Andy & Emily get married in an intimate, meaningful and a little nerdy Pacific Northwest destination wedding weekend.
Our wedding was freaking amazing.
I wish I had better words to describe how the experience was. Instead, I will share with you what we did that made it so freaking amazing. You can scroll through the writing and feel the story through the photos, as well.
It all started with our love story. We purposefully chose the things we did so the wedding was truly us. Before we began to plan anything, Andy and I sat down to work through a few of the worksheets I give to my clients who are planning their wedding on their own. We laid out our biggest wishes for the day and what we hoped to experience. We decided on our non-negotiables, the things that had to happen even if it meant making tough decisions. Our priorities boiled down to 1. Must have tacos, 2. Ceremony outside and 3. Have fun with our family and friends.
We also knew we wanted to have it be totally us. From the activities and the food to the ceremony and décor, it needed to reflect who we are together. We had seen so many weddings that we knew there was a lot that, at the end of the day, really didn’t make too much difference. We knew what to avoid and what we definitely wanted.The overall idea was simple. We wanted to be in the woods, hanging out with our family and friends, drinking beer, playing games and somewhere in there get married.
My hiking boots had been with me for every adventure that Andy and I went on. It only made sense that they were a part of this one as well. And it was cold, so leggings that matched the color of the woods were a must.
We love camping. A lot. Every year we go on many small camping trips and one long camping road trip. When we realized there was a wedding venue on the water, in the woods, in a campground it was only natural that we decided to go for it and ask our family and friends to camp with us for the weekend.
Kitsap Memorial State Park is perfectly nestled in century old trees and on the edge of the Hood Canal. The log hall was the perfect setting for our intimate reception. And the cathedral of trees where our ceremony took place was exactly what we loved.
The park has four cabins, one small house, and both primitive and full-hookup campsites. Our friends and family stayed in the four 5-person cabins and RVs for the weekend. We had meals planned for dinner and breakfasts for our guests cooked by a couple family members. We had activities for the whole weekend and were able to really relax and enjoy the company of each person who came.
There is also a cabin called the Hospitality House where we stayed, right in between the log hall and our ceremony location with a magnificent view of Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountain range.
No frills, no fancy, just us. Together, we walked to our ceremony location. Andy and I led the way with our friends and family following behind.
Our ceremony location was in the woods just south of the Log Hall and Hospitality House. We chose to omit the traditional pomp and circumstance of a processional because it was just us, no wedding party. We had gotten ready together. There was no "giving away" because we already had each other.
Andy's best friend officiated the ceremony and we read our vows to each other. I've heard it said many times and told my couples this, and indeed it is true. You forget that everyone is watching when you speak those words to one another.
No decorations, no chairs, no music, no fancy. Just a beautiful cathedral of cedar trees and the people who love us.
In the beginning of planning we were given money from family and had some of our own set aside. We went in knowing we had a set amount to spend and we weren't going over because we were also trying to buy a house, had our second baby and had businesses we wanted to succeed. So when it turned out to cost a minimum of $2000 to have a taco truck cater the wedding like we originally planned, we turned to family to put together a well-planned out taco bar potluck.
Our reception seating was important to me. I wanted everyone to feel included and a part of our table. The Log Hall was quite large for the amount of guests we would have which gave me many options to play with during the planning process. In the end, I settled on a U-shaped family-style seating. I used the 6' rectangular tables that the venue had for rent to set up 7 tables in the center of the room.
Being beer lovers, we added a touch of our bottle cap collection to our seating chart. The name lists I designed to look like a receipt or bar tab.
Our cake wasn't really cake. Andy and I have been fond of freshly baked cinnamon rolls as a weekend breakfast since the days we lived in a tiny apartment in Snohomish. We decided a while ago that we wanted cinnamon roll-like cake, but took it a step further by having the real thing stacked like a cake. I handmade the cinnamon rolls late Thurdsay night before our wedding, transported it unassembled to our wedding location, and then had it frosted and stacked the morning of the wedding.
While there was still daylight, we wanted to be outside for our reception. Totally against the norm, we had a "cocktail hour" after desserts were served. During this time we headed back out to the ceremony area to play a round of disc golf.
At one point we thought about having our wedding at Ferguson Park in Snohomish, which we lovingly called our backyard in the days we lived in an 320 sq ft apartment in town and washed our laundry at the laundromat next door to the park. Instead, we brought a basket with us and built our own course.
And then we danced. Our first dance is a song we picked two years ago, before we even began to plan a wedding. The Good Good by Snoop Lion. We then partied away with my dear friend PJ Parsons as DJ.
We wrapped up the night in the log hall with everyone helping with clean up and moved to a fire ring at one of our campsites.