As an awkward, pre-pubescent girl in middle school, Kasey Penski couldn't quite catch the eye of cool, handsome classmate Nick LeClercq. By the time the pair graduated from college, however, their roles were reversed, and Nick couldn't steal enough glances of his lovely former admirer. "I would go to her house almost every day to hang out with her brother Aron in hopes of bumping into her," he confides. After several attempts to gain Kasey's attention, Nick asked Aron for permission to pursue her. "I realized that I wanted to propose to Kasey the minute she agreed to go on a date with me," Nick says. Two years later he still felt the same way, and the couple got engaged on a trip to Snoqualmie Falls.
Inspired by Kasey's love for art as well as Nick's fascination with building and construction, the two sought out a venue that would demonstrate characteristics dear to them both: a refined country ambience, and artistic workmanship. After almost an entire year searching for the perfect place to host their nuptials, the couple was finally introduced to Carnation Farm, a sprawling 817-acre wealth of land formerly owned by Nestle. The historic estate contained the fresh, rustic elegance and lush greenery that made it an ideal match for the couple's vision.
On the day of the wedding, Kasey was aglow with excitement as 13 of her closest friends and family members helped prepare her to walk down the aisle on time -- no small feat since the bride had a reputation for being behind schedule. "My mother used to always tell me, 'You're going to be late for your own wedding some day!'" she recalls. The bridal party wore fashionable black dresses and carried romantic nosegays of pink sweet peas, while the bride carried an airy bunch of peonies that complemented her feminine Monique Lhuillier wedding gown. The exposed wooden framing and towering timber walls of the estate's Hippodrome building were softened by a ceremony aisle lined with fluffy hydrangeas set in earthy clay pots of alternating heights. The non-traditional ceremony was officiated by Kasey's brother Aron, who incorporated readings and prayers from different cultural and spiritual traditions, including Quaker, Navajo, Buddhist, and Christian prayers, along with poetry and literature. "We both wanted the most intimate and emotional experience possible," explains Kasey. "Aron did a wonderful job -- it was spiritual and moving," adds the groom. Excerpts of the couple's personal vows were printed in programs so that guests could easily follow along as Kasey and Nick recited their special words in unison.
For the festivities that followed, tables were dressed in luminous, apple green linens while a mixture of pretty vintage vases filled with garden flowers of peonies, sweet peas, lilies of the valley, roses, and hydrangeas served as centerpieces. Much thought went into the menu and the way in which it was served. "We wanted the food to be part of the experience," says Kasey. Dinner was arranged to reflect the style of a cocktail party, with bite-sized dishes that required minimal silverware so that guests could continue to mingle comfortably. A feast of fresh, local, organic food was offered, including scrumptious kabob stations with lamb, chicken, and vegetable assortments; a fondue station with goat cheese and smoked Gouda; a "tree" of martini glasses filled with shrimp cocktail; a wok station equipped with a professional chef preparing shrimp, dumplings, and delicious yakisoba stir fry to order; and a station of mini pizzettes. "Our food was fun, fresh, and simple -- just what we wanted!" exclaims the bride. In lieu of a traditional cake, Kasey and Nick chose to delight their guests with one of their favorite sweet-tooth cravings: cupcakes in a variety of flavors.
The elegant simplicity of the night continued as guests gathered around rustic lounge areas of unique wood-stump tables, mid-century furniture, soft lighting, and luxurious pillows and rugs. "Everything felt intimate, cozy, and formal at the same time," Kasey asserts. Lavender pashminas wrapped in satin ribbon were set out for guests as they retired for the evening at the farm's quaint lodges. "Our wedding weekend was like a retreat for all of our closest loved ones," says Kasey. "People kept telling us that they enjoyed themselves and enjoyed being part of our vision."