When the wedding takes place at the Bride’s childhood home, you can expect it be full of personal touches. But this Oregon couple went above and beyond making sure their big day was a reflection of them with touches like the ceremony arch built by the Groom’s father and the beer brewed by the Bride’s brother. See all the beautiful details captured by Amanda K Photo Art in THE VAULT!
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From The Bride…Annie and Mike Ekstrom were married July 11, 2015 at Annie’s childhood home in Salem, Oregon. Both the bride and groom are native Oregonians and both families have deep roots in the area; Mike grew up on a 4th generation tree farm and Annie’s family came out to the Northwest on the Oregon Trail. Avid travelers and adventurers, Annie and Mike hoped to bring both their love of travel and their deep Oregon roots into their wedding.
Annie and Mike met in 2011 and their first date was rock climbing – followed soon after by dates skiing, hiking and eventually traveling by car through Iceland in the winter. Their love of adventure, sports and travel solidified an inseparable friendship quickly grew into a deep love for each other. They dated for 3.5 years before they were married, spending much of that time apart as Mike was a professional baseball player in the MLB and MiLB and Annie worked for Nike back in Portland.
The wedding was held at the Bride’s childhood home outside of Salem, Oregon at 4:30 PM on Saturday, July 11th 2015. The home is a dutch-colonial house on 16 acres with a large greenhouse, vineyard, barn and views of the entire Willamette Valley.
The Bride’s family has lived in that home for her whole life and the house is very special to everyone in the family and friends that know them well. The wedding had 200 guests and all events took place on the Bride’s family property. The Bride planned the whole wedding and made many of the details.
Annie prepped for the wedding in her childhood bedroom with 5 of her closest friends by her side – three of whom grew up in the area and spent many a day playing barbies or lamenting over boys in that very room.
Annie’s dress was made by local Portland designer Claire La Faye. Annie has a business creating custom bridal veils and so purchased extra lace from her dress bodice to create her veil with gold rose applique and a gold scalloped lace trim.
Mike got ready in the basement of the house in Annie’s brother’s bedroom with his 5 groomsmen.
Mike and Annie had their first look in front of what the family has always called “Annie’s Oak Tree,” a big old oak that sits right below the Annie’s childhood bedroom window surrounded by rhododendron from the Annie’s grandmother’s garden.
Annie and Mike spent much of their year-long engagement apart because Mike was playing baseball in Australia and Italy. To make their time apart easier, Annie kept a journal and every day she wrote down something he did that made her love him – most days it was the simplest thing. She presented Mike with the book during their first look.
The ceremony was held on the back lawn behind the Hay home overlooking the Willamette Valley and the foothills outside of Eugene, Oregon.
Mike’s father built them an arch out of Oregon birch from the family tree farm and they stood on a rug they picked up on their travels to symbolize their union and the union of all the things they love.
The bride’s entrance was one she had envisioned since she was a little girl, she had always told her dad he’s better practice walking on those steep stairs because one day he’d have to walk her down them in heels and a long dress. Annie walked down the aisle to Recuerdos De La Alhambra – a classical guitar piece her grandmother walked down the aisle to and one Annie learned to play on her guitar for her grandparents anniversary one year.
The Groom’s life-long friend officiated their wedding (his wife was also their day-of coordinator) The couple also asked a few close friends and family members to come up and share their thoughts on love, marriage, and the path ahead of them.
The bride and groom each exchanged their own handwritten vows, the bride’s began with a little memory from growing up: “When I was a little girl, I often sat up there in that window right above us now and wondered about the man I would stand here with today….”
Annie and Mike got engaged in Italy while Mike was there playing baseball. It was early summer and the start of Aperol Spritz season, so the couple had Aperol Spritzes as their signature cocktail.
Instead of a Groom’s cake, there were two slurpee machines during happy hour to celebrate 7-11-15 and the groom’s childhood tradition of getting a slurpee with his dad on that day every year.
Wood Round Pathway – The Bride and her mom created the wood round pathway using tree branches they cleared from the dinner area during a big storm a few months before the wedding.
Guests were served a full-course, family-style dinner.. The dinner was served on what used to be the family tennis court. Seating was at square, 10-person tables all made by the groom from wood palettes used on his family’s tree farm.
Annie made coasters with maps of Oregon on them for guests’ drinks because the palette tables had gaps between the wood. These coasters also served as the guest favors and table numbers – each coaster had a guest name and the table they were assigned to. It was a way to nod to travel but also send everyone home with a piece of Oregon. Annie even matched the map to a special place she had been to with each guest if she could!!
Annie’s mom and brothers sprinkled wildflowers all around the dinner area in the spring before the wedding – they bloomed just in time and were at their peak the day of the wedding!
The Bride made all of the table linens, napkin rings and napkins herself. She owns a bridal boutique that makes custom linens and veils.
Beer was provided by the Bride’s brother, a brewer, who made 5 different types of beer from local Oregon hops served out of a custom-made Ekstrom Wedding kegerator.
The Bride’s family has close ties to India – The Bride lived there for awhile and her mom was born there, so they provided guests with pashmina’s her mom brought back from India to stay warm during dinner and to add even more color to the day.
The Groom’s mom creates signs that she sells out of her own shop. She created all the signs for the wedding; including the ‘Getting Hitched’ sign that Annie’s dad hung on his tractor and flipped over to say ‘Just Hitched’ after the ceremony.
Annie’s dad had her grandpa’s 1969 VW Bug, Heb, restored to use as the ‘Love Bug’ getaway car
The couple honeymooned in Norway and Iceland where they hiked, biked and went cold-water diving.
Photography: Amanda K Photo Art - Amanda Rigiero | Coordination: Simply Weddings - Lee Ann Cook | Floral Design: Solabee Flowers & Botanicals - Alea | Wedding Dress: Claire La Faye | Cake: Country Cake Shop | Bride's Shoes: BHLDN | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Nordstrom | Bridesmaids' Dresses: JCrew | Catering: Simpatica Dining Hall - Brett Williams | Makeup: Shannon Bolt | Groom's Attire: Nordstrom | Groomsmen Attire: Nordstrom | Venue: At Home | Bridal Boutique: The English Department | Earrings: BHLDN | Event Planning And Event Rentals: Susan Rusconi | Veil: Annie Ekstrom Bridal