Chic Weddings/Real Weddings

White Tie Winery Wedding with Incredible Decor

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Oh I adore the idea of a white tie wedding, don’t you?

It’s so rare that you get to dress up for a fancy event, so it’s fun to indulge with something really elegant – especially when it’s a wedding as gorgeous, yet unpretentious as this one!

Rebecca & Joshua are a couple who, after a long distance relationship, now live in England, and travelled to Rebecca’s home in Seattle, Washington to tie the knot. Combining all the grandeur of their Oxford background, with an intimate ceremony, and incredible marquee decor, their wedding will give you so many ideas for your own big day.

What I love more about this real wedding is that not only is it white tie for a reason (the bride and groom met, fell in love and got engaged over a series of formal balls), but rather than being in a stately ballroom setting, Rebecca & Joshua created a cosy, personalised feel, with their choice of an elegant, yet rustic winery and the outdoorsy vibe of the Pacific Northwest.

With beautiful film photography by Shelly Goodman Photography, stunningly executed planning by Alissa Lawton of Gather Events, and breathtaking florals Bash and Bloom – prepare to swoon hard for this decor dream of a wedding, and the sweet couple behind it… 

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Our Love Story

We met as students at the University of Oxford – but instead of studying, we mostly spent our time rowing crew for our competitive college team.

Outside of the boat, Rebecca and Josh suddenly fell head over heels for each other by attending an elegant black-tie dinner to celebrate the end of the racing season.

Rebecca moved back to the United States (where she is from), and Josh would stay behind in England (where he is from). For three years, we flew to visit each other multiple times per year – shuttling between Oxfordshire, UK and Washington, DC.

In 2014, Josh invited Rebecca to attend his undergraduate Oxford College’s 750th anniversary Ball (Merton College) – an extremely special white tie affair. They both got ridiculously dressed up for the event, there was much laughing and dancing, and just after midnight Josh pulled Rebecca out and wisked her away into Merton’s vast gardens. One of Rebecca’s favorite places is ‘the stone stable’ where author CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were said to be inspired for their books. 

Josh had picked out a bench right nearby, and there – with the sounds of the ball in the faint background – he pulled out a custom designed ring from Dejan Studio. Rebecca of course said YES! 

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The Inspiration

We held our wedding in Seattle, Washington, as Rebecca grew up in Washington State and its where her family still lives. Rebecca loves the mountains and woodlands that are just outside of Seattle and the natural beauty of the area, so picking JM Cellars, a local winery, was the perfect location for their special day.

It was also incredibly important to both Rebecca and Josh to have a wedding that was beautiful and elegant, much like the balls and formal events they had previously attended in Oxford (hence, the white tie attire for the wedding party) – and the winery, tucked away on a hill in the pine forests, was the perfect backdrop for their event.

The wedding ceremony itself was incredibly moving and special, as Rebecca’s sister was able to officiate the event. It was a true family affair, as a special guest appearance was also made by Rebecca’s family dog, Scooter  – who was the ‘ring bearer’ and came down the aisle with Rebecca’s Maid of Honor.

Because we’re both a bit quirky (but still wanted the event to be on the elegant side), Rebecca’s favorite moment was walking down the aisle to the classical version of the Jurassic Park theme song. We still don’t think our parents have caught on to this ‘inside joke.’  

Rebecca’s other favorite moment was including her dog, Scooter in the photographs and in the wedding. He was the fluffiest, cutest ring bearer and acted like a resolute professional the while time.

Josh’s favorite element of the wedding was that he and his groomsmen got to dress up in evening formal wear, including getting to break out his top hat!

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The Photography

We were so lucky, as we won a destination photography contest through Shelly Goodman Photography, in which we received most of our photography package for free.

Shelly is a fine art photographer, who shoots mostly in film (instead of just digital). Shelly’s vision fit so well with the mood of our wedding. She focusses on creating timeless, natural, elegant photographs. The organic feel to her photography spoke so much to us as a couple, as we wanted to capture the timeless beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the lush foliage, and our special day.  

The biggest tip we could give to other couples is to find a photographer who you connect with, your visions line up, and who seamlessly fits into your day. Shelly was the least obtrusive photographer. Her and her assistant (her husband) basically melded into the background.

Another important tip is to trust your photographer. She grabbed us for a couple shots when the lighting was just perfect at sunset. Don’t be afraid to allow your photographer to grab you for those ‘perfect’ shots that you’ll treasure for years.

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The Reception

One of our most favorite elements was the ability to hold their dinner/reception outside under a clear tent (decorated with lush floral arrangements and vines hanging from the chandeliers) – and being able to feel nature around them and for our guests to experience the pure Northwest atmosphere.

Tables were each named after the many locations in our long-distance relationship.

And since we’re both ‘foodies’ we wanted to make sure that the food was extra special as well – celebrating the freshest produce, fruit, and seafood from Washington state. Lisa Dupar Catering went above and beyond creating a special menn, and the desserts were to die for!

Another highlight of the evening was of course the cake (which the groom picked!). The groom picked out a blue velvet cake by Delicately Sweet Confections, with handpainted gold on the top layer, to match the color scheme of the wedding, which was then topped with delicate flowers.

The evening dancing was held inside the winery, with guests able also enjoy the use the outside gardens with fire pits roaring and candles lit throughout the venue, giving it a very magical feeling.

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Advice for Other Couples

Our biggest tip to couples planning their wedding, would be to get a wedding planner you trust. We interviewed a number of wedding planners, and it was imperative to select one that we felt 100% comfortable with and who understood our vision and could execute it flawlessly.

Wedding planners are not a cheap expense as part of paying for a wedding, but given the stress of planning a wedding abroad, our planner, Alissa Lawton of Gather Events, was worth every penny (and more). She knew the local vendors, could anticipate or fix any problems for us, and delivered the most stunning (and least stressful) day-of.

Our wedding planner truly created an amazing, colorful, and exquisite setting / event.

A second piece of advice is to trust close family members to officiate (we often heard advice to NOT do this, as they were not ‘professionals’). However, given that Rebecca’s sister knew us so well, she was able to craft the most intimate and special ceremony that spoke to the our past, present and future and the long road it took us to get to one country and down the aisle.

We truly don’t think that anyone else would have been able celebrate with us and marry us in such a special way.

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