After two years of long-distance dating, Heather and Jesse celebrated their wedding on a beautiful spring day in Oregon.
WBG: Your outdoor wedding had a gorgeous backdrop. What other factors made you settle on that location?
Heather: Both Jesse and I lived in remote areas. With our hometowns distantly located from the other, we decided to compromise and select the location where we met. The YoungLife camp [Wildhorse Canyon] had an excellent hotel facility where traveling guests could stay, an industrial kitchen and dining facility for the reception, as well as being home to many memories. This location provided unique ambiance and proved to be the perfect location for our wedding.
Heather: The many miles between us did create some challenges in the planning. The biggest hurdle was relational. Soon after the engagement, we found ourselves enveloped in wedding details, forgetting to invest time in each other. We were able to overcome this hurdle, however, and found the planning to be fun to do together as a team. Thanks to the digital age, it was simple to share ideas back and forth, and with the help of family, we were able to plan the whole day despite being apart and far from the location.
Heather: The biggest detail of our wedding that stands out in my memory is the overall feel for the big day. Jesse has always been the type of man who likes to throw a big, elaborate party. I, on the other hand, am more attracted to the more modest approach. His dreams involved red carpet, lobster and steak dinner, and fancy trimmings that would make all eyes turn. My dreams clouded around vast farmland, finger food platters, and baskets of daisies scattered everywhere. Surprisingly, these two, very opposing dreams came together to create a very elaborate, yet simple wedding. We used gold-trimmed china rather than paper plates for the large lunch (which by the way didn’t have Lobster or Steak, but it was absolutely delicious). We had the reception in an area where people could sit inside or outside, depending on the “feel” they preferred. These small compromises and mix-n-match type decisions created a wonderful atmosphere and taught us ways to compromise.
Heather: Money seems to be the biggest obstacle for most brides planning her wedding. My parents were more than generous with their gift to us, but our goal was to spend half of the gift and save the rest for moving costs and setting up our new life. With a lot of penny-pinching and well thought out planning, we accomplished saving over half of the money given to us. To achieve this goal, I did what some brides don’t like doing—I delegated. Family and friends were the key to our savings. The photography, music, catering, cake, flowers, and video were all done by friends or family. We either got it for free or at a discounted price. Even the location ended up being provided at a bargain price. Not only did involving friends and family save us money, but it also saved us headache and stress. Everyone was so thoughtful and very helpful.
WBG: In hindsight, are there things you would have done differently?
Heather: There are two things I would’ve done differently. One, I would’ve decorated the ceremony area with more flowers and greenery. At the time, I didn’t want to compete with the surrounding canyon, but now I see I could’ve complimented it more with more. Two, I’d change how long Jesse and I stuck around for the reception. We left earlier than expected, and though we still aren’t sure how it happened, we both regret not getting to spend more time with everyone.
WBG: What are some of the ways you beat the stress of planning?
Heather: One word: Friends. I couldn’t have asked for more help. Friends and family not only helped with details on the wedding day, but they also helped me plan and compile wedding materials in the wedding planning process. I wouldn’t have gotten through the craziness without them. In addition to all the help, my parents were very good at reminding me to enjoy the planning process through the frustrating times.
WBG: Say an newly-engaged woman comes to you for advice. What would you tell her are the most important things she needs to do before she gets married?
Heather: I’d say the most important thing to remember while you’re planning your wedding is that it’s not just a To-Do List to conquer or a feat to overcome. None of us were taught how to plan weddings, and all of us are novices. Enjoy the whole process, from beginning to end. Laugh about the small things you forget until the night before, and smile when someone says they would’ve done it differently. After all, it’s your wedding you’re planning—the day to celebrate the union of you and the man you deeply love! Wilted flowers or dead fish in the bowl will be a memory not a fiasco.
WBG: As you planned for your wedding and your marriage, what were some important steps you took to ensure you would stay a solid couple once the fun of the festivities were behind you?
Heather: Our pre-marital counseling was very important to us. The couple who counseled us pointed out character traits that compliment and deter the other. We learned how to handle conflict, communicate affection, and meet the other’s needs. Plus, the sessions provided time to escape from the wedding details and focus on each other. It was refreshing.
[Note: Bride Bio interviews may be edited for grammar, spelling and length.]