Montana Anniversary Session
One of my favorite sessions, to this day, is Heather and Jason’s Montana anniversary session. Their adventurous anniversary session took place in Marysville, Montana near the Continental Divide. The day was cold and the snow was deep, but we had a blast styling and capturing the day. Heather came prepared with snow boots and snow pants so that way even in a wedding gown she could still hike to get the shots. After hiking around for awhile we took a break at the Marysville House.
Once inside we treated ourselves to hot chocolate. We stayed inside to warm up for a bit and when we were ready to go back out the bar gave Jason a glass of scotch so that we could have some fun with his Groom’s portraits. Following our trip to the Marysville House we went to back into the woods for the final shots of the day. The combination of how the day came together and the energy of the shoot is probably why it ranks so high amongst my favorites. Heather and Jason were so amazing to work with and I just love that they were up for the adventure. The two of them also have one of the best love stories and when Heather initially sent it to me it made me tear up.
Heather & Jason
Heather and Jason are both from Lake Charles, Louisiana, but the first time they met was in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Now, before I get to that part, I have to go back and tell you where it all started. In 2010 Heather was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She was 26 and a single mother to her daughter, Tatum. Being a missile cop her schedule was hard on them. She had to dispatch out to the field for four days at a time. Heather struggled to stay strong and she did her best to keep it together.
Back in Lake Charles Jason, who was only 20, had just returned from basic training. He was on leave for the first time and getting ready to make the move to his first base in Montana. One day while he was back he agreed to model, in his security forces uniform, for a local photographer.
The Start Of A Love Story
As it turns out the photographer was friends with Heather. So when the session was posted to Facebook it showed up in her news feed. When Heather saw the photos of Jason she immediately thought “wow, he’s super hot.” However, being security forces herself she also thought he was a huge nerd for doing the shoot in his uniform, especially since he was also posing with a gun and his face was all dirty. She realized that to civilians it probably looked cool, but to someone who actually does the job it was comical. Without thinking she commented on the photo saying “wow he almost makes security forces look cool.”
Next thing you know he added her on Facebook and they were messaging back and forth. It wast crazy what all they had in common! I mean they both were from the same town, both were security forces, and both of their bases had the same mission. Because of all of their similarities they would talk for hours on Facebook. Despite the fact that she thought he was attractive she didn’t foresee a romantic relationship with this guy. She was an NCO and a single mom and he was only fresh out of basic. Aside from that there was also the 6 year age difference and so at first it all was about work.
Love Is An Adventure
Over the course of two weeks their conversations became more than just work. They enjoyed talking to each other and decided that on his way up to Montana they should meet in person. Even though he had been driving over 20 hours he couldn’t wait to meet Heather. He immediately checked into his room, changed, and rushed out to see her. They agreed to meet at an ice cream shop and when he got there she was already waiting. She remembers being taken back by it all; his truck, his height, his looks, everything.
They never even made it in to get ice cream. They just sat and talked in the bed of his truck for 4 hours. By the end of the night he knew that he was in love with her and he could tell that she felt the same so he kissed her. The age difference scared Heather, but she was completely wrapped around his finger. She was crazy about him and he was crazy about her.
The next day he drove 10 hours up to Malmstrom AFB. When he got there they were already talking about when they would meet again.
One weekend their schedules finally lined up and they met halfway in Sheridan, Wyoming. She recalls it being the best weekend of her life; it was like something straight out of a book. They went up to the mountains, laid a blanket down, and he played his guitar while he sang to her. Jason understood that it would be hard for Heather to meet him halfway every week, especially with having a young daughter. So that way they could be together more, he started driving all the way to Cheyenne every chance he got. It amazed her that he was willing to spend 20 hours a weekend on the road just so that he could see her and Tatum for a day.
The weekend of his 21st birthday Heather drove up to Great Falls to see him. When she checked into her hotel on base he was waiting there with Oreos and flowers and their favorite song was playing. Being tired from the drive she didn’t know if something was happening or if he was just being romantic like usual. That’s when she saw the ring box. He got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. They became friends on Facebook in August and by December they knew that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
The next time that they got to see each other was two weeks later on Christmas. While they were talking they realized that it would be awhile before they got to see each other again. Every week seemed like a lifetime apart from each other and all they wanted was to be together. At that moment they decided that they couldn’t wait any longer so they rushed to the mall and bought Jason a wedding band. Heather called up two of her friends then they hit the ATM and headed to the courthouse. By the time they got there it was after hours, but they begged and pleaded with them to make an exception. Upon hearing their story they decided that they would let them in and marry them.
After 6 months they both managed to get some time off and they flew back home to celebrate with their families. They didn’t want anything fancy just a small party with their families, a cake, and a white dress. They both were just so in love that nothing else mattered.
5 years later Jason and Heather couldn’t be any happier! They have each other and they now have three kids – Tatum, Beaux, and Luke. Their family is their world and the love that they share is beautiful.
Planning Their Anniversary Session
When Heather and Jason submitted their love story to me it was more beautiful than anything I’ve read. Nicolas Sparks himself could not have conjured up a more perfect couple. I knew the second that I finished reading Heather’s message that we had to style up something pretty for their anniversary session so that they could finally have the wedding pictures that they never got.
I contacted some of my favorite Montana wedding vendors to help me plan and design an adventure anniversary session. Kaufman’s Menswear in downtown Great Falls created Jason’s dapper look. Heather and I went to Belles and Lace to find her wardrobe. They styled her with a beautifully, elegant wedding gown and a faux-fur bolero. Nancy Anderson created the lovely stationary suite which included a menu and a mock destination vow renewal invitation. Kim Kreit did a naturally styled look for Heather’s makeup. For their hairstyles, the couple went to the Salon off Broadway in downtown Helena, Montana. Their anniversary session came together beautifully and every-time I look at the images it makes me want to go on another adventure.