Even though Britt + Brad are from California, a wedding in either of their hometowns was a huge priority. Their lakeside nuptials captured the best of country rustic (Britt’s a country girl at heart!) with some nautically-inclined modern touches. I love how their big day feels like a meshing of their families and the new life they started on the west coast (and y’all tell me you don’t love those bright orange boutonnieres!). We’re serving up big hugs to Mandy Mohler, who shared this day with us.
We both felt very strongly about not doing a first look. We wanted the first time we saw each other to be when I was walking down the aisle. I’m so glad we did it that way. When the church doors opened, the sun was set perfectly that you could only see the silhouettes of my father and I at first. It was very dramatic and beautiful!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress.
Since I live in California and my family is back in the Midwest, my mom, sisters and I met in Chicago for a girl’s weekend. My dress was the first one I tried on at the third store. I must say, I almost went with the very first dress I tried on. There is something about seeing yourself in a wedding dress for the very first time that just takes your breath away. I’m so happy I continued looking though because I couldn’t love my dress more. It was perfect for both me and the setting of our wedding. It was a mermaid fit, organza with some gorgeous lace detail. I wish I could wear it again, I love it that much. Maybe I’ll put it on and just frolic around our living room for fun.
How cute are these little guys? Boys in seersucker always look like perfect Southern gents. And those teeny boutonnieres! Britt + Brad made a great fashion decision here, I think!
Did you write your own vows?
We didn’t write our own vows, but we both wrote notes to each other the morning of our wedding. My maid of honor and his best man made the delivery. I wrote Brad a letter expressing my love and admiration for him and vowing to never wear granny panties! He presented me with a flip-book that he drew with a sweet note at the end that brought both a tear and a laugh right before I walked down the aisle.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony?
Our first reading was from the Book of Genesis. The second reading was from the first Letter of Saint John.
I had several pieces of “something borrowed.” It was extremely important to Brad and me that our reception felt very “us” – it oozed Britt and Brad! One of the things that bonded us from the beginning was our strong family values. We are both very close to our families and wanted to be sure to include several unique heirlooms and other meaningful details from our backgrounds. My grandmother passed away the year before we were engaged. Thankfully, Brad was able to meet her just months before she passed. I wanted to add a part of her to our ceremony, so I asked that her rosary be wrapped in my bouquet. One of my favorite moments was taking my bouquet in my hand and looking down at the rosary to find my late grandparents initials and wedding date engraved into the rosary. No one in my family realized the rosary was engraved, so it was a beautiful discovery to make on my own wedding day. Another special “something borrowed” was our cake server. It was the server my parents used on their wedding day and it was engraved with their names and wedding date. My “something new” were the pearl earrings Brad gave me on our rehearsal dinner night. I wore suede blue pumps with a white lace dress to our rehearsal dinner, which served as my something blue.
Brad and I both love to be near the water, so the decision to have our reception near a lake was arrived at pretty quickly. We wanted our wedding to resemble that of our ideal day — a summer day spent on the lake surrounded by family and friends. Although we live in California, we both felt it was important to hold our wedding near our families. The hardest part was choosing between my home state of Ohio and Montana where Brad’s family lives. After he took me to visit his favorite summer spot, Whitefish Lake, I was immediately on board for a Montana wedding. The location took my breath away and completely resembled our vision. As a total country girl at heart, I definitely wanted to incorporate some of those elements into our wedding. I was careful not to over-saturate the design with an abundance of mason jars and chalkboards but rather create a hybrid of country rustic and modern elegance. Tying the raw wood tables, rustic chandeliers and crisp white furniture with the natural beauty Montana has to offer created a relaxed, airy feeling.
Describe your wedding flowers.
I choose beautiful square wood tables with burlap wrapped centerpieces boasting an array of colorful ranunculus, dahlias, delphinium, hydrangeas and kangaroo paw. Our amazing florist, Cara at Mum’s Flowers captured our vision and color palette so perfectly. Hammered metal chargers, varying heights of mercury and glass votives, and photos of sentimental Los Angeles locations that served as our table names completed our table-scape. Crisp white lounge furniture paired with the rustic tables added a modern touch to the country feel and really popped off the lake.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them.
Our prelude music was “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.Even though our ceremony took place in a Catholic church, we wanted to add some modern music. The prelude was just the place to do it! “I’m Yours” is such a beautiful and happy song. For the wedding party processional, we played “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” I walked down to Canon in D. Our recessional was to Trumpet Voluntary. The opening song to our cocktail hour was “Toes” by Zac Brown Band (Such a feel good song and a great way to kick off the party! We also printed some of the lyrics to this song on our cocktail napkins). The introduction of the bridal party was “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida. Our first dance was to “Crazy Girl” by Eli Young Band. Brad and I love this song and it felt very “us.” The father-daughter dance was “I Loved Her First” by Heartland. Years ago, before I even met Brad, my dad and I were driving in the car together and this song came on the radio. He looked at me and said, “I want to dance to this song at your wedding one day.” As we danced, my dad sang every word to me through the tears. It was quite emotional! The mother-son dance was “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Montana is known for huckleberries, so we went with an orange cream cake with huckleberry fruit and vanilla cream filling. It was delish! My mouth waters just thinking about it!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day?
Brad and I had decided that in order to save some money, we would wait until our first anniversary to purchase my wedding band and use my engagement ring during our ceremony instead. After the priest had blessed the rings, Brad slipped both my engagement and my wedding band on my finger. It was a well-kept secret that only my mom and the best man were in on. (Jason, our best man, was careful to cup his hand while the priest was blessing the rings so that I wouldn’t see the wedding band). I was completely surprised and immediately teared up. It was such a sweet moment.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding?
Don’t sweat the small stuff! You will be so blissfully happy on your day that those little stressors won’t even matter. If you are having a destination wedding, determine how many days in advance you want to arrive. Got that day in mind? Okay, now add one extra day to that! The travel nightmares we endured prior to our wedding taught us that! Let’s just say three re-routed flights, a rented car, a four-hour drive and two days later, we finally arrived in Montana.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story.
(From the bride) My mom and my sister-in-law both told me when you find the one, you’ll know. I didn’t believe it until I met Brad. Everything with us clicked from the very beginning. It took me less than six months to realize he was the one. We actually met a couple of times through mutual friends about eight months before we started dating. It wasn’t until months later, when the timing was right, that we realized there was something very special between us. Our first date was more of a marathon date. Lunch turned into a matinee movie, which led to a sunset walk on the beach in Malibu. Neither of us wanted the day to end so we decided to have dinner and go for ice cream too! About six months after our first date, it was my turn to meet the family. We made the long road trip from LA to Montana to spend Thanksgiving with the Johnson family. Still loving each other after an 18-hour car ride is a good sign I’d say! Seeing him with his family and in his element, I knew this was the man I was going to marry. I fell more in love with him during that trip than I ever thought was possible. We are so alike in many ways but also so different in others. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Brad is much less of an open book. Brad is very laid back and has a creative spirit whereas I am more “type A.” I keep Brad organized and he keeps me from taking life too seriously. Whenever I’m stressed, Brad will do or say something silly to put a smile on my face. I know Brad will keep me young at heart even when I’m old and gray. He is my very best friend. He loves me at my best and worst. He is my safe place, and makes everything just little bit better and brighter. (From the groom) I never expected to meet someone special while I lived in LA. The LA adventure was mainly just for a diverse work experience and to enjoy some sunny SoCal weather. But, just over a year after moving here, I met Britt. As soon as we started dating, I knew she was the one for me. We complemented each other in so many ways the more and more we got to know each other. It seemed that everything that was dear to me — family, friends, and faith — were equally important to her. And as we’re always in an ever-evolving relationship, I feel loved and challenged by her to be a better, stronger, and more thoughtful person as every day passes.
Tell us all about the proposal!
Brad had been traveling for work for the last four months. Thankfully, his company flew him home on many weekends, but it still made for a long, lonely four months apart. When his out-of-state project was finally over, Brad planned something special for us for his first weekend back. He told me he wanted to rent a luxury convertible for the day and cruise the Southern California coastline. That alone sounded fun to me! Little did I know all that he had planned for the weekend. The night before our little road trip, Brad told me what I should pack for our getaway. I was pretty excited because I didn’t even know we were staying overnight! As we started our drive that gorgeous Saturday morning in July, my mind started racing as to where we could be going. For a moment, I thought we just might be headed to the airport to fly somewhere, but then that exit passed so I started brainstorming other possibilities. As we started nearing one of my favorite resorts in Newport Beach, I thought there was no way that’s where we were going, but sure enough! Brad says the look on my face when he turned into Pelican Hill’s entrance was priceless. When we opened the door to our gorgeous villa, there were champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting for us. We then walked down to the beach where Brad got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. It was a magical and perfectly planned weekend. I am definitely the planner in our relationship, so I was pretty proud of him for pulling this one off!
When did y’all get married?
August 25, 2012
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding?
Our favorite detail of the wedding was:
It is so hard to pick just one! Our escort card display was pretty amazing. My talented hubby handcrafted a small wooden rowboat from which we hung the escort cards. It was about 3 feet tall and sat on our entry table. The table also included photographs of our parents on their wedding day, a Polaroid camera, a wooden guest book and an old German suitcase. Our guests really enjoyed the interactive guest book station.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we faced was planning our wedding from afar. We only made one trip to Montana to pick our location and meet with vendors. All the planning was done from California. It was a challenge, but we would do it again in a heartbeat!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding?
Our vendors were truly amazing. We feel very blessed to have had all of them be a part of our day. Mandy Mohler, our photographer, created such a fun environment for our photo sessions. Our guests said she felt like part of the family. Our DJ was a huge hit. The Party Store pulled together our vision with their gorgeous furniture and decor. Tim Lannaghan, our Banquet Manager at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, was an absolute delight to work with. He is exactly the person you want in charge of your reception. He is calm, accommodating and always has a can-do attitude. We could really go on and on about how great he is. Without him, I don’t know that our reception would have been as perfect as it was! We want to give a huge thank-you to all over our vendors who made our day so special.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?
We are enjoying married life and looking forward to lots of travel before we hear the pitter patter of little feet! We are planning a trip to Europe for next summer and hope to buy our first home sometime next year as well.
Photographer: Mandy Mohler Photography | Videographer: Ben Watts | Planner: Britt Johnson | Ceremony Venue: St. Matthew’s Catholic Church | Reception Venue: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake | Florist: Cara at Mum’s Flowers | Wedding Cake: Miss Patti Cakes | Caterer: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake | Rentals: The Party Store | Lighting: The Party Store | DJ: John Schultz with Mobile Beat Productions | Special Details: Brad Johnson with Iron Fusion Laboratories, Escort Card Display / Custom Gift Bags / Woodworking | Bride’s Gown: Enzoani | Paper Products: Jason Johnson (groom’s brother) at Prime Incorporated | Bride’s Veil: White Satin Bridal | Bride’s Jewelry: Nadri | Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: Ashley at Reecia’s Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Nine West | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nordstrom | Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Bracelets – Giles & Brother, Earrings – Marlyn Schiff Jewelry | Groom’s Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew | Additional Vendors: Ring Bearers Attire – Children’s Place, Hats – Baby Gap, Bow ties – Me and Matilda