Modern Homesteading on a Smaller Scale.

Happy Anniversary To Us! Our Lovely, Rustic, Zero Waste Mt. Rainier Wedding

Happy Anniversary To Us! Our Lovely, Rustic, Zero Waste Mt. Rainier Wedding

Those of you who know me know I’m not the greatest at marking events in a timely fashion. I’m the person who writes out half the thank you cards and then doesn’t get the addresses done. Or doesn’t buy stamps. Or orders 50 birth announcements and fails to do both those things. Sorry everyone! But it is my and Jimmy James’ second anniversary today and, internet, it is finally time for me to post about our amazing wedding.

About to walk down the aisle/ Wonderland Trail
The big plan was for us to hike the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier and have our last day be our walk down the aisle. In the end we wound up camping the night before at Cougar Rock (site of amazing wedding festivities) and then had the hike on the Wonderland from Longmire to the amphitheater together. It was a wonderful few days and I’m so thankful for all the friends and family that helped make it happen. We wound up spending $5,000 for the whole wedding, half of which was our amazing photographer Melissa Kilner (all these photos are hers… seriously good, yes?)
Seriously, getting married at the National Park was a brilliant move in the budget department. All we needed was a special use permit that cost a whopping $61 for us to be at the amphitheater and then we reserved a large group campsite for around $60 a night for three nights (one to get ready, one for the actual event, and one so we didn’t have to pack up until everyone was gone the next day). We managed to transform the group campsite into a beautiful combination dining area, cooking area, and (most importantly) dance floor. Decor-wise we strung up some solar twinkly lights and paper lanterns, decorated our big tent, and let nature do its thing. My dress was only $90 from Mod Cloth and I prodealed (prodealt?) my shoes and warmer clothes, along with all our blue enamelwear dishes that we still use for the catering. Glasses were jelly jars that now house this year’s cherry preserves and to keep the waste way down we bought cute gingham cloth napkins and cutlery from Goodwill.
The night before James and I helped our families set the decorations up and once I got over-stressed, he and I went to the blackberry pie restaurant outside the Nisqually entrance for dinner/escape. After I was jolted out of my panic during dessert, we returned to the campsite and hung out around the campfire. The campsite across from us were a delegation of climbers from the Ukraine who were planning on summiting the next day. They were curious about our decorating and once we said we were getting married the next day, we were all invited over for some vodka toasts and long-winded speeches, which was nice. By now I’m mellowed and happy and James and I crashed out in our Hobitat 4 for the last time as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Pretty, yes? Moissanite and rose gold handmade
off etsy. James’ is titanium with a rose gold vein.
The next day I woke up to a misty chill and hoped that it wouldn’t rain but wasn’t too concerned. I walked down to where my mom and aunt were awake, making coffee and my bouquet, respectively, and hung out for a little while at the picnic table. It was a wonderfully calm way to get the day started. Stephanie and I then went to breakfast at the Inn at Longmire and then upstairs to our room that Jessica had decorated for us to get ready. Steph did my hair and makeup and then it was time for photographs.
Everyone else headed to the campground and James and I took a couple last pictures and then headed down the 1.5 mile aisle together.
Having that time to talk and walk hand-in-hand definitely took away my nerves. We got to the campground and met Russ, our friend and officiant. As we crossed the street, a car of my besties sped by (one of whom was slated to play the guitar as we walked down the actual aisle) so we waited about five minutes and then headed down the campground’s main loop towards the amphitheater. Once there, James went first and then I followed, smiling at all my lovelies that joined us there on the mountain. The ceremony was absolutely lovely!
The reception was fantastic, too. We made food in the dutch oven, grilled chicken and sausages, and had a nice array of desserts. There were some toasts, we cut the cake, and we danced. Then, of course, there was winding down around the campfire, which was splendid. James and I went back to the National Park Inn to our room overlooking the mountain around 10pm. The next morning we met up with all the campers back at the group site and had a delicious, round-the-campfire breakfast of pancakes with bananas foster on top (and leftover desserts, obviously).
The biggest regret of our wedding was we had really limited space so were only able to invite 30-ish people. I wish we would have just put together a carpool and had twice the number of people show up, but alas!
Steph helps doll me up in the National Park Inn. 


Right after we did our “first look” on the porch of the National Park Inn.
We had bubble blowers for the kids to play with.


While our wedding party (slash, our sisters) didn’t have a set outfit to wear, it turns out that our guests all decided to coordinate their Patagonia puffy jackets. 


mmmm, I love our Pendelton Mt. Rainier edition blanket. In fact, it’s draped over our couch and I’m leaning on it right now! We gave one of these beauties to Russ as a gift for officiating our wedding, too.


I love this picture. A lot of the guests and a view of the “reception” while my mom says her toast. It never did rain but the tarps were put up earlier in the day just in case.


Tea lights, burlap runner, cloth napkins, and full bellies. 


Our first dance. The solar lights were just starting to twinkle and there were tea lights in  the mason jars hanging on hooks around the dance floor. The only electricity was in the bathrooms next to our site, so my brother burnt a CD and played music on an ancient battery-powered boombox.
erm, leave no trace.


My grandma Stella’s suitcase with globe and greenery paid an homage to James’ and my life of travel and served as the depository for gifts and cards. My sister made our guest book with pictures from other hikes we’d been on.


Zero waste, no electricity.



James’ mom made this absolutely gorgeous cake.


S’mores bar!!


Cutting the cake. Since this was my family, dessert also featured an apple pie, mini cheesecakes, tarts, and chocolate covered blueberries.
Me hiking near Devil’s Dream
James near Emerald Ridge.
The Cougar Rock campground’s amphitheater was the perfect spot. We had a fire set up in the firepit next to James and his mom made the lovely cedar garland. Set up and take down took mere minutes. More time for cooking, eating, and campfire sitting!
My vows. I hiked alone and found a spot by a waterfall the day before to write them. James still has them tucked away in the pocket of that vest.
James was a twenty-first century dude and wrote his vows on his iphone.
Bye! See you at the Ceremony! I loved the looks we got from people on the trail and getting congratulations from fellow hikers on our way to getting married.
Toasts around the campfire and sweet little Nanuq in his matchy matchy garb.
Smooch! It’s official!
One of my favorite pictures. Brother and Sisters in our natural state.
Chelle made the flower crown for me.
Dutch oven baked mac and cheese. I had her take this picture so I could put it in my camp cooking powerpoints. Like a pro!
And lastly, what would a wedding be like without a bunch of midwesterners dancing to Journey?

And while the midwesterners dance, the Northwesterners sit around the campfire and drink beer. Here’s to a lovely wedding and many years to come with my sweet man!