What better place for two astronomers to wed than under the open sky?
Allison met Ryan while in grad school in New Mexico. Equal parts goofy and silly, they were a perfect match. After grad school, the two got engaged in Thailand and were offered jobs at a US-owned observatory in Chile. There, they lived in a community of mostly English-speaking astronomers, all while planning a three-day eco-conscious summer-camp style wedding on the Oregon coast!
Their wedding was so gorgeous, and the bride and groom so absolutely awesome that I’ll be sharing their photos across two posts rather than one.
I got to know Allison through her blogging as Mrs. Bear Cub on Wedding Bee (which I’ve continued to read since I finished writing for the site). I love, love, LOVE rustic weddings, so Allison’s ideas made me super excited.
She and Ryan worked hard to make their wedding unique; a real taste of the Oregon outdoors. Their guests were ferried into Camp Westwind by a barge across the river delta, and spent the weekend in bunk-bed cabins with pillows and sleeping bags, sharing meals in the lodge and stories by the bonfire.
Allison and Ryan wanted their wedding to feel like a gathering of friends, old and new, rather than a formal party. Ryan, an experienced camp counselor, knew that the casual camp atmosphere, beautiful view, and fresh sea air would do just the trick. And it did! (Westwind even cooked meals using their own recipes, which made the camp feel like home, even though it was a destination wedding for almost everyone there.)
It was important to these two nature lovers that their homegrown wedding not leave a big footprint. They spent only where they had to and crafted many of their decorations by hand, including recycled mason jar vases and LED-throwie paper lanterns:
Allison and Ryan also decided against handing out traditional wedding favors that might end up in a landfill. Instead, they hosted a planting ceremony on the day before the wedding, and everyone was invited to plant indigenous shrubs on the Westwind grounds.
Wedding flowers in their “rustic red poppy” and “faded lavender” palette were purchased at a local farm. Allison let her bridesmaids choose their flowers and arrange their bouquets while friends and family created centerpieces for the reception. Allison even found time that morning to make her own STUNNING bridal bouquet before getting ready.
The guys wore fabulous homemade boutonnieres decorated with flowers, feathers, lavender, and lace leaves…
The lace leaves matched Allison’s amazing Monique L’hullier dress.
Bridesmaids wore dresses that matched the lavender & poppy colors of the day, with bright and beautiful jewelry. Isn’t Allison’s sister pretty?
Allison wore the most amazing combination of bridal accessories: Super cute Seychelles heels in a dusky pink, and a hair flower she made herself, a long pearl necklace her sister made her, and a rose pearl necklace from etsy:
Their gorgeous Mokume Gane rings were by Andrew Nyce Designs:
There was a little primping and preening, with hair and makeup done by the helping hands of friends, and Allison became a beautiful bride. She was ready for the ceremony…
Allison and Ryan had two ceremonies on their wedding day. The first, “traditional” ceremony, written by Allison and Ryan and officiated by his grandmother, was held in a grassy meadow close to camp that was accessible to all guests. They chose to walk down the aisle hand-in-hand, serenaded by Ryan’s brother playing a waltz on the French horn.
After being officially declared husband and wife, the couple thanked their guests and started the walk uphill to their second wedding ceremony.
Allison had always dreamed of being married on a cliff overlooking the ocean at sunset….and Westwind had just the place. But the High Meadow was almost a mile from camp up a steep dirt path, a hike that many guests couldn’t make. So, after the traditional ceremony, a handful of family and friends gathered to make the trek to the second ceremony.
After slogging through mud, dodging briars and branches, hiking past signs warning of bears and cougars, and ducking under a barbed-wire fence (all in her wedding dress), Allison emerged in the field of her dreams, ready to wed her new husband for the second time…
For a moment, it was just the two of them under the late September sun, and then everyone gathered around to begin the ceremony that would cement their marriage…
Next post: The handfasting, portraits on the cliff, and reception!