Real Wedding: Little Country Chapel

Blaine & Michael
River Bottoms Ranch, September 25
Planning by Fuse Weddings and Events
Photography by Branson Maxwell


When Michael sent a note to Blaine online, he didn’t expect to wait three weeks for a response. Proving that good things really do come to those who wait, the pair ended up dating for blissful years. Their courtship was not without its struggles, however, as a few months into their relationship Blaine was diagnosed with cancer. “It was a twist of fate that I happen to be working for a cancer research company,” Michael says. With his partner’s hand held tight, Blaine opted to undergo an aggressive surgery to remove the cancer. Two years later, Blaine is cancer free and absolutely smitten in love.

Country Chapel
Country Chapel


Both men longed to get married in a chapel, but were disappointed to learn that many of their top picks would not host a same-sex ceremony. “I decided if we could not marry in a chapel, I would create one for us,” Michael says. To bring their vision to life, the couple enlisted the help of Fuse Weddings and Events and the kind staff at River Bottoms Ranch. “We chose the venue for its spectacular view and amazing owners.” With the planner and venue set in stone, Michael addressed the challenge of fashioning a romantic chapel from scratch. As it were, the innovative groom stumbled upon a church that was being torn down and quickly purchased the rustic cathedral windows and walnut pews. Set around River Bottom’s serene lake, the open-air chapel was finally complete. “I’ll never forget when i told Blaine that we were going to be married in a chapel on the day of our wedding,” Michael recalls. “He walked out on to the balcony and turned to me with a teary smile exclaiming ‘you did it!'”

Country Chapel
Country Chapel
Country Chapel


Blaine and Michael has a very specific vision for their big day “think country atmosphere and elegant European decor,” says Michael. Fuse Events’ Mara and Crystal turned their dream into reality by dressing the scene in rich colors reminiscent of an Italian celebration. “We chose dark blues, maroons, lush greens and bright yellow for contrast.” Nodding to River Bottom’s ranch surroundings, the couple rode in on a horse drawn wagon and gave guests cow bells to ring during the ceremony. “We wanted the wedding to be sophisticated, rich in color and simple in design,” Michael says.

Country Chapel
Country Chapel


The couple began their food-laden celebrations by hosting a “Welcome to Utah Celebration” for their guests at Gardner Village. The venue had already begun decorating for Halloween, so Blaine and Michael leaned into the theme with a macabre cake. “The two tier cake was draped in chocolate skulls, and two skeletons on top represented two grooms.” Not to be outmatched by their first cake, Cake by Alessandra created their second dessert. “Working with her was a dream,” says Michael. “A highly caloric dream, but a dream that was realized by her!” Each of the seven layers was baked in a unique flavor, including Vanilla Bouron, Samoa, Black Forrest, German Chocolate, Pumpkin, Rum and Pear. “Why have on flavor when you can have seven!?”

Country Chapel
Country Chapel


PHOTOGRAPHY: Branson Maxwell
VENUE: River Bottoms Ranch
FLORAL: Decoration Inc.
CATERING: Culinary Crafts
CAKE: Cake by Alessandra
MUSIC: Metro Music Club and The Aaron Ashton Band 
OTHER ENTERTAINMENT: William Joseph, Charley Jenkins, Daniel Beck 

Get more inspiration for your country wedding here!

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Avrey Evans
Avrey is the Associate Editor for Utah Bride & Groom Magazine, and the Digital Editor for our affiliate magazine Utah Style & Design. She enjoys documenting unique love stories, offering fashion inspiration and indulging her affinity for alliteration.