Our Dreamy French Countryside-Inspired Wedding

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I'm a Certified Health Coach, longtime blogger, and host of Elizabeth Eats on YouTube. In addition to writing recipes (I love to eat!), I'm a strong believer that life is too short to settle for anything less than living your best life.


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Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023-49

Today I’m thrilled to share with you the magic of our wedding day, inspired by the charm and romance of the French countryside.

For me, the day was pure of joy and elegance. We were surrounded by the lush lavender fields and plush greenery as we exchanged vows around 4 pm in front of 40 of our immediate family and closest friends. It was exactly what M and I had envisioned.

Location: A Dream Setting Amidst Lavender Fields

Woodinville Lavender: Woodinville, Washington, about 25 minutes northeast of Seattle

Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023-17

Woodinville Lavender is a lavender farm right here in the Seattle area. Its rolling fields of lavender blooms and beautiful light fragrance offered the perfect backdrop. It feels like a picturesque scene straight out of a French countryside painting.

Woodinville Lavendar Farm Wedding

The owner, Tom, is a former aerospace engineer, and he and his wife now run and maintain this property. When you book with him, he serves as a high-level organizer, and you know who’s great at organizing a wedding? An aerospace engineer! We highly recommend Woodinville Lavender.

Photographer: D’Arcy Benincosa Weddings

Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023

I met D’Arcy about 5 years ago and we were instant friends. We’ve traveled all over together and met up many times for long conversations about life and business. She is the definition of a great friend, and we were so honored to have her shoot our wedding. She mostly teaches other photographers luxury photography at this point and takes on a few limited events per year, so reach out to her if you want to book her (we HIGHLY recommend her!).

She shot many of the photos of film, including the formal portraits below.

Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023-41

Film offers a natural soft look, so no filters are needed. These photos are unedited, and when she asked if we wanted the edits, I thought, no! I prefer these raw, just as they were shot. Because film softens everything anyways, I wanted to leave them untouched, hair whispies and all.

I know a lot of people have questions about my husband! He’s an executive at one of the big 5 tech companies and doesn’t post online. We met in 2019 and hit it off quickly. I couldn’t have asked for a kinder, funnier, more supportive partner. We make a great team, and daily life with him really is a dream.

Back to the photos, I love the old-timey look of this formal portrait…

Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023-14

This was a second wedding for both of us. I don’t think either of us really thought we’d ever get married again, but after we met, it became clear pretty quickly that we would definitely be getting married.

However, we both knew it was a bad idea to rush things. It was imperative to us to go through a few seasons and cycles together before getting married. We were together two years before we got engaged, and were engaged for a little over year.

We really enjoyed the process of dating, growing together and becoming engaged. No rushing ever felt necessary.

Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023-12

We did a few traditional things (ha, like getting married in the first place) the cake, the dress, the flowers, etc.), and we did some non-traditional things like helping each other get ready and walking down the aisle together.

Here we are heading towards the ceremony…

Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023-15

And walking down the aisle together…

walking down the aisle together

My 82-year-old uncle, the eldest in my family, served as our officiant.

My two stepdaughters served as our wedding party. We let them choose if they preferred to sit and watch or stand up with us, and they both immediately said they wanted to stand with us (happy tears!).

When we got engaged, my older step-daughter asked, “Can I be the maid of honor?” (thinking we’d probably say the role is taken) to which I said, “Sure!” She was like, “Omg really? Cool!” The younger one was just glad she wasn’t a flower girl and was very happy to take the title of bridesmaid (“Not even Jr. Bridesmaid!” she remarked) 🙂

Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023-18

My dress was off-the-rack from Samila Bridal in West Seattle. I loved the silhouette and the detail of the delicate detachable cap sleeves. The teardrop earrings are from Nordstrom.

Elizabeth Rider M Wedding copyright Elizabeth Rider photos by Darcy Benincosa 2023-22

We decided years ago that we wouldn’t post the girls’ faces online, mostly for security but also because we both believe that all people should have control over their online identity.

I do want to share a few of the details, especially this one of how wonderful their hair turned out (they have great hair!), thanks to Salon Maison in Seattle. A Salon Maison stylist, along with my own hair stylist, Kati at AndBlonde, came to the house that morning to help us get ready.

On the left, a few sprigs of baby’s breath from the florist, on the right, this headpiece from Amazon (a way better price than the ones at the bridal store).

I asked our florist for big, beautiful bouquets of whites, blushes, and greens…

The four of us exited together and walked down the path waiting for guest to join us for the champagne and sparking cider hour…

We kept the guest list to immediate family and a few close friends. One of my favorite photos in the gallery is this one of Susie Moore and Julie Solomon running at us after the ceremony with champagne toasts.

And my best friend since elementary school, Teal Darkenwald, was there as my defacto maid-of-honor taking care of me all weekend.

After the ceremony, we had a lovely champagne and appetizer hour (actually 2 hours) to mingle with everyone.

The only major hiccup we had was that my dad and sister, who live in Montana, got a virus the week before and couldn’t fly from Montana. My mom was out of town so miraculously didn’t get sick and was able to come; here we are FaceTiming my dad right after the ceremony.

I was sad not to have my dad, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew from Montana, but my cousin held an iPad, and they luckily were able to watch the ceremony and more—technology can be a blessing!

I’m very close to both of my sisters so I felt lucky that my other sister could be there with her family; here we are at the welcome dinner the night before. It felt weird without my dad and middle sister, but it was one of those things I knew I couldn’t change, and I still felt supported by them. My welcome dinner dress was from Lulus.com.

Elizabeth with sister and mom Wedding Photos

After with champagne hour, we enjoyed a wonderful 4-course dinner under a tent in the middle of the lavender field, followed by an incredible dessert bar and dancing all night.

We used The Ravishing Radish in Seattle and recommend them—they took excellent care of us.

The elegant cake and dessert table were from Seatown Sweets. We highly recommend them!

We asked for the cake with this fluted frosting, and the florist delivered an extra box of flowers. D’Arcy, with all of her incredible experience, styled the cake (she is so talented!).

So one thing I learned is that vendors have minimums in peak seasons, which makes sense. We had a small wedding, so we went all out on the cake and dessert table, along with a late-night snack of mini grilled cheese with tomato soup shooters and truffle popcorn to hit those minimums.

The flowers are all by a local florist.

Instead of opting for a (high-priced) wedding florist, I went to a small shop in a strip mall—they were thrilled to get the business. They showed up the day of and set everything up, we were very happy with the entire process.

I bought the gold vases on Amazon and dropped them off the week before. It was a great way to save a little and we let our local guests take them home. I kept a few for holidays, too! (See everything I bought for our wedding on Amazon here or at the bottom of this post.)

The venue even has yard games to set out for guests to enjoy.

One of the best things we did was get a Polarid guest book on Etsy, it was so fun to take it home with us and have memories right away.

Woodinville Lavender and the vendors took care of all of the setup and clean up. A week before the wedding, I dropped off a few items like this photo frame I bought for the bar menu. It was a great price and I ended up buying two more for our house.

Something we loved about Woodinville Lavender is that we could bring our own beer, wine and drinks. We live in Washington wine country (the same latitude as France) and served local reds and whites from Rotie Cellars (our favorite!) and A’maurice Cellars along with Veuve Clicquot French champagne.

I found this cute white clutch on Amazon to hold my lipgloss and a few things. I also found an ivory shawl for me and blush pink shawls for the girls if it cooled when the sun went down.

And surprisingly, these Badgley Mischka flats! I needed flats for the grass, and these were lovely.

Here are the things I bought on Amazon and would buy again:

And we can’t forget our goodest girl, Maple!

The venue allows dogs, but we knew she’d be jumping on us all night. She was the star the night before with this flower collar (our florist made it!) at our welcome dinner, then stayed home with the pet sitter on the day of the wedding.

BTW – We paid full price for the venue and all vendors (it was all very worth it!).

Both of us loved every moment of our wedding. It was a whirlwind, but I remember just staying present and soaking in all the love and joy.

We’re now settling into our home and enjoying the decorating phase of our massive home renovation. Follow along on Instagram for updates!

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Hi, I'm Elizabeth

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