Romantic Tacoma Wedding of High School Sweethearts
April 1, 2014
Classic WeddingsOutdoor WeddingsSummer Weddings
If you need a little warm and fuzzy infused in your day, you know you've come to the right place because we have the most beautiful outdoor wedding Washington has ever seen, and the couple? High school sweethearts. I know. It doesn't get much cuter than that. Alante Photography was brought in to capture the whole thing, and this gallery needs a few tissues.
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From the stunning bride... My husband, Derek, and I are high school sweethearts from the suburbs of Seattle, going on 11 years together and both pursuing acting careers in New York. He proposed in October of 2012 in the beautiful Conservatory Gardens in Central Park, followed by a surprise party with all of our friends and parents flown-in from Seattle. I didn’t stop crying happy tears all day!

With 9 months to nail down a summer wedding, we started planning right away. While I love hosting and styling, I wasn’t a girl who dreamed about my wedding day since childhood, so I had my work cut out for me. I kept thinking “You only get to do this once! You don’t want to look back and wish you could do it over.” I was determined to make every last detail unregrettable. I changed my mind hundreds of times before making any decisions, and often times after making decisions.

We knew we loved the elegant architecture we saw every day living in New York, and were determined to find a venue with the same feeling in Washington State. This proved to be very challenging until I found the Weyerhaeuser Estate and signed a deposit check on the spot.

I also knew I wanted a big, fluffy dress, pretty chairs and great photography. Visual elements were our financial priorities. After all, the pictures are what last!

Once the budget was made around these things, I realized we had hardly any money left for other décor. It was time to get my DIY on. I hand wrote all of the calligraphy throughout the event, muscled out the wire name hangers for bridesmaids and assembled the foliage halo for the ceremony. My mom sewed the bridesmaid robes, my talented artist aunt made our light-up marquee “L-O-V-E” lights and table numbers, and I bargained shopped like crazy for everything else from my shoes, to the once-broken antique chandelier that I re-wired myself.

For my processional I found a young Australian singer on youtube, Shannon Dooks, who recorded a ballad version of “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry”, and my dear friend and bridesmaid who is a singer/songwriter, Gavrielle, arranged and recorded a piano version of “You’re Still the One” for the bridal party processional.

Derek and I agreed we wanted to promise the same set of vows to each other, but we also liked the idea of writing our own, so in addition to our mutual vows for the future, we each wrote 10 “thank you’s” for the past. It ended up being my favorite part of the day.

Throughout the whole process of pinning and planning, my biggest struggle was making decisions. I found myself wanting to plan four completely different weddings and I had a hard time making all of my ideas feel cohesive for a single event. Am I allowed to have classic bowtie tuxes and burlap table runners?

A stylish friend of mine once told me while decorating a new apartment, “If you love each piece, it will naturally all go together.” So I just picked each thing that Derek and I loved on its own and trusted that it would all just work. On the big day we were thrilled with how everything looked and felt because it was a true reflection of our personal style.

The best part is, most of our leftover wedding décor translates beautifully into home-décor! For example, the chandelier that we shared our first dance under is going to hang in our bedroom, and the frames from the calligraphy signs will hold pictures of detail shots from the wedding.

We were incredibly lucky with weather in that hit-or-miss Seattle August, and the day couldn’t have been more perfect. We made a big effort to be present and enjoy the party to the fullest and I’m so glad we did. That’s my best advice! Once the ceremony starts, just breathe, smile, look around at all the people who love and support you and cherish the moments! It’s the only time in your life you get to have everyone you love most in one place.