Every gathering provides an opportunity to express creativity and offer inspiration in every detail. At a recent dinner for fourteen top wedding photographers and one industry insider in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this idea was both the theme of the evening and the main topic of conversation.
When TSG Jackson Hole photographer Carrie Patterson was named a top photographer by Martha Stewart Weddings last year, she recognized the honor as not just an accolade, but an opportunity. She decided to put together a retreat that would gather the members on the list plus a few other luminaries together to share ideas and inspiration. Dubbed Rendezvous Retreat, the photographer-focused event brought women from all over the country to Turpin Meadow Ranch, a luxury dude ranch, for three days that included morning yoga classes held at Pursue Movement led by Cameron of Jackson Hole Yoga Therapy followed by a raw juicery bar from Healthy Being Juicery; brainstorming sessions about their shared industry, wedding and destination photography; and an intimate dinner hosted by The Scout Guide Jackson Hole that showcased the individual talent and collective beauty of experts executing their craft. Together, the members created a dinner party that highlighted the beauty of Jackson Hole and served as an inspiring backdrop for an evening celebrating the spirit of collaboration, inspiration, and entrepreneurship that the attendees all shared.
On the tables styled and filled with beautiful florals by Fleur de V and Hunter Gatherer, photographers were greeted with Guides to both Jackson Hole and their hometown (or the closest TSG city), as well as pretty place cards and menus printed by XOWYO Paper and Press.
The photographers, who mostly all shoot on film (including Santa Barbara-based Lacie Hansen, shown above), came armed with their cameras, of course. Bluegrass band PTO provided the perfect background music, and members Jon DeGroot and Brock Benjamin stuck around for dinner.
As if the evening, which took place during the summer solstice, couldn’t be more sublime, Turpin Meadow Ranch surprised the attendees by letting the horses run. Luckily Carrie captured the incredible moment.
Top: The woman behind the Rendezvous, photographer Carrie Patterson (in red), poses with TSG Jackson Hole editor Meagan Murtagh in a photo taken by Yvette Roman. Above, right: The gracious porch where the dinner took place, which offers an elegant take on classic Jackson Hole rustic charm. Above, left: Gift bags held antler necklaces by Padgett Hoke Jewelry, bucking bronco glasses from Made, copies of TSG, and wine from Jackson Hole Winery.
Genevieve Catering made a delicious signature cocktail for the evening, a lavender and peach bellini—find the recipe below—that was as delicious as it was photo-ready (after all, this was an event for photographers!). Everything on their menu was equally divine and picture-perfect, including watermelon and grilled cheese skewers with mint and meyer lemon olive oil; grilled shrimp and gazpacho shooters; grilled Scottish salmon with creamed summer corn, bacon, wild mushrooms, and micro basil; lemon panna cotta with blackberries and honey madeleines; and more.
Whether hosting a catered, ranch-set dinner is in your future or not, we can all take cues from the talented crew who helped make this a beautiful event. Engaging experts who collaborate with and inspire each other, using local flowers and ingredients whenever possible, and infusing every element (including the guest list!) with creativity is usually a winning combination. Bonus points if your guests manage to catch any of it on film!
Lavender and Peach Bellini
1 cup cold water
1 cup unrefined cane sugar
3 tablespoons dried culinary lavender buds
Chilled Brut sparkling wine
Fresh peach puree
For the lavender simple syrup: Bring water and lavender to boil in a small saucepan. Once water boils, add sugar while whisking until sugar dissolves. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, strain lavender flowers out of mixture, and allow to cool before using.
For the bellini: Add 1 tablespoon lavender simple syrup to a champagne flute. Pour in champagne and top with peach puree. (Genevieve Catering typically uses one part champagne to one part peach juice, but you can create based on your own taste. Garnish with a lavender bloom.