I need to start this post off by saying that every wedding is different. There is no right or wrong way to create your special day and creating it is the most fun part (at least it was for me). I also want to mention that everyone’s situation is unique and special, the importance lies in how it feels for you and your partner.
Our wedding location was really special because we held both the ceremony and reception at my childhood home. It’s a log home in the mountains of Colorado that my dad built when I was 5 years old! Because it was at a home instead of an event space, we had to build the wedding from the ground up. The house is not huge and my dad & family had to work together to do a ton of hard labor to get it ready with both landscaping and interior prep. The whole process ended up being such an incredible bonding experience and my dad was very proud to showcase the house he built.
Because we had to do everything ourselves, we had to get really creative and resourceful.
From the beginning, we wanted to keep our wedding as zero-waste as possible. We started by eliminating any plastics or trash that would have to be thrown away at the end of the night. We also collected recycled decorations or made them ourselves. This was special to us not only because we love vintage but it also honored the raw beauty of handcrafted keepsakes.
For anyone planning a wedding from the ground up I’m very excited to share some simple insight and tips on how we made it happen and a few photos from our special day as well!
My dad, Cole and I built the arbor from scavenged dried branches and wood we found in the forest. Then we covered it in tons of greenery that I sourced from the wholesale flower market in Denver. If you don't have the resources to build your own, there are also tons of places that rent arbors as well!
My dad, with the help of Cole and my brother, took on the huge project that was the guest seating for our ceremony. The three of them built log benches out of dead or fallen trees around my parent's property. They turned out really cool and my parents are going to hold onto them and rent them for weddings!
We used an amazing local events company called Tents & Events that helped us rent just about everything else! We rented wine barrels to act as bar tables, jugs for water, cutlery, the tent & linens. You name it, they provided it. Because we didn't want any waste we rented an absurd amount of glassware for all of the beverages, including water, to eliminate the need for paper or plastic cups (though we still put out some paper cups for coffee after the dessert).
We had a lot of branches left over from the arbor so Cole created a “Bar” sign and with the help from my bridesmaids, photographer/florist extraordinaire we decorated it with flowers the night before the wedding.
The Reception area:
The reception is where renting became our absolute best friend. We worked really closely with the coordinator at Tents & Events (Emily, you are the best) to create a diagram of the reception area that would fit a large enough tent for 90 people to include a dance floor, room for the DJ and the dinner tables. This is also where my dad’s skilled building work was incredibly important.
For the table decor, Cole and I become obsessed with collecting bottles and jars to put the flowers in. Whether they were wine bottles that we recycled or vintage bottles found at random flea markets in Arizona, we collected I think over two dozen for the table settings. I also worked with my dad to create wood coasters for the place settings and added decor to the center of the table. We wanted it to be kept simple and feel like we were in the woods so we used lots of natural elements like pine cones and moss.
One of my favorite details of our decorations was the vintage gondola that my parents have had since before I was born. We decorated it to be a separate hangout area complete with pillows and flowers.
My parents also have an old chairlift swing also in their backyard (can you tell they live in Colorado haha) that we turned into the photo-booth and borrowed cute decorations from friends and family members.
We worked hard to source everything sustainably, be waste-free and call upon friends, family members and neighbors to offer support and a helping hand along the way! A wedding is a communal celebration and with patience and a clear vision a super fun planning experience.