Orian Almog and Matthew English met during their first few weeks as graduate students at Kellogg business school at Northwestern University. “We hit it off right away, but I misunderstood his first date invitation and inadvertently blew him off,” she says. Shortly after they finally got together, their relationship became a long-distance one, as he started out an internship in Kenya followed by a study abroad stint in Hong Kong, while she interned in San Francisco and later studied in Argentina. After that time apart, the two were ready to commit being in the same place together and made plans to move to San Francisco together.
A few years into their relationship, the two embarked on a last-minute Labor Day weekend to Carmel, where Matt was planning to propose. “He capitalized on the perfect moment on an isolated cove at Pebble Beach right before sunset,” she says. “I couldn’t have been more shocked when he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring box!”
For the newly engaged couple, it was an easy decision to host their wedding at Orian’s parents’s home, Antelope Trails Ranch, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “Jackson was a meaningful place for us and also a destination that we thought our friends and family would be excited to visit,” she says. The two set the date for the following Labor Day weekend, exactly a year after their engagement, and made sure to pack a number of activities for their guests come in from near and far. Whitewater rafting, drinks at a cowboy bar, hiking in Grand Teton National Park, and a surprise welcome party at the top of the mountain were all part of the wedding weekend agenda.
While Orian did most of the planning herself, she leaned on Elizabeth Kelleher and Erin Rosenberg of In Any Event for support, and worked closely with florist Lily & Company on design and décor. “We wanted to combine traditional romantic and rustic Western influences,” Orian explains. “Matt tended to gravitate towards more classic and formal elements—being British and all—while I focused on showcasing our natural surroundings and achieving the relaxed feel of a backyard wedding.”
When shopping for her wedding dress, Orian wanted something elegant enough for the occasion but also comfortable and with movement and softness to fit in with the natural setting. “The Lihi Hod dress I chose felt like it perfectly struck that balance,” she says. “Beyond how comfortable it was, I was drawn to the unconventional lace, sleek silhouette, and the unexpected details like scalloped bodice and pearl embellishments. I was fortunate to be in Tel Aviv and visited the atelier where I met Lihi and her team that would be making it.”
As for her accessories, Orian, who has always loved a statement earring, searched high and low on Instagram for something non-traditional but also not super trendy. She eventually found the perfect pair on Isabella May Jewellery’s feed and messaged her directly to ask for a pair. For shoes, she went with thick heeled ivory and gray Stuart Weitzman sandals, and finished off her look with a delicate sapphire bracelet (her “something blue”), which Matt had gifted her the morning of their wedding.
Like any fine Englishman, Matt chose a morning suit he found at Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row in London as his wedding day look. “His waistcoat was bespoke from Favourbrook and featured stags on the back, which felt like appropriate symbolism for the end of his bachelorhood,” Orian says. He also wore silver cufflinks engraved with a Teton outline, which were a wedding present from his future wife.
For her bridesmaids, Orian and a stylist friend worked on putting together a lookbook of dresses that included a range of brands and price points. “Once the first few were chosen, the palette started to take shape and we narrowed down the options from there,” she explains. Orian also enlisted the help of another friend, the CEO of jewelry brand Mignonne Gavigan, to help make custom ivory and rose gold earrings for the entire bridal party.
Their wedding weekend officially kicked off on Friday with a welcome party at the top of the Jackson Hole Ski Resort. Guests were encouraged to wear “Western flair” attire and the bride stuck to the dress code by pairing a white eyelet Nicholas dress with Navajo print beaded Mignonne Gavin earrings, a calfskin clutch, and a fringed denim jacket.
On Saturday afternoon, family and friends gathered at a clearing in the woods for Orian and Matt’s wedding ceremony. The bride walked down the aisle to Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman” and was accompanied by both her mother and father. “Having one of them on each arm was both comforting and practical,” she says. “My veil was picking up all sorts of debris as we walked along, so I was grateful for the balance!” One of Matt’s close college friends officiated the non-religious ceremony, while Orian’s sister-in-law performed a violin solo of “Salut d’Amour” as the bride and groom’s mothers signed their marriage certificate as witnesses. “I recall her playing and our moms taking part in the ceremony as being one of my favorite, and most emotional, points of the day,” the bride adds.
After they were declared husband and wife, everyone made their way to cocktail hour, where hundreds of unwelcome wasps unfortunately crashed the event due to wind and weather patterns. “Our guests were great sports about it,” she recalls. “Luckily there weren’t any allergic reactions. I even got stung during pictures by one hiding in my bouquet!” For drinks, the couple decided to highlight their different backgrounds by offering Pimm’s Cups (a British staple), Dark and Stormies (an homage to Matt’s childhood home in Bermuda), and dirty martinis (Orian’s beverage of choice.)
Dinner was later served at an alfresco natural “dining room” under huge poplar trees. Guests were seated at two long tables where they enjoyed a seasonal and local meal by Bistro Catering and speeches from the newlyweds’s friends and family members. As the sun set, the temperature dropped, therefore it was time for people to hit the dance floor and bar to warm back up. “We provided fleece blankets and setup an adjacent lounge area with a fire pit, s’mores station, and coffee (including Baileys and Jameson for those who prefer their coffee Irish),” says Orian.
The dance floor remained packed all night, while guests danced to music by Changing Lanes band. For their first dance, the couple chose “Bonfire Heart” by James Blunt, but things got especially rowdy when it came time for the hora. “We didn’t have chairs nearby since dinner had been in the woods, so we ended up using a loveseat from one of the lounges in the reception tent,” she says. “The couch was so heavy and had no arms to hold onto so we were each on the verge of tipping forward and flying off every time it was lifted. It was so fun but also so terrifying!”
As the reception wrapped, the couple walked out surrounded by sparklers and led everyone to an indoor bar area on the property for a nightcap. “We offered scotch and cigars, but most guests focused on the pizza and getting off their feet after hours on the dance floor,” Orian says. The next day, everyone was invited to a barbecue back at the ranch, where brisket, ice cream, and a keg was on offer. Most people played lawn games and hung out until nightfall, marking the perfect end to an eventful weekend of celebrating the beginning of a new chapter for Orian and Matt.