Our Wedding: Part 1 Planning

What better way to commemorate our third anniversary than by finally writing about our wedding?  Time is a crazy thing, I cannot believe it's been three years or that it's taken me this long to create this post.

Excuses Reasons it has taken me so long to put this on the ol' blog:

  1. Honeymooning in Seattle, Whistler and camping along the sea to coast highway of British Columbia.
  2. Mr. Cook's deployment to Afghanistan less than 6 months after being married.
  3. Moving in with Mr. Cook's best man right after the wedding and then into my parents' house 6 months later while we waited on our house to close.
  4. Moving into said house all by myself with the help of amazing friends.
  5. Turning the house into a home.
  6. Popping over to Europe to celebrate our one year anniversary on Mr. Cook's mid tour leave.
  7. Becoming fur baby parents to Jazzy.
  8. Mr. Cook's homecoming and reintegration (the Army's nice way of saying walking on glass for several months).
  9. Student teaching.  I repeat student teaching.
  10. Graduation.  Bachelor's of Arts in English Teaching.
  11. Graduation trip to Vegas.
  12. Summer school.  My future students will always thank my summer school students.  Trial by FIRE!
  13. A yard, we have a yard (one that is now infested with fungus and dying before our eyes).
  14. Mr. Cook's patio install. 
  15. Second anniversary spent with me in Seattle on a girl's trip.
  16. A very short stint as the life guard coordinator at our local YMCA before being offered my first teaching position at my beloved Home of the Mavericks.
  17. First year of teaching.
  18. First summer vacation.
  19. Becoming fur baby parents to Harrison. 
  20. Epic Adventure: Camping Trip of 2012.
And now I present you with Our Wedding Story, not to be confused with our love story, perhaps that will appear on say our 5th Anniversary.  Side note: I used to be (and still am) obsessed with TLC's A Wedding Story and A Baby Story.

Despite my parents offering several times to let us get married in their back yard, I was against it.  I had visions of being married at Red Fish Lake Lodge in Stanley, Idaho at sunset on the dock.  This was the wedding I had planned since I was a little girl.  But Mr. Cook's grandmother had other ideas.  She broke her hip in the midst of wedding planning and we knew she wouldn't be able to comfortably make it to Stanley.  She is a very special woman to both of us and so I started thinking of other venues.

Beautiful isn't it?

We have beautiful venues in Idaho but I wanted something more natural, more us and we were working with a limited budget (my parents would never give me an exact number, but my goal was to keep the entire wedding under $5,000 and we did).

It may not have been my ideal location, but it turned out to be the perfect place to celebrate our day.

And so my parents back yard became more and more appealing.  I still wanted the wedding at sunset and visions of twinkle lights throughout the whole yard and pasture filled my head.  Sort of like this:

Day and Time
But wouldn't you know an evening wedding wasn't in the cards.  My heart was getting discouraged at this point; none of this was the wedding I had planned but then a very wise person in my life (whose alias is mom) mentioned that the only thing that mattered on that day was Mr. Cook and I's love for one another and celebrating that love and commitment with our closest friends and family.  

Getting married in the country means dealing with certain 'issues': farmers irrigating, planting, harvesting, mosquitos, odors, etc.  A fall wedding wasn't possible: it would be in the midst of harvest and Idaho weather is very unpredictable in any season other than summer.  A summer wedding?  Shudder.  But that's exactly what happened.

My mom and I looked at The Farmer's Almanac and chose the most consistently beautiful and rain free day: July 18th.  And I said goodbye to my visions of a poufy princess dress and all of the heat that would come with it.

Even after spraying for mosquitos it became clear that an evening wedding was also out. of. the. question.  I am a morning person.  After attending several evening weddings, all of which were beautiful, I knew that the anticipation of an evening wedding would wreak havoc on me.  

This is one of my favorite shots of the girls getting ready.  My big sister in the background; she means the world to me and that look is full of love.  

And so we chose to get married in the morning at 11 AM.  This allowed me to get ready with my girls and still 'sleep in' by my standards, eat a light breakfast and take all of our posed shots before the ceremony.

The Dress
Dress shopping was a different experience for me.  I went to David's Bridal shortly after being engaged and set up an appointment with a friend who was also getting married to look at dresses.  The morning of our appointment the first question we were asked was, "Are you really getting married?"  At this point in time we hadn't set a date so I couldn't answer their follow up question either.  Nothing puts a bride to be at ease like making her feel like she is an inconvenience and scamming you.

It went down hill from there.  The consultant would not listen to what I wanted.  I had visions of my dress, as every girl does, and some of these included pouf (I wasn't ready to abandon the princess dress yet) and some included a form fitting skirt.  I didn't know what I liked because I hadn't tried any on yet, wasn't that the purpose of this appointment?  Bless her heart, the young seventeen year old helping me decided she knew best and pulled what she thought I would like.
I hit my breaking point when I asked her to bring me a specific dress, a form fitting lace dress, and she returned with the dress and a slip meant for a full skirt.  I began to sweat, feel light headed and my stomach started to churn.  This is not what I wanted my experience to be like.  I got dressed and waited for my friend outside where I cried and questioned everything about being married.

*Please note: these was my personal experience there; I know many brides who have loved their experience at David's Bridal.  It just wasn't right for me and I'm clearly still frustrated by the service I received there.*

Several days later I received an Anthropologie catalog at my apartment and found the dress.  It was styled to perfection; the model was standing in a field of wheat, wearing the dress with sweater tights, boots, a scarf and cardigan.  I showed the catalog to my mom and we ordered it from our local Anthropologie.  One wrong size returned later and a fitting and I had my dream wedding dress.  

My Accessories
I've always known I wanted a veil on my wedding day; veils are absolutely stunning.  After finding my dress I knew that a birdcage veil would be the perfect fit.  I wanted to customize it and have a peacock feather added as well as two turquoise flowers my mom crocheted.  Brenda did an amazing job.  

The eiffel tower earrings were a gift from Ananya, the Etsy shop owner, who made our bridesmaids dresses and the necklace was a gift from one of my bridesmaids.  It is an elephant charm, which symbolizes luck.  

I wore two garters on my wedding day, one for the garter toss and the other I made in memory of my two grandmothers who had since passed.  The garter contained old lace from my dad's mom and a beautiful clip on earring from my mom's mom.  It was the perfect way to have them with me throughout the day.  

I love shoes.  Even after alterations, my dress was well under what I had envisioned spending on it.  What's a girl to do?  Make up the difference by buying two pairs of shoes.  I wanted a pair of blue heels as my something blue, but I knew that they weren't practical for the actual ceremony that would be taking place in the pasture or yard. 

You will make perfect dancing shoes!  And yet I never put them on.

I found both of my shoes online through DSW.  The pair that I wore throughout the ceremony and the majority of pictures were incredibly comfortable and beautiful.  

 But no wedding in the country would be complete without some cowboy boots.  I knew I wanted to wear them for some of our photos and I had the perfect pair of steel toed boots I had picked up at a consignment shop a few years prior.

Wedding Party Attire and Our Color Palette
We both love color and we were having a difficult time narrowing our palette down to the traditional two tone color scheme.  I knew turquoise was a must, as it's my favorite color.  He wanted red.  I wanted orange and yellow too.  Then we needed some neutrals and grey didn't compete.  A little non-traditional?  Yes.  So was the majority of our wedding.

We knew we wanted the groom and groomsmen to be comfortable.  Tuxedos and suits weren't an option because of their expense and the heat.  The groomsmen were asked to wear black slacks, button down white shirts with the sleeves rolled up and black shoes.  We found the ties at Macy's in our color palette and they were the perfect paisley print; these were Marshall's gift to his men.

We wanted Mr. Cook to stand out a bit, as the groom, so we found a charcoal grey vest to top his shirt with.

My nephew was our ring bearer; I found the shirt and my sister did the rest of his fantastic styling.  The poor guy had strep throat on the day of the wedding but powered through the ceremony.

I knew I wanted to gift my bridesmaids with their dresses and I knew they needed to be comfortable given the heat, so I turned to Etsy.  I found Ananya's incredible shop and set to work with her to create the perfect bridesmaids dresses.  They were made exceptionally well and went well with our color palette but some of the girls wanted them to be more form fitting.  So we made dress clips in red to add to the back of the dresses.  

The flower girls are my maid of honor's nieces.  I have known all of them since they were babies and they are incredibly sweet.  I knew I wanted to bring in the other colors of our wedding using their dresses.  I found them all at Target.  The twins' dresses had pink flowers along the neckline.  We removed them and my mom crocheted turquoise flowers, that matched the one in my head piece, to replace them with.

Our Wedding: Part 2 The Ceremony will have details on our invitations, flowers, decor, catering, the playlist, and the ceremony.


Mom said...

What a lovely recap of a very special day. Love you both - and am still so happy you got married here. Also so happy we don't have any more daughters to marry off here!

Ashton Bower said...

Oh Summer I LOVE THIS! I love how you detailed your thoughts and also how you crafted such a beautiful wedding with that personal touch everywhere!


Christy said...

I really enjoyed reading about your wedding. Love your dress and your shoes. It just seemed like the perfect day. And ps - I hate david's bridal too lol. Had 2 bad experiences there.

Sandy said...

Gorgeous wedding! I'm so glad you are posting about it :) I love looking at your wedding pics around your house.