Erin & Eric

Sept. 10, 2012 at The Wayfarer on Whidbey Island

It all started with a wink on—and a story about a stray chicken. Ask Erin West, an emergency veterinarian, and she’ll tell you it was the amusing tale of rescuing a runaway chicken while out for a walk with her dog that charmed Eric Johnson, an account manager at MBI, into asking her out. 

Betting on a love connection, Eric, 37, made reservations at the Dahlia Lounge restaurant downtown, in case cocktails with Erin, 36, whose handle included the word “dahlia,” went as well as he hoped. A few months later, on a Memorial Day weekend getaway at Suncadia Lodge in 2011, Eric made an impromptu proposal, and to seal the deal, tied a raffia ribbon from the in-room menu around Erin’s finger until he could replace it with the real thing.

For their big day, the couple envisioned a small, laid-back affair with their closest friends and family. The Wayfarer, a historic 5-acre farm on Whidbey Island owned by husband-and-wife duo Kelly and Rich Russo and repurposed by them into a wedding venue three years ago, proved the perfect spot for a no-fuss fete. After seeing the space for the first time, Eric knew “we could be casual yet make this very special.”

The couple wed before 61 guests on a sunny September day in a simple ceremony inside the barn, a rustic-chic space with whitewashed walls and airy, vaulted ceilings. After the “I do’s,” the newlyweds left the ceremony to the rockin’ tunes of Van Halen’s “Standing on Top of the World.” Cocktail hour kicked off the reception, and guests, with tasty IPAs from Mukilteo-based Diamond Knot Brewery in hand, roamed the grounds as freely as the resident alpacas. The more goal-oriented got their game on by pitching horseshoes and playing bocce ball.

To corral the revelers, Erin and Eric struck the old-fashioned chuck-wagon dinner bell, and everyone convened at a 10-foot-long communal table, pulling up mismatched wooden chairs to feast on curry lamb meatballs, roasted-garlic smashed potatoes and penne pasta with wild mushrooms, served on an eclectic collection of vintage china. Guests kept up a lively banter late into the evening by the light of whimsical candle-lit Mason jars suspended from the trees.

The day was filled with sentimental touches, from homemade apple, strawberry, blackberry and peach pies baked by a local Whidbey Island farmers market merchant to a needlepoint sign of the bride’s and groom’s initials embroidered by the farm’s owner. And it was unexpected moments, such as Eric’s improv when the ceremony stopped to allow Erin to recover her forgotten flowers and a spontaneous first dance to Ella Fitzgerald’s “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” that made their event truly special. “One of the things we didn’t want was to have an overly scheduled wedding,” Erin says.

After a night filled with dining and dancing (including Eric’s boogie to N Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye”), the couple departed the next morning for a honeymoon in Hawaii.

Bridal accessories: Vince Camuto shoes, Nordstrom; veil, I Do Bridal | Bride's apparel: Maggie Sottero, Bride’s Choice, in Waltham, Massachusetts | Cake/desserts: Bayview Farmers Market | Caterer: Green Apple Events & Catering | Decor and venue: Chairs, china, table, signage and table numbers, all from The Wayfarer | Florals: Lola Event Floral & Design | Groom's attire: Zegna suit, Armani tie, Prada shoes, Nordstrom | Hair and makeup: La Salon Bella | Photographer: Jennifer Wohrle | Rings: Ben Bridge

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