This party was SO much more than I had expected. I thought I was just showing up at a couple’s home to shoot a few group shots and candids of Ashley’s husband, Chris, and his friends at his 40th birthday bash. Ashley was up to much, much more. First of all, this was a surprise. While Chris knew he was going to visit his new wife’s family in Tetonia, he had no idea 6 of his friends would be joining him for a surprise 40th birthday party.
To be clear, Chris was not yet 40, still a young 39 for one more week at the time of the party. Also, the location changed from their ranch to River Rim’s clubhouse: a big, beautiful mansion with epic views of the Tetons from a wall of windows high above the Teton River. We started off with some portraits of the newlyweds (who just tied the knot last fall) before their guests arrived. Sunset, fields of grain, buck & rail fences, beautiful views, and two gorgeous people…that’s what I had to work with…pretty idyllic.
I found out that this couple had recently been photographed by the amazing photographers, Jose Villa and Stephanie Williams…at separate times, that is. So to be honest, I was a little sweaty palmed at first. But pretty quickly, I realized how sweet and open to ideas they were, and we had a lot of fun exploring some spots around the clubhouse.
Then the friends arrived and the party began. This was no chips-and-salsa-with-a-few-balloons kinda party. Every detail was thought out. From an adorable invitation, to a custom wine label toasting the guest-of-honor to fun props and food…all with catchy, western names and labels. In addition, Ashley hired Ted Wells, a local banjo player, to provide ambiance for the group. The most fun was the fake mustaches that beaconed to the guests to be worn. As I was leaving, we realized it would be well worth the effort to get a group shot with the entire gang with the faux facial hair. We all agreed those were some of the best shots of the evening.
Happy Birthday, Chris!