Planning a Sun Valley Wedding
Julie & J. Will Varin
A Sun Valley Wedding Story
Julie Varin and J. Will Varin
Married February 19, 2012
The Valley Club
A California meets Idaho wedding with a little bit of Georgia thrown in—that was the theme behind attorneys Julie and Will Varin’s Sun Valley Wedding at The Valley Club. With a vintage ostrich bolero, homemade hot cocoa in mason jars, cake pops decorated like potatoes, and a groomsmen swing dance party to “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band, it was the details that made this wedding so spectacular.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SUN VALLEY?
I (Julie) learned to ski at Dollar Mountain, and then my family built a cabin in Stanley, so I spent a lot of time in the area when I was growing up. I also lived in Sun Valley after college for a few years, and Will grew up nearby on the Camas Prairie, aka “God's Country.” So the area is special to us individually. After we met, we spent many weekends together in Sun Valley and Stanley, so the area is also special to us as a couple. I love Sun Valley in the summer, but it is such a magical place in the winter---it seemed like a perfect place for a winter wedding.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
We live in Boise. I grew up in Boise and Los Angeles, and Will grew up in Fairfield, Idaho.
We are both attorneys. I work for a federal judge, and Will left a large Boise law firm and founded his own firm, Varin Wardwell Thomas + Kunkel, a few years ago.
HOW DID YOU MEET?
We met through mutual friends. I started working at a law firm with attorneys who were friends with Will. Will and I had met at professional events several times, but did not know each other well. On a whim, I decided to join a co-worker, his brother, and Will on a road trip to Moscow, Idaho for the Boise State/Idaho game. That was the beginning of the end.
HOW DID YOU GET ENGAGED?
We were camping in Stanley one weekend, and we took the dogs on a hike near Stanley Lake. We stopped and had a picnic at Bridal Veil Falls. Will surprised me with a ring, a (half) bottle of champagne, and a proposal. I said “yes.”
NUMBER OF GUESTS?
WHAT WAS YOUR WEDDING THEME?
It was important the wedding reflect our aesthetic as a couple. We had a few smaller themes threaded throughout the wedding, like foods from the states where we had lived, but mostly we wanted it just to be fun, personal and timeless.
ANY SPECIAL TRADITIONS?
We wanted our wedding to feel like a party and avoided many traditions that would interfere with the flow of the evening. Will did wear his grandfather's tuxedo.
SONG THAT YOU WALKED DOWN THE AISLE TO?
Will escorted his mom down the aisle to “Question” by the Old 97's, and a friend played “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve on the violin as I walked down the aisle. Our recessional was “La La Love You” by the Pixies.
SONG FOR YOUR FIRST DANCE?
“Heaven” covered by Brandi Carlile, and our friends from Fairfield joined us for a country swing dance to “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band.
HOW DID THE NIGHT END?
We celebrated with friends and family until the very end, and then The Valley Club sent us off to the Sun Valley Lodge with food from the wedding. We also lit Floating Chinese sky lanterns near the end of the night.
WHERE WAS YOUR HONEYMOON?
We spent a few days in Sun Valley after the wedding. About a month later, we went to Colombia, where we trekked to the Lost City and then relaxed in Tayrona National Park and Cartagena.
WHAT MADE YOUR WEDDING SO SPECIAL?
It may be a cliché, but it is true: having all of our friends and family together to celebrate with us. I went to college in Seattle and law school in Athens, Georgia, and Will went to college in Portland, Oregon, and law school in San Francisco. It meant so much to us to have so many special people from different times in our lives be together in one place. I also have a large extended family, most of whom live in Seattle. It was great so many of them were able to make it to the Idaho mountains in the middle of winter.
WHAT WAS THE BRIDE’S FAVORITE MOMENT?
I loved the “First Look.” I had been stressed, but then I saw Will all my stress went away, and I was just happy to spend a special moment with Will before all the festivities began. We also lit floating Chinese sky lanterns toward the end of the night. It was really cold outside, so the lanterns did not float very well, and I am not sure that fire was such a great idea at the time. However, it was a ton of fun.
One of my favorite moments was also the first look. Another favorite moment was seeing the Fairfield boys and their wives or girlfriends rise up out of the crowd to come join us on our first dance for some swing dancing and watching the rest of the guests’ reactions to the sudden transition from a romantic slow first dance to a party.
D.I.Y PROJECTS? GUEST FAVORS?
Three themes we integrated throughout the wedding were vintage skiing, places we lived, and the law. For our save-the-date, we had a friend and very talented graphic designer create our save-the-dates using a vintage Sun Valley ski postcard. And for food, instead of a sit-down dinner, we had three separate tables with food that represented states where we had lived – gourmet pizzas for California, steak and potatoes for Idaho, and shrimp and grits for Georgia – and for each table we had cocktail napkins with an outline of the state on one side and an antiquated law from the state on the other side.
We carried the state theme to our desserts made by the Sweet Crumb – my favorite were the cake pops that looked like potatoes. We also had a U.S. Supreme Court Reporter re-bound with blank pages for our guest book. As part of the vintage theme, I had a custom ostrich feather bolero sewn. And as part of the ski theme, a friend went to the Gold Mine Thrift Store and purchased skis from the '80s and '90s, and the groomsmen made a “ski fence” that was the backdrop for the photo booth. Finally, Will's sister, mom and aunt put together Fairfield hot cocoa mix and homemade marshmallows in mason jars for our guests.
TIPS FOR SOMEONE PLANNING A SUN VALLEY WEDDING?
Hire a local wedding planner and vendors, trust the professionals, and relax and have fun! Also, I think it is helpful to create a basic wedding website with travel and lodging information for your out-of-town guests.
WEDDING PLANNER: Taylor Sturges of Taylor'd Events
FLOWERS: Taylor'd Events
HAIR/MAKEUP: Kristen, former owner of Tanzanite Salon in Boise / Sabre Knie, owner of Chrysalis Makeup Studio in Boise
LINENS: That's Entertainment
DRESS/SHOES: White by Vera Wang / Silver Hunter Boots for outside and silver flats for inside
GROOMS ATTIRE: Grandfather's tuxedo, heirloom studs and cuff links by Turnbull and Asser
BRIDESMAIDS/GROOMSMENS ATTIRE: The bridesmaids selected their dresses from a color palette, and the groomsmen wore dark suits with silver and black ties selected by Will.
MUSIC: DJ Lenny Joseph
FOOD: The Valley Club
DESSERT: The Sweet Crumb
INVITES: Holly Holmquist
PHOTOGRAPHER: Two Bird Studio
VIDEOGRAPHER: Two Bird Studio (video below)
OFFICIANT: Judge Mikel Williams (a family friend)