This is what happens when a National Geographic filmmaker plans a wedding. Picturesque scenery, great food, amazing details and an emotional highs were around every corner. With guests traveling in from all over the world, Seattle/Mt. Rainier was in it’s full glory. The three day wedding weekend started with a very rainy bbq dinner followed by two days of near perfect weather at the base of Mt. Rainier for their September 7th wedding and Sunday brunch at Wellspring Spa. Marlee and Jared are both from Washington, so they chose this venue for it’s pure beauty and the proximity to both the National Park and their hometowns. Marlee and Jared wanted their guests to experience a full weekend of events that allowed them to celebrate, enjoy good food (emphasis on organic) and make new friends! With a vision of an enchanted forest, natural elements were brought in to highlight the venue but also create that sense of romance they both desired.
Marlee + Jared
September 7, 2013
Mount Rainier, Washington
Why a Mountain Wedding?
My husband and I both love nature and the woods. Being surrounded in the woods for our wedding felt unpretentious, natural, a place we felt our best and most comfortable. I wanted our wedding to feel enchanting and there is something magical about being on a mountain surrounded by the raw beauty of nature. We especially loved the fact that there was no cell phone service. This created an environment in which all of our guests were nowhere but present with us.
Where did you find your inspiration?
We found our inspiration from many places. We really drew upon our own interests to start with. We are really into antique furniture, vintage accent pieces, old jars, traveling, photography and sustainable food/eating. We definitely used Pinterest and looked a lot at our style from our own home. We ended up incorporating lots of pieces from our house into our wedding.
What were some personal details you incorporated?
My husband travels frequently for work. From the beginning of our relationship we have had journals that we passed back and forth between each other that we would use to write letters to each other in while apart. At our wedding, instead of a guest book, we had smaller versions of these journals out for guests to write letters to us in them. My mother-in-law built us the lawn game corn-hole painted to match the cover of our wedding invitations as well. Our cupboard is full of jars we use as drinking glasses so instead of regular drinking glasses we splurged and bought mason jars for each guest. I painted the body of the jars with chalkboard paint and we provided chalk board markers for guests to write their name on. We tied thank you cards with ribbon from our invitations around each jar. Many friends still use these jars as planters for herbs, change jars, and pencils. Currently living in California but having our wedding in our home state of Washington, we put in the extra effort to personally haul kegs of our favorite southern California beer from Strand Brewery, a small micro-brewery located south of Los Angeles. My husband is a huge pie fan so we opted to serve pie instead of cake. We had amazing organic local pies from Shoofly Pie based out of West Seattle made for our special day, they were a huge hit.
Your favorite moment of the day.
My favorite moment of the day was saying our vows to one another. We wrote our own and kept them a secret from each other. It was an incredibly moving and emotional moment.
Three things you’re glad you did.
- We made our wedding a weekend event. We rented our venue for three days which allowed us ample time to spend with family and friends outside of the wedding day.
- Hiring an amazing photographer. My husband is in the industry and we originally thought of asking one of his friends to capture our special day. Having a professional not affiliated with our wedding party/guest list was exactly what we needed. A good photographer is worth every penny.
- We stayed true to “us”. Family, friends, and coordinators have all sorts of ideas and input, some of which are fabulous, but some of it just isn’t. We held our ground and ensured our wedding was a true reflection of who we are as a couple.
Anything you wish you hadn’t done?
Worried so much. It all came together beautifully. I imposed a lot of stress onto myself that wasn’t necessary. It took away from my ability to just enjoy the chapter of my life that was coming to a close and the one that was about to begin.
What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?
Expect that something will go wrong or won’t be exactly as envisioned. Be prepared for it! For example, my dad (who is a hairstylist and did my wedding hair) walked in to start my hair and announced, we are doing something totally different, he didn’t like what we had spent months planning. This can be terrifying as a bride a mere hours before walking down the aisle, but it was perfect. Some little things weren’t 100% the way I wanted them too; table centerpieces were not as I had really wanted them but close enough and our pie toppers never ended up on a pie, instead they were just placed on the dessert table. In the end, it all didn’t matter, I was marrying the love of my life, that’s what counts.
What piece of wedding planing advice do you wish you followed?
Hire a wedding coordinator early, we waited until just 2 months before our big day and she could have saved us a ton of work and headaches.
Anything you wish you hadn’t worried about?
Making sure people had “enough to do;” it’s a wedding people will always find things to occupy their time.
Anything You wish you had known about sooner rather than later?
The cost of everything! It adds up so quickly. Make sure you have a strong budget and get the big ticket items out of the way first!
How did you choose your vendors?
We tried to go with vendors who were like-minded to us. We wanted to support local vendors, smaller businesses as much as possible. In terms of food we wanted everything to be locally sourced (as much as possible) organic and sustainable. A few google searches and emails narrowed down our options pretty easily. Other vendors for things like linens, tents, etc our coordinator found for us. Our flowers were done by a great florist from my hometown in Gig Harbor, WA called The Floral Reef. Molly the florist was incredible! She really grasped our vision and even hand delivered our flowers day of and personally arranged them in our centerpieces.
What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?
Savor the process! It goes by so quickly. You’ll be married before you know it.
Other Highlights (from the photographer)
- Marlee’s Father and Brother spent the morning doing Marlee’s Hair. The best man and Marlee’s Father also helped groom Jared as he lost part of his beard in honor of the wedding day!
- Our favorite part of the three day wedding weekend was the wedding ceremony that took place in the Sanctuary which incorporated a spin on The Seven Blessings. Rather than the traditional Jewish Seven Blessings, Marlee and Jared asked seven friends and family to give their own interpretation of a blessing and present it to them that day. Each person gave a unique blessing that was truly from the heart whether it was wisdom, advice or a poem guiding them through their marriage.
- In addition, the ceremony featured a lavender toss as they were pronounced husband and wife and a violin and accordion duo that guided guests through the woods to cocktail hour.
- A surprise acoustic guitar performance of “All You Need is Love” from the Mother of The Bride ended toasts!
Mount Rainier Wedding Vendors
Photographer – Becerra Photography (Chris Becerra – firstname.lastname@example.org) | Wedding Planner – Pink Blossom Events | Caterer – Sunshine’s All Naturals | Location – Wellspring Spa | Farm Tables – Seattle Farm Tables | Florist – The Floral Reef – Gig Harbor, WA | Live Band – Pearl Django | Pies – Shoofly Pie Company | Ice Cream – Whittakers Motel and Historical Bunkhouse | Rentals – AA Party Rentals