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Sarah Miller and Eric Gershon
How they met: Sarah met Eric at a backyard barbecue in Connecticut, and borrowed a book from him. After dating they spent some time apart but emailed daily. “[We] are happy to have this essentially old-fashioned record of our courtship,” Eric says.
The proposal: Eric proposed in May 2011 at The Porches Inn in Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains. He’d billed the weekend adventure as a celebration of Sarah’s recent completion of graduate school and proposed during a mini-picnic on a grassy hillock near the inn.
Wedding location: The couple married at Weatherwood Ranch in Columbia Falls. It’s a property bordered by mountains and giant trees and the ceremony took place in the yard beside the main house. Guests sat on high-backed, weathered benches.
The ceremony: “It was late July and mercifully short of too hot,” Eric says. “We offered guests ‘Grannie Gershon’s Whiskey Sour’ and a huckleberry-flavored cocktail before the service.” The couple’s fathers led a non-denominational ceremony with Jewish elements and their friends read selections from Walt Whitman, Song of Solomon and the children’s book I Like You. “We wrote our own vows, repeating them after our fathers,” he says. “Our mothers lit a candle in memory of departed grandparents. As a legal matter, we married ourselves, which Montana allows couples to do.”
Feasting time: Scotty’s Bar of Kalispell designed the drink menu including Going to the Sun IPA and specialty cocktails like the whiskey sours. Anna McCabe of the Simple Chef Catering in Columbia Falls made local fare, which included spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese, almond lemon chicken, Mediterranean tempeh and wild rice and barley salad. For dessert? Chocolate chip pie and coconut buttermilk pie, served with fresh local berries.
Music for the masses: Missoula’s Russ Nasset and the Revelators rocked the dance floor with their high-energy folk and honky-tonk. For the couple’s first dance, the band played Otis Redding’s “That’s How Strong My Love Is.”
Literary genius: Avid readers that they are, Eric and Sarah brought a dozen books to use as centerpieces for the tables. They wrote each guest’s name on an old-fashioned library due-date care (“Thank you, D.C. Public Library,” Eric says.) along with a title of the book indicating which table to sit at. The books they picked—including Moby Dick, On the Road and The Elements of Style—each had meaning for them. But one, a Warren Buffett biography, was particularly special: It was the one Sarah had borrowed from Eric the first time they met.
Final thoughts: “For us, the most important aspect of the wedding, by far, was the extraordinary assembly of family and friends from throughout our lives,” Eric says. “We encouraged everyone to make a vacation of the trip and stay for a while before or after the wedding, or both. More than a few friends saw bears at Glacier National Park. Just about everybody said they’d like to come back. And we hope they do.”
Photography: Cou Cou Studio