It's been said not to mix business with pleasure, but after Drew Swanson interviewed Ashley Schulz for her very first job out of college, the pair couldn't help but cross that line. "Drew asked all the questions, and I must have had all the right answers," Ashley laughs. Of course, she got the job. And one year later, she got her first date with Drew.
Four years after that, Ashley accepted another offer from Drew: This time, she agreed to be his wife. The couple soon began to plan their September 26, 2015, wedding in Kamas, Utah, a destination for almost all of the couple's 180 guests. Because of that, the couple knew they wanted to capture the true essence of Utah and show all of their family and friends why we love the state so much. That meant hosting an outdoor wedding was a must, and a rustic-yet-timeless look emerged. Joey Kennedy Photography captured every detail, which you're bound to want to copy for your own big day.
Ashley's trumpet wedding dress featured delicate head-to-toe lace and was only the third dress she tried on. "I could just tell it was my dress," she says. "It felt perfect." She finished her look with a light veil and a belt.
The bride's mother tied a piece of her own lace wedding dress around Ashley's white rose and succulent bouquet. "It was my favorite touch of the entire wedding," she says. "That one detail got a lot of tears."
Ashley's 'maids donned floor-length gowns from Donna Morgan with mismatched necklines. But the long dresses were more than just pretty — they had a practical component, too: "I wanted them to be warm since our wedding was outside in September," says the thoughtful bride.
The very light mint hue of the gowns paired perfectly with the bridesmaids' baby's breath bouquets.
Drew and his groomsmen dressed in slate-grey suits paired with light green ties and a succulent boutonniere. For a pop of color, each guy wore red bandana socks, a gift from the groom that was nod to the couple's outdoor wedding.
The ceremony was held beneath a giant tree on the grounds of the High Star Ranch. Guests were seated in rows of white chairs, with the breathtaking mountain backdrop behind them.
Programs tied with twine — another rustic touch! — gave guests all of the information they needed about the nuptials. Ashley's father walked her down the grass aisle, which was lined with metal lanterns and galvanized buckets filled with baby's breath. The couple chose a whiskey barrel topped with a fresh floral arrangement as the backdrop for their "I do's."
The couple didn't write their own vows, but scoured the Internet until they found examples that resonated with them. Then, Ashley and Drew recessed the aisle as the bride's cousin sang "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" by Meghan Trainor.
Ashley and Drew's cocktail hour featured a spread of cheeses and meats, fresh fruits, and sliders, plus signature hard-lemonade cocktails served in outdoor-appropriate mason jars. After filling up on the pre-reception grub, guests could find their seating assignments on chalkboard-inspired signs that were done up with a twinkle-light design.
Candles, lanterns, buckets of baby's breath, and mini succulents dotted tables topped with ivory linens, all beneath the glow of café lights. Tables were numbered with calligraphed wood blocks, while each guest took home boxed filled with chocolates as their favors.
Ashley and Drew's chairs were identified by two wooden Mr. and Mrs. signs.
The couple offered guests an almond and vanilla wedding cake. But the real sweet treat were donuts the couple brought in for an additional dessert.
The newlyweds danced the night away, beginning with their first dance to "Bonfire Heart" by James Blunt. "Our first dance is something I will never forget," Ashley says.
Reflecting on their wedding day, the bride urges other couples to not sweat the small stuff. "People won't remember the details," she says. "So, relax and have fun during the process! Incorporate your significant other. Have date nights where you cook meals, drink wine, and plan. We wish we would have done more of that."
Venue: High Star Ranch || Bride's Wedding Dress and Veil: Vwidon || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair & Makeup: Vivian Makeup Artist || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan || Wedding Bands: Kay Jewelers || Florist: Tulips & Thyme || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Music: DJ Dolph || Catering: Done To Your Taste || Rentals: Alpine Event Rentals || Favors: V Chocolates || Videographer: Jared Wortley || Photographer: Joey Kennedy Photography
Want more inspiration just like this? Then check out another couple's rustic celebration in the video below.