Koji and I met five years ago at a party. Five years later we would be celebrating our love with many of the same people that were there that night. Being surrounded by friends and family was most important to us for our wedding. We wanted to focus more on fun and less on checking each box on a wedding checklist.
With fun being our main focus and goal for our wedding, we had to take into account our budget to do so. It honestly wasn’t hard for us to decide what aspects were more important to us. First off we had to decide where this whole shindig would take place. I’m a big atmosphere person so this was important to me. For our wedding venue, we chose Pilgrim Cove Camp in McCall, Idaho, a summer camp on Payette Lake. We happened across it by chance, and it was just so perfectly untraditional. We knew we wanted a venue with space that allowed us the freedom to transform it into whatever our hearts desired. Koji is the creative one, so he saw the grounds as a canvas with a great opportunity for decoration. I’m more simple when it comes to decor (a fancy way for me to say that I’m NOT so creative), and saw the camp as naturally decorated on its own. Together we created a vision that was, well…creatively simplistic. It was a perfect balance of rugged and dainty. As it is a summer camp, it has accommodations to sleep around 80-90 people. We were lucky enough to be able to live on-site for a few days before and after, giving us ample time to decorate and takedown. It was nice to know that our guests had a cozy cabin to retreat to and a place to get ready after the drive up.
Second, We knew we wanted the whole day documented beautifully. After everything is said and done you have the memories, but the pictures make those memories come to life. Therefore choosing our photographer was important (and of course we made the best decision by going with Maggie Grace Photography). We wanted someone that would capture the true feeling of our day and she did just that. She was someone we knew a little prior to our wedding and that was so important to us as we’re both a little camera shy. She did some scoping of the area days before the wedding to find the perfect spot for our first look. She nailed it with an area surrounded by trees right on the lake. I loved having those moments before the madness where we could see each other, hug each other, and cherish the calm.
There were several traditional aspects of planning a wedding that we just didn’t spend time worrying about. We spent very little on a cake and only purchased a small one for cutting. Our “DJ” was a Spotify playlist on Koji’s phone that we had created beforehand with the help of our friends and family. Our wedding invites were sent online through email, where people were directed to our website that we had created. Here they could RSVP, get information on the whereabouts, lodging, etc. We ended up saving paper in more ways than one, allowing us to spend money on other details. My hair was done by a cousin who I could trust to take instructions like “pretty, in a rolled out of bed sort of way” and turn it into something beautiful and tangible. My makeup was done by a good friend who dealt with my hesitation to wear, dare I say it, EYELINER. At one point in the night, we realized we hadn’t done our first dance. Without announcing or bustling my dress, we turned the song on and danced for whoever was watching. Most of our family missed it. Our photographer missed it. Guess who didn’t? Us. We were there for every second of it. We sang every word to it. We trampled on my dress, and it was a dream. See these details, though important for some, were not deal breakers for us. Did those things make us any less married? Absolutely not. Were we still over the moon with the outcome? A million times yes.
If I could give a few bits of advice, one would be to just relax and enjoy the day. How cliche right? But I’m telling you, my day was one “oh well!” after another. My composure was kept and my makeup stayed dry (with the exception of having to endure my husband’s vows). This was absolutely the best day of my life thus far and had I worried about the little things I would’ve missed out on so many of the fun parts. Second, I 100% recommend, if at all possible, finding a venue you can stay at and partying all night long with your guests. We had all of our favorite people in one place, celebrating, dancing, and laughing. Why on earth would we want to leave!? I promise you I was the last person on the dance floor, even after we had to turn the music off. I sang my own tunes and danced right along with them. That’s a personal thing, I’ll work on that (and by that I mean I’ll choreograph the dances next time).
– Bride, Abby