted to accommodate any special requests we received about vendor placement.  These assignments will be announced in an email on November 1st.  Note: all booth spaces are the same size.

Thanks so much and we look forward to a great show!  As always, if you have questions, you can reach out to the 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Planning a Montana Destination Wedding: Step 1

Well, it's official!  The papers are signed and Ashlee & Jesse have accepted the prize for their free Montana Destination Wedding!  As a planner, my first step once someone books me is having an initial consultation.  Because so many things were already established in advance of this wedding (being a giveaway and all), a lot of the "normal" things I would talk over with a client needed to be tweaked.  Here's what we're doing instead:
  • Our initial consultation pretty much reviewed the budget line by line, to explain to Ashlee & Jesse what was included and what would be additional, if they decided to add on.
  • We now know their color scheme is blush & navy <3
  • Ashlee's tastes are described as "elegant and vintage" in style, whereas our giveaway is very rustic.  So we've been working on ways to give her what she wants without adding additional costs to her.
  • The wedding planning workbook is in the mail to Ashlee!
  • Her Pinterest board for inspiration have begun (you can see the board HERE)
  • Her 2-D tablescapes have been updated to her color scheme
  • and her invitation ideas are in the process of getting updates to meet their color ideas and style preferences.
  • All the participating vendors have been re-contacted with the winner's information, and we're locking in contracts for all the items we've rented.
Wedding planning doesn't need to be stressful.  As a planner, we know what to attack first to keep someone on track, and on budget.  In this example, it's been about two months, and our "free" wedding is pretty much planned, with minimal stress to the bride & groom.  Now we just get to talk about small details and custom tailoring items to Ashlee & Jesse's wants.  Below are some images of what Ashlee & Jesse and I have been working on (and just part of what's included with our full service package)!

A layout of the event venue, which shows where each part of the wedding will take place.

A map of the layout inside the event tent, to scale.

The 2-D table scape that Events by Autumn creates for each client

Ceremony Mood Board

Cocktail Hour Mood Board

Reception Mood Board

Floral Design Mood Board

Involving Animals in your Wedding | Practice Makes Perfect

Alright folks, this is a topic that needs much discussion.  Everyone loves their pets.  And more often than not, they want to involve the animals in the wedding day.  Here are some things you'll want to consider before committing:

1.  What is Your Animal's Temperament?
If you have a naturally anxious animal, please consider how a large crowd will affect the pet.  Just imagine how YOU feel getting up in front of a crowd of people.  You can't expect a shy or timid animal to walk down the aisle on its own.  Also beware, if your dog has the tendency to get "snappy" if it's stressed, this is NOT an animal to bring to a wedding.  Only the most laid back, docile, well behaved animals should be part of the wedding.  Even THEIR behavior may become unpredictable with that many people in one place.

2.  Animals in Guest Rooms
Just as we said in #1, an animal who is under pressure can act different.  We're heard horror stories of brides leaving their pets in the guest rooms after the ceremony, and the dog rips up all the pillows.  Know your animal, and come prepared.  Bring a kennel for the guest room, toys, food, and water.  Help the animal feel comfortable in an unfamiliar place.

3.  Who is Watching Your Pet?
Think about it - you'll be busy on your wedding day.  You're getting hair & makeup done, taking photos, talking to guests, and dancing.  Where is your pet going to be?  Make sure you've found someone who will "pet sit" the animal until it's necessary for the pet to be involved.  This shouldn't be someone in the wedding party, typically.  It should be someone the pet already knows, loves & trusts, whose sole responsibility it is to care for the animal that day.

4.  Grooming
You are NOT brushing your dog or horse in your wedding dress.   Just don't do it.  Pay someone, or ask a friend to make sure the animal is prepped and ready for the big day!  The added responsibility of having to make sure your pet looks its best is just another stressor you don't need.

5.  Practice Makes Perfect
Have your dog walk down a practice aisle on it's own.  Put a giant fake floral collar on your dog.  When you put real flowers around its neck on the wedding day, it may hate them otherwise!  Also, ride your horse in a long white skirt, which swooshes in the breeze.  Training an animal is a big part of having success on a wedding day!  No one wants to get bucked off their horse because the dress touching its behind spooked it.  There's plenty of YouTube videos out there.  Don't be a YouTube video.

6.  Do Not Tie a Ring to the Dog.
Just as you shouldn't entrust a wedding band to a toddler ring bearer, you shouldn't trust an animal with that responsibility either.  Tie fake rings to the dog, if they're going to be your ring bearer.  Have the best man actually holding the rings at the altar.  This ensures the dog doesn't run off with your investment tied to its neck.

Make a wise choice when it comes to your pets.  If you can't commit to 1-6 above, you might want to consider leaving the animals at home on the wedding day.  And most importantly, have a sense of humor.  If your pet gets nervous and poos at the altar, it will be something you'll laugh about for years to come.  They're animals, and although you may practice till you're blue in the face, you need to just enjoy their company on the big day, no matter what happens!

photo courtesy of Stella Kelsie Photography
Photo Courtesy of Stella Kelsie Photography

5 Tips for your Engagement Session

We love it when our members submit blog posts to us!  Here's a wonderful post from Stella Kelsie Photography about engagement photos.  If you like her suggestions, we strongly urge you to follow her blog for more insight.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Styled Shoots create unrealistic expectations

We'd like to set the record straight.

Nearly every photo you see of wedding decor, on Pinterest is from a styled shoot.


Even if it's a photo FROM a real wedding, it was probably staged or styled to look that way!  What your wedding day will look like is incredibly different.  The small details you put into the day will blend into the overall picture.  Your venue will seem huge and your details will feel like they suddenly don't matter.  But they DO matter!  Your wedding day is all about the individual guest experience.  We love that people put time and effort into those small details, and the photographers will capture those details in a very flattering way.

Let's say you choose red as a wedding color, and the photographer walks by a flowering bush with red blooms at the ceremony site. They may pause to take a photo of that, because that detail was a part of your day, and relevant to your story.  You didn't even have to put that plant there.  That's part of what a photographer does - find the small pieces of your wedding details, to document the day.

Our best example comes from  She was doing a maternity shoot for a client, and chose a location which (to the naked eye), was less than ideal.  There was a house to one side, and an overgrown vacant lot to the other, and a road running right in front.  But her final product was completely stunning.  Take a look below!  A photographer's job is to crop out the unflattering parts of the wedding day, and give a small glimpse into the beauty that was there.

So we just want brides to understand that when you look at small details on Pinterest, and you want your wedding to look like that, it CAN, but only through the eye of a great photographer.  When your wedding day comes and your 40'x80' tent looks so huge, and the $3,000 you spent on flowers doesn't nearly have the dramatic effect you hoped it would. . . DO NOT PANIC.  Your photographer will make that tent look absolutely amazing, and give you great memories to take home.

Involving children in your wedding

If you're marrying into a family with children, it's very important to include the children in the wedding day. There are all sorts of ideas on Pinterest to include the children in the ceremony, from sand ceremonies, to special presentations ( but what about the rest of the day?  Here's a quick list we've compiled:

  • Let the children escort you down the aisle
  • Have the children make a special presentation (whether it's speaking, singing a song, or giving a gift)
  • Have them sit with you at the head table
  • Let them help as ushers
  • Make your oldest daughter or son your maid of honor or best man
  • Let them give a speech at the reception
  • Make sure they get flowers just as special family members would (boutonniere/bouquet)
  • For the girls, let them get their hair & makeup done, and get them a special dress
  • For the boys, dress them up like the wedding party, so they feel included

No matter what, make sure the children are included on your wedding day, and are included in plenty of photos as well.  Giving a special gift and speech TO the children at the reception is a nice touch to publicly welcome them into this new blended family.  After all, you're marrying more than just the bride or groom.  The children are a major part of this new adventure!

Don't forget the wedding fonts!

Sometimes it's mind blowing how many brides don't even think about fonts on their wedding day.  It's FREE and one of the easiest ways to add personalization!  Think about just how many items with a wedding have fonts on them:
  • Invitations
  • Programs
  • Escort Cards
  • Place Cards
  • Food Menus
  • Buffet Labels
  • Bar Menu
  • Favors
  • Welcome Baskets
  • Thank you Notes
  • There's even more than this list. . .
So why not personalize it all and use the same fonts throughout?  We suggest picking a combination of a script & print font for your invitations.  That way, it's easy to translate into all the possible applications you'll need.  There are a bunch of free fonts available online, but one of our favorite sites is:

You can pay for fonts too, but if that's the case, any vendors who are making their own signs won't want to pay for the font also.  So picking a free font is easiest for all to use.

Picking the right wedding colors

Do you remember the color wheel from art class in 8th grade?  When you're an artist, a lot of things you do depend on knowing & understanding the color wheel and all its parts.  Below, we'll give you a color lesson, and hopefully it helps you choose a great wedding color combination!

1.  Picking the right Hue, Shade, Tint, and Tone for the time of year & combination of choices: 
  • Hue is the pure color.  As is.
  • Shade is the hue + black.
  • Tint is the hue + white
  • and Tone is the hue + grey

Let's use red as an example.  Depending on the time of year, different hues, tints, tones & shades would work best!  Here are some ideas using red!
  • Spring: Blush, Rose
  • Summer:  Red, Cherry, Candy, Crimson
  • Fall: Berry, Blood, Brick, Sangria, Apple
  • Winter:  Merlot, Wine, Jam, Mahogany, Currant, Garnet

2.  Understanding Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Colors
If the venue is surrounded by fresh yellow flowers, a purple wedding would really give some contrast (because it's a complementary color)!  Whereas if the venue has orange flowers, and blue wedding would really pop.  

3. Monochromatic Weddings can be beautiful too!
Let's say you want everything to be in shades of blue.  Just keep the hue of blue the same, and add more white or black to the color, and it will achieve a true monochromatic effect.

4.  You LOVE a certain color
Then go for it!  But, for the best effect, make sure you've picked a color that's definable.  For example, Tiffany Blue isn't called Tiffany Blue to everyone.  It can be defined as Robin's Egg Blue, or even Teal to others.  Read tip 5 to help define your color choices!

5. Explaining wedding colors to everyone else
When you choose a color for your wedding, sometimes our favorite thing to do is head to the Home Depot paint aisle and pick up free color swatches.  You can see your color choices right next to each other, and get a feel for if they'll jive or not!  Bring those with you when selecting bridesmaids dresses, choosing invitation envelopes, ordering flowers, etc.  When you say "orange," that can be tangerine orange, peach, or coral.  So having this swatch is most helpful when trying to explain a color!

6.  When in doubt, consult the internet.  Just type in "wedding color combinations" and a million ideas will pop up.  If you've selected one main color, but aren't sure what else goes with it, this can be a big help!


Current trends & your wedding

So, you're in love with the Boho trend.  You like macrame, large floral crowns, barn wood tables and tapered candles.  You're not alone.  But what happens when you look back on your wedding photos in 30 years?  Will you cringe at what you thought was once beautiful?  Think of the wedding dresses that were so popular in the 80's.  And the tulle.  Oh, the tulle.  That was the trend in those days.

Weddings are a lot like fashion trends - you'll be completely in love with something one day, and then years down the road, wonder why you thought that ever looked good.  Keep that in mind when designing your wedding.  If you're into fashion or current trends, then embrace it!  But if fashion isn't your thing, and you rock a style of your own, show it.  Either way, your wedding is an event that should reflect YOUR style.  Personalize it however you see fit.

Not everyone wants, or can afford the most popular wedding styles.  But you can certainly pick and choose what elements reflect you as a couple.  Just because blogs publish photo after photo of magazine quality weddings, you shouldn't add details just because a blog told you it was cool.  Make sure you're adding elements because they make sense to your style and your budget.  Happy planning!

Floral Crown Image from Style Me Pretty

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Announcing our $20,000 Wedding Giveaway Winners!

First of all, we wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who registered to win our wedding giveaway!  It was delightful to see the sheer amount of people who were hoping to get married in our beautiful Bitterroot Valley!  We would also like to send a huge thanks to Destination Missoula, who put together the terms of the giveaway, promoted the event for us, and selected our winner.  And of course, this wouldn't have been possible without the support of the Bitterroot Wedding Association members who donated their services, giving one deserving couple the wedding of their dreams!

Without further ado, we'd like to introduce Ashlee & Jesse Murphree!  Their story is absolutely incredible, and we're honored to plan their wedding.

Ashlee and Jesse went to high school together, although they didn't know each other very well in those days.  After graduation, 9/11 took place, and Jesse enlisted in the Army.  While serving in Afghanistan, his humvee was hit with an anti-tank mine.  He sustained life threatening injuries, including traumatic brain injury and the loss of his legs.  Ashlee told us that he actually died 6 times before becoming stabilized in the hospital.

When he had recovered enough to travel, he would make another life-altering trip - this time, to his home state of Colorado.  He met up with a group from his High School, who wanted to thank him for his service.  Ashlee was attending the event.  She says once they reconnected that night, they were inseparable!  It just seemed natural that Ashlee would step into the role of caretaker, and that allows them to live a relatively independent life.

You may have noticed that they share the same last name.  The photo above is from the night that Jesse proposed to Ashlee.  But, as you can imagine Jesse has had to go through incredible amounts of surgery and rehabilitation from his injuries.  If you're a married couple, it's helpful when working with insurance & the V.A.  So Jesse and Ashlee went to the court house to make their marriage official.

That being said, they never had a true "wedding," and that's one thing that they still wanted to do.  Jesse was actually born in Montana, though he didn't grow up here.  He still has family in the state, so Ashlee thought it might be fun to try to win our wedding giveaway.   Jesse talks frequently about Montana with Ashlee, and she has never made a reason to visit.  Well, we've certainly given her a reason now!  :)

Jesse has made incredible progress with his rehabilitation and was actually walking on prosthetic legs for a period of time.  But additional surgeries were required, and unfortunately, one of those surgeries left him with even more nerve damage to his legs.  He is currently in a wheelchair, but is still working hard at rehabilitation.  Ashlee said he had been looking for a reason or a goal to help him work towards walking again.  He now has a date in mind, of October 15th - the day of his wedding - where he wants to walk Ashlee down the aisle.

We are so thrilled to have this deserving couple as the winner of our giveaway, and we'll be posting more about their planning progress and of course, we'll document the wedding too!  We encourage you to follow our blog, as we help them plan their dream wedding in Montana!

And again, special thanks to our participating vendors:

  • Bitterroot Wedding Association
  • Destination Missoula
  • Hamilton Party Rentals
  • Johanna B Photography
  • Events by Autumn
  • A Moveable Feast
  • Purcell Ranch
  • Oh So Chic Boutique
  • Vintage 44
  • Bitterroot Floral Shop
  • Badlander Beverage Catering
  • Kalyn Halamandris of Teased Salon
  • RMF Entertainment
  • Wedding Cakes by Ambrose-Barton & Brown
  • Happy Huckleberry Studios
  • Sweet Pea Sewer & Septic
  • and Rococo Bridal

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Montana Made Wedding Fair

Well, the cat is officially out of the bag!  The Bitterroot Wedding Association IS going to host the Montana Made Wedding Fair!  November 5th, 2016, at the First Interstate Building, in Hamilton, Montana!  The event website is in the works and will go live on March 1st!  This show will be unlike any other show in the area - Not only will it will be incredibly affordable, and it will be centered around our very own Bitterroot Wedding Association vendors!  Here's the run-down so you can be ready on March 1st when we open registration (seriously, you need to be ready come March 1st!):

  •  The Montana Made Wedding Fair Website goes live!
  •  The show will allow a limited number of exhibitors in each vendor category
  •  Registrations will only be accepted from Bitterroot Wedding Association Members (so if you're not a member, we suggest you get your information & dues in ASAP!)
  • If you're slow to sign up and all the vendor spots in your category are filled, you will be added to wait list
  • We have over 20 vendor categories including items like: accommodations, bar, catering, invitations, cakes, photographer, venues, etc.
  • We are setting registration up this way so the show will feature a wide variety of vendors, and be most beneficial to those who attend!
APRIL 1:      
  • We will open the waiting list, and add more vendors to the show (example:  only one florist signs up, and no more florists are on the waiting list - we may add another venue from the wait list to the show)
  • You can continue to send in your registrations if you're a Bitterroot Wedding Association member
MAY 1:
  • Anyone who isn't a member can sign up to join the show, if there are empty spots left
  • We want to give our own BWA members an opportunity to fill this show, since it's hosted by the Bitterroot Wedding Association and we want to feature local vendors!
  • Registration fees will only be $150 for BWA members
  • Non-members will be allowed to sign up after May 1st, and will have to pay $500 to participate
  • Therefore, if you can qualify to be a BWA member (Ravalli or Missoula county business doing business in the Bitterroot Valley), it's more affordable to just join the association first before registering!
  • To keep these costs low, we will require each vendor to commit to helping promote the show.  
    • We will provide marketing calendars & instructions on what you need to do!
    • We promise it won't be hard!  But we do need your support!
    • It's all about social media buzz and promotion, and we're confident YOU (our exhibitors) can make this happen!
    • We'll be using the registration fees to promote the show in the most cost effective way possible, and also to pay for necessary materials needed to make this show very professional & well run
  • We will charge a very small fee at the door to our attendees, to make sure that those who attend are serious about shopping for wedding & event vendors!  $5.00 tickets will go on sale online (likely in August or September), and will be available until November 4th, and then at the door on the day of the event!
We are partnering with an upscale wedding consignment boutique, called Bridal Haus!  It's very much like the local Prarie Sisters or Vintage Whites, but it's all wedding related items!  Bridal Haus will be using a portion of the space to collect and resell bride's lightly used decor, linens, gowns, etc.  We know that in years past, the wedding fairs in the Bitterroot Valley weren't well attended.  We hope to encourage a lot more locals & Missoulians to come to our show by making adding the wedding resale aspect in a very professional way!  We're very excited for this new twist on a wedding fair.

If you have questions about the show, shoot us an email, or give us a call at 406-219-7840!  As we mentioned above, the website will be live in just one month, so be prepared to print your registration form and grab your space before they fill up!

Our $20,000 Destination Wedding Giveaway!

The Bitterroot Wedding Association’s goal is to provide awareness about the beauty of the Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana, as a great location for weddings!  Part of this awareness comes from partnering with organizations that have a far wider reach than we do.  One example comes with the giveaway we’re currently participating in with Destination Missoula!

We’re giving away a wedding worth OVER $20,000 to one lucky bride and 60 of her guests!  The wedding will take place at the Purcell Ranch, in Lolo, Montana, and a TON of our Bitterroot Wedding Association members are participating.  The deadline to register is January 31st, and you can register here:

Below are images of what we’re including with the wedding, and at the bottom of this blog, you’ll find the written description of everything that’s included as well.  Hurry up and sign up!  We can’t wait to find out your love story, and help you plan this beautiful Montana wedding!  Make sure to scroll all the way down to see the whole list of items, and more images!



  • JOHANNA B PHOTOGRAPHY  - Engagement session, full wedding day coverage, fully edited and retouched online proofing & ordering galleries, complete digital print package on custom heirloom USB drive with print release, at least two photographers provided by Johanna B Photography
  • EVENTS BY AUTUMN -  Full service package: event design, budget plan, timeline, agenda, day of setup and teardown, vendor management, custom decor, personalized custom invites, rehearsal management.
  • HAMILTON PARTY RENTALS - 40x40 framed canopy, (7) 25 ft. globe lighting, (8) 8x20 windowed sidewalls, (1) tent heater, (4) 5 ft. round tables, (1) 4 ft. round table, (1) 4 ft. banquet table, 12x12 dance floor, 12x12 sub floor, dance floor installation, (2) 6 ft. banquet tables, 66 dinner plates, 132 salad plates, 66 bread and butter sets, 66 dinner forks, 66 dessert forks, 132 salad forks, 66 spoons, 40x40 framed liners.
  • A MOVEABLE FEAST - Hors d' oeuvres for up to 60 people. A Moveable Feast will work with the wedding couple to design a custom menu of seasonal hors d' oeuvres.
  • PURCELL RANCH - Wedding Venue (includes access to the meadow ceremony, reception site, teepee "cocktail site" and fire pits)
  • OH SO CHIC BOUTIQUE – (38) mahogany chiavari chairs, (38) white pads for chairs, (4) farm tables, (8) solid wood benches, (1) wood and metal bar, (1) burlap Mr. & Mrs. Pillow, (2) small burlap pillows.
  • HAPPY HUCKLEBERRY STUDIO – (50) Save the date cards, Antler motif invitations + envelopes, info card/map, RSVP cards + envelopes, burlap wrap + muslin/twine wrap, (60) menu cards & thank you notes.
  • RMF ENTERTAINMENT - 6 hour event including all lighting & sound DJ service.
  • BITTERROOT FLOWER SHOP - (4) magnolia leaf + greenery runners, (4) bunches of greenery for centerpieces, (1) groom's boutonniere, (1) bridal bouquet
  • HOLIDAY INN MISSOULA DOWNTOWN - Three night stay for bride and groom.
  • DESTINATION MISSOULA - $500 travel voucher and one bus for guest transportation to and from the event.
  • BADLANDER CATERING - Featured wedding cocktails, two "featured cocktails" for the reception. Will work with Bride & Groom to tailor cocktails to their taste.
  • WEDDING CAKES BY AMBROSE BARTON + BROWN – (3) tiered "naked" cake to serve (60) people. Flavoring of the winner's choice (from their menu)
  • VINTAGE 44, LLC - 60 clear antique wine goblets, 60 vintage folding chairs and rustic "MRS & MR" metal letters
  • KALYN HALAMANDARIS (FROM TEASED SALON) - Bridal up-do and trial run
  • SWEET PEA SEWER & SEPTIC - One portable toilet rental for one day
  • ROCOCO BRIDAL - One complete tuxedo rental for the groom

Big things in the works for 2016!

We have a few large projects we'll be working on for 2016, and we would love your help!

  • Bitterroot Wedding Fair - we're working on an event in the Fall of 2016.  Venue TBD, but we would love to form a committee to have some help with planning!  Email us if you're interested in being on the planning committee.
  • 2016 Wedding Giveaway!  We participated with Destination Missoula to put together a free wedding for next October 15, 2016!  Each vendor gave away all or a portion of their products, and we were able to build a beautiful FREE wedding for one lucky bride!  The promotion is currently running, and we'll pick a winner in February!
  • 2016 Feature in Rocky Mountain Bride Magazine - We participated in a styled shoot for Rocky Mountain bride this spring, and it will be featured in Rocky Mountain Bride's spring issue, and it centers on the Bitterroot Valley and the Bitterroot Wedding Association!
  • Western Montana Wedding Magazine - we are working diligently on creating a wedding magazine for our Association, which will feature weddings in our Valley, and creative ideas and vendor features.  If you want to participate in this magazine, please email us.
  • And of course, we'll do what we did in 2015 for 2016 too:  constant social media promotion, memberships to local chambers, attending wedding fairs, putting on networking events for our membership, sending monthly marketing newsletters, and making sure our members get leads from brides!

The Bitterroot Wedding Association's 2015 accomplishments

We just wanted to share a bit about what we've accomplished in our first year!  We want to thank you all for your support, and look forward to 2016's accomplishments!
  • Our website went live January 8th
  • We’ve had over 1,200 visitors to our website to date
  • We had a booth at the Cherry Creek Wedding Fair & collected about 300 leads!
  • We hosted 3 Networking Events!  Off-season (January, April & October)
  • We taught classes on Social Media Marketing
  • We taught a class on creating your own Website
  • We sent a monthly Newsletter with wedding business marketing tips & leads from website visitors
  • We put together a styled shoot with Rocky Mountain Bride, which will be published in the Spring of 2016, featuring the Bitterroot Valley, the Bitterroot Wedding Association and a bunch of our members!
  • We joined the Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce–and are joining Missoula soon!
  • We created a traveling “Open Space” Billboard for the Association
  • We partnered with Destination Missoula to create a free wedding!  The goal is to build awareness about the area in feeder markets (like Chicago, San Diego, Minneapolis, Seattle, etc.)  The wedding will take place October 15, 2016, and we are partnering with a bunch of great vendors who are members.
  • We set up social media promotions to capture destination business
  • We're constantly promoting weddings on social media, to keep our audience engaged.
  • We’ve been featured in articles in the Ravalli Republic, Missoulian, and also got a segment on KPAX

  • Montana has 7000 weddings a year
  • The average spend in our area is $20,000, and the national average is $29,900
  • The average guest count is 120-130 in our area, and the national average is 135
  • Whitefish hosts about 1200 weddings per year ($21k avg). - $31 million revenue
  • Bozeman is 1000 ($24k avg.) - $19 million revenue
  • Missoula is 800 ($21k avg) - $17 million revenue
  • The Bitterroot Valley is 200 ($20k avg). - $4 million revenue

  • In 2015, we reached our first year’s membership goal!
  • We've already received a great amount of memberships for 2016 also, so it's looking like we'll meet 2016 membership's goals too!
  • Dues are $100 for the year for 2016 – the membership runs from January 1st to December 31st.
  • After December 31st, the dues become $150
  • Multiple categories are $25 each (like if your business did photography & videography under the same business name)
  • Multiple categories are $75 each if you operate a second business under a different name (example: Events by Autumn & Happy Huckleberry Studios is owned by the same person, but it's 2 different business names & websites)
  • Dues are 100% applied to marketing efforts.   Our mission is to bring more business to the area – by joining the effort, you’re providing resources to grow ALL of our businesses.
  • In order to keep this successful, we need your help to continue talking about the association!
    • When a client asks for a referral, include our website in your list!
    • Include our "proud member" logo in your email signature line
    • If your business is active on Facebook, repost things you like from our BWA Facebook page, and like posts that you find informative!
    • Guest Bloggers are always welcome
    • Find us on, and add us as an Association you belong to!
Again, thank you all for your membership, and we're thrilled for 2015's year, and looking forward to growing the amount of business that happens in 2016 in the Bitterroot Valley!