Sunday, December 28, 2008

Meet You In Seattle

Ben and Kelly met in Seattle in the summer of 2005. Kelly was beginning her M.D. and Ph.D. coursework while Ben was finishing his studies as a research scientist before relocating to Iowa to start medical school in the fall. They both attended the same lab and discovered a shared love of baseball. Initial interest transformed into a serious relationship...and tons of air miles traveled.

Their studies have kept them half a country apart and the couple look forward to living in the same city! Kelly and Ben can now eat meals at the same table, cuddle while watching a movie or reading a book, go for walks and, of course, ski.

Kelly and Ben selected the beautiful Bastyr Chapel as the perfect place to exchange their wedding vows.

"Thank you very much Kent! We truly enjoyed working with you and Pat through this entire process and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding day."

It was our pleasure! (And look at that...two tall guys!)

And thank you Rebecca Ellison for the wonderful photos.

See other couples who have married at Bastyr Chapel on our wedding ceremony Testimonial page.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Heather & Jesse at The Quarry

For Jesse and Heather, creativity is their passion ... so what better place to celebrate their wedding vows than The Quarry. This amazing site is filled with art of all types (and there is a new reception venue being built that will make it even more inviting!)

Of course, outdoor weddings are always interesting in the Pacific NW. The day was a ribbon of sun breaks and rain showers. Heather and Jesse were prepared with tasteful white umbrellas and took it all in stride. So as we started down the "aisle" and the rain returned, we transitioned from the pond to the tent. (So good to have back up plans in place.)

Heather was beautiful in rain or shine.

Personal vows touched everyone's heart ... and then it was time for the ring exchange.

Well, who was supposed to have them? OK, it was planned that the best man would not seem to know where they were and the rings would actually be presented by another of Jesse's friends. Relief and big smiles.

Thankfully, the sun returned for photos and for the reception. Guests were able to stroll through the landscape, enjoy the art and share the joy of the wedding day ... and evening.

There was dancing and a few games (Greg Lowder did a great job as MC and DJ) and a good time was had by all.

And when the celebration came to an end, the couple drive off in a classic Chevy.

Many thanks to Charis Donough for the photographs!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kent Officiates -- Winning Wedding Ceremony Photo Taken

Cory Parris just shared this award-winning photo with us. The image took second place in the ISPWP (International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers) Fall 2008 Photo Contest, Ceremony Category.

The best wedding photographers (those who have photographed at least 50 weddings as the primary photographer and have met the standards of the membership committee) compete for these awards.

We are so proud of Cory entering nine images, with eight of them placing.

Jen and Gregg created a wonderful world for their ceremony at the ever versatile Palace Ballroom. It was an enchanted space lit by the glow of lanterns.

Of course, it was made even more memorable by a problem on the monorail, which runs overhead on the street in front of the venue. Monorail passengers needed to disembark via firefighitng ladders. Emergency personnel closed the sidewalk making it difficult for guests to enter The Palace. Thankfully, Gregg and Jen were working with professionals and everything worked out well.

The rest of the evening went perfectly. Everyone enjoyed themselves, dancing the night away.

What I appreciated about this wedding is that there truly was an unexpected and unpreventable occurrence yet the ceremony and celebration were enjoyed thoroughly.

Jen and Gregg's love shone through. Their words of why they loved each other added that element of romantic sparkle to the night.

To see more of Cory's images, check out his website.

For a Seattle Wedding Officiant who can handle the unexpected, check out

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Andrew & Maia's Wedding At Kiana Lodge

Kent was honored to officiate at Maia and Andrew's wedding ... an amazing and gracious couple who created a memorable day for their families and friends. Since many of the guests were from outside Seattle, the couple wanted to create a true Pacific Northwest experience.

To begin with, they arranged for an Argosy ship to transport us directly from the Seattle waterfront to the Kiana Lodge dock. What a treat ... it was a most enjoyable journey!

Kiana is beautiful ... and this day we were especially lucky. Just before the ceremony, an eagle flew by. How good an omen is that.

The ceremony itself took place on the lawn. Maia made a grand entrance handsomely escorted by her brothers.

Andrew and Maia wanted a personal ceremony and were quite keen to share what they appreciated about each other. We talked with them individually as part of the planning process in order to keep their thoughts a secret. You can hear a video clip of this part of ceremony, thanks to Gary Burlingame!

Being very fond of their cat, who wasn't able to attend the ceremony, Maia and Andrew were delighted when the resident feline graced their ceremony. Although their kitty wasn't actually there, her spirit definitely was in the form of her fellow cat cousin, Pish Pish. Doug Plummer captured the moment perfectly.

All in all a very good day ... a day to celebrate a love of a life time!

For help creating your unique, non-denominational wedding ceremony at a premier wedding venue in the Puget Sound area such as Kiana Lodge, see our website at

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Garden Wedding Elan

Margo and Clayton decided to celebrate their wedding in an amazing private garden. Every aspect of the afternoon and evening was a blend of elegant and "green." For example, the groom painted a number of signs that lent an air of the rustic to this posh union. While the bride grew a flat of grass on which the place cards where displayed. The chairs for the ceremony looked hand made from tree boughs.

The ceremony itself took place in a wooded glen. The trees created a natural bower that created a sense of intimacy. The space seemed to be magic: filled with an aliveness that reflected the love Clayton and Margo share. Gardening is a perfect simile for marriage. So it was fun to use words about cultivating a good marriage is like two people tending a healthy garden. Speaking of gardening as a continuous process, changing with each season and evolving through the years. The garden being launched with great vision and bright enthusiasm. It, like marriage, invites the gardeners to work in harmony with one another and for them to use the right tools, to seek out and husband gardening wisdom, and to engage with a willing spirit.

Clayton and Margo shared traditional vows and every heart who heard them was opened. They are a couple who are obviously in love ... you could see it in their eyes. To symbolize their unity, they combined bouquets their mothers presented at the beginning of the ceremony.

It was a true joy to shower the couple with handfuls of rose petals as they exited as a married couple!

The night was filled with music and merriment, as the wedding celebration continued under a magnificent tent. Adam Tiegs kept everyone in good spirits and up on the dance floor.
And if you were feeling a bit chilly, you could always sidle up to the firepit and join in the conversations there. It was a night of romance, of warmth, of beauty ... a wedding celebrated in the embrace of the natural world.

Many thanks to Derek Pearson Photography and hats off to the planning and guidance provided by Michelle Engvall of Married and More with Michelle.

For more ceremony thoughts, click on!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wearing the Tartan -- Sealing the Vows

For years, Kent and I walked past The Ruins on our way to ballroom dance lessons at the Seattle Center. We heard the music and sounds of merriment and saw the fronds of plants emerging from interior to soften the austere exterior. What curious and mysterious nightspot is this?

Then, we officiated our first wedding there (and many more since) and had the pleasure of seeing the inside of this enchanted place. The bold colors and the whimiscal decorations made it a visual pleasure and the food a gastronomical one.

Most recently, Kent officiated for Michael and Tracy at The Ruins. It was an intimate and wonderful occasion. The bride and groom decided to honor Michael's Scottish background. Michael was handsome in his Prince Charlie jacket and Tracy was a beautiful bride, wearing Michael's tartan over her wedding gown. Together, they were a striking couple.

All the guests and Kent were invited to wear clan colors as well. Michael and Tracy graciously provided Kent with his family's tartan: Murray of Atholl. The colors not only brighted the night, they reflected the connections being strengthened by the marriage.

In fashioning the wording for their wedding ceremony, Tracy and Michael included several classic readings: an excerpt from "Marriage of True Minds" by William Shakespeare " presented by a family member. Then Michael shared "There Be None of Beauty's Daughters" by Lord Byron with Tracy and Tracy followed with "How do I Love Thee" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

The happiness and warmth of the family filled the room. What a wonderful way to begin married life together!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How to Include Your Pet In Your Wedding Ceremony

The trailer I saw of "Marley and Me" had me laughing from the start. Pets do bring warmth and joy and humor ... as well as challenges ... that can make life better. And many Seattle brides and grooms are inviting their dogs or miniature horse (meet "Rocky") or parrot or other much loved "companion" to be a part of their wedding ceremonies.

Flowerpups and ringbearing dogs bring the characteristics of their personalities to the ceremony. Some are playful and lively, some are dainty and precious, some have elan and chic. My husband, Kent, officiated at a wedding where a miniature fur friend wore a spritely pink tutu. She enjoyed it immensely and was so delighted to be with her family. Absolutely adorable!

At one of my ceremonies, the couple was active in the rescue of greyhounds. Two of their friends escorted their dogs to their beds of honor on either side of the bride and groom. It was quite an elegant entrance and the greyhounds brought a stately presence to the processional and the ceremony itself.

Here are some thoughts to consider when deciding whether your pet would be a welcome addition to your wedding ceremony.

Does your pet enjoy being around people, possibly a lot of people? Each animal has a personality and a tolerance for next places and people. We shared our home for many years with Mara, a Siamese/Tabby mix who was extremely people oriented. She would greet me at the driveway when I returned from errands and would follow me around in the house and accompany me when I tended our garden. At times, she even enjoyed taking a walk around the block. And she was alreadys ready to be petted and cuddled and loved to play. Our other cat, Callie, was quite the opposite: staying out of view until all was quiet and she could make her way directly to our laps for much desired attention. She needed privacy and serenity to show herself.

Is there someone you trust to take care of your pet's needs during the ceremony? Someone your pet knows and enjoys being with? And afterwards who can bring them home or to where they will be residing while you are on your honeymoon? You will have so much happening on your wedding day. It is important that your pet have a dedicated person or two to reassure and notice what is needed. Water, walk, a quieter place to relax and to be fed. A happy pet makes a much happier wedding day.

What provides comfort for your pet? Perhaps it is favorite bedding or a toy or a certain treat? Does he or she have a certain schedule? When is nap time? Keeping to the normal pattern of life as closely as possible and providing familiar items assure your buddy that all is well.

Is your pet ready to be in the limelight? Is she or he well trained? Does the breed have the temperament to repose near you? To be trusted around lace and delicate materials? To be in your presence and still respond to a handler during the ceremony? You know your pet. What are her capabilities. Be honest and kind. Ask of your pet only what is possible and probable. A few surprises are endearing; expecting the impossible is stressful.

Is the outfit you have selected comfortable for your pet? Some garb is exquisite and some of our companions love to show their stuff. Perhaps a trial run will indicate if the attire fits well and will be tolerated for an hour or so.

If your fur baby isn't ready for the wedding itself, it is always possible to include them in the engagement photographs, as well as the getting ready and post-ceremony pics. Your treasured companion can be included in your wedding photographs in a way that is fun for everyone!

And sometimes there is a serendipity about our interactions with our animal compatriots. This couple has known this cat forever although it is not theirs. At one time, they lived near the beach and would pet the cat on their visits. They called it Aslan (from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe). Aslan coming to see them was like its blessing on their union.

How can we leave this topic without mentioning two quite famous creatures: Basil and Borage of The Willows Lodge and The Herb Farm. Adored by all who see them, these two have witnessed more ceremonies than most people I know. I always stop by to visit with them after my ceremonies. Not certain if any of the vows bring tears to their eyes but I like to think they are touched in some way by the sentiments!

Yes, our pets do bring an element of "humanity" to our ceremonies ... and we thank them for that. Make plans to include your companions in ways that suit them best.

See for more information.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Love You in 1000 Ways

Steve and Mandy celebrated their wedding at Hotel 1000. The location was perfect since the couple share a love of architecture and design and Steve is one of the owners of this fabulous addition to downtown Seattle. The couple are so great together, thankful in a 1000 ways for the miracle of their shared love.

The rehearsal (which I love because we get to walk through everything and everyone in the wedding has a chance to meet) went smoothly, followed by a wine-and-cheese get together in the Grand Suite. Loved the cake replicating their beloved vintage T-bird from Mike's Amazing Cakes ... truly amazing!

The ceremony itself was an elegant and warm occasion with family and close friends gathering from as far away as Texas!

The wording was fairly traditional with a beautiful candle lighting and heartfelt vows.

Steve and Mandy were very pleased with celebration:

Thank you so much for a lovely ceremony! Everyone talked about it all evening. You will always have a place in our hearts.

And Steve and Mandy will have a place in mine. Of course, the get-away car, was a real T-bird!

Many thanks to Stephanie Cristalli for the wonderful photographs! is your resource for a ceremony exactly as you wish.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Wedding in Three Acts - Onstage at the Carco Theater

One of the questions we hear the most is "how can we have a wedding ceremony that is a little different, something that isn't the same as the other wedding ceremonies we've been to, something that our friends and families will remember and that is meaningful."

And we reply: "Yes, yes, yes!"

Each of the ceremonies we help create is unique. Here are just a few examples of what is possible. Mark and Lisa are creative to the max. They share a love of theater and music and art, and they wanted their ceremony to reflect their interests and life experiences. So they chose the Carco Theater in Renton for their ceremony. It is where their love blossomed as they rehearsed and performed in the theater. And, of course, a dear friend and Lisa's fellow dancer choreographed and danced as a prelude to their sharing of their wedding vows.

The wedding ceremony programs were a created by Mark. He made the graphic above and put together a program with additional graphics of their courtship. Music was provided by a very talented cousin who is a pianist and a close friend who is a singer.

And the ceremony included a number of traditional Filipino elements reflecting their heritage. The coup de gras was personal vows. Wow! It was a ceremony to remember.

Family is extremely important to Lisa and Mark so it was important to gather and photograph each side. To do so, Paul Isop of Studio 6 brought out his extremely tall ladder and took his life in his hands as he scaled it and took a few pics.

For more information about how your ceremony can be truly yours, please check out the co-creative process we use at