Planning My Own Wedding as a Wedding Planner!

It has been almost a year since my last post and that is partially due to the slower wedding season in the winter months and more so because I've been busy planning my own wedding. Throughout our engagement, people kept telling me how I should have it all dialed down by now and that everything would have been planned ahead of time considering how many weddings I've been a part of...I felt the same way in most areas, although I was wrong! There are so many more details and decisions my now husband and myself could only make. I'll admit it was overwhelming at times and I felt stress here and there (I rarely admit to this), but I wouldn't change a thing! It turned out perfect! We feel so blessed with all the help that came from our family and friends!

We had decided about 11 months before the wedding where we wanted to get married-at my best friend's family's property. It is on the east side of Hood River and is absolutely beautiful! They have a large barn with cow and horse pastures and a great view of Mt. Adams. There used to be a baseball field that we would go and play mush ball on during the summer time, but the field had slightly over grown, so we decided to make the "outfield" our reception site. The ceremony took place near the field under tall, old, oak trees.

Now being that we were getting married at a not-so-typical wedding venue, we had to get creative when it came to a few things. First on the list was lighting-there was no lighting or electricity out on the field. So I had "pinned" a few lighting ideas I had found and told my husband and father that this was what I wanted and to see what they could do to make it happen. It all seemed so simple-stringing some christmas lights in a cross with some poles and done! Although this was not the case-it turned into one of the most dreaded things about the wedding. When it came time to string up the lights-the poles were not heavy enough to hold the long strands and they started caving in and the lights were snapping as well because of the heat and skinny cords. We started putting the lights up on Monday-which we all though would only take a couple of hours...we finished FRIDAY before the wedding-thanks to my amazing father, husband, family and friends-we got it to work successfully!

The week of the wedding was crazy busy as we had family flying in early in the week and tons of last minute details (that can only be done right before the wedding)-including setting up 150 hay bails. Oh did I mention, on Wednesday, three days before the wedding, we had weather reports of thunder and lightening storms. Being that the weather reports are usually not accurate, we just went along with the idea of having beautiful wedding during the day and night time.

Friday was a big day for us-hay bail set up, nails, flowers, tables, chairs, rehearsal, dinner, and final night before the big day! We had a group of William's manly friends and family show up to help move hay bails in place for the ceremony. (Thanks to Jessica Ryan-friend on William's side for taking amazing pictures throughout the week!!)

Dr. Jeff moving the pallets of hay bails for us to get set!

 Later in the day we went and cut the most beautiful flowers from a family friend's garden, Alice Clark, and the Gorge White House to make all of our centerpieces.  We had another herd of ladies help us arrange flowers in all the jars collected from family and friends which were then placed in wooden boxes made out of old pallets by William and my dad!


We had our rehearsal dinner at Saw Tooth Roadhouse-they did an amazing job! We had our dinner outside on picnic tables and they set up buffet style with their cheesy bread sticks, salad and pizza. They were perfect on timing and everyone loved the food!

The week of the wedding was beautiful weather-sunny all day and night, but come Friday, during the rehearsal dinner, strong winds and clouds started to roll in and before we knew it we heard thunder in the distance and the rain started to come down. We went home to the sound of crazy thunder and lightening storms and rain pouring outside. I guess the excitement level for our wedding day went down that night as I went to bed. But when I woke up the next morning, there was not a cloud in the sky! Yes, it was 6am and there was still plenty of time for the weather to change, but it put me in a better mood. I took Leon out for a quick morning run to enjoy the quite sunrise before the day became too crazy.

Around 8:30am the bridemaids and my mom arrived at our house to begin hair and makeup. Patricia Martin of Gorge Brides did my makeup and a friend of ours did all of our hair, Liz Romero. They both did a FABULOUS job and before we knew it, it was time to head over for the wedding venue for pictures.

Darcy Hunter, of Seed Photography, did our engagement shoot and wedding photos-she is AMAZING!! She is the hardest working photographer and her photos are breath-taking!  She took pictures of all of the girls and guys getting ready. Then it was time for William's and my first look. We met out under a large old oak tree by a large hay field. I was a bit nervous at first because I hadn't seen William all day, but was very excited to see his reaction after I had been talking about my dress for nearly a year. When he turned around-I couldn't of asked for a better reaction-he was grinning ear to ear! No tears-but that was fine with me. I have never really seen William dressed up to this level so I thought he looked extra handsome :)

After a few photos together, it was time to bring the the dogs! I was looking forward to this part of photos the most. Whitney, one of the bridesmaids, made the cutest mint green bow ties for Jackson and Leon-they soon came around the corner with their bow ties and I thought my jaw was going to break I was smiling and laughing so much-they looked ADORABLE!! Of course any mother thinks that way about their kids ;) They were perfect-posed so well for the photos!
Photo by Darcy Hunter, Seed Photography

After a few more photos together, family portraits and wedding party photos, it was time to head back inside to relax before the ceremony started. Whitney was there on the spot with a plate of crackers and cheese!! Before I knew it, we were all heading out to start the ceremony. Thank goodness for a close family friend who happen to have 30+ umbrella's at her house to bring for guests because the clouds were rolling in fairly quick and the weather called for rain. I stayed positive and really didn't cared if it rained-it was going to do what it was going to do and I couldn't do anything about it.

One of the biggest reasons to why I felt so relaxed and stress-free all day was because I knew Teresa Ellifritz, our day of coordinator and long time friend/co-worker, had everything under control. I knew she would be able to pull everything together, and she did!! She did an amazing job with all the little chores I had lined out for her! She made our day come all together perfectly!!

Photos by Teresa Ellifritz

My grandpa drove me up in his old Model-A car and I met my dad at the end of the aisle to walk down. Pastor Caroll Myers was our officiant for the wedding-two words, HIRE HIM! He is the sweetest man you will ever meet and makes each and every wedding so special. I've known him for 9 years and he is wonderful!

Photos from Carroll Myers

It didn't quite hit William or I until our rehearsal that we are going to have 200+ people looking at us while we recite our vows to each other...but we just kept focused on one another and before we knew it the ceremony was over and it was time for our reception!

When we returned from freshening up from the ceremony, loads of people were waiting to say hello and congratulate us! It was so amazing to see who had come from all over just to see us and be a part of our wedding! Dinner was served by Paradise Rose Chuckwagon out of Arlington, Oregon. Again, two words-HIRE THEM!! We kept hearing from our guests how it was the best food they had had in a long time, especially catering food. We served BBQ chicken and tri-tip at our wedding, along with some amazing side dishes! Like I mentioned the food was excellent and the service was great too!!
Next toasts were made by one of the groomsmen, Matt Ryan, a long time friend of William's. Matt did an amazing job with his speech! Then my sister made one with stories about how William and I had met, and about each other individually-she did great too! Then William and I wanted to thank everyone-I originally wanted to say how thankful we were to our family and friends and everyone that had put so much work into the wedding, but was a little emotional so I didn't think I would be able to finish.

William and I then went to cut our cake, make by Diane Murphy, a local here in the Columbia Gorge who loves to bake. We had a traditional white cake with raspberry and cream cheese filling-SOO good. After we fed each other the pieces of cake, I think we both just wanted to stand there and eat it till it made us sick! Paradise Rose also made a part of our dessert-their amazing and famous Oregon Berry Cobbler and their Bread Pudding (William's favorite)!
We then made it over to the dance floor for our first dance, John Fogerty's "Joy of My Life," followed with William and his mother's dance, John Denver, grandfather/granddaughter dance "Good Hearted Woman" by Waylon Jennings and then father/daughter dance, "Some Kind of Wonderful" Grand Funk Railroad-perfect for dad and I-nothing too sappy!

The rest of the night was lead to more dancing, drinks, and fun. We got another little rain storm that pointed our guests to playing a short game of baseball in the field! It was awesome! People kept coming up saying how this was one of the best weddings they had been to! We also received a surprise visit from a  helicopter over the wedding-to which our guests went to believe that we were flying out to our honeymoon...sounded cool, but not true!

At the end of the night, we were exhausted. At one I point I looked at William and we both had the same idea-I'm ready to go home and get our dogs! haha. We wouldn't have changed a thing for the world! It was absolutely perfect and we had such a great time! Thank you all for those who helped us plan this wedding...months, weeks and days before! We couldn't have done it without you!

1. Wedding Coordinator: Teresa Ellifritz with Columbia Gorge Weddings
2. Photographer- Darcy Hunter with Seed Photography
3. Videographer- Fletcher Hukari (Family Friend)
4. Wedding Venue- Osborn Residence
5. Flowers-Cathy Bible and Linda, family and friends (Alice Clark's garden, Gorge White House, Safeway and Rosauers)
6. Cake- Diane Murphy
9. Rentals- Riverhood Rentals out of Hood River, Oregon
10. Officiant-Pastor Carroll Myers
12. Grooms/Groomsmen Attire-Mari Bliss Boutique


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