Friday, January 25, 2019

Destination Wedding Planning — 6 Months Out

Photo taken by Kristen Marie Parker
Just now emerging from the holiday season madness of 2018, I'm starting to look to 2019 and all of the great things in store for us this year.  I thought it might be an apt time for me to write a little update on our wedding planning, as we are now 6 months out.  I realized that I've only posted about  the planning one
time, back in 2016 shortly after we got engaged.   Though I've mentioned it in passing just a few times on here, we've been consistently ironing out details here behind the scenes and plugging away at our checklist of wedding planning :)

Just to recap for those that don't know us as a couple well, or otherwise might not remember: we've been engaged for about 2.5 years now, since June of 2016.  Drew and I have known each other since we were in kindergarten, and we started "dating" (I feel like this term isn't right, we were boyfriend and girlfriend) a month after we graduated High School.  Come this summer we will be celebrating 11 years together and 3 years engaged.  So clearly we are patient people!  We have loved each other and planned on living the rest of our lives together since our first semester in college, and we've done just that for over a decade now.  

When we got engaged, and it came time to start planning the wedding part of getting married, I realized that I wasn't a girl that had had my whole wedding planned since I was 10.  I didn't dream of purple uplighting and a grand ballroom in the city with a big white organza dress 5 times the size of my body.  The words 'wedding industry' make me uncomfortable and flash unnecessary dollar signs in front of my eyes that make me want to crawl under a rock.   I may be in the fashion industry, but I don't chase fantasies of a 10k designer gown, and I may take photos of my outfits for this fashion blog, but I cringe at being in the spotlight.  I just want to marry the love of my life Andrew, around whom I am able to be the most authentic version of myself.

So I wanted to plan a wedding that I would feel comfortable at, and one that reflected us and our relationship, not just what the wedding industry says is necessary, or 'right'.  There is no right or wrong way to plan a wedding, but there could be a right or wrong way for you.  I embarked on finding a wedding style on Pinterest that appealed to who we are.  Big, flashy ballroom was out, rustic barn wedding was out, church wedding was out, City Hall wedding was out; none of them really felt like 'us'.  I pictured a clearing in the woods, intimate, quiet, and surrounded by nature.  Here was where I could envision us exchanging vows and beginning our adventure as husband and wife.  How hard could it be to set up some flowers and chairs in the woods?  Insert crying/laughing emoji here.  So I began looking for "wooded wedding venues" on Google.  I must have found hundreds.  I found blogs and wedding websites, and all sorts of things.  One in Minnesota that looked interesting, a camp in Wisconsin, and a myriad scattered across the west coast. 

Photo taken by Kristen Marie Parker

The nearer ones got sorted out for one reason or another, and suddenly we were looking at all west coast options.  We were looking at a destination wedding.  It was the first time we were confronted with this realization.  Are we going to do this?  I had searched for months for a gem of a forest venue in Illinois.  But we just don't have giant, lush, hundreds of year old mountainous pine forests here.  On the west coast forest weddings abound, and we knew we could pull together the dream if we just took the leap.  So we did.

We've taken care to plan far in advance (3 years), provide extra events and meals for guests, place it in a stunning location, and generally create a weekend of great fun for family and friends.  When I imagine about everything in my head I feel this warm fuzzy feeling with visions of our families vacationing in this beautiful place, swimming in the Canal, and hiking at nearby National Parks.  I want to be able to experience this with our families, and I think it will be a beautiful experience that we'll never forget.  I do want our ceremony and reception to be beautiful and have this magical woods under the stars feel.  An intimate feast in the forest, which is something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl.  I also want our guests to have a great weekend in the area making memories with friends and family and exploring the PNW.  I ultimately just want people to come and escape and have a good time.

I wanted to make a great experience for people to enjoy and come and celebrate with us.  We've been out there meeting vendors and doing site visits and catering and cake tastings now a total of 4 times, with a final trip set for this May.  We want to meet every vendor and know with confidence we are putting together the best event possible with the best team possible.  We are so excited to work with all of the wonderful lovely people we've met and bring them together for this event. I am truly ecstatic for what is to come. 


Six months out we are down to the home stretch.  We have two more vendors yet to secure and a to do list of various tasks, but on the whole the big stuff is over and set.  We are excited and nervous about everything going to plan (because something goes wrong at every wedding, so I'm sure we're not special), but at the end of the day our primary concern is that we get married and start out on this new journey together, and that will happen regardless of any mishaps.

So here's to the next six months, and may they pass smoothly and with as few hiccups as possible.  I can't wait to marry the love of my life!

Until Next Time, 

- The Lovely Red Fox

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