Today’s real wedding gives a whole new meaning to “the great outdoors.” Oregon couple Meng and Max celebrated their marriage beneath a woodsy canopy that was heavenly to behold. Hazelwood Photo embraced every natural backdrop (yes, that includes towering waterfalls and lakeside cliffs!) and Floral Sunshine was there to spruce up the bridal party with flower crowns for all. We especially love the way Gather Event Planning & Consultation and Something Borrowed tied in details like the gold speckled cake and the oversized chalkboard in lieu of paper programs.
From the bride, Meng: We envisioned an intimate wedding where we could celebrate our journey as a couple with the people who know us the best, and have our personalities and story infused throughout. We met in business school and traveled around the world together early on in our relationship, so we wanted our love of travel, exploration and the outdoors to be evident throughout the decor and details. While we live in San Francisco, I am originally from Portland, and a completely outdoor venue that showcased the beauty of the Pacific Northwest while providing the flexibility to select our own vendors so appealing – we loved the idea of our guests exploring the space throughout the ceremony and reception. It was also important to embrace our cultural and religious identities in our wedding and asked a close friend of ours from school to officiate; we collaborated with him in writing the ceremony and wrote our own vows. Our florist did a stunning job of decorating the chuppah, making it the perfect centerpiece for the ceremony.
We wanted a whimsical, enchanted, romantic wedding the would reflect our travel-loving, fun-spirited personalities. Our color palette in shades of lavender, dusty blues, greens and gray carried throughout the wedding; in the bridesmaid dresses, flowers, groomsmen bowties, and even table decor. We handed over full creative rein to our incredible wedding designer, Amber from Something Borrowed, to bring to life the travel theme. She incorporated accessories such as vintage suitcases, cameras and mailboxes in the guestbook, welcome and cake tables and arranged vintage travel postcards for our guestbook. Even the trinkets we had collected in our travels were artfully displayed in glass terrariums on the head table. My biggest DIY undertaking was calligraphying and creating custom place cards for each guest. The theme of each table was a different country we had traveled to together and we enlisted the help of a local illustrator to create custom table cards. The place cards were designed to resemble letters mailed from these various countries and I was able to leverage some stamps from my mom’s used stamp collection that matched with our countries for an authentic touch – the rest I procured on eBay. The place cards were stamped with a personalized postage-cancellation mark that I found on Etsy, and it bore our venue and wedding date. Amber also led a bridesmaid and I through a flower-crown making session for my bridesmaids and it was so special to all wear one of our creations for the wedding. The flowers were artificial since we made them ahead of time, but it was hard to tell the difference!
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Planning a wedding is a marathon, not a sprint! Especially for those couples planning over the course of a year, each person might go through different waves of enthusiasm and schedule availability. It’s really important to figure out where your priorities are with the different elements of your wedding and plan to tackle the most important ones first (i.e the critical vendors) – While I initially thought selecting linens that matched with the theme was of huge importance, I soon realized that neither of us had the energy to procure them so we just went with the standard rentals! Divide up ownership over the areas that you care more about, and feel free to plead indifference to those that you feel less opinionated as you’ll need to direct your efforts.
We created a Google spreadsheet to track our research, budget, guest lists and even songs for the DJ, and it was so invaluable in keeping us organized. Finally, if many of your guests are traveling to attend your wedding, consider creating a weekend out of it. We had a “destination” wedding with family and friends traveling in from all over the US and world, including 20+ family members flying in internationally. We chose to plan a weekend filled with events and opportunities for our old friends to catch up and foster new friendships. This was definitely worth the extra effort, as we kept hearing from our guests how much they appreciated ample opportunities to see us and one another throughout the weekend.
Prelude: Jurassic Park
Groomsmen Processional: Pirates of the Caribbean
Bridal Party Processinoal: “Perpetuum Mobile,” Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Bride’s Processional: Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Recessional: “Sweet Child of Mine”
Reception Entrance: West Wing theme song
First Dance: “Africa,” Toto
Final Dance: “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran