Yes, it’s really taken me an entire year to FINALLY blog about our wedding. But, it seems to me there’s no better time than our first anniversary to share all the little details and memories with you all! If you missed it, we first revealed a peek at our wedding photos on Martha Stewart Weddings a few months ago. Then, last week, Jen at Green Wedding Shoes sweetly shared many more of our photos and details, so if you missed it, you should head over there for a lot more backstory and resources on our big day.

I’m here to share my favorites with you and give you a little insight as to how it all came together!

Most people will tell you that their wedding day is the best day ever – and yes. It’s true. But for me it wasn’t just because I was marrying the person I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with. It’s also because that day is the day you are surrounded by the people you love most in your life, who are there 100% for you. To lift you up, support you, laugh and cry with you, and make sure that everything goes as perfectly as possible. It really is a day that is all about YOU. And the loving energy is amazing.

roche harbor san juan island | coco kelley wedding

We were married at a resort on the San Juan Islands in Washington called Roche Harbor. We chose it for the location: An idyllic, historic spot right on the water in one of our favorite places to visit. I loved the idea of our guests having to board a ferry (I’m obsessed with ferry boat rides) to join us for the weekend, and it really made it feel more like a destination wedding.

Honesty hour: we also chose it because they had a blank-slate reception room that had just been remodeled and lots of items that came with their wedding package that would save us from paying insane amounts of money to get rentals to an island. Stuff to pay attention to before you sign a venue contract, people! I’m so thankful I spent a season as a wedding planner in my 20’s.

I also loved the resort itself for its summer camp-esque charm, like the cabins where the boys got ready…

And for the variety of areas around the grounds that felt like everything from an English Garden to Roman ruins, harbor, and of course, many wooded areas.

an old limestone quarry sets the backdrop for wedding portraits at roche harbor resort in the san juan islands | coco kelley

Ok, let’s talk details! First off, my dress. Now, I won’t act like I scoured the world (or even flew to Manhattan) for the perfect dress, but I will say that in my search, finding a wedding dress within a reasonable budget that fit a shorter, curvier woman who prefers a classic silhouette, doesn’t want to look like she’s wearing lacy lingerie, wants something with details that don’t drown her out, and requires some support in the (ahem) chest area is close to IMPOSSIBLE.

Initially, almost everything I tried on was a disaster. I quickly realized what kind of dress was actually going to work for me and started my search over. I visited my friend and dress designer Elizabeth Dye in Portland to discuss the options for doing something custom. I wanted to start from scratch – I really did – but I was so nervous about it. I had too many ideas, details and decisions to make and not enough time to do it all in. So, we did the next best thing. I found a Pronovias dress off the rack that had most of the shape I wanted, and Elizabeth got to work. She adjusted the waistline, added that gorgeous appliqué fabric, and – my favorite detail – created this tulle ‘cape’ that fastened through little clips make from gold flowers we sourced on Etsy that she custom made. It was perfect.

We did a whole post about my rings here, but I’m not sure I ever talked about what I ended up with. This is one of the bands I selected – a pave that perfectly matched the engagement ring (which I designed) but in rose gold as opposed to the platinum that we used for the engagement ring. The other band is a little more old fashioned looking and in platinum, so I swap them around depending on my mood and style that day.

The florals were a big thing for me. I guess I felt like they’d end up really helping to set the tone, especially in our reception venue. Thankfully, my friend and florist for the day, Cozbi Jean Hultz, knew exactly what to do. I trusted her so much that I never asked for a mockup of a single bouquet or arrangement. And she surprised me on my wedding day with the all-white bouquet (we had talked about doing some golden yellows in there), and she was totally right about it. The bridesmaids got their own miniature versions. (If you’ve ever been a bridesmaid than you’ll appreciate the fact that I specifically wanted them to be small. Those things get so heavy to hold through a whole ceremony!)

This is our attempt at the ‘Vanity Fair’ style portrait. I love my bridesmaids so much for totally nailing it on this one. Also, I let them choose their own dresses and while it took a while to coordinate them all together, it was worth it.

The ceremony took place in the courtyard in front of our reception venue, and I loved it other than the fact that I totally underestimated how hot the reflection of sun against stone could possibly be.  We had two of our best friends marry us – a bridesmaid and a groomsman – and they were amazing.

After the ceremony, the courtyard turned into the cocktail hour, and Cozbi re-set the fireplace into a seating area that guests could use as the sun began to set. Yes, they actually lit a fire in there once it cooled down enough! It was super cozy.

When people ask about my wedding palette, I have a hard time explaining it to them, other than saying that it was romantic and soft. The main color that I wanted was a golden ochre tone that we used in the reception florals, the boutonnieres, and the linen napkins at each place setting. Then came a bit of blush and soft grey-blues. But it was all very subtle and natural. I also used certain elements – like this stripe – only outside for the cocktail hour. I wanted to sneak a stripe in somewhere, and this felt like the place to do it.

creamy white and yellow linens in this romantic reception | coco kelley wedding

Inside, the tables felt romantic and light. I made sure to use a creamy white – not bright white – in the linens for warmth. My friend Brandy of Marabou Design went above and beyond for me with not only the place cards, but designing the custom crest for the menus, signage for the dessert table, and lots of other details.

Cozbi was so much more than a florist for this wedding, she helped me design the whole thing and executed our vision the day of. She took my one million ideas and requests, edited them down, and somehow figure out exactly how to make it all come together.

To keep things light (and save on budget) she did only a few arrangements on each table, but added height and organic texture with single stems of huge sweet peas and garden roses, and it might have been my most favorite floral detail of the night.

That’s my mama, being the cutest (and happiest!) I’ve ever seen her. With my pops of course. I mentioned I had a few small regrets for the wedding, and by biggest one is that I didn’t have anyone video tape the speeches. My dad gave the BEST speech. He’s in his element when wooing a crowd. My sister and I were in tears!

We snuck away during that perfect golden hour for a few more photos, and they all ended up being my favorite. If you can do this at your wedding, I highly recommend it. Not only is the light just so damn perfect, but I think you can tell much much more relaxed we all were by this point! Behind us is the original hotel, which you can still stay in. Isn’t it a charmer?

We had a dessert table with several cakes, but my favorite dessert might have been this table devoted to the perfect, individually wrapped amaretti cookies that I remember eating as a child every time we would visit my Italian grandparents. They just happened to match our color palette perfectly. Guests were taking fists full of them on their way out the door!

And there it is – every little bit of our wedding that I could pack into a post! I had such a hard time editing this all down and it’s still long! If you guys have any questions at all about our big day, feel free to ask them below. A lot of the resources and vendors are in the other articles as well.

I know that people always ask for bits of advice when it comes to this big day, so here’s mine: Hire the people you absolutely trust, even if they cost more. Cozbi probably saved the day 20 times over and I didn’t even know it because I trusted her implicitly to do her job. Also, the DJ! We were so lucky to get Michael from The Flash Dance to DJ our wedding because he happened to be in the PNW on vacation with his family, and we happen to be connected in an old friends-of-friends kind of way. He made the party THE BEST. And, obviously photography is a huge one. Because as the end of the day, all you’ve got for memories (besides the ones in your head!) are those photos!!! And a good photographer will capture so many moments that you didn’t even see happening. I can’t thank Katie Parra (and her second shooter, Katie DeLorme!) enough for the beautiful images we will treasure forever. I hope you’ve found some inspiration in them.

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