I was so excited to hear that Kim and Molly from Junebug Weddings had chosen to feature Allison & Ryan’s Oregon Coast wedding in their Real Weddings section today. I love the Junebug ladies and what they are doing for wedding professionals with their business, so it’s a real honor to be mentioned on their site. Junebug is a great source for fabulous inspiration, both in their Real Weddings features and on their “What Junebug Loves” blog. Head over there to check it out!
Category Archives: Weddings
Today I’m revisiting Allison & Ryan’s amazing equinox wedding on the Oregon coast. Allison (Mrs. Bear Cub) is finally starting the long-awaited recaps of her day with gorgeous images from photographers Susanica Tam and Jonathan Moore (and me as a “special guest” photog) over on Weddingbee. I was inspired by Jonathan’s beautiful slideshow to put together this compilation of my favorite photographs.
It was such an amazing wedding… warm, late-summer sunlight, new friends, and good food. Thanks for letting me be a part of it! I feel privileged to call you my new West-coast friends. (It’s technically true, even though you live in Chile right now.)
Enjoy the show!
[I’m going to be making these slideshows for all my 2010 couples as a post-wedding teaser! ]
For a few minutes before their handfasting ceremony, Allison and Ryan stood alone to take in the view from the high meadow, the seaside cliff perfectly like the one on which Allison had always dreamed of being married.
Those of us who had made the steep, mile-long hike with them from Camp Westwind stood apart and watched as the looked out over the Pacific. It seemed that they felt momentarily that there was no one else in the world but the two of them.
Allison was radiant… the most beautiful bride in exactly the place she wanted to be.
Looking out over the coast, we were all struck by the beauty and significance of this wild location at the edge of the continent.
Then, Allison and Ryan invited their guests to gather round as they began the ceremony that would seal them in marriage.
A handfasting is a traditional ceremony, a marriage by one’s peers. Allison and Ryan wrote special vows for their handfasting, which they first read to each other. They then chose to have their two best friends bind their hands in the ways of old, binding them together to cement their vows. This tradition is the origin of the phrase “to tie the knot!”
Allison later told me that their handfasting was the most sentimental moment of the day. Her dearest friends were confirming their marriage, the September sun was setting over the ocean, and she was filled with love and happiness that Ryan had helped make her dream come true.
After the ceremony, there was still one more thing to do before the sun set and they made the trek back to Westwind for dinner and dancing.
Our beyond the High Meadow, at the true edge of the ocean was a high bluff that the couple had originally pictured as the location for their handfasting. A good half mile from High Meadow with a steep path along a knife’s edge, the location was truly beautiful but ultimately a hike they couldn’t ask their friends to make.
While the rest of the group either waited in High Meadow or began the walk home, a handful of us walked the trail to the bluff to watch the sun set into the ocean.
As twilight descended on the hill, we knew we’d have to hurry back to camp before it became completely dark. But the party was far from over. Waiting at the camp lodge were friends, music, and a homemade feast. The room, which had earlier been decorated by guests was filled with laughter and light.
After dinner, as the bluegrass band began to play, Allison and Ryan shared their first dance to “When You Come Back Down” by Nickel Creek. Ryan played this song for Allison when they were first falling in love and it has always reminded him of her.
Allison and Ryan also performed a “first song” together, backed up by their band: “By Way of Sorrow” by Cry Cry Cry. They practiced harmonies for months before the wedding, and Allison learned a flute solo to accompany the song. Even though the song was bittersweet, it was also beautiful and significant.
At the end of the song, we were all touched by what Allison and Ryan had shared with us that day. It was a wedding like none other I’d ever been to, and probably like none other I’ll ever see. Glad and grateful, we gave thank for our new friends danced long into the night.
Wedding photographers: Persimmon Images, Susanica Tam, Jonathan Moore
Venue: Camp Westwind
Flowers: Kruger Farm and Sammy’s Flowers, arranged by bride and guests
Invitations: Twin Ravens Press with maps by Crystal Kluge
Live music: Terracoustic
Bridal Attire: Miranda by Monique L’huillier
Rings: Andrew Nyce
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!