Though Erin Lapsansky and Bryer Barmore went to elementary school together in Ferndale, they didn’t really get to know each other until they were both done with high school.
They started dating in 2008, and stayed together while they went to separate colleges. Erin went to Gonzaga, and Bryer went to the University of Idaho, so they were only about an hour and a half away from each other over those five years.
“I proposed before we left for grad school,” Bryer says. “Erin’s family has property we go camping at all the time. So I carved ‘Will you marry me?’ into a tree there.”
They both went on to Colorado State University, where Erin studied horticulture and Bryer studied to become a child family therapist.
Getting engaged just before going to grad school was intentional, Bryer says, to give the couple a few years to save for the wedding. But scraping together enough money meant foregoing fun outings, skipping trips home for Christmas break and even donating plasma, Erin says.
Erin’s family has property we go camping at all the time. So I carved ‘Will you marry me?’ into a tree there.
The two tried to be as thrifty as they could with their weddingitems. Free was a good price.
Because of Erin’s background in plant study and because they both love good food and drink, their theme was to make their wedding into a “botanical gastropub.”
They married on Sept. 10, 2016, in a family friend’s vineyard (Fat Cat Vineyard) near Ferndale.
For centerpieces, they had white bottles decorated with scientific botanical drawings, holding flowers that Erin and Bryer grew. Ferns decorated the aisle.
They bought $1 wallpaper books and cut banners out of them and sewed colorful paper paint samples (the ones you get for free at paint stores) together to make streamers.
The chairs for their head table were a hodgepodge of furniture found for free on the side of the road or for $2 to $3 at garage sales.
They rented beautiful tables from Rustic Events and had a “Harry Potter” style setup for the reception, with one long head table and shorter tables in front of it.
When it came down to the food and drink, they went all-in.
They crafted a signature cocktail: a blackberry rhubarb bourbon smash, made from berries and rhubarb that they had picked.
There was plenty of beer on tap, with four kegs, including one brewed by a friend of theirs.
We talked about it, and we wish there was another event you could have where you could invite a lot of people, and feed them, and receive presents in return, but there’s not really.
Oh, and their cake? It was a “cheese cake,” made of cheese wheels stacked on top of one another that the couple ordered from Twin Sisters Creamery in Ferndale.
“We like cheese so much we had to have two cheeses on the side, too,” Erin says.
Even with all that cheese, their 120 or so guests happily made the whole “cake” disappear.
A family friend catered their reception, making an eclectic mix of the couple’s favorite pub food from when they were both in college, including Cuban sandwiches, mac-n-cheese, sweet potato fries, collard greens and Indian chicken skewers.
Toward the end of the night, the couple also had Pizza’zza pizza food truck come make food to order for their guests, to help soak up some of what people had imbibed. (They also had Bryer’s cousins shuttle folks back to their hotel safely.)
All told, the couple said they had a great time with their family and friends, and couldn’t have pulled it off without them.
“We talked about it, and we wish there was another event you could have where you could invite a lot of people, and feed them, and receive presents in return, but there’s not really,” Erin says with a laugh.
By: Meggan Carrigg Davidson at MCD Photography