Pacific Coast Weddings has won first place for best special sections website at the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association awards for 2022.
Pacific Coast Weddings is the go-to source for Pacific Northwest brides and grooms looking for local venues, vendors and wedding advice. For all those parts of wedding planning that may feel a little stressful, Pacific Coast Weddings is here to help.
Stay tuned for more award-winning content!
If you’ve set a fall date for your wedding, you’ll want to make sure you are taking advantage of all the special offerings of the autumn season. From colors that compliment the changing leaves, to autumn drinks and food, make sure the season brings out the best in your wedding.
- Of course, one of the most fun parts of fall weddings is color. Fall is the perfect time of year to embrace deep, rich colors, like wine reds and purples and jeweled greens. Rich tones that play off the environment of your venue can really bring out the festive nature of the season. If bright colors keep coming to mind though, autumn is the perfect time to use gorgeous shades of orange. As long as you’re not pairing orange with black, it won’t look like Halloween and you can play on the warm tones of the changing leaves.
- Some drinks just taste better in the fall. Beer, red wine, and hot drinks like mulled cider and hot toddies are all cozy, seasonal additions to autumn nuptials. A hot signature cocktail is a perfect compliment to chill winds and cooler temperatures. Add hot buttered rum, mulled cider or hot toddies to your drinks menu. Fall is also the time to showcase your love for craft beer and velvety red wines. Playing off of guests’ senses of taste and smell with seasonal drinks can really ground your theme and pull the day together.
- Fall brings with it less predictable weather, but beautiful outdoor settings. Renting enclosed tents and space heaters to bring the comforts of the indoors outside is a great solution to the question of will it rain, storm or be too cold. If you prefer an indoor fall wedding, bringing the bounty of nature inside with floral and foliage décor, natural centerpieces, and even choosing a venue with big windows and a beautiful view can bring the beauty of the season inside.
- Pumpkin spice, anyone? Talk to your caterer about incorporating fall flavors into your menu. Cranberry pecan salads, pumpkin soups and ravioli, and sweet potatoes can all bring the essence of autumn to your wedding dining tables. Many caterers (As well as dessert vendors) have special dishes available during the fall and can help you to choose a menu that brings out your favorite autumn flavors. Don’t be afraid to ask your wedding professionals for their recommendations if you’re not quite sure what will make your dream wedding day perfect.
Fall is a special season, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Use these ideas to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the bounties of the season and keeping your wedding theme grounded in autumnal bliss through and through.
Wedding season in Washington has been heating up this summer. We have seen record-breaking temperatures, heatwave after heatwave, and wedding season is nowhere near over. As temperatures rise again this weekend, make sure your wedding plan includes some easy beat-the-heat solutions. Here are some tips for keeping yourself and everyone else comfortable during your heatwave wedding.
- Bottled water is your best friend. Plan ahead to put cases of bottled water everywhere. You should have readily available water in your bridal suite (or wherever you’re getting ready), at the reception site, the ceremony site, in the cars you’re taking from place to place, and anywhere else you might be during the day. If your dress makes it difficult to use the restroom, make sure you’ve got a bridesmaid on standby to help you when you need.
- Ask a trusted bridesmaid and groomsmen to be in charge of encouraging the rest of the wedding party to hydrate on the day of. The last thing you want is to get halfway through your beautiful outdoor ceremony just for one of your bridesmaids to pass out due to the heat and dehydration.
- Set your guests up for success. A station with communal sunscreens or a basket with personal-sized sunscreens for guests to take with them is an easy way to help guests combat the sun. A basket with paper fans or cute, simple sunglasses for guests to grab can also help keep everyone comfortable in the heat.
- Put hydration on the menu. Have bottled water as well as non-alcoholic seltzer water available in fruity flavors to make hydrating fun. If you have waiters circulating with drink trays, discuss having bartenders whip up trays of garnished water or flavored waters to make hydration accessible and easy for everyone.
- Shade-a-plenty. Make sure that your wedding site has ample shade for guests during the ceremony and reception. Be aware that some guests may be disproportionately affected by the heat and will need to sit in the shade to enjoy the day.
- Talk to your photographer about taking group photos and formals before the ceremony. Sunshine and heat equals sweat and melting make-up. To ensure that everyone looks their best, snap pictures early in the day!
Thinking ahead about heatwave wedding hacks can really reduce your stress on the big day! Use these tips to easily keep everyone comfortable and hydrated all day, no matter the heat.
The week before the wedding will fly by. There will be so many final details to approve, checklists to double-check and inevitably a fire or two will pop up and need to be put out. It’s important to handle all the last-minute wedding details, but It’s also important to carve out time for self-care.
Scribble some time blocks in your schedule for treating yourself, taking care of yourself and spending time with your fiancé.
Part of treating yourself is taking time for you. Set aside some time for a min-spa night. Take a bubble bath, do a facemask, a hair mask and do all those special occasion self-care things that often fall off the radar when you’re busy.
Do whatever it is that brings you relaxation. It doesn’t matter if it’s watching your favorite TV show in a comfy robe with popcorn, hanging out with your best friends, heading to the spa or creating your own spa night, just do something that brings you calm and joy.
Take care of yourself
The week before the wedding is a busy time and it is easy to forget to do basic self-care tasks, like hydrating and eating regularly. These things can have a huge impact on your mood, stress responses and your skin.
Make sure you are setting yourself up for success and a relaxed wedding day by hydrating the week before, eating regular, healthy meals, and getting plenty of sleep.
If you wake up dehydrated and not rested, you’re likely to go into your wedding day with a short fuse. The time you spend getting ready in the morning will be much more pleasant if you’re starting the day in a good mood, so set yourself up by taking care of yourself in the days leading up to the wedding.
Not eating well can result in skin blemishes popping up on the big day and hydrating and not sleeping can also affect the clarity of your skin. Whether you’re hiring a makeup artist, doing your own makeup, or you’re going totally natural, waking up with a zit on your wedding day is not fun. Taking care of your body leading up to the wedding is going to show in your skin.
Time for you and your fiancé
You’re about to be married! It’s so exciting and easy to get caught up in just getting to the wedding and the post-wedded bliss. Remember to enjoy your last days together as fiancés before you take the plunge.
Set aside time for a date night a few days before the wedding to reconnect over a meal and a walk by the water, or take a morning off to make breakfast together. Spending some time together where you’re not getting something done, running errands, or talking about final wedding prep plans will help you to reset before the wedding. This is a great opportunity to shed the relationship strain often caused by wedding planning and remind each other why you’re tying the knot in the first place.
Your wedding is going to be amazing, but that last week of final prep can get hectic. Prioritize taking care of yourself and your relationship so that you can be firing on all cylinders when the big day arrives.
Better than any Facebook post or text thread, sending out your wedding invitations is the ultimate announcement that… you’re getting married! And for all your family and friends, receiving that bit of gorgeous, meticulously designed paper in the mail is a cause for celebration, giving them a taste of your wedding day plans and letting them know that, yes, they’re invited!
If you’re just getting started on your wedding planning journey, make sure to bookmark this page for later! As fun as designing your invitations can be, the process of collecting addresses, following timelines and sending them out can be time-consuming and stressful without a guide. That’s why we’re going to make this as simple as possible, giving you a step-by-step process so you can send those puppies out and get RSVPs back with time to spare.
Save the date — 6+ months before wedding (9+ months before destination wedding)
Wedding days are competitive — as you’ll find out when booking your vendors — and guests will often have multiple invitations for summer dates. Sending out save the dates is an optional way to bookmark that date in your guests' schedules early on, making RSVPs more likely later on as you won’t be competing with vacations or other events. Save the dates can be as small and informal as you’d like with just your names, date, location, website and the statement, “Formal invitation to follow.” Plus they’re a great opportunity to show off your favorite engagement photos!
If you’re hiring an invitation designer or calligrapher, start researching vendors at this time as well. You don’t want to find your dream vendor only to be notified that they’re all booked out for your timeline!
Order wedding invitations — 4-9 months before wedding
Wedding invitations have become much more flexible over the past few decades, though traditionally they would include: the host, the couple’s names, date, time, venue, location, dress code and whether a reception will follow.
The invitation will also include a response card or RSVP and may also include an enclosure or details card and a map with directions.
Allow ample time for customized invitation suite design if you choose to go that route. You’re hiring an artist (or many)! Just like any custom project, it’s important to create space for communication, brainstorming, revisions, delivery and assembly. And don’t forget about envelope calligraphy!
If you choose to create your own invitations or pick from a template, use this time to take the process slow as well. Collect all the necessary addresses and names, order your product and start assembly.
Send wedding invitations — 2-3 months before wedding (3-4 before destination wedding)
Try to get your invitations sent out about 2 months before your wedding day, and 3 months or more for destination weddings. This will encourage guests to RSVP right away (set your RSVP deadline for 2-3 weeks before wedding), rather than delay or even forget if they have an extended period of time to respond.
Now that you’ve read through that spiel, here’s a simplified wedding invitation suite timeline!
9 months prior: Research and hire wedding invitation designer and calligrapher
7 months prior: Order Save the Dates, begin working on invitation design and compile names and addresses for calligrapher or designer
6 months prior: Send out Save the Dates, finalize invitation design
5 months prior: Order wedding invitations
2 months prior: Send out wedding invitations
2-3 weeks prior: Receive RSVPs and reach out to guests who have yet to respond
12+ months prior: Research and hire wedding invitation designer and calligrapher, order Save the Dates, begin working on invitation design, compile names and addresses for calligrapher or designer
9-12 months prior: Send out Save the Dates with website info, finalize invitation design
6 months prior: Order wedding invitations
3-4 months prior: Send out formal wedding invitations
Picking out your wedding dress is a special experience, one that many brides choose to share with important people in their life. It’s a day layered in magic, excitement and anticipation to find “the One.”
In your dreams about this day, you may have imagined mimosas, twirling around in a big ballgown and hearing your friends and family rave about your beauty. But if you’ve seen the hit series Say Yes To The Dress, you’ll know sometimes the most important people aren’t the best people to have in your entourage.
So how do you figure out who to bring with you?
Forget the “norm”
First off, make sure to let go of the basic image that you’ve seen on television. Your support group may or may not include your mom, sister and best friend, and that’s okay! There’s no obligation to bring any one family member or friend, whether it be a mother or sister-in-law or bridesmaids.
The only tradition that matters is the one you create.
If you choose to keep your group small, consider inviting the rest of your entourage to your final dress fitting or a “visit” that many bridal shops offer prior to your dress coming in. This will give your friends and family an opportunity to feel a part of the process while ensuring that you avoid being bogged down by too many opinions.
Before you make a decision on who to bring, make sure to check in with your bridal boutique to see how many people they allow. Many boutiques do not accommodate large groups, and you’ll avoid offending your bridal party or family if you know that information beforehand.
You can also speak with your boutique for recommendations on who and how many people you should bring. They know this process better than anyone and can definitely give you the hard truth about your opinionated best friend or estranged mom.
As you narrow down your entourage, think about the process like planning a dinner party. The goal is to get a group of diverse voices that each have something unique to offer the group. So what voices do you want there? Maybe your logical and honest sister, or your loving, encouraging aunt, or your favorite hype-girl?
Take count of your personality. If you’re shy and easily bend to strong opinions, you may choose to leave your most controlling family member at home. But if you can be more emotion-driven and indecisive, stacking your entourage with multiple logical friends could help balance it out.
It’s also important to consider who will blend well. Having competing voices on the sofa will only stress you out and bring unnecessary tension to the process. So if your mother and grandmother have an ongoing rivalry, choose to bring only one of them.
It all comes down to you feeling happy and comfortable while you’re choosing a wedding dress. Curating your A-Team allows you to take control of your day and ensure that drama and stress will not be a part of it. And if you feel prepared and ready to make the decision all on your own, just do it solo! Knowing what you need from your friends and family, and what you definitely don’t need will help you create the magical day you’ve been looking forward to for years.
We’ve all heard the term Bridezilla. And whether you’re a bride or a groom, we know that being compared to a giant prehistoric sea monster is not on your wedding day checklist.
The media is full of epic “Bridezilla stories” from charging no-shows $100 for uneaten meals to demanding a bridesmaid dye her hair, but it goes deeper than that. The term “Bridezilla” really boils down to one thing: a seriously stressed-out human. All the other craziness just builds from there.
So, if you want to be a wedding planning boss while avoiding this unpleasant term, it’s all about managing stress and being proactive. Wondering where to start?
Here are our recommendations for how to avoid stress and stay positive during your wedding planning process:
Take a second (or many) to be realistic
Wedding days come with a lot of pressure! It’s your one special day, the day you’ve been looking forward to for your entire life — so it’s obvious that the process of planning and living out that day can get a little overwhelming. Make sure to take some time, when you’re feeling the most stressed, to remember that this is just one day. One day, out of thousands of joy-filled days that you’ll spend with your love. Whether the day brings rain or sun, in 24 hours it’ll all be over, and you’ll head into your life together.
Listen to your loved ones
With all of the voices telling you what you should do on your wedding day, it may feel easier to just shut the door on everyone and do your own thing. And while you should hone in on your desires for your wedding day, it’s important that you allow your friends and family to feel involved and share their advice.
Even if you don’t take their feedback, giving your loved ones time and attention will show them that you care about them just as much as they care about you. It’s always better to hear them out and say “no” than to ignore them altogether. Because, in the end, the important people in your life just want to see you happy.
Be considerate of family & friends
When you’re planning your dream wedding, make sure to give your bridal party and guests consideration. Your loved ones are traveling hundreds of miles, booking hotel rooms and taking time off work to be there for you on your special day. And your bridal party is doing even more, from attending your bachelor/bachelorette party and purchasing attire to being your right-hand-man throughout the process.
Take time to inquire about their budget and remember the sacrifices they are making to show you their love and support. Doing so will help them feel seen, loved and appreciated and create a positive vibe on your wedding day.
Share the load
Taking on wedding planning and preparation is too much for two people, so it’s important to delegate. One of the easiest ways to do this is to hire skilled vendors and a wedding planner. These industry professionals know their stuff and will lighten your load considerably as they handle individual parts of your day.
But if you don’t have a wedding planner, enlisting the help of skillful friends and family will help make your vision come to life. Reach out early on to see who is authentically interested in helping you out. Make sure not to place any expectations on loved ones straight-off-the-bat, as doing this can result in resentment and negativity.
Take all the help that is offered and make sure your helpers feel appreciated. Doing so will create a tight-knit community of wedding supporters that will be the life of the party when the day comes.
Don’t get too caught up in trends
In the age of social media and Pinterest, planning an aesthetic, trendy wedding without the help of a skilled wedding planner can seem easy. But as you start this process, remember to use Pinterest to inspire — not copy. This will help you feel satisfied with the end result, no matter what it is, and allow your vendors to use their skills to create something truly unique to you.
In 20 years from now, we promise you won’t care if the wedding had thousands of aesthetic lanterns hanging from trees or the perfect table setting. You’ll be looking back at the pictures of you smiling and having fun with your friends and family.
Trust your vendors
Hiring experienced vendors is key to having a seamless wedding planning process. But it doesn’t stop there. Remember that, you’re paying them to make your wedding magic, they’re also humans. Wedding professionals are almost never in it for the money — they’re doing this because they love the work and are passionate about it.
Respect them by allowing them to have creative freedom. Feel free to send them inspiration, but avoid statements such as: “I want you to do it like this.” If you tell them what you love about their work, show them inspo from their own portfolio and Pinterest, and put your trust in them, their enthusiasm about your wedding will grow exponentially.
And, when the day comes, refrain from babysitting them. Trust them to do what you’re paying them to do, give them breaks and feed them!
Focus on the fun
When you envision your perfect wedding day, what do you see? Probably not you being super stressed out, micro-managing everyone. We bet you’re thinking about walking down the aisle, dancing and partying with your friends, and smiling every step of the way.
Your wedding day marks the beginning of a new stage, one of total commitment and celebration. Your relationship and marriage will never, ever be flawless. Once you let go of the expectation of perfection, you’ll be able to plan your day with a sense of calm and joy, with an expectation of beauty in the chaos.
By trusting your family and vendors, planning for your unique needs and letting go of things that are out of your control, you’ll create the fun version of your wedding that you’ve been dreaming of.
And, we promise, it’ll be worth it.
Glen Echo Garden has been a staple of the Bellingham wedding vendor community for decades. With flourishing gardens and an ideal location just outside of the city, the venue has seen hundreds of couples through their special day.
So, when the property's owners of 40-years decided it was time to head in a new direction in 2020, another Bellingham family jumped on the opportunity without hesitation.
We recently spoke with one part of the family-operated business, Sarah Larson, about the property and her family's dreams for the future of the garden.
Keep reading to hear about what they offer wedding couples on their wedding day — including some eye-catching new additions!
For readers that aren’t acquainted with Glen Echo, could you share a bit about the property and what you offer?
Glen Echo Garden is a 7-acre landscaped forest oasis along Anderson Creek just outside of Bellingham, WA city limits. Our property has a secret garden feel and is a perfect mix of open green space, established gardens and towering trees. Our passion is helping create magical, memorable experiences that connect and bring people together. We view our space as a foundation for guests to create the event of their dreams and as a place of healing and grounding. We invite guests to be creative with our space—we love hosting events of all kinds, from weddings to yoga and art retreats.
You’re continuing in the footsteps of Glen Echo Garden’s previous owners as a family-owned business. How did you all decide to take the plunge together?
Our family has dreamt for years about having a place like Glen Echo Garden, where we can be creative and where everyone in the family can find their niche. Little did we know that a place like this existed! When we found this amazing property, we just knew it was the right place to share our vision with others.
We’d love to know a bit more about your family! What outside experience are each of you bringing to this endeavor? What are you each most excited about as you begin this adventure?
We are a family of artists and entrepreneurs, landscape gardeners and dreamers. Several of us have extensive experience in event and retreat-planning through nonprofit positions we’ve held for years and several of us are passionate gardeners and landscapers. Two of us are also working artists and just about all of us are avid outdoors people and lovers of all things beautiful.
All of us would consider ourselves “doers”—we dream up ideas and help each other figure out how to execute those dreams. As a group, we’re incredibly excited to build on the amazing foundation and framework that already exists at Glen Echo. We have big visions for this property—with such a naturally gorgeous, tucked away forested garden like this, the possibilities are endless.
What changes can the public and wedding couples expect to Glen Echo’s operation or gardens?
For the first year of operations, we will be mainly focusing on finding our sea legs and creating a rhythm and workflow as a group, while continuing to offer much of what the former owners had in place. The look of the gardens will be largely the same as in years past, with a beautiful mix of established perennial gardens and colorful annual flowers.
We’re very excited to share that we’ll have two brand-new, large glamping tents in the gardens for the bridal parties! The spaces will be comfortable and chic—perfect for getting ready and sharing a toast before the ceremony.
We’re also very excited to expand the business into a new area and offer nightly glamping and camping options. Stay tuned throughout the spring and summer for more on this!
Tell us a bit about the amenities you offer for weddings at the garden. Why should couples choose Glen Echo?
When couples choose Glen Echo for their wedding, they are reserving our entire 7-acre gardens, which are completely private, so magical and incredibly naturally beautiful. This means that everything you see in the gardens is yours to use, from the two glamping tents to the indoor gathering space complete with a full kitchen. We have two centrally-located bathrooms and one shower in the gardens. Included in the cost of your rental are banquet tables and chairs as well as two large event tent shelters.
Guests are welcome to tailor our space to their personal vision, though many couples choose Glen Echo for its natural beauty that acts as decoration and backdrop in and of itself. When you descend into our private gardens, you enter another world of huge towering trees, lush green lawns and beautifully landscaped spaces.
Glen Echo Garden has received negative attention under previous ownership for reportedly homophobic remarks as well as allegedly not allowing LGTBQ+ couples to rent the venue for their weddings. How are you actively working to mend this history and ensure LGTQ+ couples feel welcomed at your venue in the future?
It is incredibly important to us that the public knows our family’s values, which are that of openness and inclusion for all communities. We were deeply saddened to learn about the couples that were turned away by the former owners because of their identity as part of the LGBTQ+ community. While we aren’t able to change history, we can do everything in our power to let the public know that under our ownership, all are welcome here. We see Glen Echo as a space of comfort, grounding, beauty and celebration and we invite all people to be part of the community we are building here.
Where do you envision Glen Echo in 5 years? Tell us about your dreams for the property’s future.
The property’s future is what gets us most excited! While we plan to continue opening the space for event rentals, we have a wider-scope vision for our offerings here at Glen Echo. A few of our dreams are: to offer the property for yoga, art, meditation and other retreats, with the ability to provide lodging onsite for retreat participants; to build a number of beautiful, rustic structures for nightly rentals, such as A-frame cabins, yurts and geodesic domes; to plan community events of our own, like woodfired pizza and beer nights or outdoor movies in the summers. To us, this amazing property affords endless opportunities, and we are so excited to share this vision with others!
If newly-engaged couples are interested in scheduling a tour, what should they do?
The best way to get in touch with us with inquiries is through email at firstname.lastname@example.org! Couples are also welcome to send an inquiry through our website at www.glenechogarden.com.
What’s your favorite part about attending a wedding?
Is it seeing the bride in her wedding dress or watching the groom tear up? What about shredding the dance floor or seeing people you haven’t spoken with in a while?
Or maybe, the thing you most look forward to is digging into that $350 cake…
If we’re right on the nose, then you might want to keep reading. Though we can’t play wedding day favorites, we do have a soft spot for cakes and other sweet treats.
So, cake lovers, this is for you! A compilation of the most mouthwatering, gorgeous, delectable cakes seen north of Seattle.
Terracotta Ombre Cake
We are loving this Terracotta cake from Pure Bliss Desserts — the stunning ombre, the simplicity and size, the surrounding sugary goodies, it's everything.
Also, can we just give Abi Moczulski Photography a round of applause for this cute cake-cutting pic, because our hearts are melting!!
Woodsy Vanilla Cake
Let us just say that this green beauty is making us wonder why all cakes aren't green. Cakes by Emily crafted this vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream for a styled shoot planned by Cedar Meadows Events and photographed by Cat Ruchalski Photography.
This tablescape (decor from Cranberry Sky Heirloom Rentals) and florals by Folk Art Flowers complement the cake beautifully, rounding out this natural color palette.
Minimalist Deckle-Edged Cake
Deckle-edged cakes are gaining popularity in the wedding industry — and for good reason. They perfectly toe the line between minimalist and vintage and stand out in any room for their subtle twist to the traditional white cake.
This prime example from Cakes by Felicitations features a gold deckle edge and complimenting florals, all atop a modern marble cake stand with a geometric base.
Pacific Northwest Blackberry Cake
The unique sky blue shade of this simple buttercream cake sets it apart from the rest. But inside — it gets even better, with a chocolate sponge with blackberries folded in and chocolate ganache filling.
It's a good thing we don't have a photo of the inside, or we'd never be able to get it out of our heads!
Cake | The Night Owl Bakery | @thenightowlbakery_tnob
Location | Emerald Forest Theater | @emeraldforestevents
Stylist | Elevated Events by Tosha | @elevatedeventsbytosha
Photographer | Cindy Nguyen Photography | @cindynguyen.photo
Rentals- Simply Unique Event Rentals | @simply_unique_event_rentals
Floral | Poppy and Pomegranate | @poppyandpomegranate
Modern Two-Tier White Cake
This cake is simple and timeless — a two-tiered beauty with some floral elements. We've never seen a cake look more perfect and pure. It's almost too pretty to cut into!
Photography | Kerry Jeanne Photography | @kerryjeannephoto
Event Planning | Simply by Tamara Nicole | @simplytamaranicole
Florals | Gather Design Company | @gatherdesigncompany
Cake | Saltadena @saltadenabakery
Strawberry Bavarian Cream Cake
This gorgeous, flower-laden cake by Barb's Pies and Pastries has us wanting to eat cake by the ocean every. single. day.
And if the cake wasn't enough, this styled shoot vending team created the wedding design inspo of our dreams:
Elegant Pastel Blue Cake with Floral Focus
We love pastels on wedding cakes — and this soft blue beauty by Cakes by Felicitations is the stuff of our dreams. The ribbon of soft ivory florals only adds to the cake's effortless elegance, which is also bolstered by the unique tier sizes.
Lavender Drip Cake
This cake is like something out of a movie. The watercolor-esque painted texture adds elegance and artistry to the otherwise classic four-tier cake, and the bright purple drips with pops of purple florals on each layer add a big wow-factor.
Photography | B Jones Photography | @bjonesphotos
Venue | Lairmont Manor | @lairmontmanor
Floral | Petals by Linda
Cake | Saltadena | @saltadenabakery
Coordination | Sincere Event Planning | @sincereeventplanning
Painted Champagne Cake
We love the vibrant paint stroke texture on this dual-colored buttercream cake by The Night Owl Bakery. Inside, this beauty features white champagne flavored sponge and fresh currant compote.
Cake | The Night Owl Bakery | @thenightowlbakery_tnob
Photography | Miranda Quade Photography | @mirandaquadephotography
Venue | NW Backyard Events | @nwbackyardevents
Floral | Karrie Michelle Floral Design | @karriemichellefloraldesign
A note from the photographer:
Anna & Caleb’s rainy, family-centered micro-wedding in the Hoh Rainforest was full of heartfelt details and sweet moments. Anna shared that their day "wouldn't have been so amazing without the help and support from friends and family. We were very cautious to prevent any spread of Covid, and as a result, we had a wonderfully simple and intimate wedding."
It rained - and poured - on-and-off all day but the couple and their family were troopers and embraced the weather! Anna woke up at 5 am the day of the wedding to make the bouquets, and one of the couple's friends did her hair, while one of her sisters lent her the earrings she'd worn for her own wedding. Just before leaving the cozy cabin, wellies and all, the bride was given a handmade shawl from her sister to match her dress, and the groom surprised her with a letter gifting her a trip to Yellowstone, as well as a guidebook and a gift card to REI to purchase gear for the trip.
At the Hoh Campground, Anna & Caleb opted for a quiet first look among the autumn leaves and moss-covered trees. The immediate family set up a campsite as 'base camp' for treats and hot cocoa before the ceremony and decorated the campfire ceremony space moments before the pop-up vow exchange (affectionately dubbed 'The Campfire Program') began. The couple walked down the aisle to an incredibly sweet rendition of 'You've Got a Friend', a memorable touch that wouldn't have even happened without a little planning mixup: "we forgot the speakers, so my brother and sister-in-law performed...and it was even better that way"! The rings were presented by Anna & Caleb's puppy Kingston, and the bride's best friend officiated the charming ceremony; plenty of laughter was woven into the proceedings...as well as a few tears as Anna and Caleb read their vows to one another and letters to Caleb's daughter!
The rain let up a little in time for a few portraits (35mm), and then guests dispersed across the campground to their cars, campsites, and quiet benches for BBQ box lunches, before reconvening for two separate homemade wedding cakes and a few toasts. The day was even celebrated by a lone elk wandering through the campground, and the bride gifted jewelry she made to the women who are near and dear to her. Due to COVID-19 this was the third wedding plan, but it turned out to be an incredibly emotional, heartfelt, and joy-filled day! As the bride shared later, "Something always goes wrong at a wedding. But every challenge was met with great spirits, and everything turned out even better than expected."
Photography - Alisha Trahms Photography
Hair Color - Kopa Hair Studio
Hair Styling - Linsay Weflen
Dress - Brides for a Cause
We get it. You’ve been dreaming about this day for years — when all your friends and family will come together to celebrate you (and your boo). So it’s understandable that you’d rather delay the event altogether than compromise on your vision of a large wedding celebration.
But if you’ve been pushing back your wedding waiting for restrictions to be lifted, it may be worth it to consider the alternatives. That’s why you’re here, right?
If you’re an adventure seeker, you could always elope! But if having your family and friends there is important to you, an intimate, or “micro,” wedding is a totally underrated alternative.
While weddings with 150-200 guests have been the norm for decades, couples who choose to go ahead with 10-20 person weddings are absolutely raving about the results. These smaller weddings have many bonuses — they’re generally cheaper, easier to plan, more intimate and on the whole just a lot less stressful. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Are you open to the idea of a micro-wedding? Well, read on, because we’re here to convince you that they deserve better than to be your backup plan!
1. It’s all about what you want
Because intimate weddings are often simplified versions of traditional “big” weddings, there’s a lot more freedom to do what you want! With a more flexible timeline and budget, you’ll discover so many more ways to celebrate your union that reflect your unique relationship.
Some ideas: you can lengthen the ceremony with special ceremonies, such as handfasting or ring warming, and have members of your family read notes from the special people who aren’t able to attend. You can get catered food from your fav local restaurant rather than hire a caterer and create your own playlist for some dancing in your backyard!
Basically, the whole day will be about you — not about hosting a slew of guests, making the rounds and doing all of the things people expect you to do!
2. Only the most important people in your life will be there
Because your wedding will be confined to close friends and family, you can toss drama and small talk out the window. These are the people you love more than anything, and they know you better than anyone, so you can really enjoy the company of your guests the whole day.
3. You can streamline celebrations for a shorter day with less stress
Many modern weddings go about 10 hours, from getting ready in the morning to the last dance in the evening. With a micro-wedding, you’ll be able to start later, spend less time in-between events corralling people to the next part of the night and really just relax into the day.
This alleviates wedding-day stress because you don’t have to worry about being a host for 10 hours! You can sleep in, eat lunch (this is important folks!) and take it easy. And when the ceremony comes, you’ll be able to take it all in stride, with a more intimate, casual ceremony and a fun, lively dinner, if that’s what you decide!
4. Save money
This may be an obvious point, but it’s important to mention. The fewer people you have at a wedding, the less you’ll spend. Though, if you’d like to splurge on your wedding, intimate weddings are great for that as well!
You could decide to spend more on the venue, or food, or even your dream dress! Just make sure to sit down with your betrothed and talk over what is most important to each of you — that way if your partner really wants a popular jazz band to play at the reception, you can plan everything else around that expense. You can keep track of your budget with our wedding budget checklist, available here.
5. More venue options
One of the best parts about having a micro-wedding is that a whole realm of new venues is at your disposal. All wedding venues have caps on the number of guests they’ll allow, so as your guest count dwindles venue options will skyrocket. But that’s not all — with anywhere from 10-50 guests, you’ll be able to book non-traditional venues such as your favorite bar, restaurant or local garden & nursery
6. More time with guests
Instead of making small talk with near-strangers as you make the rounds at your reception, your guests will get to be participants at your wedding. They can make snacks for the morning, help set up the ceremony — and even do the florals! Plus, they’ll be able to handle the tear-down as you and your beloved dance the night away.
Having fewer guests makes the day more fun and memorable for the people who are chosen to attend. Also, you’ll have an easy way to tell acquaintances why they weren’t invited.
7. Easier to plan
Intimate weddings are often easier to plan due to their more simplistic nature. For many micro-weddings, there’s simply less to juggle! That makes it possible for the couple to plan it almost entirely on their own, or hire a wedding planner at a reduced cost to manage a few elements of the day.
This isn’t true in all cases — such as if you’re redirecting your big wedding budget to an intimate lavish occasion, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind if the whole wedding planning thing stresses you out.
8. More time/money for the honeymoon
With less cost required for your wedding day, you’ll have more money for other things, like your honeymoon!! You could splurge on your dream resort stay or extend your trip by days — or even weeks.
Plus, you’ll have more brain space to devote to dreaming about all the excursions — we’re thinking helicopter ride to a glacier, zip-lining, couples massages, etc!
9. Your wedding will be memorable
While most weddings will become a blur over time, your distinct approach to this traditional binding of two families will stand out. If you’re considering a group hike to your favorite spot or a party at your favorite club, but wondering whether it’s “wedding-y” enough — let that anxiety go. Because you can do anything you want to! Your close friends and family will get on board eventually (they love you after all!).
And because your intimate wedding will be uniquely you from start to finish, your guests will remember it fondly in the years to come. So just do the thing, you won’t regret it
10. You can enjoy your day completely
When planning a big wedding, it’s easy to get caught up in the traditional schedule and forget that it’s your day. With an intimate wedding, you can forgo all the in-between parts you’re not looking forward to and just do you! Doing this will allow you to enjoy your day completely — from start to finish — and get your marriage started on an amazing stress-free track.
Let’s get real — weddings are changing! Even if you haven’t been tuned into the wedding scene lately on Pinterest or Instagram, amidst a global pandemic and loads of restrictions it’s obvious that plans — maybe even your plans — have had to be rearranged. From cutting your big wedding plans to medium-sized, small and even micro, COVID-19 restrictions have put traditional weddings through the wringer. If you feel hopelessly lost and ready to just call it off and wait until 2022 — there’s an alternative you may have cast aside too soon.
For the past few years, elopements have been making a comeback and becoming “trendy” alternatives to the traditional weddings of the past. And we’re not talking about a Vegas elopement (though those are actually on-trend too) — we’re talking about a trip across the country, driving a jeep through a desert, dancing under the stars and never-stop-holding-hands kind of celebration.
Ready to learn more about the new definition of “elopement” and how it could be the best decision you and your love will make in 2021?
Let’s dive in! (literally — you can have an underwater elopement too)
Reason 1: You get to forget everybody else’s expectations
If you’ve already started to plan your wedding (or have been to any wedding ever) you know that traditional weddings aren’t always about the couple. There’s what your mother-in-law wants, or what your grandparents need, what your friends say you have to do or, honestly, just what you think you need to do.
But let’s just break it down a bit. At its roots, a wedding is a celebration that surrounds the signing of papers that legally bind you with your love. Everything else is just, well, tradition!
An elopement, then, is a ceremony without guests (or with very few) in which a couple gets hitched without a reception or public celebration attached. In the past, it’s been defined as the antithesis of a traditional wedding — something secretive, sudden and improper.
But in the 21st century, eloping is a bit less taboo. It basically just means planning an epic adventure focused on your connection with each other and allowing many traditions to fall to the wayside.
If tradition is important to you when planning your wedding, you can still incorporate elements of that into your elopement. You can still have something old, new, borrowed and blue. Your dad can still walk you down the aisle — even if that aisle is a trail on the top of a mountain. And you might choose to have a party a few weeks or months down the road — with all of your friends and family in attendance.
The point of an elopement is you get to build your wedding day from the ground up. No expectations, less stress, more authenticity.
Reason 2: An experience curated for you
What is an elopement if it’s not in Las Vegas and isn’t a small wedding? You decide! Start anywhere you want, but maybe ask yourselves the question: What screams “us”?
Love to travel? Pick a spot you’ve always wanted to go, book a neat AirBnb and wrap your honeymoon + ceremony into one.
Foodies? Grab tacos at a food cart after saying your vows and get some funny shots dancing on top of picnic tables.
Experienced mountaineers? Consider having a sunrise wedding on the summit of a mountain!
Have a place that’s special to your heart, like your grandparents' cabin or a secret spot close-to-home? Bring along a few of your favorite people and make your vows surrounded by loved ones. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The best part about this is it’s all about you. Every decision you make will reflect your unique connection with one another and further the special quality of this day. And if planning this kind of adventure still makes you stressed, you can hire an amazing elopement planner — or hire a photographer who specializes in planning elopements with epic photos in mind.
You won’t be asking: what do we need to do? You’ll be asking: what do we want to do?
Feel less stressed already? Us too.
Reason 3: Every moment is intimate & special
If you’ve been to a traditional wedding, you know the drill. The day starts with setting up and getting ready, then guests arrive for the ceremony, you get hitched and run off for a photo sesh as newlyweds, meanwhile, there’s a cocktail hour, then dinner with speeches and lots of toasting, then a bit of dancing before everyone leaves.
For some, this might sound like the best day ever! But being the center of attention, with everyone waiting to talk with you (or paying $1 to dance with you), isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. Without setting intentions around the wedding day, the true purpose of the day can get lost in all the fluff. But at an elopement, this isn’t a concern.
You two are on your own for most of the day (with a photographer if you wish). With a small party of guests or just the two of you, the day is a lot more intimate and special. If you’d like, you can say your vows just to each other, with nobody else within earshot. You can take time to hold each other before the ceremony and focus on your partner alone throughout the day because they’re the only one vying for your attention.
Plus — because you planned all of this together, with your relationship and passions in mind, everything has a deeper meaning, one intertwined with your love story.
Reason 4: All that other stressful stuff goes *poof*
If you’re already planning, you may have stumbled across this number: $33,900. That’s the cost — on average — of a wedding in the United States. So, where does that money go? For traditional weddings, the most costly items are catering, the reception & ceremony venues, transportation, wedding planners, photographers and videographers, as well as smaller items like attire, music, florals & decor and cake.
How much you spend on your wedding is up to you, and whether you spend $200 or $50,000 at the end of the day it’s all about your vision for the day and your relationship! If you’re looking to save money, or just want to do something different, elopements offer a way for you to redirect your money into a trip of a lifetime or even put a down payment on a house.
You can also be selective about who attends your ceremony. If you have experienced anxiety over how to avoid family drama, you can decide to do an elopement without any guests or only invite the people that you truly really want to be there.
Reason 5: You can still have an epic party!
Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean everyone misses out! Plan to have a party a few months down the road (or even the same week!) with friends and loved ones to celebrate your marriage.
You could have dancing, cake and music, all of the same things as a traditional wedding — but instead of doing everything at once, you are able to intentionally have a day for just you and then a day for everyone else to celebrate.
In the end, it’s all about uncovering what your dream day looks like— and doing what needs to be done to make that happen. The good news is, there are so many resources out there to help you figure it out — and so many examples of couples who prioritized authenticity above all else and created a spectacular day that meant the world to themselves and their loved ones.
Have questions or need more inspiration before making a decision? Take a look into our blog archives to learn more about planning your perfect wedding.
Modern brides may be leaving many wedding traditions behind, but country weddings will never lose their magic. There’s just something about twinkle lights over a dance floor and the sound of crickets at dusk that never gets old.
If you're wondering what the heck a “country” venue is, it’s exactly what you’d think: big barns, sprawling farmland, and maybe a horse or two. It’s close to the city but just far enough so it feels like you’re in your own little world (and you’re the rodeo queen).
So, whether you want to dance the night away in a historic lofted barn or exchange vows in a wide-open field, the pacific coast is brimming with stunning country venues for every couple’s vision.
We’ve compiled seven of our favorite country venues north of Seattle, so you can discover the best fit for your dream wedding day.
Ready to get inspired?
Whidbey Island is a mecca for country weddings, and you can’t convince us otherwise! With three unique country venues to choose from (all under an hour from Seattle), the island has everything you need to plan your dream wedding.
The Wayfarer is an elegant country venue that is well-suited to couples looking for a seamless blend of rustic and modern. The farm sits on a beautiful rural property with rolling green hills and an orchard. A whitewashed 19th-century barn is a blank canvas for your ceremony, while another barn features exposed ceilings and an antique bar for dancing and celebration. Set out a long table for a Pinterest-worthy reception and enjoy the setting sun under string lights and an open sky.
If dramatic water views and territorial vistas make your heart sing, Crockett Farm may be the venue for you. This 11-acre farm, complete with a barn and on-site guest house, lies on the beautiful Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve. The venue also features golden fields of grain, historic wood fences and an expansive property with a multitude of picturesque spots.
Greenbank Farm is a quintessential country venue located on central Whidbey Island. The focal point of the property is a historic red barn built in 1904 that includes a whitewashed interior with an intimate upper level perfect for a cocktail hour. If you’re considering an outdoor ceremony, Greenbank also has a beautiful ceremony spot on the lawn with a gorgeous pond backdrop.
Misty River Ranch is an open-air venue cradled in the Mount Baker foothills along the Nooksack River in Deming, WA. It has all the forest charm you could dream of and is just 35 minutes east aof the Bellingham International Airport, which welcomes multiple flights a day out of Seattle.
With every amenity you could think of (covered pavilion, intimate gazebo, walking bridge, bridal/dressing room, expansive green lawn and tables and chairs galore) your wedding at Misty River Ranch will be the tranquil return to nature you’ve been looking for — with a funky ranch-style twist.
You don’t have to go to France to wander through endless lavender fields. Celebrate your union within 10 acres of fragrant purple fields at OrcaSong Lavender Farm on Orcas Island. This venue is truly a return to nature, with expansive gardens, flowering meadows and cedar forests.
Ceremonies are held in your choice of three defined circles within the picturesque gardens, the largest holding up to 150 guests.
Enjoy the first night of your honeymoon on-site with a variety of accommodations, including OrcaSong’s newly-renovated Farm House, as well as the Lavender Studio, a yurt, canvas tents and camping sites.
This community farm is women-owned and devoted to sustainability. Its country charm is ideal for unconventional couples passionate about creating a unique celebration in-tune with nature.
For the couple looking for a barn wedding without the “country,” look no further than The Saltbox Barn on Fir Island. The property is simultaneously historic and modern, with an unrivaled story of community, artistry and tradition all in a simplistic, rustic-meets-contemporary look
The Saltbox Barn is relatively new on the wedding venue scene, but the owners are second-generation Skagit Valley wedding proprietors with a wealth of knowledge.
Along with a stunning Saltbox-style barn with canopied bistro lights, the property has an expansive patio, a beautiful lawn with a cornfield backdrop and multiple outbuildings for getting ready and photo ops.
Located on Stocker Farm in the Snohomish River Valley, this classic country venue featuring a historic red barn offers a breathtaking background for your special day with limitless opportunities for fun.
If you’re looking to blend tradition with straight-up celebration, you can take advantage of the venue’s in-ground jumping pillow, sports ball arcade, tractor tire jungle gym and fire pit and bonfire (smores, anyone?).
You’ll have your pick of ceremony backdrops, from the spacious red barn to various spots on the 5-acre property. The venue can also provide a beautiful canopy tent for large weddings, so you can celebrate your union under the stars.
Are you considering joining the growing ranks of winter brides? We must say, you couldn’t be making a better choice! Though winter may be the least popular season to tie the knot, it’s seriously underrated.
There’s just something about cold weather and a simplistic landscape that creates an atmosphere of crazy romance, right? We know all the couples getting engaged over the holidays can attest to that!
So are you ready to create an enchanted winter wedding to make everyone in your life come together? Whether you’re looking for a subtle twist to the classic holiday color scheme or something entirely new, we’ve created five totally modern color palettes so you can start planning your perfect winter wedding in style.
If you’ve been perusing Pinterest for winter color palettes, we know you’ve already come across a variation of this option. Defined by deep reds and burgundies, blush and rose and, of course, ivory and green, this is the most loved winter color palette around. These colors flatter every venue and skin tone, create the best starting point for bridesmaids’ dresses, and are just flat-out stunning!
This simple muted color palette is like something out of a dream. If you want to diverge from the bright and stark holiday colors, this may be the way to go. With a collection of beautiful calming blues and simple pinks and rust tones, this palette is just made for the unconventional, wildly unique couples. Consider it for your small winter ceremony or adventure elopement to draw attention to you and your partner’s natural connection.
Love your big personality and want to show it? This bright winter color palette is totally for you. In this option, the greens stay how they’d like to: bright! And the pinks aren’t here to blend in, either. If you’re sticking to a classic look and feel, but just need that little something, incorporate this color scheme into your bouquet to amplify the memorability of your elegant gown or suit.
This color palette is what happens when you take the simplicity of option two and add a bit of mood. For all the brides out there that are looking to create a modern wedding (perfect for the dark & moody photographers out there), this color palette will make your heart sing. With yellows, blues, pinks, and greens that look like they’d come right out of a fashion magazine, this is a fitting palette for any couple hoping to break from the norm
Welcome to the Pacific Coast Weddings blog! If you’re here that means… you’re freakin’ engaged! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for forever … but what do you do now?
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: planning a wedding takes a lot of work and can be super stressful. But don’t sweat it— you’re in the 21st century with a world of knowledge right at your fingertips. Oh, and also — we’ve got you.
Below, you’ll find 12 tasks that are a must-do as you head into your engagement! Consider us your wedding planning gurus, and we’re about to take you through all the things. By the end, you’ll be ready to start preparing for the best day of your life.
1. Share the news
We know you’re just dying to do this. You may want to text everyone all at once or post on Facebook immediately — but just wait! Think about the most important people in your life and call them, one-by-one, together. No separate phone conversations from the opposite sides of the room shenanigans— do it together! Pro tip: use FaceTime so you can see everyone’s reactions.
And, in case you need to hear it: you don’t have to announce your engagement right away. Remember, this is about the two of you. Choose what works best for you, and follow your heart. That leads us to our next point...
2. Take it all in
There is no need to rush into planning headfirst! This will be a long journey, followed by the rest of your life with your soulmate, but these first few days of being engaged won’t come again.
Think of this as your first honeymoon phase and take a moment - or many - to revel in the initial excitement for the commitment you’re about to make!
Pop a bottle of champagne, reminiscence on your favorite memories — simply enjoy this newly-engaged bliss.3. Take care of your ring
We’re not trying to put a damper on your celebration, but you might need some insurance for your new bling! If you wrap it in with your homeowner or renter's insurance policy, it’s actually fairly inexpensive.
And make sure to get your ring sized at the jewelers immediately if it doesn’t fit quite right. You don’t want to lose that baby just days after saying yes!
4. Start dreaming
This is where the real fun begins (or maybe we’re just saying that because we love this part). So, before you dive into your wedding planning checklist, discuss your dreams with your fiance and get researching!
Pinterest is our go-to spot for collecting inspiration. Creating a wedding board will quickly help you realize your ideal color palette, style and decor.
Another cool way to keep track of your favorite inspiration is by saving posts on Instagram. You can be sure that all your local vendors are on Instagram, so take time to look through their feed so you can recall their favorite work when you speak with them.
If this part stresses you out, look into hiring a wedding planner to take on some of the load. You’ll have an industry pro there to help you realize your dream wedding — and turn it into a reality.
5. Plan the next few months with a wedding timeline and checklist
The key to tackling wedding planning like a pro is to stay organized. Start off by creating a wedding planning timeline to keep track of big items, like when to get your dress and book a photographer (or simply download our free worksheet).
6. Choose a venue and pick the date
Once you’ve decided on a month or season for your ceremony, you can begin touring venues. Make sure to start this early because depending on the venue, peak season dates may be booked out years in advance.
When you tour venues, make sure to take photos and come with questions prepared. Take a look at our top questions to ask a venue before you go.
Looking for a venue in Western Washington? We have a vendor directory with the top venues on the Pacific Coast.
7. Choose your people
You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your wedding guests! Once you know the size of your venue, you can select your guests. Put it all down on paper (or Excel) and then start with the most important people. That way, you can figure out who you need to have on your day and who will ultimately get crossed off the list.
8. Set your wedding budget
Most people don’t like to talk about money, but setting a budget for your special day early in the planning process is essential. Figure out who is paying, what the most important items are (such as a photographer or venue), and how far that number can stretch. Make sure to account for wiggle room so you’ll be able to cover unexpected expenses. You can also keep track of costs using our budget checklist.9. Schedule your dress appointment
If you’re like us and watch too much Say Yes to the Dress, you know that finding a wedding dress needs to happen early. Don’t make the Randy in your life scramble to find you something from the sample room, and make sure your dress is ordered within 7-10 months prior to the ceremony.
Schedule an appointment at local boutiques or two and look out for trunk shows if you have your eye on a particular designer and want to score a discount.
10. Create your vendor dream team
Once you’ve picked a venue or booked a wedding planner, ask them for vendor recommendations. Odds are, they’ve worked with everyone in town and can help you find the best fit for your vision. You can also search our vendor directory to find an extensive compilation of local vendors.
Just make sure you choose vendors you can count on to be professional and help you achieve your vision. There’s nothing worse than picking the cheap option and regretting it.
11. Have a conversation about your wedding priorities
Has anyone ever told you that you have the power to do your wedding your way? At its roots a wedding is simply a ceremony binding two people together, everything else that happens is up to you.
Incorporate unique elements to your ceremony, like planting a tree together or doing a ring warming ceremony. Create a custom cocktail or offer a shot of your favorite whiskey to your guests. Host your reception at the rodeo or take a hike with your bridal party on the morning of the wedding. Elope on a mountain top and have a celebration with your family and friends on a different date.
The only rule is that there are no rules! This wedding is the biggest party you’ll ever throw — and it’s yours to create.
12. Relax and dream about your honeymoon!
When it’s all said and done, the important thing is just to breathe. Focus on planning the things that excite you (like your epic honeymoon) — just make sure that all the hard stuff is done too.
And if you’d like a helping hand, you can find inspiration for planning your perfect wedding on our blog and all the resources you need on our worksheets tab.
What do you find most important in a wedding officiant? Perhaps a religious or spiritual knowledge, outgoing personality or a sense of humor? With Matthew Thuney, of Weddings with Spirit and Wit, you get all three.
While attending church as a child, the Deming officiant said he preferred to listen to the sermon with the adults instead of attending Sunday school. Thuney enjoyed philosophy and theology and grew up to attend Yale Divinity School where he studied to become an Episcopal minister. Then, after completing a ministry internship in his early twenties, he realized he “wasn't ready to minister to anyone.”
Thuney decided to leave the church and moved to Bellingham in 1985 to open his own business, which he ran for 16 years. In 2010 he relocated to Deming and retired, but continued to study religions from around the world and volunteer in his spare time. With his background as a minister, Thuney gave eulogies at several funerals before he finally found his calling in 2013 when he was asked to officiate a neighbor’s wedding.
“It’s a special kind of calling, and I'm glad it found me,” Thuney said with a chuckle.
Now, seven years later, Thuney travels around the state to officiate all varieties of weddings, from the most traditional to non-traditional. To be an officiant, Thuney believes it’s important to be a good public speaker, to have empathy and to understand different religious backgrounds--adding that a sense of humor doesn’t hurt. He enjoys working with couples to create the ceremony of their dreams as well as facing challenges as they arise. For Thuney, being a wedding officiant means more than just receiving a paycheck.
“I refer to it as a job but it’s not really. It’s something I’m so honored to be able to do,” Thuney said.
With the onset of Covid-19, Thuney said navigating weddings this year has been challenging but also a learning experience. What started off as a typical year in the wedding business turned into an uncertain time for Thuney and engaged couples alike.
“It became a game of scrambling to reschedule, to cancel, or to do an elopement this year and hopefully celebrate with a big bash next year,” Thuney said.
But as weddings (albeit smaller ones) continue to take place during the pandemic, Thuney has stayed busy officiating. Cross-border weddings have become popular at Peace Arch Park, a mutual zone where Americans can meet their Canadian loved ones, and Thuney has officiated over eight weddings there. He said he has become familiar with the process of obtaining marriage licenses for couples of the two nations.
Weddings with Spirit and Wit is appropriately named as Thuney sees the importance of the two aspects in a ceremony. With each wedding, Thuney believes in honoring all traditions — or “non-traditions” — and always adds a little bit of spirituality in the sermon. He has also been a writer for 40 years and enjoys engaging the audience with humor.
“It is a spiritual ceremony, but you can have fun with it,” Thuney said.
Matthew Thuney can be contacted via email at email@example.com. For more information visit the Officiants tab under our Vendor Directory on the Pacific Coast Wedding website.
Everyone has heard of couples getting married while scuba diving or on a mountaintop, but have you ever heard of couples getting married in ice caves, or volcanoes, up in hot air balloons, on an iceberg with penguins or on a camel in a desert? Welcome to the wild world of adventure weddings.
Adventure weddings vary greatly, but one thing that they all share is a couple committing while on an adventure. These adventures often involve travel, a journey to the special ceremony site, and possibly sharing the experience with friends and witnesses. The big question is, how do you plan the perfect adventure wedding for you? It’s generally a good idea to hire a professional agent specializing in destination weddings. They have contacts worldwide, they know reputable places to stay, transportation agencies, and agencies/vendors to help make your dream adventure wedding a reality. A professional can help you with finding an ideal location that fits your needs. We talked with Monique Brigham, travel professional and owner of Plumeria Breezes and Travelon how to get started. Monique suggested that couples “should have an idea of what they want to spend and have it narrowed down to where they would like to go. Of course, I can help them come up with both of those, but it is definitely easier if they have some idea.”
Some adventure weddings will take place in other countries, so it is important to check with the laws of that country – agents can help with that step. Once you’ve determined the time of year you would like to get married, find out the typical weather during that season at your destination. There is nothing worse than wanting a winter wedding on Balangan beach in Bali, only to discover that you’ve arrived during the wet season.
In the Pacific Northwest, we have many possibilities for adventure weddings with locations ranging from mountains to the sea and there are lots of vendors who are excited to help out with these types of weddings. Many couples choose their favorite activity (hiking, biking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, sky diving etc.), and share their nuptials before, during or after that activity.
Finding the right officiant and photographer can be its own adventure. We checked with MMR Design & Photography, Meraki Photography, Matt Priestman Photography, E.J. Harris Photographyand K. Hulett Photographyand while not all have photographed an adventure wedding, everyone was interested in having a go at it. Lisa from Meraki Design & Photographytold us about one of her experiences with aan dventure weddings. She said, “It was on a windy overhang on a mountainside overlooking a valley. It was so breathtaking and the emotions during the vows were so honest and genuine because there was no audience to be shy in front of.” She recommends a professional photographer because “a good photographer won't take you back just to the day, they will take you back to each emotion and moment.”
Shannon Day, officiant of Tall Red Head Girl, said that although she has never officiated an adventure wedding, she is definitely game. Couples can also have adventures leading into larger receptions. For example, a couple could get married on horseback at Misty River Ranch if they BYOH (bring your own horse).Then afterwards, they can have a full reception while the horses graze in the field. Other couples might like to exchange their vows on the water then slide into a marina for an awesome beachfront reception. The Hotel Bellwetherand Bellingham Yacht Clubor the Seafarer’s Memorial Parkand Transit Shed Event Centerare all situated so that you could step off a boat or paddleboard and into your party.
With a little research and help from professionals, couples daring to take weddings out of the ordinary can create a unique, once in a lifetime experience.
According to Dhanusha Sivajee, chief marketing officer at The Knot Worldwide, 95 percent of all weddings canceled during Covid-19 are being rescheduled for later this year or into next year. So how do you get started postponing and rescheduling the wedding of your dreams?
Vendors currently understand that these are uncertain times and postponing weddings right now is par for the course. If weddings are scheduled in May through July, vendors suggests rescheduling rather than cancling. As far as August or September weddings, they suggests waiting to see if the stay at home orders/gathering bans are lifted. Many venues are allowing brides to reschedule weddings and receptions twelve months out, but all establishments vary. So if you are thinking about rescheduling, the first thing to do is establish a new date and time for the event. Wedding scheduling is dependent on many things like the availability of the couple, family, venue or even the caterer. Find a couple of dates that work so you have a better chance of getting all of your vendors and suppliers. Also, realize that if you are getting married at a different time of year, the flowers in season will differ; floral designer and Pozie by Natalie owner Natalie Ransom encourages brides to “go with the flow.”
Once you have a couple of dates in mind, talk with your officiant, venue, vendors and any suppliers. For those working with wedding planners, they can often help create a list of the vendors that need to be contacted as well as help you navigate vendor contracts. But do not worry if you do not have a planner; just create a list of your vendors and give them each a call. Rescheduling a wedding is far different than canceling a wedding, but there can be some fees for rescheduling and some of your venders may not be available on your new date, so you may lose a deposit. Review your contracts beforehand to see if they include an Act of God exclusion – Covid-19 certainly qualifies for that! Be sure to talk with all your vendors and suppliers before you announce your new date to guests.
Finally, it’s time to announce the new date to the guests. If you have already sent out wedding invitations, then the address list has been established and you can send out a cute postcard to guests with the information. There are free post card templates on the internet and phone apps or you can create a photo postcard yourself. Sending a mass email or text messages is simple, effective and free. Statistically, the older generation enjoys getting phone calls, but be prepared to have an exit line. If you have a wedding website where people have/can RSVP, be sure to put the announcement and new information there as well.
Postponing a wedding can be a daunting task, but just take it one step at a time.
Many couples who planned a spring wedding a year ago have been confronted with the wedding industry coming to an abrupt halt due to Covid-19. But the determination of some to get married during this time of social distancing and stay at home orders has only increased. Through adaptation and creative thinking couples are still getting married in creative ways.
When we flatten the curve and things seemingly get back to a new normal, will these marriages officially be legal? One of the unique ways folks are continuing on with their big day is virtual weddings. Virtual weddings are weddings that the guests, officiant, and witness attend online through a video meeting platform like Zoom, Facebook Live, or Instagram Live. This is a great way to exchange vows and have people share in the experience, but the internet is not a legally binding entity and to have a wedding be legally binding, the couple, two witnesses and an officiant must all be physically present. If, for instance, your household includes five people right now, you could legally marry as long as one of those people can become certified as an officiant online. You can always have virtual guests, but the five main players must be there in person.
A drive-in wedding is a creative option depending on what Covid-19-related orders are in effect in your state. A couple in Iowa are planning a drive-in wedding the second weekend in April. The couple will be on an outdoor stage while the cars will be parked at angles to see them get married, just like a drive-in movie. In states with only a social distancing order, this works well, doesn’t break any rules and is legally binding.
Because of Washington’s stay at home order, some folks with larger families at home have turned to drive by weddings. In this case, this can be legal if one person in the family is certified as an officiant. Additionally, the couple needs to be present, along with two witnesses. The ceremony can be performed at home and, at a set time, folks can drive by honking horns with, perhaps, cars decorated with signs of well-wishes. In Washington state, some recorder’s offices like King County’s have remained open and folks can continue to get marriage licenses. Some judges are continuing to perform ceremonies as well. Unfortunately, many counties are not issuing marriage certificates at this time.
With a little innovation and creativity we can still make important vows, celebrate together (virtually) and have fun. Sometimes letting go of expectations can result in a really unexpectedly beautiful and present wedding day.
A note from the photographer: The couple was Jennifer and David Russo. They met in high school, dated and then went separate ways. They found each other again years later and knew it was meant to be! Their wedding was at Jennifer’s childhood home in Kent, WA. Completely styled by Jennifer, she added vintage touches by collecting tea cups from local thrift stores months leading up to the wedding, as well as renting gorgeous furniture for guests to relax on as seen in the photos.
Photographer: Rachele Coen Photography / @rachelecoenphoto
Venue: Bride's parents' home in Kent, Washington
Hair & Makeup: The PNW Bride
Catering & Bar Services: Al Lago Restaurant
Ice Cream: Sub Zero Ice Cream / @subzeroicecream
Event Rentals: Alexander Party Rentals / @alexanderpartyrentals
Furniture Rentals: Wander Event Rentals / @wandereventrentals
Florals: Bloominous / @bloominous
Florals: Costco Floral Department / @costco
Photo Booth: Act 1 Photo Booths
Bridal Gown: Inmaculada Garcia / @inmaculada__garcia
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo Collection / @jennyyoonyc
Groom's Attire: Jos. A. Bank / @josabank
Jewelry: Kendra Scott / @kendrascott
Rings: Menashe & Sons Jewelers / @menashejewelers
In October, The Big Fake Wedding came to Seattle, bringing together a talented and exclusive group of local vendors to put on a lush and daring (fake) wedding. Leah and Shaun were the gorgeous happy couple. Origonally wed in 2009, the couple's vow renewal at The Big Fake Wedding was memorable to say the least! Their kids and puppy enjoyed the event as well.
The Big Fake Wedding was held at Within Sodo, with open air spaces and rooftop views. The vendors (fully listed below) all came out to show how amazing and unique their services really are, and, boy, were we blown away. For more information about The Big Fake Wedding, visit thebigfakewedding.com. If you see something that inspires you in the photos or video, be sure to reach out to the talented vendors involved and see if they can help make your special day just as marvolous as the 2019 Big Fake Wedding in Seattle!
The fabulous vendors:
Alcohol - Associated Vintners - http://www.preceptwine.com
Bridesmaid Attire - Azazie - https://www.azazie.com
Oyster Bar - Taylor Shellfish - https://www.taylorshellfishfarms.com/
Catering - Twist Catering Co - https://www.twistcateringcompany.com/
Ceremony Musician - Joseph Dane Music - http://www.josephdane.com/weddings/
Chocolate Favors - Arrowhead Chocolates - https://arrowheadchocolates.com
Cupcakes - Hello, Cupcake - https://hello-cupcake.com
Custom Menswear - J.Hilburn - https://lizsilke.jhilburn.com
Day-of Coordinator - Polka Dot Events - http://www.pdotevents.com
DJ + Emcee - Puget Sound DJ - https://www.pugetsounddj.com
E-Commerce - Tough Cookie Games - https://toughcookiegames.com
Event Rentals - American Party Place - https://www.americanpartyplace.com
Floral + Event Design: Tables 1, 10, + Cake Backdrop - Pump Up Party - https://pumpupparty.co
Floral + Event Design: Tables 2, 9 + Ceremony Backdrop - K Frances Flowers & Events - https://www.kfrancesflowersevents.com
Floral + Event Design: Tables 3, 8 + Head Table - For the Good Events - https://forthegoodevents.com
Floral + Event Design: Tables 4, 7 + Personal Flowers - Jessica Vann-Campbell Flowers - https://www.jvcflowers.com
Floral + Event Design: Tables 5, 6 + Registration Table - Paeonia Pines - https://www.paeoniapines.com
Hair + Makeup - Elizabeth White Artistry - https://www.elizabethwhiteartistry.com
Hotel - Archer Hotel Redmond - https://archerhotel.com/redmond
Jewelry - Joseph Jewelry - https://www.josephjewelry.com
Marshmallow Favors - Malvi: Marshmallow Confections - https://www.malvimallow.com
Medical Spa - Purity Medical Spa - https://puritymedicalspa.com
Men's Wedding Band Home Try-On - Hitched - https://tryhitched.com
Wedding Day Pet Care - Wags & Garland - https://www.wagsandgarland.com
Photo Booth - Drunken Pixel - http://www.drunkenpixel.com
Photography - Wild Grass Photography - https://www.wildgrassphotography.com
Photography - Works by Sarah Jane Photography - https://www.worksbysarahjane.com
Photography - Woven Legacies - https://wovenlegacies.com
Table Accents - Songbird Paperie - http://songbirdpaperie.com/
Tabletop Rentals - Celebrations for Every Season - https://www.celebrationsforeveryseaso...
Venue - WithinSodo - https://www.withinsodo.com
Videography - Best Made Videos - https://bestmadeweddingvideos.com
Wedding Cake - Rue Cler Seattle - https://rueclerseattle.com
Wedding Dress - Grace + Ivory - https://graceandivory.com
A note from the photographer:
Jessica and Roark met in Walla Walla, Washington and have been together for over six years! They moved to Portland four years ago and are tying the knot next summer. With Jessica being a designer and Roark a landscape photographer they wanted the modern-clean look of Portland architecture and the whimsical, forestland that the much of PNW has to offer.
We found the perfect rooftop spot in Northwest Portland and danced around the whole parking lot all morning. After some coffee and a drive up some ivy-filled roads, we got to Forest Park – the 5,100 acre park right in the heart of Portland.
Jessica and Roark were right in their element as the couple has spent their five years together, backpacking, climbing and exploring much of the trails that Oregon and Washington have to offer.
To say these two were natural together is an understatement. Their love has an effortless softness to it that you just don't find everyday. I feel so lucky to have been able to capture this love and am stoked to be there for their wedding next June.
Photographer: Kassidy Sherburne Photography
Wondering if you should start looking for a home to buy after the big day? We sat down with real estate agent Kate Fadden and asked her advice for first time home owners.
Buying a house can be scary, and you might wonder if you are ready for this big of an investment. There are a few questions you should consider. How much can you afford each month? What kind of down payment ae you able to make? Speaking with a loan officer can help guide you through the process of figuring out a budget.
“If you are renting, chances are you can buy. Think about the pros/cons of renting vs. buying and see how you feel about them,” said Fadden.
Real estate is a great investment for a person. Renting can be beneficial in certain situations, but with renting your money is not going towards an investment.
“By renting, you are furthering someone else’s real estate goals and finances rather than creating your own,” said Fadden.
However, the market is always changing, so there is not an easy answer of when is a good time to start looking for a house. Make sure to consider these questions before looking for your dream home. What is the market doing in the area you want to buy? What do the interest rates currently look like? Do you have a clear idea of the house you want to purchase? Are you comfortable with the current budget you have?
If you decide you want to buy a house, you still might not know what you want in a house. Make a list of things you like about your current living situation and things you want to change. You should also consider the area. Work commute, school district and neighborhoods are all things you should think about. Keep your priorities in line and make sure you tell your real estate agent so they can find a house that best suits you.
“When it comes to your budget, stick to it! Make sure you have enough money budgeted for your earnest money deposit and closing costs,” said Fadden.
If you are buying as a couple make sure to keep both your interests in mind. Discuss both of your ‘deal breakers’ and ‘must haves.’ Keep on the same page about budgets and have regular ‘check ins’ to make sure the whole process goes smoothly for both of you.
Ask lots of questions while looking for a house. Remember that your real estate agent, your insurance provider and your mortgage lender are all experts in their field and are there to help you.
“Once you know what you are looking for, the next step is to find a mortgage lender that you want to work with,” said Fadden.
A good place to start is to ask your realtor who they recommend.
Once you choose your mortgage lender, you should get pre-approved so you know what your set budget should be. They can also provide you with a pre-approval letter, which can make you look more desirable to sellers.
If you happen to find your dream home, your agent will write up an offer for you and guide you through the process. It’s a good idea to get a home inspection if your offer gets accepted. Also if you are buying with a bank loan, your bank will order an appraisal of the house.
To contact Kate Fadden about taking the next steps towards purchasing your first home, go to kate-fadden.com.
Happy house hunting!
Photographer: PEARL Photography by Elena
Dress: Dream Dresses by P.M.N
Bridal Bouquet: Colibri Blooms
Hair: Hair By Alise
Make up: Off Black Arts
A note from the photographer:
“We’ll shoot rain or shine!” is what I remember telling Diana, the wedding planner of Passionate Weddings when we started organizing a styled shoot at Winter Green Weddings venue in Buckley. The Pacific Northwest winter didn’t let us down either. Blue skies and sunshine teased us the day before the shoot, only to rain throughout the entire shoot. Thankfully, everyone was prepared for it, and the venue has just a beautiful space indoors as it does outdoors.
Winter Green Wedding’s owners, Mark and Kylie, are the sweetest couple. Mark and his father built the log home and barn, now turned wedding venue, themselves. The craftsmanship and care that went into the buildings is astounding. Not only that, but it sits on acres of beautiful land. Some of the land is manicured grass — perfect for outdoor ceremonies and yard games, while most of the land seems to be forested and wild. Mark and Kylie were such a joy to work with that I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a rustic barn venue.
Since it had been raining all day, the model, Leslie Williams, and I couldn’t wander too far from the barn in fear of dirtying the Maggie Sottero dress we had out on loan from The Wedding Bell. I love the shots we got near the forest, but I’m looking forward to exploring more on a drier day.
Venue: Winter Green Weddings
Photography: M. Laine Photography
Planner: Passionate Weddings
Model: Leslie Williams
Gown: The Wedding Bell
Hair and Makeup: The PNW Bride
Calligraphy: She Said Yes
Flowers: Flora Blume Design
Cupcakes: Hello, Cupcake
Rentals: Cort Pary Rentals
Globe, maps and luggage tags: Mia Nicole Design Co.
A note from Fern & Moon:
Inspired by couples creating new traditions, this shoot celebrates the unconventional bride. The location, in the desert of Eastern Washington, has particular significance for the designers of Fern & Moon. Three years ago our original unconventional bride Karen Merrifield (Co-founder of Fern & Moon) got married here! Her wedding, and her decision to let go of certain trends and conventions, sparked the idea for Fern & Moon. It only seemed right to return to the desert to shoot another unconventional couple, Mimi and Tanner.
With My Garden Overfloweth (Paterson, WA) providing a stunning bouquet, and Anna Miller styling modern hair and makeup we had a peachy, golden colour palette to rival the desert setting. Mimi and Tanner brought items that felt like "them", from sneakers to a paisley shirt, so their style and personalities were reflected in the images. The most beautiful part of the day was seeing their personalities and love shine through in the images. Each couple is unique, and every couple deserves a chance to celebrate what's meaningful to them.
Models and real-life couple: Mimi Roberts and Tanner Badden
Photography: Karen Merrifield, Co-founder Fern & Moon
Wardrobe Styling: Keira Danniels, Co-founder Fern & Moon
Floral Design: My Garden Overfloweth
Dresses: Fern & Moon
Hair & Makeup: Anna Miller
It’s time to start envisioning your wedding look. Whether it is a smoky eye or a natural dewy look or a red lip, here are some tips for making sure your wedding make up is better than you ever dreamed it would be. This is a guide to finding the right products, prepping your skin and refining your look.
1. Know your skin. Some products are going to glide onto your skin and sit there like they were made for you. Some products will clump, separate or just look bad, not because they’re bad products, but because they may not be compatible with your skin. My first recommendation? Samples. You want to be trying products before you invest, so you know how they work with your skin. It’s easy to read reviews and find a dream product and drop a large part of your make up budget on it, but what if you get the product and it doesn’t work with your skin? Try products from every price range, because some less expensive products can really impress. If it works with your skin and brings you closer to that newlywed glow, then it doesn’t matter what the brand is or where you bought it.
2. Treat your skin. Listen, compatible make up can only go so far if you’re not taking care of your skin. Look at our previous post, 4 Ways to get your skin glowing for your big day, for some skincare guidelines. To recap that post: wash your face consistently, get a quality moisturizer that is compatible with your skin type and mask, mask, mask. Great skin is attainable, but it takes consistent effort. If you can create a skincare regimen for yourself and stick to it, you will most likely need less make up on your big day and the make up you do wear will sit better on your skin.
3. Try things. You never know until you try. Recently, I discovered the world of exfoliating moisturizers. My skin has never been softer, but it wouldn’t be if I hadn’t tried something that sounded a little off-the-wall. Always read reviews and the product description to make sure the product will be compatible with your skin type. For example, if you have skin that airs on the oily side, make sure you’re avoiding heavy moisturizers and stick to more intense cleansers. If you have dryer skin, avoid heavy duty cleansers in favor of light cleansers and heavier moisturizers. Get samples and order minis so that you can try a little of everything. Figure out what works best for you specifically; don’t gamble on what works best for everybody else.
4. Research and experiment. Find make up looks that you like and watch tutorials on those looks. Find make up artists and beauty bloggers you trust and let them teach you their technique. Find artists with similar skin types to yours and you’ll be able to glean some recommendations for products to try as well. Try different looks with different products you like, but keep an open mind. Maybe that one highlight wasn’t great on its own, but looks really good when layered with another highlight.
5. Test runs. Try out different looks. You might have an idea of what you want your make up to look like, but you want to try a few variations to really hone in on what you want. Take pictures with good lighting of each variation and write down what you did differently and what products you used with each look. This way, you can compare the variations side by side and decide what makes you look as fierce as possible.
Even if you are hiring a make up artist, it doesn’t hurt to be able to tell them what products you like and specifically what look you want. A make up artist may be able to take the looks you created and bring them to the next level. A make up artist can only work with the skin you bring to the table, though, so make sure you are taking care of your skin and pampering your skin in the months leading up to the big day. It doesn’t matter if you are doing your make up yourself or hiring a professional. You want your skin to be at its very best, so the most important part of wedding make up is to be consistent with your skincare.
From the photographer: Diana and Preston's wedding at the Carnation Tree Farm is one of my all time favorites. It's difficult to put into words how touching it was. Between Diana's first look with her father and brother, the couple's tea ceremony and toasts of remembrance at the reception, I was sniffling and shooting through blurry eyes more than once.
The most precious moment of all was Diana and Preston's first look. Preston was so eager to marry his best friend, that his excitement was contagious. He had the best reaction to seeing Diana, and you can't help but smile with him!
Photography: M. Laine Photography
Florals: Monroe Floral
From the photographer: This wedding was fantastic. It was Scottish inspired, as the bride and her family are Scottish. It was very eclectic, but in an elegant, creative and beautiful way. There were so many details. It was a small untraditional wedding; they had Pendleton Wool Blankets that were embroidered on the back of the chairs, which every guest got to take home, the bride's cloak was also made of Pendleton wool, as well as the grooms vest. It was in a lodge located in Leavenworth, Washington; a German inspired town that looks like you are in the Bavarian Swiss alps next to in orchard in the fall.
Photos by Danielle Louise Photography
Styling and florals: J9bing
You want to wow with your bouquet, so why not choose something other than roses or lilies? Floral alternatives are on the rise. The following are alternatives to traditional floral bouquets, but any of these options could be used with traditional flowers as well. Add something unique and special to your wedding theme with a creative approach to your choice of flowers.
Yes, it is finally time for millennials to start getting married, and they bring with them the trend of succulents. A succulent bouquet is a modern trend that will surprise your guests and won’t wilt like a traditional floral arrangement. Color-wise, a succulent bouquet is usually very green, and is a great option if it complements your general color palette. Succulent bouquets are beautiful, sleek and modern. Succulents are a low maintenance centerpiece for the reception, require little water and won’t stop looking fresh throughout the day. This idea will leave you with a home full of plants after the fact, or you can let guests bring home the arrangements as wedding favors.
Herbs and wheat
For a different look, try non-floral naturals. Herbs can create a very different and natural looking bouquet. These bouquets call to mind a farmhouse wedding in the country. Another option in the same vein is wheat. These bouquets look rustic and natural, as well as being very neutral in color. A bouquet of herbs and/or wheat is an non-traditional approach that will also give your wedding a taste of nature. Using herbs and wheat gives your wedding a more sustainable feel, and will really add something special to the right venue. Use herbs and wheat to take your outdoor wedding or rustic barn wedding to the next level.
There are many ways to incorporate fruit into your bouquet. A subtle option would be berries or grapes while a less subtle choice would be lemons, oranges or pomegranates. Citrus may look best in a bouquet cut open, while a pomegranate must remain whole to protect the dress from red stains. Figs are a beautiful fruit, especially when cut open as an accent in a floral bouquet and pair well with white flowers and blackberries, or other purple colored fruits or vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are increasingly being seen on wedding tables. We aren’t talking about those huge and colorful pineapple and strawberry bouquets, we are talking bouquets and centerpieces that look like they came straight out of a cornucopia. Rustic fruit is on the rise.
Cotton looks beautiful in a bouquet, and is far more original than baby’s breath as a white accent. This is a unique look that will give your bouquet an ethereal vibe. This is also a lovely and simple centerpiece option and general décor choice. Cotton stems look lovely in mason jars, but also in empty wine bottles. Add twine or burlap for a rustic look, or use glass and silver toned plants like lamb’s ear, dusty miller or lavender to create a more delicate aesthetic.
Books and paper flowers
This might sound a little out there, but how many literature loving brides would love to walk down the aisle accompanied by their favorite and most beautifully bound books? What book would you carry with you down the aisle? These book bouquets can take many forms. Handmade paper flowers made out of book pages are one option, but others include looping a ribbon through a single book and carrying it like a purse, with flower accents attached, or tying a few books of descending size into a stack with accents of ribbon and plants. Have each bridesmaid carry a styled book of beautiful binding that is important to you as the bride, or have everyone carry paper flowers. Old books make an interesting centerpiece, and it will make your wedding stand out. Stack books under compact or simple flower arrangements to give them some height. Old books add to a vintage aesthetic. Another option for centerpiece books is folded books, which are an artful way to imply you are opening your life to a new chapter. This theme of literature and words can really carry your wedding and opens many doors for general decorations, invitations and even wedding favors.
Feathers are a nice accent that can be added into a floral bouquet or combined with other non-floral alternatives. Different types of feathers will add to your aesthetic in different ways. Long, dark feathers will add drama and intensity, while small light colored feathers will lighten a bouquet’s aesthetic and add a delicacy to the look. Consider your venue when you consider feathers. Feathers may add to the rustic outdoors feeling of your wedding, or could add some vintage elegance depending on how you tackle your feathery bouquet.
Many of these options can stand alone as a bouquet, but feel free to mix and match as well. Fruit would look lovely with herbs and succulents, just as a succulent decorating a book would be a lovely surprise bouquet alternative. Using these options as accents in floral bouquets and centerpieces is also a possibility.
Incorporating many of these alternatives will take skills and tricks like using hidden wires to secure fruits into a bouquet form, so it might be best to hire an experienced florist when trying for more complex mediums. If you plan on doing some or all of your arrangements yourself, make sure you are researching the execution, consulting a florist at the very least and leaving yourself plenty of time to practice.
Ask your florist what alternative mediums they are comfortable with and go from there. Botanikal in Bellingham provided us with our featured photos of alternative floral arrangements. Find other Pacific Northwest florists here.
Arrangements by Botanikal in Bellingham
Alessandra de Osma and Prince Christian of Hanover got married in Lima, on March 16. This couple had a two weddings, having a civil ceremony in London months before the Peruvian church wedding of March 16, according to Harper’s Bazar. Jorge Vázquez designed the lace gown, which featured a high neck and long sleeves. De Osma’s veil matched the length of her train, which was long, and needed to be carried by her half-sister in law, who wore a black and pink mini-dress also according to Harper’s Bazar. Alessandra de Osma wore the gorgeous and famous Hanover Floral Tiara, which has been worn in several other Hanoverian weddings according to Town and Country Magazine. The groom wore a dapper 3-piece suit according to Hello Magazine.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wed on May 19 at Winsor Castle. The Duchess of Sussex wore a dress with an epic train and veil much in the tradition of royal weddings this year. According to People, the Duchess of Sussex wore for a tiara the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau, made in 1932, but the detachable broach at the center of the tiara dates back to the late 1800s and belonged to Queen Mary before the tiara was passed down to Queen Elizabeth. At the ceremony, a simple welsh gold band was slipped onto Meghan Markle’s newly royal finger, as is tradition according to Town and Country Magazine. The engagement ring was a different story. Town and Country Magazine reported that Prince Harry designed the custom ring himself, and sourced the main stone from Botswana, and the two other stones came from Princess Diana’s jewelry collection. Each part of the ring seems to hold significance for the couple.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank wed at Winsor Castle on October 12. Princess Eugenie wore an open backed dress famously showcasing her scars from her battle with scoliosis. She did not wear a veil with the intention of not covering up her scars. However, this break with tradition was perhaps rectified by her wearing of the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara, which served as a gorgeous and colorful addition to her wedding outfit. Queen Elizabeth II loaned her granddaughter this diamond and emerald beauty for the wedding says Today. Today also stated that this tiara is rarely worn publically by royals, so the choice surprised many. Most unique tiara of the year? Hands down Princess Eugenie.
Princess Ayako and Kei Moriya wed on October 29 at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. The Japanese princess officially lost her royal status that very day, as she chose to wed a commoner according to Japan Times. She wore traditional court attire, which is traditionally very colorful. Princess Ayako’s hair was done up in an ancient style for noblewomen. It seems that the affair was very traditional, and Japan Times reported on many well wishes for joy and a happy household.
Duchess Sophie of Württemberg and Count Maximilien of Andigné wed at the Castle of Tegernsee on December 13. This couple was another who had a civil ceremony some months before the wedding, opting for a later, more lavish public affair according to Daily Mail. Duchess Sophie’s train and veil were also quite long, and her dress featured a boat neck and three quarter length sleeves. Duchess Sophie wore in the way of family heirlooms a beautiful diamond tiara, and an impressively intricate lace veil according to Brides.com.
The royal weddings this year were all affairs to remember. From the outfits to the settings, these weddings have set trends that we will see long into the New Year. Long trains, full length veils and colored stone accents have taken their place among 2018 wedding trends, but will surely carry over and continue effecting trends for a long time to come. Even royal brides are beginning to break with tradition in favor of personal style, and that should inspire us all.
There are some famous weddings that have broken this tradition over the years. Elizabeth Taylor, for example, did not wear white to several of her weddings. She wore emerald green in the ’50s, yellow in the ’60s, and a rainbow gown in the ’70s. More recently, jewelry designer Caitlin Mociun wore colorful stripes to her wedding in Puglia in September this year. In short, the whole palette is yours to consider when it comes to color.
There are also happy mediums between rainbow and white. Portia De Rossi famously fudged the white rule with a pale pink gown in 2008, and Gwen Stefani wore an ombré white to pink gown in 2002. Put your own spin on this tradition.
Detachable trains are a convenient option that will help your dress to be more practical during the reception. Another option is a train that pins up in the back for the reception. Drama in the dress is great for the ceremony, but make sure you will be able to enjoy your reception without worrying about being stepped on.
Let us know what your dress looks like with the contact form below!
1. Include things that imply celebration. Mini Champagne! Champagne is a good option, but mini wines or a wine bottle with a personalized label with their name on it, the wedding date or a fun rhyme about bridesmaids will add a fun touch. A monogrammed wine glass is a nice addition to this idea. Be sensitive to your bridesmaids with this; if one of your bridesmaids doesn’t drink, include a fun artisanal soda or a kombucha.
2. Pamper your bridesmaids. Include a bath bomb in the scent of their favorite flower or bubble bath so that she has a fun way to de-stress.
3. Glitter or confetti is an aesthetic choice to consider. Glitter, yes, will get everywhere, but if you think your bridesmaids will appreciate a good glittering, go for it. Another option is confetti poppers, which are less eternally messy yet still fun.
4. Personalized cards are a very nice touch. Try making the cards yourself, or at the very least write a personal note in each card. Add a photo of you and your bridesmaid with a nice sentiment on the back. This is a nice touch that shows each bridesmaid that you are thinking of her specifically.
5. A cute planner. They need somewhere to write down the wedding date, after all. This is also a nice nod to the responsibility they will be taking on as a bridesmaid.
6. There is a lot of potential wordplay when it comes to hair ties, so include some fun hair ties with a rhyme or joke about tying the knot.
7. Something useful is a nice touch. A nice monogrammed water bottle or travel mug is a gift that keeps on giving.
8. Soaps, candles, and other scent-based items are a nice opportunity to personalize each kit. What scents do each of your bridesmaids love?
9. Time together is much more valuable to your bridesmaids than an expensive bauble. Show your bridesmaids that girl time is still going to be a priority with vouchers for a spa day together, or an invitation to a special bridesmaid’s brunch. This doesn’t have to break the bank either, you could make brunch at your house and serve mimosas to give it a more personalized touch.
When it comes to bridesmaids, monogramming is in. Put their names on whatever you can. Their name is going to mean more than the word bridesmaid, so save the bridesmaid sashes for the bachelorette party or the bridal shower.
You can always personalize, and have slightly different kits for different bridesmaids. Try coordinating kits in each bridesmaid’s favorite color.
Make the maid of honor’s kit a little bigger than the others. She will be taking on extra responsibilities after all. She deserves something extra.
Make sure you package the kit so that nothing breaks, but also consider how it looks. Make sure it’s cute. Boxes are popular, because everything can be laid out and set in place, but nice reusable totes are a good alternative. Baskets are also a possibility if your gifts are a little bulkier.
If a kit isn’t your style, perhaps, just give a simple bracelet or earrings with a nice note.
What do you want your first dance to say? You’ve said your vows, now show it with your body language. Trust, grace, love, and laughter all have a place in your first dance. How do you want to start your marriage? In this day and age, there is a dance for all occasions. While you could do the dougie if you wanted, there is a way to pick a dance form that reflects how you want to start off your marriage.
If you are looking for elegance and sophistication, of course, I would recommend a waltz. Waltzes are ageless dances that convey grace and class and it says volumes about listening and working together. Waltz is the most popular wedding dance of our time, because it is a classic that says a lot of wonderful things about teamwork and truly hearing each other.
Are you a couple who prides themselves on their passion? Perhaps you should start the ball rolling with a tango. A tango is going to emphasize the raw power within your relationship, and demonstrates a confidence in yourselves that is truly unique among dances.
A swing dance (and I recommend west coast swing) is adventurous. Infuse it with some lindy hop moves to show that fun loving side of your relationship. The fun lindy hop moves also demonstrate trust and bravery. A swing or lindy hop will show that you are risk takers with a penchant for excitement.
Intimacy and deep feelings will come through clearly in a rumba. Rumbas are very sweet, but very passionate, and Latin dances like this will make you feel like you and your new spouse are the only ones in the room.
Something that is pure fun would be a Charleston. This dance form is straight out of the 1920s. The embellishing moves that can be thrown in with the basic steps will cause laughter and smiles. While the footwork seems complicated, a lesson or two would be able to break it down, and the footwork will become second nature in no time. You will be unique with this dance choice, as it is neither traditional nor very serious, but if fun and laughter are your priorities in marriage, why not show that with your dance?
Looking for something easy to learn? Try a salsa. Salsa is easy to pick up, and always looks beautiful. It’s a fun dance where, once you’ve got the basic steps down, you don’t really have to think anymore. It is a nice choice if you just want to improvise with your spouse within a loose structure. A salsa says that you think on your feet, and you like to roll with the punches.
A personal favorite of mine is the cha-cha. Cha-cha is playful and fun, but it can also be complex and full of surprises and unexpected turns. With this dance, you will be showing that you are hard workers who love learning and growing together. Cha-cha shows that you meet challenges head on, and with quick, solution-based thinking. This dance will keep you on your toes, but so can marriage.
Another thing to consider is a medley of any combination of any of these dances. Hiring a choreographer will make this easier, but make sure you tell the choreographer what you want to say with your first dance, and why you’ve chosen to include each type of dance.
In the end, it’s just a dance, but it is also the beginning of a magical new chapter in your life. Your first dance can say something about who you as a couple want to be in this marriage. Use the first dance to set an intention within yourself to be mindful in marriage, and aware of your strengths as a couple. What will your first dance say about you? What will it say to your family and friends?
"We met playing slow pitch softball back in 2014. We were playing on different teams, but ended up meeting and hitting it off at a local tournament. We quickly realized we had something special and ended up moving in together after only 3 months of dating. We haven’t spent a day apart since moving in together. We get along so well that we even started a design business together and are working on launching a lifestyle shop.
Daniel proposed to me during a cold winter night. We were bundled up beside our fireplace having a little picnic of good wine and cheese, our favorite snack since going to France for a few months the year before. It was a very romantic evening, just the two of us! My engagement ring is vintage from 1923 (my favourite era). Daniel knew I wanted something with history so he spent months hunting down the perfect ring at an antique store in Washington and boy am I glad he did!
After getting engaged, the first thing we wanted to do was find an amazing photographer. We knew we wanted somehow who could capture our personality and make us feel comfortable in front of the camera. We were lucky enough to find Mattie, the incredible photographer behind Hopeless Romantic. She completely understood our vision and helped us chose the shoot location at Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver. We are thrilled at how the photos turned out and can’t wait for her to shoot our wedding!”
Then you pull yourself out of bed, and on your way downstairs to the coffee pot, you glance at your reflection in the mirror and there it is: a huge and dreaded mid-forehead zit that no veil, and no last minute bangs styling can hide. Here are 4 helpful steps to make sure this nightmare never becomes your reality.
1. Washing your face consistently is the most important thing. Even an expensive serum will not be totally effective on unwashed skin. It doesn’t matter if your skin is usually clear, washing your face in the morning and at night will help keep it that way when the stress is up and the big moment is looming. All skin types benefit from being clean and bacteria free.
2. Hydration is everything when it comes to that coveted glowing, flaw-free skin. Moisturizing after face washing is a game changer. Many moisturizers serve duel purposes, like brightening as well as hydrating, or some will help even out your skin-tone over time. This is why it is so important to start your wedding skincare now. Give your skin time to rise to the occasion. Try to get a moisturizer for your skin type, especially if you have naturally oily skin. Some moisturizers are heavy and can contribute to clogging your pores. Drinking water will also help hydrate your skin. Make sure you are always hydrating, especially on the big day itself.
3. Use masks! Try using different masks to help you establish which types of masks work the best for your skin. Experiment with samples! That way, in the week leading up to the wedding, you can be masking with products that you already love, and products you know will make a difference. See how a brightening mask effects your skin, and maybe that will be the mask you use the morning of. Maybe you will need a purifying mask the night before, if you sense a breakout coming on. But at this point, you’ve been practicing good skincare for months, so you know what will get the job done on short notice. Become an expert on your own skin.
4. The week of, consider popping into one of our many local spas for a facial, but I recommend doing a test run of the treatment in advance to make sure it’s the right facial for your skin on your big day. Wearing a backless dress? In addition to their many other facial treatments, The Chrysalis Inn and Spa has a facial treatment specifically for your back. Majestic Inn and Spa offers a body polish in the same vein. if your dress shows skin, a full body glow will never disappoint. Check out what Zazen Salon and Spa offers too. The day spa at Silver Reef Casino Resort is also a great option for your pre wedding day needs.
Skincare can be an overwhelming world, from the serums to the liquid collagens, and there is room for all of it, but most important are the basics. When it comes to skin, consistency is everything. Commit to just a few steps that you can do every day, and build from there. Good skincare is no guarantee, but it is a tool. If your skin nightmare comes true, you’ll know what to do, and you’ll know that you did everything you could to prevent it. Your most radiant skin and self takes work, but it will be worth it when you are walking down the aisle with that coveted bridal glow.
1. How did you fall in love with your soon-to-be spouse? When did you know this was the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?
2. What qualities of theirs inspire you to be your best self?
3. How has your life changed since they entered it?
4. What does your future together look like?
5. What do you want to accomplish together?
6. What does marriage mean to you?
7. What promise can you make to your spouse?
8. How will you be there when times get tough?
You just got engaged! Make sure not to obsess too much on the expenses, dates or getting everything done right now. Enjoy the moment you two are in, and the journey that awaits you. Chances are you’ve thought about your big day before. Discuss the wedding of your dreams and bask in how exciting it’ll all be.
2. Start small
Ok, now you can start crunching the numbers. What is that budget going to look like? Make a rough estimate of where you two want to go money-wise. What are the things you are willing to splurge on and areas where you could save?
3. Pick a season
Decide when this grand event should take place. Do you want a summer wedding or a backdrop of amber and gold leaves?
4. Size it up
The cost of your wedding mostly depends on the number of people who will see you walk down the aisle. Do you and your partner foresee an intimate wedding of close family and friends or a ballroom filled with everyone you know? Start by each making a list of who you absolutely must have, and then a bit more. Get an estimate – you can start scaling it down once you start looking at possible venues.
5. Think about engagement photos
Go ahead and schedule your engagement photo session. These photos are fun to post on social media and, of course, to use for save-the-dates. Many wedding photographers offer a package that include engagement photos. See our section on why we recommend hiring a professional on page 14.
Go ahead and start planning a little – it’s part of the fun! But don’t stress yourself by trying to get venues, photographers and vows right away. You want to take your time and make sure you see all the options out there. A speedy decision could mean missing out on a better option down the road.
Staying tight lipped about your proposal isn’t going to be easy. But until the people closest to you get a visit or a phone call (don’t forget grandma!) the not-so-close friends on social media can wait.
3. Make promises
It is easy to get caught up in everyone’s fantasy for your wedding. Your best friend might have the best idea for a color scheme and your mom might know just where you should book the venue, but at the beginning, make sure you’re just listening instead of jumping into anything too soon.
4. Plan the party
Don’t start sharing the big news and handing out titles for bridesmaids or maid of honor too soon. Talk to your spouse about who they are thinking of including, figure out numbers and take your time before handing anyone a bouquet.
5. Shop and stop
The perfect wedding dress could be the first one you find, but unless you’re absolutely sure, be careful in writing that check too soon. Feel free to go shopping early on, but look at your options before deciding on the dress. Compare prices at different locations and shop around so you know you’ve found the perfect gown.
Photos and text by Kara Spencer.
Trends are always coming back around, and wedding wear is no exception. Pacific Coast Weddings caught up with Pam Reed, owner of Bellingham-based Alicia’s Bridal and The Formal House to discuss which styles are in and which ones are out for the 2018 year.
Alicia’s Bridal is home to hundreds of wedding dresses made by top designers. The store is also perfect for the groom to be, stocked with over 4,000 tuxedos that can be fitted and out the door in an hour. With over 30 years of experience, Reed shares the latest trends, and her advice for brides shopping for their big day.
- Bring two to three of your closest friends and family. Too many opinions can make it difficult. “Think of someone who understands that it is all about the bride, and not them.”
- Keep an open mind and try on different styles. The majority of the time, a bride chooses a dress completely different than what she had in mind.
- Start small. Start with five dresses to avoid getting overwhelmed.
- Have fun. It is about feeling beautiful and celebrating your day. “Come in and have fun, we don't mind if you hate some of the dresses,” Reed says.
Trends: The Bride
If you are looking for a pure white gown, you might have some trouble. Snow-white gowns are now hard to find, Reed said. In fact, there is only one true white gown in Alicia’s Bridal, and that's because more brides are going after ivory and sand-colored dresses. A real white doesn’t compliment many skin tones, Reed said, and that is why they have become less popular in past years.
A perfect fit and comfort appear to be themes for 2018. Beyond color, designs are changing to adhere to more bodies and being crafted with more forgiving, comfortable fabrics. She loves watching a bride’s reaction after putting on the flexible fabric, Reed said. “The best thing is that wedding dresses have gotten more stretch,” Reed said. “It is like yoga pants in a dress.”
The fabric is as comfortable as it is complementing; the spandex-material under the dress makes it more approachable for a variety of body types.
There is no doubt that the low-back from years past is still a trend – but now, that back is covered in an almost perfectly-transparent netting. The benefit of the illusion is that it pulls the front of the dress to make for a better overall fit, while still giving an “amazing” low back, Reed said. English net can also be found on many of the newer dresses, and offers a softer, more romantic feel than tulle, Reed said.
Accessories are no longer strictly silver, and have been joined by gold and rose gold. Headpieces are transforming, too. Gold-plated floral headbands and hair vines take a new, elegant spin on the floral crown.
This year, it is all about details, Reed said. Dresses are more intricate than ever, being adorned with beading, lace, layers, texture or sheer netting. But don't worry – you're likely not paying more. Dress prices haven't spiked and are expected to be stay about the same this year, Reed said.
Trends: The Wedding Party
The next go-to color can’t be pinned down, and that's because brides are getting more creative. Pinterest has certainly changed things throughout the years, Reed said. With all of the inspiration, brides are finding more complex color schemes and specific shades. Although Pinterest can be a great tool for finding color palettes, she advises brides to keep an open mind, since finding an exact color from online can be difficult to find in the store.
These days, brides have been choosing upwards of three different colors for gowns, florals and accents. Merlot, navy, eggplant and softer pastels have been some of the more common colors, Reed said.
Her main advice for a bride-to-be in search of her colors? “Surround yourself with the color that complements you best and coordinate with the groom.”
The groom and bride should share a similar look, she noted. If a groom is wearing suspenders and the bride is wearing a ball gown, their aesthetic can look too different. “Follow the formality of the bride,” Reed said. Reed’s easy fix is to add a jacket on top of the suspender look, and take it off later in the night, when the formal photos and ceremony is over.
But her biggest advice for grooms is quite simple — “Listen to the bride!”
Alicia’s Bridal & The Formal House is located at 1400 N State Street, open 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. throughout the week, and closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. Brides can request an appointment in person, online or by phone at 360/733-2563.
The richest of textures, like the roots of the strongest birch, begins in the verdant depths of this romantic location outside of Seattle. Fur and lace, Earth and sky, combine to create an ambiance like no other in this Modern Viking Inspired look. Like the many elements of this amaranth bouquet, every detail comes together perfectly to create this elegant woodsy setting.
Photographer: Pearl Photography by Elena
Event Planner: Added Details
Dress: Frankie & Maude
Tuxedo: Men's Wearhouse
Floral Designer: Pozie by Natalie
Hair and Makeup: Sierra Perry
Rentals: Wander Event Rentals
Calligrapher: Katelin Simons Design
Cake: Gathered Confections
When we set out to do this shoot we wanted to do something really unique. Many of the vendors included in this shoot work in the wedding industry and we've worked on several wedding themed styled shoots together in the past, but styled shoots aren't just for people getting married. We wanted to show everyone that you can throw a big, fun themed party for ANY reason and you can still have fun with all of those little details.
This Vintage Circus Party was meant to be an adult afternoon/dinner party with a personalized cocktail called The Bearded Lady of Brussels made with Navy Style Rum, beet syrup, lime, bitters and a gilded, candied beet on a rosemary skewer crafter by Sara Holodnik. An invitation set to set the theme, popcorn and specialty cookies, an amazing 4 layer cake and DIY cotton candy we actually made from pillow stuffing and spray paint so as not to make a huge mess in the hot sun that day while shooting!
The table and many of the accessories were provided by a local rental company, Wander, and we were able to track down a few key actual vintage items like a clapping monkey and an old metal ferris wheel to draw your eye to the middle of the table. Hanging above the table is a pretty epic flower display by Pozie by Natalie that showers color down from the center of the tent. We actually crafted that tent onsite ourselves the day of the shoot with pipe and drape provided by Skagit Valley Wedding Rentals.
It was much more of an undertaking that we expected, but it was the statement piece we needed to really bring the shoot together. We wanted to provide a form of entertainment for our party guests, so we put a call out for local circus models. We ended dup with three different models all with specific talents: juggling, stilting and hola-hooping. We wanted hair and makeup that was dramatic and on theme which I think was definitely achieved. We even had a local llama named Jack join us for a little while to bring that dinner party entertainment to a whole new level!
Photographer: Katheryn Moran Photography
Flowers: Pozie by Natalie
Event Rentals, props, design: Wander
Stationary, balloons, signage: Spruce
Hoola Hooping Model: Jessica Hazleton Spinful Creations
Stilting Model: Heidi Blossom Tall Girl Enterprises
Juggling Model: Strangely Doesburg
Cake: Xtra Special Cakes
Cookies: Morgan G Cookies
Tent and Draping Rentals: Skagit Valley Wedding Rentals
Pipe and Drape Expert: Eastwood Events
Hair: Hair by Areca
Makeup: Vivaluxx School of Makeup Art
Monkey Painting Prop: Kevin Coleman
Cocktails Artist: Sara Galactica
Here are a few of our favorite wedding-ready manicures from Instagram!
1. Rose quartz
2. Rose gold cuffs
3. Match the dress
5. Head ballerina
6. Tough but glamorous
7. Delicate florals
8. The modern French
9. Glittered and gold
"Beauty, will you marry me?"
Wedding Dashers, a whimsical fun-run, kicks off at Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham, and sets off on a 2.7 mile course down the Boulevard Trail and back. The finish line is just the beginning, as the Boundary Bay beer garden is transformed into a faux wedding reception complete with DJ, cake, mimosas and games. Registered attendees are asked to put on their wedding gear, lace up their runners and get dashing for families in need here in Whatcom County.
Wedding Dashers is the brain-child of Jenny Schmidt, local event planner, runner and events manager of Boundary Bay Brewery. Her hope was to design a fun, community-oriented event to engage people in an important and challenging issue and cause, in an accessible and creative way.
“The team at Boundary Bay Brewery and I wanted to find a way to honor the incredible work that Lydia Place is doing in Bellingham to end homelessness, while adding a little fun and humor to our downtown and beer garden." Schmidt said. "Wedding Dashers has been an exciting opportunity to collaborate with our local community and Lydia Place, while shining a light on this important issue.”
Online and in-store (Fairhaven Runners) is open through September 22. The cost to participate is $25, with 12 and under free. A limited edition tuxedo T-shirt by Iron Street Printing is also available to registered guests.
On the day of the dash, event participants are invited to enjoy complimentary wedding hair styling services provided by The Beauty Institute-Schwarzkopf beginning at 8 a.m. at Boundary Bay on Railroad Avenue. Additionally, the first 100 registered guests will receive a wedding-themed goodie bag filled with exciting items and services from event sponsors and wedding industry professionals. All participants will receive a wedding themed participation ribbon, and can enter to win prizes and goodies courtesy of Wedding Dash sponsors. Donations include prizes from Fairhaven Runners, Boundary Bay Brewery, Belle Bridal, LyLy’s Wonders, Wise Buys, lululemon athletica and more.
These cultural wedding ceremonies can be easily integrated into your own wedding.
Australia: An Australian tradition is the unity bowl. For this, guests hold small stones through the wedding ceremony and at the end place them in a decorative bowl, which the couple keeps in their home to remind them of the support of their loved ones.
France: In France, the groom traditionally picks up the bride at her home and walks her to the ceremony. Children block their path holding white ribbons which the bride must cut to symbolize overcoming obstacles in marriage.
Greece: Part of the Greek wedding ceremony is for the bride and groom to take their first walk as a married couple around the altar three times to symbolize the trinity.
Japan: Japanese couples honor their parents at their ceremony with a toast, flowers or a letter expressing their thanks and love.
Israel: Jewish couples traditionally marry under a chuppah, a canopy that is believed to protect the bride and groom from evil spirits.
Mexico: As part of a Mexican wedding ceremony, the priest wraps a rosary, chain of flowers or rope in a figure eight around the couple’s necks as a representation of eternal unity.
Nigeria: Yoruba couples from Nigeria and Benin traditionally sample the four elements of taste: vinegar for bitter, lemon for sour, cayenne for hot and honey for sweet. These elements represent marriage’s ups and downs, always ending with sweet.
Sweden: Customarily Swedish brides carry coins in their shoes. They carry a silver coin from their father in their left shoe and a gold coin from their mother in their right shoe. The coins are to ensure that she will never go without.
Wales: Welsh brides carry myrtle in their bouquets as a symbol of love, and traditionally give a cutting of myrtle to their bridesmaids to plant. If one of the bridesmaid’s cutting blooms, she will soon marry.
Session Date: 5/10/2016
Session Location: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island / Lime Kiln State Park
They cuddled tightly together as the Samish ferry burst though the waters surrounding the Pacific Northwest’s picturesque San Juan Islands. The sky was clear and the air was filled with anticipation as Allison Byerly and Garrett Abbey dove head first into their Adventure Engagement Shoot with Kelsey Michelle Photography.
Allison and Garrett met four years ago though a mutual friend…only after Allison pestered them to introduce her to this guy Garrett. He was tall, dark and handsome, and with his quick wit and his beaming smile, Allison was immediately smitten. The attraction was instant for Garrett as well, and after cleverly and underhandedly asking for her phone number, the rest, as they say…was history.
An adventure engagement shoot on San Juan Island was a perfect choice for this energetic couple. With the incredible wildlife, chill atmosphere, and unique bars and restaurants in Friday Harbor, this location was right up their alley.
Entire chapters have been written on the intricacies of invitation phrasing, so if your situation is atypical or you have a specific question, be sure to do some additional research. The below information should work for most traditional family dynamics.
If your parents are paying:
“Timothy and Jeanne Smith request the honour of your presence* at the marriage of their daughter Rachel Smith to Andrew McCall.”
If you are paying:
“Rachel Smith and Andrew McCall, along with their parents, Timothy and Jeanne Smith and Gregory and Rebecca McCall, request the pleasure of your company* at their marriage.”
*Note: “Request the honour of your presence” (with the British spelling) indicates a church ceremony. “Request the pleasure of your company” is appropriate for ceremonies held anywhere else.
Photo by Joe and Patience
In Washington state, your marriage license is not valid until three days after you have signed the application and paid the license fee. The license is then valid for 60 days.
Witnesses are not necessary to apply for a license.
License fee: $56
Island County Auditor’s Office: 1 NE 7th Street, Coupeville, WA 98239
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
License fee: $60, cash only
Skagit County Auditor’s Office: Administration Building, Room 201, 700 S. 2nd Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
SAN JUAN COUNTY
Online applications available at: sanjuanco.com/auditor/MarriageLicense
License fee: $60
San Juan County Courthouse, First Floor: 350 Court Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Hours: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
License fee: $64
Snohomish County Auditor’s Office: 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, M/S 204, Everett, WA 98201
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–noon and 1–5 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m.–noon and 1–4 p.m.
Online applications available at: recording.whatcomcounty.us/Marriage
License fee: $59
Whatcom County Auditor’s Office Recording Division: 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 103, Bellingham, WA 98225
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Initially, Jennifer and Daniel wanted to have their engagement photos taken in one of Victoria’s inland parks; however, the stormy weather at the beginning of December convinced them that the beach might be a more
dynamic location. I put forward two suggestions – one urban location and Island View Beach, a coastal regional park with a more naturalized look. Jennifer and Daniel decided Island View Beach would be the perfect spot,
and not only did we have the park’s natural beauty as our backdrop, we also got to use pre-existing driftwood structures that other visitors had made and left standing on the beach.
When we started the session, I told Jennifer and Daniel that my goal wasn'’t just to make sure they had engagement photos that they love, but ones that reflect them and who they are as a couple. I want them to be
able to look at their photos and remember their engagement session as fun and comfortable, and I think we achieved that. Jennifer and Daniel wear their love for each other openly; you can see and feel it when you’re
around them, and it shines through in their photos.
Photographer: Lily and Lane Photography
“We had a first look, but it was only for me. My husband wore a blindfold and I got to see him. That probably was my favorite memory from the entire day because it was finally happening.” – Elizabeth M.
“Making s’mores on the beach at the end of the night with my husband.” – Jennifer M.
“Afterward at dinner when I realized I had no idea what the decorations at the ceremony looked like, because all I could see was him. It reminded me why I got married.” – Nikki B.
“We rode our tandem bike around and through our crowd of guests after the ceremony and pictures. It was a perfect and very fun moment that broke up all the formal wedding must-dos and transitioned our evening into party time!” – Karli M.
“All of it was amazing. I guess I’d say after everything was done, sitting on the beach that night with my closest friends and family at the resort. It was a simple moment but it was when I realized I was married and all these wonderful people love me so much they flew across the country to be with me on my day! It was the moment I had everyone I’m closest to in one spot at one time and we all got to relax by the beach with a drink in our hand. We got to forget about life and just enjoy the moment.” – Jenna M.
“Waiting to walk down the aisle, with my 9-year-old son giving me away.” – Rebecca M.
“When my husband played his acoustic guitar for everyone and got to have his own mini concert.” – Emily E.
“Oh, that’s a tough one. I think probably after it was all said and done, taking pause over the teamwork of pulling the hundreds of bobby pins out of my hair to realize, ‘Whoa. We got married today,’ (and survived)!” – Larissa J.
Before you decide to hand over important wedding day tasks to your friends and relatives, let us tell you why we think you should hire a professional instead.
You get what you pay for. When you hire a professional, you get to thoroughly check them out – see their previous work, read reviews and get samples. You can make sure that they are going to do a wonderful job on your wedding day. They’re charging for their service because they’re good at it, which you can confirm before you hire them. You’re not likely to have the same luxury with a friend or relative.
They’re experienced. It’s unlikely that you’ve ever planned an event this big before, and no matter how confident you feel about planning your wedding, you’re going to want people on your side who have been through it all before. Professionals have worked on many weddings, and know exactly what they should be doing, and how to keep your day on track. They’re also practiced at handling the stress and sometimes-chaotic environment of the average wedding day.
You’re protected. What happens if your caterer never shows up, or your venue double books for your wedding day? If that vendor was a professional, you’ve got a contract to fall back on that clearly states their obligations. If instead, a family member or a friend was in charge, you have little legal recourse, and may be putting your relationship with that person at risk. In addition, professionals carry insurance, so should any accidents happen, you won’t be left holding the bag.
Everyone can enjoy your day. You want your friends and family to be able to relax and have fun at your wedding, and you should be able to do the same. Hiring professionals to work your wedding means that instead of wrangling people and making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be all day, you can step back and enjoy the celebration you’ve worked so hard to create.
Of course your loved ones want to have a special place in your big day – they should be involved in such an important event. Have your best friend and your mother help you shop for your wedding dress and accessories, and ask that sister with an eye for detail to help you pick your decorations, but when it comes to the essential components of your wedding, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
2. Gold pineapple wax seal on your invitations
3. Brass pineapple candles anywhere you like
4. Pineapple vase on your dinner tables
5. Pineapple table number holder
6. Pineapple necklace to give your wedding outfit a little pep
7. Pineapple earrings for your bridesmaids
8. Pineapple menu
They’re experienced. It’s unlikely that you’ve ever planned an event this big before, and no matter how confident you feel about planning, you’re going to want people on your side who have been through it all before. Professionals have worked many weddings before, and know exactly what they should be doing, and how to keep your day on track. They’re also practiced at handling the stress and chaotic environment of the typical wedding day.
You’re protected. What happens if your photographer friend loses their memory card with all of your photos on it, or your guests get sick after eating your aunt’s food? You’ll likely have little legal recourse, and that relationship could be at risk. If instead you hire a professional, you’ve got a contract to fall back on that clearly states the vendor’s obligations. Professionals also carry insurance, so should any accidents happen, you won’t be left in the lurch.
Everyone can enjoy your day. You want your friends and family to relax and have fun at your wedding, and you want to do the same. Hiring professionals to work your wedding means that instead of wrangling people and making sure they know what they’re doing all day, you can step back and enjoy the celebration you’ve worked so hard
Getting your loved ones involved in your wedding is fantastic – they should have a role to play in such an important day. Have your best friend and your mother help you pick out your wedding dress, and ask that friend with an eye for decorating to help pick your colors, but when it comes to the essential components of your wedding, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Read what Amy has to say about her wedding day below:
Our wedding ceremony and reception took place at private outdoor site on Whidbey that featured breathtaking views of the Maxwelton Valley, and a multi-story rustic timber-framed barn and several other small built structures.
My husband and I are in an alt-country bluegrass band, so we insisted that the wedding have a down-home and fun feel, including catered barbeque, an assortment of pies, lawn games, a whiskey-based signature cocktail and live music from Northern California-based band the Miss Lonely Hearts. Our band (the Weatherside Whiskey Band) also performed a short set and got the whole reception on their feet dancing – it was dreamy!
To balance the informal/relaxed feel, we added some simple, elegant elements that accentuated the beauty of the property and the barn itself, without overdoing it. Peach and copper colors inspired the soft summery table linens, antique copper vessels and collectibles, rustic wood planters with silvery succulents, and lovely florals by Tobey Nelson of Vases Wild.
Photographer: Michael Stadler Photographs
Flowers: Vases Wild
Music: Miss Lonely Hearts, Weatherside Whiskey Band
Six to three months out…
“At least six months before the wedding, book your hair and makeup artist. Licensed professionals book up fast so the earlier you reserve your stylists, the better the chance of getting your first choice.”
– Anna Scheib, Tart Beauty Salon
“Get into a routine of taking time for you every month! It is easy to get so wrapped up in the details that come the special day, you end up being one big stress ball. Set yourself up for a relaxing day that celebrates your love.”
– Anna Holm, The Apothecary Spa at The Majestic Inn
“If you plan to try any new beauty services, be sure to try them months ahead. Lash extensions can be great, but aren’t for everyone. Spray tans are a quick and easy way to get the perfect glow, but knowing your color and how to care for it is essential. Facials can be relaxing and detoxifying, but unforeseen allergic reactions can cause rashes or breakouts. If you plan to do anything new, do a trial.”
– Ashley Thomasson, Love Beauty
“Consult with your hair stylist a few months before your wedding. Bring pictures of your ideal bridal hairstyle. You will have plenty of time to get that perfect cut or color if you figure out what you want early enough.”
– Anna Holm, The Apothecary Spa at The Majestic Inn
“Be realistic when it comes to your hairstyle. It’s difficult to make thin hair look luxurious and full. If your hair’s not quite where you want it to be, start early with treatments that stimulate hair growth and maximize its health.”
– Terrie May, MayDay Spa-Lon
“Use coconut oil to deep condition your hair in prep for that perfect bridal style. Do this is on a day you’re not going anywhere. After washing, massage the oil into your locks, leave for 10 minutes, and rinse. Wash it again the next morning and your hair will love you!”
– Elizabeth Marie Makeup
“Start your facials months in advance. They can cause breakouts, and you want those gone before the big day. I recommend a rejuvenating oxygen facial for brides; the serum used in conjunction with the oxygen offers hydration, lifting and plumping.”
– Jessica Evans, The Chrysalis Inn & Spa
“Working a good facial cleanser and moisturizer into your bedtime routine will make your skin very happy. Sleeping in your makeup can leave your skin looking dull, not to mention the leftovers it leaves on your pillowcase!”
– Elizabeth Marie Makeup
The week before…
“Final beauty details can be saved for the week of the wedding. This is the time to get that last wax, spray tan, bang trim, manicure, pedicure or fix your lash extensions.”
– Anna Scheib, Tart Beauty Salon
“Drink lots of water, especially in the days leading up to your wedding. Water will hydrate and moisturize your skin, curb breakouts, and give your skin that healthy glow every bride wants. Don’t underestimate the power of water!”
– Ashley Thomasson, Love Beauty
“Get a massage the day before your wedding. You want to enjoy your day and not be too stressed. A massage is a great way to relax and get ready to enjoy yourself.”
–Jessica Evans, The Chrysalis Inn & Spa
“Keep calm with chamomile tea served hot or cold, and try lavender essential oil; it not only smells lovely but soothes the senses. Also stay as organized as possible – stress shows more than you think.”
– Joan Southon, Semiahmoo Resort • Golf • Spa
The day of…
“Come to your appointment with your hair shampooed and dried. This cuts down on time. Respect the appointment time; a rushed bride will rush her stylists.”
– Terrie May, MayDay Spa-Lon
“Wear your fancy panties!”
– Joan Southon, Semiahmoo Resort • Golf • Spa
“Lastly, breathe! You worked so hard for this day, don’t forget to enjoy it!”
– Anna Holm, The Apothecary Spa at The Majestic Inn
To find out more about the beauty experts listed here, see pacificcoastweddings.us/beauty-spa-and-wellness.
But while the landscape is beautiful, the weather is unpredictable. We’ve compiled a list of essential items to ensure your guests stay comfortable (and dry) at your outdoor wedding.
A large tent: This is the most important item on the list. Hopefully the weather is perfect on your big day, but it’s important to give your guests a place to get out of the rain or the sun on a hot day.
Insect repellent: If the mosquitoes are particularly bad, consider having the grounds sprayed a couple of days before your wedding. Check with your venue to see if they can arrange this service. Electronic insect repellents can also provide protection over large areas.
Sunscreen: Provide it in your guest’s welcome bags!
Handheld fans: Tip: Try turning your program into a fan – all you need is cardstock or cardboard, glue and some popsicle sticks.
Restrooms: If your venue doesn’t have a restroom, you’ll have to supply one. These can range from basic to deluxe depending on your budget.
Staging area: Make sure you’ve got somewhere nearby to get dressed before the wedding.
Rope or string: This has a million uses – tie things down if it gets windy, hang lanterns or use it to decorate!
Lights: String lights are beautiful if you’ve got electrical outlets to plug them in. Citronella candles or torches make a great insect-repelling alternative.
Blankets: Keep your guests comfortable on a cool night with throw blankets. (We love a bonfire on nights like this, but get the OK from your venue and check for any fire bans first!)
First aid kit: Be prepared for any bee stings, cuts or burns.
Garbage bags: Pack your trash out!
“Employ professionals! Don’t try to do it all yourself. I did that, and on my wedding day my parents didn’t get to enjoy it because they were taking care of everything. It’s been a year and anytime I think of my wedding day, I think of that. I have very few pictures of me with my parents, and it kills me.”
– Ashley N.
“I wish I had worried less about the actual party and tiny details, but I really wish we had gotten a professional photographer instead of having our friend take them. We have hardly any photos of my husband and me that aren’t just candid ones from friends.”
– Marina B.
“There are a lot of times in your life when it’s unacceptable to be selfish. Your wedding day is not one of those times. Despite the pressure you may feel to accommodate friends and family, this day is about you and the person you’re marrying. It’s supposed to be the best, most memorable moment of your life. Don’t forget that.”
– Steve G.
“Get your girls involved in planning. Make planning parties, craft and wine parties, etc. and enjoy it! Just be sure no one dominates your plans and don’t let the planning cloud the meaning of actually getting married.”
– Katherine E.
“Don’t obsess about the little things. I know it’s easier said than done, but a month after your wedding, you won’t care if your favors all looked perfect (actually, most guests will probably forget to take them) or if your florist couldn’t get that perfect flower. The things you’ll remember are the look on his face when you walk down the aisle, and laughing with your friends as you get ready, so take a step back and focus on what’s really important.”
– Kara Furr, Editor
• Engagement party
• Engagement announcement
• Wedding and reception venues
• Bride's dress, veil and accessories
• Reception costs – catering, DJ, etc.
• Bridesmaids’ gifts, flowers and lodging
• Gift for the groom
• Groom’s wedding band
• Groom’s outfit
• Bride’s bouquet
• Bride’s engagement and wedding rings
• Corsages and boutonnières
• Lodging of the groom’s attendants
• Rehearsal dinner
• Marriage license and officiant’s fee
• Gift for the bride
“This is a chance for engaged couples to gain valuable information from a group of highly skilled wedding professionals.," said Peterson. "Planning a wedding is stressful, so we wanted to create an event that was informative but also FUN! In addition to a variety of speakers there will be food, drinks and prizes. We want our guests to walk away feeling inspired, energized and excited about their wedding plans.”
Speaking topics will include:
Tired Trends: How to Reinvent Old Trends for Your Wedding Day
Tricks for Hiding the Ugly at a Venue: Using Decorative Linens in New Ways
Dos and Don'ts of Wedding Flowers
Tips for Choosing a Photographer
Tickets are $15 per person and include:
▪ Entrance to the event
▪ Appetizers and dessert
▪ Information folder
▪ Wedding planning checklist
▪ Entrance into prize drawing
Tickets can be purchased by visiting cheersweddings.com/events. No tickets will be sold at the event.
Courtney Price said: The wedding party (including the bride and groom) had traveled 8+ hours to Langley. It was a fun-loving group that obviously enjoyed being together for this great event!
To promote Whidbey Island as a winter wedding destination, island industry professionals and tourism officials have teamed up to donate a Winter Wedding Giveaway for one couple and 48 guests, worth over $15,000. The picturesque island is located 25 miles north of Seattle and 70 miles from the Canadian border.
Couples nominate themselves by submitting their story and photo by October 31 at midnight PDT. The public will vote to narrow the field to the top 10. From those finalists, one couple’s name will be randomly drawn at the Weddings on Whidbey and Events Tour on November 8.
The first 100 couples who enter will receive one general admission ticket to attend the wedding tour. There is no cost to enter. Everyone who votes may enter to win a two-night getaway on Whidbey Island. To learn more, visit www.WinAWhidbeyWedding.com.
Pat and I actually went to high school together, so it was a real honor to see him again and to be able to capture such a special time. This wedding day was absolutely brimming with adorable details created by the bride. The cake toppers, cards, signs and other decor was all handmade by her. This venue was so gorgeous and just the right size for this intimate wedding.
OK, so maybe the title of this post is misleading. Maybe you think I have mastered the art of stress-free wedding planning. I haven't. I'm still feeling multiple moments of chest-tightening and mind-whirling on any given day, but I'm here to tell you that you're not alone, and to share how I'm getting through the last few weeks before my wedding.
I'm getting married in two weeks. In Wisconsin, no less; so I'm planning my wedding at quite a distance, and I have much left to do.
So far, I've found that there are three peak times of stress during the wedding process:
Immediately after setting a date. You're trying to figure out what you want, and everyone else expects you to already know, and/or to tell you how they expect it to be. Take a breath. It's OK to tell people to back off; just do it nicely.
Two months from your wedding. You've still got lots to do, but you're ready. You know how your wedding is going to look, and who's going to do what. This should be a time when you should be feeling confident and stress-free, but that wasn't the case for me. I felt like there was something I was supposed to be doing, and was completely freaked out about it. My advice? If you're doing a DIY project, work on that a little bit at a time, and you'll feel like you're getting something done.
So maybe that sounds bad, but it doesn't have to be. You'll have moments of stress, just like me, but there are ways to minimize it. I would in no way consider myself an expert, but here's how I'm handling the stressful moments that pop up in the lead-up to my wedding:
Lists. One of the things I find the most stressful is trying to remember all the things I need to do. If I don't write things down immediately, I forget them, so I keep a little notebook with me where I write down things that need to be done as soon as I think of them. And as soon as I have written it down, I stop obsessing about it, because I know it's there waiting for me.
Do at least one thing per day. In the final lead-up to the wedding, it can start to seem like there's so much to be done that it's impossible to complete it all. The sheer volume of tasks can be paralyzing – wouldn't it be so much easier to curl up on the couch and watch TV all night than try to deal with it? I've fallen into this trap often, so I instituted a one-task-per-night policy. This makes my list more manageable, and it's easy to get one item checked off each day.
Yoga breathing. It sounds silly, but it really works. It's called 4-7-8 breathing, it works to slow and control your breathing. Here's how to do it:
4 – Expand your diaphragm and slowly inhale through your nose for a count of four.
7 – Hold your breath for a count of seven.
8 - Exhale through your mouth for eight counts, drawing your diaphragm in.
Practice this three or four times in succession whenever you're starting to get worked up, and I bet you'll feel a little better.
Exercise. If I start feeling really stressed out, and controlling my breathing isn't helping, I know it's time to hit the gym. If you're not a fan of the gym (and I don't blame you, there), go on a hike or take the dog for a walk – do something to get your heart rate up for at least half an hour. Those endorphins are a real life saver, and comes with the added benefit that you'll be looking especially svelte on your wedding day.
Have fun! Go out with your friends, take a bike ride or make a great meal with your partner. Live your everyday life, do what you love and get out of wedding land for a while. This is supposed to be one of the best times of your life, so get out and enjoy it!
So there we have it! I hope your wedding planning process is smooth, fun, and stress-free, but in case you find yourself getting anxious, try these tips, and know you're not the only bride out there who's feeling the crunch.
These vendors are so happy to be working with couples getting married in our area, and it was so much fun talking with them about the exciting things they've got going on this year!
Read on past the photos to see what Kelly has to say about her wedding day.
I had known these two for quite some time as friends before I shot their wedding, so it was a real treat to be there and meet all their extended family and friends. This venue isn't used often in Bellingham, but it provided so many great backdrops for photos and had lots of awesome natural light. I loved this theme, although it was a funny choice because Oscar, the groom, is color blind. Nonetheless, he hand-stitched each of the groomsmen's shirts with collar and cuff lining to match the color they were in the wedding party. Most of the giant wedding party knew each other because they all went to school together.
Kelly says: When Oscar and I started planning our wedding, we wanted our ceremony and reception to be a complete reflection of ourselves. Oscar and my relationship has always been intense and full of love, but also playful. What better way to capture that than with a myriad of colors. We planned a day filled with color, streamers, balloons, bow ties (hand sewn by the oh-so-talented groom and my mother), dresses, and tons and tons of the most beautiful wedding bouquets ever (and that is just the start).
Laughter and smiles of our guests filled my heart as the party carried on into the night, complete with the Marcha and a taco bar to incorporate Oscar's New Mexico roots. Our reception was by no means a quaint party, as Oscar and I love dancing and a good beer or a tall glass of wine, and we encouraged our guests to celebrate us and make their evening filled with dancing and enjoying each other’s company.
Oscar has always told me that we won’t make it without the support of our families. This was completely true to us during our wedding planning. We were able to lean heavily on the skills of our loved ones. This wedding was a labor of love of the ones around us, and I believe it is a complete reflection of the love that will carry us throughout whatever may cross our paths in the future.
Photographer: Katheryn Moran Photography
Cupcakes: Katie's Cupcakes
Venue: Building Industry Association of Whatcom County
Catering: Chihuahua Mexican Restaurant
Dress: Alicia's Bridal
Flowers: Liz Adelstein of Boxx Berry Farm
Hair: Sarah Rydman of Something Different Salon
Makeup: Bonnie Schilabba (friend in wedding)
Wedding Planner: Jess Lyn Moir of Belle'Ham Wedding & Events
DJ: Audio Innovations
1. "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.
Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.
Hatred darkens life; love illumines it."
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
2. "Marriage is the golden ring in a chain whose beginning is a glance and whose ending is Eternity." – Kahil Gibran
3. "The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." -The Essential Rumi
4. "I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.
I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
5. "Understand, I'll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I'll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,
With only this one dream:
You come too."
–Rainer Maria Rilke
6. "Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts." -William Shakespeare
7. "There is no greater risk than marriage. But there is nothing happier than a happy marriage." –Benjamin Disraeli
8. "In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the of two people to one another has become difficult and rare. Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced." –Robert Sexton
9. "Sexiness wears thin after a while, and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that is a treat." –Joanne Woodward
10. "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
–Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
11. "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche
12. “Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” -Fawn Weaver
13. "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." –Maya Angelou
14. "I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” –Pablo Neruda
15. "Day by day and night by night we were together — all else has long been forgotten by me." -Walt Whitman
16. "i carry your heart with me(i carry it inmy heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)"
― e.e. cummings
17. “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” ― James Baldwin
18. "I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. " -Rita Rudner
19. "You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way.
All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will" – those late night talks that included "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe" – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, " You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife." –Robert Fulghum
20. "You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves." – Victor Hugo
What's your favorite love quote? Do we have it on this list? We're always looking for more great quotes, so send us yours in the comments below.
Creative and striking hand-lettered invitation envelopes are all over the Internet this year, and when it came time for me to send out my own wedding invitations, I just had to have that look for myself. So I gave it a shot, and as it turns out, it's really not so hard!
*Calligraphy pen (I used a gold DecoColor calligraphy pen)
Washi tape (optional)
* Note: This is not a traditional metal-nibbed calligraphy pen, but a flat-tipped paint pen that mimics the lines of one. Feel free to use a real calligraphy pen, but it will likely take a lot more practice.
First things first; decide how you want your envelopes to look. Take a little stroll around Pinterest and decide what style you like. Then purchase your envelopes and pens to coordinate with your invitations.
When I was first looking for advise on DIY invitations, everyone was quick to say not to even attempt this if you have bad handwriting. I don't buy that. I think you can make your handwriting work for this, no matter how untidy it may be - I, for instance, have terrible handwriting, and mine turned out OK anyway. Think of it as a little bit of added flair.
All that said, there's no room for error with this particular pen. Getting this to look nice takes a quick and confident hand, because every wobble or pause is visible, so practice your writing with both a regular pen and your calligraphy pen until you're confident in the way it looks. When you're ready, try it out on your envelopes.
And here's the final product! Mine didn't turn out quite "Pinterest perfect," but by not worrying about each one being absolutely perfect, I was able to write and send all my invitations in a reasonable amount of time without sacrificing too much quality.
We've gathered together some of our favorite uncomplicated centerpieces to inspire you.
Read on after the photos to read Shelley's memories of their beautiful and meaningful wedding, and her thoughts on the wedding planning process.
Our story starts where all great love stories start – the Internet! Jason and I met on OKCupid. The first time we met for coffee, and even before when we were just emailing, it felt like we'd been close friends for a long time. I think one of our most enjoyable connections is that we can make each other laugh really hard. Like, proper belly laughs. And we are never bored with each other, which I think is worth a lot to both of us.
Jason proposed to me at a Christmas party that he's been holding annually for years, and that's now become "ours." Funnily enough, the night before we'd been watching Love Actually and during the public proposal scene at the end I said, "Ah! If you ever proposed in front of people I would feel so awkward I'd run away!" so he warned two of my friends (the only people who knew it was coming) that if I ran off it "didn't mean it was a no" but only that they'd be in charge of crowd control while he went after me. I didn't run, and it was a gorgeous proposal in front of many of our closest people.
With very few brief exceptions, we truly enjoyed planning our wedding. Joy was a major focus, and in fact early on we established the metric of "How much joy will 'x' provide on the day?" and used it for evaluating all costs. If something didn't seem joyful, we tried to minimize its cost so that we could add something joyful elsewhere.
Neither of us have much of a cultural heritage and we have no religious affiliation so, without a spiritual or cultural template, we built a wedding that would truly focus on celebrating our coupledom. To this end, we tried to include as many personal details as possible.
We served Jell-O shots because Jason has a long-standing reputation for making superb Jell-O shots, which are always a feature when we throw parties. Our dinner menu included an adaptation on the first meal we ever cooked together, as well as a couple family recipes from Jason's side, who are excellent cooks. We served Full Tilt ice cream because there's one near our house which we often visit together, and we served our favorite flavors. Jason always gets me a Borracchinni's sheet cake for my birthday, so that's what we chose, and we asked Jason's best man to design the cake decorations for us because we knew he would create something far more personal than could be sculpted by a stranger.
We basically said, "What are our favorite and most meaningful things, and how do we incorporate them?" At times I worried that this focus on us might exclude the experience of our guests, but I think it did just the opposite. It felt like everyone was invited into our relationship in some small way, and the joy and personal touches seemed to really shine through.
Venue/Catering - Sodo Park by Herban Feast
Photographer - Ozlem Yavuz (Lives in Stuttgart, Germany. Friend of bride... We worked together in a pub in London.)
Videographer - Alec Cattarin
Catering – Herban Feast Catering
Cake - Borracchinni's Bakery sheet cakes, with printed images designed by the best man. Images were of us imposed into amalgams of various action films. Random, but totally “us."
Ice Cream - Full Tilt Ice Cream
Bride’s Dress - Carol Hannah dress from Lovely Bride in New York, NY
Groom’s Tux - Hugo Boss
Menswear - Dolce Bleu
DJ - Sounds Unlimited
Congratulations to Shelby Cheesman, who we drew randomly from those who completed our survey!
Shelby has won a two-night stay for two win a two-night stay at Semiahmoo Resort - Golf - Spa in a water-view guest room, plus $100 resort credit that can be used for dining, golf or spa services. Congratulations and enjoy your stay!
Shelby has been notified of her win by email. If she has not contacted us to claim her prize by Friday, June 13, we will draw another winner.
- Crock pot
- Food processor
- Stand mixer
- Pots and pans
- Cast iron Dutch oven
- Good knives
- Simple serving dishes
- Place settings (eight sets is a common number - it might be too many for now, but it won't always be!)
- Bar tools
- Table decorations, such as candlesticks, table runners, nice napkins and place mats
- Picture frames
- Decorative pillows and throws
- Vases, bowls and other decorative pieces (these are great as less expensive registry items)
- Two sheet sets
- Quality pillows
- Shower curtain
- Bathroom set (toothbrush holder, soap holder, etc.)
- Full-length mirror
- Ironing board and iron
- Patio furniture
- Welcome mat
- Totes and other organizational supplies. Especially if you have a small home, you're going to need some help making good use of your space and organizing all of your gifts.
- Supplies for your hobbies. Do you love camping? Include a tent or a camp stove. Are you music dorks? Register for great vinyl or a set of quality speakers. This is your registry after all, and it's there to set you up for your life together.
- Gift cards. These are great contingency gifts. You'll realize you forgot to register for something you need, or something will come up, and you'll be prepared! This is even more crucial if you're getting married far from your home, either at a destination wedding or close to your families; you won't want to cart a bunch of gifts home on the plane.
- Honeymoon registry. This is a controversial one. Some people still view it as tacky, but if your honeymoon is your primary concern, or you're already set up in a home together, it's a viable option. To keep it from veering toward tacky, rather than asking for a blanket amount, itemize your list, for example: A night in our honeymoon suite, $120; lunch by the sea, $40; couple's massage, $80; etc.
- Donations. If you've already got most of what you need, asking for donations to a favorite charity is a great option.
Did we forget anything? What was your best wedding gift? Tell us in the comments below!
We just love the brilliant backdrop of tulips, and this sweet and silly couple's personalities are bright enough to shine before it.
This session's backdrop may be huge, but the love between Cody and Amanda certainly doesn't get lost in these very personal photos.
Location: Leavenworth, Washington
We recommend that you make a list or delegate these tasks to ensure they aren’t left behind in the wedding day rush.
Bring along your invitations: You spent a lot of money on this stationary. Bring along a complete set so your photographer can capture this important detail.
Plan your playlist: Whether you use a DJ or an iPod, it’s important to have your playlist ready to go on your wedding day. While DJs can pull together something on the fly, an iPod must be charged and loaded for it to be useful – and make sure you remember to bring your charger and have someone to man the playlist during the event.
Have cash on hand: You’ll want to tip your vendors on the day of your wedding. Make sure to bring enough cash for everyone, or prepare envelopes to hand out. Having pre-portioned tip envelopes is great, as you can designate someone to hand them out, and get one more thing off your plate.
Iron your linens: Unpressed linens do not make a good impression. What seems like a little oversight can create a disastrous appearance for your party. Confirm with the party rental company that this will be taken care of to ensure they are pressed and ready to go before the tables are set.
Visit your county’s website to find up-to-date information on how to apply for a license.
Make time: Washington state requires a three-day waiting period after signing your marriage license application.
Bring cash: Different counties accept different forms of payment, but most accept cash.
Bring ID: You’ll need a driver’s license or other photo identification.
British Columbia | Island County | San Juan County | Skagit County | Snohomish County | Whatcom County
Pure Magnolia: Vancouver, B.C.
Pure Magnolia, based out of Vancouver, B.C. and created by Patty Nayel, uses sustainable materials to create couture wedding gowns. Whether you like vintage, cute or elegant, they've got a style that will suit you.
Nayel, who loves her green lifestyle, wants to help all eco-minded brides find their dream dress. Through ongoing research she is continually finding sustainable options for traditional bridal fabrics.
Pure Magnolia offer off the rack, couture and custom gowns. They also have the option to rent a dress for anywhere between $300-800.
You’re one of her best friends, after all, and barring a barrage of sisters waiting in the wings, it was really no surprise when she asked you to stand up at the altar with her on the biggest day of her life.
The invitation was elating, but when you said “I will” to the bride-to-be, there’s a good chance you didn’t know exactly what was in store for you.
Being a member of a bridal party means more than just wearing a pretty (or-not-so pretty) dress and dancing the night away with the groomsmen. There are a lot of things required to make a wedding happen, and your role is integral to keeping the bride’s anxiety at a manageable level. The months leading up to the wedding are an investment of time and money into your friend’s big day and traditionally, certain things are expected of you.
We’ve compiled a list of things that bridesmaids and the maid of honor are typically expected to help with or host. If you’re strapped for cash or time, it’s best to have the conversation up front about what the bride wants, and then divvy up the tasks among the ladies.
Emotional support: This is your biggest job. Weddings create a roller coaster of emotions and the bride bears the brunt of the decision making in most cases. Be there to offer a shoulder to lean on, dry any pre-wedding tears and rejoice in the happy moments.
Dresses & shoes: It’s expected that the maid of honor and bridesmaids will cough up the cash for these items. While she may consult you on the color, cost and style, don’t be offended if she doesn’t.
If necessary, be up front with your bride about any monetary concerns you may have, and if you can’t swing it, bow out gracefully and find another way to support her.
Bridal showers: Generally held two to four weeks before the wedding, this is a joint endeavor, generally led by the MOH (but bridesmaids or female relatives might step up as well). Share the costs so the financial burden doesn’t fall on one person, and then split up the planning tasks to make it easy on everyone.
Bachelorette party: This typically is the responsibility of the MOH to plan. Since you’re likely headed out for a night on the town, but bridesmaids should plan on chipping in for food and drinks. If possible, don’t have this the night before the wedding. It’s best for the bride to have the eve of her wedding to rest and relax.
Gifts: Yes, you are supposed to buy a gift. Many bridal parties go in on a group gift in order to get something nice and keep the gift-giving expense to a minimum, but it is appropriate to give gifts at each party and the wedding.
Decorations: Offer your time and labor as much as possible, because, after all, many hands make light the load. If the bride has trouble delegating, take a look at what she’s got on her list and offer to bring over a bottle of wine and help.
With great honor comes great responsibility. You get the biggest bouquet (next to the bride) and your own special dress, but you also get your own set of tasks to manage along the way.
Dress fitting: Attend at least one fitting with the bride to make sure you know how to help her get into her dress and how to bustle her train for the reception.
Wrangle the bridesmaids: Make sure the other members of the bridal party have their dresses and accessories, have made their hair and makeup appointments and know when and where they are supposed to be on the big day.
Rings: Hold the groom’s ring during the ceremony. Tip: Your thumb is a great place to keep the ring visible and handy for the exchange.
Make her look beautiful: When the bride gets to the end of the aisle and takes her place, you’ll need to arrange the train of her gown and her veil so that she looks her best. Hold her flowers and keep a tissue handy during the ceremony – she’s likely to tear up.
Clean up: If the bride hasn’t hired someone to do this part, it will fall on you to make sure the venue is spic-and-span at the end of the day. Makes sure everyone has a job and that all the decorations and gifts end up at their final destination. Box up the top layer of cake, grab her dress (if she changed) and turn out the lights.
Bethany was modeling for Belle Bridal when Zac arrived to sweep her off her feet in front of everyone.
See the proposal in this sweet series of photos captured by Radley Muller Photography.
But what happens when the photos don’t turn out or something goes wrong and the cake never makes it?
Those are questions you need to ask yourself before you agree to let your friends, relatives or those who are
trying to get their foot in the business take a role in the most important day of your life.
2. You have legal recourse. Say you hired cousin Amy to alter your dress and, well, she accidentally spilled red wine on it. Of course it was an accident, and of course she’s sorry, but what if she refuses to cover the cost (or can’t). Professionals carry insurance to cover mishaps such as these and are able to reimburse you if the worst should happen.
3. You’re protected. A professional offers a contract for their services that protects both parties. That way, if a disagreement should arise, there’s a piece of paper that you can refer to that clearly states what was expected and whether that expectation was fulfilled or not.
4. You can enjoy your day. Professionals are just that – professional. Their work is consistent, they know what they’re doing, have the chops to prove it and generally can navigate just about any crisis because they’ve been there, done that.
Hiring a professional means you don’t have to worry about whether the food is safe to eat, or if the flowers will wilt
before the ceremony.
5. They offer experience you won’t necessarily have. Most people are planning their wedding with no knowledge of how to throw a large-scale event with all the moving parts a wedding entails.
You can buy all the books you want and read every how-to on the internet, but until you’ve been in the thick of it, it’s a whole other story.
Professionals have been to many events and have firsthand knowledge of how the entire process should happen. Plus, they are generally capable of managing people and handling the stress and fast pace typical of a wedding day.
Find questions to ask professional wedding vendors on our Questions to Ask page and download worksheets to take with you when you are looking for your vendors.
Did hiring a professional save your day? Do you wish you had gone with a professional? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
This is a great chance to check out the latest trends in the wedding industry and enter drawings for great prizes.
Show tickets may be purchased online at www.skagitweddingshow.com and at the door for $10. Vendor space is still available as well. For questions contact Creative Celebrations at 360/428-5972.
Can't make the show this weekend? Visit our Shows page for a list of upcoming bridal shows.
Plan an island elopement with her closest family and friends, of course, and rock that gown in style.
Sadie and Derrick's simple, gorgeous and low-key wedding all came together in a mere six weeks (which we think means Sadie probably has magic powers, because anyone who has planned, or is in the process of planning a wedding knows that that is a lot of work in a very short amount of time).
But some how, some way the dress, food, venue, flowers and shoes still all fell into place at the exactly the right moments, keeping this eager-to-be-married couple on track for the to say "I do" on September 13.
The couple whisked their family and friends away to Roche Harbor for the reception and ceremony, and got married exactly the way you should when you're on the islands – in a casual and laid back sort of way.
Reception first, ceremony second, dinner and dessert and an evening boat ride back to the mainland. It doesn't get any better than that.
My favorite part of the wedding was having the reception prior to the ceremony. We greeted guests in the patio area with a band, drinks and appetizers and had so much fun mingling with everyone before the ceremony!
We then walked down with all the guests to the garden for the ceremony and followed that with dinner and dessert. I found that this format worked very well and helped make the day more relaxing.
David Clumpner Photography says: Sadie and Derrick's fall wedding at Roche Harbor was a perfect mix of small, beautiful, and relaxed. Sadie, Derrick, and their closest relatives and friends rented townhouses in Roche Harbor and woke up to a perfect September wedding day, complete with autumn-colored leaves on the trees and a cloudless sky above.
Sadie took the morning getting prepped by Roche Harbor's in-house hair and makeup artists while I found no shortage of ideas to photograph her details. After photographing Sadie's bridal portraits, I was able to take the couple out for an hour to explore the various nooks in the gardens and along the waterfront to do their portraits. At such a well-photographed venue it was important for me to create photos that hadn't been done before, but this was easy with all the variation offered in the landscape at Roche Harbor.
The afternoon ceremony took place in a wonderful harbor-side garden, then we moved just across the road to a private courtyard for the reception, which ended just in time for many of the guests to make the evening ferry back to Anacortes.
Sadie and Derrick's wedding was exactly as they'd hoped: low key and gorgeous. I am honored to have been able to document this amazing day for such a wonderful couple!
Here are some tips for making your wedding easy and enjoyable for your guests:
Accommodating the elderly
Give your elderly guests easy access to the ceremony and reception. If you can, designate extra parking spaces close to the venue entrance for those who have difficulty walking.
For the ceremony, make sure the sound system is working and is loud enough for those who are hard of hearing.
Assign someone to help them to and from their seats.
Are you planning to have loud music at your reception? If so, try to set aside space in a separate room or in a far corner where your older guests (or anyone who prefers quiet conversations to dancing all night) can have a chat. This would also be a great area to set up some games for the introverts in the crowd.
If you’ve invited your guests to bring your children, you probably want all parties to have a good time. There are two main rules to success with kids at weddings: Keep them entertained, and feed them things they’ll actually eat.
There are many approaches to keeping kids entertained during your wedding, from providing coloring sets and games at the tables to having a separate kids’ room with movies and a babysitter. You want to ensure that they’re happy and busy for as long as their parents decide to stay.
Also, make sure you have simple, accessible food for the little ones. No matter how great you think your salmon with lemon risotto is, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a child who will eat it happily. It’s hard to go wrong with pizza or chicken nuggets, but make sure to check for food allergies and plan accordingly.
For all the rest
Be clear with expectations. Are you only serving appetizers, or do you want guests to wear black tie? Don’t be shy about it – make it clear in your invitations, so that people don’t expect something they won’t be getting.
Also, make sure to get face time with everyone. It’s easy to get swept away on your day, but there’s nothing worse than for a guest to feel they’ve been invited to a wedding out of obligation or for a gift, so avoid that by doing your best to spend a little time with all of your guests.
Did we miss anything? What do you think the considerate couple does to accommodate their guests? Tell us in the comments below!
If you’ve started planning your wedding already, you’ve probably discussed your wedding budget with your significant other. What may not be as urgent, but is of equal importance, is budgeting how you will spend your money together as a couple.
Money is never fun to talk about, which may be why couples avoid discussing it until it’s too late. Many studies cite money arguments as the top cause of divorce in the U.S., so get a head start on a healthy marriage by starting the discussion before you say “I do.”
If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to start tracking your own budget. If you’re new to budgeting, don’t worry; it’s easy. Start out by reviewing the last two to three months and noting how you spent your money. Are there changes you’d like to make? Note how you would like to spend or save differently, and let that be your budget moving forward. Some great online tools to check out include Mint, BudgetTracker and BudgetSimple.
Talk about it
No doubt, you have a lot on your plate with planning a wedding, but make time to talk about your financial future before you get married. The day will come and go, but you’ll be living with blended finances for the rest of your lives.
Your first year of marriage is going to involve a lot of adjusting, and it will be important to schedule a regular time to have a budget chat. You may find one of you enjoys creating the budget more, which is great. Just make sure you make time to talk about it so you both understand how much money you have, how you’re spending it, how you’re saving it, what your goals are and what you need to do to reach those goals.
Open a joint account
Having a joint account will help you keep wedding expenses separate from personal in the months leading up to your wedding. You can contribute as you’re able and deposit contributions from friends and family members. Once you’re married, you may choose to close your individual personal accounts and just use the joint, or keep your own accounts and use the joint for shared expenses such as rent and groceries. It’s up to you, but be sure to discuss it in advance to ensure shared expectations.
Lay it all out
You may be embarrassed by how much debt you have, but it’s only fair to your future spouse to be completely up front. You may find it helpful to process your feelings about your financial situation with your fiancé and know that they are committed to working with you toward financial success. When you both have a clear idea of the debt you’re dealing with, you’ll be more likely to have shared expectations and less likely to have fights.
I hate to break it to you, but no matter how well you get along, you will have money disagreements. Keep in mind though that these disagreements are simply a result of two different people with different values trying to work on the same system. For example, my husband values outdoor adventuring while I value getting rid of debt as quickly as possible. We had to find a compromise that allowed us to invest in things like camping gear and a new bike while making adequate progress towards paying off our student loans. By compromising, he knows I support his love of the outdoors, and I know he is committed to paying off our debts in the near future.
If you’re struggling to work through money matters, consider finding a local budget class or working through your budget with a counselor. A counselor may not get the numbers, but they can help you work through the feelings associated with your money. For more help, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more about preparing to start your lives together, read our blog post on merging your homes.
The time is finally here and all the months of planning and dreaming of walking down the aisle are about to come to fruition. The venue, booked. Your dress, bought. Rings, sized. You’ve finished making all the centerpieces and other decorations and now there is just one thing left to think about: You. Planning a wedding is a lot of work, and although it is a day often considered to be “all about the bride,” sometimes it can actually be hard to really stop and think about yourself when there are so many tasks at hand. But, since it is your day, you need to remember that you and how you look are every bit as important as all the other details of your wedding.
As a makeup artist, I love the consulting process. I love helping a bride take her visions and dreams of how she has always wanted to look for her wedding and help bring those to reality. Throughout this process, I’ve come to learn a few tricks, tips and thoughts for helping my clients decide on their wedding day makeup look and I am excited to share some of these with you. So I invite you to take this time to pause and do just that – start planning for your look that will complete your journey as a bride!
As women, we all know that how we look on the outside is connected to how we feel on the inside. And all of us have those pieces of jewelry or clothing, certain colors we wear, or ways we style our hair that capture and carry with them a set of emotions that we continue to feel throughout the day. Often, that’s even how we remember ourselves in the days following certain events.
Your wedding day is going to be one of the most memorable days of your life, so when planning your look it’s important to consider how you want to both feel on the day of your wedding and how you want to remember yourself. Do you want to look and feel sexy? Romantic? Soft and natural? Glamorous? Bright? Earthy? The list could go on and on, so feel free to be creative and thoughtful!
Consider the dress you bought, your accessories, wedding colors and how those can play into this feeling as well. But once you define the feeling you want to emulate, run with it. I promise it will be a lot easier to make decisions about your look when the time comes and your stylists should be able to use this to take your personalized look one step further.
Alright, alright. I am a makeup artist after all, so you probably saw this one coming, but I know many who have passed on a hiring a professional artist and later regretted it. We all know we need a hair stylist because it’s hard to do an up-do when we can’t see the back of our head, but when makeup is so often a part of our daily ritual it is easy to decide to do it ourselves and save that room in the budget for something else, but I hope you’ll take a moment to consider all that one can offer.
A trained makeup artist’s bag of tricks is unlimited and they can help talk you through the feeling you’re going for and decide on a look and color palette that will suit you just right. They also know how to apply the makeup in a way that will both enhance your beautiful, strong features and make them pop so they show up well in your pictures without allowing the light to wash you out.
Photos are often the biggest investment you will make on your wedding day and so to get the most out of that investment it is worth it to consider a professional makeup application. With a makeup artist, you are also more likely to be ready on time, have your makeup last all day and have a look you wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve on your own.
Just like you would with any vendor, shop around! Interview your top two or three candidates and make sure you click you hire someone you click with. Your beauty stylists will be there for a very intimate part of your day so it’s important to hire someone who you enjoy spending the morning with.
Use Pinterest … wisely!
Pinterest is such a great planning tool and a little piece of me will always be sad it wasn’t around when I was planning my wedding five years ago. It is absolutely a great place to quickly find images that can show your stylists (and other vendors) what you want to articulate and there are so many pictures that can inspire ideas you may not have previously considered. But when looking at Pinterest, there are a couple things to be mindful of.
First, understand that many of the images you see are highly edited and although your makeup artist will be able to give you the look you see in your picture, the amount of product required to obtain that look may be more than you bargained for, so talk with them about what to expect beforehand.
Second, keep in mind your skin tone, hair color and eye color and screen out images that don’t match up. All these things play into choosing the best color palette for yourself, so if you have blonde hair and blue eyes with fair skin, opt for looking at pictures of Reese Witherspoon over Eva Longoria, and vice versa. It will help you narrow down the best options more quickly.
In addition to making sure you get a trial run for your wedding makeup, there are other ways you can prepare yourself for your day-of look. Whether you are someone who typically wears little to no makeup or someone who regularly applies a full look, now is the time to practice! Really, this is simpler than you might think. Pick one thing to focus on that you normally don’t – be it eyes or lips or cheek color – and play around with it over the course of a month or two.
Sprucing up your daily routine even just once or twice a week can help you get used to wearing a little more than you typically do, which is what you are likely to do for your wedding. Not only that, but it will allow you to take a little creative control over your look and learn more about what colors you think look best on yourself, which you can then articulate to your makeup artist.
Well, there you have it! Just a few of my tips on how to start pulling together you wedding day makeup look. I hope that this has been helpful as you reflect on your dreams for your day and wish you the best in all your planning endeavors.
We knew the shoot would be lovely – we were working with some really awesome people – but what our crew put together was above and beyond what we had expected. From a designer cake to ethereal ceiling drapery and gold EVERYTHING, they pulled out all the stops and we were simply blown away by the extravagance they created.
Two locations, two breathtaking wedding dresses, laughter, dancing and good food. We couldn't have asked for a better collaborative team! And, now that the new Pacific Coast Weddings magazine has hit the stands, we can share this beautiful shoot with you. Grab a glass of wine and channel your inner Gatsby – there's beauty ahead!
Photographer: Joel and Brandy Photography & Design
Dresses: Alicia's Bridal and The Formal House
Jewelry and Hair Accessories: Alicia's Bridal and The Formal House
Makeup: Love Beauty
Tuxedo: Alicia's Bridal and The Formal House
Flowers: Bella Flora and Seven Sister Designs
Cake: Pure Bliss Desserts
Shoes: Mi Shoes
Event Design: Ever After Events and Pacific Party Canopies
Invitation Design: Joel and Brandy Photography & Design
Stop by The Bridal Inspirations Expo at the Lakeway Inn on Sunday, January 6 to mee
And the color! Oh. my. gosh. The color!
Bold splashes of blue and purple permeated the day (and even found their way into the bride's dress and shoes!).
We're in love.
Stephanie Stremler says: A beautiful waterfront ceremony and a cheerful reception featuring wood-fired pizzas created on site made Chris and Shyloh’s Anacortes wedding such a blast! These two had such fun details, like custom-made shoes to match their wedding colors and dart guns for the kids to play with. Add perfect weather, a gorgeous couple and welcoming family and friends and this wedding was as close to perfect as it gets – they were even on time and ready for everything, which is almost unheard of!
Photographer: Stephanie Stremler Photography
Wedding Venue: Washington Park
Reception Venue: Tesoro Community Building
Catering: Fiamma di Mamma
Cake & Cupcakes: Two Girls Baking
Make Up: CherWear
Hair: Noelle with Cameo Hair Care
Flowers: Donatello Flowers and Gifts
DJ: Mike Jenkins
This simple DIY project can help you hold on to that colorful season in a unique and beautiful way and we're excited to share with you. It's just one more way you can tie the turning of the seasons into your wedding day.
DIY Leaf Roses
A bag of freshly fallen or plucked leaves
Large bowl or similar container
Newspaper, etc. for drying
Start by preserving the leaves. You'll want to find leaves that have just fallen or (shhh!) are still on the trees. Once they've started to get crisp, they won't work. Look for vibrant, flexible leaves. (Editor's Note: They will lose some of their color in the processing, but don't worry, they will still be gorgeous momentos of brisk, fall days.)
Take your leaves and fully submerge them in a solution of 2:1 glycerine/water solution, (glycerine can be found in most craft stores - to do enough leaves for a full bouquet, you'll probably need about 16 oz.).
Make sure to cover the stems with your solution. Cover your container with plastic wrap and set aside for approximately six to eight days. Drain the leaves, spread them out and allow them to dry on paper towels and a towel for several days.
When they're done, you'll be left with leaves that are preserved, but still flexible.
While you're wrapping the leaves, if you are concerned about them all staying together, you can also wrap the first few layers before adding the rest.
And there you have it – a leaf rose.
You can also do this project without preserving the leaves, but we're not sure how long the flowers will last. If anyone decides to try it this way, tell us how it worked for you below in the comments!
Your story – You can tell the story of your relationship or the proposal - or both! Your guests will love reading about the things that lead up to them attending your wedding. It's a great way for people who haven't met your significant other to get up to speed on the details.
Photos - This is a no-brainer. People are very visual, so cut down on the words and fill the space out with photos. It'll be easier for you and fun for them!
Ceremony information – This will give people an easy-to-access place to keep the location, time, and directions at hand. It can also help you establish expectations for guests – Will it be a traditional ceremony or have you made it your own? How should people dress? Are kids invited? Put it out there and get everyone on the same page.
Reception information – Where, when and how to get there. A google map is always helpful.
A page for updates - And, if possible, the option for people to sign up for a subscription. That way if something major happens and you need to let everyone know, you can send a blast and be sure that people are seeing it.
Information for out of town guests – If you’ve booked blocks of rooms in hotels, include all the information people will need when they’re contacting those hotels. Be sure to include pricing and the date they must register by to receive their deal. And, since out of town guests most likely won't know much about your town, it's helpful to give them a list of suggested activities and places to eat.
Online RSVP – Whether or not you decide to send out physical invitations, have all but your least tech-savvy guests RSVP on your website ( but, it's probably best to still include that special return envelope in your great aunt Ida’s invitation).
Honeymoon – If you know the details, post them here. People will ask you about what your plans are, especially if you’re asking for contributions to your honeymoon as part of your gift registry. If you want to make it REALLY easy, include a link to honeyfund.com, where guests can make online donations for your post-wedding plans.
Address - Are you moving after you get married? Be sure to include your new address so your gifts end up where they belong.
Contact form – No matter how much information you’ve provided, people will have questions, and if you’d like to avoid a million calls, put a contact form on your site. But make sure that it sends an email to your current address. The last thing you need is another place to check.
Bear in mind, the more this website keeps track of for you, the less you have to remember!
A helpful hint: It might feel like you’re excluding people, but make sure you can put a password on at least parts of your site. According to CNBC, there’s a new kind of wedding crasher – the hotel crasher. These crashers use your wedding website to find a cheap block rate, so if you want to make sure that your wedding guests are the only ones staying in your hotel block, password protect your site.
Wedding JoJo: Free or $14.99/month
eWedding: Four options from free to $14.95/month
Wedding Window: Five options ranging from free to $99/year.
Wedshare.com: Six options ranging from free to $14.99/month
Weduary: Free and one-time $20
Find a hosting site you like and start making it your own!
For more great wedding planning tools, visit our Worksheets page!
Do you use a site you love that we haven't listed? Tell us about it in the comments!
Here are some of our favorite looks (we apologize for the blur, these are screen captures from a video):
We'll be sharing more photos from these shows throughout the weekend, so stay tuned.
If you want to include this tradition in your wedding, don't feel like you need to do it all on your own. Enlist your fiancee, your bridal party, or even all of your guests (include a piece of paper and instructions on how to fold a crane in your invitations and ask guests to bring their crane with them to the wedding) to help you. The last thing you need while planning is one more thing you're desperately trying to get done in time.
To get you started, Kara will show you how to fold an origami crane.
I've used plain white paper to make it easier to see, but you can use anything you'd like - origami paper, paper in your wedding colors, or recycled newspaper or old books (do us a favor - really make sure these books aren't good for anything else before you rip them up.) would look fantastic.
How to do it:
Enjoy this project! We'll be showing you a couple of ideas for how to display your creations in the coming weeks.
PS - Find a bigger version of the photos below:
Unfortunately, it's not always that easy – it can be difficult to merge two distinct styles. Maybe you love clean, modern design but your partner's home is full of mismatched furniture and floor coverings; or your couch is full of frilly pink pillows while your guys' is still flanked by his LEGO collection. Can two conflicting schemes co-exist after the couple has crossed the threshold?
* Set the tone: Choose a color scheme together, and creatively arrange furniture and accessories around it. Find a neutral ground to meld his love of earth tones, for example, with her love of soft fabrics. Deciding on a color scheme together will make it easier to find accessories that fit both of your styles.
* Keep it simple: Create an understated, clean look in the bath for him, but add accessories with a dash of color to satisfy a bride-to-be’s lively outlook. Bold shower curtains, wastebaskets and vanity items inject freshness and personality.
* Boudoir basics: Usher in a new home with a fresh set of bedding; couples can look for a variety of styles and colors designed to be dressed up or left as is for a classic look. Decorative pillows, shams, coverlets and throws complete the look and are a great way for wedding guests to add to the couple’s cozy love nest.
* Style staples: If he loves a more modern style, but she wants a retro feel, furniture options in leather, metal, hardwood and wicker can readily mesh both personalities.
* Merge moods: She’s a homebody; he likes the outdoors. For bedrooms and living rooms, couples can combine sensibilities with bedding and furniture that brings the outside in, and vice versa. Try mixing a table from one line with a chair from another — mixing it up is a playful way to punch up the personality of a room.
Just like in the corporate world, mergers can either run smoothly or be a headache. By focusing on the sensibilities the bride and groom share — rather than just the differences — creating a first home together can be one merger full of fringe benefits.
And about those differences. Be sensitive to each others' needs - our possessions can hold important memories for us, so be ready to compromise, and keep a few things you might not choose for your home.
Wish to Wed is a Snohomish, WA-based group helping make wedding dreams come true for couples life-threatening obstacles such as terminal illness. By providing granting dream weddings that covers all costs from the venue, to the catering, to the DJ, Wish to Wed creates an opportunity these couples would not otherwise receive as mounting healthcare bills sap all of their funds.
The organization was started by friends Sarah Swanson, owner of Eventful Moments, Tracy Stocker, owner of Hidden Meadows and Trail Side Wedding and Events, and Laineemeg Bridal shop owner Zerlinda Lochtie, who have pooled their knowledge and resources to grant wishes to couples in need. The friends are currently preparing their first wedding for a lucky couple - Laura Woods and her fiance Elliott Hansen.
The couple started dating in 2010 and were engaged in June 2012. Woods' mother approached Wish to Wed with their story. "After reading their story, we felt this was a couple that had been through lots of downs in life and deserved a dream wedding," said Swanson. To read more about Woods and Hansen, visit their wedding website at weddingwire.com/MrMrsHansen.
If you know of a couple that may fit the Wish to Wed criteria, or if you're a vendor who would like to donate your services free of charge to help a couple in need, please contact Wish to Wed at email@example.com. For more information about the organization, visit wishtowed.org.
Check out Haley Wise: Hair for some fabulous ideas from weddings, celebrities and more that will make you look your best and keep you on trend for 2013.
“Kids in the shop really liked the cupcakes in our logo,” said Neal. So the Swansons decided to bring those cupcakes to life.
“The storyline of the books is similar to 80s cartoons,” said Neal, “The bad cupcake and her bad helpers are always trying to get the good ones.” He has a fondness for the baddie though, as Frostella is his favorite character.
Just like cupcakes, everyone has a favorite, so the couple has also created a line of T-shirts featuring the characters from the books, so lucky customers can sport their favorite .
While the Swansons are exploring new opportunities, the cupcake business is still going strong. Katie’s Cupcakes is available for weddings, but during summer months they’re often doing two to five weddings per weekend, so the sooner you book, the better!
Katie's Cupcakes is located at 1005 Harris Avenue, Bellingham (Fairhaven), and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.– 5 p.m. or until sold out.
If you want more information on how to get delicious cupcakes from Katie's for your wedding, see their listing here.
That's where boards like One Events Management's Photo Ideas! come in. It's chock-full of 'must get' wedding shots. Make your own board and show it to your photographer!
To find more unique wedding photographs, head over to our Photography board. We've got inspiration galore, as well as beautiful photos from some of the best local photographers.
We want to hear what you think of wedding colors! Tell us in the comments below what combinations you love, and what you hate.
According to tradition, the act of wearing something blue on your wedding day represents purity, love, and fidelity. Finding something blue might be the easiest of all of the items so because there are so many options, but that's what makes it so exciting! You can do anything you want! Here are some of our favorites:
- Shoes: Buy some fabulous blue shoes. That splash of color can really liven up your attire. If that's not your style, just write something sweet in blue ink on the bottom. It's a discrete way to embrace the tradition.
- Sew it: Embroider the date of your wedding inside your wedding dress in blue thread or sew a piece of one of your dad's old blue shirts into the lining above your heart.
- Lingerie: this one will be your little secret!
- Jewelry: a pair of beautiful sapphire or turquoise earrings, a statement necklace, or even your ring can be a "something blue" that you can keep forever.
- Bouquet: A blue flower or two in your bouquet or a blue wrap for the stems of your flowers are both easy and lovely.
- Jewelry - a family heirloom or something special from a friend
- A vintage coat or gloves
- A bridal veil or headpiece
- A man's handkerchief or cufflinks
- A silver knife to cut the wedding cake
- China or vases for centerpieces
- A reading used at someone special's wedding
- A loved one's favorite song for your first dance
They are a cheap and easy way to dress up your wedding day with just a little bit of elbow grease. One of the trends we love right now is dressing up old bottles and jars with rope or ribbon, and we decided to give it a go ourselves. We took some old wine bottles from sleek to shabby chic with just a little yarn.
Go ahead, try it. You'll fall in love!