Katie & Ben
By Katie Brackin • Photography by Focus Photography
Ben and I have many things in common, but a love of nature and the desire to create are among our most treasured shared interests. The outdoors have always been a common thread in our story. From camping trips and hiking, to a proposal under the California redwoods, and treks to Ben’s hometown of Jackson, we make it a priority to push pause on our busy Southern California lifestyle and appreciate the natural world. The minute I said, “Yes,” we both knew Jackson was the place to start our forever adventure.
With all but about ten guests traveling from out of state, it was important to Ben and me that everyone felt at home. The Bentwood Inn immediately stood out as the perfect venue to not only accommodate some family, friends, and wedding-party members, but also host our quaint backyard ceremony and reception with sixty-five guests. The cottonwood-lined backyard was cozy and just as welcoming as Bentwood’s innkeepers, Virginia and Bob, who made us feel well cared for from the planning process through the big day. The Bentwood Inn fit our antique, rustic-chic vision perfectly, and since it was already impressive by default, all Ben and I were left to do was focus on enhancements.
We spent months trolling used bookstores and library sales in search of the perfect collection of books to incorporate in centerpieces, around the bar, and on the dessert and welcome tables. Trips to countless thrift and antique stores led us to fun knickknacks we paired with items from our home to decorate the reception area. When we weren’t sifting through decorations, we were busy building and crafting our own—from an adorable bunting my mom made; to the wooden boxes, table numbers, and crates that Ben built and stained; to the hand-painted signs, fabric backdrops, and embroidered handkerchiefs I created. Everything was our handmade creation. That theme carried through to the wedding flowers, which I designed and arranged.
With a little help from the lovely ladies in our lives, the flower process was fun and much easier than I expected. The end result was thirty stunning arrangements, four bouquets, and seven boutonnieres completed in a little less than four hours (not including the time earlier in the week spent receiving flowers, stripping stems, clipping, and placing them in water). The cream and burgundy collection of Queen Anne’s Lace, garden roses, hypericum berries, dianthus, Gerrondo daisies, and other varieties set the tone for our burgundy and earth-toned vintage look and feel.
After eleven months of preparation and countless late-night crafting sessions, it was beyond gratifying to see the big picture we had sketched in our heads finally come to life. The day and decor surpassed anything we could have hoped for, right down to every last spoken word in the ceremony.
To our friends and family, it’s no secret that Ben and I are a little (or a lot) “lovey dovey,” and we wanted that personality to shine through in our ceremony. Lucky for us, we had a phenomenal first-time officiant in our close friend, Steve. His poetic words of wisdom, humor, and incredible ability to captivate our guests meshed well with our heartfelt and fun-loving vows. Heading into the wedding, Ben—a cinematographer who has filmed his fair share of weddings and knows how fast they fly by—stressed how important it was to remain present. I was so grateful for his reminder. We took in every second of the ceremony, savoring each word and loving glance. Complete with sweet ad-libbing, our nuptials were so “us” and by far the most meaningful part of the day. Our celebration of love and adventure continued with a dream reception of great barbecue, cake, pies, and other sweet treats, and one of the most packed dance floors we’ve ever experienced. Not only was it a great wedding, but it was exactly the fun, cozy backyard party we had envisioned all along. Jackson will forever hold a piece of our hearts.
5 September 2015
ceremony & reception location
The Bentwood Inn
Steve Luxenberg (close friend)
Jackson Hole DJ
Lovely Day Events (day-of)
Chippy’s Kitchen & Catering
Macarons & s’more cookies: Persephone Bakery
Wedding cake: Bridesmaid
Pies: Family friend