Brandon and Kristyn blended their eclectic style into an absolutely gorgeous Wes Anderson meets vintage romance Cusack’s on the Kenai River destination wedding. Their big day was just as much about the rich autumn colors, bold retro statements, and playful handmade details as it was about creating a wedding that represented who they are as individuals and as a couple.
Surrounded by enchanting scenery that included everything from blue-tinged glaciers, roaring rivers, and dense forests, their ceremony was set right on the banks of the Kenai River. They added a touch of whimsy to the outdoor space with mismatched velvet furniture and a round arch with wild florals by Frenchie’s Floral Design that perfectly framed the couple. And to add their own unique spin on the ceremony, the couple danced down the aisle and included their fur babies in the festivities.
Their tented reception on the lodge’s front lawn was just as fun. From the colorful dinnerware and tablescape to the DIY fishing flies napkin rings and photo wall with framed photos of the couple—the vintage nods and handmade touches continued throughout the party. Even their paint-stroked wedding cake by Midnight Sun Cakery looked like a delicious work of art!
As if that wasn’t enough, the couple showed off their one-of-a-kind style in their wedding day attire. The groom looked dapper in an amber-colored suit that perfectly matched the bride’s romantic vintage-inspired Galia Lahav dress with dramatic bell sleeves. Running with the gem tones and playful textures, the rest of the wedding party pulled off their own unique looks. Scroll through these dreamy images captured by The Hitched Hiker and get inspiration for your own colorful and quirky destination wedding.
Kristyn and Brandon
Cusack’s on the Kenai, Soldotna, Alaska
Why They Chose To Get Married At Cusack’s On The Kenai
We picked Cusack’s on the Kenai because it’s where we had one of our first dates and where Brandon proposed, so it was only appropriate to get married on the Kenai River. We booked the lodge for four nights, so we got to spend the whole weekend with our guests. Highly recommend making a whole weekend of it!
Vintage Ceremony Decor
The most important part of the ceremony design was mismatched chairs and wild florals. We were lucky to find an amazing rental company Wild Poppy Rentals, for beautiful vintage chairs and a magical florist Melissa Garcia Johnson to really make the vision come to life.
The Most Memorable Moments Of Their Kenai River Destination Wedding
Some highlights of the day include dancing down the aisle to my best friend, watching all of our loved ones band together to set up the day, the heartfelt and raw speeches, and of course, the liquor-induced evening shenanigans.
Wedding Planning Advice From The Newlyweds
Make it about your love story–that was the guiding light in all of my planning. Every little detail represented a part of who we are as individuals and as a couple. Also, have fun– it goes way too fast to be stressed.
DIY Wedding Details
The biggest DIY detail was the photo booth. I used a big wood crate from a shipment we got. Brandon disassembled the walls and reconstructed it as a photo booth, to which I then applied the wallpaper. I thrifted vintage frames and put our engagement photos in them for a gallery wall along with other special wall decor. The fish taxidermy and fishing net on the wall are my dad’s from my parents’ honeymoon.
An Unforgettable Kenai River Destination Wedding
The turnout was more than we expected, considering it was a destination wedding for most of our guests. The love that filled the air that day makes me proud to have so many beautiful people in our life. It was a unique celebration that all of our guests would always remember.
Congratulations to Brandon and Kristyn on their vintage inspired Kenai River destination wedding. And many thanks to The Hitched Hiker for capturing every dreamy detail and beautiful memory of their amazing day!
It’s often the unexpected details that will make your big day unforgettable. Don’t be afraid to skip tradition or choose an alternative yet meaningful venue or a quirky forward-thinking theme. Your wedding is yours, and it should reflect you and your partner in every way possible.
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Summer is the season for some of my favorite weddings – there’s not a cloud in the sky and guests seem to let loose just a little bit more, taking that extra vacation time to celebrate at weddings full of color and cool summertime ideas.
How do you beat the heat at a summer wedding?
I’ve got some easy tips to staying cool while celebrating!
1. Accessorize Your Look:
Parasols are picture-perfect. Capes, boleros and wraps make great accessories for colder nights so you can dress for the heat by day. And royal wedding-style hats can keep you cool in an outdoor ceremony while looking more fashionable than functional.
2. Serve Up Refreshments at a Pre-Ceremony Station:
A water station positioned near the entrance of your ceremony is a great way to welcome guests and keep them cool and comfortable. Regardless, it’s a great idea in general to hydrate your loved ones before the long night ahead and the cocktails to come.
3. Décor Designed to Stop the Sun:
Swaging, tenting and other overhead décor can certainly upgrade your event design while helping you and your guests beat the heat too.
4. Consider the Sun for the Ceremony:
If the men in your wedding party plan to wear suits or tuxedos and you prefer they be more comfortable, consider designing your ceremony site in the shade. Chart the sun’s location at the time of your ceremony and consider alternate sites at your venue or even just slightly re-positioning the setup to stop the sun from beating directly down.
5. Plan the Menu Accordingly:
Cocktails adorned with popsicles, summertime favorites like snow cones and other chilly treats embrace the summer season while keeping everyone cool at the same time.
6. Ceremony Programs with Dual Purpose:
You can never go wrong with a fan to cool down with. Give your guests gifts for the outdoors in the form of programs shaped like fans, parasols, or even favors designed to keep them cool throughout the day and night.
As you plan for your big day, don’t forget to beat the heat at a summer wedding and everyone in attendance will thank you for it!
Free-spirited, colorful, fun, and bursting with personality—Jess and Libby’s Bread Bar wedding was the perfect combination of classy and funky. The couple along–with their planner Kendra Kimball–made sure to tie in their love for family, travel, music, and food into their big day to create an experience where everyone felt special.
The ceremony was held at the quaint little white church in the historic mountain town of Silver Plume. Libby looked effortlessly cool in her short wedding dress paired with white Converse while Jess rocked a navy blue suit. The couple exchanged their vows as their adorable rescue dog Millie looked on. And in a touching tribute to their grandmothers, flowers and books were placed on their vacant seats to honor their memory.
The reception followed at the iconic Bread Bar, an 1800s-era bakery built at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Using colorful florals and hanging greenery created by floral designer Emma Van Vranken, they blended the concept of a hidden, overgrown courtyard with the vintage charm of the bar. Window decals, mismatched lounge seating, neon signs, a canopy of string lights, and lampshades added an eclectic touch to the entire setting.
From the cocktails named after late loved ones and the picture wall with a photo of every single guest to the Shih Tzu wedding cake and the tapas-style wedding menu inspired by their travels to Spain, no important detail was forgotten. Scroll through these amazing images captured by Bridget Burnett to see the many beautiful ways this couple chose to showcase their love for each other and their family on their big day.
Libby and Jess
Bread Bar, Silver Plume, Colorado, United States
Their Big Day Authentically Reflects Them
We are so proud of how the day was authentically us. We stayed true to ourselves when planning—bright colors, unique food, aura reader, and banging music are our vibe. And doing our thing no matter how it was perceived made it more special for our guests and us.
Wedding Planning Advice From The Newlyweds
Our advice is don’t take it too seriously and be yourselves. A few months before our wedding, I was in a bike accident and tore several ligaments in my knee and broke my femur. Bridgett Burnett, our photographer, did an amazing job making it look like I was much more agile than I was. I had this idea of doing this crazy exercise and diet to get in mad shape for the wedding and wear Manolo Blahniks that day. That clearly didn’t happen, but I had a hell of a lot more fun planning and experiencing the day by not having that pressure of looking “perfect” for the day. Also, get a wedding planner and trust them. It saves money long-term, lowers stress, and makes your ideas a reality. Kendra Kimball was amazing and helped us find Bridget and all our other vendors.
The Most Memorable Moments
My closest friends sang our favorite songs at the ceremony. It was overwhelming to share my friend’s talents with our community. For Jess, it was an intimate dinner with our friends and community. After isolating with COVID, it was so meaningful.
Personal Touches Throughout Their Bread Bar Wedding
We served cocktails named after late family members with their caricatures on the menu. Our favorite songs were sung by best friends. We wrote a letter to our guests thanking them. We created a picture wall that highlighted a picture of us with every guest from a special moment in our life. Our wedding cake was a replica of our Shih Tzu, Millie.
A Very Special DIY Picture Wall With Their Loved Ones
We blew up pictures of different sizes of guests with us over our lifetime. We used vintage frames and created a picture wall that was the backdrop for our reception. My grandmother had a similar wall in her home and was the inspiration.
The Couple Had a Special Spanish Themed Wedding Menu
Spain is our favorite place in the world, and we went on a road trip through Spain a few years ago. Those travels inspired our menu. We had 4-5 small tapas plates and then a larger plate. We also had churros and a dessert bar. Late night snacks included tacos in a bag, our favorite meal when camping.
Congratulations to Jess and Libby on their classy and funky Bread Bar wedding. And big thanks to Bridget Burnett for capturing every special moment of the happiest day of their lives.
You and your partner are wildly original, and your wedding should be no less. And just like Jess and Libby’s wedding, there are so many meaningful ways you can incorporate your love story into your big day. Check out our guide on how to create a unique wedding and bring your own personal version of a dream wedding to life with these unique wedding ideas.
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It’s no wonder that so many couples want to get married on the beach—between the sun, the sand, and the ocean breeze, a seaside ceremony can seem like a truly magical event. But planning a wedding in your own hometown can be challenging, so how can you make sure you do it right if you’re getting married miles away?
From décor ideas to packing tips to shoe and clothing suggestions, we’ve put together 10 beach wedding ideas to help you get over some of the hurdles you’ll undoubtedly be faced with. Take a deep breath, take each element in stride, and revel in the idea that your wedding day can—and will—be everything you want it to be.
10 Beach Wedding Ideas to Make You Event Better Than All the Rest
1. What Type of Dress Should I Wear?
When it comes time to choose your dress, keep in mind that you want a design that looks like it fits in with the beach theme. Forget that satin mermaid gown or that beaded ball gown you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little girl.
A beach wedding calls for a lightweight, airy look, and it’s a great opportunity to opt for a casual dress instead of the traditional bridal gown. When selecting your bridal gown fabric, choose something soft and breezy such as chiffon. As much as you may love lace, you don’t want your dress to be clumped with wet sand at the bottom, and lace can attract grains of dirt and sand with ease.
While a long gown blowing in the breeze can look stunning in person and in pictures, you may want to consider trying on some short styles and tea length silhouettes as well.
2. What Type of Shoes Should I Buy?
One of the best things about most beach parties is that shoes are optional. If you’re comfortable going barefoot, do so. If you’re set on wearing shoes, flat sandals are likely to be your best bet.
One of the best beach wedding tips we can give you is that it’s crucial to have the right shoes on your feet. Have you ever seen anyone try to walk in heels in the sand? It’s not pretty.
3. What Should the Guys Wear?
Please don’t dress the men in black tuxedos if you’re getting married in a hot, humid, or tropical climate. Instead of the traditional tux, opt for a more relaxed look such as lightweight pants and a button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up or a shirt/vest/tie combo without the jacket.
If you do want your men in jackets, choose suits or sport coats in lightweight colors and breathable fabrics. No one wants to sweat through the ceremony.
4. What Colors Should I Dress My Girls In?
There’s no real rule to be broken here—you can dress your bridesmaids in any color you choose—but soft, pastel color palettes tend to look beautiful against the backdrop of the sun and waves. Consider the types of colors you would find in sea glass, such as soft blues and light greens, or add a punch of tropical color by choosing shades of coral, turquoise, pinks, and peaches.
Whether you go bold or soft, it’s more important to make sure you choose dresses in lightweight, airy fabrics that your girls will be comfortable in.
5. What Should I Do With My Hair?
Forget the fancy up-do and go for something soft and pretty. A messy knot with a pretty hair clip, a tousled ponytail with a pretty braid, and long, loose flowing locks are all great options for a beach celebration.
6. How Do I Hire My Vendors When They Are A Thousand Miles Away?
If you want to know how to plan a beach wedding without going crazy, the answer is not to go at it alone. Many resorts offer packages that include the services of a wedding planner or coordinator. Use your resources. Trust in the professionals to do their job, but be diligent and make sure that things are running according to plan in the weeks leading up to the big day.
If the planner or coordinator isn’t able to provide you with the destination wedding ideas and solutions that you expect, consider bringing some of your own professionals along on the trip. Just be ready to pay for their travel expenses in addition to their regular rates and fees.
7. How Should I Decorate?
Pinterest is loaded with beach wedding ideas about décor, and it’s easy to spot the trends and get inspired. Many couples like to play up the beach theme by incorporating shells, starfish, and nautical accents into their décor, but if you don’t want something quite that literal, consider making use of lush greenery, vines, and natural materials such as raffia. Don’t go overboard with flowers—there’s nothing more natural or more beautiful than having the sand beneath your feet and the waves lapping at the shore behind you. All the flowers in the world won’t be able to top that.
8. What Special Things Should I Do For My Guests?
First and foremost, give plenty of advance notice to friends and relatives that your ceremony is going to be some distance away. They’ll likely need to book flights and request time off from work, so the sooner you can let them know, the better. In the weeks leading up to the big day, provide them with itineraries so that they know where to be and when. When they arrive at the destination, welcome them with goodie bags of beach-inspired treats such as flip flops, snacks, and sunscreen. Provide them with a map of the resort or the town and make sure that they are comfortable in their hotel room and equipped with the necessary amenities.
If you can find room in your budget, consider paying for hotel expenses and/or airfare for those guests that mean the most to you. It’s not always easy to jet hundreds or even thousands of miles away to attend someone else’s wedding, so be mindful of the fact that most of your guests are probably going to have to make some accommodations of their own in order to attend your special day.
9. What Other Tips Do I Need To Know?
Beach wedding ideas, just like traditional event ideas, depend on upon the type of affair you’re having and where you’re having it, but it’s always a good idea to arrive at your destination at least one day before your guests.
It’s a great idea to plan a preliminary trip to check everything out for yourself before everyone else arrives, assuming that you have room for it in your budget.
10. What Do I Need To Pack?
Pack swimsuits, beach cover-ups, breezy dresses, sandals, and anything you would normally pack for a beach getaway. With that said, it’s crucial that you remember those unusual things that you wouldn’t normally need for a vacation. Your wedding dress, your rings, and your legal documents are all things you can’t afford to leave home without!
These beach wedding ideas will help your destination wedding planning go a bit more smoothly and assist you in making some of those oh-so-important decisions. As with any event, make sure you’re following your timeline and checklist, and take extra care to follow up with your resort, wedding planner, or coordinator if you can’t be at the destination to monitor every small detail yourself.
And just think, when all the planning is done and all of the guests have arrived, you can finally relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy your moment in the sun!
Charming and Intimate Stable Cafe Wedding
After such a long time apart due to the pandemic, what Beth and Patrick really wanted was to have a relaxed and intimate celebration at their favorite restaurant—treating their family and friends to a delicious feast and an unforgettable experience. Surrounded by their loved ones and the perfect San Francisco weather, the couple’s Stable Cafe wedding was a day truly meant for them and their loved ones.
Built in the 1800s as a carriage house that appears unassuming from the street—the Stable Cafe’s gorgeously manicured garden patio provided the perfect lush backdrop of greenery that framed the couple as they exchanged their vows. The plum trees, vines, and potted plants along with the understated floral arrangements by Ash and Oak, votive candles, and bistro lights set the romantic mood for their charming courtyard reception.
If you’re a foodie thinking about having a small wedding at your favorite restaurant, you’ll love this Stable Cafewedding. The romance and beauty of Beth and Patrick’s big day comes across so beautifully in these images captured by Erin Prado for Vivian Chen Photography. Scroll through for amazing ideas and inspiration for your own intimate celebration.
Beth and Patrick
The Stable Cafe, San Francisco, California, United States
Inspiration for Changing Up Timelines
Rather than spend all of Saturday getting ready, we had our wedding on Friday night. Then we enjoyed Saturday afternoon sailing with our guests on the Bay. It was so special to share our favorite parts of the city with our loved ones and maximize our time together after such a long time apart during COVID.
Weather Changes Made Their Stable Cafe Wedding Perfect
The weather was unbelievable! It was a pretty cold and windy summer in San Francisco so we rented a bunch of extra heaters for our guests and warned them to bring extra layers. Turns out the weekend was beautiful—sunny, a light breeze, and warm. I’d bought a white Patagonia jacket as my bridal jacket but didn’t end up needing it at all.
Using Tight Transportation for Cute Photo Ops
We’ll never forget squeezing into my sister’s car with Patrick, our photographer Erin, and my nephew’s empty car seat. It was a bit tight but Erin snapped a couple of adorable photos of Patrick and I crammed in the backseat as we enjoyed some great views of San Francisco on the way down to Stable Cafe.
Mixing Up The Wedding Menu
Stable Cafe was beautiful—the food and desserts were amazing. We also had passed appetizers and a taco bar catered by Nopalito. Their carnitas are out of this world and our guests raved about the food for weeks. For dessert, instead of a wedding cake, we went with a cookie bar baked by GoodChildrenSF. We loved the cookies and we enjoyed them with our guests throughout the rest of the weekend. In retrospect, six cookies per guest was a lot. But hey, nobody minds extra cookies!
Working With Erin Prado And Vivian Chen Photography
Erin was great. She had a knack for catching the sweetest candid photos and captured the city chic vibe we were going for so well. Vivian Chen was super fast in editing the photos and we love how they came out. Our families all commented on how great the photographs turned out from our big day.
Identify what matters to you and what doesn’t at the beginning of planning. Based on those priorities, focus on the things that will bring you joy and just let the small stuff go. Also, pick the right vendors. I am an organized person by nature, but we were really proud of how little stress we had leading up to the event and how seamlessly it all came together in the end. Once we booked our team, everything came together easily because each vendor was great at their job.
Congratulations to Beth and Patrick on their charming and intimate Stable Cafe wedding. And big thanks to Erin Prado for capturing every sweet and memorable moment of their big day.