5 Essentials to a Rustic Wedding in the Pacific Northwest

Venue:  Kelley Farm

Guest post by: Darya Kuksenko of AKP Bridal

Your man gets down on one knee and pops the question somewhere at a viewpoint you hiked to. The ring is everything you’ve dreamed off and you finally get to use that ‘wedding’ board that you’ve started on Pinterest back when you were in high school.  You are beyond excited and itching to get started planning your big day. You know one thing for sure— you want a rustic wedding. Living in the mountainous Pacific Northwest, you really want to highlight the beauty of where you’re from. Something homey and family oriented, with nature as your backdrop and a relaxed atmosphere. People wearing comfortable shoes, laughing and having a good time celebrating your love story. You have a clear vision but you don’t know where to start to make it a reality. Just the thought of planning the most important day of your life overwhelms you. 

       Let me tell you that you are not alone. Most brides feel anxious at the beginning of their wedding planning process. We’re here to give you a place to start. A tangible beginning to get your ideas rolling, and hopefully, aide in your process of planning your dream wedding in the gorgeous evergreen home of ours.

        I would like to give you five essentials that gives a wedding that rustic feel that you might be dreaming of.

Five ways to accent the beauty around 

  1. Cozy Venue

      Whether your wedding is in the hottest part of the summer or in the dead of winter, your venue stages the mood. Choosing something with a wooden interior, will engulf your guests into a feeling of comfort and home. A log wood cabin. Or homestead on a farm. A large barn that can be decked out in string lights and filled with music. Chose a place that is ‘close to the earth’. A place that has trees and open space and maybe even some animals. A venue where people will feel a connection to nature. This sets the scene for you to celebrate your love in a relaxed, family oriented atmosphere.

2. The Right Playlist

         Whether or not you hire a DJ or a band, or simply create a playlist, the music you choose will layer on that rustic feel on your special day. When guests arrive to the party and hear the southern brawl of Kenneth Chesney of the smooth and easy voice of Nora Jones, they will instantly feel the comfort and energy of a rustic wedding. Be strategic about your music choices. Think about the mood each song brings to the celebration.

Venue:  Zephry Lodge

3. Lighting

        One of the most signature elements of a rustic wedding is string lights. Hung from the ceiling, from the trees, back and forth on the patio, or where ever there is open space. String lights create a glow that reflects off the glasses and candles and creates a warmth and homey feeling to the party that is hard to create with anything else. So hang those lights everywhere. They are your biggest coziness factor. You can’t go wrong with something that has such big effect, for such little money.

Venue:  Zephyr Lodge

4. Wooden Decor

      Invest into wooden customized wedding signs that say “Welcome” and “Reception This Way” and other personalized messages. Wooden table numbers and “Mrs and Mr” engraved pieces. Wood personalized with beautiful calligraphy, stylishly placed all around your venue adds beautifully to the rustic feel. Wooden chairs and wooden cake stands highlight the earthy tones and gives a personal touch that looks very aesthetically pleasing and pairs perfectly with the rustic style. 

5. Food

        With food, there are so many ways you could go. A barbecue or an elegant roast beef dinner. Whatever menu you chose, it ought to be one that is hearty and filling. Comforting and hot. It should make the guests feel like they’ve come home on a Sunday evening to mom’s house. Make a buffet style meal and heap is with steaming goodness. There’s nothing that makes one feel happier and ready to dance than a full stomach of the most delicious comfort foods mom used to cook. Be intentional with flavors. 

Aim for these five big features, and you’ll have a real start on planning your dream rustic wedding. The rest are details that add fun and depth to the overall mood of your special day.

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Aria Sky Suites & Retreat at Charleston Peak Wedding | Brittany & David's Las Vegas Elopement

There are a lot of wedding venues in Las Vegas and this was my FIRST TIME experiencing the Las Vegas strip and Mount Charleston! But when it comes to Brittany & David’s 

Aria Skye Suites & Retreat on Charleston Peak Wedding

This is a wedding weekend I’ll never forget. Britt and David personally picked me up from the airport and welcomed me like family. <3 I spent the rest of the afternoon with them lounging in their Aria Resort sky suite that had an UNREAL view of the mountains and the strip. These two included me in all their festivities, even gifting me one of the ‘bride tribe’ hats that the bridal party was rocking. At one point brittany turned to me and said, “I just love you, you’re like that best friend that is so easy to hang out and you don’t have to impress.” The feeling is mutual my dear! The whole weekend felt like this. It was humbling to feel so loved.

I started my morning at the Vdara hotel and strolled across the plaza to the Aria where Brittany was getting ready in their infamous sky suites. On my way, I passed David, their son Ian. Ian was adorably babbling on about his Ninetendo DS and David looked on adoringly. They had just come from the pool and were going to get dressed in matching grey suits & burgundy bow ties.

Walking through the Aria lobby was a feast for the eyes and my camera! It’s full of every kind of art you’d ever want to see in a high end Vegas hotel along the strip. Brittany said she watched 23 hours worth of videos on hotels along the vegas strip and chose the Aria Resort & Spa because it’s known for it’s world class art & sculptures. (Britt & I share the same ocd planning gene. hah!) We ended up doing quite a few portraits of Brittany, Ian and her adoring parents throughout the Promenade in the Aria Hotel.

After hair & makeup was completed by Elwynn & Cass in the skye suite, Brittany doned her blue sole Betsey Johnson heals, a veill and not much else for some romantic boudoir photos near the tinted windows overlooking the vegas strip. “Omg. she’s so gorgeous! She looks like barbie!” I overheard a bridesmaid say. Once we zipper her into her lace wedding gown, David’s mama fastened her vintage pearls onto Britt and the brides mama read a special wedding day prayer. I may have cried. Jus sayin.

Once we were ready for depart for the ceremony & reception at

The Retreat on Charleston Peak Wedding 

a party bus rolled up to transport David and the bridal part to the top of Mount Charleston. After rounding up some straggling groomsmen, the party bus finally arrived at the venue, 1.5 hrs late. My heart broke for this couple. They had planned so well and were on an already tight timeline. The silver lining of the delay is that the ceremony site was now perfectly lit with golden sunset lighting. SWOON. We had driven through the dessert and they married in a ponderosa pine forest  What a VIEW from the deck overlooking Mount Charleston!! The couples little boy, Ian, escorted the moms down the aisle followed by the bridal party. These two opted to forgo a first look and see each for the first time as Brittany walked down the aisle surrounded by golden lit mountains. The moment was MAGIC. The ceremony officiant, Peachy Keen Unions, created one of the most charming, thoughtful and well spoken ceremonies I’ve ever photographed.

As they were walking back up the aisle as Husband & Wife, Ian sprinted to David’s side, grabbed his hand and the three of them finished the recessional as a beautifully blended family. If there were any dry eyes after this moment, I didn’t see them. <3

Their planner, Las Vegas Elopements, set up the most beautifully decorated cake table and we all toasted the happy couple with champagne as they cut their cake. They did their first dances overlooking the mountains as their friends & family watched emotionally. At this point, we were still about 1.5 hrs behind schedule due to the late departure and the light was fading FAST. We still had to do bridal party photos, ALL the family photos and the couples portraits. Thankfully, I am well oiled portrait machine and was able to churn through ALL the photos they requested in HALF the time. I took charge with my ‘mom’ voice and together we created photos they can cherish for a lifetime. After a brief dinner & toasts in the Aspen room at the Retreat at Charleston Peak , we hopped on the party bus and it got CRAY. At Brittany’s request, we cranked up the song “this and that.” It was the perfect end to their Vegas elopement.

A little story from the bride:

On their first date, 10 minutes in, David said:

“I’m going to marry you.”

To which she thought, no, I don’t know you, pull this car over. 

6 yrs later and they tied the knot. 

Have a look through Brittany & David’s beautiful wedding photos from their Aria Skye Suites & Retreat at Charleston Peak Wedding in Las Vegas, Nevada!

Can’t get enough of these two?

View their engagement photos!

Pam & Duane's Backyard Ranch Wedding in Snohomish


Planning & Design: LCM Weddings & Events | DJ: Groove Entertainment | Hair & Makeup: Elle W. Beauty | Gown: For the Luv of Bridal | Catering: Jacks BBQ

Patricia & David's Rustic Farmhouse Wedding in the PNW

David and Patricia’s wedding at the rides family farmhouse in Sultan was absolutely perfect and so many happy tears throughout their entire day. Their family farm has a rustic gem in Sultan and such a perfect setting for a backyard wedding. The grooms gift to the bride was one totally something I’d LOVE to see under my christmas tree (Hint hint, Mr. Jones!), A white Kate Spade Purse and a glittery chocolate kate spade coin purse. As guests arrived, they were greeted with a pinterest worthy champagne wall. It was a perfect July summer afternoon and David & Patricia & David decided to forgo the first look and opt for the iconic moment of seeing each other for the first time as she walked down the aisle. They had warned me of tears when they saw each other for the first time and I think I saw a few sweet tears from the grooms. Patricia’s dad walked her down the aisle which was absolutely so sweet. They partook in a shared shot of whiskey before the first kiss to seal their newly married status as Mr. & Mrs.

After their amazing dinner from Urban Pantry in Lake Stevens, it was time for cake cutting and first dances. In liu of a traditional cake, they cut collection of artisinal cheeses in the shape of a wedding cake. First dances are always my favorite part of the reception, seeing the groom dance with his mama always gives me ‘all the feels.’ I imagine myself dancing with one of my boys (jack - 5 or Hunter -2 ). “That’ll be me some day” — excuse me while I go hug my boys a little tighter and remind them to stop growing.

After the dancing it was time for my other favorite part of the reception the golden hour photos and some surprise fireworks!! Patricia and david brought out heart shaped sparkler for some amazing blue hour photos. Back on the grassy dance floor, guests kicked off their shoes and got down barefoot in the moonlight. Instead of tossing the garter, the couple attached the garter to a football and handed it off to the brides single cousin. The garter was cleverly embroidered with the words, “you’re next!” hah!

They made their grand exit into a slick black limo while guests hooted and hollered. It was a day filled with love and a focus on family/friends. Thank you for sharing your rustic farmhouse wedding with me, Patricia & David! It was an honor to be your photographer. <3

Vendors: Catering: Urban Pantry | Gown: For the Luv of Bridal | Makeup: NZ Artistry | Hair: Ivey Salon Ivey

Carolyn & David's Point Defiance Rose Garden and Beach Engagement Session | Tacoma, WA

This point defiance rose garden engagement session has been a dream for a while! So when Carolyn & David said they wanted to do their engagement session at sunset among the roses and then continue to the beach as the sun dipped below the horizon! I jumped at the chance to photograph such a gorgeous great location for their engagement! Point Defiance Rose Garden is about 2.5 hours from my home in Snohomish with evening traffic but seriously it makes it so worth it! We picked early July for their locations and the garden was in full bloom and REALLY showng off! It was a beautiful sunny evening! I especially loved the wind flowing Carolyn’s floral chiffon gown! Let’s just say I took waaaay more photos than I usually do! Enjoy all these pretty, pretty photos!

I can’t wait for their Monte Cristo Ballroom wedding in spring 2020!

View more Beach Engagement Photos:

Claire & Cody's Pine Creek Nursery Wedding

Pine Creek Nursery Wedding, Monroe. Claire & Cody. Seattle Weddi

Claire & Cody’s Pine Creek Nursery wedding was brimming with emotion and love. #KeepitTogetherCody My associates, Kimber & Christine, captured the day perfectly! #teamBJ !! The couple exchanged vows in a botanical nursery surrounded family and friends. Claire started her day with her bride tribe outfitted in silky floral robes and exchanging gifts with her mamas. Right before Claire & Cody’s first look, they stood back to back and exchanged tearful letters. As I was looking through their photos and choosing the ones for this blog, I was overcome with ‘all the feels!’ This is so poignant to me, it tells me a few things:

  1. My associates are freaking amazeballs at their ability to capture every flickering emotion of a wedding day.

  2. I may have photographed MANY weddings, but I’m not immune to the magnitude of such an occasion.

  3. These two are soulmates and will have a marriage thats lasts lifetime. <3

After creating a multitude of whimsical bride & groom photos in the greenhouse, their bridal party joined them in crisp black suits & delightfully mismatched gowns for a few photos. By the time the reception begun later that day, many tears had graced cheeks and the air was full of joy. Claire & Cody, with their guests, enjoyed a smorgasbord of delicious looking delicacies and many rounds of lawn games (Corn Hole, Giant Jenga, Ladder Toss)

Thank you, Claire & Cody, for trusting the B. Jones Team with documenting your wedding day, it was such a pleasure to document your botanical pine creek nursery wedding!

Andrew & Ahlim's Waterfront Woodmark Hotel Wedding

Woodmark Hotel Wedding venue photos, Seattle Wedding Photography

Andrew & Ahlim’s waterfront Woodmark Hotel wedding was so perfect last weekend. The couple exchanged vows in a tented ceremony with close family and friends overlooking lake Washington and then took a cruise aboard the Woodmark II, the 1956, 28-foot Chris-Craft Sedan Express. The couple got ready in a suite at the Woodmark overlooking the lake. Upon arrival in the suite, I immediately noted DOZENS of long stem red roses, thoughtfully sent to from the groom. What a class act!! We did their first look in the Rose Garden right next to the shore. After their first look, we headed over to do some photos on the docks then on the nautical staircase inside the hotel. Shortly after, the bridesmaids joined us on the dock in flowing dusty blue gowns and matching ‘bride tribe’ sunglasses. (A gift from the bride!)

They tied the knot at the same place at Kristi & Edson in the tent overlooking the lake. Their gorgeous husky dog, Ariya also made the walk down the aisle.

Thank you, Andrew & Ahlim, for trusting me with documenting your wedding day, it was such a pleasure to document this beautiful waterfront Woodmark wedding for you!