Katalin Green was putting her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography and sculpture to good use in New Jersey’s arts scene, when her heart very decidedly pulled her West - and a little serendipitous luck landed her in Montana.
“ Growing this business in Montana - and in turn helping to strengthen Montana’s economy - is a dream come true for me. I love what I do, and I love where I am. It’s an amazing life.”
“I was on my way to Alaska when my car broke down…what resonated was not only how beautiful the landscape was, but how amazing the people are. I absolutely fell in love with their kindness and their stories and knew this is where I wanted to be.”
Katalin soon began capturing those uniquely Montana stories in beautifully crafted articles and images and sharing them in the Montana Bride publication she founded in 2001. It wasn’t long before she saw the potential for Montana Bride to be the forerunner for an entire wedding industry built around the Montana experience; and how deeply that experience resonates with people from across the country and around the world.
“In the late 90’s and early 2000’s nobody was coming to Montana for destination weddings. I knew that could change, so I built Montana Bride into a full business model focused on creating one-of-a-kind experiences…it just absolutely took off.”
Today, Montana Bride sources and offers clients every destination wedding service imaginable - from catering to fly fishing guided trips for guests - so that couples can offer their friends and family a lifetime of memories. As Katalin puts it, “we’re in the business of creating the kind of unique experience that creates a lasting impression…we want people to fall in love with Montana like I did.”
The destination weddings Montana Bride offers don’t just create great memories - they bring significant revenue into the Montana economy. Every time a bride and groom bring upwards of 100 people to the state for a wedding, thousands of dollars are spent in local restaurants, shops, and with service providers. Katalin references one Big Sky guest ranch that cites a “million dollar season” in the five weeks where they are constantly hosting weddings for couples from Montana and out-of-state. Revenue from the wedding season allowed the ranch to completely renovate their historic property, expand their amenities, and hire additional staff.
Growing Montana’s economy and fueling entrepreneurial activity in the state is a passion of Katalin’s: “I’m really an advocate for businesses and entrepreneurs because I think you need to carve your own path and do what you love…when I started this business model I really wanted it to to be a catalyst for other entrepreneurs.” Over the years, she’s had photographers and other beneficiaries of the wedding industry reach out to her to let her know Montana Bride helped make it possible to pursue their dreams, and to make a living in the place they’re proud to call home.
Katalin continues to evolve the Montana Bride business model, and is constantly looking for new ways to promote and grow the state’s wedding industry. This winter Montana Bride sponsored the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation, after Katalin realized how closely the destination wedding model aligns with the Office of Tourism’s to get people to come to Montana on vacation; to fall in love with the place, and to want to return time and time again. Katalin is currently working with the Montana Department of Commerce to identify state incentives and programs that will help advance their mutual goal of promoting Montana to a global audience.
As for her own entrepreneurial streak, Katalin is also looking at starting a series of workshops focused on helping other entrepreneurs learn the spectrum of crafts, such as photography and floral arranging, related to the wedding industry. She is also growing her own very busy event planning business - and in her spare time - enjoying the wide open spaces and endless recreation opportunities that drew her out West over two decades ago:
“Growing this business in Montana - and in turn helping to strengthen Montana’s economy - is a dream come true for me. I love what I do, and I love where I am. It’s an amazing life.”