Rustic Wedding

Rustic meets romantic: Ariel and David’s outdoor wedding in California was beautiful, intimate and unique. Ariel gives us all the details below.

The Scene: September 7th, 2013 in Santa Cruz, CA

Both David and I love being outside, so our vision for our wedding was to create a rustic and elegant garden celebration. My parents’ garden in Santa Cruz had been the site of three weddings before ours, and I had always hoped to get married there.

The land is surrounded by vineyards, and in early September, the flowers were in full bloom. We were gifted with a warm, breezy day. The day unfolded like a dream.

We had many personal elements incorporated into the wedding. For example, my brother Toby came up with a clever idea to hang a huge piece of cream fabric over a branch of an oak tree, creating a natural altar. David proposed to me under an oak tree in Big Sur, so it was a nice reminder of that day.

We found a beautiful heart made of driftwood in an art store and hung it from the center of the branch. Now the heart hangs on the wall in our dining room!

Our “seating chart” also had a story behind it. Early in our relationship, David and I were taking a walk on the beach when I spotted an ocean-polished stone and picked it up. This stone soon became a symbol of comfort for us as our relationship grew; we would pass it back and forth and carry it in our pockets when we weren’t together.

For table assignments at the wedding, we thought it only appropriate to write each guest’s name on a river stone. I’ve had many guests tell me they still have their stones and that they’ve placed them somewhere special in their own homes.

There are so many people who contributed their time, love and energy to making our wedding day bloom in the way that it did. I will be forever grateful especially to my mom, Linda, whose thoughtfulness and thorough planning made the day feel like a seamless dream.

My Look: I wore a lace wedding dress called ‘Cricket’ by Hayley Paige. I vividly remember when I tried on the dress; I instantly knew it was the one for me. It was the way I felt in it. I didn’t want to take it off!

To accent the dress, I wore pearl stud earrings and a pearl-and-diamond pendant by Mikimoto, a long veil and a beautiful bracelet by Lagos.

My bridesmaids wore long chiffon gowns by Amsale in a shade of red that was a pretty contrast against my white dress and the bright bouquets. The groomsmen wore matching bow ties.

My Wedding Stylist: Danielle Oxford, Nordstrom Valley Fair in San Jose, CA

From the moment we found the dress together through the months that followed, as we sized and styled the bridesmaids, found the perfect shoes, earrings, necklace, etc, I felt I could always turn to Danielle for expert advice and compassionate words of wisdom.

Danielle was intuitive, knowing exactly what I needed to go with the dress before I did. In one appointment, she somehow managed to run downstairs to the shoe department and find my wedding shoes before I even knew she had left! This is how Danielle was with everything. She went above and beyond for me. Her thoughtfulness, creativity and talent helped to make my experience as a bride both magical and fun!

Our Favorite Moments: There are more memorable moments than I could ever list here! But a few that come to mind are…

Seeing David for the first time and laughing together, overwhelmed by the joy of the day. My mouth hurt from smiling after five minutes with him.

Walking down the aisle in between my father, Eric, and my stepfather, Ned. I loved seeing the glowing faces of my community, their huge smiles surrounding me with love and support.

David’s nephew, Connor, carrying a sign down the aisle that read, “Here Comes Your Bride, Uncle David.” He was so adorable, surprising David with this.

My 88-year-old grandmother Pat offering advice from her 50-year marriage. “When you have a fight, just take your clothes off!” She made all our guests roar with laughter.

My younger brothers, Toby and Kyle, in their crazy tailored tiger and zebra suits, adding creative, wild spice to the wedding in their own way.

And I’ll never forget singing with my two best friends, Jemila and Natalie. I had written a surprise song for David, which we performed for him and all the guests, and then we had our first dance together.

I’m so grateful to have found David, the love of my life. I can think of no greater gift than that of loving and being loved for who we truly are. Love gives us purpose and makes life worth living.

Photography by Terry Way

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! Email Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

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A bride in sunglasses, a fun braid and a huge smile–what could be cuter?!

HeroAppropriately named ‘Hepburn’, this Hayley Paige silk organza wedding dress has a tea-length hem and boat neckline that feels both classic and retro, with embroidered lace flowers and a cut-out opening in the back to make it a bit more modern. Either way, this bride is ready for an outdoor wedding filled with sunshine!

Check out our new Spring Bridal Style Guide for wedding favors, bridesmaid dresses, accessories and more to go along with this rustic, romantic style!

Image via Rustic Wedding Ideas on Pinterest

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We’re a bit obsessed with the sweet, unique Southern wedding of Hillary and Jordan–and impressed with their quick planning and easy-going style! Read on for the story from Hillary.

The Proposal: Jordan and I have always been a bit nontraditional. We started dating after college and 6 months later decided to pick up and move across the country together from our hometown of Mobile, Alabama to Seattle. Two years later, Jordan proposed to me on a perfect fall Seattle morning at our home, and then we escaped to the San Juan Islands for the weekend and didn’t tell a soul what just happened! We loved basking in the secret of it all.

When we started to plan the wedding, we quickly became overwhelmed with all the choices. Should we get married in Seattle or back home? Should it be a big wedding or an intimate gathering? Should we elope?

One afternoon, both of us feeling stressed out, we went on a bike ride and the funniest thing happened. Jordan half-joked that we should just get married in a few weeks, when we we’re going to be at home for Thanksgiving. That sounded tempting. Totally “us”: spontaneous, casual and a little offbeat. So that’s exactly what we did! We planned a wedding in three weeks, from across the country. And it was perfect.

The Scene:  November 23, 2013, Washington Square in Mobile, Alabama

Because of the short timeline, we didn’t really have a “theme” or “look” for the wedding. Jordan and I just tried to be true to what we really wanted and trusted that it would look amazing.

The ceremony was held in Washington Square, a historic park in our old neighborhood. It’s centered around an old fountain and surrounded by giant, twisted live oaks. It is the epitome of Southern romance.

The wedding itself was very intimate, just close family and friends and therefore we skipped having a wedding party. I walked down aisle with my Dad to a live bluegrass band and a very close friend of ours officiated (on extremely short notice too!)

Jordan and I wrote the ceremony together, incorporating humor, heartfelt honesty and love.

The reception was held at a cute little house we rented a few blocks away from the park. We ate ourselves sick with delicious Alabama barbeque, Southern pies and desserts, and then danced to bluegrass music until late in the night.

My Look: I wore a short, fit & flare dress from Ted Baker London. My shoes were the Halogen Katrina Bootie in teal. And at the end of the night, once it got a little chilly, I topped it off with a Trouvé leather jacket in navy blue.

My Wedding Stylist: Sarah Walton, Downtown Seattle Wedding Suite

With my wedding now only a few weeks away, my girlfriend made me an emergency appointment at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite to look for dresses. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find my dress there, with my crazy short timeline and all. However, Sarah was incredible and gave me confidence right away. She listened to the whole story of how the wedding came to be, asked me my likes and dislikes and then assured me that we could find something I would love.

She had pulled a few dresses before I arrived, and the first dress on the rack was the Ted Baker. I thought, “This isn’t what I had in mind.” But once I was zipped in and buttoned up, I couldn’t believe it. It was THE dress. I loved that it was short and I could move around in it. The feather detail is as delicate as lace, but more unexpected, and it felt vaguely Southern.

Now that I had the dress, I needed shoes, and I started to have a little vision of what I wanted. I needed a seriously cool shoe to contrast the sweetness of the dress. When Sarah found the teal booties, it was love at first sight.

As the final ‘pièce de résistance’, I told Sarah that I wanted a little jacket to throw over my dress at the end of the night. I’d had my eye on a Trouve jacket for a while, and I thought, when is a better time to splurge and buy a navy blue leather jacket? Even with a last minute order and alterations, Sarah made it happen again.

I felt so amazing in my outfit and love that I have both the jacket and shoes that I can wear again!

Our Favorite Moments: Our day turned out to be everything we wanted in a wedding: close friends and family, good music, tasty food and lots of laughter. We could not have pulled off that crazy idea without the support of our family and friends. It was so touching that everyone immediately got on board with our plan and found ways to help make it happen.

Photography by Mikey Zeff

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! Email Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

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Today, we bring you another awesome favor idea, one that our marketing manager actually received at a wedding this summer: a CD of love songs, carefully selected by the happy couple. We love this unique and personal idea!

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Sara and Kambiz created a mix of both romantic love songs and all-around happy songs, including those they played for their walks down the aisle and their first dance. They also designed the CD face and cover (so cute!) and printed guests’ names and table numbers on one side, so it doubled as a seating chart. Brilliant, right?

Below is a selection of songs from their CD to inspire your wedding music, your version of the CD favor or even just some afternoon listening! Enjoy!

“Best Days” – Eric Hutchinson

“Lovely Day” – Maroon 5 ft. Bill Withers

“You Are the Best Thing” – Ray LaMontagne

“On Top of the World” – Imagine Dragons

“The One I Love” – David Gray

“Sweet Pea” – Amos Lee

“I Won’t Let You Go” – James Morrison

“Turning Page” – Sleeping at Last

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Today, we’re excited to bring you a guest post from our newest collaborator, Rustic Wedding Chic!

When thinking of hosting a rustic wedding, it is important to remember that you don’t have to skip the glamour just because you are selecting a rustic location. Venues like barns, vineyards, farms and lodges are beautiful backdrops for a rustic chic wedding, and they work perfectly with more dressed-up looks—for both the bride and the bridesmaids—for a one-of-a-kind event!


Anne Barge ‘Emmanuelle’ Wedding Dress | Whichgoose ‘Nymph’ Crown | kate spade new york ‘secret garden’ stud earrings | flowers & venue photo by: Robin Jolin Photography via from Rustic Wedding Chic


Jenny Yoo ‘Gigi’ Ruffled Bridesmaid Dress | Lauren Ralph Lauren Beaded Earrings | Ivanka Trump ‘Anita’ Sandals | Nadri CZ Cluster Necklace | flowers photo by Robin Jolin Photography via Rustic Wedding Chic


Adrianna Papell Dot Bridesmaid Dress | Pelle Moda ‘Gretel’ Sandals | Lauren Ralph Lauren Hoop Earrings | Guinevere Statement Necklace | cake photo by Robin Jolin Photography via Rustic Wedding Chic

 Love this style? Check out our Rustic Wedding Ideas Pinterest board for more inspiration!

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Homemade favors are some of our favorites to receive at weddings–especially when they involve food! A few standouts from a quick poll of our wedding team: caramels, seafood seasoning, granola, s’mores kits, honey and even salsa! YUM.

HeroWe were inspired by the delicious-looking strawberry-rhubarb jam from Caroline and Jason’s wedding, so we asked Caroline to give us her recipe. Read on below and try it yourself.

INGREDIENTS (makes 20 4-ounce jars)

4 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 cups white sugar
4 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
1/4 cup lemon juice
20 4-ounce canning jars with lids and rings (sterilized in boiling water for at least 5 minutes)

STEPS

1. Mix rhubarb and sugar in a large, heavy pot and let stand for 2 hours; stir in strawberries and lemon juice.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Lower heat to medium-high and cook jam at a full rolling boil until thickened, stirring often to prevent scorching, for 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir for 2 to 3 more minutes. Skim off any foam.

4. Pack the jam into the sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Then run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims to remove any food residue. Top with lids and screw on rings.

5. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring water to a boil.

6. Carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Water level should be at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Pour in more water if necessary to cover.

7. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot with a lid and process for 10 minutes.

8. Remove the jars from the pot and place several inches apart on a cloth-covered or wood surface. Let jars stand on wire racks for 24 hours to cool and seal.

9. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).

Then, decorate however you wish! Tie with twine or ribbon and add a card, place a sticker on the top of the jar or wrap in tissue. Write names and table numbers on jars to double as a seating chart and favor!

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Haley and T.J.’s wedding didn’t go exactly as planned, but it turned out to be incredibly beautiful and special. Read on for this sweet couple’s story of weathering the storm.

Our Story: T.J. proposed on May 26 at the legendary Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado. I was there working out around 5:30am when he showed up and popped the question. The setting was perfect, with a stunning view of Denver and the sun just beginning to rise. I don’t even remember saying yes because I was crying so much!

T.J. is in the Marine Corps and was set to leave for training in Virginia in just under four months. We decided that getting married before he left was important to us, so the planning happened very quickly!

The Scene: September 14, 2013, at a family residence in Denver, Colorado

From early on, our vision of the wedding was an intimate outdoor event, one where we could really enjoy the company of our guests and each other. For T.J. and me, fun was by far our number one priority! If there were good people, good drinks and good music, we would be happy.

We decided that my grandparents’ home was a perfect location. It sits in the Rockies, with the Colorado River running through the backyard. It is so breathtakingly beautiful that we could keep the decor very simple.

We planned a few rustic touches like a wooden arbor for the ceremony backdrop and farm tables that complemented the setting. The flowers were where we wanted the color to pop, and they could not have been more beautiful.

The weather in Colorado is usually good in September—not too wet and with generally mild temperatures. However, it happened that a 100-year flood came on the week of our wedding. It rained every day, which is so uncommon for Colorado. By Thursday morning it was clear there was no way we could have the wedding in my grandparents’ backyard. With broken hearts, we searched frantically for a new venue.

Luckily, my aunt and uncle own a gorgeous home in Denver with a tennis court in the backyard. We decided to do it there and put a big white tent over the court. It ended up being so beautiful!

We contacted every guest and vendor, and by Friday morning things came together. Our families worked so hard for us and made the transition to the new venue smooth. We will never be able to repay them for their efforts in making the day perfect!

My Look: I wore the “Pearl” gown by Hayley Paige. I would have never seen myself in this dress! It had an asymmetrical layered skirt and strapless sweetheart neckline, which I accessorized with a pearl necklace and a veil.

My Wedding Stylist: Audrey Moon, Nordstrom Wedding Suite Park Meadows

My stylist, Audrey, was so amazing at helping me find a gown that I felt absolutely perfect in. She and I had exchanged a few emails before my appointment, and she had dresses ready when I arrived. I had a big crowd with me that day; I come from a family of very opinionated and powerful women, and Audrey was accommodating and patient throughout the appointment!

I tried on a variety of short dresses before she talked me into trying on this gown. I had always dreamed of wearing a short dress, but man, did that change the minute I put that dress on! I was immediately brought to tears. It was only the fourth dress I tried on, and I knew it was the one. My entourage agreed, and we ordered it that day.

Our Special Moments: Throughout the night, we took countless pictures in the photo booth and danced with our friends and family for hours. We even got to spend time with our puppy on the dance floor, although we’re not sure he enjoyed that as much as we did!

T.J. and I fell so much more in love that day. Our love can weather any storm!

Photos by Caitlin Alysse Photography

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! Email Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

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If you’re choosing to have assigned seats at your wedding reception, then you’ll also need a way to tell guests where those seats are—and because making a seating chart is no easy task, we’ll help you out with the second part! Here we’ve rounded up five fresh takes on traditional escort cards.

Clockwise from left:

Greet your guests with a love note, with the “address” of their table and fun vintage stamps. Image via Style Me Pretty.

Pinecones holding name tags: a little prickly, but perfect for a rustic or outdoor wedding theme. You can also dip them in gold or other-colored paint for extra DIY points! Image via Rustic Wedding Chic.

Seed packets, whether new, vintage or handmade, are a cheap and easy escort-card-plus-favor! Image via Green Wedding Shoes.

Fruit with name tags give guests a snack if they just can’t wait until the appetizers are passed around. Think apples in the fall, oranges in the winter, lemons or limes in spring or summer. Image via Rustic Wedding Chic.

Use Japanese washi tape on jars to write names and table numbers and to have them double as drinking glasses. (Check out the cute saying on the chalkboard!) Write a thank-you note to each guest and tuck it inside as a special keepsake. Image via Brideology: The Wedding.

For a daily dose of decor and more ideas, follow us on Pinterest!

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After nearly a year of blogging about her wedding planning process, it’s finally time for Cara to share the actual big day itself! Read on for her Real Wedding story…

It’s bittersweet that I’m writing the big end-all post for my Brideology series, as my engagement and wedding have come and gone. It’s incredible how fast the time goes by, but the memories—and the marriage!—are even more incredible.

I’m so excited to tell the story and show photos by the awesome Sea Studio Photography. Because we share many Real Weddings from brides on our blog, I thought I’d tell mine in the same way…

The Scene: August 3, 2013, Treehouse Point, Issaquah, WA

Our wedding took place at the bed & breakfast at Treehouse Point, tucked away in the forest with a small meandering river, rocky beaches, wooded trails, a cozy main lodge and treehouses for our family and wedding party to stay in. It was the perfect place for us because we could all be together for the whole weekend in a gorgeous, peaceful setting.

We wanted the day to feel comfortable, intimate and fun for our 100 guests, so we included as many personal touches as we could. While it was a ton of work, it was worth it when it all came together. Our decor was eco-inspired with many recycled elements.

My mom created our welcome sign to match our invitations, and I drew the rest of our signage in bright colors on chalkboards with gold frames. Our friends helped us put up strings of lights (amazing how much just a few lights can glam up a space!) and decorated with succulents from our garden at home, river rocks, gold-painted branches and farmer’s market flowers.

Drew and I hand-wrote notes to our guests and tucked them in jars that were used for drinking glasses, also doubling as our place cards. We found funny, artsy little cards and wrote thank-yous to each person. We wanted to acknowledge the support, friendship and memories that every person has contributed to our relationship, seeing as these are the people who got us to where we are today!

My Look: I wore a gown by Olia Zavozina called ‘Delia’ that I found at a trunk show through the Wedding Suite. My Wedding Stylist Chelsea was incredibly helpful, sweet and patient, and after just one appointment with me, she knew my style better than I did. She had her eye on this gown and told me I should try it on, and she was right—I absolutely loved it in every possible way!

The gown was covered in rosettes that gave it an amazing texture, and it had an almost ombré effect in the way in which the fabric was layered. I would wear it every day if I could (but seeing as that’s crazy, I’ll probably just stick to the whole watching-TV-drinking-champagne-eating-popcorn-in-my-wedding-dress-on-my-anniversary thing).

I wore the same flower crown that my mom wore at her wedding almost 30 years ago, although I added a few fresh flowers to it. For jewelry, I kept it simple with small kate spade new york floral earrings that happened to perfectly match a bracelet my mom found for me at an antique shop.

My Groom: Drew looked amazing in his suit, if I do say so myself! He wore a grey BOSS suit with a white shirt and cognac monk strap shoes, all from Nordstrom. I got him a polka dot pocket square as a day-of surprise.

Our Wedding Party: My bridesmaids wore strapless ‘Morgan’ dresses by Donna Morgan. (A popular bridesmaid style for a reason: They’re so flattering on different body types!) I loved how the peach color looked with the bright flowers and all the green scenery. My girls looked beautiful and were so amazingly supportive and fun all weekend long. My sister Haley was my maid of honor.

Drew’s five groomsmen wore light-blue Calibrate shirts, plaid Ben Sherman ties and grey pants. Drew’s dad was his best man. The guys worked hard to set up for the wedding and then took a break to skip rocks in the river and make a few whiskey toasts before the ceremony.

The Ceremony: One thing I really wanted in our wedding was live music, so we had Drew’s brother play the guitar and his friend play the violin for the processional—”The Stable Song.” They also played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” when I walked down the aisle. It was a tear-jerker for sure! Our ceremony was personal, sweet and funny, officiated by Drew’s aunt and with readings from our families. Incorporating our families was very important to us.

Although the day had been cloudy, the sun broke through literally right as I took my place at the arbor. You hear people say that even on rainy days, the sun comes out for the wedding, and I couldn’t believe it really happened. I looked up and practically shouted, “The sun!” I was so excited, I couldn’t contain myself!

The Party: We kicked off the party with local beers and wines and popcorn, and we followed that with a delicious dinner catered by Portage Bay Café. We had a shortcake berry bar for dessert—one of my favorite parts!

We skipped many of the reception traditions in favor of more time to mingle and dance with our guests. Drew had a friend bring hula hoops to the reception—something I initially thought he was kidding about—and it turned out to be so much fun! People were having hula-hoop competitions on the dance floor!

Our Special Moments: There are so many, it’s overwhelming! I do think one of the best moments was when Drew and I were alone for a few minutes after the ceremony. I would definitely recommend taking this time to just be together—it’s so emotional and memorable!

We were surprised with some hilarious and heartfelt speeches during dinner from my dad, my sister and Drew’s dad. They were a major highlight of the night, and people have been talking about them ever since.

Our first dance was also really special because Drew’s brother played the guitar and sang Ryan Adams’ version of “When the Stars Go Blue.” The small space filled with lights felt intimate and cozy. Everyone loved the mini-concert and wanted more!

We stayed up late with our overnight guests before going to sleep in the trees. It truly was the best day ever.

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Thank you for following my journey! It’s been a great experience!

xo,
Mrs. Lommen

Images by Sea Studio Photography

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Meredith and Drew’s summer wedding was a traditional-meets-nautical party. Here Meredith shares the details and gorgeous photos!

The Scene: June 1, 2013, Annapolis, Maryland

Drew and I were married in my childhood church, St. Mary’s, by the same priest who married my parents 31 years before. It was such a special feeling. We had a full mass and were marched out by a bagpiper at the end!


The reception took place at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, right on Chesapeake Bay. We kicked off the party by handing out flip-flops and sunglasses to guests, with our names and the wedding date on them. We also served our signature drink, the “Garfield Guzzler.”

The reception venue had a mix of rustic and vintage decor, with lanterns, seasonal flowers in mason jars, chalkboard welcome signs and menus, lace tablecloths and an antique door.


Our dinner was family-style and included crab cakes—of course! Rather than have a traditional cake, we opted for strawberry shortcake. It was delicious! We also had three flavors of local ice cream, our favorite being Peanut Butter Oreo.

The night concluded with crazy dancing, laughter and lots of hugs.

My Look: My gown, ‘Rowan’ by Jenny Yoo, was a chiffon dress with a strapless ruched bodice; I added the ‘Addison’ lace topper, which wrapped around the gown, also by the same designer. I wore my hair up in a low bun with a white flower hair clip and chose simple stud earrings.

I initially saw the dress online and immediately called Nordstrom at Tysons Corner to set up an appointment. When I saw the gown and topper together, I fell in love!

My Wedding Stylists: Chris and Cindy, Nordstrom Wedding Suite at Tysons Corner

I worked with both Chris and Cindy in the Wedding Suite. They went above and beyond for me. From the first time I met them through to my last fitting, they catered to my every need.

Cindy and Chris showed my bridesmaids and me how to tie a perfect bow and how to bustle the dress. They even made sure everything was steamed (twice) before I took the dress home and called the hotel where I was getting ready to make sure they had a steamer, just in case. It was amazing service!

Our Special Moments: The best part of the wedding was getting married, but having all of our friends and family together at this beautiful location really brought it all together. Watching sailboats drift by while eating, dancing, and drinking made for a perfect day!

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Photography by Tony J Photography

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details about getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a wedding stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

 

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