Amber + Russell
(Ceremony: October 12, 2019 in Pacific City, OR. Reception: November 17, 2019 in Spokane, WA)
This blog post tells the story of a couple's wedding day and how they planned it. The couple wanted an elegant, romantic, and bohemian wedding that reflected their personalities. They decided to have an adventure wedding in one of their favorite spots in the Pacific Northwest: The Oregon Coast. The wedding was small and intimate, with only immediate family and a few close friends, including their dog. The couple found their vendors through Instagram and didn't meet them until the day of the wedding. On the day of the wedding, the couple stayed in an oceanfront vacation house with their families, had breakfast together, and relaxed. They had their first look on the beach, exchanged vows in a half circle of their guests, and then hiked around and took portraits on Cape Kiwanda. After that, they had a reception a few weeks later in Spokane with more guests. The wedding had some traditional aspects but was mostly non-traditional, reflecting the couple's unique style and personality.
Amber was absolutely stunning in our Stacey gown by Wtoo. This gown is a gorgeous sheath fit with beautiful sheet lace. A sweetheart neckline is covered by a high illusion featuring more lace appliques. The illusion and delicate appliques continue into the back of the gown which also features dainty buttons for a vintage-inspired look.
What was the vision for your wedding?
In the beginning, I knew I wanted our wedding to be elegant, and romantic, with some tasteful splashes of boho mixed in. I didn't want to have anything traditionally "fall" and since we did not have a bridal party we did not stress over colors and just let things come together organically. Im a huge huge huge fan of things being tastefully mismatched, so most of our wedding decor ended up being secondhand and fit together very well!
We knew that we wanted to get married outdoors and the venue options in Spokane didn't quite seem to fit US. I started exploring other options and learned about this whole new wedding craze called adventure weddings, and finally, we found something that seemed a little more US, nontraditional and adventurous. We decided to get married in one of our favorite places in the PNW; The Oregon Coast. This was our first vacation spot together when we were newly dating and we had gone every year - we both have an affinity for the ocean. So... It just made sense and it felt right. We got married in arguably one of the most beautiful places on the most beautiful October day. We both knew that we didn't want to have a huge wedding, despite both of us knowing so many people, so we made the decision for our ceremony in Pacific City to just be immediate family and a few select friends... and most importantly our dog! Altogether, we had 20 people at our ceremony including us!
We chose to have a small and intimate ceremony and then have a bigger but still intentionally selected reception a few weeks afterward back in Spokane.
Finding our vendors was like putting together a giant puzzle with no picture to reference! Since our wedding was in Oregon it was better for most of our vendors to come out of Portland rather than Spokane. We both don't know many people who live in Portland so word of mouth didn't really work for us! Ultimately, what ended up being the best thing for us to find vendors was following several photographers and hashtags on Instagram and seeing who they tagged in their real weddings and styled shoots. This is exactly how I found all of our vendors. The hardest part about this was we did not meet face-to-face with most of our vendors until the day of our wedding! Thankfully we were able to Facetime with them several times before making and commitments! We did this to feel as if we jived. Somehow everything melted together and everything ended up being perfect.
How did it go the day-of?
Russell and I stayed in our very own oceanfront vacation house. My parents were literally across the street and Russells parents a 10-minute drive away. The night before we went out to dinner with mostly everyone at The Pelican and explored a bit of Pacific City. The morning of our ceremony we walked to my parents vacation house and had breakfast together. Once it was time to start getting ready, the boys were all sanctioned to my parents house and all the ladies came over to our house to help me get ready. The boys were set up with Russell's favorite snacks and a foosball table (really, what more could a guy need?). At my house, we had a spread of my favorite snacks, the greatest indie playlist you could dream of, and lots of laughter. I was stuck in a chair most of the time getting my hair and makeup done while my mom, mother in law, sister in laws, siblings, and good friends raced around to get things ready for me. My biggest goal for the day was to relax, let things happen, and let people help me.
We were getting married on the beach on the Oregon coast, what could have gone wrong? Annie and Sarai got our ceremony site ready until the florist showed up to put the finishing touches together. Then our photographers Laura and Devon showed up. My mom and mother in law together helped me get into my wedding dress, and then I was off to do my first look with Russell.
We did our first look right on the beach in the grass in front of our vacation house. This was such a beautiful time for us to have a few minutes together without anyone else (besides Laura and Devon of course)! After that we went back up to the house where everyone was, we sent everyone out to our ceremony site and my dad walked me down the path to the beach. We didn't do chairs, and we had our guests form a half circle around us. Russell and I had the most beautiful personalized ceremony that our officiant constructed just for us and it captured our love story perfectly. We exchanged our own hand written vows, Sarai read a beautiful passage, and we did a potting ceremony (a beautiful calathea prayer plant). After the ceremony, the I Do's, and the kisses, we were sent off with hand dried rose petals that were gifted to me from Manito Park, then we snuck off to hike around (yes - HIKE in a wedding gown!) and take some portraits just us, and our dog, at Cape Kiwanda. We saw the most perfect sunset from the top of the sand dune. We ended the portraits by running into the ocean together.
Once we returned to our vacation house we shared a dinner with both families and our friends! Our wedding had some traditional aspects to it, but was really not traditional at all! But it was perfect. The morning of was really relaxing and Russell and I would agree we both enjoyed the day with minor stress- which was our goal!
Our reception a few weeks later was a great excuse for Russell and I to get dolled up again and have another party! We had it at Nectar downtown, decorated by mostly everything that was at our ceremony. The food was amazing, the dancing was spot on, and the photo booth we had probably stole the show!
What is your #1 tip to future brides?
I think it's important to not get caught up in all of the politics of the wedding and all the fine details and to take a step back, take a deep breath and remember why you're getting married in the first place! Schedule time during your big day to catch your breath and share meaningful moments with your spouse! And also, let go. Let go of some of your expectations. Things are going to go wrong. Things are going to come up. You can choose how you want to handle these! And most importantly- DO WHAT YOU WANT! This might be the most cliche thing you've ever read but its so important. Youll hear so many opinions from so many people about how your wedding should go but go back to line one- remember why you're getting married in the first place!
Dress: Stacey by Wtoo
Photographers: Forthright Photo (Seattle)
Vow Books: Blush Paper Co
Unity Ceremony Plant: Fern (Spokane)
Officiant: Rooted and Wild (Portland)
Cake: Sweet Frostings
Alterations: Nina Cherie
Hair: Sarah Patterson
Makeup: Shasta Hankins
Dessert Bar: Mostly Sweet Frostings (everything else hand made)
DJ: Heather Lawson
Venue/Catering: Nectar Events & Catering