Sierra Owen and Derek Eliasen first met online over a shared interest. The two acquaintances eventually decided to meet for coffee, even though Sierra was nervous to meet someone from the internet for the first time.
“He walked in very dressed up and seemed so proper,” she describes. “It was kind of intimidating. Luckily he’s actually a cozy, calm person and I started to see that side when he asked if it was okay to put his arm around me for the first time.”
After living together for a year-and-a-half, the couple decided to take the next step and get engaged. The proposal was such a whirlwind that it almost didn’t happen. When the custom engagement ring arrived, Derek was so excited that he opened it in front of Sierra right away, and it was still inside its case when he got down on one knee.
“It was like walking into the garden wedding I’d dreamed of since I was13.”
Planning a Wedding with Elite Events
Sierra was in charge of the wedding planning process, and immediately set out to find the perfect wedding planner. She knew what she wanted, as she had been dreaming about her wedding day since she was a kid. Sierra ended up planning her wedding with Elite Events, who helped in bringing every detail to life.
“Hannah was ALWAYS available for questions and was so helpful in finding a way to get what we wanted without breaking the bank,” says Sierra. “I was mostly taking care of the planning with Derek checking in to make sure he still liked it. One thing he asked for was ‘more brown – what he meant was wood tones! We ended up sending Hannah a picture of our coffee table to show off Derek’s tastes and what he’d like to see. There were only three dining tables in the state that worked with what we wanted! Thank god for Hannah tracking these things down.”
The Ultimate Micro-Wedding for Ten
Sierra always thought she’d have a big wedding, since she has a large family. However, due to Covid, the couple had an intimate gathering with eight guests and no wedding party.
“Our bride and groom were thrown many hurdles as they began to plan their wedding due to Covid-19,” says Hannah, the couple’s wedding planner. “But instead of letting Covid put any kind of a damper on their special day, they pivoted in a major way and decided to forego the large wedding and instead have the ultimate micro-wedding. They invited only their parents and siblings to celebrate this special day with them in the Seattle area, where they had met and fell in love. The ten of them had a magical evening celebrating their union outside under the stars and a canopy of soft hanging flowers.”
Since the couple were legally married before the wedding, they enjoyed being able to forgo the paperwork and simply enjoy their day. They also weren’t required to have a legal officiant, so Derek’s dad officiated the wedding ceremony for an extra special touch. The ceremony was live streamed for all the family members who could not attend the wedding due to the Covid head count regulations and precautions.
“As with so many couples, Sierra and Derek's families were going to be meeting for the first time at the wedding,” Hannah adds, “so it was very important for them to hold an intimate event that felt very purposeful and intentional. They wanted each guest to walk away feeling excited about the new additions to their families – as well as for all the newly wedded adventures the two of them would have together.”
A Wedding Reception at Willows Lodge
Sierra and Derek selected Willows Lodge for their wedding venue, which is a small winery in Woodinville, Washington, only 25 minutes from the city of Seattle. Willows Lodge is known around the Pacific Northwest for its fabulous food and wine. Being a hotel, they were able to easily accommodate their whole guest list and keep everyone on-site so their families could have more opportunities to get to know each other better.
Although their head count was significantly reduced, the bride and groom still wanted their wedding reception at Willows Lodge to feature a showstopping design. They loved the idea of whimsical touches, monograms and flowers gracefully hanging from the ceiling. Simplicity and thoughtfulness were always factored into their wedding design, as well as emphasizing the natural garden beauty of the venue.
“I would relive our reception if I could,” the bride states. “It looked like a magazine. Printed menus were a touch I knew I REALLY wanted. Even though we were outside it felt cozy and inviting, like nothing in the world existed except our little table. Lavender is really important to our relationship and we still have some of the dried lavender from the wedding. My MIL still talks about our custom cocktails and how much she loved the Aviation. The wisteria ceiling is one of my favorite parts; it was like walking into the garden wedding I’d dreamed of since I was13.
Afterwards we ended up taking home so much wedding cake, even though we got the smallest size we could. Derek refused to let it go to waste, and he ended up eating so much chocolate cake over the next week. One of the ideas we had was instead of a guest book, each guest would give a short video message for us to watch throughout the years, with the idea that we would show it to any future children. Some of the messages made me happy cry.”
In lieu of a honeymoon, the newlyweds bought a house and added a cat to their family. They also celebrated their one-year anniversary by returning to Woodinville.
“It was perfect,” says Sierra. “They had similar food available, so we were able to almost re-experience the dinner together, just the two of us.”
Venue: Willows Lodge, Seattle, WA; Planning & Event Design: Elite Events, Seattle, WA; Floral Design: Oak and Fig Floral, Seattle, WA; Linens: Nuage Linen; Cake: Lady Grey Custom Cakes, Seattle, WA; Dress: Rime Arodaky; Bridal Salon: The Dress Theory, Seattle, WA; Groom’s Attire: J. Hillburn;
Photography: Ryan Flynn Photography, Seattle, WA