Whitetail Hunting photo

Before the adrenaline rush of whitetail season, there’s the taffeta swish of wedding season, ensuring nights of booze, cake, tuxes, and, if you’re lucky, at least one dancefloor sing-along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” between now and early fall.


I would definitely have RSVP’d to the wedding of F&S readers and newlyweds Ashley and Jake Dates, from Red Creek, N.Y., who shared photos of their hunting-themed celebration in July 2012 and explained how a walk to check their trail cams turned into a marriage proposal to remember.


“Jake had mowed ‘Will you marry me?’ into a large field and took me out there under the pretense of checking our trail cameras,” says Dates. “I was so surprised. I accepted, of course, then Jake’s uncle took me up in his plane so I could snap this photo (above).

“I’ve been hunting deer for eight years, and Jake has hunted since he was 14 years old. We shoot our bows, hike, boat, and fish together–anything to spend time outside. So it was important to bring some of that way of life into the details of our wedding,” she explains. “We got married on a pond, and Jake made his way to the alter in a canoe with his best man, Josh, while I rode up in a horse-drawn carriage.


“My bridesmaids wore camouflage dresses made by Jake’s aunt. One of my bridesmaids actually works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a few others have jobs in the outdoor industry, so they are experienced outdoorspeople. We took my best friend shooting for the first time a couple months before the wedding, and she was a good sport for trying it and holding a shotgun with the rest of the bridal party for the photos.


“We made all the decorations, covered lanterns with camo duct tape, and turned spent shotgun shells into placecard holders. And the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes had deer tracks piped on them in chocolate icing. Our family and friends are still talking about it–although I wish they hadn’t still been raving on my sister’s wedding day a few weeks ago,” laughs Dates. “Everyone thought it was going to be this really redneck theme, but it turned out very elegant. I couldn’t have been happier.”

Congratulations, Ashley and Jake! Has anyone else ever attended or planned a hunting- or fishing-themed wedding? Tell us about it in the comments.