Wedding Planning in a Small Town: Fairbanks, Alaska

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to plan a wedding in a small town? Combine that with being in a state that might as well be considered a small town, and you’ve got Alaska. Narrow it down even more and you’ve got Fairbanks, Alaska.

Many people consider Alaska to be an amazing spot for a destination wedding. I would absolutely agree with you. We are SO excited to share our state and our town with our family and friends. But what brides who do no live in Alaska often end up doing is getting married in the very over-priced wedding destination known as Anchorage, Alaska. When we began looking around the state to decide where we wanted to get married, we couldn’t believe how much places charged for services.

We definitely wanted to be able to plan our wedding in our own comfy town but are definitely discovering the challenges of a small town. Here’s a few of our fun adventures.

  1. Most vendors come by word of mouth. Many people do not have websites (which I consider to make you a legitimate business and a very good, low-cost business investment) and depend on either word of mouth or social media (aka Facebook) for their incoming business.  This can also mean more legwork to find services you need.
  2. There aren’t a lot of options for each type of service. This often translates to “we don’t have to act professional or do that great of a job.”
  3. Response time is relative. Meaning many people in the wedding industry here also function on Alaska time. If you don’t know what Alaska time is, we are far behind and far slower than the rest of … well, anywhere. It typically doesn’t bother me much, but I feel like when you’re running a business, you shouldn’t be functioning on Alaska time.
  4. What’s a contract? Sometimes, it’s your job to make sure a vendor contract is in place. Many people are a little too “go with the flow.”
  5. You have to ASK. Things you think would come normal with working with a venue, may not. So you have to ask (“can we do a tasting, do you have a portfolio, can we have a tour…”. Its much like the contracts.
  6. Some people you will contact or work with are just..quirky. I feel like that doesn’t need a lot more explanation.
  7. Plan to have some meetings off the beaten path. Many vendors have shops out of their homes and their homes might just be in some sketchy places off the beaten path. Living here as long as we have, we are accustomed to this, but we occasionally giggle when we pull up somewhere and think “can you imagine if we didn’t live here?”
  8. Traveling is inevitable. Not everything I’ve needed has been in Fairbanks and the “big city” calls for some things like wedding and bridesmaid dresses.

Now for the things we appreciate (I might still be debating if the tradeoff is worth it):

  1. The quirky people (not the flakey) are indeed quirky but often wonderful at what they do and care about giving you great work.
  2. You can negotiate anything and everything.
  3. They are just as flexible with us. Sometimes weather doesn’t permit us making it out to a meeting to sign a contract, and they aren’t going to give away our date because of it.
  4. The people we work with are Alaskan and show it. They care about us and our special day because that’s how Alaskans are.
  5. We get to share our home with our friends and family! What is greater than that? It became a determining factor for us when we chose where we were going to get married. As weird and quirky as Fairbanks is, and as much of a pain it continues to be in planning a wedding, it is a our and we get to share that! Even the “rustic…” (when I say that, its kind of a stretch) feel of our venue truly is not just Alaskan – but very Fairbanksan and really, I just love it.

 

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We’re Engaged!

That’s right, you read the title correctly. I am finally engaged! But really, I shouldn’t say finally because the timing is just right. So often we use finally in our sentences as if to say “its taken forever and my patience is running out…” for life hands us everything in the its correct timing. My upcoming posts will explain more (wink wink).

So… the engagement! Oh my! Oh my! How did he pop the question? After recently graduating from USC with my Master of Social Work (MSW), my partner took me out for a nice dinner at Lavelle’s. At dinner, he gave me a present to celebrate my success in graduating. I opened it and it was a beautiful stemless wine glass with an etched sea otter. He said “I combined your two favorite things – wine and sea otters.” As I went to put it back in the box, he said “wait, there’s more. Keep digging in the box.” So I pulled out tons of newspaper and found a small, round, plastic case maybe half an inch thick. I picked it up and it held… a beautiful ring! I looked up at Scott and said, with tearful eyes, “what is this?!” and he of course said “will you marry me?” Of course, of course! The ring is a beautiful gold band that belonged to his great grandmother. I admire it everyday. It is so beautiful, simple and fitting to me and to us as a couple!

Now we are around 2 1/2 months into our engagement and busy busy planning for our summer 2016 Alaska wedding. It is so exciting! We have much of the big things done, which is exciting. But planning a wedding in the small town of Fairbanks, Alaska? Talk about crazy! But planning our wedding has been fun and I’ll share more as we go – which includes where I do and don’t recommend going if you, too, want to plan your wedding in our small little town in Alaska.

2015 Tour de Cure RIDE for Diabetes!

It is that time of year again, readers!!

This year, I’ve decided to team up with my graduate school and ride with the USC School of Work! We have created teams across the nation to ride together in spirit and raise money for diabetes! This year, I have a bigger goal and I’ll be riding twice as far! I am working on surpassing my goal and shooting to raise $750!! This year, I’ll ride twice as far as last year to thank everyone for their donations and do the 100k in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure cycling event on May 30th here in Fairbanks, Alaska! Diabetes touches so many of our lives. PLEASE share this on your own blog, though your email and on your social media sites! Whats its going to hurt to do a little sharing for a fellow blogger?

Why am I riding?

For my community and the many neighbors, friends, and consumers that I work with every day that deal with Type I and Type II diabetes. I have been personally touched by diabetes – having loved ones who’s diabetes has lead to serious medical conditions including heart attacks and heart surgery. I thought to myself, what if I could work towards preventing this? Community education and prevention is close to my heart, no matter the topic. I want the people around me that I love and care about to be able to live happy and healthy lives and know how to take care of themselves. These are the people I am riding for!

What’s my goal & Where does your donation go?

I’m trying to fundraise at least $750 (thats right!) for the American Diabetes Association! Donations go towards:

  • Funding research for a cure
  • Community-based programs education programs
  • Diabetes prevention information
  • Advocacy for those living with diabetes
  • Public awareness events

Go here to my Personal Page and Click “Donate Now” to make a donation of ANY amount for my ride! Even $10 makes a difference!!! You can make a donation by credit card or paypal. If you’d like to send a check made out to the American Diabetes Association instead, please let me know! 

Fall Cycling in Alaska

Week ONE of graduate school classes down. I just took a new position as a Prevention Coordinator at a new agency. I start in another week and I could not be more excited! I worked probably 70 hours this past week, so I planned to take this weekend to do some homework and get in some running and riding. Well, Friday night had different plans. I ended up with the 24 hour stomach bug going around and spent all day yesterday resting in a different, un fun way. Today, I got to watch the beautiful fall leaves falling and the extremely warm fall temperatures as I caught up on schoolwork and continued to recover. So, I thought I would share some pictures from the past week of great weather and the one beautiful fall ride I did get in.

I also convinced to join Instagram, since I do love photographing so much. Follow me @akgirlruns

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Happy Fall! Get out and ride, run, or just have fun! 

K-Christina EPIC Alaska Road Trip 2014

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Well, the summer here in Alaska is flying by. In fact, its been the rainiest summer (I am pretty sure ever) in Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula is surely enjoying all of what should be our weather. BUT, last month I got to enjoy 2 weeks with my wonderful best friend Kristina, who came from Ohio to explore Alaska with me. How wonderful it that – I didn’t have to leave the state to have such an incredible trip? I got to show off what I call my backyard. That is something you’ll learn about Alaskans. We call this great land – the Last Frontier – our backyard. I can’t wait to find time to share the adventures, and give some advice on where to go for all of you fellow travelers planning trips to Alaska in the future. But for now, here’s a video to give you a glimpse into our AMAZING trip. The quality is a bit low – since it is set up for mobile devices.

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