Real Weddings Weddings

Real Weddings: Nikki & Chad

Nikki shares the story—including its muddy beginnings—of marrying her fiancé, Chad, in his mother’s garden off the waters of the Pacific Northwest.


Date and Location: August 30, 2014, at Lakebay, WA

The Venue: We wanted an outdoor wedding on Chad’s folks’ property. My mother-in-law has a gorgeous garden, and the scene was perfect for an intimate ceremony and reception.


The Theme: Garden wedding was the theme, and I wanted something light yet fun for the color palette. Various shades of pinks, peaches, purples, yellows and whites made for a perfect end-of-summer garden party. We had burlap table runners with tree slices and various shapes and sizes of vases with assorted flowers. My mother, aunt and grandmother created mini-crate lovebird boxes as centerpieces; they were such a sweet addition. We used some doors from my folks’ old property and hinged them together to make a backdrop for the ceremony and paired that with bales of hay, which tied everything together so well! And lots of chalkboard signs—a fun and easy DIY. The second theme of our wedding was DIY!


Nikki’s Favorite Moment: I know it’s good luck, but it rained on our wedding day—not just a drizzle but buckets! Right before the ceremony began, the clouds started to part as the guests arrived and the sunbeams were breaking through. I’ll never forget stepping out onto the deck in my merlot-colored Hunter boots, feeling the sunshine on my face and thinking, ‘This is the best day of my life.’

As I walked down that aisle toward my smokin’ husband, I felt those butterflies I felt when I first met him, except there were more of them this time–and much, much bigger! Locking eyes with the man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with knocked the wind right out of me. Best feeling in the world and the favorite moment of that day.



Chad’s Favorite Moment: Holding my wife for our first dance as husband and wife. She was so stunning in the soft glow of the setting sun, I couldn’t believe my luck to have such an amazing woman choose to spend the rest of her life with me. With the Ink Spots serenading in the background and our friends and family celebrating our special day alongside us, I knew I’d never been happier to be in another’s arms.


How Did You Find “The Dress”: I actually saw my Jenny Yoo dress on and could absolutely picture myself in her. I had a vision, and that dress was totally in it. She was the only one I tried on, and I bought her that day. My husband is wearing a beautiful blue BOSS suit we purchased during the Anniversary Sale for a screaming deal. He also wore some cognac-colored Cole Haan shoes.


Advice for Brides-to-Be: Enjoy all those moments with your sweetie and remember: this is your guy’s day!

Shout-Out to: Amy Kiel Photography, Bitterroot BBQ and Ice Cream Social. Amy never complained once about the rain; she captured every moment, every piece of hard work that went into that day. She didn’t leave a single thing out. Bitterroot BBQ’s catering was so accommodating and made the meal go ever so smoothly. The Ice Cream Social truck was a hit! Beautiful ice cream and such a gracious owner. So happy we had the ice cream truck!


We had so much help with everything, from guys slingin’ bales of hay to the designer of my flower crown (Sophia Yi) to the creator of my gorgeous bouquet that I still dream about (Shauna Petty). To all of you who helped make our day so lovely and unforgettable: THANK YOU.

The Honeymoon: We had our honeymoon in Kona, Hawaii. After a DIY wedding, we needed it!

Images by Amy Kiel Photography