Marie D.: Big Sky State of Mind

Marie D.: Big Sky State of Mind

Mother of: Olivia
Venue: 320 Guest Ranch near Big Sky, Montana
Vibe: Cowboy cocktail
Dress: Emily Shalant ballgown skirt with Aritzia top

bride and her mom in montana

Big Sky is a place of big love for Olivia, who grew up skiing the mountains of Montana with her family, and continued the tradition with her husband-to-be Kevin. So when the two were deciding where to get married, Montana felt like the perfect place—breathtakingly beautiful, filled with sweeping possibilities and the sort of free spirited sense of adventure authentic to the bride and groom.

They chose a ranch between Big Sky and Yellowstone with log cabins that open onto grassy fields and giant pines, surrounded by mountains. The invitation called for “cowboy cocktail” attire, and while many guests fretted over just how much to lean into the “cowboy” part of that equation, the mother of the bride, Marie, had her look in mind.

Think: Carolina Herrera silk taffeta ball skirt, elegantly pleated and juxtaposed with a crisp menswear-inspired top.

“I thought that the look could be a perfect fit for the venue,” Marie says. "I know that I’m not a traditional gown-wearing gal. I always look for something appropriate and aligned with the event venue as well as the invite instructions and comfort."

Just one problem: “My inspiration was maybe a bit too aspirational," Marie confesses. "I also had a wedding to support!”

An avid vintage shopper, Marie went hunting for a secondhand version of her dream designer skirt. But that search led her to something new: Emily Shalant, a New York designer who worked for Anne Klein and other fashion houses before launching her own eponymous line in 2020. Preppy, glam and timeless, Emily Shalant’s taffeta ballgown skirt in blue was exactly what Marie wanted, and for a fraction of the price of the Carolina Herrera version. “I was over the moon when it arrived,” Marie says. “The fabric and quality were spot on.” A few alterations resulted in a perfect fit.

“My mom has a great eye,” says Olivia, who told Marie to “do her thing” when it came to styling a mother of the bride look…right up until the moment Marie paired her blue ball gown skirt with a white button up.

“She didn’t want me to wear a light color,” Marie says. After a few deep breaths, “I quickly redirected and we were all good. I had to order 12 black menswear inspired tops to find the right one. That was a mess—all those returns.” The winning shirt came from Aritzia. Marie gave the tailored ensemble her signature twist with a wide, wine colored belt from J. McLaughlin. Just add cowboy boots for the quintessential Big Sky MOB look.

“It was dressy but also playful, in a retro Yellowstone-meets-modern kind of way,” Marie says. “And the fit and fabric were so comfortable. It was an easy look to wear—festive and fun.”

Olivia says she loved her mom’s mother of the bride look, and the fact that most guests incorporated a nod to the west. “Everyone was super present for the wedding and embraced being in Montana—people went hiking, horseback riding, drove to Yellowstone…it was so fun to share the mountains with so many of our close friends and family.”

It was a wedding weekend perfectly suited to the happy couple, Marie adds. “I really want to do it again—exactly as it was.”

As luck would have it, Marie's son got engaged over the holidays.

| Photography by Carly Jo Studio


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