How many guests did you have?
Because of how intimate our wedding was we decided to limit the guest list to close family and friends. In total, we had 55 adults and 8 kids under the age of 7 in attendance.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Despite our extremely low budget, we had several very unique and personal aspects included in our wedding. As guests arrived, they were greeted by a small table that held our guest book and wedding favors. The guest book was actually a slice of a tree trunk that was cut from a fallen tree on the wedding site weeks earlier. Once it dried out completed, our names and wedding date were written in black sharpie in the center of the tree ring and guests signed around the edges. It kept with our natural and backyard theme and is a lovely piece of art in our home now. The wedding favors were one of my favorite parts of the wedding! My cousin and her wife raise honey bees at several sites in Western Washinton and one of those sites has been my parents’ house for the last few years. They decided to give us enough honey (made from the bees who live on the property) to send every family/couple home with a 4 ounce jar as a wedding gift from their family. A little fabric and some handmade labels and we had some adorable and very unique gifts for our guests! Another one of our favorite creative touches actually took place prior to the wedding day. We learned of a Louisiana tradition of burrying a full bottle of bourbon upside down at the wedding site exactly one month before the wedding to ward off rain. Having an outdoor wedding in the Seattle area in October was risky at best so we gave it a whirl! A family member of ours had used this tradition at her Montana wedding just months before our big day and it worked beautifully, as did it for us! Guests were able to enjoy sandals and sunshine instead of sweaters and umbrellas the whole gorgeous 70 degree day.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Our biggest cost saver was the food and drinks hand down! We knew from day one that we wanted a small, intimate wedding and a potluck just seemed like the best fit. Asking guests to bring food was a little daunting at first, but once the word spread that bringing a dish or drink to share instead of a wedding gift was appreciated, we were overwhelmed with the response! Family and close friends began to send me recipes and food dish ideas of what they were willing to offer. The outcome was a gorgeous spread of steak, chicken, wild caught salmon, homemade mac and cheese, several fresh salads, sizzling apps and countless baked goods and homemade pies. The groom perfected his side hobby of brewing beer to make a “You and Me” ESB and a good friend of mine who works in the wine industry provided the vino as a gift, and her portion of the Potluck. With some creative serving dishes and some handmade place cards to show who made what dish and how they were related to us, a simple potluck turned into a lovely meal!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Keep it simple! For us it was always about the marriage and not about the wedding. We wanted a memorable day, but we were not willing to stress over the details nor break the bank. I loved that minutes before the ceremony I realized that my girlfriends and I had forgotten to finish putting together my bouquet from the fresh cut flowers we got from a flower farm. Someone quickly wrapped the dahlia and kale bouquet in a piece of ribbon and it was beautiful and perfect. My one other piece of advice is to not worry about things going “wrong”. Wrong is such a relative term because when you are marrying the person you love surrounded by family and friends, what can really be all that horrible? Although we didn’t have a traditional dance floor, we did have a very special first dance song that just happened to refuse to play from our less than professional music station. The song started and stopped and skipped for at least 10 minutes while we insisted that everyone stand in the now chilly fall night air and wait for us to dance. We look back now and love this memory. Might have been the most awkward first dance ever, but when the song finally played it was a great moment.
What was your biggest splurge?
Overall, the biggest splurge was probably for the landscaping and yard work done to the wedding site. Although we were fine with the rustic look of my parents’ backyard at first, I am glad now that they convinced us to spruce things up. Fences were painted, trees planted, weeds pulled, a bridge over the pond painted and more! Maybe only part of this was monetary splurging, but the rest was backbreaking work that we all took part in.
What was your favorite detail?
A few things make that list including the honey favors, the yard games set up for people to play during the game, fresh flowers and table decorations and the homemade food.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
That awkward first dance makes the list for sure as well as standing on that bridge reciting our personally written vows. For me it was also spending time getting ready for the ceremony over glasses of champagne with my best girlfriends.