Travel-themed Wedding at Thornewood Castle

On August 19, 2012 I had the honor and pleasure of officiating the wedding of Greg and Tammy.  Their venue, Thornewood Castle, is one of my favorites.  The grounds are lush with beautiful gardens and rolling lawns.  In addition, there is statuary tucked in and around the gardens reminiscent of an old English estate.

Thornewood Castle, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister, Seattle WeddingThornewood Castle, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister, Seattle WeddingThornewood Castle, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister, Seattle Wedding


Greg and Tammy’s passion for travel inspired a travel theme for their wedding.  Travel details included vintage suitcases and postcards on each table.  I read one of my favorite stories reflecting their love for each other titled, “Love Monkey”.  It’s about two monkeys that travel the world with their hearts in their hands, find each other and fall in love.  It was perfect for Greg and Tammy and brought on a few tears and lots of chuckles too.

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Greg and Tammy added some details to their wedding that were unique and lovely.  They used mason jars planted with seasonal plants for their aisle markers.  They offered a selection of yummy cakes rather than one large wedding cake.  Tammy works at a dentist’s office and included a jar of toothbrushes on her candy table!

Thornewood Castle, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister, Seattle WeddingThornewood Castle, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister, Seattle Wedding Thornewood Castle, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister, Seattle Wedding


I had so much fun meeting and working with Greg and Tammy to plan a wedding ceremony that would suit them.  Congratulations to a fun-loving and passionate couple!

Thornewood Castle, Elaine Way, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Nondenominational minister, Seattle 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 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.

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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:

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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!

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Take me out to the Ball Game Wedding at Safeco Field!

When I first met with Robert and Melissa, they shared with me that their first date was at Safeco Field and that this was the venue they had chosen for their wedding.  I really had no idea what to expect because I have only been to one baseball game at the ballpark.  On their wedding day I was really excited to see what they put together for their ballpark themed wedding.

Robert and Melissa reserved a private room for their ceremony in the Ellis Pavilion (located at the Third Base Entrance to the ballpark).  They brought in dozens of baseballs and a jersey for their guests to sign rather than a traditional guest book.

Robert and Melissa Ball Game Wedding at Safeco Field

Robert and Melissa Ball Game Wedding at Safeco Field

Robert and Melissa’s ceremony included a cute story called “Love Monkey,” which was read by a family member.  When we got to the vows Robert and Melissa presented Robert’s daughter with a lovely ring symbolizing their new union as a family.   After the ceremony, the guests signed the baseballs and jersey and then headed up to the private suites for the reception.

 Robert and Melissa Ball Game Wedding at Safeco Field

 While the guests headed up to the reception the wedding party stopped into the official Mariner’s interview room to sign the wedding license.  We all had fun pretending to be interviewed!

Robert and Melissa Ball Game Wedding at Safeco Field

Robert and Melissa reserved two suites for their reception which overlooked the ballpark.  With a setting like this for your reception who needs decorations?   The guests were treated to food catered by the ballpark which included some traditional (hot dogs) and non-traditional (mac-n-cheese) favorites including a full bar.  Guests had their choice of sitting inside the suites to watch the game on several TV’s placed around the room or heading out to the deck that overlooked the ball park.  It was so fun eating a hotdog and watching the game just above 1st base!

Robert and Melissa Ball Game Wedding at Safeco Field


Robert and Melissa Ball Game Wedding at Safeco Field

I had a great time officiating Robert and Melissa’s wedding!  The venue, the food, and the entertainment added such a personal and fun touch to the day — certainly a wedding that the couple’s guests and I will not forget.  Congratulations Robert and Melissa!

Robert and Melissa Ball Game Wedding at Safeco Field

Over the pass & thru the woods to Gini & Matt’s wedding!

Yesterday I drove to Cle Elum for Gini & Matt’s wedding at Suncadia resort.  Located just over Snoqualmie pass, Suncadia resort is tucked into a forest with beautiful surroundings including a winery, golf course and private homes that can be rented for your event.  Gini and Matt rented one of these beautiful lodge-like homes for their private wedding in the mountains that included about 30 of their family and friends.

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When I walked in, it was so warm and comfortable.  A fire was going in the big rock fireplace and Gini and Matt had a video running on the big screen TV above the fireplace of themselves and different adventures they had been on together.

suncadia resort wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Destination Wedding, Elaine Way

Food was catered by Debra Lane at Chef to Go.  Gini and Matt had requested an “upscale comfort food theme,” which Debra orchestrated brilliantly! Before the wedding, guests nibbled on a beautiful assortment of local cheeses and wine, and post wedding Debra put together a wide variety of items including tomato fennel soup with grilled gruyere cheese sandwiches, beef tenderloin crostini with caramelized onion jam and gorgonzola cheese, and Italian meatball sliders with provolone and parmesan cheese.   Special requests, such as gluten free items, were also provided by Debra.

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The wedding was conducted upstairs from the balcony where the  guests down below could look up and see us.  Gini and Matt requested a short ceremony so they could focus more on their guests.  Right after the ceremony they came down, signed papers and came out to start the party!  Because of the intimate atmosphere of the lodge, guests could easily mingle around — picking up food or heading out to the deck overlooking the grounds.

Suncadia Resort Wedding, Seattle wedding officiants, Elaine Way

Suncadia lodge, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Suncadia resort wedding











I was truly inspired by the decorations, the food, Gini’s dress, Matt’s calm and the general happiness of everyone who traveled to this unique “real wedding” in the woods!  Congratulations Gini and Matt!

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Last Minute Wedding? I can do it!

The couples I marry contact me with all different lead times for their wedding.  Sometimes I get the inquiry for my services months in advance — in fact I have already booked a wedding for 2013!  And other times I get a phone call from a couple who exclaims, “We want to get married as soon as possible”.  I will then ask, “how soon?”.  And they may answer tomorrow or next week or even next month.  That is what I often refer to as a “last minute wedding”.

A last minute wedding  can be any of the following:

  • You want a small, intimate wedding with just close friends
  • One or both of you have been called on military deployment
  • You eloped and now you want a real ceremony in front of friends and family
  • You want an understated but charming ‘second-time-around’ wedding
  • You need a perfectly planned, short-notice vow renewals ceremony
  • You pulled everything together at the last minute but you forgot to hire an officiant!

Whatever your situation, I can help!  Recently, I officiated a beautiful wedding for a small group of 20 at the Palisades Restaurant’s Magnolia room.  My couple called me a month in advance for what turned out to be a beautifully orchestrated day – with only a month’s planning.

last minute wedding, quick wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Palisades restaurant, magnolia room, Seattle Wedding, Elaine

Last minute wedding, Magnolia Room Palisades Restaurant, Palisades restaurant, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Seattle Wedding, Elaine Way

This weekend I also had the pleasure of officiating a last minute wedding at Gasworks Park.  What an amazing day it was on top of the hill overlooking Lake Union.  The couple even brought their pooch, Bennett!

Last minute wedding, Gasworks park, park wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, quick wedding

last minute wedding, Gasworks park, park wedding, Seattle Wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way

There are so many fun and beautiful locations to have your last minute wedding.  I am a native of Seattle and I have many favorites.  Here are just a few recommendations for your last minute wedding:

And don’t forget to check out all the hundreds of Seattle parks:  Each park has it’s own rules and regulations so you will want to make sure to read the fine print.

Call me today (206.406.7919) to help you get started planning your last minute wedding!

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.

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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)

Book Your Officiant Early!

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One of the things that baffles me when talking to brides this time of year is how many of them wait to hire their officiant.  The venue, DJ, caterer and even the menu has been chosen, but the last person on the list to get hired is often the officiant.  I don’t understand why this is.  You can’t get married without an officiant, right?  So why wouldn’t you seek out the person who is going to make your marriage legal early on?

Your officiant is the person who will welcome your guests to your celebration.  Your officiant is the person who is going to say the words you and your guests will remember on your special day.  Your officiant is the person who will keep you calm and your guests engaged during your ceremony.   Your officiant is the person who will take care of the paperwork and make sure your marriage is legal by getting everything recorded at the county auditor’s office.  You may not realize it, but without your officiant you aren’t getting married!

I want to stress to couples that one of the risks you take if you wait until the last minute to hire an officiant for your summer wedding is that many of us — including me — already have “blacked out weekends.”  The later in the summer and the more likely the weather is going to be nice (here in the Northwest anyway) the more likely the dates are going to booked early on.

Planning a wedding is a big deal.  You want everything to be perfect on your wedding day and that includes choosing the right team to support you and make everything special.  Put the officiant at the top of the list — right up there with the venue — and you will have the best chance at finding the perfect person to orchestrate your ceremony.  You are planning the most important day of your life — don’t wait until the last minute and risk hearing the words, “I’m sorry, I’m booked.”

"I'm sorry, I'm booked"

The Show Must Go On

I recently experienced the death of my mother and was inspired to write a little bit about how to “do life” when you are grieving.

Picture yourself in the middle of your wedding planning.  You have your heart set on that special person in your life — whether it’s your father, your mother or an uncle — walking you down the aisle.  Maybe you are expecting a distant relative to travel to your destination to share your joyous event.  Enter life.

We are all on our own journeys with expectations that this or that is going to happen at a particular time.  Life, however, doesn’t work that way.  Even with the best event coordinator money can buy, life has other plans for us.

We must be ready to go with the flow, be strong and bounce back – even when it sucks!

So if you lose a loved one that was supposed to walk you down the aisle or be sitting with your other guests supporting you on your very special day, here are some ideas to honor them in spirit:

1. Wear something that your loved-one wore on their wedding day (for example if the person is your mother), or pin a photo into your dress so they can be with you. You can also place a small photo of your loved on in your bouquet (in a tiny frame), or incorporate it into the ribbon.

2. You can leave a chair empty where the person would have sat at the ceremony and/or reception, out of a sign of respect. Or, a separate chair can be set up to represent theirs, with their photo on the chair.

3. Ask the officiant to say a few words about those who aren’t able to be present in body, but are in spirit. He or she has likely done this before, and can help you with the wording.

4. Write a letter or poem of what you would say to that person on that day. You can read it, have someone else read it, or keep it private.

5. Use flowers or candles in the church to symbolize the loved one(s). You might want to include this in the program, so the guests understand the relevance of the candles or flowers. You may designate someone specific to lay out the flower(s) at a particular time (like carry in a single long-stem rose when they enter the church and lay it up front), or you may light a candle for that person when you light your unity candle.

6. Have a nice photo frame set up at the reception with your loved one’s photo in it. You might also set up a digital photo frame which would rotate through different pictures. This would also work well if you are doing any type of photo “tribute” to the bride and groom, and their lives (from babies up). Include photos of them with their remembered loved ones in the photo rotation or slideshow.

7. Include a short poem, or thought on the program itself, along with who it is in memory of, and list the name(s).

8. Mention them in your wedding toast or speech- but keep it short & sweet, otherwise you’re liable to turn into a blubbering bride!

9. Some brides & grooms will forego buying traditional favors and will instead make a donation to a charity or cause of choice. You could do so for a loved-one, and have a card on the table that states you’ve made a donation to _________ organization, in memory of that person or people.

10. Find out the person’s favorite reading or poem and work it into the ceremony. Or, if they had a favorite song, include this at the reception. Dedicate the dance to them.

Grieving a loved one is tough.  It’s exhausting and real.  Remember that your wedding day is meant to be full of joy and love.  Take some time for grieving — it’s important.  But give your guests what they came for:   A big smile and lots of hugs and kisses.  That’s what your loved one would have wanted for you.

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Customs, Rituals & Traditions: Let Them Eat Cake!

The Wedding Cake

History:  In ancient Rome, marriages were sealed when the groom smashed a barley cake over the bride’s head. (Luckily, tiaras were not fashionable then.) In medieval England, newlyweds smooched over a pile of buns, supposedly ensuring a prosperous future. Unmarried guests sometimes took home a little piece of cake to tuck under their pillow.

By the mid sixteenth century, though, sugar was becoming plentiful in England. The more refined the sugar, the whiter it was. Pure white icing soon became a wedding cake staple. Not only did the color allude to the bride’s virginity, but the whiteness was “a status symbol, a display of the family’s wealth.” Later, tiered cakes, with their cement-like supports of decorative dried icing, also advertised affluence. Formal wedding cakes became bigger and more elaborate through the Victorian age. In 1947, when Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) wed Prince Philip, the cake weighed 500 pounds.  (Carol Wilson, Gastronomica article “Wedding Cake: A Slice of History”.)

Fast forward to 2012 and the sky is the limit as far as what you choose for your wedding cake.  Available in almost any size or shape, color or flavor, wedding cakes can be made as simple or elaborate as you wish.  We are all familiar with Mike’s Amazing Cakes.  Mike will take your vision and create a work of art.  I hope Mike provides cutting instructions for his cakes!

Wedding cake from Mike's Amazing Cakes

While you may not want something fanciful and otherworldly like Mike’s cake above, you most certainly will want something to express a bit of yourself through your wedding cake.   For example, there are the wedding colors to take into consideration.  Will it be practical and attractive to incorporate the lime green, raspberry and taupe colors you have chosen for your wedding theme into your wedding cake design?  Probably.  Think about all the flowers that are available in the summer.  A simple layering of flowers in your wedding colors on the cake could easily bring the wedding cake into the color scheme without appearing out-of-place.  Or maybe you don’t care about incorporating the wedding colors and want to decorate the cake with bling?  Or perhaps colors and bling are not what matter at all and it ends up being a unique design with a cake topper reflecting your new family – including the family dog.  Check out the three examples below:

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And what about the cake, icing and filling flavors?  Depending upon your baker, you will have many choices: white cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake to name just a few.  For icing how about buttercream, cream cheese or fondant?  The filling can be as simple as more buttercream or as seasonal and delicious as fresh raspberry mousse.  Pick flavors that you love but also flavors that your guests will enjoy and remember.

Last, but certainly not least: Cupcakes instead of wedding cake?  Yes!  Cupcakes have most definitely proven that they can take the place of a traditional wedding cake.  If you do choose cupcakes for your wedding, you are faced with the same decisions: design, color, flavor.  One of my favorite ideas is to choose your cupcake and frosting flavor and then create a unique edible decal.  You can read more about this idea in my blog post: “Introducing Ticings: Edible Toppers for your Wedding Cake, Cupcakes or Cookies”.   Here’s an example of a cupcake with an edible decal:

Wedding cupcakes instead of wedding cake

Whatever you choose for your wedding cake, be sure to have fun.  This is a time to be inspired and there are so many wonderful bakeries that are more than willing to meet your expectations.

What kind of cake/cupcakes are you having for your wedding?