Jessica Keester & Sam Josserand

Saturday, October 6, 2018

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – When a woman who grew up in Oklahoma marries a man who was raised on a ranch, there’s bound to be a little bit of country in the wedding. In this case, country chic.

Sam proposed to Jess two days before Christmas 2017, and soon after, they decided to be married in Steamboat Springs, where they had vacationed over the course of their relationship. Both Catholic, they wanted the ceremony to be held at Holy Name Catholic Church, Steamboat’s dramatic, timber-and-stone edifice. “That was just another thing that made Steamboat the perfect fit because they had this big beautiful Catholic church right in the middle of town,” Jess says.

Finding the perfect location for the reception was a bit more difficult. Because Steamboat’s wedding season is short, booking early is key. Jess discovered La Joya Dulce Ranch online, and she knew right away it was the spot. The event barn and arena, grassy fields and its location, just nine miles from Steamboat, made the choice easy.

Once the venue was set, the rest of the pieces fell into place. The night before the wedding, the couple hosted a small dinner at Carl’s Tavern for the wedding party and their immediate families. Jess and Sam wanted them to have a chance to get to know each other a little better before the ceremony. After dinner, all 120 guests were invited to join the party for a nightcap at Carl’s. “That was a great idea; almost everyone who came to the wedding came to the cocktail hour. Whiskey bar, bunch of beers. It was really fun,” Jess says.

The wedding day itself was the same date as the Oklahoma University/Texas football game. “That’s a pretty huge deal for people from that part of the country. Some people said they couldn’t believe we got married on OU Texas day. We definitely couldn’t have any orange; that’s Texas colors,” Jess says.

Instead, the bride opted for burgundy, ivory and gold – complementing the autumn colors surrounding her venue. The couple had planned to take full advantage of the fall colors by having the reception outdoors.

A solid week of rain leading up to the wedding day made them rethink that idea. Ranch owner Kathie Jacobsen and wedding planner Mandy Crabbs responded quickly, installing a floor in the arena for the event, which ultimately took place in both the barn and arena.

Jess hadn’t foreseen hiring a wedding planner, thinking she and her mom had it handled, but Kathie encouraged her to hire a day-of planner. “One of the best decisions we made was to hire Mandy. She was so, so helpful. She was always like the calm in the storm. They (Kathie and Mandy) made it pull together without me having to stress,” Jess says.

Using Ski Town Gourmet as the caterer was also an excellent choice, Jess says. Chef Dave prepared the meal on-site, and guests said it was one of the best wedding dinners they had eaten.

From the Grand March, led by the groom’s mom and aunt, to the couple’s first dance – “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young – the music reflected the couple’s personal style. “We’re both pretty big country music fans,” Jess says.

The cake reflected the couple’s style, as well. The German chocolate groom’s cake was shaped like a Jayhawk for Kansas. Sam’s groomsmen pulled a trick on him: a game they used to play in college. They hid a bottle of Smirnoff Ice in Jess’s garter. Per the rules of the game, Sam had to take a knee and chug it, Jess recalls. “I didn’t think they would pull something on me,” Sam says with a chuckle.

About 120 people joined in the fun, more than Jess had anticipated. She credits the fact that they sent out “save the date” invitations seven months in advance for the enthusiastic response. That, and the fact the wedding was in Steamboat. “A lot of people turned it into a family vacation. They went to the hot springs, hiked, shopped and ate downtown,” Jess says.

As for the bride and groom, they left the day after the wedding for a honeymoon in Barbados, perhaps the perfect finale to a storybook wedding.

Featured Vendors:
Reception: La Joya Dulce
Planner: Mandy Crabb with La Joya Dulce
Cake: Steamboat Baker
Hair & Makeup: Rocky Mountain Day Spa
Transportation: Go Alpine Taxi
Lodging: Steamboat Grand