This Wildflower-Filled Wedding Weekend in Sun Valley, Idaho, Started with a Gingham-Themed Welcome Party
After spending their first year of a business school MBA program in a shared study group, Blair and Charlie knew each other well—but were just friends. "We spent up to five hours a day for our entire first year of school in a tiny study room with four other students doing case studies and completing our course work," says Blair. "It was not glamorous or romantic, but we had a great group and bonded quickly." During their second year, Charlie invited Blair to join him at a University of Virginia basketball game. "I actually wasn't sure it was a date, but secretly hoped it was," she says. "We've been together pretty much ever since."
In November of 2018, the couple was living together in San Francisco when Charlie proposed over a romantic dinner at home—and then surprised Blair with a party at their favorite bar, where they were joined by friends and family who flew in from as far as Alabama. "It couldn't have been more special," says Blair. "I love a good surprise, and he pulled it off without a hitch."
Blair had always imagined getting married in Sun Valley, Idaho—her "happy place"—and she and her mother began scouting venues as soon as the couple got engaged. "I have been going there with my family my whole life, spent my childhood summers and so many holidays there, and I love it more than anywhere else in the world," she says. "We could not believe that one of the places we looked at was the first place we ever stayed when we visited Sun Valley in 1993—a property with an old restored barn and a few cabins surrounding it. We looked at a few other places, but knew it had to be here." Instead of a formal theme, the décor and style for the 237-person event, held on September 14, 2019, were inspired by the couple's personality—as was the couple's welcome party, which paid homage to Charlie's Alabama roots. The couple had Blair's mother to thank for many of the events' details ("My mom, Shelley, is my style role model," says Blair. "She has the most incredible taste, and she helped tie together all of my favorite things."), as well as the team from Stefanie Cove and Company. "They were so amazing to work with—the most creative and talented, and also the most organized and hardworking, group of people," shares Blair. "Stefanie is genuinely so kind and wonderful and has become a dear lifelong friend."
Blair and Charlie kept their invitation suite from Jonathan Wright and Company simple and chic with gray letterpress script on natural deckle-edge paper and blind-embossed custom floral sketches on the insert cards. "We used colorful vintage postage to complete the suite and add a little color!" says Blair.
The festivities truly began on Friday, September 13, when the couple's welcome party took place. The event featured "some hints of the South," says Blair, to highlight Charlie's Alabama roots. The bride's gingham dress previewed the picnic-inspired décor.
Brown gingham tablecloths cascaded down upgraded picnic tables, which were surrounded with cushioned benches. On the menu? Southern BBQ, of course, complete with a pig roast.
On the Table
On the tabletops, overflowing wicker baskets hinted at the wildflowers guests would see the following day.
The following morning, Blair stepped into her "traditional and ethereal" Oscar de la Renta wedding dress, which charmed her from the moment she first saw it. "I knew that I wanted a dress that was traditional and bridal without being over the top or glitzy—which isn't me and would have clashed with our mountain backdrop," she says. "The dress was one of the first two I tried on. I actually loved both of them and had a hard time deciding. In the end, this dress' gorgeous shape and amazing, delicate, handmade flowers won me over."
Under the guidance of her stylist, Cynthia Smith (who helped the bride source and style all of her wedding weekend outfits; she weighed in on the bridesmaids' ensembles and kids' clothes, as well), Blair added a silk tulle veil from Jin Wang that included the same floral embellishment from her gown. "It was my favorite accessory by far," she says. "There is something so special about wearing that veil! You know you'll never get to wear it again, and it immediately feels nostalgic."
Emily Thompson Flowers created a bouquet of white garden roses, wildflowers, and foliage foraged from local fields. "I loved that it wasn't perfectly composed and just felt naturally pulled together and loose," says Blair.
Blair asked designer Laura Vassar, a family friend, of Brock Collection to design custom bridesmaid dresses. "She helped choose a muted, cream colored fabric with a light floral print," says Blair. "I loved them so much!"
She loved their bouquets just as much: "They were so precious," says Blair. "They were small bundles of local greens accented with berries."
Men in Blue
Field of Dreams
Blair and Charlie met privately for their first look before the ceremony. "In an unassuming field near the bike trail in Sun Valley, I trudged through the dirt—and bugs!—and tapped Charlie on the shoulder," says Blair. "We both started crying just a little bit, and laughing, and kissing. It was one of the best memories of my entire life."
Before the Altar
At their ceremony, held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the couple kept their floral arrangements understated, choosing to feature several custom tree structures behind the altar to mimic the chapel's natural surroundings. Before Blair's father walked her down the aisle to "The Prince of Denmark's March," the two shared some time together alone. "We spent the 45 minutes before the wedding in a tiny "baby room" at the back of the church, with the windows concealed," recalls Blair. "It was hot in there but a really special time for my dad and I. We talked about so many memories and just felt so excited."
Saying "I Do"
The religious service included a reading from Mark Twain and one from the Bible; after exchanging vows, the newlyweds left the church to Edward Sharpe's "Home."
Blair and Charlie followed local tradition by pulling a rope to ring the church's bell after the wedding—one of their favorite moments of the day. "Our church had this massive old bell out front, and when you get married there, you get to run outside and ring the bell," Blair says. "The expressions of joy on our faces say it all—we were finally married! And we were so happy!"
Except for a few private portraits captured during golden hour, Blair and Charlie spent the evening with their guests. "Taking portraits before was well worth it, because I love the cocktail hour at weddings!" says Blair.
Inside the reception tent, minimalist white draping and richly-colored wood flooring set off the long dining tables and floor-skimming white linens. Centerpieces ran the length of the tables, and were meant to look like a meadow of blooms growing up from the center.
In the Meadow
The couple mixed wildflowers, berries, and a variety of greenery and foliage on each table, creating an eye-catching display that looked effortless and unfussy. Simple white plates, silver flatware, and white napkins allowed the focus to remain on the floral arrangements and custom-illustrated menu cards. The dinner—which involved salad, beef short rib, and vegetables from CK's Real Food—was "simple and so delicious," says Blair. "Late-night food included all of Charlie's favorites—pigs in a blanket, sliders, a bacon tower, and grilled cheese. Oh, and one of my favorites—tiny espresso martinis!"
Forever in Bloom
Place cards deviated from the normal calligraphed paper card—intricate paper flowers from The Flora Smith were placed at each spot, instead (they doubled as keepsakes).
Hook, Line, and Sinker
For their first dance, the couple put together a choreographed routine to "Fishin' in the Dark" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. "It's always been one of our favorite songs as a couple," says Blair. "We really enjoy the outdoors, and this song brings together Charlie growing up in a small Southern town, and me growing up fishing in the mountains with my family. Plus, it has the catchiest, sweetest tune. We had a lot of fun practicing and performing it for our friends and family."
One of the newlyweds' favorite parts of the day came when Charlie's brother and Blair's sister delivered their toasts. "They both gave the most heartfelt, hilarious, tear-jerker speeches we've ever heard. Of course, we are biased, but they were so good," says Blair. "The cherry on top was when they united the wedding party and broke out into a rendition of 'Say a Little Prayer' from My Best Friend's Wedding, with the band playing in the background. The entire group joined in!"
Photography, Corbin Gurkin
Ceremony Venue, St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Event Planning, Stefanie Cove and Company
Catering, CK's Real Food
Flowers, Emily Thompson Flowers
Videography, Satellite Weddings
Stationery, Jonathan Wright and Company
Cake, Hank and Sylvie's
Music, Party Crashers
Rentals, The Ark; Bright Event Rentals
Bride's Gown, Oscar de la Renta (ceremony); Naeem Khan (late-night)
Bride's Veil, Jin Wang
Styling, Cynthia Smith
Hair, Karina Vega
Makeup, Kerry Malouf
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Laura Vassar, Brock Collection
Groom's Suit, SuitSupply
Ties, Liberty London
Lighting, Lighten Up
Paper Flowers, The Flora Smith