Classic APW: Mike & Tammar’s Magical Forest Lovefest

You guys. So. I think about this wedding all the time, and I realize that most of you have never seen it. This is the very first wedding I was ever sent by a reader. A reader, that is, who read APW while they planned their wedding. And it was like…. the sky opened up and magic poured forth. This wedding, was a taste of what was to come from all of you. Also. Why didn’t I include more effing PICTURES? Clearly I had no idea what I was doing. So I just added a million more.

Also? I’m going to tell you something I didn’t have the balls to say the first time around: The bride wore Vera. They spent just $8,000 on their wedding, but she fell in love with a dress from Vera’s less expensive line. So you know what? She saved up her bartending tips and bought it for herself. When I first posted this I was like, “Oh gosh, I can’t tell people. They’ll be mad at me for not being a good budget indie wedding blogger.” But you know what? F* that. I have nothing but respect for a woman who saves up her bartending tips to get something she loves for her wedding day. So ladies – if you have one glorious splurge that you’re paying for – hold your head up. And now, one of the most magical APW weddings ever, enjoy!
We were married June 15th, 2008 at Camp Angelos in Corbett, Oregon.After briefly flirting with an elopement we discussed why we’d want to host a wedding. For us a wedding was not our special day or the beginning of our life together, a wedding was the chance to make a public declaration of our love in front of our closest friends and family. We wanted to honor our heritage and ask for the love and support of our community throughout our relationship and lives together.I wasn’t interested in the traditional “unveiling of the bride” so we got ready together in a tiny poorly lit room together giggling like school children. We then trotted outside hand-in-hand to greet guests as they arrived with lemonade and ice tea. Once everyone was assembled we, all 98 of us, paraded into a clearing in the woods for an intimate mostly standing ceremony under an antique lace chuppa Mike’s dad hung from the cedars.
The ceremony was my favorite part of the wedding- being in the woods created an ethereal feeling, everything happened in slow motion, I felt like I was in an all encompassing bubble of love.Because Mike works in events we were able to DIY most of the reception for free or at cost: the food- cooked and served by friend, Our beautiful invitations were designed and silkscreened by our good friends Lloyd and Cassie Winters, hand made organic chocolate favors (in the shape of woodland friends eeee!) were made by my pal Sarah.
I designed the decor, bouts and foliage- we skipped flowers and opt
ed for maiden hair ferns, moss, wood cookies, terrariums, craft paper and little woodland animal toys.Looking back on our wedding I’m so glad we had a celebration that included everyone we loved that could make it, babies, old folks, new friend, weird family, it was a total lovefest. It was also important to us to be honest about are abilities and stay within our means-we spent 8,600ish and not a dime on credit cards. We skipped all the traditional forced merriment of toasts, dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, cheesy dj’s, etc and instead let folks eat, visit and and make merry as they saw fit.I love hearing peoples stories of the wedding, in addition to seeing us get married everyone has their own special memories. One friend went on hike and her baby saw his first deer. Another group of friends sneaked onto a boat in the lake to cause mischief. Children and grandparents played on the swing sets together… It was a very great day…Photos by His and Her Photography out of Portland

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  • I love classic APW, before everyone got all preachy or bitchy on each other in the comments

  • I'm so glad you re-posted this, Meg! Love this wedding so much, such great advice.

  • Meg

    Yeah. You weren't reading then, were you? The comments were 10X worse. I cracked down, told people who didn't like it to suck it up and go away, and now it's better. Except when I talk about wife.

  • @Cupcake.
    THANK. YOU. (as I sit here and wonder if I am every prechy or bitchy?)

    Anyway, this wedding CRUSHES me every time I see it. The shot with the sunshine shining through the huppa is AMAZING.

  • What is it about forests that is so damn magical and beautiful? You could take any event, plop it into the middle of a forest and BLAM! Instant fairytale. And super fun fairytale judging by the table centerpiece being worn on a guest's head. (Unless that's just her strange and wacky hat, if so, my apologies…)
    And maybe it's just me and my horomones, but that baby….GAH! I just want to grab him and zerbert his adorable baby neck.

    And I'm with you, Meg, on the dress splurge. For one thing, well, LOOK AT IT! Stunning.
    And for another, I tend to stay quiet in regards to how much people spend on weddings. (TEND to, don't always…) If you make buttload of money and can afford it without going into debt, go for it. I'll just be in the corner, seething with jealousy and drinking my hater-aid.

    But then I hear, oh, they only spent $2000! But when you and your husband are starving actors and make less than $20000 a year, $2000 is a big flipping deal. And if they decide to spent 40% of that on a dress, well God love 'em, it's none of my business.

    And I'm also glad you posted about the dress, just so future Team Practical members won't see that and think the $8000 included that dress of awesomeness.

  • Meg – I am really glad you are posting these classics. I started reading your blog, oh, about 7 or 8 months ago, and started worrying about how I was going to pay for stuff, and got all freaked about trying to "live up" to these expectations in magazines and other blogs. I can't tell you how many posts of yours I've forwarded to friends of mine who are also engaged, saying, YOU HAVE TO READ THIS; THIS GIRL GETS IT. Thanks again, so much, for posting.

  • I am loving the idea of marching your nearest and dearest into a clearing

  • I am loving this wedding, and all of the classic APW posts. Something about walking into the forest with all of your friends and family for your ceremony is so ridiculously touching. She looks gorgeous in that dress, and I bet it was worth every drink she served to pay for it. (trust me, I bartended all through school, and those tips are paying for a lot of our wedding as well!)

  • C

    Perfection! This looks/reminds me so much of what I'm planning :)


  • oh god I am in LOVE with the lace huppa floating in the tree tops! Oh seriously!!!!

    This is not the kind of wedding I will be having, because we want a big fat dance party and have a bit of a flare for the dramatic, but man how I love the simple woodland wedding.

    And quite frankly one of my favorite things about this blog, Meg, is that it is the one place that a girl who is not having "the ultimate budget wedding" but also doesn't buy into the "special special princess" WIC idea of a bride can feel welcomed. I LOVE the idea of a simple "budget" wedding with an extravagant designer gown!

  • Wow! I am getting married at Camp Angelos in September of this year and it seems that Summer Camp minds think alike. Glad to know we are in such good company. Lovely post.

  • DJ

    This is beautiful. It looks so romantic and peaceful.

  • This is a lovely wedding, it looks so magical. And thank you for explaining her dress. I bought a dress that is quite expensive in proportion to our wedding budget, but it was one of the things that was important to me. I can understand this bride's desire for her beautiful dress.

  • Hannah

    This was like the second of third post of APW I read and I realized you people were my people. Mad mad love for this wedding.

  • hello!

    I read one of you comments over on the Superhero Journal, and i loved loved loved! what you had to say.

    I totally 100% agree that the blogger world has all of a sudden become all about being the best, proving your the best/awesomest/craftiest/arty person out there.

    And it leaves SO MANY of us feeling completely inadequate, always reaching for some imaginary bar that probably always gets raised the closer and closer we get to it.

    It IS like digital middle school.

    and i hated middle school.

    anyways, loved your blog, and wanted to tell you i loved your comment.

    best of luck to you in the future!

  • ahhh beautiful!! this classic APW is just what I need, now I'm in the home stretch. 3 days away my friends. I could never have gotten this far as calm as I am without APW. thank you Meg!!

  • This whole wedding feels just like that floating lace chuppa – lovely, ethereal, simple, intimate, perfect (such as perfection exists, of course). I love this. And I love that you added more pictures. And I love that you mentioned her Vera Wang splurge (for a dress that also reminds me of the chuppa). These simple, stripped down, classic AW posts are making my week.

  • Willow

    That. was. fabulous. That's all.

    And my new favorite phrase in wedding planning is "forced merriment".

  • Willow

    OMG. Just noticed her Maidenhair Fern bouquet. How perfect and unexpected! It's my favorite fern too. This was inspirational since I live surrounded by national forests.

  • Thank you for the mention of the dress and how she saved up so she could have exactly what she wanted. For me, it's shoes and I have drooled over all the top designers for years.

    So when I got engaged I thought, finally, here is a time where I can feel justified for spending that kind of money on a pair of shoes as I will likely never buy another pair in my life (unless I win the lottery).

    But I didn't want to put it on a credit card. So I saved for months. And when I went shoe shopping, I paid in full.

    Many people don't understand that. And it's hard to not hear them sometimes.

  • Tina

    Is it just me, or do those squirrels on the invites really stand out after the invite give away related to squirrels? Because those squirrels are damn cute too. Just sayin'.