I don’t even know where to start – there was so much that went into our Pacific Northwest wedding and it is so hard to imagine recapping it in a short (ish) post, but I will do my best!
Let’s start at the beginning… the very beginning. Zack and I met at Iowa State University on our very first day of Architecture school. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this loud and confident kid that I shared a studio with. However, it didn’t take much time for his humor and infectious love for life to completely consume me. We became fast friends and remained best friends for 4 years. We lived a lot of life together as best friends. We travelled the country and we travelled Europe with our Architecture class, we saw each other through a lot of good times and a few really bad times. With graduation looming and our futures completely unknown, we decided to take the leap to be more than friends – what a perfect time to test out a relationship! I was moving to Seattle following graduation and Zack had yet to set a post-graduation destination. Luckily, he booked a one-way ticket to Seattle after I had gotten settled and the rest… “is still unwritten…” (lol)
After almost 5 years of dating, Zack proposed in our (now) favorite place, the Oregon Coast on October 21, 2018. (You can watch the video he shot and edited here of the whole thing)
Fast forward to our wedding day, September 14, 2019. As I type, I am sitting on the couch watching college football with Zack by my side (well Zack is watching…) trying to relive our day through photos and our video. It has been almost 3 months since our wedding day and it seems like it was just yesterday, but also seems like an eternity ago. 11 months of planning for one day – it seemed like it would never end when we was in the middle of it; there is always something more to do. Now that the wedding day has come and gone, I would do anything to go back and re-plan and relive that day again and again, even with the hiccups 😉
Here’s a little recap of how we planned our dream Pacific Northwest wedding.
When planning, the most important thing to us was the venue. We wanted a place that had a house where our wedding party could stay the weekend with us. Since almost our entire wedding party was traveling from out of state, we wanted to provide a place for them to stay, but also, selfishly keep them with us for the whole weekend because we missed all of them so darn much. After only one other venue tour, we chose the Kingston House. We immediately fell in love with the house, the grounds, and all of the different landscapes it offered in one place. The house is located on a 27 acre property complete with woods, a pond (with geese!), woodlands with trails and beautiful creeks, and a lavender field. On top of that, it provided the perfect mix of indoor and outdoor spaces for the wedding. This was the perfect backdrop for a Pacific Northwest wedding.
We utilized as much of the grounds as we could. We had to come up with Plan A, B, C, etc. since Seattle rain patterns are so unpredictable. Fortunately, the plan that we decided on the night before, courtesy of my genius husband, worked out in the most perfect way. The rain fell until about 2pm which is right when we started our photos. Somehow the skies cleared up and the grounds dried and we were able to run around the gorgeous property for photos. Our ceremony was down by the pond, and our reception was held among the trees under the tent provided by Kingston House. The dancing portion was transitioned up to the house under another gorgeous tent where the fire place and heaters kept the space warm.
We couldn’t have asked for a better place to host our wedding. Matt, the owner of the Kingston House, donated a bunch of heaters, yard games, tents, and tables on the day of the wedding to make sure everyone stayed warm and dry in case of rain. Luckily it held off, but we were so thankful for his presence and generosity through the day.
There are not enough amazing things I can say about Olivia Callaghan. We hired her as our day-of coordinator, but she worked with us through the whole planning process. She made recommendations when I needed them and listened when I was set on something. Outside of coordinating and planning, she contributed so much to our big day. She brought the vases and candles, put together the flip flop baskets and even tied ribbon on them and noted the sizes on each pair. She handled all of the vendors, even after we changed the layout last minute due to weather. She literally worked with us every step of the way and acted more as our planning wing-woman than the coordinator. and more importantly , she became family by the end of the process. We COULD NOT have done it without her. By the end of the planning, I was so sad we wouldn’t be speaking with her every day like we had for the months leading up to the wedding. If you are a Seattle bride-to-be PLEASE consider Olivia as your coordinator, she was truly the reason everything ended up so beautiful and flawless in the end.
The First Look:
Florals & Magnolia:
Kelsey from Wandering Blooms absolutely blew us away with her floral arrangements and magnolia garlands. When picking florals, I knew I wanted a more neutral color palette to compliment the venue scenery and the main feature I wanted was garland lining the tables. I have fallen in love with magnolia leaves with their bright green and bright orange colors and am so glad they became the anchor to the whole floral design through the whole day. The leaves were woven into the bouquets and the boutonnières, and Kelsey used the leaves to create the most beautiful arbor design I have ever seen.
Due to the lavender field on the grounds, we wanted to weave lavender into the design as well. The aisle decor was very minimal with silver buckets of lavender hanging on the aisle seats and rose petals in the grass. Everything Kelsey created was a perfect compliment to the already beautiful venue and she really nailed the Pacific Northwest wedding vibes.
Hair & Make-up:
LiSun Goh did my and my girls hair and make-up and I am so thankful for her thoughtfulness, attention to detail, amazing beautifying talent! Our hair and make-up lasted through the entire day. My hair and make-up, on a daily basis, never hold up through the day, but she worked her magic and by 10pm on my wedding night my hair and make-up were still in place!
The search for my dress was extensive. I thought I would never find “the one”. I wanted something simple and elegant with no lace, tulle, or beading, just an A-line silhouette and a bow on the back. I quickly discovered this wasn’t something that would be easily found. Today, finding a dress without embellishment proved to be quite tricky. Fast-forward to my appointment at The Dress Theory (my 8th dress appointment) and I discovered the Sarah Seven collection and it was everything I was looking for. We added a bow and a sash to the dress during my appointment and I fell in love. My alterations and bow were crafted by Cheing Saelee in Seattle.
I don’t have a favorite color, because it changes by the day. But what I always gravitate towards are soft tones and neutral shades of pink, blue, and green. I asked my girls to pick any dress they wanted and to just stay in the blush / rose family. Once we saw them all together we were so happy with how they looked!
The men on the other hand were all asked to wear the same suit 🙂 Zack picked out a charcoal suit and camel accents from The Black Tux. With men standing on the brides side and the grooms side, we figured it would be easiest to have them all match and have the ladies stand out!
Let me just say – we had the best wedding party of ALL TIME!
Photography & Videography:
Last but CERTAINLY not least – photography and videography. These were the most important things to us when planning our wedding. Even beyond the venue and the dress (I know that makes no sense to some, but it’s true for us) we wanted to make sure our whole day was captured from the ceremony down to all of the little moments that pass by so quickly.
The week we got engaged I reached out to my friend and former school-mate DJ Freesmeier with Freesframe Photography. I have known DJ for years and when I think back to our school years, I remember he always had a camera in his hand. He started his own photography business and I have known for years that I wanted him to shoot our wedding. His work is so thoughtful, inspiring, and he captures moments so perfectly – beyond words. Every photo tells a story but is also a work of art. I am so thankful to know him as a friend and to have had the fortune of him shooting our wedding. His second camera-man was his good friend, Joe Green of Joseph Green Studios.
During a trip home to Iowa, (I think in 2016) DJ introduced me to his friends Joe Green (photographer) and Andrew Rizer (videographer). Watching the three of them work together was truly amazing. Honestly in that moment I knew I wanted the three of them to capture our wedding day. Fast forward three years and we made it happen!
That brings me to videography by Andrew Rizer. I can’t put into words how wonderfully Andrew captured our wedding day. There were so many small moments we would have never seen or remembered if it weren’t for his presence and talent. We have watched this video over and over and it never gets old. The way he edited together the footage is just beyond anything we could have imagined.
Huge thank you to all of the vendors that helped make our dream Pacific Northwest wedding a reality!
- Photography – DJ Freesmeier (Frees Frame Photo)
- Videography – Andrew Rizer
- Coordinator – Olivia Callaghan
- Venue – Kingston House
- Hair & Make-up – LiSun Goh
- Flowers / Magnolia – Wandering Blooms
- Decor – American Party Place
- Catering – Crescent Moon Catering
- Cake & Cupcakes – Central Market Poulsbo
- Dress – The Dress Theory
- Alterations – Cheing Saelee
- Suits – The Black Tux
- DJ – DJ Z Entertainment
- Photo booth – Kitsap Snap
The first look – My stomach was in knots all night and all morning. I was so worried something would go wrong, but not with the decor, venue, or even the weather. I was so anxious to see Zack and I was worried something would happen that would prevent me from getting down the aisle to my guy. Would I get sick and not be able to get to the venue? Would I pass out? ALL irrational fears, but that’s how my anxiety works. Finally when I got to the venue, put my dress on, and walked to the patio for our first look, it all melted away. Seeing him, as always, made me feel so calm, so happy, and so ready for anything.
The Vows – Even more than the first look, whenever someone asked me what I am most excited for, I always said “the vows”. We wrote our own vows, some of which are in the video below, and I couldn’t wait to hear the words Zack wrote and read him the words I wrote for him. I started crying from the first word and continued until the end of the ceremony.
Our first dance – We have 2 songs, Renegades by X Ambassadors and High On Life by Martin Garrix. Renegades was the song we chose to be the song I walked down the aisle to, so naturally we chose the EDM song for our first dance 🙂 We aren’t ones to slow dance, so we decided to choose an up-beat song that would allow us to jump around and have fun with it (clips in the video below). We even had our wedding party join us at the end and it was even more perfect than we could have hoped for!
All of our favorite people – From our family and friends to our giant wedding party, we spent the whole day surrounded by our favorite people. Everyone made this a weekend to remember and we are so grateful to everyone that made the journey and made this the best weekend ever!
Advice to future couples:
Even if you don’t enjoy the planning process, soak it in – because it goes so fast! Noone but you will notice the hiccups, and honestly you’ll barely remember them. When you look back on the day, the mishaps won’t even come to mind, only that it was the best day of your life with the best people.
And last bit of advice… Buy glow sticks for the reception! You won’t regret it 😀
Thank you for reading my not-so-short wedding recap 🙂 If you’re in the middle of the planning process and have questions, let me know I would be happy to help how I can!