Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Our Wedding Story: Flowers, Styling and Planning


All professional photos by Kristen Marie Parker

As we near our one year anniversary, it seems fitting that I get around to the final blog about the details from our wedding.  Looking at the world now, the world could not look more different.  Almost none of this would have been possible in the current world situation, and it makes me all the more thankful that we were able to bring all of this together a year ago and make all of these wonderful memories with family and friends that we'll hold dear forever.

Not many people would plan a destination wedding, and not many people would try to pull one off pretty far off the grid.  Fewer still would then try to make it DIY and super hands on.  I honestly didn't have that much of an understanding of what planning a wedding took until we took on the task, but we took it on in pretty much the only way I know how — neurotically and with attention to detail!  

I feel like planning and styling are these almost invisible tasks that are sometimes hard to see unless they're done wrong — because the goal is to plan things for them to go flawlessly.  To think of all the possibilities, and put it together to feel natural to the eye — to make the experience a smooth one.   This also makes it possibly the hardest to write a post about, but I'm going to try my best.

Sit down and get comfortable, because this is gonna be a long one folks. 

Our Planner Shauna of J29 Events


I'm going to start in sort of a strange place and tell you a little about how my brain works.   When I take in the world, I think in moods.  Little video snippets of color and light with full sound.  It's like I'm making a little movie in my head of how I would document this moment if it were a montage in a film.  I mentally take moments and things I see in the world and I make a little movie memory of it in my head and play them back when I  want to remember them.  Our wedding was something that we had a lot of control over in terms of creating the perfect dream environment and experience to remember forever.  From the atmosphere in terms of venue and rentals, to the music, to the food, the timing of everything — all these can come together to make up a memory.  So essentially, we worked on fine tuning that little mind-movie piece by piece for three years. 

We knew that what we were taking on was A LOT in terms of logistics, and that parts of it would not be easy, and that we would have to plan for things to go wrong in order to navigate any potential hiccups.   But I like taking on big projects and then tackling all of the small details. 

Photos from the first time we visited the campsite in 2016

These lights are a story in and of themselves.  A portion of them were borrowed from our photographer Kristen, and the rest we bought to fill the space out.  The campsite was very large and it was hard to plan from afar just how we would manage to attach these to the trees!  The day all the guests were arriving we checked into the campsite, had our rehearsal ceremony, and then our team of groomsmen got up on ladders (and picnic tables, as you'll see below) and zip tied them to the trees.  Easier said than done!   None of us had any experience doing this but the guys did a great job and it was sort of a bonding experience for everybody!


Once we decided on our venue (which was a whole process in and of itself that involved multiple trips to the pnw with LOTS of driving and scheduling of walk throughs), we knew that we were definitely going to need a planner from the area so that we could have someone onboard with industry and local knowledge, to help guide us and help us with solutions to problems as we came up with them.  We hired J29 Events, and the owner Shauna and her assistant Sabrina were incredible!   She was there for us with any questions we had, and the planning software they gave us to use was super helpful in laying things out.  And on the day of they were invaluable, handling everything from transporting our cake from our Airbnb cabin to handling hiccups that I'm sure we will never even know happened!  

It's hard to put into words all of the logistical things that went into planning our wedding, from creating workarounds for there being no cell service or electricity, to the 7am start time for a rental delivery truck, or us driving our cake in from the city 3 days before the day, and packing all the DIY items and wedding attire to fit in our Airline luggage, so I won't bore or stress you out with all of them, but just know that all of our vendors and family and friends deserve so much gratitude and thanks for helping with our crazy little dream.  

Event Design

I made this in the fall of 2016 and kept referring back to it during the planning process

From the get-go I kind of knew I wanted to take on the event design aspect myself, from sourcing the rentals to tying in graphic motifs and planning colors, space layouts and more.   This was basically my dream project to be able to layout a large scale dinner party in the woods — something I've dreamt about since I was a kid.  

Working with a venue that was all outdoors with no electricity posed all sorts of challenges, from needing to take space measurements, to eye-balling where we would hide generators amongst the ferns in the woods.  Basically, the design started with our moodboard, and each time we went out to visit the site (I think four times before the week of) we gathered more info on how we would address logistics and lay things out.  Being the neurotic person that I am, I made about a zillion pdfs depicting the layout of the rentals with thoughts to spacing, styling, etc. 

Above: Touring furniture options from Archive Rentals in Portland
(yes, everything was trucked in from 2 hours away in Oregon)

Below:  Some of the same chairs styled at the bridesmaids' table on the day of

So without further ado, here is some of the "areas" we had in terms of layout:

Ceremony Setup and Hall of Trees/ Entrance

One of my mockups for the layout design

One of my mockups for the layout design

Marriage Certificate Signing Table and Photobooth Setup

Signing the marriage license.  I crafted these woodsy letters with supplies from Blick art supplies and Michael's Crafts.

One of my mockups for the layout design

We sourced props from Etsy and laid out Instax cameras + fun pens and tapes to write messages in our guestbook.   Everything other than the table had to be packed in our luggage!  We looked pretty crazy going through O'hare at 4am, I think we had at least 5 bags plus something like 4 giant boxes we shipped out with FedEx to a friend who is local to the area.  We had a bunch of props for the day of, plus the welcome events!


Seating Chart Screen


Bar in the Trees


One of my mockups for the layout design

The bar in the trees was so fantastic!!

Cake Hut


Above and  Left: A couple of my mockups for the layout design
Right: The cake hut on the day of.  Not sure why we started calling it a 'hut', but it stuck even though I kept trying to say shelter. 

Main Reception Area


Above and  Left: A couple of my mockups for the layout design
Right: The tables styled and laid out on the day of

Reception area during setup


Left: One of my mockups for the layout design
Right: My place setting at dinner ♥♥♥

Vanessa + Kristen coming together to create and capture an enchanting floral moment

One of my mockups for the layout design



One of my mockups for the styling design


Left: Place settings styled by Vanessa + her team on the day of
Right: One of my mockups for the styling design

Styling and Florals

The floral process

Vanessa bringing my bouquet before the first look, Elyse securing my pin from my grandma onto it, and my dad coming over
right before we ventured into the woods to find my future husband Andrew for the First Look

For florals and day of styling, we had the insanely talented Vanessa Schmidt, who has since closed her floral business, and we are so thankful and fortunate to have been able to experience her talents before she did.  Vanessa is a wonder and deserves all of the love in the world.  I can't put into words just how much her work moved me on the day of — it was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and every flower was so exquisitely breathtaking, I almost cried.  I mean, come on:

Her choice in spread of color and blooms was SPOT ON in harmony with the rentals we had sourced, and she and her team did an incredible job setting up and styling all of the rentals just so.  From the personal flowers like the bouquets and bouts, to the bridge installation with fairy lights, the ceremony arch, and the table garlands, everything was just cascading with floral life, which just filled my heart with so much joy.  It was simply enchanting, and looking back at the photos makes my heart swoon every time. 

If you made it this far, much thanks to you for spending some time reading about all this.  Reflecting on all of these photos almost a year later, I am reliving all of the festivities and it truly transports me mentally to a much less stressful time in all of our lives and I am so thankful for that.   I can feel the joy radiating from the faces of our family and friends as well as our own, and I am thankful for the perspective and nostalgia gifted to us from Kristen's lens — enourmously grateful that we will have these images to look back on for decades to come.  

Vendor Links

Photographer  |  Kristen Marie Parker
Venue  |  Skokomish Park at Lake Cushman
Planning + Coordination  |  J29 Events
Event Design  |  The Lovely Red Fox (bride)
Florals and Styling  |  VanessaSchmidtco.
Catering  | Herban Feast

Baker  |  Sweet Side Seattle

Entertainment  |  Puget Sound DJ

Beauty  |  Bridal Beauty Agency
Dress  | Claire La Faye from The English Dept.

All professional photos by Kristen Marie Parker

Until Next Time, 

— The Lovely Red Fox

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