As a native of northwest Montana, I haven’t had much experience traveling on the eastern side of the state. This past weekend, however, I found myself driving to a wedding in a (very) rural area outside of Billings.

To give you an idea of the remoteness of the wedding location, consider this: I had to drive 16 miles down a single-lane dirt road to get to the ceremony.

Now, I have been to outdoor weddings in the past, but this one was a whole different ballgame. Now that I have almost gotten all of the dust out of my teeth, I am ready to share a few pointers for those of you who will be attending outdoor nuptials this summer:

1. Don’t wash your car before you go – For some reason, I always feels the need to clean my wheels before I set out on a long road trip. I think it gives me a false sense of security, even though there is obviously no connection whatsoever between a vehicle’s cleanliness and its reliability. But after one trip down a long dirt road, you might as well throw that $9 you spent at the automatic carwash right out the window.

2. Know where you’re going – When you’re out in the backwoods of Montana, all of the roads look the same. It’s super easy to get lost, and if you do, you won’t be able to call for help, as there is no cell service. So make sure you have a detailed set of directions — and, if possible, a map — before you set out on your adventure.

3. Don’t wear high heels – The ceremony I attended was in a hay field, and I could barely stand without my heels sinking into the ground beneath my feet. I would imagine that wedges might be a little bit better, but honestly, my advice would be to ignore your inner fashionista and go with a nice pair of cowboy boots instead.

4. Bring a jacket – I was shocked at how warm and dry it was in eastern Montana, especially since we’ve had such a cool, wet spring here in Missoula. But even though it was hot during the daytime, the temperature dropped dramatically as soon as the sun went down.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.