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Annemarie's Blog

Seattle Weddings 2019: Musings and Random Thoughts From The Wedding Road…

August 23, 2019

It’s near the end of August and I awoke this morning, here at our Wigglebutt Farm (a sanctuary for special needs and/or older dogs), and I could smell ‘Fall’ in the air.

Given that Autumn is my favorite season, I’m elated!

As I reflect back on the past month, I am grateful to have shared in wedding days with most wonderful couples, who truly desired a personalized approach to ceremony, whether this was a formal affair, a smaller and more intimate moment or a last-minute elopement.

Some tiny things I remember about some wonderful weddings…

Sarah and Chris were married at the Fremont Foundry, a very warm and sunny day, and so gracious…focused on simple, easy and no crazy.

The weather was more iffy for Wil and Cassidy, married at The Hall at Fauntleroy on a July Friday evening.  AND gratefully, we were able to be in the garden.

I walked into Yumu’s parlor at The Seattle Tennis Club, to find her sweetly pondering the universe, before walking down the aisle to marry her Beloved Jason.  Yumu was elegant, serene and at the same time attentive to details, a ‘total bride’ package!

It was a road trip to Bainbridge Island, to insure that Dallen and Courtney were married beachside, surrounded by such a welcoming group of family and friends.  Such a glorious day!

I had not been out to Jardin du Sol this year, so it was fun for me to enjoy Henry and Michelle, and their wedding day at this beautiful venue.  I remember ‘Henry’s guys,’ – a most fun-loving and helpful bunch of Groomsmen, who were ‘on it’ when it came to insuring all details were handled.

Kayla and Shelby, married on the MV Skansonia.  Lovely couple, fabulous family and friends, thrilled parents.  It was a glorious night, and you could feel the love and the gratitude in the air.

Danuta and Adam.  From Poland, lots of Polish being spoken…and I learned a few Polish words.  Beautiful couple, truly, at Ray’s Boathouse.

Mu-Jeung could not stop smiling at his beautiful Kellianne!  His face was lit up from the moment he took his place at the front; you could feel his elation to marry his Sweetheart, at Woodinville Lavender.

As I walked from my car to Mariah and Pedro’s wedding, music was already happening, at a private home/estate in Snohomish, transformed for a day!  A beautiful couple, incredibly helpful parents, and a few rain drops.  We made it through, without stopping for the rain.

Dave and Rachel.  Two incredibly sweet, gracious and fun-loving lovebirds, who lit up the night at JM Cellars, celebrating the joy of their love and their devotion to Rachel’s 2 wonderful children.  You could feel the gratitude between Dave and Rachel during their ceremony, for the gift of their love.

During rehearsal, it was freakin’ hot!  On their wedding day, it was overcast and in my opinion, PERFECT!  Celebrating Brady and Kaelee, and their personalized words/vows that were gorgeously crafted and shared.

Don’t get me started on Johnathan and Kimberly!  Married at The Salish Lodge, this couple hiked (okay, walked) down to the Falls, pre-ceremony, and their Photographer (Mike), showed me incredibly photos.  I also loved it when Johnathan rang out ‘I Do!,‘ before I was done asking!

My couples make my heart happy and proud.  BAM!

Photo:  Dave and Rachel

 

Madison and Max, The Sweetest of ‘I Do’s,’ at Swiftwater Cellars in Cle Elum, June, 2019

July 13, 2019

Madison and Max have the sweetest story about how they met.

Let me paint you a ‘word picture.’  Pink Camaro.  Car Wash.  California sunshine. Wonderful guy.  Wonderful gal.

And poof!  Life is forever changed.

It was my honor and privilege to be with Madison and Max, and their family and friends, as they took their vows of marriage, at Swiftwater Cellars in Cle Elum, Washington, on June 28th.

Surrounded by their best people, and with the swirling valley wind, these two beautiful people shared a bit of their inspiring love story and the ‘why’ around they were getting married.  They took time to wrap a respectful bow around all of this with public gratitude to their parents and immediate family.

In getting to understand Madison and Max, and knowing more about their history and life story, I found myself enchanted by these two, particularly taken by their shared interests, mutual business enterprises, travel adventures and a deep devotion to their partnership.

Sometimes you truly know and feel you are in the presence of a relationship with great purpose and mission.  Max and Madison, I wish you much love, happiness and protection, as you embark on this next phase of your journey, together!

 

 

Real, Inspired and Modern Seattle Wedding Ceremony: What I ‘Remember’ From My Wonderful Couples, May Surprise You!

June 18, 2019

It’s been a lovely whirlwind of details, gentle chaos and inspiring couples over these past 2 months.

After all of this time of doing this work, my grace is this:  I absolutely love this work that I do, and I am very grateful for how so many of my couples reflect back to me the care I have for my work.

Oftentimes I am asked:  “Annemarie, what do you remember most from a wedding?”

Well, let me give you a ‘behind the scenes’ peek from a handful of lovely couples and share what I remember…it may not be what you would think!

Rivers and Jessica, The Ballard Hotel:  I loved their smiles.  These two sweethearts were beaming at each other, every minute, during the ceremony.  Not only could you see their joy, you could feel it.

Sean and Sarah, Volunteer Park Conservatory:  Walking up before ceremony, and watching their photographer, Jenny Goldberg-George, taking photos – and getting smiles from them and everyone.

Jennifer and Jan, Private Residence:  The joy.  The tears.  The happiness of ‘finally’ being married after so many years together.

Maggie and Mario, Sole Repair:  These two sweethearts and their beautiful baby daughter, so precious together.  Watching Maggie as she ‘looked down’ on her wedding ceremony, through a peep hole in the wall, as everyone was being seated.

Ron and Lauren, Willows Lodge:  Elegant, elegant Lauren.  Happy, happy Ron.  Being with Ron and his family in his hotel room, minutes before ceremony, with an ‘off-beat’ rehearsal.

Katie and Tim, The Woodmark Hotel:  In the Bride’s room with Katie and her ladies, and her pup, Ms. Dolly Parton.  Watching Katie love on Dolly. just the best.  And then there was Katie and Tim’s weddingceremony, beautiful, easy and fun-loving. (Photo/left)

Bailee and David, Kiana Lodge:  Being in the presence of Bailee’s joy.  Watching the love in David’s eyes. These two were just so elated!

Nicole and Gaites, Melrose Market:  They forgot the marriage license! Gratefully, the document wasn’t too far away, so with a ceremony delay, everything was more than fine.

Willard and Tsz Ling, Daybreak Star Center:  Being with an elegant and calm Tsz Ling, minutes before ceremony, in the bride’s room, helping her with a malfunction on her beautiful gown.

Steve and Judy, Stimson Green Mansion:  After 10 years together, these two were overjoyed to marry…and it was such an incredible privilege to share in their ceremony, which was not only about them, but a celebration of their family and friends. (Photo)

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Austin and Angela, Private Residence, Union:  A ceremony for two beautiful people and one that fully embraced the bride’s two children.

Nik and Emily, SODO Park:  Beautiful bride, handsome groom – outrageously magnificiently designed ceremony circle and space.  Truly inspired.

Zoe and Frank, Novelty Hill-Januik Winery:  Long story short, and in the spirit of full transparency, my knee snapped 4 hours before ceremony, sending me to the ER in Kirkland.  The medical staff got me fixed up and to the wedding…I have never missed a wedding and I wasn’t about to yet.  AND so happy and grateful to be with Zoe and Frank, with the grand feeling of ‘we did it!’

 

 

 

Hello, Annemarie? Remember me? It’s Nezam. A Sweet & Intimate Wedding at Seattle’s Space Needle…

April 15, 2019

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes.

I was sitting at my desk one day last month, when I received a call from a long lost friend, whom I was just thrilled to hear from.

Nezam was getting married, and he and his Sweetheart, Nellie, invited me to join them for their intimate wedding ceremony.

We plotted and pondered possibilities. And in the end, Nezam and Nellie ultimately decided their wedding day would include a ceremony just for ‘2.’

We met at The Space Needle and made our way up to the Observation Deck.  We had two delightful witnesses, a brother and sister, from California, which made things even more fun and meaningful.

With personal vows, in an intimate setting, high above the skyline of Seattle, these two Sweethearts said ‘I Do.’

Lucky, lucky me, for the opportunity to be a part of all of this sacred goodness.

 

And So, This Is What Happens When An ‘Engagement Party’ Turns Into A Surprise Wedding Ceremony!

March 17, 2019

I love everything about Anthony and Christine.

I left their wedding ceremony last night, at Tinte Cellars in Woodinville, with a little extra sparkle in my step.

You see, their 100+ family and friends thought they were showing up for an engagement party.  When Anthony and Christine received a great number of RSVP’s to their engagement party, they were deeply touched that so many people wanted to celebrate with them.

So, they decided, as their gift to the people they love and like the most, that they would turn their engagement party into a SURPRISE wedding ceremony and celebration.

At the stroke of 6:45 p.m., I pulled everyone into the lovely barrel room and took the microphone, announcing myself as “Annemarie, Christine’s friend from culinary school and many years ago.” 

I proceeded to start a toast and then on cue, with Anthony at my side, looked around and said “Christine?  Where is Christine?”  

And BOOM!  The wonderful DJ starts music and Christine appears, in a gorgeous wedding dress with a lovely bouquet!

Tears, happiness, clapping – it was such a joyful moment.

And we got these two beautiful sweethearts all beautifully hitched up.

Just the best.

Photo:  Jenny gg: www.jennygg.com 

Raising the Joy Bar! Megan and Tiffany Wed at Matthews Winery in Woodinville, February 16th

February 20, 2019

It was a crazy week before Megan and Tiffany’s wedding day!

Snow, ice. More snow and ice.  You know what I’m talking about…

And with great joy and happiness, a proud group of family and friends gathered on a cold and rainy February Saturday evening (no snow!), to share in Megan and Tiffany’s wedding day.

It was such a delight for me to craft and deliver a personalized ceremony for these two beautiful women, that not celebrated their loving relationship, but fully embraced Tiffany’s two sweet daughter, Ava and Mya.

And we had such special touches.

Gratitude to our couple’s parents. Ava aced her reading, microphone and all!  Megan and Tiffany shared covenants while holding their promise stone.  Before the ‘kiss,’ we had a group toast, launching these two Sweethearts on their marriage adventure.

Tiffany and Megan, thank you so much for inviting me into your personal space, and for giving me the profound honor of celebrating your path and your love.

Photo:  Bri McDaniel

Most Popular Questions from Couples When Considering Me As Their Wedding Officiant…

February 7, 2019

Good snowy morning from our Wigglebutt Farm!

This is our Sanctuary of older and special needs dogs, who all are snuggled in on this chilly Thursday.

Rosebud is obsessed with her snowy ball.  Buttercup is recovering from yesterday’s surgical procedure.  Lady Belle Marie is looking styling in her pink jacket.  Crazy Cosmo is loving the snow and thinks barking at the construction project next door is great fun.  And that’s the short list! (in photo:  Buttercup)

I’m in my office, getting ready for the weekend.  As I ponder the lovely couples who are considering me for their upcoming wedding ceremonies, here are a couple of my most popular questions:

  1. How long is the ceremony?  If a ceremony is too short, it’s weird.  If it’s too long, it’s uncomfortable.  I’m less concerned about how long a ceremony is.  Rather, I’m more focused on the ‘feeling’ of the ritual and insuring a couple is at ease and that the guests are perked up and enjoying the experience.
  2. What if you don’t show up?  Heck if I know!  Seriously, I’ve always shown up.  Even when I’m been not feeling well. Even when my Mother died.  Even when we’ve lost beloved animals the day before or the day of a wedding.  I’m more concerned about getting hit by a bus on the way to a wedding.  So, no guarantee.  AND I’m confident, given the heart and graciousness of my couples, we would work things out.
  3. What do you wear?  In the summer, I love a muted maxi dress or fancy pant suit (from Nordies, of course!).  Always with pearls, always striving to be elegant.  When it’s not hot outside, I like an elegant black suit with scarf and/or pearls.  I like to blend in, when it comes to photos (black blends in and keeps the focus on the bride and groom).  I don’t dress to stand out.

At the end of the day, hiring an Officiant is a gentle mix of personality and work style and has a lot to do if we ‘click,’ kind of like a first date.

So ask me your questions. Surprise me with a hard question.  I want you comfy and at ease with all of this!

 

Your Wedding Ceremony in 2019: Keeping it Fun, Keeping is Real.

January 3, 2019

We are sitting at the beginning of a new year.  Welcome to 2019!

If you are reading this, and are getting married in 2019, I offer you these words of ‘wisdom’ from the front lines of all things ‘wedding ceremony.’

www.lloydphotographers.com

KEEP IT FUN.  Whether your wedding has a guest list of 4 or a guest list of 200, I find the most relaxed and happy couples are the ones who keep ‘fun’ in the equation.

Fun could be a picnic lunch after a morning rehearsal, which is relaxed and easy and doesn’t include the extra effort or expense of a more ‘formal rehearsal dinner.’ 

Fun could be getting married on the Seattle Big Wheel, having your dog(s) go down the aisle with the rings, having a special vocalist with a surprise song or even having your ‘ceremony guests’ participate in a way that is lively and memorable. ‘Do’ what brings you joy and creates the ‘feeling’ you desire around your big day.

KEEP IT REAL.  Don’t buy into the wedding industry’s version of what a wedding ‘should’ and/or ‘must be.’  A lot of the hype when it comes to advertisements and outreach is meant (in my humble opinion), to create anxiety and/or doubt, to get a couple to question decisions and/or spend more (not less).  There are so many incredibly talented wedding professionals who lead with heart and integrity.  You are a smart cookie.  Seek them out and avoid the crazy.

REMEMBER.  Please remember this is a wedding.  ONE DAY, one very important day, to celebrate the marriage.  During your engagement, I invite you to give as much attention to preparing for your marriage as your wedding.  Ask questions.  Take time.  Go deeper.  Do what you need to do to walk into your wedding day with a grand sense of calm and peace, and the deep knowing that you are making the highest choice in your life to marry.

Wedding Dog! Wedding Dog! The Power of “Woof!” and Unconditional Love to Sparkle Up Your Wedding Ceremony…

October 27, 2018

If you know me, I’m a crazy dog lady.

My husband and I work with special needs and/or older dogs and have done so, together, for more than 15 years.

When I am not engaged, in my happy place with my wedding work, my other happy place is our Wigglebutt Farm, a 5-acre sanctuary for dogs, where love and kindness rules.

And so, many couples who love their dogs (who are crazy about their animals), often come to me, and much of the time, want to have their beloved fur child (or children) involved in their wedding ceremony.

It doesn’t matter if your ceremony is a formal event for 200, or a casual event for 2 or 10, a dog adds such joy to a wedding day.

The power of ‘woof’ brings calm and ease to a big day, initiates conversation between people, and creates unexpected moments of joy and happy and potential joyful chaos!

I remember Stacey and John.  We were in the middle of their ceremony, when their beloved pooch decided to ‘take a walk,’ and streaked across the back of the ceremony space.  I could not stop smiling, and this brought such joy and happiness to ‘their story!’

Or when wedding dog, Murphy, (featured in the photo), decided to ‘sit’ on the train of Zoe’s gown…and take a snooze for most of the ceremony.  Simply, perfect.

The power of dog.  My heart is full.

 

A Beautiful Fall Wedding at The Seattle Arboretum on Husky Game Day, With Details!

October 1, 2018

When I first met with the wonderful Jim and Stephanie, they did indeed tell me that the Huskies would be playing at UW on their wedding day, with kick-off near their wedding ceremony start time.

So, knowing that their wedding was right next door, at the beautiful Graham Visitor’s Center at the Seattle Arboretum, had me plotting and planning my travel route and parking location.

Here’s what you don’t see.  AND what you would never see in a perfect wedding magazine!

An happy Officiant traveling in 3 hours early, sitting at a nearby cafe, just to be near her couple.  An Officiant walking almost 1 mile from a far away parking lot (long formal dress and athletic shoes), kicking up leaves, just thrilled to get a parking space, anywhere! (I could have taken an UBER, but I like being in control of my travel).

Yes, the work that I do is mostly about creating and delivering a beautiful wedding ceremony.  AND it’s also about attention to tiny details, that if ignored, may create stress and chaos.  Gratefully, Jim and Whitney’s guests were all about getting rides to their wedding, so we started on time.

My head would explode if I were late to a wedding.  I pre-plan, take things slow and spend a lot of time at nearby cafes, working on my laptop, just happy to be close to a couple.  And take an occasional big walk!

Beautiful Photo:  Amy at www.soperphotography.com

2 Beautiful Women. An Extravagant and Opulent Garden. An Incredible Wedding Day at The Salish Lodge.

September 14, 2018

In this work that I do, I’ve been to a lot of places.

On Saturday afternoon, Wedding Planner Alissa Lawton of Gather Events, and her team, went above and beyond to create one of the most magnificent ceremony spaces I have been seen.  Kudos to Thatch Seattle for installing the decor and flowers…seriously, such incredible vision and talent!

In conversations during the weeks before, I knew that Victoria and Christina’s wedding day was going to be drop-dead gorgeous in all ways.

When I arrived at The Salish Lodge on Saturday afternoon, I stood there, absolutely stunned by the delicate detail, the opulent use of flowers and color and a myriad of details that looked easy, AND took enormous talent and time.

This I know for sure.  Most people don’t have a clue what it feels like to have full responsibility for execution on a wedding day – whether this is a planner, photographer, DJ/MC, florist, baker or Officiant.

When I walk into a wedding, I work to be fully present, and my head is all over the place, as I’m walking a dance of tension, taking in a thousand details, knowing a couple wants things to go well.  No drama, no crazy, yes!

With Victoria and Christina, I worked to design and deliver a ceremony that was authentic, deeply engaging and family oriented.  They shared beautiful vows, perfect for each.  And I loved how they snuck in a 2nd kiss, as the walked down the aisle, as wife and wife.

Lucky, lucky me….to be able to be part of such goodness!

Victoria and Christina, I wish you much happiness on your marriage adventure!

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings! Ramblings and Musing from ‘The Street…”

June 27, 2018

Darlings, I’m deep in it!  The ups and downs of all things weddings this summer season.  Gratefully, a zillion more ups than downs.

As I reflect back on the past few weeks, here is what I’d like to share…

There is nothing I love better than the joy a dog brings to a wedding day.  Zoe and Carson were married at The Salish Lodge, and their sweet dog, Murphy, was at their side…actually plopping down on Zoe’s bridal train as she said her ‘I Do’s.’ (photo left)

I LOVE Benjamin and Mary.  I love them so much because just weeks before their wedding, they lost Benjamin’s beloved Father unexpectedly….AND they carried on.  With inspiring courage and graciousness.  And don’t get me started on Benjamin’s Mother, Regine…what a gorgeous, loving and courageous lady!

See Kayla?  See Parker?  Parker did great as the official ‘ring bearer’ for his Mommy and Daddy’s wedding ceremony at The Arctic Club Hotel.  And he didn’t like the photo booth and it showed in the photos.

Michael and Jordan journeyed to Seattle and were married in the sweetest of ceremonies, with their ‘besties’ all around them.  Two amazing men, wed at The Salish Lodge…a perfect day in all ways. (photo bottom left)

Andrew and Yesim, with 10+ years of life together, these two lovebirds were overjoyed on their wedding day and it showed.  Married at The Manor on Bainbridge Island, Andrew and Yesim could not stop smiling at each other!  Yesim is from Turkey and Germany, and influences from her culture were sprinkled throughout this big day.

Both with Russian heritage and tradition, the very lovely Inna and Anton were married at Bastyr Chapel in Kenmore.  I adore Bastyr Chapel.  When you drive up, you pretty much see a boring and blah building.  And when you walk inside, you are blown away by the opulence and reverence of the place.

Zachary and Jeremy went all out for their wedding day at The Museum of Glass in Tacoma.  It was such a joy to work with these great guys to fully design a ceremony experience that was truly all about them.  Okay, and a little bit about the wonderful people around them.  And don’t get me started on their fabulous wedding party of ladies!

Photo (Zoe and Carson) www.jennygg.com

Photo:  Michael and Jordan  www.soperphotography.com

Seattle Weddings: Each Couple Has A Unique Story and Path to Marriage…

April 24, 2018

In this work that I do, I am intensely curiously about what brings two people together to marry.

Over this past week, I married four beautiful, inspiring and very different couples, all setting out on the path to lifetime commitment.

Niz and Emilia were married in an intimate ceremony for ‘2,’ with Niz’s sons in attendance,and Emilia’s parents on Skype, from Peru.  You could feel the joy and elation between these two sweet people as we celebrated their ‘I Do’s.’ (photo on left)

Jared and Erica were married at the funkiest of places, The Naked City Brewery and Taphouse in Greenwood.  This venue choice was perfect for Jared and Erica, who are not only in love with each other, but in love with movies and books. With more than 60+ of the happiest family and friends, we had a ceremony (in the screening room) that was full of laughter, happiness and ‘wedding selfies!’

As Anna turned the corner to walk down the aisle at The Edgewater Hotel, the biggest smile (almost ever!) broke out on her face.  Anna’s joy and happiness was bursting on her face as she looked at her sweetheart, Gabe.  These two, so beautiful, brave and in love, are not only with each other but in love with their commitment to their relationship. (bottom left photo)

And on a beautiful morning at The Salish Lodge, Roger and Dianna said ‘I Do,’ surrounded by an intimate group of family and friends, after a big celebration the night before.  Every couple has a unique story and I appreciate all that have brought this mid-life couple to each other.

People often ask me why I do this work.  My reply?  Because, the hidden drama queen in me loves the joy and gentle chaos of a wedding (a huge ritual of transition) and because I am in awe of what it takes to say ‘I Do.’

Photo (Gabe and Anna) – www.jennygg.com

 

The Joy of a Seattle Winter Wedding Ceremony & Celebration: Reflections and Ponderings…

March 15, 2018

I love the beginning of the year for a wedding ceremony and celebration.

The pace of winter offers a couple more privacy in parks, a greater value at venues and a less busy ‘feel’ than the happy crush of the late Spring, Summer and early Fall.   A few beautiful couples…

Nathan and Laura were wed at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle, on a sunny Saturday in February.

Surrounded by their best people and very happy family and friends, we all shared in a beautiful and intimate ceremony – with touches of fun and laughter.

It was a road trip up to the Mt. Rainier area to get Christian and Tammy married at the Little White Church in Elbe.  Photographer Jenny Goldberg-George and I shared in this most intimate of experiences, in a church a century old, on a wintery day with a most beautiful couple.

Jim and Nicole, what can I say?

Just so fun-loving in the best of ways.  Yes, we had the serious parts of a wedding ceremony AND between the two of these lovebirds, lots of smiles and laughter.

You could not have asked for a more beautiful sunny day in Winter for James and Lesley.

They were married at The Sorrento Hotel, in the company of their children and family/friends.  I greatly appreciated the intention these two put into having a ceremony that was beautiful, appropriate and easy, for not only the two of them but their children.

And then there is Brandon and Leeda – a sweet elopement at Volunteer Park!  Just the two of them, 2 witnesses and so much love.

What do these couples have in common?  A commitment to beautiful wedding ceremony that reflects their story.  A desire to be real.  A commitment to no crazy.

Photos:  www.jennygg.com and www.jennystorment.com

The Anticipation Of A New Year: What I Know For Sure About The Crazy World of Weddings…

January 8, 2018

I don’t much see this work as a job.  It’s more a vocation to me.

After more than a decade of wedding work, I sit here on this quiet Monday morning in early January. With a happy heart, I offer these random musings about ‘all things wedding.’

GET REAL.  The ‘poofiness’ of a contemporary wedding is old school.  Today’s couple wants to keep things romantic, joyful and happy – with a fresh focus on the little details, which are often the big things.  By little details, I mean I am inspired by a couple who leads with graciousness, kindness and a great sense of humor.  Take a look at these two beautiful smiling faces.  Andrew and A.J. kept it ‘real’ and were married with such love last week!

DUMP THE AISLE RUNNER.  I don’t like them.  Okay, I hate them!  They bunch up, get ripped, get messy and often are a real problem for the bride (or groom) once family and friends and a wedding party gets down the aisle.

DON’T LINE YOUR AISLE WITH LIT CANDLES.  Again, this may look fabulous and it is a serious disaster waiting to happen.  Oftentimes, a wedding ceremony aisle isn’t wide enough to support lit candles in holders or in vases on the floor.  I’ve seen lots of problems over time and a smart couple looks for other decor options.

TAKE 15-20 MINUTES AFTER CEREMONY TO BE TOGETHER.  After a wedding ceremony, which is a huge emotional event, I love a couple who takes a bit of time to be ‘together.’  This gives 2 just married people an opportunity to take a breath, focus on each other, to share the elation of a job well done – and perhaps to have a drink or share a few appetizers.  Simply, ‘no one is going to miss you!’  Karl and Claire took time after they were married last Saturday to just ‘be’ in the happy company of their best people. 

WOOF!  WOOF!  WOOF!  It doesn’t matter what a beloved dog does on a wedding day, it’s all joyful and fabulous.  If you want to include your dog in your wedding ceremony and/or reception, just do it.  Plain and simple.  A wedding dog brings people together and creates instant rapport and conversation.

IF YOU WANT TO ELOPE, ELOPE.  And make it simple.  Don’t over think it.  Don’t over plan it.  Don’t second guess yourself.  Focus on exactly what you want and desire for your small and intimate wedding ceremony and do it.

It’s my happiness to move into 2018 with such wonderful couples, dear people who are eager to share their love story and anticipation of the future with their loved ones, whether this is 2 people or 200 guests. Simply, let’s do this!

Annemarie Juhlian

www.marriedbyannemarie.com

The Curse Of The Wedding Aisle Runner:  Burn it, Don’t Buy It…Don’t Consider It! Reasons Why…

September 25, 2017

There are many decorative elements I LOVE for a wedding ceremony.aisle-runner

Gorgeous décor at the front of a ceremony space to frame a couple.

Pretty and sparkly flowers.

Beautiful candles in appropriate places.  Excellent lighting.  An ceremony aisle that is wide enough.

AND there is one thing I’m absolutely NOT crazy about at a wedding.

The darn aisle runner.

Over the years, I have witnessed mishap after mishap with an aisle runner.  You see, a happy engaged couple looks at beautiful “before photos” of a runner,  loves the look and decides to incorporate it.

Here is what happens:

  • People slip
  • People fall
  • People tear it apart before the bride gets to it
  • It comes apart as a wedding party steps on it
  • It looks terrible by the time a bride comes down the aisle
  • It looks terrible in photos

This goes for a runner that may be indoors and outdoors.  I know, who would put an aisle runner on rough ground, slippery grass or even on hot cement?  You’d be surprised.  An outdoor runner isn’t good and oftentimes is worse than an indoor runner.

So, personal taste always wins and coming from this side of the wedding aisle, I vote a ‘no go’ on a wedding runner.

Instead, line the aisle with pretty petals.  This is so gorgeous.

Stay away from aisle lining the lit candles (even in protectors).  Candle elements get hit by people walking down the aisle and it always make me nervous to watch a lovely bride process down the aisle, with her gown swishing back and forth, surrounded by fire.

Simply, enough said!

Annemarie’s Seattle Area Wedding Ceremonies, Summer 2017: Inspiring Moments From The Wedding Road…

September 7, 2017

Whoosh!

July and August 2017.

As I sit here in my home office, I’m looking at my wall calendar for the past two months and my heart is bursting with gratitude for wedding weeks well done.

Not easy in many ways.  And so good.  Most of all, I’m grateful for easy traffic, no crazy and wonderful couples who allowed me to share in a piece of their wedding day happiness.heart

You know, it’s funny to me what I remember from a wedding day.  As I look at my wall calendar, I take a trip down memory lane with some of my couples…

Trisha and Paul were married at the Grand Willow Inn in Mount Vernon.  These two darlings were smiling so big at each other during ceremony and Trisha stole a kiss or two.  Simply, she could not contain her joy!

Titian and Namita hosted their ceremony and celebration at their new and gorgeous water view home in Bremerton.  As I arrived, the music was loud, the appetizers and drinks were flowing – a pre-party before the big party!

They grew up abroad, met on the East Coast and were married in the happy company of their family and best people in Seattle.  For Katya and Eduardo, having their parents and immediate family with them was one of the best parts of their day.  For me, Katya’s gown was so elegant and pretty, perfect for her.

AND they were married in a field of lavender! Cherie and Kevin wanted to include their family and friends fully in their wedding ceremony, so it was quite the large and fun processional at Woodinville Lavendar on a hot July Friday.

I’m a dog lover.  Cody and Kristen are dog lovers.  It was great happiness to marry them at Robinswood House in Bellevue on a warm Saturday July morning.  And I loved the ‘gift’ that DJ Alan Chitlik was ‘secretly recording’ to present to them afterwards.

The vows that Ben and Danielle shared during their ceremony at Kiana Lodge were exquisite.  Enough said.

Road trip!  I traveled out to Swiftwater Cellars in Cle Elum to join Kevin and Renee for their wedding ceremony.   It was delightful to include their young son in their ceremony and for them to have 2 moments with their sweet one as they said “I Do.”

I was enchanted with the very colorful Darpin and Disha, married in the U District, with their families on Skype.  Lots of energy, colors and pure happiness.

Kaitlyn and Anthony had more than 10 years of togetherness before they wed at The Woodmark Hotel in early August.  I am so inspired by this couple’s story, their love for their sweet son and the profound delight and elation that came through in their photos.  Simply, don’t get me started on their ‘boat photo!’

Two of the most beautiful ladies.  A beautiful wedding day.  As I walked around Kylee and Brenna’s reception area before their ceremony at Trinity Tree Farm on an August Saturday, I found myself snapping photos.  They had some of the best signs and a lovely gift/welcome table…creative, inspired and so pretty.  Just like them.

Roy and Tamara took of the very best wedding ceremony selfies, EVER.  I’d like to think Roy is the ‘poster kid’ for the joy felt by all of my couples this past month or so.  Married at Robinswood House in Bellevue.

Planner Megan Bird told me to dress with ‘drama’ for Sean and Lauren’s wedding at The Fairmont Hotel.  So, happy for a special dress I have in my closet, I showed up, as dramatic as I could get!  And while the bride, groom and guests were gorgeously well-dressed, it was happiness for me to stand to the side and watch, before and after ceremony. Just watch. 

Some Of The Best Money You Can Spend On A Wedding Day? A Full Service or Day Of Coordinator…

August 2, 2017

Some couples are super duper planners and get the rhythm of all things ‘wedding. ”  These smart cookies just understand how plan out and prepare for a wedding day, formal or casual, big or small.

After doing this work for awhile, I’ve come to the conclusion (my personal opinion, of course), that most couples would be wise to invest in a Full Service Wedding Planner or Day Of Coordinator.

Why?

Let’s take a page from Teng and Bijun.  They hired a lovely person in the few weeks before their wedding day, feeling the pressure of a myriad of tasks and wanting their wedding day to be a ‘party.’  And a great party often needs a great planner.tengbiyun-b-jones-photography

When I walked into their wedding at The Woodmark Hotel on July 16th, everything was gorgeous, easy.  Simply, I found a bride and groom focused on each other and their guests, not on their timeline.

Conversely, I walked into a wedding awhile back and things were stressed, chaotic and ‘all over the place.’  This wonderful couple, with great intentions, didn’t attend to important ‘wedding morning’ and reception details and thus, the rhythm of their day was all mixed up.  And I’m quite sure the guests felt this. Not a terrible thing.  Just could have been better.

Smart couples, on a budget, will slice money in other areas to pay a Coordinator.

This a super smart move.  It makes great sense.  Photo:  B Jones Photography

June Seattle Weddings 2017: Unique Love Stories. Different & Inspired Paths to the Big Day…

July 10, 2017

I just looked at my calendar for the past couple of weeks. And I smile. Am I a lucky gal or what?

It’s my privilege to be with a couple when they say ‘I Do.” After all of the years of doing this work, I hold a couple’s trust close to my heart. So, let’s celebrate!

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Jesse and Stephanie welcomed family and friends to The Monte Cristo on June 9th. I remember walking into the bride’s room before ceremony and finding Stephanie looking beautiful, serene and happy. There is no better feeling than seeing Stephanie walk down the aisle (lit candles and all!) with grace and the knowing she was making the highest choice for her life.

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Chris and Amber sparkled up The Canal in Ballard on a June Wednesday evening and despite a bit of chill and rain, we were lucky to have their ceremony outdoors, under a covered area. I loved everything about Chris and Amber – mostly, their fun-loving, gracious and easy-going approach to their wedding day and the sweetness and vulnerability of their ceremony and love story.

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Unlike Chris and Amber’s wedding day, Tamara and Maria were married on June 11th, one very hot Sunday!  At a beautiful church in Tacoma, these two loving and inspiring women exchanged vows, in the loving presence of their children and families/friends. If there were ever two women meant to be together, these two could be poster kids!

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The very wonderful Ann and Jeremy were in Mexico for 2 weeks after hosting a beautiful wedding celebration at their home in downtown Seattle.  With their closest people around them, and in the presence of Jeremy’s son who stood as “Best Man,” we had a lovely ceremony complete with laughs, hankie moments, a reverse unity candle ritual and more.

 

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I remember walking into the reception area of The Willows Lodge on June 18th, about 30 minutes before Joseph married the love of his life, to find him rehearsing his special and surprise reception solo song to share with his bride. The tone of this ceremony was semi-traditional, reverent and sweetly shared bits of their love story.

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Woof! I left John Ryan and Stacey after their wedding ceremony on Friday, June 23rd, at the Red Cedar Farm in Poulsbo, with the biggest smile on my face.  After 10 years of loving relationship, these two lovebirds got hitched.

Delightfully, they included their two dogs, Penny Lane and Zeke, into their wedding ceremony. I loved looking over and seeing Penny Lane taking a snooze (she’s a basset hound!) and somehow, Zeke got lose during ceremony and he went for a run, with a delightfully well-dressed woman running around him.

Simply, so much JOY!

Seattle Weddings 2017 – Celebrating Love, Honoring The Different Paths To Love…

June 6, 2017

As I sit here at my desk in my office, I’m about to get all packed up and ready for what I affectionately call ‘a weekend of love.’

Mostly, I look back on the past few weeks with a full heart, grateful for the trust my couples put in me to officiate their wedding ceremonies.

grant-jillian-hunterI loved everything about Grant and Jillian’s wedding at Newcastle Golf Club last Friday.  This was a perfect venue for a guy from Scotland and a gal from Seattle.  And their love of all things Disney was incorporated beautifully into their reception decor.

kaci-tomKaci and Tom traveled to Seattle to be married on a windy and crisp Friday May evening before they left on their cruise to Alaska.  Joined by a happy and intimate group of people, I remember a group blessing of the rings that was perfect for the moment and the setting.

After more than 20 years together, Harold and Terri got hitched at the home of dear friends in Bothell.  Traveling from Canada to do all of this goodness, I was very taken with these two – their grace, charm and attention to detail.

joey-kandie-davisGina and Seth and Rebecca and Benjamin, both selected the “I Do For 2 package” at The Willows Lodge and were married on different dates and with the same wish:  easy, fun and simple!

I made my way up to Arlington to officiate Joey and Kandie’s wedding ceremony at a lovely Snohomish venue.  With more than 100+ family and friends on this Saturday afternoon, we celebrated this young couple and their inspiring journey to their wedding day.  Seriously, such fun people!

Love comes in so many shapes and sizes.  It’s my happiness to be a part of all of this goodness.  Simply, I’m one lucky gal.

Photo #2 (Kaci and Tom ) – www.jennygg.com  Photo #(Grant and Jillian) and Photo #3 (Joey and Kandie)