Tana & Tom’s Festive and Colorful DIY Mexican Wedding in Montana


DIY Mexican-themed wedding

Happy Friday everyone! Before we all hit the weekend, I’d like to show you a festive Mexican-themed celebration filled with colorful and creative DIY details. Tana and Tom reside in Los Angeles but because they were getting wed in Montana where they are from originally, it was important for them to share traditions they experience and love in LA. The major cultural influence was Mexico (though Latin America in general played a role) which, as you will see, manifested itself in a lot of Spanish-themed elements like maracas, a piñata, Tana’s Spanish lace dress, and of course the hundreds of papel picado banderitas the crafty bride hand-cut herself!

We have Fran Ze Photography for the delightful photos and here she is with a few words about the event:

This Spanish influenced DIY Montana wedding took place at Dunrovin Ranch in the Lolo Valley. They really wanted to show their funky, modern style but in a gorgeous Montana style. I love how the bright colors and great light gave energy to this wedding.

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

Let’s get to know this so-in-love couple a little better. Here’s Tana and Tom’s love story:

Though Tom and Tana have known each other since the 7th grade, it wasn’t until a mutual friend of their parents’ reintroduced them years later that they learned how much they had in common.  Tana, a self professed meat-a-tarian, was the lid to Chef Tom’s pot.  The only problem was distance; Tana had built a life for herself in Los Angeles while Tom remained in their hometown of Missoula, MT. Technology got these cross-country lovers through the awkward first months, but when it became clear that they were destined for deeper things, Tom packed up his Subaru and made the move to Los Angeles.  It was no surprise that, when he finally popped the question (with her grandmother’s ring!), she said yes.

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

Their celebration’s theme is “A Mexican Wedding in Montana”. Here’s the beautiful bride again to share how they made their union uniquely theirs:

  • The ceremony was set up in the middle of a giant pasture so we set the band next to the arbor that Tom and his dad built and they sambaed as guests arrived, grabbed a cocktail and found their seats. (Our cocktail was a Sandia Splash, juiced local watermelon with tequila, lime and a picante salt rim).  It really set the tone for what was to come; a full fledged celebration.

  • The processional, My Sweetheart From Venezuela (Harry Belafonte), was a nod to my late father and the time we’d spent living in Venezuela.  Our two barefooted flower girls danced and twirled like little whirling dervishes down the aisle, shaking their maracas in lieu of flower petals.

  • We chose our parents’ friend who introduced us to officiate the service.  Together we collaborated on the ceremony, chose the readings, and wrote our vows.  This was the hardest part for me — it seemed daunting to say the least!  But we got a lot of inspiration from sites like this and the people who share on them.

  • The venue we chose was a working equestrian ranch on the Bitterroot River, the site of one of our first dates.  Because there were no event structures on the property, we were able to set up a flow from ceremony to happy hour to reception that worked perfectly for our large group.

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

  • The entire invitation suite, based on an Otami pillow, was designed by my sister.

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

  • I hand cut and assembled about 300 banderitas (tissue paper flags on a stick) and topped them with silver and gold jingle bells.  They were taped to each chair so when we exited back down the aisle, everyone waved and shook their flags instead of throwing rice!

  • Happy hour centerpieces used left over banderitas and paper flowers in mason jars filled with rice and beans.  Tables were topped with traditional oil cloth and burlap.

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

  • The reception tent was embellished with papel picado, nearly 600 white and yellow tissue paper and mylar (disco) banners, emblazoned with Tom hearts Tana, white tablecloths with burlap runners, local flowers and succulents in simple glass jars, and yellow paper flower napkin rings. And candles.  Lots and lots and lots of candles. While I cut all the papel picado myself, there was lots of help from friends and family stringing, hanging and fluffing paper flowers.

  • The cake mimicked the papel picado (thank you Pinterest) and was filled with fresh, Montana huckleberries!

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

  • We knew it would be next to impossible to find a Latin Jazz band in Missoula, MT so we used the miles we received as a gift from a friend of Tom’s family to fly in our amazing musician friends to play! And because we had the entire ranch for 4 days, they were able to bunk there with us without incurring any extra expense.

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

  • We sent all of our guests home with packets of our special blend of taco seasoning, Tom and Tana’s Tasty Tacos.

  • As the night began to wrap up, Tom stepped up to the mic with a little surprise.  Little did I know he’d been taking voice lessons!  So when he took center stage and sang Fly Me To the Moon with the band, it was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

Some advice from the lovely bride:

It’s so easy to get caught up in the details and desire to make your wedding stand out that we forget the whole reason we’re throwing this big bash.  The party is going to be great just by virtue of it being filled by people you like and people who like you.  So when you’re pulling out your hair because the caterer doesn’t call you back and the venue double booked, the dressmaker cancels your appointment and the crazy winds blow all of your decorations across the pasture, remember why you are there; Reread your vows; Write the ceremony; Remember the love.  That’s what’s important.

DIY Mexican-themed wedding

Thank you Fran for sending your lovely images my way, and congratulations Tana and Tom! Here’s wishing you guys a lifetime of married bliss! 🙂

Photographer: Fran Searles of  Fran Ze Photography
Hair: Dillards Salon, Missoula, MT
Makeup: Judi Rivers, Missoula, MT
Dress: LianCarlo
Venue: Dunrovin Ranch, Lolo, MT
Flowers: Habitat Floral, Missoula, MT
Catering: Cafe Firenze, Florence, MT
Cake: Jeanne Bauer, Superior, MT
Rentals: Hamilton Rentals, Hamilton, MT
Transportation: Hellgate Transportation Missoula, MT

Image submission via Two Bright Lights

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One Comment

  1. Tana’s clarity of vision and efficiently delegating resulted in a breath catching moment to see it come to life. It was exquisite. Love ruled the day.

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