I’ve been promising since we got back from our wedding (nearly 4 months ago – what!?) that there would be a blog post summarizing it all. Here I am on a Saturday night at 11:15pm sitting in my office finally making good on that promise!
Kev and I got engaged on July 23, 2016 at the Sivory resort in Punta Cana. At that time, we knew we wanted a destination wedding and thought we’d return there. It was a beautiful resort and we truly enjoyed our time there.
Upon leaving the resort in the Dominican, we thought we’d return for our wedding. Things changed over the course of the year… the resort sold, the prices doubled under new ownership, and we decided to get married in the US. Kevin and I fell in love with Seattle on a January 2016 trip to speak at our friend Brook’s trade show. We both have felt drawn to Seattle since then.
On our way home from speaking at Brook’s show in January 2017, I looked at Kevin on the plane and said “if we could get married anywhere in the US, where would you choose?” He thought about briefly and said “You know, I think I’d choose Snoqualmie.”
Oddly enough, we hadn’t discussed this at all and had only visited Snoqualmie once on that very trip. I said “I was thinking the exact same thing.” It’s not rare for Kevin and I to differ on opinions. It’s also not rare for us to agree. It’s a little rare for us to be in 100% agreement without ever talking about it! At this point, we peacefully moved on and didn’t think about it for a while.
Any time we visit Seattle we want to return almost immediately. We’d been talking with our friends Daniel and Solomon about making a trip to Seattle together to show them why we loved it so much. In early February, we booked that trip for late May.
A few weeks later, I asked Kevin “What if we got married while we were in Seattle in May?” He said “My mom has to be there – but otherwise, I’m good with that.” I suggested he talk to Debbie about it. It took about 3 weeks for this to happen, but she said whenever we got married, she’d be there no matter what. We are so thankful for her constant love and support!
In mid March, we decided we’d go for it! Now, keep in mind this was just under 8 weeks away. We talked about the type of wedding that we wanted (faith-based, quiet, sincere, low-key, happy, and light – true to us) and realized that we’d really like some of our friends and family to be there. We sent around 25 invitations out to our closest friends, and begun the discussions with Salish Lodge and Spa, the large building you see on the left of the photo above. Salish overlooks the falls, has beautiful rooms, and also has a fantastic culinary team. This would allow us to easily get married at Snoqualmie. I won’t start my full list of “thank you’s” yet, but y’all. We just happened to be blessed with Desi Buchanan as our first contact at Salish. Our wedding would not have been what it was without the help of a few key people, and Desi is certainly one of those. We have a friendship with her that we will treasure forever.
In planning with Desi and Salish, we said “we may have 10 guests – maybe.” The room we choose had a capacity of 15, so we were good to go. We proceeded on planning and all was well. Much to our surprise, RSVP’s started coming in. We’d get calls, texts, Facebook messages… friends saying “got your invitation! Wouldn’t miss it!” As the days led up to the wedding – our guest count reached 28. What!? We plan a wedding on the other side of the country less than 2 months away and 28 people are going to fly in to be there? We were (and still are) absolutely overwhelmed at the love and generosity each of you have shown us. Never in my life have I felt so loved as I did at our reception… but I’ll get to that later.
I have a good deal of experience in wedding planning and day-of-coordination (though I’m long out of that business)! When we got engaged, I told Kevin the most important thing for us to spend money on for our wedding was the photographer. At the end of your wedding day, you are left with two and a half things that are forever: your spouse, your photos, and the half: your memories. A wedding day is so special, but so so so emotional! So many memories! So many moments to hold on to, people to remember… in the craziness of the day, so much of this is forgotten – especially as time goes on. With photography being our strongest priority, we were in alignment before even discussing it. Our friends Jaison and Callie at Sterling Imageworks capture moments so beautifully, in exactly the style we wanted. Plus, they’re just about the nicest people in the world (and Callie is my #SoulTwin). We called them with the plan for our May 26, 2017 wedding – but they were booked in Arkansas on May 27! So what did we do? We moved the wedding to May 25 – ha! It was imperative to us that they be there to shoot our special day, so moving the day wasn’t even a question. They shot our wedding, went to bed, and got up at 3am to make it back to AR to shoot the next one! <3
We arrived in Seattle on Tuesday, May 23. We spent the first couple of days hanging out with our friends as they gathered from around the country, and sharing some of our favorite parts of Seattle with them. These are days we will never forget. It was so special to see our friends gather to celebrate us. To top this off – our friends Daniel and Solomon planned a fantastic co-ed bachelor party for us, and we had so much fun that evening. We ended the night in a Japanese Karaoke lounge – which was new to both of us. It’s almost like a small movie theatre for you and your group to have private karaoke. After the wine tasting we started the evening with… this was perfect, and hilarious. What was learned from this experience: Jaison Sterling missed his calling as a rockstar (not even playing, y’all) and Josh Harper = Garth Brooks. Of course, with our friends, there was lots of Beyoncé and lots of laughter. Thank you guys so much for planning something so perfect for us.
Thursday morning was so relaxing. I think back to all of the weddings I’ve been a part of and how they were long, stressful days. We spent the morning in our Airbnb in Seattle with some of our closest friends, just hanging out and enjoying the time together. I don’t think I got off the couch until after noon. Jaison and Callie had been staying downtown, so they met us at our Airbnb to head out to the Lodge for some photos before the ceremony.
Pro tip: be friends with your photographers so the whole day is relaxing and feels like you’re just hanging out with friends.
We stopped at Bakery Noveau and picked up our cake (more below) and then did what you must do when in Seattle! We sat in traffic that delayed our arrival to the lodge by about 45 minutes. I say the whole day was relaxing… this part had me just a little tense. 😉
When we arrived at the lodge, we met Desi, checked in, and got ready – quickly. We’d chosen to do a first look (we hadn’t seen each other in our suits yet), so Callie hung out with me while I got ready and Jaison with Kevin. They headed down to an overlook by the falls to find out where we’d do our photos. One small hitch here: the falls were blocked. There was no easy access to the falls. Jaison didn’t fly across the country to NOT take photos in front of that waterfall, so we figured it out – ha! But first, the first look:
Fortunately we don’t have photos or video of the antics we had to pull to get down to the falls for photos… because our mothers would be very very mad at us – ha. Let’s just say it involved hanging from a fence/rail and dropping 4-6 feet…. in custom suits (props to Bell & Sward)… that we had to wear in 30 minutes. There is no question in ANY of our minds, though: these photos are 100% worth every risk and every drop! A few of our favorites from the base of the falls:
Now, after this… it was 5:50pm! Our ceremony was at 6! We hurried back up and walked in the front doors of the lodge at 6:00pm. Mind you – we never saw the room set up or any of the details prior to walking in to the Hidden Terrace for our ceremony – and it was perfect. Desi had thought of every detail so we didn’t have to – and Chris and Daniel had taken care of everything I’d forgotten to do (true friends).
The ceremony was perfect. We wrote our own vows:
The first time I saw you, I was blown away by your radiant smile.
The second time I met you, I was impressed and thrilled to have you as a part of my company. I enjoyed every moment of getting to know you. I remember appreciating your dedication to work and doing everything to the highest standard, as well as your diligence, sincerity, and honesty. Over the months of getting to know you, my respect and appreciation for you grew to admiration and fondness. Over the last few years, I have fallen more deeply in love with you than I ever knew was possible. You are truly the best part of every day for me.
I’ve often struggled to define what it is about you that makes you so special. You have a warmth about you and a genuine care for people that I have never seen in anyone else. You have no capacity for hate. Your open-mind, level-head, passion for living, and easy approach to life has leveled out my crazy days more than you will ever know. Thank you for making me better, and thank you for loving me.
I know we have vows coming, but there was no script or form that could adequately express the way I feel about you. I’m sure words will fail me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try!
I promise to spend the rest of our lives together making you feel special every day.
I promise to love you with everything that I have.
I promise to put you first, above everything else.
I promise to support you and to help you achieve all of your goals.
I promise to be the best husband, partner, and eventually father that I can be.
I promise to intentionally slow down and enjoy quiet moments with you. Evenings on the couch watching movies, weekends in bed reading, trips out of town to enjoy each other – you are now and will always be my priority.
I promise to always remember: There are far, far greater things ahead than any we leave behind. I love you, babe.
Drew, it can be difficult for me to eloquently describe just how deep my love is for you. You are my best friend, my rock, my constant support, and my favorite person to be around. You complete my pie and bring me more love and joy than I ever imagined possible. I can count on you to pick me up when I’m down, help me when I’m weak, and balance me out when I’m off. When I think of normal, and what it means for me, you are always at the center of it. I am so in love with the man that is kind and honest to me in every situation. I’m in love with the man that goes along with my silly and ridiculous requests. I’m in love with the man that works so hard in order to ensure a beautiful future for us. I love the man that doesn’t complain when I slack off and has to pick up some of my slack. I love the man that is happy to spend those wonderful evenings at home doing absolutely nothing with me. I love you for all that you are and all that we have become together. I am so thankful for finding someone that fulfills me in every way. I’m so excited to be able to marry my best friend, and start this new adventure with you. I can only hope to provide you with that same love that you give me. I vow to be there for you in whatever role you need from me, regardless of circumstance. I vow to be faithful and supportive throughout our life together. And finally, I vow to love you with all that I am.
It was short and sweet. We prayed, we were married, we cried (well – I cried – and most of our attendees!) and then we were out of there in 10 minutes!
One of the many benefits of a smaller destination wedding: everyone who is there deeply cares about you. Not only are they willing to take the time to come to your wedding, they’re willing to spend the time and money necessary to travel to get there. Because of this, our reception was so light and fun, but also special and intimate. Since we hadn’t done a rehearsal dinner, we did an “open mic” time – mainly because our friends demanded a time to tell embarrassing stories. We had our share of those, and then we also had some of the sweetest, kindest, warmest well wishes – far beyond what we expected. These are memories we will always cherish, and our favorite part of our wedding day. To each of our friends who attended: thank you for caring. Thank you for being there to celebrate with us and wrapping us in love so deep, sincere, and overwhelming. You were our greatest gift.
At the end of our reception, there was no clean up. No drama. Nothing to do other than hug our friends and go relax in our room. We ate the last piece of cake and drank our champagne that night, and sat on our balcony overlooking the falls reflecting on the perfect day.
Now, a day like this doesn’t happen without saying thank you’s. Stick with me for these – they are very important!
- Jaison & Callie – Words fail. Thank you so much for capturing the sweetest earthly moments of my life. Words fail. We will forever treasure these images, but even more so, your friendship.
- Desi – Thank you for making our day flawless from across the country. You are a magician. Happy to return the favor for YOUR WEDDING! 😁
- Erik Sward, Zanette Bell, Brittany Sproles, and Bell & Sward – thank you for working with us to make the perfect suits. We felt amazing in them and will treasure them forever! I’ve tried wearing mine as pajamas (they’re THAT comfy), but Kevin won’t let me. 🙁
- Daniel & Solomon – thank you for planning the perfect not-crazy-party night out for our bachelor party, and for doing something true to us. It was perfect. You are life-long friends and make our lives so much richer.
- Daniel & Chris – thank you for not questioning my “I need your phone now” or “please go to this place and meet this person and she’ll explain” and making everything go off without a hitch.
- Brook Taylor – your wedding surprise may have been the first time I cried that day. The card you sent us is still on my desk as a constant reminder. You always have a way of making me feel loved and valued from the other side of the country. Thank you, friend.
- Amber Bartz – thank you for working with us to make a perfect ceremony that fit us, helping us pick scriptures to include, and more. You were so kind and patient!
- Trenton – thank you for such eloquent words that set the tone for our relationship and the blessing for our marriage!
- Savannah – thank you for flying across the country to do our hair for our wedding! You (literally) make us look good. Even more than the looks – we are thankful for you friendship. <3 Who would have thought $10 Tuesdays would have led to this?!
- Jenn, Jeremy, Josh, Curtis, Lauren, Kirk, Amanda, Debbie, Trenton, Lilee, Savannah, Aaron, Ladybug, Rick, Stacie, Ashely, Eric, Marcus, and Kelly – the individual photos from the reception are some of my happiest memories. I keep a printed set of them at the office and one at my house and smile every time I thumb through them. Thank you for making our day what it was – without each of you it wouldn’t have been the same. Our lives are enriched by each of you.
Now, some final thoughts – and these are happy thoughts! Don’t you think for a second they aren’t. 😉
- We live in a hateful time. People are angry and loud. They are insensitive and uncaring. Not once have we encountered this, even in the deep South. Sure, there are those who have kept quiet – and we are fine with that. But, LOVE WINS.
- It gets better. To the teenager reading this who doesn’t think that this “picture-perfect life” will ever be their’s: we’ve been in your shoes. While these photos are perfect, our lives aren’t. But reality is prettier than a perfect picture. It does get better. Hold on to hope, my friend. Our prayers are with you and we are always hear to talk – or just to listen. It gets better.
Finally, Kevin: Thank you for making my life (and my heart) complete. You are the piece of my pie that I didn’t know was missing. You are my greatest joy, my strongest supporter, my constant encourager, my necessary challenger, my equal, my better half, my biggest fan, and my one true love. I thank God for you every day, and 4 months later (4 YEARS later!) I’m still pinching myself. It’s been a wild ride already – I can’t wait for the rest. <3