Wedding venue: Flying Horseshoe Ranch, Cle Elum, WA June 4th, 2016
Our wedding was ours: unique to us and we stuck to our values. Beyond wanting everyone to have a good time and spend quality time with our loved ones, our goals were to:
- limit buying new things
- minimize the waste at the ranch
- get everyone involved
When we realized these were our goals, we received some pushback. It was only natural that people would say, “but it’s just one weekend,” or, “but it’s for your wedding, go all out!” or, “that will be too much work to make it yourself.” This pushback was when I shared ideas like bringing the compost back to Seattle (since Cle Elum doesn’t compost), or not using a florist, or asking people to do dishes instead of giving us a traditional gift. It was upsetting at times, I wondered if I was a “bridezilla.” But people respected our wishes, and realized doing it any differently wouldn’t be a Kelsey & Joe wedding.
The wedding weekend was on a ranch, that used to be a children’s horse camp. Now Penny, the owner, rents out her cabins, teepees, bunk houses to YMCA camps, wedding parties, families for family reunions, etc. Most people stayed on site both Friday and Saturday night which allowed us to spend time with everyone and not feel so rushed. We provided Friday and Saturday dinner, and Sunday breakfast. There were cookhouses if people wanted to make food, a swimming pool, a big lawn, a basketball hoop, woods to explore, bonfire and a big willow tree to relax under.
Our caterers were:
Friday night dinner: Patty Pan Cooperative, Seattle, WA. Patty Pan has been serving amazing vegetable filled quesidillas at the local farmer’s markets in Seattle. We love their mission of serving wholesome food, like homemade tortillas and a variety of colorful vegetables. They also have community dinners to give back to the community. They provided compostable plates and silverware, and brought it back to Seattle with them. This was in our contract.
Saturday night dinner: HopTown Wood Fire Pizza, Yakima, WA. Yakima is closer to Cle Elum than Seattle, so we chose this place. We chose it blindly, but had a recommendation of a friend who lives out there. The pizza was a hit! So many different kinds, and even gluten free. They put hops on some of their pizzas! The best part was, we had leftovers for weeks. We rented plates and used reusable cloth napkins to bring a more fancy flare to the wedding meal.
Sunday breakfast: My Chef Lynn Food Truck, Woodinville, WA. My dad and his girlfriend provided this meal, and boy was it delicious! After a night of dancing and hot tubbing the night before, a big Sunday breakfast was a great way to start the day. People could go up to the truck and order one of the three fritattas, and fruit. She provided compostable plate ware.
The weekend was perfect. Every single person there made it happen. Everyone jumped in, and made us feel so loved. For example, my cousin and Aunt made appetizers (smoked salmon was amazing), my childhood family friends swing-danced and my sister and her husband salsa danced for some night entertainment, 4 friends made different kinds of cookies instead of serving dessert. Here are some ways that we were able to stick to our goals:
- Online save-the-dates and invitations: Greenvelope.com We could track when people opened them and receive RSVPs, and all online! Here’s a screenshot of the details section. We provided a lot of details since it was a weekend wedding. Including asking people to bring their own reusable water bottles for the weekend to reduce the waste.
- Borrowing from neighbors: Facebook group Buy Nothing. Living in the city, we were able to connect with our neighbors through Buy Nothing on Facebook and borrow all sorts of things for decorations. We borrowed this wheel for photo decorating. We also borrowed glass containers for water pitchers. It was nice not to have to resell or donate things afterwards. We asked our guests to bring a photo of themselves with Joe and/or me, and we hung them up! It was fun to see Joe as a little kid!
- Decorating the tables. We didn’t use a florist, or buy any flowers. We used kale and some flowers that were growing abundantly on the ranch. (I’ve been called Kale-sea before). We also rented the plates from a family who has a collection of colorful plates and rents them out. Their main business is renting out beautiful tables that they made. We did not rent them, although it was tempting. (www.seattlefarmtables.com) My mother-in-law collected a bunch of napkins at a secondhand store for us, and made the remaining 10! After the wedding, we kept the ones she made for our own kitchen, and gave the rest to another couple getting married. We loved the mix and match theme that went with the ranch/farm theme. People have colors at their wedding. We had every color, which ended up looking pretty great!
- My bouquet. Right before leaving for Cle Elum, I quickly snipped some green leaves from a bush and hoped that could make my bouquet. Hours before getting married, my friend Rachel made a beautiful bouquet (for the first time in her life) and wrapped some remaining material from my sash around the greens and flowers from the field. It sounds ridiculous to spontaneously make a bouquet from my yard, but it turned out exactly like I wanted. It was full of so much emotion- a piece from our yard , made with love from Rachel, and wrapped with part of my sash that my grandma made. Here we are walking in… to get married! Joe has a rose from our garden on his lapel. That turned out nicely, thanks to the moms.
- Gifts– sokindregistry.org We love this site! Their mission is, “more fun, less stuff!” They encourage homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, etc. We had a zola.com registry as well. Sokind was a great way to receive help, save money and get very personalized gifts. Some examples:
- bring compost back to Seattle
- bake cookies (we had 4 different kinds, instead of a cake)
- help wash dishes (to use them for the next day)
- donate to an organization we rely on a lot, NWAC
- gift bags, homemade by my grandma (reusable snack bags)
- cocktail drink creation
- cooking classes
- bring s’mores for Friday night bonfire
- Kegs and bottles of cider
- do my hair and make-up (my cousin did my hair, and my friend Jenna did my make-up)
- Weekend activities. We went back to the basics of camp fun without technology around. We had a bonfire Friday night, we went on a group run the morning of the wedding, we swam in the pool, and played lawn games. The group run, named, “Chase the Bride,” was definitely a highlight of the weekend.
If your goal is to make your wedding as low-impact as possible, but also have a way to have your dream wedding, here are some more tips:
-Plan far in advanced so that you can have the environmental aspect played out in every part of the wedding
-Try Do-It-Yourself projects, but have realistic expectations that you may not do it all
-Delegate projects (people really want to help!) but let them know that your vision includes low-impact
-Have tupperware for leftovers, there will always be leftovers
-It is your day… you don’t have to follow traditions! If you want cookies instead of cake, have cookies! What is most important, is that you are you. Don’t let planning a wedding make you someone you are not. At the end of the day, you are marrying the person you love.
-If it’s a weekend wedding, tell everyone to bring their own water bottles
-If you have to buy something new, try searching for ‘USA made’ products first
If you have more ideas, or want to share your wedding with me, I would love to hear about it. I didn’t think I would get that into wedding planning, but it was super fun!
And thank you to all our friends and family who made our wedding weekend so special.