The next incredible wedding is just pure joy!  Bright, colorful, sunshine-y joy!  I wish I could actually attend some of these extraordinary events and this Washington State shindig by  Kevin Wrenn Photography is at the top of that list.  Amazing things can happen when you think outside the box and hosting your reception at the nearby raft company is certainly unique!  The result is a beauty that is just bursting with creativity and fun-lovin’ good times!  Click here to see even more.

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From the Bride… Ken and I are both entrepreneurs and used to doing things our own way!  When we got engaged on New Years Eve, we knew we wanted get married in August at his mom’s home in Index, Washington, and plan and pay for it ourselves.  Hello DIY Budget Wedding!  Luckily, his mom’s home is a paradise of gorgeous, lush gardens and funky antique finds that would be perfect for the intimate ceremony and cocktail hour.  Though her home is located in the smallest town in northwest Washington, we knew the local rafting company would be a gorgeous spot for a fun-loving reception tucked along the river.

With the location secured, we turned to, well everything else!  We went in with the words “vibrant, loving, authentic” and I put together a vision board that prominently featured wildflowers, picnic tables, birds, sparkly lights, and the colors marigold, turquoise and rose.  And dancing!  Lots of dancing!  The only things we did for the first several months was hire our photographer and find my wedding dress! My sister (and amazing maid of honor) helped me find a dress for $200 (all of which was donated to charity) at a floor sample sale.  It was 4 sizes too large and needed some flair, but it was the perfect base to bring to a tailor.  I had such a fun time designing my dress and headpiece with her as well and really loved that they were totally unique.

As it turned out, almost everything at the wedding was unique and personal. That had as much to do with our DIY budget, as with my desire to design a day that was the lovely reflection of Ken and I. Great food and wine?  Yes please.  Stunning outdoor setting?  Of course.  Laid back fun and laughter? It’s on. But all of that meant a lot of work on our side!  My bridesmaids helped me stamp and hand color the invitations, Ken and I designed the menu and taste tested the recipes to give to the kitchen, and my mom came a week early to Seattle to help me finish up all the crafts. Since we weren’t working with a real caterer, I also took on the task of renting all the tables, linens, glassware, and flatware and designing the flow of service.

The day of the wedding was a fabulous lesson in teamwork.  My dad was rolling tables, my mom served as the wedding party caterer, and Ken’s family was doing all the setup for the ceremony.  I was working out the seating chart (literally hauling tables around!) with curlers in my hair, while Ken pieced together the sound system.  A neighbor volunteered as day of coordinator, an out of town guest picked up the 100 cupcakes on her way in, and a friend of the family took her van out to the flower farm to get the mason jars filled with fresh cut flowers! During the actual wedding, my childhood friend Jake played violin for the ceremony that was performed by our friend David.  Other talented pals performed songs and played the guitar during the reception, in between dancing sets.  I loved that we were all working together to create this special day!

The ceremony was set against the stunning background of the mountains and the garden.  I had sewn pendant flags to string from an outdoor fence spelling “Ken + Molly” to help everyone find our tucked away treasure!  We were crossing our fingers for sunshine, as we had no real back up plan (eek!), and luckily for everyone, it was a gorgeous, sun-drenched day.  I loved walking down the lawn with my dad to Sting’s Fields of Gold and was so excited that I promptly smooched Ken!  A touching part of the ceremony was watching our wedding bands being passed around so each guest could bless them with warm thoughts for a happy and fulfilled marriage. It was magical to know our union was started with so many joyful intentions.

The cocktail hour housed many of my favorite design elements.  We had signature peach collins cocktails in highball glasses with striped “M” straws being passed.  There was gorgeous red pepper soup in glass shot glasses that looked as amazing as it tasted. A wishing station was set up to leave us predictions or wishes on heart shaped paper cutouts for several different anniversaries. I can’t wait to open the love notes on our 1,3, 10 and 20 anniversaries!  And the homemade photo booth, complete with chalkboards for a “guest book” message was entertaining to all!

After strolling through the pathways of the garden, the guests walked along the river to the reception. The raft company had done an amazing job stringing the lights I had imagined and building us a small stage and dance floor!  Though we had a fab florist from Seattle do our bouquets, the flowers at dinner were done by a local flower farm 30 minutes away!  I dropped off 40 or so mason jars earlier in the week, showed them the flowers and colors I loved, and let them get to town. The rest of the crafts my mom and sister had helped with were all part of the place settings.  More bird stamps on the menus, gorgeous turquoise ribbons, and tiny flags with hand stamped names atop bubble dispensers served as the seating chart.

Ken and I love a good party, so between each course in the meal, we all got up and danced!  It was such a great chance to make sure we got to boogie with the older guests who might not make it until midnight like the rest of us!  It also helped assure that our kitchen crew could keep up, as they weren’t used to serving 100 people a 3 course meal!  It worked out perfectly.  By the time the sun had finally set over the mountains, it was cool outside and the cupcake/coffee/hot cocoa station was in high demand.  We continued dancing and singing along at the bonfire until the wee hours of the night, under a sky full of stars.

I am still so happy that our day was the perfect representation of our relationship: unpretentious, joyful, connected, fun-loving, and supportive.  It was a true celebration of love among our dearest friends and family in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Wedding Photography: Kevin Wrenn Photography / Bouquets: Romanza Florals / Wedding Dress: I Do Bridal / Wedding Dress Alterations & Custom Head Piece: Darcy Martin of Fragile Fit Alterations / Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever Yours via Moms, Maids and More / Wedding Cupcakes: New York Cupcakes / Wedding Ceremony Location: Private Residence / Wedding Reception Location: Outdoor Adventures Center / Ceremony Music: Friend of the Bride / Officiant: Friend of the Bride / Event Rentals: Grand Event Rentals