The Offbeat Bride: Caitlin, Costume designer, dress maker, and artist
Her offbeat partner: Mark, Theater sound technician
Date and location of wedding: Wellspring Spa, in the forest of Mt. Rainier, Ashford, WA — August 18, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We wanted our guests to feel like they had left the mortal world behind and stepped into a secret place shrouded in magic and mystery. Fortunately, Wellspring Spa has that effect all on its own, but I tried to cover everything in fairy crap just for good measure.
This was also an extremely DIYed wedding with a team of artists, theater designers, and technicians. I made my own dress and decorations, while Mark handled all of our technical needs, and all of our friends helped to make it a reality. Other than that, it was all about the nature. In the shadow of Mt. Rainier, we were perfectly enclosed in the natural enchantment of the forest.
Tell us about the ceremony:
There wasn't a clear road map for what kind of ceremony we should have, but one thing we both share is a strong connection to nature, and it became a very important part of the ceremony. We also agreed that we wanted to be more active than passive, engaging in rituals instead of just listening to passages for 30 minutes.
We came up with a four-part ritual representing the four elements. We shared water from a goblet, lit a candle together, built a cairn for the earth, and burned sage together to release into the air. After sharing vows and exchanging rings we finished with a handfasting.
We were extremely lucky to have found such a magical and spiritual place to join together. My Buddhist mother was able to ring their very large gong to call our guests to the wedding sanctuary, while Mark, one groomsman, and one bridesmaid played a song that Mark had written as a special welcome to our guests.
Originally I was going to give my fairy bridesmaids spears, since their purpose is to protect me from evil spirits, but I ended up settling on beautiful staffs that I made for them. Mark's adventurer groomsmen were all given horns, which they used to trumpet us back up the aisle after the ceremony, accompanied by the bells of fairy wands.
Tell us about your reception:
Our reception took place beside Wellspring's gazebo. Many guests had expressed their excitement about “dressing like a fairy and getting drunk in the woods,” so there was a great deal of expectation to live up to. We strung lights and ribbons all around and decorated the tables with logs, moss, bottles, and candles. Guests sat in the grass and passed around the Polaroid, were fed a hearty feast, and danced around ringing their wands.
After dinner and some delicious cupcakes, Mark surprised me by pulling out the guitar again and singing a song he had prepared for me. Then, my fairy court and I sat in the grass and listened as my father and his band played into the night. Many of our guests were also musicians, and eventually our reception turned into a giant jam session.
What was your most important lesson learned?
One of the most important things that we both learned was to eventually just let go, and trust that we were in a beautiful, magical place, and that not much else would matter. Really, we didn't have to decorate at all, and it still would have been a dream fantasy wedding.
I have a somewhat obsessive tendency to do everything myself, and making my own dress was a very important part of that, but it was also a pleasure seeking out other artists to help complete the outfit. I met an amazing jewelry maker and boot maker, and they made all the difference! In addition to that, I used my grandmother's wedding dress to make a petticoat for my dress.
My one wedding hack I would like to share is I didn't buy any ribbons for my streamers or wands. Instead, I bought bed sheets from the thrift store and ripped them up into strips. This saved us a lot of money!
* Photographer: Samantha Bishop-Schultz, Samantha B Studio
* Videographer: Nicholas Martin
* Venue: Wellspring Spa
* Dress: Caitlin Krida Cooke
* Boots: Victorian Boots Boutique
* Jewelry: Alice Macdonald
* Catering: Elton Hoard
* Cupcakes: Yellow Leaf Cupcakes
* Lights: Hollywood Lights
* Horns: Warhorse
* Makeup: Michelle Mai Smith
* Hair: Keegan Wreden, H'Artful K