Amanda and Benjamin had a vision for their special day. They wanted to create an easygoing wedding with forest and flowers while integrating Indonesian food and culture to honor the bride’s heritage. They describe their wedding theme as a campfire dance party.
The couple met at Pacific Lutheran University while they were students there. One of their first dates was at Corina Bakery in Tacoma, where they shared a Valhalla brownie. “We served Valhalla brownies from Corina at our wedding,” says Amanda Anuraga.
The couple married on May 30, 2015, at Kitsap Memorial State Park, celebrating with 150 friends and family members. At their wedding, Amanda and Benjamin wanted to convey this idea: “Real love is simple, genuine, fun and playful. A true reflection of love doesn’t have to be flashy and expensive.”
ECO-FRIENDLY: Amanda purchased her dress and veil from Brides for a Cause for only $280, and it needed no alternations. The company gives 50 percent of its proceeds to Wish Upon a Wedding.
The wedding budget of $6,000 meant supporting local, eco-friendly resources whenever possible. A whiskey and gin bar was made from recycled doors. The cups, plates and flatware were purchased on Craigslist after being used in another wedding.
The couple camped at Kitsap Memorial State Park along with family and friends.
DÉCOR: The wedding décor colors were navy blue, peony pink, cream and gold. Benjamin cut logs for the centerpiece bases. “We wanted to integrate both forest and bright wildflowers, so we used cedar branches from my parents’ house and fresh market flowers and lavender from Pike Place Market,” says Amanda. Plus, each table had a different black-and-white picture from various camping, hiking and kayaking trips.
LIVE MUSIC: Ben and his groomsmen arranged an instrumental version of “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. Benjamin started it with a banjo solo. The music built as the groomsmen, one by one, reached the front of the aisle and began playing the other instruments: bass, drums and two guitars. The processional was the opening theme to the movie “Star Wars” (a Monte Calvo family tradition).
“Our first [dance] song planned, unfortunately, did not work on the iPod playlist. (Ben didn’t like the song anyway.) So our officiant and best friend, Mariesa Bus, ran across the dance floor and chose Hall and Oates’ ‘Kiss on My List,’” says Amanda. “It was unexpected and perfect.”
During the reception, Amanda’s “awesome aunts” instigated a double conga line. “Everyone in the log hall joined in, and it was amazing,” says Amanda. “There was a lot of laughing!”
HUMOROUS MOMENTS: Alex, the groom’s brother and best man, performed Bill Pullman’s epic speech from “Independence Day” and then returned to his table. “He never mentioned the bride, groom or weddings at all,” says Amanda.
ENLIGHTENED MOMENTS: It rained the morning of the wedding as the couple was making breakfast on the camp stove. The minute the photographer arrived, the sun came out. After the reception, the bluegrass band that had played at the reception visited the group camp and continued the party around the campfire with family and friends.
FAVORITE MEMORIES: Orchestrating the opening musical number with all the groomsmen was hard because they all lived in different states. The plan was to play the song to start the ceremony and for Amanda to walk down the aisle to the music. “As all our guests started to arrive and I was standing up front all by myself, I began to feel ill with nerves,” says Benjamin. “I ate a granola bar quickly, stuffed the wrapper in my pocket, picked up my banjo and started to play. Luckily, once I started playing and my groomsmen joined me, my nerves left and the song sounded great. My best man discreetly removed the wrapper that was half sticking out of my back pocket during the ceremony, to avoid awkward pictures.”
Amanda says, “I loved the quiet moments: My mom helping with my hair, drinking champagne and getting dolled up with my favorite women in the world, the couple seconds with my dad before we walked down the aisle together, standing at the end of the aisle and watching Ben play his heart out for me. I loved our officiant’s ceremony and how there was a lot of laughter and storytelling. My papa’s speech was a tear-jerker, not a dry eye in the house. My favorite was being able to be surrounded with your favorite people in the world, dancing and showering you with love in the sunshine. Amazing.”
FAVORS: There were two wedding favors. The first was a magnet made of wood from the hedge in Amanda’s parents’ backyard. As a wedding present, the couple’s friends Emily and Kaitlin burnt a heart and “A+B 2015” onto each wooden magnet. “They were beautiful,” says Amanda. The second favor was a packet of seeds for organic edible flowers.
Amanda is attending graduate school in Seattle, and Benjamin is a field and trail specialist with a trail greenway organization. They make their home in Seattle.
This wedding was featured in South Sound Wedding & Event magazine 2016.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Wallflower Photography
VENUE: Kitsap Memorial State Park
CATERER: Waroeng Jajanan
FLORIST: Le and Me Design
CAKE: Corina Bakery
Click on a photo to enlarge.
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