By Sophia McDonald Bennett | Published May 2016

“I heard from everyone that the day flies by and you have to soak up every moment,” Kaitlin says. “Your wedding is the most important day of your life, but the most important thing is your marriage. We wanted to make the day more about a celebration of our marriage. And we wanted to spend as much time as possible enjoying the day with our friends and family.”

By focusing on the big decisions involved in the wedding and keeping everything else simple, the Eugene couple was able to do just that.

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Kaitlin says she put the most thought into picking their venue, photographer, and her wedding dress. She and David found Along Came Trudy in Springfield before they got engaged and knew it would be an ideal location for their wedding. A rustic barn served as the event space, and a garden courtyard was perfect for the reception.

“The venue was so beautiful it didn’t really need decorations,” Kaitlin says. The owner was able to loan them almost everything they did need.

“The only thing you have to take away from your wedding is the pictures,” Kaitlin says. They chose Ashley Cook Photography in Eugene for both their engagement and wedding photographs.

For her dress, Kaitlin chose a beaded mermaid-style gown from Blush Bridal Boutique in Eugene. She accessorized the dress with dangly diamond earrings and a veil that perched in the back of her loosely upswept hair. Her most important accessory was her engagement ring, which was made with a marquise-shaped diamond that belonged to her grandmother and melted-down gold jewelry from David’s mother.

With those big decisions made, Kaitlin tried to keep everything else as simple as possible. She picked her color scheme based on a bridal bouquet she saw on Pinterest. “Ruby red is my favorite color,” she says. She combined that with pale pink, pale peach, and gold accents for a striking combination that was used in several places in the wedding.

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Friends and family pitched in to make many of the things Kaitlin and David needed. A co-worker crated several wooden signs, including one that said “Here comes the bride” for the ring bearer to carry down the aisle. Kaitlin, her mother, and a friend made all the bouquets and centerpieces.

Family is very important to the couple. David’s brother was one of two best men. Kaitlin’s sister and new sisters-in-law were her bridesmaids. “My nieces and nephews are my whole world,” she says, and all served as flower girls or ring bearers. She put together outfits for the little girls using tutus and tank tops she found at various shops. She assembled their flowered headbands herself.

“Having all our family members come and be a part of the wedding was really important to me,” David says. “Some of Kaitlin’s family came in from Hawaii, and some of my family came in from the East Coast. It was great to have them all there.”

The morning of the wedding was very relaxing, Kaitlin says. Her parents helped set up tables while she and her bridesmaids got dressed in a private cottage on-site.

David started his day with a trip to the gym. “I was so excited that I needed a way to burn off some energy,” he says. After he arrived at the venue and got into his tux, he and his groomsmen played pool, drank whiskey, and reminisced.

View More: http://ashleycookphotography.pass.us/wardwedding

The only surprise of the morning came when Kaitlin’s sister delivered a hand-written love note from David. “It said how excited he was for the day and how lucky he was to be marrying me,” she recalls with a smile.

As the ceremony began, Kaitlin’s step-father walked her from the garden to the back of the aisle. Her dad took her the rest of the way. They said their “I do’s” with the summer sun streaming in through the barn’s roof.

“Being at the altar was fun,” David says. “Looking out at the front row and seeing my parents and Kaitlin’s parents sitting there was special. Saying our vows to each other was pretty fun. That was the best part of the day.”

The ceremony was followed by dinner and dessert. “Both David and I have a sweet tooth,” Kaitlin confesses. “When we did the cake tasting, they were all so good I said, ‘I can’t decide.’” In addition to a two-layer chocolate cake, they set up a table with cakes in a dozen different flavors.

Kaitlin says she was surprised how much she enjoyed the toasts from her sister, David’s brother, and his best friend. “All three of them just had the most perfect speeches,” she says. “They were sentimental and sweet and came from the heart.”

In keeping with their desire to create a fun atmosphere for friends and family members, Kaitlin and David had an open bar, plenty of food, and music for dancing. People could walk down to the river or take their kids to the play structure on the property.

Although most of the day was very unstructured, there was one organized activity Kaitlin really liked. When it was time for her and David to leave, the guests faced each other in two lines. The bride and groom walked down their second aisle of the day, receiving high fives and good wishes as they went. When they got in their car, the crowd assembled into two lines again so they could drive past everyone on their way out.

“It was a good way to end the day,” Kaitlin says.

DETAILS:

Date: June 27, 2015

Number of guests: 160

Honeymoon: Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Mazatlan, Mexico, booked through Eugene Tour & Travel

Officiant: Ian Stipe, Ekklesia

Photography: Ashley Cook Photography

Cakes: Cakes by JoDee

Drink menu: Beer from Hop Valley Brewing, wine from B2 Wine Bar and Grill, champagne from The Broadway Wine Merchants

Rings: Engagement ring custom-made by a family friend; wedding bands from Harry Ritchie’s Jewelers

Dress: Blush Bridal Boutique

Bridesmaid dresses: Etsy

Shoes: DSW

Makeup/hair: Makeup by Reina

Groom’s outfit: Blush Bridal Boutique

Equipment rental: Parties to Go