On August 24, 2013 we threw the biggest party of our lives and got married in the middle of all the fun.

Our wedding was honestly our best day ever.  While it was a majority of my project, Mike and I both worked hard to make it fun, and uniquely us.  

Our photographer was a friend of mine from high school, and even if she wasn't, she still would be my top pick.  Sara Candle from Studio SPC was awesome!  The above photo was edited by her as our first sneak peek to hit social media and she used my hand-drawn lettering from our chalkboard sign to add to one of our group shots.  It's the perfect introduction, cover photo, and representation of the day!  She's a girl after my own heart and understands that details count.

via Instagram

Our ceremony was held in a national park near where I grew up.  Both Mike and I spent our childhoods hiking the trails in the Valley and knew we wanted something outside.  The park also housed a shelter which helped calm my fears of needing a rain plan, we had perfect mid-70's sunny weather.  The shelter was  used for snacks and drinks after the ceremony.  At the entrance to the park we set up a tent sign Mike and I made using old pallets. 

Along the path, guests were greeted with a matching sign we also made, that let people know they were heading in the right direction.

On the other side, which would be read as the guests were leaving, read what would become my motto for the day.

I made fan programs, after this inspiration, and grabbed a Target basket from our old TV stand to place them in.  

My biggest creative contribution to the wedding was all the paper flowers.  I envisioned giant paper flowers sitting at all the tables, and took that idea further to all the flowers including the bouquets, boutonnieres, and ceremony decorations.  I liked the idea of the all paper flowers in the natural park setting, and not to mention but it was a lot cheaper than real flowers!

I started a month or so before the wedding date and made all the flowers using the silhouette and cricut, thinking I would have a majority of them completed ahead of schedule.  I had already planned to use vacation time to take the week off prior to the wedding, (I know, you're supposed to take the week after), and actually made most of them during this week.  The boys had shades of blue, while Mike's was white, and our family members had corals and shades of blues.    

We wanted a casual elegance feel and the boys wore khakis, (I told them to wear whatever they had on hand), with white shirts and we gifted them suspenders and bow ties.  Mike wore khakis, a blue shirt, suspenders under a vest, and a bow tie.

Our ushers were just as important, so I wanted them to look similar as well and asked them to wear dark pants.  We gifted the suspenders and bow ties as well. 

My bridesmaids wore convertible or infinity dresses in a light gray.  I tried to find something that they could wear again and not to mention that they were under $100 and wrinkle-free too!  We also had one of the cutest ring barriers ever that looked like a mini groomsmen!

After the gorgeous bridesmaids made their way down the aisle it my turn.  I chose to have my mom walk me down, a choice I made years ago, and loved sharing that moment with her.

We added a love letter ceremony and Mike and I wrote letters to each other to be opened on our first anniversary.  We also added a bottle of our red wine that we made for the reception.

Mike made the box for me and I stained and painted it.

Little known fact, but Mike was very particular about the hammer we used.  It was one of the first hammers that he owned and the hammer that built our home!

Before we knew it we were married and ready to party!

After the ceremony, we asked all the guests to walk to the other side of the field for a group photo.

Then we got silly.

The light was working for us, so we stayed in this area for the family and bridal party shots.

We also got some of just Mike and I.

The one above ended up being perfect for our Christmas cards.

After we finished all the different family combinations and bridal party photo ops here, we headed downtown Peninsula.  We had discussed possible sites for photos since there are a lot of cool and interesting sites in the area, but one that I couldn't get out of my head was a place we found by a happy accident one day.

Mike and I were in the area for dinner one night and since it was awesome weather, so was everyone else, so we had to find parking a bit of a ways from the restaurant, (actually the same place we held our rehearsal dinner).  We walked along the railroad tracks and I knew it would be one of the places we stopped to take some photos.  Right next to the tracks was a lumber yard and Mike and I thought, while a little unconventional, it would be an great place to have some photos taken.  It had such great textures, as well as being a fitting spot for two DIY's like us.  Thankfully our photographer was just as onboard as we were!

We ended up getting some awesome photos that are some of my favorites from the whole day!

The barn siding was an awesome background and our photographer was able to play around with the extra space to turn a photo like this:

Into something even more personalized.

We also played around on the actual lumber.  

Everyone thought I was crazy for suggesting to stand on top of the pile, but I didn't wear flats for nothing!

We walked around and got some more group shots.


Sara, our photographer, told us to be serious, and we all look a little pissed.  It even kinda looks like we're trying to reenact the infamous Bridesmaid movie poster!  I swear we're not, we're just all badasses in our own right, ha!

We walked over to the railroad tracks and took some more photos that looked seriously amazing.  To reinforce our badass status, it's technically illegal to take photos on railroad tracks, (even though everyone does it), and a cop car drove by but never stopped.  It must have been the white dress.

We also took some more photos at the trails nearby.

I didn't go in with too many staged photos in mind since I knew our photographer would do an amazing job, and I wasn't disappointed!  It was great sharing these photos with everyone because, while everyone was able to watch the family photos being taken, no one but the bridal party knew what we had done off site.

We held our reception at an old school house that is now a facilities hall with all the vintage and old character.  While I chose to keep the decorations to a minimum at the park, here I tried to utilize all different decorations to give a lot of detail.

I'm mildly obsessed with the giant balloons, as seen here at the bridal shower, so I added some to the entrance.

I designed this using the font from the invitations and a projector to draw with chalk markers on the chalkboard.  I also added a hashtag for all the instagramers in attendance.  It's also where my photographer got the "Mallory and Michael" and date for the group photo.

Inside, you travel up a small set of stairs and in the hallway between the two rooms were mason jars with everyone's names on them as well as tags with the table numbers.

These served double duty as our seating chart, cool drink glasses, as well as the favors.  My favorites were ours, of course:

I used my silhouette and this outdoor vinyl to create all the names.  It was tedious, but well worth it!  I did some dishwasher tests, and was happy to report that the vinyl lived up to it's claims and was permanent.

From the mason jar table the large room on the right held all the tables for dinner.

When we first saw the rooms we immediately thought of string globe lights.  It was part of the feel we were going for and the height of the room was perfect.  The hall asked that we don't tape anything to the walls, so instead of asking to use command strips to hold globe lights up, we decided to use the old, "better to ask for forgiveness, than permission".  The day before the wedding, Mike and some family members took a ladder and hung all the lights to get the spacing and to stick all the command hooks.  We took them down afterwards, (because the hall manager would be locking up for the night and unlocking in the morning), and set the rest of the room up, our photographer took the photos above after we finished, and the morning of the wedding Mike and some friends quickly hung all the lights back up.  I know we were breaking the rules, but it looked awesome and no damage was done because we used the command strips!

For the table centerpieces we had large paper flowers that I made, candle holders made from logs and fake candles, wood slices for height and a table number that was also made from wood slices and painted with chalkboard paint and chalk markers.

The flowers were a mix of a several different types and three basic colors to create multiple different combinations.

 I also printed out thank you notes for each place setting.

Since there were only a few kids at the wedding I added a couple things I picked up at the dollar spot at Target to each of their tables.  There was basically four kids, two around 2 years old, and two that were closer to 5-6.  This is one of the younger kids seats. 

And, the older kids got markers and stickers.

On the gift table Mike found me an old mailbox and cut a slit in the top and I painted it with the pin-popular "P.S. I Love You".

Next to the gift table was our awesome cupcake display.

Mike made the stand from giant wood slices and logs and it was one of the coolest things ever, not to mention the seriously amazing cupcakes that were awesome looking on their own.   

I didn't really want toppers since we were only doing cupcakes, so I just made little signs and they were set on the top layer.

I made a little chalkboard sign to describe what each flavor was. 

They were all seriously delicious, but I let Mike pick the one we would cut and feed to each other and he, of course, picked the one with bacon.

There were some things in the room that we couldn't remove, like a piano, that I just pretended weren't there.  I basically just 'put a flower on it' (any portlandia fans?).  There were also these two pictures, one of George Washington and the other Abraham Lincoln that I thought were kinda ridiculous, so instead of hiding them somewhere I embraced them and added little mustache clings.

via instagram #mmdankswedding

After we arrived, Mike and I chose to have our first dance after being announced.  This way everyone was already looking at us and it was a nice segue into the speeches.  We set the tables up to have a small dance floor between the head tables and the rest of the guests.  Our first dance was to "You Make it Real" by James Morrison.

Our best man, one of Mike's best friend, and our maid of honor, my sister, killed their speeches.  There were laughs and tears. 

After we were done with the formalities, guests were dismissed to get dinner.  The food was set up in a smaller room off of the main hall and had all the food, drinks, small high top tables, and the photo booth.  One of my favorite parts was the giant chalkboard in the room that I was able to utilize as the drink menu.

I designed each section in photoshop, then brought a projector to draw it in chalk.  Thankfully I was able to get into the hall a couple days before the wedding, because the whole chalkboard took 4 hours or so to draw!

Mike made his own kegerator system to dispense the beer.  He stored all the kegs on ice in a large metal feed bucket and all the lines fed to taps that he drilled onto posts and logs.   

Each groomsmen had their own beer, and he also had a collaborative beer made with one of the best brewers from his homebrew club.  Mike came up with the names, and I made labels for each tap.

On the other side of the table we had our wine.  We made a red, white, and blush.  The white was divided and back-sweetened differently, so that one was semi-dry, while the other was semi-sweet.  We also used frozen water balloons to prevent the wine bottles from eventually sitting in water.

I made labels for each of the wines and printed them on labels I found online that were waterproof. 

We registered for a table-top wine opener and some of my family members gifted it to us at the shower so we were able to use it at the reception.  We encouraged people to drink one glass at a time, or take the whole bottle to the table.  We even told people to take bottles of their favorite wine home.

We had collected bottles from family and friends and some were giant bottles, so we placed these on the head table so the bridal party didn't have to worry about any lines at the wine table.

This picture perfectly describes Mike and I.  

That bottle also is the reason for this gem later in the evening:

Next to the drink table was the photo booth.

I used photoshop and my silhouette to make the sign and props.  Most of our guests hadn't been to a wedding with a photo booth so it was awesome seeing everyone have a great time with it.

Here are some of my favorites from the night.

The other form of entertainment of course was dancing.

While people were busy eating and hanging out, the mason jar table was turned over to an M&M table.  Come on, you know we had to.  We used the aluminum M's that Mike salvaged, (one of them lives down in our family room when it's not moon-lighting as an M&M table decoration), and the wood pieces from the mason jar set-up.  I found 12 different types of M&M's and bought them in bulk, or on sale when I found them.  My favorite? Peanut butter.  My least...raspberry, eww.

I printed a "logo" on each paper bag.  It took a long time, but I was able to use a regular computer printer at work and fed them through individually.

Our photographers got creative with our rings and the m&m's.

While everyone was partying away, our photographers and the bridal party sneaked outside to take a couple photos that I requested using sparklers and cigars.  I wanted artsy, smoky photos of the guys with their cigars, and they turned out perfect. 

It was the first time they had used sparklers for photos, so it took a bit to get them right, but they turned out amazing as well.

We had an awesome time and it was a great moment to look back inside and reflect on what a great day it had been.

I loved our wedding so much, and hope you enjoyed my recaps as much as I did revisiting all the details!
All photos taken by the amazing Studio SPC.