The Wedding Ceremony

I blog about everything wedding: venues, style, vendors, traditions and more!  What I haven’t blogged about, however, is the actual wedding ceremony.

One of the first things I always tell my couples is, “There is no right way or wrong way to craft your ceremony.  Only your way.”  Having said that, there are some basic components that are a good guideline when you are setting up the structure of your ceremony.



They are:

The Greeting
Reflections on Marriage
Ring Exchange
Blessing or Well Wishes for the Future Couple

In this blog post I would like to address the Greeting.

After the bride has arrived at the front of the venue to take her place next to her groom and all the guests have been seated, there is this quiet moment right before the ceremony begins.  It is a moment of anticipation for the couple, the guests, the family, and me.  At this point in the wedding everyone is really wondering what is going to happen next.  I  believe that the first words that come out of your officiant’s mouth should be thoughtful, meaningful and engaging so that everyone can feel at ease and personally invited to this celebration.  I always like to begin with something like: Welcome Friends and Family to the celebration that will unite (bride and groom) in matrimony!  Next I might say something special about family and/or friends that have traveled all the way from (fill in the blank); and/or those that have passed but are acknowledged in our hearts; and/or how the couples’ wish is that everyone will soon have the right to marry; and/or a special thank you and acknowledgement of both sets of parents for raising the couple and guiding them on the path that brought them to this moment.  At this time the couple may even choose to honor the parents by presenting them each with a bouquet of flowers as a special “thank you.”

In summary, the Greeting is really a time to set the tone for the remainder of the ceremony.  It is an opportunity to put everyone at ease and welcome them as a community to not just watch the couple get married but to feel they are a part of the celebration.

Bella and Jin at Snoqualmie Falls 2011

In future posts I will cover each component of a wedding ceremony.   Next will be “Reflections on Marriage.”

Do you have a special greeting that you incorporated into your wedding ceremony that you would like to share?

Get Married – Give Back!

For many years now I have been searching for a good volunteering gig that satisfied my desire to give back to the community but was also a good fit for me.  I finally found it!  Yesterday, Christmas Eve, I had the pleasure of volunteering my time in the FareStart kitchen.

“FareStart is a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Over the past 19 years, FareStart has provided opportunities for nearly 5,000 people to transform their lives, while also serving over 4.5 million meals to disadvantaged men, women, and children.”

In addition to their contract kitchen, FareStart has a restaurant located on the ground level of their downtown location at the corner of 7th and Virginia.  The restaurant is available for events — parties and weddings — and I will be promoting this program along with their director of catering at the Wedding Show on January 7th and 8th at the Convention Center.  All proceeds from banquets held at the restaurant go right back into the program.  If you are heading to the wedding show, please stop by to say hello and learn about a fantastic program that I am proud to be a part of.

Farestart restaurant 7th & Virginia

Please take a moment to watch this short video to learn more about FareStart.   Congratulations are also in order for FareStart for winning the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year award for 2011!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Now that 2011 is almost over, I want to take the opportunity to say, “I had the time of my life”.  I met and married over 100 couples.  I got to meet the loving families behind the lovely couples.  I learned more about how to provide the best experience possible for the bride and groom.   But most of all I was honored and grateful for all the people who took the time to meet with me — couples and vendors — and the many relationships that came out of those meetings in 2011.   I really mean it when I say “your happiness is truly my success.”  I have had the good fortune to find my career niche and it just continues to get better and better every year.  I want to thank all those whose lives have touched mine to make my life so meaningful.  I look forward to helping craft and create more beautiful ceremonies in 2012.

Please enjoy this video montage that I created as 2011 comes to an end and we get ready for 2012.  Happy New Year!

Love, Love, Love 2011

Wedding coordinator specializes in Asian-Pacific weddings

I recently had the opportunity to meet a unique wedding planner/designer/coordinator.  Rebecca Grant with New Creations Weddings  pleasantly surprised me with her background in “Asian-Pacific weddings, specifically Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian and Samoan wedding customs.” Meeting Rebecca and hearing about her services was a big plus for me because of the many Asian weddings I have officiated.  I have incorporated many customs and rituals into my Asian weddings from the Japanese Red Thread Ritual to a Chinese Tea Ceremony to the Filipino Veil and Cord Ceremony.  Having Rebecca to call on for input about Asian customs, traditions and rituals will not only enhance my knowledge about this topic but will also enrich my couples’ ceremony experience.  Please enjoy my interview with Rebecca.

Rebecca Grant - New Creations Weddings

“What made you decide to become a wedding designer/coordinator?”

I struggled a lot after High School with what I was going to do with my life.  I bounced around from job to job, but none truly fulfilled all my interests and talents of design, organization, loving to work with people, and throwing parties.  No job seemed to cater to all my interests- until wedding planning came along.  When wedding planners started gaining popularity, I looked at what I already loved to do, and knew that this was the job for me!  Since then, I haven’t looked back and have been enjoying planning weddings in Hawaii and Seattle for over 6 years now!  I can’t imagine doing anything else!

 “What is your favorite part about designing/coordinating weddings?”

I absolutely love my couples I get the honor to work with-that is by far my favorite part.  I get to work with couples and their families sometimes in excess of 1 year during one of the most pivotal, emotional times in their lives.  I get the privilege of working with extraordinary people that I probably would have never met, and end up being good friends with them even after the wedding!  When I work with a couple, my utmost responsibility is to truly tell their love story in one great day.  I want guests to leave seeing the couple truly represented in every aspect of their wedding, and know the couple better than they did before.

 “How long have you been doing this?”

I have been blessed to be a wedding planner for over 6 years now.  Hawaii was home to four and a half of those years.  Then, after moving back to the Seattle area, I launched my business here in November of 2009.

 “What do you feel sets you apart from other designers/coordinators”

With my background in planning weddings in Hawaii, I was so honored to be submerged in the ‘melting pot’ of culture that Hawaii is so famous for.  Because of this background, I am Seattle’s only planner who specializes in Asian-Pacific weddings, specifically Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian and Samoan wedding customs.  I have presented to a group of peers through Wedding Network USA here in the Seattle area to teach fellow wedding vendors about Asian wedding customs.  I absolutely love the richness and traditions of multi-cultural weddings, and feel so incredibly lucky to be so comfortable and familiar with these customs and traditions on the couples’ wedding day.  Many other planners have to learn these traditions, and still don’t know the ‘why’ behind it.  I not only know the cultural reasons behind why traditions are done, I know how to handle them, and have them be an important feature within the couples’ wedding day.

 “What is your approach with couples?”

My approach to working with couples is as unique as they are.  I will be as hands on (to the point of choosing all of your vendors and booking them for you), or hands off (giving you a list of preferred vendors and setting you free) as the couple wants me to be.  My passion is for full design, which truly sets my design mind ablaze with ideas.  Working within the couples’ budget, I will design an ‘inspiration board’ for them making sure I am in tune with the direction they want to go.  Everything else for the wedding and reception take shape from there.  It is a fun way to see where we started and how it took shape to reality to truly represent the couple.

New trend in weddings: camping, hiking and everything outdoors!

Ok, so I can already hear a big sigh of “here she goes again” from my colleagues in the wedding industry, but I’m really feeling a trend lately.  That trend is creating a magical wedding day with friends and family at a rustic cabin in the woods, beach house or anywhere outdoors!  I don’t mean the kind where you book a farm location and have it catered by folks from the city or a big lodge in the mountains.  What I am referring to is gathering just close friends, family and the dogs; perhaps hiking a mile or less to a log cabin or beach house (with plumbing, of course); and decorating it in your own personal style.

Beach house with rustic decorations

I happen to LOVE this idea because I grew up in Washington state (yes I am a native) where you can go almost any direction and find numerous hidden getaways.  To the north we have waterfront, farmland and mountains.  To the south we have farmland and waterfront.  To the East we have the Cascade mountain range.   And to the west we have the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juans.   That’s just a general idea of what is available, but consider the following:

~ renting a cabin — or a couple of cabins is an alternative to the hotel or mansion where you are working within someone else’s guidelines
~having a DIY wedding/reception allows you literally a blank canvas to work out a beautiful plan for food, decorations, music and more!
~everyone loves to get out of town!  The entire feeling of your “getaway” wedding will be more relaxed — sort of like a mini vacation!

Wedding night bonfire on the beach!

Please do not misunderstand me.  I wouldn’t be in business if there weren’t any large hotel-style weddings.  But I would like you to consider the alternatives because the sky is the limit!  Be creative, take risks and mostly have fun planning your wedding!!

Me officiating wedding on Tiger Mountain, Issaquah

Check out these links to Seattle parks AND Washington trails: Seattle Parks and Recreation, Washington Trails Association-Seasonal Hikes

Press Release-King 5 Evening Magazine

Seattle Wedding Officiants Soars to #3 in Seattle’s Evening Magazine “Best of Western Washington” Contest

Newcomer Leapfrogs as a Top Pick from 96 Wedding Officiants in Prestigious Northwest

Viewers Poll

SEATTLE— November 1, 2011 —Seattle Wedding Officiants, one of Western Washington’s leading wedding officiants, today announced that it ranked number three officiant in the 2011 in Seattle’s Evening Magazine’s “Best of Western Washington.” Seattle Wedding Officiants, a newcomer to officiating wedding ceremonies, secured the finalist position by successfully competing against more than 90 entrants.

Evening Magazine commenced the 19th annual Best of Western Washington viewer’s poll in August and on Friday, October 28, 2011, the program broadcast the winners. Evening Magazine voters for Seattle Wedding Officiants submitted comments which ranged from “Awesome” and “Wonderful” to “Elaine rocks.” Reviews can be viewed at:

“My passion is helping couples celebrate their love with a ceremony that they and their guests will remember, and turning an ordinary wedding ceremony into the extraordinary,” said Elaine Way, wedding officiant and owner of Seattle Wedding Officiants. “I could not be more proud of this honor and I want to thank every Western Washington voter that made this possible.”

Seattle Wedding Officiants has married a variety of couples in many different settings: multi-faith, traditional Christian, civil, commitment and non-denominational ceremonies and more. Whether it’s in a spacious hotel in downtown Seattle, a Capitol Hill mansion, a backyard or somewhere completely different, Seattle Wedding Officiants helps create the perfect ceremony for any wedding.  For more information, visit or call 206-406-7919.


 About Evening Magazine
The KING5 Best of Western Washington features more than 20,778 businesses competing for title of Western Washington’s best. Conducted by Evening Magazine, the 2011 Best of Washington is the 19th year of the popular viewers poll.  Learn more at

About Seattle Wedding Officiants
Since 2009, Seattle Wedding Officiants has performed nondenominational, civil ceremonies throughout Western Washington. Elaine Way, owner of Seattle Wedding Officiants, works with couples to create ceremonies that reflect their style and personality.  In addition, Seattle Wedding Officiants relies on an extensive list of contacts with local wedding vendors and service providers to help couples with vendor referrals, if needed.  For more information, visit or call 206-406-7919.

Ballard Locks Wedding

Who says weddings have to be expensive?    You can have a Ballard Locks wedding in a beautiful garden and view of Puget Sound without breaking the bank.  The Ballard Locks offer four different areas for your wedding ceremony and are available for you to reserve for a small donation.

These beautiful botanical gardens are a tribute to the devotion of horticulturist, Carl S. English, Jr.  During the 43 years working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Carl transformed the barren lawn, left after the construction of the locks, into a garden worthy of serious study.  These lovely grounds are a masterpiece of horticultural splendor, combining the elegant lines and vistas of the romantic English landscape style with the original character of more than 570 species and 1,500 varieties from around the world.  One of Seattle’s best kept secrets is yours to enjoy.  The garden offers color fragrance, and open spaces to awaken your senses all year long.  I have officiated dozens of weddings in the formal garden and rose garden which is reserved for groups of 10 or less (section A).  The other three areas (sections B, C & D) can accommodate up to 50 guests each.

Consider this — my fee to marry you in the gardens is $295, and the space is available for a small donation.  If you want to do a picnic after your ceremony you can keep it as simple as fish ‘n chips at the nearby Lockspot Cafe, or somewhere with a view of Puget Sound and a fantastic menu like Ray’s Boathouse.  One note of interest: the Ballard Locks does not allow loud music or alcohol on the grounds.

Call me to help you reserve a garden at the exciting Ballard Locks and Carl S. English Botanical Garden for your Ballard Locks wedding.  Please enjoy the following pictures of the rose garden (section A) for your Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer Ballard Locks wedding.  Read more about small, Elope or Last Minute Weddings.

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Ballard Locks Wedding, Carl S. English Botanical Garden wedding, Seattle Wedding, Garden Wedding Small Wedding, Last Minute Wedding, Elope Wedding

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Ballard Locks Wedding, Carl S. English Botanical Garden wedding, Seattle Wedding, Garden Wedding Small Wedding, Last Minute Wedding, Elope Wedding

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Ballard Locks Wedding, Carl S. English Botanical Garden wedding, Seattle Wedding, Garden Wedding Small Wedding, Last Minute Wedding, Elope Wedding

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Ballard Locks Wedding, Carl S. English Botanical Garden wedding, Seattle Wedding, Garden Wedding Small Wedding, Last Minute Wedding, Elope Wedding