Elegant Pacific Northwest Navy Wedding

June 12, 2018

Courtney Bowlden Photography shares with us this elegantly dreamy Intimate Navy Wedding! 


(Take notes, there are nuggests of inspiration below!)


Devon & Colin share their story...


Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day? 


A: We wanted to have a traditional Navy wedding, so the basis of our color palette was navy blue, white and gold. We also wanted to play into the Pacific Northwest vibe, so the color palette was expanded to include "stormy colors" like different tones of blues and grays. The pops of color came in our floral arrangements, with soft green tones, white and soft pink.Our ceremony was a christian ceremony officiated by a close family friend and retired Navy Captain. The ceremony incorporated several Navy traditions, including the Navy Wife Poem ("Creating the Navy Wife") and the Arch of Sabers. Active duty guests wore their uniforms, setting a formal dress code for the event. Our first kiss was celebrated by guests throwing paper airplanes, which was a fun touch since Colin (the groom) is a fighter pilot in the Navy. These paper airplanes were carried on to the reception area, where we used paper planes as place setting cards for each guest. 









Q: Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY? 


A: Roche Harbor is an incredibly beautiful venue, so we did not need to go over the top to decorate for the ceremony. We had our ceremony down in the sunken garden, where everything was blooming and beautiful, so we chose not to add many flower arrangements. Just before guests entered the ceremony garden they were greeted with a DIY chalkboard program that was made by the bride, white lanterns, and a small table with a box of paper airplanes for them to take with them to the ceremony. We had simple white flower petals leading down the aisle to an arch at the end, which was beautifully decorated with greenery and flowers by Bloom San Juan.For our reception, we started with a cocktail hour in the courtyard. We kept it simple with string lights overhead, the oversize stone fire place burning, and high top tables for guests to gather around. We had empty vases waiting on the high top tables, and after the ceremony the bridesmaids all put their flowers into the vases - this was a smart way to decorate the tables and save some money on flowers by re-purposing them. Also in our cocktail courtyard we had our welcome table set up, which had a basket for cards and gifts, some photos of our engagement photos, and our "guest book" which was a large wood piece with a rope knot mounted to it, that had our name "CAINES" and the wedding date. Guests signed the wood with gold sharpie.The reception was a dream! We used long tables in the pavilion that were set with navy blue linens and white napkins "waterfalling" off the edge. Each place setting was set with a gold charger that had a white paper airplane with the guests name hand written on it. Along the center of the tables we had a garland of greenery with white flowers tucked in and small gold and silver votives. Overhead we had string light Edison bulbs that varied in height and bulb variety. We had a separate sweetheart table for the bride and groom that featured a gold table linen and similar greenery. We set a "Mr & Mrs" lighted sign in front of our table, and set it with gold chargers and our "Mr & Mrs" champagne glasses. We also had a burlap banner behind our table that read "Just Married".I also have to mention our cake table. We served two different types of cupcakes for our guests and had a small round cake for our cutting cake. We created cake stands out of pieces of birch and cottonwood logs, and cut them to varying heights. The cupcakes sat on top of and around the log stands. The tallest log stand was reserved for our cutting cake. We used greenery and string lights around the log stands, which was stunningly beautiful. The cupcake papers were two different tones of gray, and our cutting cake was a beautiful stormy blue color designed to match the tone of the bridesmaid dresses. It was covered from the bottom edge with gold sprinkles and topped with a simple gold "Mr & Mrs" cake topper.DIY Items:- Birch and cottonwood cake stands-Chalkboard wedding program-Guest book-Paper planes for tossing at ceremony-Paper plane place cards with hand written names 




















Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding? 


A: The flowers in our wedding were AMAZING. Bloom San Juan more than exceeded my expectations by creating beautiful full arrangements that featured various in season blooms and greenery. I was not picky about what flowers were used, as long as they were full and rich looking. In the end Leah used a mix of dahlias, garden roses, peonies, dusty miller, and eucalyptus.The use of flowers inside for our dinner and reception in the pavillion were important because we wanted to keep the garden vibe from the ceremony going inside the pavillion. Bloom San Juan created greenery garlands that ran down the center of the long tables, bringing a lush feel to the table scapes. The greenery was enhanced by tucking in white flowers of different varieties down the table. Additionally, large living blueberry bushes and greens were brought inside and used around the indoor stone fireplace. This really brought the garden theme indoors. 


Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding? 


A: Some personal touches were the handmade items we used for decor - we received lots of complements on the guest book we made,and on the chalkboard program. The guest book was also a highlight for us because it was made like a piece of decor, so now we have it hanging in our home today as a memory of our wedding.We also hosted two signature cocktails during cocktail hour that represented the bride and groom. The grooms cocktail was an Old Fashioned (his favorite!) and the brides cocktail was called The Lush which featured champagne and flavored liqueur.The music during the ceremony and cocktail hour was entirely selected by the bride. For our first dance we had our friend Justin play acoustic guitar and sing "The Way I am" by Ingrid Michaelson, which is a very personal song to us. It was so special to have it performed live for our first dance by a good friend of ours.The cupcakes and cake were from Pure Bliss Desserts in Bellingham, which is where we went on our first date. 







Q: Let's talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail. 


A: I have a simple and classic style, and wanted that reflected in my wedding day look. I chose a dress that I felt was romantic yet had simple features. The sheer high neckline of my dress made me feel feminine and classy, and the low back with the beautiful lace detail stole the show. The dress had a sliver belt that featured crystals in the shape of leaves or flower petals, so I chose earrings that had crystals with similar shapes. I also found a broach for my hair that matched the earrings, which I put in after the ceremony and my veil was removed.Overall my Lazzaro ballgown was perfect for the formality of our wedding, and had romantic features that complimented the style of our day.For my hair I wanted a style that was simple and elegant, but offered a little drama. My large high bun complemented my dress perfectly and really let me shine. 


Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal. 


A: Colin and I actually met through a dating app called Bumble in November 2015.We had both only had the app for a short time, but matched quickly and started chatting. Within 3 days of matching we met for our first date at Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham WA. After dinner we went to Pure Bliss Desserts for a cupcake (which we ended up using for the cupcakes at our wedding).Colin proposed at Roche Harbor on June 10, 2016 at the end of the main dock in the harbor. We booked Roche Harbor as our wedding venue the next day! 


Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day? 


A: The most anticipated and special moment was the first look. The first time seeing each other on our wedding day was full of so many emotions and so much excitement! Colin waited for me at out on the dock in the harbor (the same dock where he proposed!) facing toward the water overlooking the beautiful San Juan Islands. I remember seeing him waiting for me, so handsome in his choker whites, and my heart skipping a beat. The first moment he turned around to see me as his bride was one of the most special parts of our wedding day. We are both glad that we did a first look so that we could share that moment more privately with each other. It also allowed us to feel more relaxed going into the ceremony. 





Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day? 


A: Wedding Planning advice:- Use a "day of" coordinator!!! Having someone designated to handle all of the little things on your wedding day is such a relief, just do it, you won't regret it!- I highly recommend doing a first look on your wedding day. It give you two a chance to have that emotional moment in a more intimate setting and get some jitters out of your system. Not to mention, it allows you to do all of your photos before the ceremony, so once the ceremony is over you can go straight into party mode!- Try to find ways to re-purpose things from your wedding, for example we used the bridesmaid's bouquets as center pieces during our cocktail hour. This can help save money! - Look into renting decor items. We rented various things for our reception decor, and found this to be a cost savings. Also, decor rental companies will sometimes buy decor items you may have after your wedding is over, so look into selling decor items if you have no need for them after your wedding day.












Photographer: Courtney Bowlden Photography

Shoes: Simply Vera Wang

Etsy Designer: Etsy

Bridesmaid Dresses: AZAZIE

Dress Store: Marcellas La Boutique

Cake Designer: Pure Bliss Desserts

Cinema & Video: Boris Studio

Floral Designer: Bloom San Juan

DJ: Magnolia Rhapsody

Event Planner: San Juan Shindigs

Event Venue: Roche Harbor Resort





Happy Wedding Planning!




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