Can I have My Dog at My Wedding?

So you are getting married and you have invited all your best people. Do you have a doggo friend? Have you been asking yourself, “Can I have My Dog at My Wedding”? Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge doggo lover. I love officiating weddings with dogs. There are, however, a few “tricks” to consider if you have decided to have your 4-legged friend at the wedding ceremony, possibly even as the ring bearer.

Things to Consider

  1. Is your doggo “crowd friendly,” i.e. is your dog comfortable with a lot of noise and being in a new place with lots of strangers moving around?
  2. Does your doggo listen and obey commands OR does he/she just want to run all over the place and be wild (which can be adorable but not necessarily at a wedding).
  3. Do you want your doggo to stand up front with you during the ceremony OR do you have a handler that will walk your puppers up and then be responsible for him/her?

Here is a great article written by the AKC (American Kennel Club) that goes into more depth about having your dog at your wedding: 12 Tips on How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding. Say YES to the Pet!

Dogs are a great addition to any wedding, but you must be realistic AND prepared. I have never had anything go wrong when there is a dog at the wedding, but that is because all of the couples below were completely organized with timing, handling, feeding, potty breaks, etc. My best suggestion is to assign someone to be your dog’s handler — someone you trust and someone who knows your pet well. After you have that in place, you should be good to go. Be prepared for lots of chuckles and smiles when your doggo comes running down the aisle to you for lots of scritches.

Click here to Contact Me about your wedding with your pup, and enjoy the gallery below of weddings I have officiated with dogs.

Dog at outdoor wedding, Can I have my dog at my wedding
Outdoor Beach Wedding with “Shadow”
Credit: Jen Sanders Photography
Can I have my dog at my wedding, Dogs in weddings, elopement with dog, Seattle Wedding Officiants
Pike Place Market Nuptials With Best Pals
The Littlest Ring Bearer
Washington Park Arboretum With Bride and Her Special Boy
Credit: Jeanne Phinney Photography
Can I have my dog at my wedding, Dogs in weddings, elopement with dog, Seattle Wedding Officiants loves dogs
Great Pyrenees at Private Residence Elopement
Can I have my dog at my wedding, Dogs in weddings, elopement with dog, Seattle Wedding Officiants loves dogs
Woodmark Hotel (5 dogs attended this wedding)
Can I have my dog at my wedding, Dogs in weddings, elopement with dog, Seattle Wedding Officiants loves dogs
Ballard Locks Elopement With the Sweetest Best Man
Credit: Kendall Lauren Photography
Can I have my dog at my wedding, Dogs in weddings, elopement with dog, Seattle Wedding Officiants loves dogs
Best Furry Friend at Best Day Ever!

Book Your Officiant Early!

In this post I will explain why it is so important to book your officiant early.  This is a note I received from a bride last July:

“My fiance and I are looking for a last-minute officiant for our wedding.  We’ve actually been wedding planning for over a year but kind of put off getting an officiant until this last minute.  If you are available for this date please let me know!”

Well, I wasn’t available and I’m not sure if any of my trusted colleagues were either.  Couples, if you are beginning the planning process, please book your officiant early.  It has been my experience over the past nine years that based on the popular engagement dates below, January is the heaviest booking month in the industry.  In fact, most of my high-season Saturdays (May-October) will be booked by early February. I would like to share a few facts with you  regarding booking your officiant:

Although weddings take place year-round, 76% of weddings occur during the Summer and Fall months.  In fact, 25 dates make up 50% of all weddings in 2015.  (You guessed right, they are all on a Saturday!).

Most popular dates to get engaged:

Christmas Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve, New Years Day, December 20th (Saturday before Xmas), December 13th (2 Saturdays before Xmas, New Years Eve, December 19th (Friday before Xmas), December 23rd, and Independence Day.

Check out this easy rule of thumb:

Based on the average 13-month engagement, most couples search for the majority of their vendors 7-9 months prior to their wedding

In summary:  Book your officiant early!  I would hate to get your call in July for an August wedding like the bride above and have to say, “I’m sorry, I’m not available.”

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Wedding Officiant, Seattle Officiant, Elaine Way, Book Your Officiant Early

Data based on WedInisights, industry data from WeddingWire

Seattle Wedding Officiants Wins 2015 Couples’ Choice

Wedding Wire 2015

Elaine Way of Seattle‘s Own Seattle Wedding Officiants Wins a WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2015Seattle, WAJanuary 15, 2015 – WeddingWire, the nation’s leading online wedding marketplace, named Seattle Wedding Officiants as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015 for Officiant in Seattle!The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The esteemed awards are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.While many industry award winners are selected by the host organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Seattle Wedding Officiants. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.”It’s always exciting to start the year by honoring the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network who represent more than two million reviews on our website,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Each of the businesses recognized are committed to quality, professionalism and all around top-notch service. We applaud Seattle Wedding Officiants for their impressive achievements within the wedding industry.”As a Couples’ Choice Awards® winner, Seattle Wedding Officiants is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of more than 200,000 wedding professionals throughout North America and abroad.Seattle Wedding Officiants is proud to be one of the top Officiant in Seattle in the WeddingWire Network, which includes leading wedding sites such as WeddingWire, Project Wedding,, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We value all of our clients and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015.For more information about Seattle Wedding Officiants, please visit our WeddingWire Storefront today at learn more about the Couple’s Choice Awards®, please visit

About WeddingWire
WeddingWire, the leading technology company serving the $100 billion wedding and events industry, is the largest online vertical marketplace connecting engaged couples with event professionals. With more than two million consumer reviews, it is the industry leader in consumer reviews. The site enables engaged couples to search, compare and book from an extensive database of more than 200,000 recently reviewed event professionals, from venues to photographers. WeddingWire provides event professionals with the technology they need to serve their clients, including a SaaS platform, which powers advertising, marketing, and CRM needs of local wedding and events businesses nationwide.


How to Obtain a Washington State Marriage License When Out of State

Marriage Open

Washington State marriage licenses are only valid for 60 days.  Therefore, you do not want to begin this process until you are within that 60-day period.  For example, if your wedding date is August 30th, don’t mail your application until June 30th.  That puts the arrival and processing of the application within the 60-day valid period.  If you send it more than 60 days before your wedding date it will expire and you will have to re-apply.

Here are the steps:

  1. Click on this link to be taken to the King County Marriage Licensing Dept:
  2. When you land on the page, click on Applying for a Marriage License
  3. Next, click on Apply by Mail
  4. Click on Download a Marriage License Application (PDF)
  5. Download the application and print it off
  6. Take the application to a licensed notary (banks usually have at least one notary).  Please note: both of you must be present to get the application completed and your signatures notarized.  Be sure to bring valid photo ID, i.e. passport, driver’s license.
  7. Mail the completed license application in an overnight envelope with a cashier’s check in the amount of $64 made out to King County to:

King County Marriage Licensing
King County Administration Building
500 Fourth Ave., Suite 311
Seattle, WA 98104

Please call the courthouse (206-296-4021206-296-4021) approximately 5 days after you have mailed your application to ensure they have received it.  Next, shoot me an e-mail and let me know it’s ready to be picked up and I’ll swing by and get it and bring it to your ceremony.

Press Release – Seattle Wedding Officiants Awarded 2014 Couple’s Choice Award

CHEVY CHASE, MD – January 13, 2014 – WeddingWire, the nation’s leading online wedding marketplace, is thrilled to announce that Seattle Wedding Officiants has been selected as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards 2014 for Officiant in Seattle, WA.  The esteemed annual awards program, formerly known as the Bride’s Choice Awards, recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the Wedding Wire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism.  The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards 2014 distinguish the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding officiants, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.

Unlike other awards in the wedding industry, the Couples’ Choice Awards are solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with their wedding professionals.  Wedding Wire has quickly become the world’s largest wedding review site, with more than one million consumer reviews of wedding professionals. Approximately 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a family member or friend, therefore such reviews on WeddingWire help give consumers valuable historical information about wedding businesses and their experience.

Among the more than 200,000 wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network, the award-winning professionals are determined based on their quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they received from their past clients.  For thousands of engaged couples, the award symbolizes legitimacy, reliability, and a proven track record of success.

“There’s no better way to start the year than by honoring the hard work, commitment and success of the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire.  “It is exciting to embark on a sixth year recognizing those who engaged couples believe are committed to quality, professionalism and all around top-notch service.  We celebrate this group of excellent wedding professionals for their impressive achievements within the wedding industry.”

2014 Wedding Wire Badge


About WeddingWire, Inc.

WeddingWire, the nation’s leading marketplace serving the $70 billion wedding industry, is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding professionals.  For engaged couples, WeddingWire offers the ability to search, compare and book over 200,000 reviewed wedding vendors, from wedding venues to wedding photographers.  WeddingWire also offers a comprehensive suite of online planning tools for weddings, including wedding websites and wedding checklists, all at no charge.  For wedding professionals WeddingWire is the only all-in-one marketing platform for businesses online and on-the-go.  WeddingWire offers one simple solution to build a professional network, improve search visibility, manage social media and reach mobile consumers.  Businesses that advertise with WeddingWire appear on, and other leading sites, including, (NYSE:MSO), and (part of the 1-800-Flowers family of brands, NASDAQ:FLWS).

Christmas Wedding at the Salish Lodge

Since it’s Christmastime, what better wedding to write about than a Christmas Wedding at the Salish Lodge.  Let me start by saying that Rosa and Joe, the couple whose wedding I am going to share with you, just celebrated their one-year anniversary.   Again, happy anniversary Rosa and Joe!

Last year Rosa contacted me to discuss her upcoming Christmas wedding at the Salish.  The first time we met, I was impressed at how sweet and lovable Rosa and Joe were.  They were so in love and so excited about their wedding.  I was also really impressed by how Rosa had thought out each little detail of her vision for her winter wedding, right down to the lipstick! .  She definitely knew what she wanted, which was a very romantic wedding that expressed their love for each other.  I was able to weave in creative ideas to the ceremony that complemented the romance Rosa and Joe were looking for.   One example is that Rosa and Joe are huge movie buffs.  I suggested that they each choose a line from a movie to read to each other that was special.  We incorporated the lines into the personal statement I wrote for them and this is how it went:

Because Joe and Rosa love to share movie quotes with each other, I asked them — each privately — to share with me one of their favorite movie quotes that best describes their feelings on this day.  This will be a surprise for both of them:

This is Joe’s movie quote for Rosa:

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible”….From the movie When Harry Met Sally

This is Rosa’s movie quote for Joe:

“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together….and I knew it.”  ….From the movie Sleepless in Seattle.

Next, we added a tree-planting ceremony.  I suggested a little tiny Christmas tree that they could plant in their yard and watch grow over the coming years.  Rosa and Joe and Joe’s two sons planted the little tree together.

Everything about Rosa and Joe’s winter wedding at the Salish represented the love between them.  I was honored to be a part of their joy.  I have put together some of my favorite photos from their wedding….there were so many!  Please enjoy.


Rosa and Joe Wedding

Rosa and Joe Wedding

Rosa and Joe Wedding

Rosa and Joe Wedding

Rosa and Joe Wedding

Rosa and Joe Wedding

Rosa and Joe Wedding

Rosa and Joe Wedding





Winter Wedding at the Salish Lodge

Last night wrapped up my 2012 wedding season, and the wedding was nothing short of remarkable.  I love small, intimate weddings that feel cozy and warm.  Michael and Dana’s winter wedding included only immediate family and was held in the Cliffside Room overlooking the falls at the Salish Lodge and Spa.

Winter wedding Salish Lodge, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister

This room is perfect for small gatherings and has tons of potential for decorating.  Elizabeth Hikida of Elizabeth Designs provided the flowers, which were lovely.

Winter wedding Salish Lodge, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister

My favorite detail?  The cake!  It was lovely with it’s bling and finishing touch of sprinkles that resembled fresh snow.

Winter wedding Salish Lodge, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister

Michael and Dana are on their way to Marrakesh, Morocco for their honeymoon.  Congratulations Michael and Dana….your journey has just begun!

Winter wedding Salish Lodge, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister

Getting Your Name Changed After Marriage

Now that you know how to get your marriage license application completed and get your marriage license at the courthouse (Getting Your Marriage License Made Easy), it’s time to talk about getting your name changed.  To get your name changed with the DMV, passport office, work insurance, etc. you must present a certified copy of your marriage license.  This process is even easier than getting your license.  I explain the steps in my consultations, but I also go over it again the day of your wedding.  A lot can happen between our consultation and your wedding day; months go by, paperwork gets misplaced, etc.  This is why I revisit this topic as we are signing your marriage license after the ceremony.

The first thing you need to know is that not all brides decide to change their last name. I would estimate that approximately 90% of my brides change their names to their husband’s last name. The choice to change your last name or keep it is entirely up to you and there is no law that says you have to change it. I had one bride tell me that she was the last one in her family with her father’s name and wanted to continue his legacy, and therefore decided to keep her maiden name.   You also have the option of hyphenating your last name with your husbands.  But again, you can keep your last name if you wish.

The form below is included in the marriage packet you will pick up at the courthouse.  It is very straightforward with the exception of a few things.  First take a look at the form and then read on below.

Changing your name after marriage, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding, King County marriage license

You will fill this form out and send it in 10 days after your wedding day.  By the way, you have up to a year to send this form in, so there is no rush.  For example, you can take care of  this after you return from your honeymoon. 

It’s important to know that the courthouse gets especially busy in the summer months and they need to receive your marriage license before they can process your certified copy request.  It’s up to your officiant to forward the marriage license to the courthouse after the wedding.  I take care of this either the same day or the very next business day after the wedding.  If you are in a hurry to get your certified copy you can go to the courthouse with your completed marriage license and pick up your certified copy in person.  Only one of you has to go.

Filling out the certified copy request is fairly straight forward:

  1. Address:  Enter the address where you want your certified copies mailed.  It is acceptable to use your parent’s address if you are in the military and move around a lot or are in some other kind of transition.
  2. E-mail: Either of your e-mails is acceptable.
  3. License Application Number: This number is found on the back of your “pretty” copy called “Certificate of Marriage”.  As a courtesy, I usually write this information down for my couples because there is too much going on at the moment of signing the documents to try to remember where that little number is.
  4. Groom’s Name: Groom, write your full legal name.
  5. Bride’s Name:  THIS IS IMPORTANT-BRIDES, WRITE DOWN YOUR MAIDEN NAME OR THE NAME YOU USED WHEN YOU APPLIED FOR YOUR LICENSE.  In other words, don’t write down your new married name.
  6. Date of Marriage:  I usually fill this in for the couple as well.
  7. Number of Certified copies:  I recommend 3-5 copies.  They are only $3.00 per copy so you may as well stock up.
  8. Finally, you will send a check that equals the number of copies you are ordering (5 copies = $15.00) to the address at the bottom of the form.

You will receive your certified copies in approximately two weeks; longer if it’s the middle of summer as the marriage licensing office gets swamped with paperwork this time of year.

Once you receive your certified copies of your marriage license, it’s time get started changing your name!  I hope this information was helpful.   I welcome your questions or comments!

Getting Your Marriage License Made Easy

One of the very first things that I discuss with couples in my consultations is the marriage license.  You can’t get married without one unless you are having a commitment ceremony or a vow renewal.   Signing a marriage license on your wedding day with your officiant and two witnesses is what makes your marriage legal.  I spend a lot of time on this subject because it can seem complicated, but it is one of the most important components of getting married — besides hiring a licensed officiant — and needs to be addressed.

I am going to share with you just how easy the paperwork can be in two easy steps.  Let’s begin with the marriage license application.

Step 1:  Marriage License Application

Depending on which county you live in, both the bride and groom will need to go to the county courthouse in your area (Snohomish, King, Pierce) to fill out your marriage license application.  The reason both of you have to be there is because your signatures need to be notarized by the county clerk.  This will require providing proper identification (driver’s license, passport) to the clerk and then he/she will stamp the application notarized.  You can do this Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Note: The application fee is $67.00 cash/money order/cashier’s check/personal checks/credit cards are accepted.

If for some reason both of you cannot get the time off from work to go to the courthouse, you can go to your local bank and get your application notarized.  The benefit of having your signatures notarized by your bank is that only one of you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your marriage license packet. (Note: Your bank may charge a small fee for notarizing your document.)  This method will require downloading the form shown below from one of the county courthouse websites and bringing it with you to the bank.    The example below is from the King County Courthouse and can be downloaded at this link: King County Courthouse.

King county marriage application, seattle wedding officiants, elaine way, seattle wedding, nondenominational minister

Step 2: Marriage License

After you fill out your marriage license application, have it notarized (either by the county clerk or your bank notary) and pay the county clerk the $67 at one of the county courthouses, you will be given your marriage license packet.   The marriage license packet includes these items:

  • Marriage License (legal document)
  • Marriage Certificate (what is sometimes referred to as the “pretty” copy and is not a legal document)
  • A form that you will need to fill out if you are changing your name (I will address this process in another post

Here is what your marriage license will look like:

King county marriage application, seattle wedding officiants, elaine way, seattle wedding, nondenominational minister

Now you are ready to get married!  On the day of your wedding the marriage license will be signed and then forwarded back to the county auditor that it came from and will be recorded.  My last bit of important advice:  DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR LICENSE TO YOUR WEDDING!

King county marriage application, seattle wedding officiants, elaine way, seattle wedding, nondenominational minister

Food Truck For Your Wedding Caterer? You Bet!

I was strolling through the grocery store the other day when a magazine cover of Seattle Met (May issue) caught my eye.  The cover’s title said in big blocky letters:  FOOD TRUCKS.  Being the foodie that I am (I know we are all sick of that term but I don’t know what else to call myself), I immediately purchased the magazine.  I was intrigued with what seems to be a new trend in Seattle — moving wheels of goodness.  I went home and read the article with fascination….and here’s what I learned.

Seattle Food Truck, Catering, Seattle Wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way

Did you know that there are 143 full service food trucks scattered around our city?  Did you know that in July 2011 the city council adopted legislation that opened up public roadways to food trucks?  Did you know that food trucks serve everything from crepes to BBQ to grass-fed beef burgers piled high with arugula and cambozola slathered with bacon jam?  Me neither…

Seattle Food Trucks, Seattle Catering, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Seattle Wedding, Elaine Way

So what about a food truck for your wedding reception?  I would like to suggest to my audience (engaged couples and couples hoping to be engaged) that we take a moment to think outside of the box.  Picture an outdoor summer wedding at a beautiful Seattle Park, i.e. Coleman Park on the shores of Lake Washington.  It’s post-ceremony and your guests are ready to eat, drink and be “marry.”   In rolls Skillet Street Food to serve up a delicious meal of kale ceasar salad, grilled asparagus and braised Draper Valley chicken.  Really – you ask?  A food truck can prepare a scrumptious meal on the road?  Yes! Yes! Yes!

Seattle Food Truck, catering, Seattle catering, Seattle wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way

If you are as intrigued as I was about this new trend of rolling nirvana, please check out Christopher Werner’s entire article in the current issue of Seattle Met: Food Truck City.   This article completely turned my head around about this style of catering that is perfect for an outdoor, indoor or anywhere Seattle wedding!

(Pictures courtesy of Young Lee Photography)