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