A Rustic Coffee-Shop Inspired Wedding at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center in Kenai, Alaska

Bradi Anderson (21 and a art instructor) and Jed Cress (22 and an electrical lineman apprentice) met through mutual friends. Just a month after they started officially dating, Jed got a job offer to work for Samaritan’s Purse as a carpenter in Port Alsworth. However, there are no roads connecting Port Alsworth to the rest of Alaska, no cellphone service and no promise of internet. After being there a year, he came home and proposed on the beach in Nikiski, Alaska. “It was late, stars were out and the moon was red,” Bradi remembers. “It was incredibly windy that night, so we were wrapped up close in a blanket, talking and then he proposed. It was so dark that I couldn't see the ring, so I totally thought he was joking around the first time. He had to repeat himself, poor guy.” Bradi and Jed wanted their wedding to focus on their relationships with the people around them. Loving the cozy, intimate feel of a coffee shop, the couple used it as their inspiration. They kept their wedding affordable by foregoing dinner and instead serving Seattle Mountain Coffee and DIY desserts—cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies, cakes—made by their friends and family. All of the furniture, decor and dinnerware were borrowed from family and friends, and the extra big tables and chairs were provided by the Nikiski Community Recreation Center. They draped Christmas lights from the ceiling to make the space feel smaller. “It made our reception feel homey and lived in,” Bradi says. They completed the night with open mic entertainment where family and friends shared their talents on stage. “We wanted to extend our love and appreciation to all of our guests by creating a night that they would remember, not because of the fancy cakes, top notch band or catered dinner, but because of the connections they made with the people surrounding them.”