Sara + Kenny
August 06, 2011
Mountain Home Lodge, Leavenworth, WA
This mountain meadow wedding is truly a delight to feature. The meaningful selection of a venue, the handcrafted, DIY decor, and the small guest list are a perfect complement to this bride and groom's priorities.
Tell us a bit about your wedding:
Our wedding was a small, 75-person wedding at Mountain Home Lodge, just outside of Leavenworth, Washington. The lodge is quite small — about 3 miles up a dirt road outside of town. I do a lot of rock climbing, and mountain biking is a big part of my husband's life, so we knew we wanted it to be outside and close to the mountains. I am a teacher (and it's the Pacific Northwest) so we knew it had to be a summer wedding. Mountain Home Lodge was the only venue we visited — and as soon as we drove up we knew it was the place for us! The lodge only has 10 rooms, with 2 small cabins. There is a large, private meadow out front overlooking the mountains in Leavenworth. It was exactly what we wanted; we didn't even look anywhere else!
My husband is from the UK originally and I moved here from the Midwest, but we wanted the wedding to be here — in a place that is meaningful to both of us. We also figured that if we were asking everyone to travel so far, we wanted them to see why we love Washington so much. We booked the lodge for the whole weekend, and a few family members stayed at bed and breakfasts nearby. The couple who owns Mountain Home Lodge was amazing to work with! The wife is a pastry chef, and they do all the food there. They worked with us through the whole process to make it exactly what we wanted.
A close friend of ours designed the invitations and I made almost all of the decorations/favors, so the whole event felt like it represented us.
What are you glad you did?
- I am glad we had a small outdoor ceremony. I am not a religious person, so having a church wedding didn't seem significant to me. Having it outside in a beautiful place overlooking mountains that mean so much to my husband and me felt so much more meaningful.
- I am glad I did the favors/decorations myself. Having the summer off as a teacher, I had time to make decorations and favors. I am from Kansas City and my husband is from Ireland, so we wanted the favors to represent both of us. We got small bottles of a famous brand of Kansas City BBQ sauce and small packets of Irish tea as favors. I found small envelopes and used a homemade stamp to label them. I also made several banners, the table labels, seating information, and place cards myself. I used the font my friend found for the invitations and got lots of ideas from Etsy/Pinterest. It took a lot of time, but I felt like the day represented us throughout.
- I am glad we wrote the ceremony with our officiant. It took a lot of time and editing, but we worked back and forth with her to make an amazing ceremony that was beautiful and perfectly reflected us. It was secular, but very significant. It was short (which was good in 95 degree heat!) but included everything we wanted to say.
What do you wish you had done?
- I wish we had the ceremony just a little earlier in the day. Since it is very hot/sunny in Leavenworth, we set the ceremony for 4:30pm. The reception was being held in the same spot, so we figured we should start a little later. In the end, I feel like I wanted more time to savor it and I wanted the evening party to last longer. But, if my biggest complaint is that I wish we could have partied longer, then I'd say it's a pretty successful wedding!
- I wish we had ordered more wine! Given the remote venue, they order in all the wine/beer in advance. We didn't run out, but it was a concern towards the end.
- I wish we had found a venue where they don't need to turn the music off by 10pm. It may sound trivial — and it makes sense since we were in a more remote residential area — but 10pm didn't sound early when planning. On the day of, though, I really wanted the music and dancing to go on longer.
Anything you wish you hadn't done?
Honestly, I don't know if I have any of these! We stuck to what we wanted, made the whole event reflect us and it was successful overall. No one thing comes to mind. While there may have been things on the day that occurred to me that I wish I hadn't done, looking back it was such a wonderful experience that those things don't stick out to me.
What do you wish you hadn't worried about?
- I wish I hadn't worried so much about other people's travel arrangements. As it was a destination wedding, all family was coming from out of town. It was hard not to get wrapped up in/worried about organizing everyone. In the end – they are adults and they will figure it out!
- I wish I hadn't worried about the food. We chose a great venue with excellent recommendations… and I should have just trusted in it. I kept worrying if people would be happy with it.
- I wish I hadn't worried about the seating chart :)
What's your very best hindsight advice?
I would say that you just have to remember that the day is about you two – no one else. As long as you stick to what you want and what matters to you, you will look back fondly on the day. You can't get caught up in other people's expectations. If someone in your family wants a church wedding or a fancy cake or a large wedding party, then they can have one for themself :) Make it reflect you two and it will be wonderful.
- Venue: Mountain Home Lodge in Leavenworth, WA
- Catering: Mountain Home Lodge
- Cake: Mountain Home Lodge
- Flowers: Garden Party Flowers by TJ
- Music: Disco Royale
- Officiant: Reverend Sylvia Dabney
- Photographer: Saskia Mizushima
- Dress: Alvina Valenta
The Bride DIY-ed the:
- table name cards (all based on places in Washington state)
- seating information
- place cards
- My friend designed the wedding invitations, and I incorporated an image she created in all of the decorations/favors so there was a mountain theme.
- We made a wish jar instead of a guest book. :)