Gabe was waiting for the perfect moment to propose—and he found it when at a beachside dinner Rebekkah confessed how lucky she felt to have a partner who both encouraged her and grew with her. "After that, I knew that night was the right night," Gabe says. He concocted a plan to take pictures of the stars, settling in on the sand beside Rebekkah and digging into the camera bag where the ring was hidden. "I nervously sat with my arm around her for several seconds before I couldn't wait any longer," Gabe says.
Rebekkah and Gabe's long-lasting and vibrant love would take center stage at their August wedding in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But more so, Rebekkah says, "we knew we wanted to plan an event that celebrated not only our connection, but all the love and friendship we are so lucky to have. With friends and family all over the country who we rarely get to see, our dream became not only seeing them, but having time with them, and watching them have time with each other."
The couple's priority, then, became finding a venue that could "bring our closest friends and family together for several days instead of several hours," Rebekkah says. Enamored with The Red Rock Ranch's many amenities, Rebekkah and Gabe booked the lodge without seeing it in person. "With hundreds of acres nestled in the mountains and three houses that could sleep fifty in total, we enjoyed three days of hiking, cookouts and quality time with our guests before getting married on the lawn the third afternoon," the bride says.
Rebekkah never believed she'd find the one—the one wedding dress, that is. "I knew there were plenty of dresses, or at least a few, that I would be perfectly happy wearing," she insists.
But when Rebekkah heard about a bridal sale that would benefit breast cancer research, "I was hooked," she says. With 100 percent of her purchase price going toward research, the bride knew she'd find the perfect gown at the sale. The A-line dress she selected—which also featured a cathedral-length train and corseted back—was "just what I wanted," Rebekkah says. "The dress fit perfectly right off the rack and I loved it immediately."
The bride ordered her ivory peep-toe shoes, with only the slightest hint of a heel, online.
The groom's classic tuxedo attire came from Men's Wearhouse. Gabe and his groomsmen also donned suspenders.
Gabe wore a purple orchid and white rose boutonniere that was framed in greens.
Rebekkah and Gabe built the ceremony program from scratch, revolutionizing wedding traditions with their own twists. For example, Rebekkah offers, the couple each walked "part way down the aisle with our parents, symbolizing the support they have given us, then walked down a middle aisle toward each other alone, expressing the independent lives we each value and encourage in ourselves and each other. We then walked to the alter together, illustrating the life we had built with one another that led us to that moment."
"My biggest fear in the 18 months planning was that it would rain during our wedding," the bride says. "In the days leading up to the wedding, I begged any powers that be that the weather would allow an outdoor ceremony; I bargained that anything else could happen as long as it did not rain." Despite a weather forecast that predicted a 40 percent chance of showers, the bride's bargaining worked and the couple welcomed sunny skies during their ceremony.
"The ceremony was beautiful," Rebekkah says. The couple took a chance by asking a friend to select and deliver a reading of her choosing, and were "touched by what she read."
Rebekkah and Gabe also encouraged guests to participate in the ceremony, "inviting anyone who wished to stand and share their hopes for our future," the bride says. At the same time, the couple passed their rings through the crowd, asking guests to bless the bands.
After reading vows the couple wrote together, Rebekkah and Gabe recessed down the aisle as guests blew dandelions into the wind, "making one last wish for our lives as a married couple," Rebekkah says.
As guests wandered from the lawn to The Red Rock Ranch's front porch, they found their seat assignments pinned to a brightly-colored painting with the word love scrolled in script across the top.
Flowers fell "slightly low" on the couple's priority list, Rebekkah admits. "I simply gave the florist our budget and colors and told her to have fun."
"Our whole wedding was one big do-it-yourself project," the bride says. Rebekkah and Gabe handcrafted their table numbers from craft paper and pictures, labeling each card with a year and a coordinating image. "Years like 1992 showed childhood pictures," Rebekkah explains, "while years after we met showed pictures of us together."
"With the help of a crafty friend," the couple made three flavors of jams as wedding favors, Rebekkah says. They also gave custom-labeled chocolate bars to guests.
The couple's wedding cake was a surprise from the bride's mother. "As with other details, we had cut what was lower on our priority list to allow us to use the venue we wanted," Rebekkah explains, "so we had not planned to have a cake." But after a tearful evening of wedding planning, Rebekkah's mother announced she'd arranged for a cake—complete with live purple orchids on top. "It was a perfect surprise," the bride says.
"We had fun thinking about the color and decor, the flowers and music, but all of that was just icing on the wedding cake," Rebekkah says. "Our time and effort went into planning a celebration of the connections we are so fortunate to have, both with each other and with the loved ones who came."
Ceremony Venue: The Red Rock Ranch || Reception Venue: The Red Rock Ranch || Bride's Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero || Bride's Accessories: David's Bridal || Bride's Wedding Ring: Shane Co. || Groom's Tux: Men's Wearhouse || Groom's Wedding Ring: Shane Co. || Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal || Groomsmen Attire: Men's Wearhouse || Florist: Dawn's Creations || Caterer: Rustigram Catering || Stationery: Papyrus || Photography: Trystan Photography