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Annemarie's Blog

Not Your Mother’s Marriage Advice! A Great Piece That Makes You Think and Go “Hmmm…”

January 31, 2017

There are a zillion articles out there offering marriage wisdom and counsel.marriage

This article is good.

It’s from the Huffington Post.

It offers a bit of marriage guidance that most assuredly most Mothers WOULD NOT offer on a wedding day!

Julie + Briana: We Raised The Roof Off AXIS in Seattle’s Pioneer Square With One of the Best Ceremony Toasts, Ever!

January 24, 2017

Julie + Briana, sweetly married at AXIS in Pioneer Square on January 14th.

I love this photo, taken in flight, on their way to a much anticipated honeymoon in Iceland!

What I appreciate so much about Julie and Briana…briana-julie1

  • Julie and Briana had a vision for their ceremony and what was vital to them. Including their family and friends, particularly their niece and nephews was hugely important.  We got the children beautifully down the aisle and each participated in a hand-fasting ritual.
  • Emotion.  So much emotion.  These two women, on a relationship path of 7 years so far, are one inspiring duo. During ceremony, we celebrated their history, joys and happiness, ups and downs, funny moments and more.  I loved that Julie and Briana wanted it real – we kept it real.
  • The memory that I left with the most?  A well orchestrated ‘forever and ever’ toast within Julie and Briana’s wedding ceremony – celebrating not only the two of them, but a toast that honored the love of each person in the room.

At the end of the day, Julie and Briana worked to design and host a ceremony and celebration that was truly lovely, reverent and so much fun!

Chris + Brandie: A Great Wedding Kick-off For a Wonderful Couple at Cedarbrook Lodge…

January 10, 2017

Could Saturday evening have been any better?

Two loving people, with a fabulous football themed wedding, were beautifully married and The Seahawks won!brandie-and-chris

Chris and Brandie, in the presence of 100+ family and friends, shared vows at the lovely Cedarbrook Lodge on Saturday evening.

Fast forward through much shared life experience, history and love shared, these two devoted and fun-loving people, exchanged heartfelt vows and shared in a ceremony that honored Brandie’s 3 children, expressed gratitude to parents and family, celebrated Chris’ guardian angel and included a family ‘glass pouring ritual.’  And of course, we announced the game score as Chris and Brandie finished walking down the aisle!

I appreciate a couple who desires a ceremony that eloquently not only celebrates their love story, but one that embraces the people they love most in the world. Chris and Brandie, I wish you much happiness!

Angela + Frank: A Holiday Wedding at Seattle’s Beautiful Arctic Club Hotel…

December 13, 2016

I appreciate a couple who has their priorities in order.

I know, this sounds most likely a bit stuffy and boring and it’s true.  Especially when it comes to a wedding ceremony.frank-angela-rivers

It was happiness for me to join Frank and Angela for their wedding at Seattle’s Arctic Club Hotel on December 3rd.

Working together, we crafted a ceremony that not only shared pieces of their personal story but a personal ritual that offered gratitude to family and friends and created a special family moment with Frank’s son.

Frank and Angela’s ‘family first’ approach to life (a priority) was front and center as we celebrated the two of them and the people around them.

Tender emotion was ever-present as Frank and Angela exchanged vows and rings…I had to smile as I heard Frank share sweet nothings with his bride throughout the ceremony as we made our way to the big kiss!

So Grateful To Have Been Home With April Rose This Weekend…

November 14, 2016

I didn’t have a wedding this past weekend.

And the timing could not have been better.  april-rose

You see, Greg and I are dog lovers.  Our purpose as a couple, besides loving and caring for each other, is to rescue and care take dogs who have been neglected and abused.

One of our sweet ones was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in mid-August.  Sweet April Rose has had two surgeries and 5 chemo treatments.

Knowing April’s great spirit and will to live, we decided to fight for her, always with her best interests in mind. beautiful-april

April was doing very well (the cancer went into remission) and then the tumor returned full force last week.   Our oncology vet calls it “a beast.”

Gratefully, and for the first time in many months, I didn’t have a wonderful wedding this past weekend, giving me the precious opportunity to be home with April and to love on her.

I know this post doesn’t have anything to do with a wedding.

It has to do with love.  And because I felt like celebrating our girl…and posting her beautiful photos!

Joanna + Mark: Just The Most Beautiful Lifetime Moment at Hilltop on Bainbridge Island…

October 24, 2016

There are moments in life where you stop, look and say to yourself, ‘I want to take all of this in.”

I had one of these moments when I arrived for Mark and Joanna’s Friday morning wedding ceremony in August, at Hilltop, in the Grand Forest of Bainbridge Island. joannamark2

A wonderful group of family and friends were gathered.

Musicians were set up and getting in place.

The ceremony space was beautifully designed in a series of circles, symbolizing the union of two wonderful people.

And so, we had a romantic, intimate and joyfilled ceremony for Mark and Joanna, celebrating their path to this day and their family and friends.

Best yet, Bainbridge Island is Mark and Joanna’s new home and this grand day is just of many wonderful experiences to come on their beautiful Island!


Wedding Dog, Odin, Did Good! Celebrating Daniel and Rachel at The Salish Lodge…

October 21, 2016

Moments before Rachel walked down the aisle, she was with her wedding party and family. And I found her holding onto her exuberant dog, Odin. racheldaniel1

At rehearsal, Odin was very high energy and all dog.

The next day, on his people’s wedding day, this wonderful dog easily and gracefully walked down the aisle and took his place…seriously, Odin did so very, very good!

I loved that Daniel and Rachel incorporated their sweet pooch as an important part of their ceremony and celebration at The Salish Lodge.  A dog always raises the joy bar at a wedding and Odin did his part.

Daniel and Rachel, I wish you a life of great adventure, happiness and joy.  And lots of outdoor adventures with your beautiful boy!


John + Jaime: A Glorious Day at Kiana Lodge, Celebrating Two Loving People Who Really Get It…

October 18, 2016

Marriage is a crazy affair.  It’s over-the-top joy.  It’s chaotic and messy.  It’s about learning, growth, stretching and finding the depths of compassion and resilience. johnjaimemonnig

It’s about friendship.  It’s about endurance and nurturing stamina and curiosity in the midst of upset and change. It’s about truly celebrating the ordinary moments and the extraordinary ones.

John and Jaime embody the best qualities of loving relationship.

And this I know for sure:  they have what it takes to create, nurture and protect a devoted relationship that will take them through the years and decades.

On a lovely Summer Sunday, it was my happiness to travel to Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo (one of my most favorite venues) to get these two lovebirds married.

John and Jaime, you invited me into your home and personal space.  You trusted me with your journey and story and I am so grateful for this gift.  Wishing you great happiness, joy and adventure!


John + Elizabeth: On To Their Honeymoon After Hosting A Lovely Wedding At Seattle’s Mayflower Park Hotel…

October 17, 2016

In the moments before they walked down the aisle together at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Seattle, I joined John and Elizabeth in their suite.john-elizabeth

I love quiet moments before a wedding ceremony.  The few minutes before a huge life shift occurs.

And within minutes, we were in the elevator and making our way downstairs to be greeted by dozens of thrilled family and friends, who welcomed John and Elizabeth to their ceremony with a great round of boisterous applause.

What I love about John and Elizabeth is not only their smarts and fun-loving approach to life, but their loving graciousness.

It was important to both of them to have John’s adult children stand as their best people. Within ceremony, we acknowledged not only John and Elizabeth’s marriage and partnership but the new family created by this union.

With an evening of great food and drink, friendship and the ambiance of the lovely Mayflower Park Hotel, I’m quite sure that John and Elizabeth made their way back to their suite hours later, with the feeling of “we did very, very good.”

Photo: Sent to me from the plane, honeymoon bound!

Nicole + Kimball: Two Loving and Inspiring Sweethearts With The Most Fabulous Wedding Party!

October 14, 2016

I’ve been around a lot of wedding parties ~ some big, some small.kimballnicole

Some traditional and  quiet.  And some loud, feisty and with a bit of rock ‘n roll.

I could go on and on as wedding parties are just that…all different.

As I reflect on Nicole and Kimball’s beautiful wedding ceremony and wedding day at The Pickering Barn in August, I can tell you these two lovely women had one of the happiest wedding parties I’ve been around, ever.

As I was sharing Nicole and Kimball’s love story and personal details about their path to August 21st, it was fun to hear muted comments and generous applause from their joyful wedding party on either side of us.

What I loved even more is that this delight and exuberance was shared by family and friends…seriously, the happiness was coming from all sides.

Often before going down the aisle, or even during rehearsal, I encourage a wedding party to fully participate in ways that are authentic, genuine and meaningful.  This may mean big great smiles going down the aisle or even hand motions, genuine giggles and even a ‘high 5’ during a ceremony.

A wedding party that is ‘in motion’ raises the joy bar in the room and Nicole and Kimball’s fabulous group did this and more.  Sweet ladies, you have such great love and support around you!




Diana + Tim at The Monte Cristo Ballroom in Everett: With Some of the Happiest Family and Friends Ever…

October 12, 2016

Most often before I begin a wedding ceremony, I walk to the front of the room.  I thank family and friends for attending and give them direction on what to do during ceremony (if anything) and what’s happening after the bride and groom walk down the aisle. dianatim

This is an opportunity for me to also check my mic for the last time and to get a sense of ‘faces.’  Yes, faces.  I want to get a sense of the crowd, big or small, and what the ‘energy’ is like in the room.

This can be quiet and sedate, peppy and fun-loving or perhaps somewhere in-between.

When I did this for Tim and Diana at the Monte Cristo Ballroom on a lovely Friday afternoon last month, I saw beaming faces.

A lot of smiling faces.

I saw and felt great joy, elation, anticipation and happiness AND the wedding ceremony had not even started yet.

This kind of love and care always brings great happiness to my heart.

Because I know before we even start that everything will be okay – that we’re all present for the right reasons and even if something blows up or goes side-ways (which it does on rare occasion), that with a little self-deprecating humor, everything will be more then fine.  It will be real.  And that’s what I love most about a best ceremony.  It’s darn real.

Tim and Diana, the realness of your love, relationship journey and path to your wedding day makes my heart happy. Thank you for inviting me into your personal space and trusting me with your wedding ceremony. I wish you the blessings of great happiness, growth, courage and joy!

Lacee + Bryce: Just the Best Couple, A Very Warm Wedding Day = LOVE.

October 9, 2016

I drove away from Lacee and Bryce’s wedding ceremony, on a very hot day in August, thinking to myself, “this beautiful couple has staying power; this couple has what it takes to hugely create, nurture and sustain a lifetime relationship.”  laceebrycetompkins

This marriage thing isn’t for the faint hearted.

For those of us in long-term relationship, navigating the ups and downs of careers, jobs, illness, loss/grief, disappointment, elation, aging, huge change, kids and more is a daily juggle.

Marriage is about jumping off a cliff, knowing what we know and knowing what we don’t know.

For Lacee and Bryce, we celebrated their years together at the Trinity Tree Farm in Issaquah with a ceremony that was real and authentic.  No flowery words.  No hyped up or trite stuff such as a “a ring is a circle, just like your love…”laceebrycetompkins1

Lacee and Bryce were clear with me when we first sat down together.

They wanted me to ‘get them’ and celebrate where they’ve been, where they were on their big day and their intentions for their future.

It was my happiness to launch this pair of sweethearts on their marriage adventure.  Lucky, lucky me!

Beautiful Photos:  Salt and Pine Photography


Clint and Josalyn at Seattle’s Melrose Market: A Loving Stairwell Moment and So Much More…

September 23, 2016

I have this really sweet memory of Clint and Josalyn’s Seattle wedding day.

Because of special logistics at their venue, Melrose Market, we signed marriage license documents on a cocktail style table, at the top of a stairwell, with beautiful light streaming in.josalynclint

It was the two of us, witnesses and their photographer.

I watched Josalyn lovingly touch Clint’s arm several times during the signing.  During all of this, I loved the way that Clint kept looking at Josalyn and his outward affection and joy to be with her.

While we had a beautiful and personal ceremony, it was this stairwell moment and other personal glances and touches during their ceremony that reminds me that the best moments of a wedding day are most often the unexpected pieces that write a lifetime story.

Josalyn and Clint, thank you for giving me the privilege of sharing in your slice of happiness!

They Did What We Did! Much Happiness to Carolyn and John, Married at Seattle’s Volunteer Park…

September 23, 2016


john-carolyn-1Years ago, my husband, Greg and I, were married in a tiny ceremony for “2” at his home in Woodinville. We then happily boarded a Holland America ship for Alaska, a first-time cruise for both of us (we’ve since been to Alaska this way 6 times!).

So, it made me smile when I heard that John and Carolyn were flying into Seattle to get married and then they, too, would be taking off on a solstice honeymoon cruise to Alaska.

On a lovely August morning at Volunteer Park, joined by two of their dearest friends, we stood together in a semi-circle and got these two beautiful love birds so hitched up, so married!

Take a look at these sweet faces ~ our world is a happier place, blessed by this sweet, loving and gracious couple.

Jason + Laura at Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park: Lots of Personal and Sweet Touches…

September 23, 2016

As I was writing Jason and Laura’s wedding ceremony, I was touched by the amount of personal time and energy they were putting into small and big touches on their wedding day. jason-laura-stover

For instance, the Chuppah under which they held their marriage ceremony, was hand-crafted by Jason and Laura’s Father, Rik.  As Laura shared with me, bonds and relationships were strengthened during the creation of this Chuppah, which made their wedding day more meaningful.

For reception, it was fun to see all of the DIY touches that made the reception space that much more comfortable, easy-going and so “Jason and Laura.” jason-laura

And for ceremony, under the loving guidance of Wedding Planner Wendy Wojcik, all went beautifully.

Staging a processional at Golden Gardens Park can be a cumbersome task because of the people factor and the unknowns of a public space. With grace and ease, we had a beautiful processional of family and wedding party and got a gorgeous bride elegantly ‘down the aisle!’

Jason and Laura – here is to your marriage adventure!

Sweetly Married at the Lovely DeLille Cellars in Woodinville: David and Misao

August 29, 2016


When it comes to a wedding day, such a lifetime experience is made that much sweeter when there is great kindness and graciousness woven into the day. DavidMisao

This is what I remember most about Misao and David’s wedding day.

Married at the end of July at DeLille Cellars in Woodinville, it was happiness for me to share in Misao and David’s wedding ceremony – a ceremony that reflected detail about their relationship, gratitude to their family and friends and other personal elements that tied everything together.

I look back and remember the love and devotion between these two, and I walked away with the heartfelt knowing that their family and friends were thrilled for this day…and rightfully so.

David and Misao, I wish you great joy as you move into this new phase of your journey together!

Sam and David: Married on the 4th of July at the Glorious Kiana Lodge…

August 29, 2016

If there ever was a couple meant to love and marry, it’s Sam and David.

And it was my happiness to join them on their wedding day at Kiana Lodge…that much happier because it was the 4th of July!  SamDavid6

Joined by 100+ family and friends, we celebrated Sam and David with the gift of a gorgeous ceremony overlooking the water on the grounds of one of my most favorite venues ever for a ceremony, Kiana Lodge.

Within Sam and David’s ceremony, we incorporated personal elements including a few ‘surprise photos’ taken during ceremony by this very loving and sweet duo (see photo at right).

Most of all and with much happiness, I smile as I remember these two Sweethearts and wish them much happiness on their marriage adventure!

Tidbits of Wisdom and Memories from Wonderful Summer 2016 Weddings…

August 25, 2016

My husband and I love dogs.  Cancel that.  We adore dogs.

In our time together, we have rescued dogs with vision problems and had also loved dogs who have lost their vision. SteveJulie

Perhaps this was one of the reasons I was so enchanted with Steve and Julie, married on Friday evening at DeLille Cellars.  This compassionate and gracious couple rescued their sweet dog, Kodi, a few years ago.  Kodi, who is now blind, was presented mid-ceremony as a ‘surprise ring bearer’ – a sweet surprise from Steve to his beautiful bride.

Two beautiful ladies, Kimball and Nicole, were sweetly married at The Pickering Barn on Sunday afternoon, surrounded by a great group of very joyful family and friends.  KimballNicole

These two women worked with me to create a beautiful ceremony that not only celebrated the two of them but their family and friends as well.  We wrote in a sweet remembrance for Kimball’s brother who is no longer with us as well as other pieces that reflect the anticipation these two gracious women have for their future.

JoannaMark2I love a wedding ceremony on Bainbridge Island.  Newcomers to the area, Mark and Joanna, chose the Hilltop park area for their ceremony and a lovely restaurant in Winslow for their reception.

This dynamic duo love adventure and while they are on their honeymoon to Alaska, I’m delighted to share this sweet picture taken just after ceremony.

GREAT JOY! Helen + Martin Marry At The Lovely Alderbrook Resort…

August 8, 2016

When I received this marvelous photo from Photographer Jennygg, I just smiled.  BIG!

It was happiness for me to make a June road trip to the lovely Alderbrook Resort on Hood Canal to share in Martin and Helen’s wedding day.  Martin and Helen

These two love birds share a most delightful love story and this, and so much more, we celebrated with the gift of a personalized ceremony on a lovely June Sunday afternoon.

When Helen first met Martin in person, she thought to herself, “so this is what my future looks like!”  She went to give Martin a hug and he said to her, “I’ve driven all of this way….I deserve a hug!”

What I appreciate and cherish about Martin and Helen is their commitment, not only to their loving relationship but to the children of their union.  A wedding day is that much more special when it truly honors the children of a marriage and the honesty that goes with all of the ups and downs of a blended family.

Helen and Martin – I’m the lucky one….you found me!  Much, much happiness to both of you…


Daniel + Zoe: A Field Of Lavender and a Beautiful Wedding Day!

August 8, 2016

There is a hidden gem in Woodinville, a field of abundant lavender that is hidden from the eye off the the Woodinville Redmond road.ZoeDaniel

Called Woodinville Lavender, this beautiful venue has fields of gorgeous lavender and a few weeks ago, at the peak of the season, Daniel and Zoe chose to be married, surrounded by such color and goodness!

I was touched that Daniel and Zoe co-created with me, a ceremony that celebrated their relationship in such a poignant and deeply touch way ~ and one that also honored family and friends.

This was extra special for me because even though Daniel and Zoe are young (and fabulous!), they desired a personal ceremony that celebrated their shared vision and anticipation  for their years together….nothing ‘blah, blah, blah’ here.

Daniel and Zoe, I wish you much happiness on your marriage adventure!   Beautiful Photo:  Jenn Tai