A few weeks back, I photographed my 2023 wedding clients Riki and Lee for their Butte, Montana Engagement Photography experience.
It’s been wonderful to get to know these two this year. Right from the start, the shared, rich intellect and loving kindness of Riki and Lee were a clear, magnetic force.
Lee and Riki met four year ago back when they were pursuing their PhDs at Northwestern University. They are now both budding powerhouse chemists on the East Coast.
In our first conversations, Lee shared what they admire most about Riki. They love how Riki is so good at truly seeing people. Riki is kind and doesn’t hesitate to help others. “Whether it be her colleagues, students, friends, or their community of loved ones, Riki shows me how to be a better partner.” Lee said. They also admire Riki’s intellect, “She is extremely smart and was the best in her class. I love how she challenges me.”
Riki feels the same – she loves Lee’s mind. This couple’s roots began first as friends. Riki immediately felt that she could be herself around Lee and with their first conversations, they dove deep. Riki, who describes herself as straight-edged, admires the diversity of Lee’s rich life experiences. Lee’s adventurous approach to life makes it easy for Riki to walk outside her comfort zone, in all the best ways.
Visiting Lee’s hometown in Butte, Montana has quickly become a favorite annual destination for them. It’s a place they really wanted to showcase in their Butte Montana Engagement Photography experience.
With their excitement growing the closer we got to their photography session date, Lee and Riki elected to book a second hour for their Butte Montana Engagement Photography experience. They wanted to really explore this historic place which means so much to them. I was happy to oblige.
With so much to see in a old industrial town like Butte, Montana, this additional hour gave us more creative freedom to take our time and investigate our curiosities.
If you know Butte, you know that its heritage and history runs a mile high and a mile deep.
By the end of the 19th century, The Butte copper mines had become the largest copper producers in the world. They would operate until their closure in the late 1940’s. Old stone skyscrapers and the steel engineering relects of another time have now perfectly blended with the weathered Montana landscape. The result is a mountain town with a lot of soul.
We all agreed it would be a perfect, rustic Montana landscape for us to play in. We began at the Original Mine and explored the industrial bones of the headframe and the character of the surrounding buildings.
Next, we shifted from the playground of the Copper Kings and went off trail to Lee’s beautiful family home. Tucked back in the Butte foothills, their family property offered a more intimate landscape to explore thick aspens groves, dramatic rock formations, and catch the sunset views of the Pintler Mountains.
In all, this couple’s warmth, adventurousness, kindness, and focus on each other created such an incredible energy to be around. In their photos, smiles came naturally. Their excitement for each other was uncontainable. I love the photos we created together and I can not wait to photograph their wedding day June 2023! -M
Last fall, I had the pleasure of photographing THE UNION PACIFIC DINING LODGE wedding of Jackie and Mike in West Yellowstone.
Fate brought Jackie and Mike together two years ago when each were in opposite wedding parties of their mutual friend’s wedding. Laughter and charming wit piqued their curiosity about the other and they instantly hit it off.
Each of their professions have them traveling the state in roles that cater to their love of new places and a curiosity to meet new people. Mike is a sales rep for Kettlehouse Brewery and Jackie is a producer at Montana PBS.
The more they got to know one another, their commonalities started stacking up. Mike and Jackie soon discovered they shared a love for the history of national parks. Even more as their relationship grew, they discovered the shared value of deep conversations and intellect. So when the pandemic quarantine came to Montana, these two decided to keep the conversation going and moved in together. Jackie and Mike both agree the experience made them grow even stronger.
For Jackie, she loves the extroverted, loving, and loyal energy Mike brings not only to their relationship but also to everyone around him. “He’s in awe of his people,” said Jackie. “With heart and soul, he is very thoughtful in his approach to planning new experiences for us that I might like. His energy and passion for life is so magnetic. I feel so lucky.”
Tuck, Jackie’s pitbull-Labrador mix (who has now claimed Mike as his, too), agrees. Jackie smiles as she mentioned that Mike and Tuck have become soulmates.
For Mike, he loves Jackie’s desire for adventure, whether that be their frequent small town dates, visiting hotsprings, breweries or canoe racing on the Missouri River. She’s steady and always there for him. They love to play outside together, often adorned in Chacos and Carhartts. Mike would have it no other way.
Life in each other’s company is quite the adventure.
After their December 2021 engagement, they began planning for their wedding celebration at the Union Pacific Dining Lodge in West Yellowstone, Montana, a building steeped in Yellowstone National Park history.
The massive stone building, built in 1925, was the perfect backdrop to the national parks theme they showcased at their wedding for friends and family. After the ceremony, we snuck away to Quake Lake where Montana’s fall colors of gold, yellows and orange were at their peak. We were able explore and create some beautiful wedding photos of them. Returning to the lodge, the celebration kicked off with a BBQ feast and transitioned into a night of dancing and laughing with their wedding guests.
It warms my heart to witness two people who are so perfectly suited for one another. I had an absolute blast with these two and I wish them all the best! -M
To view all of their wedding day photos, click here.
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