What to Wear to a Ranch Wedding, Featuring Madison McKinley
Originally Published in D Weddings.
By Mary Welch
We live in the land of oil and cattle, so the odds of a ranch wedding invite are high. Maybe elsewhere you would be tempted to interpret this destination with “hoedown picnic” style, but in Texas, leave the denim and diamonds at home. Typically, you can expect an outdoor ceremony and a tented reception which means it will be hot. Forget about stilettos: men can don alligator skin cowboy boots under their tux but for women, we suggest a block heel or wedge paired with a flowy dress that can pick up a breeze. Layered accessories enhance the cowgirl chic style—emphasis on chic. The best part about a ranch wedding? No noise ordinance, so the party can last until the roosters crow.
Shop these looks at the D Weddings shop.
Spotlight on Urban Cowgirl Madison McKinley
The epitome of western chic, Madison McKinley Isner designs jewelry with a serious cowgirl edge. Dallas born and raised, her pieces are handmade in Texas and at her family ranch in Wyoming. Her designs relate to a ranch hand, a city strutter, and every girl in between. Madison accessorized the five looks above using pieces from her own collection and we got to know a bit more about the urban cowgirl.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your design background?
I’m a cowgirl at heart, but I live in the city! I have always had a passion for arts and design. At the age of 15, I began making jewelry as a hobby which has now turned into a full-time career. Through traveling around the world and summers spent on my ranch, I gained an appreciation and passion for mixed vintage cultural inspirations with subtle modern touches. I studied Fashion Design at Parsons in New York and Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. I launched my brand in 2017 with the goal of creating handmade, artisan pieces that are timeless, functional, and unique.
Where does your biggest inspirations come from?
My biggest inspirations come from nature and my family! More specifically, my family ranch located in Buffalo, Wyoming. I find so much peace and happiness at Steerhead; it is a great way to get away from my everyday life and focus on design. Mixing genres and blending boundaries within my jewelry was inspired by both of my grandmothers. One grandmother interested in art and the other in fashion. I have spent a lot of time in my grandmother’s studio painting, sketching, and designing my collections. I am fortunate to travel and pull inspiration from different parts of the world. I think stepping out of my comfort zone really gets my mind going and I always come across new things and ideas.
What is the process for designing your pieces?
I do not always have a clear direction when designing but I know what I am going for. One design pathway is as simple as I have an inspiration—like my grandmothers charm bracelet—and I run with it! Another path is starting with the materials whether that means creating from found materials or forming molds of unique finds. Continually trying different combinations and not being afraid of trying something over and over again is important to me. I love to sketch out my designs and then play around with how to make them come to life. I have partnered with Shelby, a blacksmith who works with on my ranch, to create handmade pieces from my ranch in Wyoming. I love mixing vintage and modern pieces to create one of a kind rustic-meets-city pieces to fit in every woman’s jewelry box.
I heard you recently got married, congratulations! Did your wedding day reflect the same style as your brand and did you wear any of your pieces throughout the weekend?
Thank you so much, it was truly the best weekend of my life! For my rehearsal dinner, my outfit definitely reflected the same style as my brand. I wore a Carolina Herrera tulle skirt with a sweater and my cowboy boots— it was my inner cowgirl coming out! For my wedding day, however, my style had ranch undertones but nothing direct. Of course I layered in my jewelry when I could, like at brunch the day after my wedding and in-between wedding events.
What is unique or special about your brand?
All of my pieces are handmade at the Steerhead Ranch or in Dallas, Texas. Our brand provides jewelry for a girl who wants to be part of something bigger than herself because there is a journey, whether it be domestic or international, behind each piece of jewelry we offer. Our pieces are unique and timeless, just like our girl, which means our jewelry will never go out of style and will forever be cherished and loved. I also have a huge passion for giving back, so I collaborate with other artists, entrepreneurs, and brands to create pieces that give back to different organizations and charities. You can shop my most recent collaboration with Much Love Sophie, a blogger based out of Dallas, on my website. Proceeds from our collaboration are going to Family Legacy, an organization also based out of Dallas. Lastly, I think being true to who I am and ensuring our company reflects passion, kindness, and loyalty is key. I would not be where I am today without my incredible mother. She is always by my side and bringing ideas to the brand. I am also fortunate to have an incredible team scattered all throughout the United States.
Shop a curated selection of her pieces at the D Weddings shop.