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  • Writer's pictureGarrett Thompson

45 Barn Wedding : McKenah + Pat

March 13, 2023

Garrison’s historic 45 barn offered the perfect late summer backdrop to a Montana wedding unshaken by life’s unexpected moments, while McKenah and Pat provided a masterclass in carving out time all to yourselves - through hell, high water, and maybe a runaway train or too.


Let us set the scene. 

The location: Garrison, Montana. 

A pin-drop Montana town sitting at the junction of Highway 12 and the Interstate. The storied 45 Barn gives a backdrop of green terrain and whitewashed farm buildings still standing from the 19th century cattleman days of the West, backed up against the historic train depot from a whistlestop town of yesterday. 

The people: McKenah and Pat. 

Picture a man of few words, steady as the day is long, hand in hand with the quintessential Montana woman - gorgeous, hardworking, and cool enough to let a boot and a can of Busch Light play assistant when it came to photos.

These two are intentional enough to carve out the storybook moments romantics (and photographers) dream of, and easygoing enough to roll with the punches. 

 In a word, these two are unshakeable. 

The train: An unexpected wedding crasher.

The moment: What came after the whistles stopped.

The day began with bridesmaids on train-watch duty, making calls and double checking routes and delays. 

However, life doesn’t always run on a perfect schedule, and neither does Burlington Northern.

Enter the dramatic guest appearance of a 140 ton visitor a stone’s throw from the group - bells, whistles and all - reminding us all of life’s little ironies and cementing a core memory moment for all in attendance.

However, while the unplanned passthrough mid-ceremony made for the backdrop to some unforgettable photos, our favorite moment at the 45 Barn wasn’t the train at all.

Our favorite moment came after it had passed.

(Remember when we called these two unshakeable?)

Somewhere along the way between ceremony and celebration, McKenah and Pat disappeared. 

They found themselves tucked behind the old wooden corrals, taking a pause and reading the special vows they had saved for an intimate moment alone.

Because somewhere in the middle of depot whistles, dance floor laughter and life’s little unexpected moments, this is what mattered to them – carving out one brief moment hidden away, reveling in their special day and each other's easy company.

The train made a memorable appearance, but it is what is represented through this one quiet breath taken behind the corral that will carry through long after the train whistles and wedding bells stop -

Two people, hand in hand, making the decision to approach a situation that had every opportunity to go off the rails with the perfect blend of an easygoing nature and uncommon intentionality.

Because at the end of the day, these two captured everything we emphasize about rolling with the punches, prioritizing what matters, and keeping your eyes on the horizon of life together over the waves of circumstance and irony that inevitably rise along the way.

This is what making lemonade out of lemons looks like. 

This is what two people who will make it look like.




Venue: 45 Barn

Catering: Kick Ass BBQ

Cake Designer: Highland Bakery

DJ/Band: Fast Forward

Photographer: Floating Leaf Studios

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