Sarah + Thomas
(September 14, 2019 in Sandpoint, ID)
Welcome back to the Ivory Blog where we feature our real brides stories about their real weddings! In this blog post, we will take a closer look at a couple who pulled off the wedding of their dreams. They chose to go for a moody-woodsy-minimalist vibe with a lot of greenery and natural elements. They DIY'd all the greenery and signage and chose a ski mountain as the venue, renting a chairlift to have their ceremony at the top of the mountain. They only hired a caterer, coordinator, DJ, and photographer, leaving everything else to their own devices. The bride experienced some dress regret but ultimately found the perfect gown. On the day of the wedding, the bride was calm and collected, having spent months preparing and delegating tasks. The weather was a challenge, but the couple and their guests enjoyed the cooler weather and stunning views from the mountaintop.
Sarah was absolutely stunning in our Ella gown by Essense of Australia. This is a beautiful fit and flare gown made out of luxurious mikado material. A plunging sweetheart neckline is classic with a hint of sexiness. Off-the-shoulder straps add a romantic element to this dress. The back comes into a subtle v-shape that draws the eye down toward the dainty buttons all the way down the dramatic train. This is a stunning, classic wedding dress.
By our real bride, Sarah:
What was the vision for your wedding?
I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted when we first started planning the wedding. It was mostly going to be a lot of greenery and natural elements while also being slightly modern and minimal. I liked to describe the vibe as moody-woodsy-minimalist. I knew I didn't want flowers - I'm just not a flower type of gal - so we just had eucalyptus, which was also a nod to my Australian heritage and we ended up doing all the greenery ourselves. It took a couple of days, but I had my bridesmaids, my mother, and a couple of other family friends to help put it all together - all of the greenery that you see was DIY'd. All of the signage was also DIY'd by my mother and myself - the welcome sign, seating chart, reserved sign, gifts/cards, bar menus, etc. Tom had always dreamed of getting married on a ski mountain, so when we went and toured Schweitzer, it was a no-brainer - especially because we were able to rent the chairlift to have the ceremony all the way at the top of the mountain with a view of a HUGE lake and the surrounding states. Catering and a coordinator were provided at the venue, so there was no need to select those separately.
The only other vendors we chose for the day were the DJ and photographer. I left the DJ in Tom's capable hands and he did a great job in choosing and giving direction to our DJ. I ended up finding Sara, our photographer, through various searches on The Knot and other similar sites and we met for coffee to sort of feel each other out. We all got along great, so we decided to arrange our engagement photos with her. I was SUPER nervous about being the center of attention, but she was so encouraging and positive that it really made it seem like it was no big deal! Her brother is her second shooter and he was awesome as well. Definitely try to find people you get along with because you'll need to basically spend the whole day with them! Our officiant was a dear mutual friend of both Tom and I - we had all been friends since high school and couldn't decide on which side (bride or groom) he should stand on since we really both loved him equally. We asked him to officiate one Friday night when he was visiting us - he said yes and got his certificate that night!
The only "hiccup" I had was having to purchase a second dress because I was feeling dress regret about my first purchase. Ultimately, I ended up finding the PERFECT gown for me, but it was quite an emotional journey getting to that point. Moral of the story - go with your gut! If you're not feeling something, you have the ability to, change it!
How did it go the day-of?
Up until the week of, I was really quite stressed about the wedding in general - I am a people pleaser and perfectionist, so I really wanted to make sure everyone had such a great time over even how I wanted the day to go! I had multiple spreadsheets and a binder created and distributed timelines to everyone that I felt needed to make sure everything went off without a hitch. We worked with our coordinator to merge her and my timelines which worked out well for everyone. The week of, I was calm, cool, and collected. My mother even commented on how sane I seemed with everything happening around me. I'd like to think it's because I couldn't stress anymore based on how much I had over the past 11 months, but I think it was because honestly, I felt prepared. All of those months had been spent so that I didn't have to worry as much on the day of.
I woke up on that Saturday, and it was raining, so not off to a great start. We had to make a weather call at 9:00 am as to whether or not we would be able to use the chairlift and top of the mountain, just because of the chairlift portion - you can't use it if it's too windy, lightning, thunder, etc. We decided to go ahead with it and hope that the weather would clear as the day went on. It definitely was a cooler day, and we tried to alert our guests that it was on top of a mountain and that the weather was probably going to be on the cooler side. At 10, I and almost a dozen others needed to set up the reception room. Depending on the type of bride, some people may have hated this, but I live for that stuff. I'm very type-A and like to have control, so I really wanted to make sure everything was perfect. With so many people helping, it only took about an hour and a half to set up the room with everything - table decor, head table, dessert table, card/gift table, and guest book table. My bridesmaids, mother of the bride, and I all did our own hair and make-up in the house my family had rented and that really let me relax for a short time. I find doing my make-up to be slightly therapeutic, so it was nice to have that time with the four of us just laughing and spending time together.
We probably went more non-traditional than most in terms of things we had or did at the wedding. I was escorted down by both of my parents, which was important to me because I feel like it was a joint effort between the two of them - why should the Dad be the only one there? I had one of my bridesmaids escorted by Tom's stepdad - it was a way to be able to incorporate him into the processional without stepping on too many toes. My mother made my veil/cape and she did an AMAZING job - hand embroidered and draped. We wrote our own vows, and apparently, everyone had misty eyes at the end of it all. The ceremony was short but heartfelt and loving - just how we wanted it.
After the ceremony, we took our pictures with all the family and friends who were a part of the wedding, while the rest of our guests enjoyed a cocktail hour in what they call the Skyhouse. It's a restaurant and bar at the top of the mountain - so there were drinks and passed food for everyone. The main thing Tom and I wanted to do was to be able to spend time with everyone who had flown in (seriously, almost 90% of our guests were from the East Coast) and to also get those more personal photos that weren't too posed or anything like that! With photos over and cocktail hour wrapping up, everyone started taking the chairlift back down the mountain since our Reception was in the village. Tom and I were the last ones to go down and they had arranged a Just Married sign to adorn the chairlift which was awesome! The only hiccup was that we had a friend who is horridly afraid of heights - he had a panic attack and couldn't take the chairlift down, so he and his girlfriend ended up riding down the mountain in the car of the lift operator - it all worked out, but I felt bad that he had to go through that in the first place.
The reception started with our announcement, dinner, pie, and then toasts. There was no garter toss, bouquet toss, etc. We ended up having quite a unique guest book - it was a typewriter that Tom owned! We attached a spool of paper so that it was continuous and I wrote down directions for people to use it. Some of the mistakes are hysterical, as these days we just backspace on the keyboard for any mistake we make - not so much on a typewriter! It was a really fun thing that people thought was awesome. I also hand-typed all of the addresses on our envelopes for our Save the Date cards and Invitations. Most of the fonts that we used on the signage were also a nod to the typewriter font.
We decided to have pie instead of cake, and that was a HUGE hit. We got 10 different flavors and only ended up having about one or two leftovers in the end and we only had 44 guests! We decided to put on dances until after all of those things because we had a little secret up our sleeve! While looking for first dance songs, I found a really nice folky/acoustic version of 500 Miles by The Proclaimers, so after the father/daughter and mother/son dances, we decided it would be cute to have all the bridal party dance with their significant others, along with Tom and I, to this slower version, and then halfway through, the DJ was instructed to make a transition to the upbeat original version so that the rest of the night was spent dancing - everyone LOVED it and I really think it was a nice way to transition from eating/toasts into the party the rest of the night. We danced until the end of the night, even extended it by 1 hour, and then did a sparkler exit.
What is your #1 tip to future brides?
Really cherish all of the moments you can over the course of the day. Even setting up the reception room was a really nice memory I have - everyone working together to make my vision become a reality. Even if you are like me, and you like to do most things yourself, people will really rally around you and just get whatever you need to get done in the way it needs to. I have a very difficult time with delegating, but I honestly didn't have a choice as to whether or not I WANTED to delegate. Just know that on the other side, it didn't matter who did what, but it did matter that I had the support I needed to make the day just the most perfect it could have been. As much as people tell you that this is your day, this is all about you, etc., I didn't want the focus to be on me at all. I really wanted to make sure that everyone else was happy and comfortable and having a good time. People were spending hundreds of dollars to fly across the country for this day because they cared about us, the least I could do was think about them a little!