Jordan Michele Friedman met Ricky Stuart Bowry through a mutual friend on a night out in New York City. Jordan, who was attending law school at the time, traveled to the city to visit friends and interview for potential jobs. When her flight was canceled due to a severe spring snowstorm, fate struck. “A mutual friend insisted I come out with her and meet her handsome English coworker who had moved over from London the summer before,” she explains. “We met, shared a dance and a dollar slice of pizza, and went our separate ways—though we certainly stayed on each other’s minds!” A few months later, when Jordan moved to New York permanently, the two shared their official first date—‘As Ricky puts it, he ‘scooped me up quick.’”

Two-and-a-half years later, Ricky proposed on the ferry from Wall Street to the Far Rockaways.” Our special summer spot,” Jordan smiles. Afterward, family and friends surprised the bride-to-be with a sunset celebration on the beach. 

The pair was actually only engaged for three months, as they wed in an Oceans-Eleven-inspired elopement at the iconic Little White Chapel in Las Vegas. Even so, Jordan and Ricky knew they wanted to host a larger celebration with family and friends in the following year. 

When the pandemic hit, the couple left New York and escaped to Jordan’s home state of Utah for a few months. They spent the weekends exploring and eventually stumbled upon their wedding venue in Zion National Park

“We’d wake up at 4:00 a.m., drive down, hike all day, and then head back at night, and it was on one of these trips we stumbled across Kolob Canyon and Lazalu,” she remembers. “For me, I reconnected to my home state and found myself appreciating it in a way that I hadn’t before. For Ricky, it was so different from England—where he grew up—and I think he really fell in love with the American West. When we got engaged, we both knew that we really wanted to bring people to this place that had meant so much to us, and have everyone else experience the magic.”

While Jordan and Ricky were both heavily involved in the planning process, Laura Stagg of Forevermore Events brought their vision to life. “We both had strong opinions about what we did and did not want in a wedding, and we’re both very detail-oriented and visual people,” Jordan says of herself and the groom. “We wanted to have an epic city-meets-desert black-tie garden party in the middle of nowhere. . .As we were bringing people from all over the world—many of whom had never been to Utah—we really wanted people to feel like they had stumbled on a gorgeous dinner in an unbelievable desert setting.”

Jordan wore a custom Markarian dress on the day of. “I’d worked with Markarian for my elopement dress as well and thought it would be a special callback to wear the same fabric in a more formal shape,” the bride notes. “I fell in love with the body of the dress after seeing it in a different fabric at one of their runway shows.” She accessorized the look with a Blanco cathedral veil, Loeffler Randall heels and vintage jewelry. Tasha Gonsalves created her glowing beauty look. The groom looked dapper in a suit by Suitsupply, Gucci loafers, and a Tom Ford bow tie. Bridesmaids complemented in dresses of different colors and jewel-toned Short & Suite pieces, which only added to the garden-party aesthetic.

On August 26, 2022, Jordan walked down the aisle arm-in-arm with her father surrounded by colorful By Bloomers florals. “Seeing my world all in one place in one single moment as the ceremony began will stay with me forever,” the groom shares. A dear friend of the couple officiated the ceremony, sharing kind words and memories, before Jordan and Ricky captured the moment with a quick selfie and sealed their vows with a kiss. The newlyweds walked back down the aisle to “Three Lions” by The Lightning Seeds—a nod to Ricky’s love of the England national football team.

During cocktail hour a thunderstorm hit. Thankfully, the couple had planned ahead for the rain and had a “just in case” tent at hand. Ricky and Jordan escaped to the guest house, while everyone moved the reception. “Watching our people save the wedding was a really emotional experience, and I think we were both just taking that in,” she shares. “It felt like a culmination of their love and support over all the years. Ultimately, it just felt like how we handle all obstacles—together, with good humor, and with the support of the people we love.”

Afterward, the night moved on accordingly. The newlyweds shared a first dance to Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” and sweet toasts were made. “[Ricky] wrote the most beautiful and thoughtful speech, and it was so apparent to me just how thoughtfully he had chosen every single word,” the bride smiles. “I was in awe of how he chose to thank all the people in his life, and it just meant so much to me.” 

Then, guitarist Mimi Knowles kept everyone on the dance floor all night long. For the after-party, guests snuck away to a hidden grove where espresso martinis and a lively DJ Justin Cornwall waited under a sparkling canopy of lights. Jordan featured a second look, her dress from the elopement, and everyone spent the night celebrating. “We spent the days after the wedding road-tripping around the Southwest and reminiscing on everything that had just happened.”

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