On the final day of 2021, I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the wedding of Alia and Justin at the Emerson Center in Bozeman, Montana.

It’s amazing how two lives can run parallel and, somehow, not connect until much later.

She hails from Ohio and he from North Dakota. They both separately found a love for skiing Montana’s mountains and attended Montana State University School of Engineering. After graduation, they both ended up in Salt Lake City and even lived on the same block.

Finally, they met while working for the same tech company and realized they shared a common zest for life.

On our first phone call, Alia kept saying that Justin is a ray of sunshine. He works hard, plays hard, and brings balance to her life. He is inquisitive. She loves how he is such a caring man who constantly sets the mood to make any situation fun. 

For Justin, Alia echoes his enthusiasm for celebrating life and he admires how she loves to host parties and celebrate their friends. He said, “She is an intelligent partner who can talk about anything and get to the root of any issue. It’s a love and relationship unlike any I’ve experienced before. To feel really cared for and feel completely seen and supported is incredible.” 

Now dating for the last five years, this couple has been adventure buddies and best friends ever since.

During lockdown, they became home owners and grew even closer. Justin’s plans to propose on a trip were canceled due to COVID. Ever the optimist and romantic, he pivoted, hired a private chef, and ended up popping the question to Alia over dinner in their home’s kitchen. 

Like many others, the pandemic impacted their plans for an in-person wedding. Alia and Justin weighed if they could safely have an in-person wedding. With so much uncertainty, they decided, on a whim, that this day was the day. They called their families and Justin and Alia married over Zoom. The celebration could come later. They knew they had both found their person.

Still, both felt that their celebration had been lost due to the pandemic, and they were keen to remedy that. After all, Alia and Justin married the person who fuels their sense of aliveness and adventure and they wanted to share that with their loved ones. 

When vaccines made group gatherings safer, Alia and Justin decided the best way to celebrate their union was to return to their college town for New Year’s Eve. The Emerson Center in downtown Bozeman would be the perfect canvas for their long-awaited celebration. 

For these two, candid, creative wedding photography was a high priority and they wanted to capture the emotions of the day. 

With the outdoor temperature hovering around 6 degrees, Alia and Justin embraced the cold for their couple’s portraits. Despite the chill, it was clear these two were thrilled to arrive on this day. They seized the adventure of the moment and enthusiastically tromped through the elements. Then, we headed back to the Emerson Ballroom to officially celebrate with their family and friends.

Under the talented direction of Events by Killian, Justin and Alia hosted their loved ones at their formal indoor ceremony, officiated by Alia’s brother. A three-course meal was followed by heartfelt toasts and raised glasses. Tsunami Funk brought the boogie to the dance floor and the guests danced the night away. Libations, playing in the photo booth, and a 1,000 balloon drop at midnight welcomed in the new year. It was the perfect evening they had been looking for and such a joy to be a part of. I could not be more thrilled for these two! 

These are some favorite photographs I made from their wedding day. To view their whole wedding day gallery, click here

Congratulations Alia and Justin! Here’s to many days of deep powder and your lifetime adventure with love! Happy New Year! -M

Featuring:

Band: Tsunami Funk, Wedding Cake: Sweet Pea Bakery, Catering: Gather, Floral: Karen’s Floral Artistry, Wedding Planner: Events by Killian, Rentals: Tailored & Tied, Gallatin Event Rental, & Montana Party Rentals, Signage: Wild Her Designs, Venue: The Emerson Center

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