Snippet & Ink Select vendor Britt Chudleigh shared this laid back wedding at Cedar Lakes Estate with us, and I absolutely love what bride Ashley had to say about Britt’s photos: “When we received our pictures we relived the day through them – they somehow captured not only the feel of the event, but exactly how Chris and I felt that day. From the laughter and smiles at the ceremony, to adorable candids of our cousins, to sweet quiet moments with my grandmother, we love each and every one.”
Did you have “something old, new, borrowed, and blue”? I wore blue shoes from Brian Atwood, an heirloom emerald and diamond ring that was my great-great-aunt’s (old and borrowed from my mom), and amazing earrings from my friend’s company Charm & Chain (new). Another “tradition” was having my friend Asya do my makeup – she always did all of our friends’ makeup in college and has now done all of ours for our weddings! It’s so special to have someone so close to you help you get ready and keep everyone calm and relaxed.
“The mountaintop is picturesque and took our breath away when we toured Cedar Lakes. We knew right away it was where we wanted to get married. It was important to us to have the ceremony and reception in one location for convenience of our guests and to make the day a seamless event.”
Your ceremony in three words. Personalized, laid back, joyful.
How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony? Chris and I both grew up with religion in our lives, but wouldn’t say we actively practice anymore – Chris is Catholic and I am Lutheran, so we wanted to have a traditional feel without it being overly religious, and it was important to us to find an officiant that we felt really understood us as a couple, as we’ve been together nearly a decade. As soon as I contacted Reverend Lisa Zaro, I could tell she understood where we were coming from, and would make the ceremony personal to us. She took the reins from there, getting to know us, suggesting readings, and vetting her plans with us every step along the way. Our guests could not believe that Rev. Zaro wasn’t someone who we’d grown up knowing – she perfectly captured our personalities and our relationship and it resonated with all of our loved ones there. Choosing an officiant that you don’t have a background with can be daunting, and she far exceeded our expectations in every way!
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Nothing in particular, but it followed a traditional format with my dad giving me away, some readings and declarations of support from family and friends before exchanging our vows.
What was your ceremony music? We chose songs that we connected with and were non-traditional. They were played by a keyboardist without vocals.
Processional, bridal party: “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum
Processional, bride: “Thank You” by Jennifer Nettles
Recessional: “Bonfire Heart” by James Blunt
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Rev. Zaro really captured our relationship and shared stories and anecdotes that kept it light, funny and energized for both Chris and me and our guests. My face hurt by the end from smiling so much!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your ceremony? For the ceremony, both Chris’s grandmother and my grandmother processed down the aisle ahead of our parents and the bridal party – we are extremely close with our families and wanted to honor the role they have played in our lives.
Why did you choose this location for your reception? Chris and I originally wanted to get married in Jackson Hole, Wyoming because that is where we got engaged and go skiing nearly every winter. We love the outdoors and knew we wanted it to be somewhere that captured some of the scenery we love most. After talking with our families though, we realized it would likely exclude some family and close friends, since it’s not the easiest place to get to from the East Coast. Once we decided against a true destination wedding, we still wanted to create that ‘weekend away’ feel and invite our guests not to just celebrate with us for one day, but for the whole weekend.
“Cedar Lakes Estate had accommodations for all our guests to stay, and we had over 65 people join us for the whole weekend: blobbing, ziplining into the lake, athletic fields for a Crossfit morning workout, fire pits, etc. We loved every minute of the weekend, and by the time the wedding itself began, it just felt like a continuation of the party! The reception was held in their beautiful barn with its reclaimed wood interior and string lights. It was exactly the look we were going for – rustic and elegant.”
What did you serve at cocktail hour? Passed hors d’ouevres of fresh ricotta toasts with local honey drizzle, mini franks in homemade buns, melted brie and fig grilled cheese (Beyond a hit! People were swarming the servers to be the first to the trays!) and sirloin sliders with smoked ketchup and sweet pickles.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Rustic but elegant weddings that incorporated beautiful locations and a laid back feel. This is probably the right spot to bring up our designer, Meg Low from That Time Events. Words cannot express how talented she is! I always joke that I’m missing the creativity and artist genes, so finding someone who could make sense of the disparate ideas I threw her way was very impressive!
First Dance: “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds
Father/Daughter dance: “I Loved Her First” by Heartland
Mother/Son dance: “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Chris and I are not big sweets people so we went back and forth on whether to do a traditional cake. We eventually decided against it and went with milkshakes and ice cream sundaes in our favorite flavors: peppermint, chocolate peanut butter, and vanilla. Cedar Lakes staff made them to order so you could mix in any of your favorite toppings and mix and match any flavors you wanted. To finish the night, we gave out favors of pre-made s’mores with homemade marshmallows from Cedar Lakes. Everyone walked with us out to the fire pit and kept the party going!
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? As I mentioned, I am not the craftiest or most creative bride out there, however my sisters both are! We hand wrote the table cards using an embossing pen and gold embossing powder. It definitely wasn’t something I would have tackled on my own, but I loved how personal it came out. My sisters also put together toiletries baskets for the restrooms and for the guests who chose to stay in the more rustic camper cabins, stuffed the welcome bags, and made the s’mores favors with the homemade marshmallows.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? To make sure to take time as a couple to step back and reflect during the day. It really is such an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have nearly all of your closest family and friends in one room, there to celebrate you and the life you are starting together. Chris and I chose to have a sweetheart table for that reason and we were so happy we did. It allowed us to talk with one another, to really watch things from the outside a few times and to soak in how special it was.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Remember what matters most and stay organized. Thankfully both Chris and I were pretty low key about the whole thing, but it’s an expensive endeavor and tensions will inevitably come up. Don’t let the little molehills turn into mountains, and put your effort into just a few elements that really matter to you both. For us that was a great band, amazing food, and creating a fun relaxed vibe for the weekend.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Take my own advice (see above) when I initially got completely overwhelmed! Chris and I paid for the majority of the wedding ourselves and had initial sticker shock when pricing options. At the end of the day, we stepped back, decided what was really most important to us and that helped bring it all down to earth.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? How could I possibly choose just one?! Honestly, the entire night felt like a fairytale – like we were living in a dream state. I think my favorite memories though are of being on the dance floor. Every guest was out there almost the entire night! From my young cousins, to my grandma in her wheelchair, our band perfectly felt out our crowd and kept everyone up and dancing which was what we really wanted. To end the night, we asked the band to play “Africa” by Toto which was always the last song played at our favorite college bar – all of our Cornell friends (which was the vast majority of our friends there) went wild!