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Real Weddings: Wild Hearts and Wanderlust

Sep 11, 2014

by Erica Techaratanaprasert

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Erica Techaratanaprasert is a writer and digital marketer living in New York. When she’s not exploring new places with her husband, Sutee, she’s usually reading blogs or feeding her Pinterest addiction.

Sutee and I love a good adventure. During the seven years we’ve been together, some of our best times have been on trips that have taken us within inches of Grizzly bears, hiking alongside mountain goats, sleeping in tree houses, and camping on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Fittingly, Sutee proposed while we were on an eight-hour kayaking excursion to the Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound. In that moment, we knew our wedding would be inspired by the outdoors.

The most important aspect of the wedding for us was the venue. We wanted to be married in a place that was convenient for our relatives and friends in New York, but remote enough for the nature-inspired wedding we had in mind. It was pouring rain when we first visited the Inn at West Settlement, but even in bad weather the barn overlooking the pond seemed magical. The Inn was everything we wanted in a venue – simple, surrounded by a beautiful landscape, and a blank canvas for our own personal touches.

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From the start, we knew we wanted the wedding to completely reflect us as a couple, which meant personalizing even the smallest details. From the escort cards to the favors to the table décor, we hoped each aspect of the day would tell our guests a part of our story. We relied on Etsy for so many elements of the wedding because we were looking for items that were both unique and customizable.

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We worked with Jennifer of Paper Sushi to create a stamp that said “Where we love is home,” with an illustration of a camping tent. We stamped the image on small wood slices from Church House Woodworks to place at each table setting. Instead of table numbers, we asked Niki of Paper Tangent to hand paint the names of some of our favorite destinations on wooden signs. We decorated the tables with woodland animal place cards from Bluefin Works and wildflower-filled mason jars decorated with paper leaves from J Doore Creations.

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When our wedding day finally came, we gathered with friends and family for an outdoor ceremony against a breathtaking backdrop of autumn foliage. Sutee and his groomsmen wore wooden cufflinks from Cabin with their grey suits. My maid of honor and Sutee’s best man carried our wedding bands down the aisle in a wooden kayak, and my nephew (wearing a bow tie from Clip a Bow Tie) toted a sign that said “Here Comes the Bride” from Reasons2Remember. After the ceremony, our guests played lawn games, made their own trail mix, and took photos in the photo booth with masks from Mahalo.

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At the reception, we asked everyone to sign a large map we got from I Screen You Screen in lieu of a guestbook, and we set out compasses to serve as escort cards. A banner from Splendid Events decorated the barn; having our closest friends and family together there during the cool fall evening was amazing. Once everyone had their fill of a rustic, family-style meal, we let sparklers guide our way down to the pond and released wish lanterns into the clear night sky.

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Looking back, planning a DIY wedding reminded me a lot of kayaking with Sutee on the day we got engaged – it required partnership, coordination, and a shared goal. I can’t help but draw parallels with that trip and our future lives together as well – just as we worked as a team to maneuver our way through the icy waters surrounded by such natural beauty, we now navigate life together in pursuit of all the wonder and joy it has to offer.

All photographs by Forged in the North.

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1 Featured Comment

  • intertwingle

    Karin Marlett Choi from intertwingle said 3 years ago Featured

    Nice story, beautiful wedding and lovely pictures. My husband and I stated our relationship on a canoe trip. We always say that everyone who plans on getting married should go canoeing together for the very same reason you listed, "it require partnership, coordination, and a shared goal" we add communication and trust. It's a good bellwether for the future relationship dynamic.

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