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Bright and Beautiful Rustic Outdoor Garden Wedding

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Tess and Michael truly curated a wedding day that perfectly represented who they are and what they love, and all while the bride was studying for the Bar exam! This savvy bride collected vintage decor, and completed countless DIY projects to bring her rustic garden wedding to life!
Bright and Beautiful Rustic Outdoor Garden Wedding

Tess & Michael

Mt. Vernon, Washington
- 08/23/2021
Total wedding budget $11,241

Budget Breakdown

Below is an estimated wedding budget breakdown provided by the couple.

  • Catering
  • Alcohol/Bar
  • Cake/Dessert
  • Flowers
  • Rentals
  • Planner
  • Photography
  • Partner 1 Attire
  • Partner 2 Attire
  • Music/Entertainment
  • Stationery
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Venue
  • Decor
  • Total wedding budget
bridal bouquet
best dog, dog of honor, bride and groom with dog
bride and groom

Did you do any DIY Projects or create any handmade items for your wedding?

Our garden venue got dark around 8 pm. We used tapered candles, lanterns, and hung our own string lights to create a nice ambiance after dark.

We also DIY’d music to cut back on costs. We created a Spotify playlist and rented audio equipment in lieu of a DJ. It was worth it for us because we cared more about catching up with out-of-town guests than having a lit dance floor.

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Our venue, Christianson’s Nursery, has an old one-room schoolhouse surrounded by a lush rose garden. A small barn nearby holds alpacas and other animals so we brought snacks for the animals and got to feed them after the ceremony.

We took inspiration from the schoolhouse and greenhouses and embraced the natural beauty of the space. Tables around the schoolhouse were adorned with vintage books and medicine bottles which were used as bud vases. A typewriter was positioned at the entrance and listed the order of events.

bridal party
wedding party
walking down the aisle
bride and groom and puppy

We took inspiration from the nursery location and the groom’s Japanese heritage and chose to repot a bonsai tree for our unity ceremony. We used soil from each of our childhood homes and intend to plant the tree when we buy our first home.

We chose to include our dog, a corgi puppy named Mochi, in the wedding. She was our ring bearer and we had a custom cake topper–a corgi bride and groom with a smaller corgi replica of Mochi. We played on her name and chose a Japanese treat, mochi, for our favors. The boxes of mochi each had a custom sticker that read “I love you so Mochi.”

My mom is a quilter and as a child, I always asked my mom when she would make me a quilt. She would always respond that I’d get a quilt when I got married. My mom actually made me a quilt for my wedding day and wouldn’t let me see it until the big day!

We wanted our guests to interact with our fun venue, so we set up lawn games like croquet, giant Jenga, and Krakow. We also had mad libs on each table and spontaneous karaoke broke out during the reception!

bride and groom at the altar
decor, guest book
outdoor garden wedding

What is the most memoriable moment of your day?

My husband is ordinarily a very easygoing and comical person. He rarely gets emotional so I’ll never forget when he cried during his vows. It was so touching to see him become overcome with emotion.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We chose a Monday wedding date. It was a difficult decision but we saved over $1,000 on our venue alone and saved on coordination as well. We chose a Monday prior to COVID, but it was great to have a Monday date when weddings resumed because most vendors were still available on our date!

outdoor tablescape
bridesmaids playing lawn games
wedding party tunnel

What was your biggest splurge?

I definitely splurged on decor. I had a very specific vision for the aesthetic and I wasn’t willing to compromise with less expensive alternatives. Most of our decor was vintage and was purchased, rather than rented. Luckily, many elements that I purchased for the wedding, like our card box and vintage typewriter, have been repurposed as home decor.

What were your favorite details?

The florals were my favorite detail because they really brought the garden setting into our decor. We chose loose, organic, seasonal blooms in a fun pink and orange color palette.

wedding pizza
wedding cake
wedding cake
wedding cake with corgi cake toppers

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

When booking vendors there is usually a tradeoff between cost and experience. One of our vendors was very inexpensive, but their inexperience meant that some things that I had carefully planned were not carried out. Experienced vendors know their value. You’re never going to receive the same quality service at a fraction of the price.

Share any additional details you’d like us to know about your event:

I planned the wedding while studying for the Bar Exam and Model Profession Responsibility Exam to become a lawyer. The bar exam was the last week in July, the MPRE was the second week in August, and the wedding was just one week later. I couldn’t work on wedding planning all of July because I was studying. I was definitely frazzled by the end, but luckily, I passed both exams and the wedding was a success!

bride and groom in greenhouse
bride and groom dancing
bride and groom jackets
bride and groom
cute couple photos

Our bridal party surprised us at the end of the reception with a sweet care package and a room at a quaint inn nearby. It was such an unexpected and sweet gesture!

sparkler exit