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