Photography by Belathée.
Our gorgeous weddings this week have something amazing in common: they are all about the love story, not the details. (I mean… would you look at the newlyweds’ expressions in this image? My heart!) Our lovely bride Sara says “the whole day felt very intimate – due in no small part to the fact that some of our very talented friends helped put it all together. A childhood friend of mine was the DJ, another our officiant, and my officemate turned dear friend Dorothée Brand of Belathée was our photographer. Our friends Matt and Emily of The Corson Building curated a wonderful assortment of food and beverages, and the save the dates, invitations and menus were created by another friend, Danielle Bellert of BDR-studio. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such gifted and generous people.” It is seriously inspiring that this couple didn’t get caught up in ‘all things wedding’, but kept it totally authentic to them, and it really shows in every aspect of their day. Which reminds me – be sure to read on for what Sara says she would do differently if she had to do it all again – it is so honest and one of my all time favorites answers!
Sara tells us the sweet story of finding what she calls her “not-so-expensive-dress”: “I was visiting my parents at home in Anchorage, Alaska the winter before our wedding and my mom and I went to a small wedding dress shop which featured many consignment pieces. I was not expecting to find my wedding dress in Alaska, but ended up falling in love with a piece that had been handmade by a local woman. She had originally made it for her daughter. Because Anchorage is a small town I contacted her and we began corresponding with each other – we’ve since shared many cards and phone calls and my connection to her made the dress feel that much more special.”
Sara paired her beautiful gown with her great grandmother’s veil, which has also been worn by her mom, aunt and cousin!
If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would do differently? Probably! Ha! It’s all kind of a blur now, but of course no process is perfect and there were a lot of growing pains during the planning. Honestly it was probably the most difficult year of our relationship and I’m sure wedding planning had something to do with that. I think it was important for us to forgo the illusion that the planning would be romantic and magical. And it is amazing how any quarrels leading up to the wedding didn’t really seem to matter on the big day or after.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Vashon Island is a truly magical destination – it’s a quick ferry ride from Seattle but feels like a million miles away. The island has such a relaxed and natural feeling – exactly what we wanted for our wedding. It was a special spot for both our local and out of town friends and family, and meaningful to us because we had spent a lot of time there as a couple.
What was your ceremony music? We chose two songs from the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild – we both love the soundtrack and it was the perfect combination of upbeat and drama.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? One of them was definitely walking down the aisle with our families. We opted not to have a wedding party but had our parents and siblings walk us down the aisle instead.
Your ceremony in three words. Sweet, down-to-earth (if that’s one word!), funny.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We didn’t want anything overtly religious, and we knew we wanted to write our own vows. We wanted it to feel sentimental but also a little light hearted. And nothing too long! We took cues from a lot of friends’ and siblings’ weddings, but pretty much wrote the script on our own. We tried to combine many of our favorite features from past weddings into our day.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? A childhood friend of mine, John, was our officiant. He officiated my brother’s wedding two years prior and is essentially part of the family. it was so nice having someone who had witnessed our relationship from day one.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? In the middle of our vows a herd of sheep came behind us and started bleating – those kinds of unexpected moments ended up being some of the best memories from our wedding. and of course those are the very moments you can’t anticipate or plan.
What were your ceremony readings? We had one of my friends and Logan’s brother read two different poems. Logan’s brother Ryan read Our Union and my friend Sadena, read First Poems.
What were your vows like? We wrote our own! We wanted it to be a surprise for each other. The only thing we agreed on beforehand was that we would keep our vows around one minute. Hearing each other’s vows in the moment was by far the most special part of our entire wedding.
Why did you choose this location for your reception? The reception and ceremony were in the same spot, which was very convenient. the backdrop was a farm which created a nice, casual atmosphere. And it was very kid friendly for the many nieces and nephews!
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I think the setting and the food were two major jumping off points – and helped inspire my dress, the decor, and the overall relaxed vibe.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I specifically stayed away from too much DIY. I was nervous that I would get a little obsessive and bogged down in the DIY details, and I didn’t want to be dip dying place cards or doing paper mache at 3am the night before our wedding! Keeping things relatively simple allowed me to enjoy the big day and focus on the moment.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? The wedding budget is definitely a slippery slope and it’s really easy to get carried away. This isn’t revelatory advice, but I would just recommend picking the things that matter most to you and spending your money on those and not worrying about making everything “perfect”. For example, I chose not to spend a lot of money on a dress but really cared about having beautiful photographs and flowers. And think of the guests’ perspective – guests will notice if you run out of booze, but they won’t notice if you didn’t put hand carved name tags at each seat!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? This isn’t really a piece of planning advice, but one thing I am really glad we did was have a friend (my pregnant, sober cousin, bless her heart) record our ceremony, toasts and first dance. We didn’t need anything fancy, and I’m just so happy to have that footage. The idea of being able to show our kids those videos one day makes my heart swell.
How would you describe your reception? The food was a definite highlight – Logan is a chef so the cuisine was a hugely important element for us, and it did not disappoint. There was a lot of laughter and full bellies. And the toasts were so good! It was really fun hearing our siblings, parents and friends wax poetic, poke fun and reminisce.
What was your wedding menu? A lovely Northwest-inspired spread – all served family style. It included lamb with marinated eggplant, salmon with fennel and shellfish, yummy sourdough bread with different spreads and salads featuring summertime veggies. One of the highlights of our wedding was how many people told us it was the best wedding food they had ever had. Our friend Emily, the chef at The Corson Building, was the woman behind the magic.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Hmmmm. I’m not sure one piece of advice sticks out but there were a few things I tried to keep in mind: wear comfortable-ish shoes, don’t drink too much… I just tried my best to appreciate the moment and be grateful and gracious to those around me, and myself.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Ooof, hard to say. We loved the toasts but our first dance was pretty fun, too. Logan is a great dancer and I am… not so much, but we managed to do a somewhat pulled together first dance (to Jackie Wilson’s Higher and Higher) that was, most importantly, fun!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Our dessert was rather informal – and we were both too busy dancing to eat it! It was fresh berries, whipped cream and shortbread. I wish we had tried it!