Amy & August

Bay Area yurt wedding

Amy, social policy researcher & August, video game programmer

Photographer: Ananda Shorey of Bliss Fotography

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: A laid-back weekend surrounded by the people we love with dancing in a yurt.

Soundtrack for reading: “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge

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Other cool stuff we should know about

Most of our guests stayed with us for the entire long weekend. We cooked together, caught up on life, and played Cards Against Humanity. The morning of the wedding, August made Finnish pancakes with his dad for everyone, a family tradition for special occasions (the boots are another Finnish tradition). I spent my early afternoon on a hike and was somehow eerily calm while getting ready (I had finished the hard work of keeping people fed for the weekend!). We kept things small, so I didn’t have a bridal party, but somehow my five of my closest girl friends still ended up beautifully coordinated. August’s grandfather turned his visit for the wedding into a seven thousand-mile road trip. My grandmother couldn’t make the trip, but I carried her father’s wedding band on my bouquet along with her mother’s class ring.

We decided to walk in together to the ceremony because we liked the symbolism entering as a couple in a joint decision. Without a bridal party, I decided to pass the bouquet to my mother to hold and my father surprised me by giving me a giant bear hug which was the perfect balance after not having him walk me down the aisle. We wrote the ceremony ourselves, had one of my friends get ordained, and then had our guests speak if they felt so led while we did a ring warming. I worried that no one would say anything or that it would take too long, but the timing was perfect and the words from our families and friends were beautiful.

After the ceremony, it started to sprinkle. The one thing we had counted on was not having rain in September in the Bay Area. Luckily it passed quickly and despite the cool, damp wedding, a lot of people joined us for an evening picnic under the oak tree. Everyone grouped together so it felt like we were on one giant picnic blanket rather than divided.

I did a lot of crafts before the wedding. I’m not sure how that happened, but there were lots of origami and sugar flowers. The maps in my bouquet are all from our travels together. For our centerpieces and table decorations, we put origami flowers in antique china from both of our families. The week before the wedding, August decided to add an arts and crafts project and put up pictures of our invited guests (many who couldn’t make it to the wedding due to distance) around the yurt. I wasn’t thrilled about the last minute idea, but I loved dancing the night away surrounded by pictures of family and friends. August and his mom picked up the tempo on dancing by having the mother-son dance to the classic “We Are Family.” It’s not traditional in my family to dance, but somehow even my mom danced before the night was over. We did the music ourselves with Spotify and the dancing kept up until nearly 1am when the allure of the hot tub won out.

Favorite Thing About The Wedding

The best part of the wedding was being surrounded by so much love and joy as our diverse groups of family and friends became one community for the weekend. I worried during planning about the seating, the food, the music, the weather, and how much we deviated from tradition, but in the end even though things went wrong, it was perfect and it was very us.


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  • Gina

    I love the way your photographer captured emotions– it is so beautiful! And YAY for yurts and hot tubs–that looks and sounds amazing!!

  • mimi

    Love your dress, especially the back!

  • Emma Klues

    This whole thing is amazing! Dress (the back!), shoes, boots, succulents along the aisle, origami, flowers, trees, weee! Plus a Kathryn Hahn lookalike in attendance! Best day.

  • Amy

    This was beautiful! I made it all the way to the picture of the ceremony under the tree before I teared up.

    And omg, that dress! Love!

  • Alyssa

    Is that Slide Ranch? If so, that’s where I got married, too…such a beautiful spot!

    • Amy

      No, we rented a house in Woodacre through VRBO for the weekend. Gorgeous scenery all along that area though!

  • Alyssa M

    Ahhh! That Dress! It’s fantastic! You look so so happy in your pictures. Very genuine. I absolutely love how every last thing about your wedding seemed personal, and yet it was still fairly laid back and simple. That is SO the goal for my wedding, but the internet keeps getting me sidetracked into thinking personal means complicated and personalized.

    • Amy

      Thank you! That’s exactly what I wanted and it was so hard not to feel pressured when looking at other weddings and that may have led to making too many origami flowers. I also nearly lost it over seating until I read Rachel’s post on The People Want Options. Good luck keeping it simple and you!

  • Dawn J

    Wedding reception in a yurt! Love love love it!

  • Molly

    Thank you for this beautiful post. Funnily enough, right before I read this, my fiance and I had decided on this same location for our wedding next August. We are very excited about it, and I am even more so after seeing what a wonderful experience it was for you!
    I was wondering if I might ask your advice on a very specific point about the venue – what did you do for transport up that steep, windy road? We are worried about the few guests who aren’t staying with us driving back down in the dark. Did you rent a van or a shuttle or anything?
    Thanks, and congratulations!

  • Dresswayshop

    Simple but so amazing! By just looking at the picture I can see the event as very intimate and emotional. Love the back of the dress!