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FROM THE BRIDE:

Did you do a First Look before the ceremony? We did have a first look and we are REALLY happy we did! We’ve been to wedding before where after the ceremony, you have to sit and wait for a long time to see the bride and groom and we didn’t want people to have to do that, nor did we want our family/friends who were in the wedding party to miss an hour of our wedding night for photos! We wanted everyone to all be there celebrating right after we said “I do”. It was really amazing to have a few minutes before we saw anyone else to really just focus on each other, for me to show him my dress, which I was really excited about and to just connect and really understand how monumental what we were about to do was. We’re both really glad we did it! We got married and immediately got to celebrate!

Why did you pick that location for your ceremony? Well first we wanted to have the ceremony and reception in the same place so guests didn’t have to navigate to two locations. We chose my parents’ backyard because not only is it special to us but my mom has created an amazing garden there and it perfectly fit the low-key but romantic vibe we were looking for. We wanted to be able to have guests in bare feet if they wanted but really be able to do what we wanted with the decor without having it be too much. The backyard venue really let us do that. Also my parents have this incredible gazebo in the back that is totally covered in wisteria and other vines that perfectly fit with what we wanted for an earthy, romantic wedding.

Favorite ceremony memory? Just like everyone says, it was amazing to see Gray waiting for me as I walked down the aisle. He looked so cute and nervous! I just couldn’t believe we were actually at our own wedding! My second favorite memory has to be my little nieces walking down the aisle in front of me. They just looked amazing!

Describe your wedding flowers: Our wedding planner, Jen Bennett, did a fantastic job with our flowers! We wanted very organic and kind of overgrown flowers, nothing too arranged. We opted to have some large arrangements but also a lot of smaller vases on the tables along with big overflowing bowls of flowers. Our color palette was very muted because we wanted the whole event to feel subtle, romantic and earthy without any strong accent colors. We really wanted my mom’s garden to seem like it had kind of just bloomed in the tent. We wanted to make it all feel really natural but kind of “secret garden”-ish. Because it was July, we couldn’t really use peonies, which would have given us the feel we were looking for. But since we also wanted to use more local flowers, we used garden roses, which turned out beautifully and were soft enough in color. We also filled in with hydrangeas and a few other things. For the messy natural looks we wanted lots of sprigs and sprays, which we did with pieris japonica (my personal favorite!) and eucalyptus leaves.

Location: We loved the idea of being in the mountains and also having such a comfortable, low-key environment where I could get ready in my own room and get married in a place that is special to Gray and I. We chose this location for our reception because of the incredible garden and because we loved the idea of having a close intimate wedding at my own parents’ house! We chose Utah because my family is pretty big and Gray’s is fairly small, so it was less travel for more people. We wanted a location that could comfortable accommodate 150 guests and also accommodate a ceremony and reception, one right after the other. My parents’ yard is pretty big with an enclosed vegetable garden, pool, and some large, separated areas of lawn where we could set up a tent, have bar areas, dancing, etc. We laid out the reception so that after the ceremony, the chairs were moved into the tent while guests were at the bar by the vegetable garden and pool. Later, after dinner in the tent, guests could sit out by the bar area on the lawn and easily hear the band up on the patio or move closer and dance on the dance floor. We are so happy we decided to use my parents’ yard! One of my favorite parts of the whole reception though was the barn wood wall at the back of the tent that Jen built.

Jen did an incredible job with this wedding. I had worked as a kind of intern for her for a while and so I knew I wanted her to help plan my wedding. I had very strong ideas of what I wanted and she really listened and made it happen…and made them better! It was so much fun to work with her. My favorite things that Jen did, besides the beautiful flowers, were the barn wood wall at the back of the tent and the gold leaf on the wood.

Describe your wedding cake: We wanted a cake that tasted really good! I worked at a wedding event venue one summer that Maha usually made cakes for, so I’d tasted all her flavors and they are really fantastic! We fell in love with this specific cake that looked like it was gathered fabric caught with broaches.

Caterering: Apples with Utah “Barely Buzzed” Beehive Cheese, Bacon Wrapped Dates, Coconut Shrimp, Eggplant Ribbon Skewers with Tomato and Ricotta, Asian Beef Skewers. Reception Menu: Miso-Glazed Salmon, Forbidden Black Rice Salad, Pork Loin, Grilled Summer Vegetables Favorite part of the menu: The plated trio–Skewer Caprese Salad, Golden and Red Beets, and Watermelon with feta, mint and pomegranate molasses…YUM.

Our signature cocktails were also really fun for us. About half our guests drank and the other half didn’t, so we came up with two cocktails that we thought tasted really good virgin or not: Sorrel Lime Cooler with Gin and Rhubarb Rosemary with Vodka.

Favorite reception memory: My favorite memory was dancing with all of our friends and family. My little nieces were dancing with our friends and it was so fun to see all of our favorite people together, having fun.

First Dance Song: “Love on Top” by Beyonce

Why a Mountain Wedding? I’m from Utah! And I love the mountains! It’s the main thing I missed when we moved to Seattle, and the main thing I’m missing now that I’m in New York!

What was the weather like on your wedding day? It was HOT. Beautiful but pretty sweltering.

How did you and your spouse meet? Gray was studying in London and my college roommate was studying at Cambridge. I went to visit her and we both went to visit him in London, as they went to high school together and we stayed on his floor. We hit it off and …sadly for my friend…we spent pretty much every minute together!

Special moments: Well I definitely cried during my vows! I hated the bugs that found their way up inside my dress after trudging through the brush in front of my parents’ house. I laughed pretty hard watching my little nieces teach our friends some dance moves. And I giggled during our first dance….a lot, and pretty much all out of embarrassment! I hate being in the spotlight like that! What you would have done differently, if anything: Nope! I’m so happy with how everything turned out! Any advice you have for future brides? I think the most important thing is to hire good vendors and let them do what they are good at! That way, you don’t have to worry about the details on your wedding day so you can relax and enjoy your own party! Where did you find your inspiration? All over! I worked on weddings in the past and am in the design industry so I’m pretty constantly inundated with inspiration! I obviously had a ton of fun looking at all sorts of ideas on pinterest and who doesn’t love Martha Stewart Weddings and the Knot?? Your favorite moment of the day.

My favorite part of the day was the first look. It was so nice to have a second alone by ourselves before we saw everyone. It made the whole day feel much more special and like it was just between us. My other favorite moment was when the music started playing after dinner and people started dancing. It was fun to have it turn into a party! Three things you’re glad you did. We had a great time and everything turned out beautifully!

What was the best piece of wedding advice you got? To relax and focus on each other and to really try to make the wedding feel like us.

VENDOR LOVE: Photographer: Pepper Nix Photography //Caterer: Culinary Crafts // Band: Joe Muscolino Band // Cinema and Video: Kale Fitch Films // Floral Designer: Solamente Celebrations //Dress Designer: Claire Pettibone

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!