You know those photos in the magazine that show gorgeous little bungalows out over the ocean at some remote tropical island? That is what our honeymoon destination looked like. It was literally seriously straight out of a magazine. The destination was Moorea, which is a tiny little island off the coast of Tahiti - yes Tahiti. It was amazing.

Although we were a little jet lagged when we first arrived, it didn't matter because the sun came up so early in the morning and set so late in the evening that we never actually adjusted to the time zone - except of course to make sure we got to the delicious, complimentary breakfast every morning. The first day we drove around the island checking out local restaurants and finding the best views. The following days we spent the majority of our time laying out on the beaches, snorkeling off our bungalow's small dock and laying around inside our well air conditioned bungalow (it was hot!). At night we would go to the crepes bar (located in the middle of the bungalow docks out over the ocean) where we ate some of the most delicious crepes I have ever had and watched sharks and sting ray swim below us.

We got to stay in Moorea for a whole week, and we never got sick of the beautiful weather and scenery. Our flight home did not end our honeymoon however since we got married so close to Thanksgiving. Dave was able to take the whole next week off as well, so we enjoyed a great stay-cation in Redmond Washington at our townhouse unpacking wedding gifts and visiting with family. Best honeymoon ever.

Retterath Wedding

Our wedding day couldn't have gone more perfectly. The bridesmaids and I arrived at Willows Lodge in Woodinville at 10:00am to start getting ready and enjoyed a relaxed morning of pampering. Meanwhile the groomsmen and Dave enjoyed a home cooked breakfast and Saturday morning football at Dave's dear friend and groomsman's home Josh Loy (prepared by his lovely wife).

We chose to do a first look and photos before the ceremony since we were getting married in the middle of November in Seattle and it gets dark around here in the winter at 5:00pm! Dave cried when he saw me during the first look. It was such a sweet moment that we will never forget. Photos with the bridal party and families was a blast and from there the whirlwind of activity took off.

Some dear friends from our church and my wonderful Aunt Paige showed up early to start putting out the decorations that I had created for our wedding and the bridal party was shuffled off to their respective rooms to await the signal for the start of the ceremony. The ceremony was short and sweet - done by Dave's great friend and pastor from college Kevin Armstrong. I could not have wished for a better message and ceremony. It was beautiful. We are forever grateful for what he shared during our ceremony.

The reception literally felt like a giant party. We held it in a small banquet room and packed it out with all 150 guests who were able to attend. We went way off our planned schedule so that we could spend more time greeting our friends and family. We were especially blessed that so many of our loved ones made the effort to travel long distances to celebrate with us. The cake was delicious, the toasts were heartfelt, and the dance floor was packed! It was the perfect night.

Wedding Video

Our good friend Aaron Grider offered to do our wedding video for us as his wedding gift to us. He was hoping to use our wedding to gain experience so that he could potentially start building a portfolio to break into the wedding videography world. As you can probably tell he is an extremely gifted videographer. It honestly is the same quality, if not better, than many of the professional wedding videos I have seen. We had no idea how wonderful this was going to turn out and it is a gift we truly cherish. Thank you Aaron!

Bridal Shower

My lovely maid of honor and close friend since we were six years old, Casey Otterholt, threw me the most amazing bridal shower I could have ever asked for. Hosted on the back porch of her parent's house in Kirkland in the beautiful Pacific Northwest sunshine we had a great time telling stories, playing bridal shower games, opening gifts and eating and drinking delicious food and wine.

It was so fun to look around my bridal shower and see the faces of friends and family that I had known as long as my whole life to having met them in just the last year. The only faces missing were those of my soon to be family back in Michigan who couldn't make the bridal shower (understandably!).

We played the taboo word game involving cloths pins, which my friend Kaitlin Guild won; the who knows the bride best game, which my mother won; the guess what the bride is wearing game, which my friend Lauren Gauger won; and the toilet paper bride game. Then we opened gifts - which Dave was super excited about because that meant we could finally have silverware and glassware in our townhouse! We were overwhelmed by not only the gifts we were given at the bridal shower, but also by the love we felt from everyone who attended.

Dave joined us towards the end of the party to meet some of the family and friends that he had not yet been introduced to, and to help carry out the haul of gifts. I know that I am extremely biased, but in my opinion it was the best bridal shower I had ever been to and I am so grateful to my friend Casey for putting so much time and love into making it such a special day for me.

Engagement Photos

When Dave and I first started talking about getting engaged and married and our time line, etc, I told him that I was extremely flexible and low maintenance about the planning process except for one thing...we absolutely had to have my friend and professional photographer Kristen Parker photograph our wedding and engagement photos.

I have known Kristen for around 3 years now, and was friends with her back when she just started getting into photography. We even have a few fun modeling session photos from when we ran around So-Do together so she could get some more experience and I could get some awesome free photos of myself. Since then she has only become more and more talented and more and more recognized as a extremely talented professional photographer. Of course I have been following her website iamkristenmarie.com for ages and have always been 100% in love with all of her work so I knew I had to have her photograph our wedding and engagement.

I showed Dave Kristen's photos and he was quickly convinced that she was the photographer for us. Even though we were planning our wedding on a rather tight schedule, because we were having a winter wedding Kristen was free for our wedding date! Hooray! We decided to go out to Discovery Park in Seattle for the engagement session which was so much fun. Dave was a little worried about being awkward in front of the camera at first, but we both were immediately made so comfortable by Kristen that we ended up having an absolute blast.

See for yourself just how talented Kristen Parker is and visit her website at iamkristenmarie.com right now to book her for your next special occasion. She is the best.


Meet The Retteraths

David grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and only just moved out to Seattle after graduating and accepting a full time position as a developer at Microsoft, so his entire family is still back in the Grand Rapids Michigan area. In fact his older brother and wife just bought a house in Kalamazoo and his older sister moved back to Grand Rapids to finish up her medical degree. Since we met in Washington, I of course had never met them.

I was completely convinced that Dave was going to propose in Michigan when we made this trip, but of course he surprised me and proposed a few weeks early, so I got to meet the family as fiancée rather than girlfriend which was so special.

When we arrived we were greeted by Dave's parents Bruce and Linda at the airport and we got to spend the rest of our trip with the two of them, which was such a blast. Dave is blessed with an absolutely wonderful family. We packed so much into the short time we spent there. We went to the botanical gardens nearby with his parents, traveled up to University of Michigan where Dave went to school, visited his older brother Luke and his wife Greta at their great new house in Kalamazoo, and spent hours lounging around the pool and playing board games.

Sadly Dave's older sister Lindsey was abroad during our visit so I wouldn't get to meet her until the wedding. However, Dave's little brother Zach and his girlfriend (now fiancée) Kara who had been on their study abroad, came home one day before our trip ended. Although they were jet lagged, and we were sun burnt and exhausted, we rallied and were able to enjoy the evening and the whole next day together before we had to leave. It was an amazing trip and I cannot wait until our next visit. I am so happy to have them all as my family

Wedding Planning

Soon after Dave and I got engaged we decided together that the high stress environment I was working in as an event planner for the church was too much for the season we were entering into and I decided to quit my job. Of course I jumped immediately into planning our wedding, so I hardly strayed far from the event planning world I had been in day to day while working at the Resurgence.

However, now I got to focus on some of the things that I really love to do, which is to create. The majority of our decorations were hand-made or personally designed by myself with the help of my extremely talented Aunt Paige who lives just a hop, skip, and a jump away from us in Port Townsend. She was someone who's creativity I had always admired so I felt so blessed when she said she was willing to help me with some of the vision of our big day. Some of the special pieces that she gave us for the wedding decor were the beautiful antique buttons and broaches used in the bridesmaids and bridal bouquets, as well as all the antique blue bottles used for table centerpieces throughout the reception space. She even helped us make the beautiful winter-inspired willow swag that hung over the arbor which Dave and I were married under.

I had never pictured having a winter wedding (growing up in the Seattle area I knew that even a summer wedding hosted outdoors could get rained out!), so we were so thankful for my Aunt Paige helping come up with creative ways to use the Lodge style of Willows Lodge Hotel and a winter theme to create our beautiful winter wonderland decorations - without making it feel too much like just straight Christmas decor. Check out the photos in the flickr slideshow to see all that we created to make our wedding so beautiful.