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Love of nature drives venue choices for Olympia couple

Catherine “C.J.”  and Sydney considered carefully the venues they wanted for their wedding and reception. They chose a woodsy feel that was very intimate for their wedding at Woodard Bay in Olympia on July 7, 2015.

The relaxed wedding offered stunning views of the water and woods. “Our ceremony reflected our love of nature and our relationship with Washington . . . and the places we love to connect outdoors,” explains Sydney. “Woodard Bay showcases everything we love about the Pacific Northwest: forest, diverse animals, birds, privacy, Puget Sound, old-growth trees, history and more.”

While the two brides walked on the Woodard Bay trail with their photographer, they felt peace. “We were laughing and singing and dancing in the forest without a soul around,” says Sydney. “We could hear and see the peace of nature surrounding us and catching the early joy of the morning in the sunlight, anticipating our ceremony ahead. . . . The bliss and beauty of Woodard Bay is truly unmatched. . . . It is a secret hideaway that we felt we ‘discovered’ because each time we are here it always feels private and secluded. Our ceremony perfectly captured that exact feeling, where we were saying our vows before nature, God and family, yet it also felt like we were the only people on Earth.”

“I like to imagine these places as Lewis and Clark saw them, without any other human influence,” says C.J. “Woodard Bay is a place where you truly can picture the isolation that explorers could have experienced.”
They held their reception a few weeks later, on Aug. 20, 2015. It was a fun-filled, family-friendly event at the Jacob Smith House. They loved the unique, warm, vintage feel of the house.

“Our reception highlighted Olympia (the city where we fell in love) and allowed us to contribute to our community by utilizing a space that told the history of our city, while giving back to the city,” says C.J. “Finding a venue that was operated through public means was absolutely our first choice, because we knew that the funds from our reception would help provide future community space to our neighbors.”

To reflect their love of art and creativity, they offered a variety of activities for children and adults at their reception. They offered a variety of outdoor games. Unfortunately, after a very hot, dry summer, it rained all day on their reception date; however, their indoor venue accommodated their outdoor games, including corn hole.

ECO-FRIENDLY CHOICES: The couple used biodegradable bamboo forks and plates for dessert. They created nearly all of their décor by upcycling or reusing crates, Mason jars, mirrors, frames, boxes, fabric and cardboard. The materials were found or bought used or were trash materials that Sydney repurposed.

GUEST FAVORS: Guests received Lego minifigures that they built. Favor bags were decorated with custom stickers marked “C+S.” The couple also gave small bottles of water with custom labels saying, “Love wins, CJ + Sydney Pearce #pearcedbyheart.”

Sydney is a student, nanny and stay-at-home mom, and C.J. is an Air Force reservist working in occupational health and emergency management. They make their home in Olympia.

PHOTOS: Tekoa Rose Photography

CEREMONY VENUE: Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area

RECEPTION VENUE: Jacob Smith House

CATERERS: Tacos California food truck and Legendary Donuts

BAND: Blue Laces

Click on a photo to enlarge.

Published on December 26, 2016.

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