Exclusive: Inside New England Patriots QB Bailey Zappe's Intimate Montana Elopement

The NFL player married his college sweetheart, Hannah Lewis, on July 3.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Jul 08, 2024

For Bailey Zappe and his wife, Hannah Lewis, it started with Snapchat. The New England Patriots quarterback, 25, met his college sweetheart during his freshman year (and her sophomore year) at Houston Baptist University in 2017. Though they crossed paths shortly after the semester began, they didn't pursue a relationship right away. "She was too grown for me, so nothing really came of it," Zappe tells The Knot. But once football season picked up that fall, they began texting—and Snapping—more often.

"Our first date was to Panera," he recalls, "and she wouldn't let me pay for her food. I'm from the South, and that's one of the things you have to do. I was sitting there like, 'Look, I have to do this, otherwise I'm gonna be shamed by my parents.'" Lewis conceded, and the rest is history: "Now we're eight years deep into this thing."

On July 3, 2024, Bailey Zappe and his wife exchanged vows overlooking a picturesque lake in Montana in front of just 30 guests. Loosely inspired by their love for the drama series Yellowstone, the Western ceremony was followed by a party at a remote cabin in the mountains—and we have an exclusive look inside the wedding here.

Hannah Lewis and Bailey Zappe's Wedding Photos & Details

Bailey Zappe and Hannah Lewis had a non-traditional wedding planning experience, beginning with the day they got engaged. Considering they'd been dating for nearly seven years, Lewis knew a wedding was imminent…so she scheduled a wedding dress shopping appointment in May 2023, unaware that Zappe was planning to propose that day.

Originally, Zappe wanted to pop the question at a Jason Aldean concert. (They consider the country singer's hit "You Make It Easy" to be their song.) Lewis quickly caught on to his idea, saying, "He can't really keep a secret. He kept asking if we could go to [Aldean's] concert in Colorado. I told my sister that I thought he was going to propose there, so she relayed that to him and he switched it up on me."

The perfect moment ultimately came when Lewis was joined by her family for a wedding dress-shopping appointment in Dallas. Her sister-in-law asked to take family photos after to document the end of her pregnancy, and Lewis didn't think twice. But when they arrived at a gazebo, decorated with rose petals in the shape of a heart, Zappe was waiting with a ring. "I honestly had no idea it was happening. I wasn't expecting it," she recalls. "I did everything backward: I got the dress, and then I got engaged."

From there, the fiancés began planning their wedding, which was originally set to take place at a barn in Schulenburg, Texas, not far from Zappe's hometown. But as they spent more time working on the large-scale event, they realized it wasn't what they truly wanted. "We both have very small circles, and we aren't huge partiers," Lewis explains. "It just didn't fit our style. We sat down and talked to each other and said, 'Let's just elope with our family.'"

In their second phase of planning, the couple was inspired by one of their favorite TV shows. "We're from Texas where it's all flatlands," Lewis explains. "We wanted our venue to have scenic mountains, and we both love the show Yellowstone. So we landed on Montana."

A quick Google search introduced them to their photographer, Sydney Dahl, who also offers inclusive planning services. With her localized expertise, Dahl helped the couple find vendors to execute their pared-down vision. "We fell in love when we looked at her pictures, and we knew this was the route we wanted to go," Lewis says. "Some people say wedding planning is the most stressful thing ever, but we haven't experienced that because Sydney has been so amazing."

With their planner's help, they booked a cabin two hours away from the lake where they exchanged vows. "Bailey and Hannah were truly a dream couple," Dahl explains. "To them, it wasn't necessarily about the decor, beautiful florals or extravagant setups. It was about having their favorite people there while experiencing Montana."

Despite a few rain showers throughout the weekend, the couple didn't let it dampen the excitement of their celebration. After kicking off the itinerary with group hikes and sightseeing activities, the couple hopped in separate party buses on the morning of July 3 for a scenic ride to the remote lake where they'd become husband and wife.

Ahead of the wedding, both the bride and groom agreed that the processional was their most anticipated moment of the entire day. "I never grew up envisioning my wedding," Lewis says. "The only thing I've ever thought about was my husband seeing me for the first time walking down the aisle." In order to have that big reveal, the couple opted to forgo a first look. "I told him if he didn't cry, I'd turn around!" she adds with a laugh.

Much like every other aspect of the event, the ceremony was highly personalized. The couple was joined by their siblings at the altar while their guests—clad in all black—looked on. Zappe's college football coach, Zach Kittley, had the honor of presiding over the ceremony as their officiant. "He and Bailey have a special relationship," Lewis explains. "We wanted somebody we knew to marry us. It made the moment more intimate and personal."

After the vow swap, the newlyweds and their loved ones traveled back to the cabin for an evening of partying and celebrating. While they kept the ceremony decor to a minimum, allowing the natural beauty of the towering mountains to serve as the backdrop, the team at Flower Child Florals decorated the reception space with clusters of Baby's breath, romantic candle arrangements, and white roses—a sweet nod to their love story. "On their first date, Hannah told Bailey that white roses were her favorite," explains Dahl. "Now, he makes sure to get them for her every single time he gets her flowers!"

Great Northwest Catering provided the reception dinner, which highlighted the couple's favorite dishes. Tomahawk steak and shrimp were a must for the groom, while the bride insisted on truffle mac and cheese.

When it was time for the first dance, the couple shared a spin to "My Best Friend" by Tim McGraw, which holds sentimental memories dating back to their college years. "I'm a year older than Bailey, so I already left school while he was still at Houston Baptist," Lewis remembers. "He heard that song when he was hanging out with his friends, and he said it made him think of me. It's become really special to us."

As night fell over the mountain range, the entire group partied to a playlist of their favorite music. The pair swapped their ensembles for cozy bride and groom sweat sets so they could freely dance around the cabin. They sliced into a two-tier cake from Bonjour Bakery & Bistro, which had a vanilla layer from him, and a lemon layer for her. Of course, that wasn't the only sweet treat of the night. Zappe received a special delivery of decadent Insomnia Cookies—one of his guilty pleasures.

Since their wedding took place just before the Fourth of July, the newlyweds turned their destination elopement into an extended family holiday, leaving plenty of time for shopping, fishing, hiking, and enjoying the fireworks. "It was such a great way to blend our families," the couple says.

With NFL training camp for the 2024-2025 season set to kick off later this summer, the two are eyeing a quick minimoon to Disney World before planning a larger honeymoon next summer, potentially in Europe. But now, looking back on their wedding day, the Zappes agree that it was the perfect event—especially because they pivoted their plans. "We put 'us' into every aspect of this wedding," they say, urging other to-be-weds to do the same. "Be true to who you are. You only get this day one time, so it should be about you and your person coming together and starting your life."

Bailey Zappe and Hannah Lewis' Wedding Vendors

Wedding Planner & Photographer: Sydney Dahl, Sydney Breann Photography; Catering: Great Northwest Catering; Flowers: Flower Child Florals; Glam: Glacier Beauty Co.; Rentals: Empress Tents & Events; Cake: Bonjour Bakery & Bistro; Cookies: Insomnia Cookies; Transportation: Wild Horse Limo; Games: Celebrate Event & Party Rentals

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