A year after Celeste and Ted first met as coworkers at a marketing company in Salt Lake City, he invited her to join him on a trip to Kauai with his brother. "I thought he was joking, but he emailed me to make sure I knew it was a real invitation, so I went!" says Celeste. She spent three days on the island with Ted, and the pair shared their first kiss on Christmas Eve — right before she jumped on a red-eye flight home to spend the holiday with her family. Three years later — to the day! — Ted arranged a scavenger hunt that started at Celeste's family's cabin, complete with notes and clues that led her around Midway, Utah. "It ended with a ten-minute snowshoe hike up to a clearing. I followed Ted's footsteps, but had no idea how long I'd have to hike before I found him!" she laughs. After a quiet walk where Celeste reflected on the life she and Ted had built together, she found him with a bottle of champagne and a custom engagement ring in hand.
The pair knew that Celeste's family's cabin would be the perfect location for their June 27, 2015, wedding. Her parents built the cabin while she was in high school, and it was both a labor of love and the setting of so many fond memories. "We loved the idea that our kids will be able to grow up in the same place we got married," Celeste says. With a year and a half to plan (and intimate knowledge of the venue), the couple got creative with ways to fit 115 guests in the space and made updates to the property, like building a bridge to fit the head table. Their wedding had a relaxed, homey vibe that was natural, romantic, and incredibly personal. But don't take our word for it — check out the gorgeous photos by David Newkirk below!
Celeste started dress shopping with the assumption that she'd end up with a whimsical lace design, but none of the dresses she tried felt quite right. Then the consultant brought over a silk chiffon Jenny Packham gown with embellished straps and an ornate open back. "My mom was speechless and my sisters started to cry. I knew I'd compare every other dress to it, so I bought it!" says Celeste. A soft updo, accented with crystal pins, complemented the soft, feminine design.
"I love first looks," says Celeste. "Ted and I had one two weeks before the wedding, at a historic barn in Park City where we took some amazing photos. I loved his reaction, and knew I wanted a similar moment with my dad. Before the ceremony, everyone cleared out of the cabin and my dad waited for me at the bottom of the stairs. It was such a special moment!"
The ceremony took place in the trees alongside the cabin, with the altar set up above a rock wall and guests seated on the lawn below. Hydrangeas and roses decorated an arch that was made of fallen trees from around the property — hand-built by the couple and Celeste's parents!
A whimsical wedding in the woods wouldn't be complete without a sweet team of flower girls and ring bearers. The youngest, Mason, started to cry when he saw all of the guests, but the older ring bearer was there to comfort (and shush!) him.
Ted and Celeste wrote their own vows, borrowing sections from different sources. The bride wrote the ceremony, which included a reading from Kahlil Gibran and a prayer by Marianne Williamson.
Celeste's bridesmaids wore J.Crew dresses in dusty shale hue. "I chose a color that would complement the setting, but not wash them out or blend in too much with the background," she explains.
The women's full bouquets of roses and hydrangeas were tied with blush and ivory ribbons. A collar of greenery helped the blooms pop against the soft dresses.
Handwritten escort cards were pinned to strands of twine with miniature clothespins.
Even with a small guest list, the couple had to get creative with how they used the space. One solution was to build a bridge in front of the waterfall on the property, the perfect spot to set up a head table. Organic centerpieces combined dahlias, roses, hydrangeas, and soft greenery.
At each guest's place, a small nest was filled with five Jordan almonds, symbolizing health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity — a traditional nod to the bride's mother's Italian heritage.
Over the months leading up to the wedding, Celeste and Ted collected High West Whiskey bottles to use for their centerpieces. "Our friends helped us drink the whiskey at innumerable social gatherings!" says the bride.
The three-tiered confection, roughly frosted with buttercream and topped with fresh flowers, had layers of lemon, vanilla, and chocolate cake.
Guests were seated at long farm tables decorated with fresh blooms and arranged throughout the lawn. The family-style meal included grilled elk tenderloin, beet salad, and bottles of wine hand-selected by the bride and groom.
After the wedding, the pair headed to Europe for their honeymoon, visiting Amsterdam, Italy, and France. Says Celeste, "My favorite moment of the day was after we'd finished taking pictures by the altar. Ted had everyone head down to the reception without us so that we could have a few moments together, just the two of us." The couple embraced their individuality and the things they both love, the perfect way to create a wedding that really feels like the bride and groom.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Bride's Family's Cabin || Bride's Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham || Hair & Makeup: Lunatic Fringe || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Attire: Beckett & Robb || Wedding Bands: J. Brooks Jewelers || Florist: Nature's Own Fleurish || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Music: Laughing Gravy || Catering: Snake Creek Grill || Cake: Midway Country Corner || Rentals: Diamond Rental || Photography: David Newkirk Photography
Did you love this rustic? Then watch another couple say I do at a gorgeous barn venue in the video below.