August 7, 2020

The Snow Wedding

When Tess called me to ask if I would shoot her wedding, I was very hesitant. Not because I didn’t want to, but because it was my first wedding and I knew it had to be perfect for her. She was very persuasive, however, telling me “We only need like five good photos.” Challenge accepted, Tessaroo. This call took place pre-Covid, so the planning process was a little bit of a roller coaster- as it has been for many brides and grooms in 2020. Through many ups and downs, what started as a 200 person wedding in Cheyenne, Wyoming, transformed into immediate family only in our home town of Cody, WY. What ensued on the day of was chaotic, trying, rainy, and really, really, beautiful.

The morning of the wedding was stunning: clear skies, a slight breeze, and about 80ºF. Not unusual for a summer day in Wyo. We spent the morning at the venue, Creek Side Lodge, setting things up and making sure everything looked perfect. I didn’t end up even grabbing my camera until around one o’clock, when Tess started getting ready. I made my way back and forth between the two cabins where Bryce and Tess were each camped out for a couple hours. Both of them were such lights to be around- so relaxed but obviously SO ready to be married. Their families made me feel welcome in every way possible… even when Tess’ dad “fake” fired me and gave me a small heart attack midday. It was such a dream to photograph in that environment. I felt like I had tons of creative freedom and I knew I had the trust of the bride and groom, so there was no pressure on any of us. I think I may be hard pressed to find a more outgoing, gracious crew than the Snow/Stonehouse one.

About an hour before the ceremony was supposed to begin, it started to rain. And I mean rain. Like, torrential downpour. But, being the hardy Wyomingites we are, none of us were particularly worried. Evening thunderstorms are commonplace in the area. An hour passed and it was ceremony time, but the rain hadn’t slowed. “Let’s wait fifteen more minutes” was a phrase exchanged at least three times. When everyone had decided the rain wasn’t going away any time soon, we made a mad dash to the lodge to move the dinner table and make room for the ceremony. Bryce approached me in the lodge to double check that Tess was okay with moving inside. I went back down to her cabin to ask her, and she told me that all that mattered was getting married. Who cared where it happened? #Goals. So into the lodge we went.

What followed is more like a you kinda-had-to-be-there sorta thing. Tess’ brother in law Greg guided the service and led them through vows. In the privacy of soft music the two had communion and prayed together, a sight that did not leave a dry eye in the place. They sealed the deal with a kiss, and we were in business. A beautiful, timeless, and meaningful ceremony surrounded by the people they love.

After the rain, and just before sundown, the sun poked its head out of the clouds. I herded everyone down to the original ceremony area and we knocked out the family photos. As the sun sank past the mountains, we snuck in some portraits of the lovebirds and called it good. In fact- we called it excellent. The lighting was perfect and love was in the air! We finished up the evening with dinner, some tear-inducing toasts, cake, and a bonfire. As far as weddings go, this one was Snow joke 😉

The first time Bryce saw Tess in her dress.

The first time Bryce saw Tess in her dress.

After the rain.

After the rain.


  1. Juli Hinze says:

    Laurel the pictures are stunning and you have done a wonderful job of capturing the day in words as well. It truly sounds like a perfect day and I can’t think of two more deserving people and families. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Connie Barnard says:

    Thank you for this post and for capturing the wedding. You allowed those of us who couldn’t attend an oppurtunity to feel apart of this special day. Absolutely beautiful!

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