VOWS private home wedding featured in My Wedding Magazine

We are proud and excited to have Brita & Richie's stunning Summer 2015 wedding living on in print. Big thank you to My Wedding Magazine for doing this massive feat true justice. It was a wonderful collaboration and dream realized by a top notch team of vendors and feels so good to have that recognized! Get out there, touch and feel a real magazine again, and check out the 5 page spread in the Spring 2017 issue! 

 

 

Granddaughter of Lucille Ball makes her own Magic at the Seattle Aquarium

Lucille Ball Black & White

by Planner/Designer Amber Sooter

Having the pleasure of working with Kate and Jeff on their Seattle Aquarium wedding for nearly a year and a half, I got to know this perfectly paired duo well. I always knew their wedding would be fun, but I never imagined both Mother of the Bride (none other than Lucie Arnaz) and the Bride herself would blow everyone away with their song and dance performances, with music performed by the Seattle Rock Orchestra.

I always knew their wedding would be beautiful, but I found myself taken aback by just how beautifully the design vendors worked their magic on the day, even despite weather challenges, leading us to move the ceremony indoors with limited set-up time.

I always knew their wedding day would be emotional, honoring Kate & Jeff’s undying love in front of those who clearly meant the world to them. Though to no surprise, I heard some of the most heartfelt toasts, witnessed some of the most genuine moments between the Bride and Groom and felt nothing but sheer joy in the room that magical evening in June.

Though when you’re the granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, magic is in your blood. My biggest congratulations to Kate & Jeff Conner! 

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K&J’s magical day was captured by Amelia Soper Photography.  Ceremony backdrop and blue runner by Prop Gallery, ceremony rug by Vintage Ambiance and floral by Bash and Bloom

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Bash and Bloom created a unique design for each guest table, mirroring Bride Kate’s love of candlelight, bright colors and tropical flowers. Menus by Wedding Paper Divas, gold Chiavari chairs provided by Pedersen’s.

KLS Make-Up Artistry made Bride Kate and her bridesmaids look flawless. 

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Not doing a First Look? Consider a heartfelt First Touch instead to help calm nerves and create a, well, touching photo opp.

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Wedding Gown from Dolce Bleu and tuxedo from The Tuxedo Club.

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Bride Kate accessorized with jewelry and a handkerchief that once belonged to Grandmother Lucille Ball.

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Alternating Creative Coverings’ linens in navy and ivory complimented the venue, while adding a splash of glam with gold accents in the chargers, chairs, votives and table numbers. Bride & Groom dined at a sweetheart table draped in what else but gold sequin!

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DJ Mack Long provided lighting, audio and mixed dance hits after the Seattle Rock Orchestra’s set.  

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Groom Jeff and all his charm honoring his second love, the Seattle Seahawks, with his black lapeled navy tuxedo and lime green pocket silk. Groomsmen suits also provided by The Tuxedo Club.

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Mother of the Bride, Lucie Arnaz, bringing down the house with her rendition of “The Glory of Love.”

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Honoring their favorite deserts, Kate and Jeff featured an Oreo cutting cake by New York Cupcakes, Oreos and milk and Vietnamese crème puffs from Pho Than Bros.

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What a perfect way to end K&J’s magical day. 

Archana and Pradeep's Spring Hindu Wedding in Seattle

by Planner/Designer Amber Sooter

Archana & Pradeep’s wedding was one of a few firsts for me. For starters, it was the first wedding I planned from start to finish in three months. Archana came to us in early December, without her venue or any vendors, worried that she was too late to make her March 26th dream wedding happen. Over coffee, we discussed her wedding vision and set out a plan to make her vision come to life.

Indian bride with bouquet, Luma Weddings

We paired Archana’s elegant and romantic style with her hopes for a rustic venue in the city. With most of the guests coming to Seattle from out of town, the couple didn’t want guests to have to travel much. Within minutes of touring the Cedarbrook Lodge in the city of Sea-Tac, Archana and Pradeep knew it was the perfect venue for their intimate Spring wedding.

Being my first Hindu wedding, I quickly sharpened my knowledge of Hindu wedding traditions, verbiage and customs, which vary slightly from Northern India (where Bride Archana is from) and Southern India (where Groom Pradeep calls home). The two aerospace engineers met in college at Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach. Before moving to Seattle with their Chow Chow dog Peaches, the couple also lived in Kansas, New York and Georgia. 

The couple wanted to highlight their Indian and American cultures. For the ceremony, we used bolder colors: reds, bright pinks and brass. The mandap, provided by PJ Hummel & Co., featured bright pink blooms hanging from crystals. Playing to Archana’s softer side, we paired classic hues of blush pink, gold and champagne for the reception. Fena Flowers designed the romantic garden style flowers and Honey Crumb Cake Studio added sugar flowers to the cake that were so believably real-looking, everyone was fooled. Seen above, Henna artist Sara Henna meticulously applied mehndi to Archana’s hands and feet. The uber talented hair and make-up artist Yessie Libby made Archana and her bridesmaids look flawless.

Photographer Luma Weddings beautifully captured Archana & Pradeep’s Big Day, alongside videographer team Pollock Pictures. 

Guests were invited to have “dessert before dinner” with French macaron favors at their place settings.

Creative Coverings supplied the gorgeous champagne and blush sequin linens. DJ Aanshul Gulati kept guests dancing with energetic Bollywood dance hits. Chalkboard artist extraordinaire Chalk Boss adorably pointed guests to their tables with her chalk inked seating chart.

Chalkboard Seating Chart, Luma Weddings

After the ceremony, Archana and Pradeep changed into their reception attire. For him: a dapper navy Burberry suit. For her: a stunning Sabyasachi floral & striped lehenga. These two could be models! Congratulations Archana & Pradeep

Venue Spotlight - Fremont Foundry

by Planner/Designer Hannah Schultz

Located in the adorably quirky Fremont neighborhood, the Fremont Foundry is a hidden gem that represents everything we love about Seattle. With its unique vibe, beautiful architecture, and incredible flexibility, it is high on our list of go-to venues for your next special occasion.

Venue Background

The Fremont Foundry (not to be mistaken for The Foundry by Herban Feast) is located in a historic metalworking foundry that has been renovated while still maintaining its industrial roots. This space is unique with multiple spaces to utilize, each with a cohesive yet refreshingly different vibe to keep things interesting for your guests. You also have the freedom to mix and match which spaces you rent, letting you determine a personalized flow for the evening. 

The Atrium

The lower floor of the Fremont Foundry is comprised of the atrium and the studio. The atrium (that can accommodate 400 standing/250 seated) is a true stunner, featuring massive sky-lit cement walls, exposed steel beams, and a gorgeous wooden ceiling highlighted by a larger-than-life crystal and metal orb chandelier. They also have fun yet (somehow) still elegant submarine-style windows on the mezzanine. There is ample natural light and warmth during the day thanks to their skylights. There is also a clear rectangular section of the floor that showcases a collection of plants and greenery below. It's an unexpected and modern way to bring nature into an otherwise industrial atmosphere. The atrium connects to the studio which is a large room that can be separated from the atrium with a built-in sliding wood wall. The studio is less distinctive in design, but extends your dining space for larger groups. It also has a beautiful built-in bar that connects to a full-service catering kitchen.

The Fremont Foundry with its clean slate allows you to easily dress it up or down. You don’t need to spend a fortune on decor here. You book this venue because you love the architecture, unique layers, and overall vibe. There are lots of ways to enhance and highlight what is already spectacular...

Organic & Romantic Style at the Fremont Foundry

If you like an organic and romantic look, you can keep things simple and use the venue's chandelier as your main focal point. The modern yet elegant chandelier serves as an instant “wow” factor when guests enter the space. Next, place rectangular wood farm tables centered underneath. Then add leafy green garlands that run down the center of each table along with varying height candles that will add increased sparkle as the sun goes down. If specialty wood tables are not in your budget, stick with the tables included in your rental with simple white poly linens for guests and then keep the special farm table for your head table. Green garland for each table too expensive? Try moss clusters with varying height candles. Focus the rest of your budget on the special details including escort cards on recycled paper cards with gold lettering, gorgeous charger plates in a dark rattan or gold detail, and menu cards to get your guests excited about your meal.  

Glam Style at the Fremont Foundry

On the other hand, you can also make this space uber glam incorporating lots of furniture rentals, light installations, show-stopping specialty linens – the list goes on and on! Hang additional chandeliers at varying heights in the atrium to compliment the venue chandelier. Use mirrored table tops or sequin linens for extra sparkle on your tables. Cover tables in pillar and floating candles and lush floral arrangements in 2-3 different heights for visual interest. Top off the design with a plush lounge area, so guests have a fun & comfortable spot to chat while still feeling a part of the party.  

The Courtyard

As an added bonus, there is the Courtyard (accommodating 200 standing) located off the first floor. This area can only be described as a dream patio/oasis. It is draped with Edison bulb strung lighting, has just enough tree coverage and greenery, a wooden deck, and boasts ample space to mingle or set the stage for some fun entertainment. This space is also perfect for food trucks to pull up right on property and serve your guests. Or use the Courtyard for cocktail hour, a dessert bar, or even a surprise late night snack.

The Penthouse and Rooftop Terrace

Now, let’s move upstairs. The upper floor of the venue has a more modern, relaxed and loft-like vibe while still speckled with a few of the special elements used downstairs. Accommodating 300 standing and 200 seated, this area is comprised of a glassed in, 2 story room with connecting rooftop terrace. The large, open-air rooftop terrace is a true highlight of this venue and features Edison bulb strung lighting, wood paneled flooring, and breathtaking views of North Seattle. Here you can dine and party the night away under the stars. AND, since bars are their only neighbors, the venue can usually let you party until late. You can also choose to move your guests inside the adjoining penthouse for dancing if Seattle weather isn't cooperating. This particular space is a bit more modern and sleek than the rest of the venue, but still maintains its quirky edge, which we love so much. Even if you plan on having most of your event outside, this is a perfect spot for your cocktail hour while they “flip” the outside space from your ceremony to dinner, and can also be a great location for an intimate lounge area.

Quintessential Seattle Venue Choice

Overall, the Fremont Foundry is the quintessential venue for couples looking for an elegant, but fun and unique, VERY Seattle celebration. It is definitely worth checking out for your next wedding or special event! Contact Holly Hankins at hello@fremontfoundry.com for 2016/2017 rental information and pricing. OR even better, contact VOWS for a complimentary consultation. We'd love to lead your planning efforts and make this venue top of our touring list!

Brita & Richie's Dream Home Wedding at the Altig Family Farm

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We were thrilled to be featured alongside our talented Seattle industry colleagues on Style Me Pretty on March 24th! 

VOWS Wedding Planning on Style Me Pretty

If there was a couple to feature, this is the one. The Altig Family (groom’s side) are well known in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland; they are a big and active family, devout Catholics, kind and generous…they also have a farm in the middle of the city!

Parents Rick & Lisa bought the large property in the Kirkland Highlands in the 80s then raised their family of four there. It was the dream of first daughter Natalie (beautiful, pregnant bridesmaid in the photo below) to get married in this special place...so we did just that on the pool deck in 2010! The tradition continued with Richie Altig (eldest son) wanting to do the same. His love of the animals took us down below to their farm property.

Words beautiful bride Brita (Bree-ta, it’s Norwegian) described as her vision were:  romantic, timeless, vintage-chic. Our palette was the softest of blush, greens, ivory, and taupe. We used a variety of table shapes and sizes to fill the grand white tent:  farm tables, large, medium and small rounds with different textured linens to bring interest. Each place setting was adorned with vintage flatware, layered chargers of gold rimmed glass and floral print vintage china, gorgeous menus describing the lucky guests’ 6 course, Italian inspired meal (Altig Mom’s side is Italian). 

The groom and groomsmen got ready in the 100-year-old cabin at the base of the property that had been moved by the family from Kirkland’s waterfront before it was demolished. The Altigs refurbished it staying as true to the time it was built as possible. The girls got ready in an extension of the main house in a well-appointed guest apartment next to a private dance studio where Brita and her girls spent a lot of time practicing (Brita is a Sea Gal for the Seattle Seahawks). 

The day was a dream though rain did flirt with us (it is Seattle after all). Traditional Catholic ceremony with mass, then a send-off in Grandpa of the Groom’s Vintage Model A.  A sea of greens and romantic flowers awaited them at the reception including a stunning, one of a kind, floral backdrop behind their head table.  

The night was full of great food, entertaining toasts, and roaming animals per the family’s request. The mini horse spent hours looking at his reflection in our porta potty waiting area’s vintage vanity. He was the hit of the night!

I hope you find this wedding as special as we did. The vendor team below worked so hard, tirelessly, and creatively to give Brita & Richie the wedding of their dreams. 

Huge congratulations to Brita & Richie! We were so honored to have been a part of their big day! A very special thank you to our amazing vendor team:

VOWS Wedding & Event Planning (planning, design & coordination)

O'Malley Photographers

CORT Rentals

Flora Nova Design

Choice Linens

John Howie Catering

La Happy 

Vintage Ambiance

Seattle Farm Tables

Bogle Productions

Greenlight Event Productions

The Sweetside

Erin Skipley (bride's hair and bridal party hair & make-up)

Susan Cummins (bride's make-up)

Jennifer Iovanne (ceremony piano & vocals)

A New Groove Band

Butler Valet

Royal Restrooms

Titan Security

Seattle Storm No Match for Broadmoor Golf Club Wedding

by VOWS Planner/Designer Amber Sooter

On August 28th, 2015, the city of Seattle experienced heavy rain, 50 mph winds, downed trees and numerous power outages. Though, no storm could have put a damper on Jane & Nick's bright and glittery Broadmoor Golf Club wedding.

As if on cue, the skies cleared and the sun emerged as they began their wedding party photos in the Arboretum. Bride Jane wanted to blend her classic and preppy style with the perfect amount of glitter and glam. Groom Nick is an avid golfer, so it only made sense the two chose Seattle's Broadmoor Golf Club as their reception site. The Bride wore a breathtaking Monique Lhuillier gown and Groom Nick sported a navy and black tuxedo.

But enough talking, let's take in their swoon-worthy day with just a few highlight photos by Affinity Photography.

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The newlyweds departed their St. Joseph's Church ceremony in the Father of the Bride's vintage Mercedes.

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Affinity Photography, get away car, Seattle bride

I first met Jane & Nick at as a guest of a wedding in 2014. Though they weren't yet engaged, it was clear they would be soon. Two months later, Nick proposed to Jane on San Juan Island (see their invites below) and they asked me to be their wedding planner. Cue the champagne popping!

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Save the Date and wedding invitation suite by Kerri Effendi Designs.

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Playing off of the warm tones at the Broadmoor, gold was a real highlight of the décor from the gold Chiavari chairs to the gold sequin head table. To create a glamourous impact without being too over-the-top, we opted for three alternating linen colors: almond, ivory and gold sequin. Topping the tables, we used two different styles of chargers: gold beaded glass and brushed gold chargers, along with gold votive candles.

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The lovely Anne of Floressence created centerpieces of bright pops of deep pinks, corals and orange tones blended with the bride's favorite white hydrangeas. And the cake, oooh that cake! Cake baker extraordinaire Carla of Honey Crumb Cake Studio created a four-tiered pleated buttercream frosting cake with an ombre floral scaling the length of the cake.

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We lucked out in that the skies cleared for their ceremony and cocktail hour on the Broadmoor's outdoor deck, the power didn't go out and the unseasonal weather returned for a dramatic end to the night -- and none of us would want it any other way.

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Seattle Aquarium Wedding Brings Playful Romance

By VOWS Planner/Designer Amber Sooter

Coffee, chocolate, dancing and movies. These are just a few of Stephanie & Bob Nelson's favorite things. Add a shared love of sea creatures, animals, and bright colors, and it only makes sense that these two chose to have their wedding on June 27, 2015 at the Seattle Aquarium.

When I first met Stephanie & Bob back in November at one of their favorite local coffee shops, Uptown Espresso, I was captivated by their mutual positivity, sense of humor, and deep love for one another. Their wedding was a celebration of all of this.

It's a beautiful thing when a couple remains true to themselves on their wedding day by incorporating elements of their own unique style, personality and interests. Stephanie & Bob's wedding featured a coffee & chocolate ceremony, otter feeding, surprise flash mob by family and friends, choreographed video montage First Dance, and the spunky bride wore teal green Converse shoes at the reception. Call me biased, but I'd say they nailed it.

One of the sweetest First Looks I've witnessed.

Officiant extraordinaire Annemarie Juhlian wrote a beautiful ceremony, which included a coffee and chocolate ceremony, anniversary adventure box, and ended with high fives all around. The adventure they randomly selected out of box for their first wedding anniversary: Going on every ride at Disneyland.

Baked perfectly executed Stephanie & Bob's ombre teal green wedding cake. Beautifully accented with pink and coral blooms by Sublime Stems.

Each guest received a gummy sea creature treat at their place setting. Are these two fun or what?

Need we say S'more?

For a more detailed look into Stephanie & Bob's incredible wedding day, please check out their wedding video by First & Foremost Productions:

My wife and I did a lot of our own planning up front, we just needed a superstar to help with execution on the day of the wedding. Out of pure luck, we found VOWS and met Amber who would be our coordinator for the day. We could not have asked for a better "team captain" on our vendor dream team. Not only was the execution flawless, but she helped me and my wife stress out a lot less as the big day approached. Although we hired her as a day of coordinator, she did a lot more in the days leading up to the wedding.

We felt very comfortable with Amber. Our interactions with her were more like that of a trusted friend than a vendor. Above all she was professional, easy to interact with, and she pulled off a spectacular event!

We can't thank you enough Amber! - Bob & Stephanie Nelson

Many thanks to our Vendor Team:

Seattle Aquarium

Red Sparrow Photography

Sublime Stems

Annemarie Juhlian

Baked.

Magnolia Rhapsody

KLS Makeup Artistry

Barbie Dream Hearse

First & Foremost Productions

Sweet Lady Buffet

Intimate Home Wedding for Harry & Shuyi

By VOWS Planner/Designer Channy Sea

One of my favorite parts of being a wedding planner in Seattle is hearing my clients’ vision for their big day. Each is unique and takes you on a journey through their life as individuals and as a couple. Harry, a real estate investor and Shuyi, a business analyst, met in Cleveland and fell in love while housemates. Cut to 2015, after a big move to Seattle and the purchase of their dream house in Redmond, they decided to look no further than their backyard for a wedding venue. They wanted a romantic garden feel and what better way to start a life together then to have a home wedding day.

One of my favorite parts of a wedding is the first look. This is the moment when all the butterflies go away and you are able to soak in that special moment that you’ve been anticipating for so long.

The bride is an artist, so she designed their guest "book" cards and seating chart using water colors. Aren't they beautiful?

The groom wanted to top off the celebration by popping a bottle of champagne. Although it was his first time doing this, it definitely didn’t show!

Many congratulations to Harry and Shuyi and a big thank you for letting me be a part of your life’s journey. These two are incredible as individuals, and even more amazing together!

“Channy Sea from VOWS is so awesome. She is a great communicator that learned well about our needs throughout the wedding planning process. She is so experienced that she can give us multiple examples or suggest vendors to meet our specific needs. She is a hard worker too, always on time, sunny or rain, weekday or weekend. Overall, Channy makes the wedding planning process easy and relaxing. At the wedding day, Channy and her assistant organized everything so well that my family and guests were all so satisfied. There must be hassle and problems without her help. The money we spent on her is definitely well worthwhile.”Sincerely, Ming (Harry) & Shuyi

Big thank you to our Vendor Team:

Ben Blood Photography

Floressence

Herban Feast Catering

New Renaissance Cakes

Anne Marie Juhlian

Vintage Ambiance

DJ Braden Landon

CORT Party Rentals

Salon Maison

Seattle Weddings: What Season Are You?

A Quiz to Help You Choose the Best Wedding Date for Your Personality

By VOWS Planner/Designer Amber Sooter

You found the perfect person and you’re sporting the perfect ring, now it’s time to choose the perfect time of year to marry your sweetheart! Many factors come into play in determining your best wedding date, however, the 10 questions below will help you and your fiancé narrow in on the right match for you to say “I Do!”

1. Which flower can you not live without on your wedding day? a) Peonies please b) Chrysanthemums are too cute c) Dahlia’s in every color d) Roses, they’re so romantic

2. You are planning your dream honeymoon. Where are you planning to go? a) A mini getaway to the San Juan Islands – why travel far when the islands are in our own backyard? b) Backpacking through Europe – Italy, France, & Spain, here we come! c) The Hawaiian Islands – we just want to relax at the beach and pool. d) The Swiss Alps – there’s nothing more romantic than a cozy ski resort in Switzerland

3. Which wedding theme do you most identify with? a) Vintage Elegance b) Rustic Romance c) Midsummer Night’s Dream d) Classic Black & White *We gain lots of inspiration from Pinterest just like you!

4. On a typical weekend, you and your fiancé can be found: a) In your garden planting new vegetables and herbs b) Hiking the local trails with your dog c) Out on a boat in Lake Washington d) If snow is on the ground, we’re hitting the slopes

5. Which best describes your feelings regarding The Budget? a) We may go over budget if we have to use our “Plan B” outdoor tent b) We’re on track to stay right on budget c) Budget? What budget? d) We are hoping to come in under budget and will make some sacrifices in order to do so

6. Which of the following is your ideal wedding venue? a) A church ceremony and golf club indoor/outdoor reception b) A barn out in the country c) On the beach with sand in our toes d) Indoors at a downtown hotel or private club *Be sure to check out our portfolio for weddings we have planned at all the venues above!

7. The color palette that best reflects your wedding colors is: a) Light blues, yellow and grey b) Plum, burgundy, and green c) Bright and soft pinks, teal green and white d) Navy blue, gold and ivory

8. Your absolute favorite meal is: a) Roast chicken and seasonal vegetables b) Spaghetti carbonara c) Fish tacos with extra guacamole! d) Beef bourguignon with garlic mashed potatoes

9. Your ideal signature cocktail is: a) Moscow mule b) Mulled apple cider c) Mojito d) Manhattan

10. Your dream wedding dress style is: a) A lace trumpet gown with a sweetheart bodice b) An off-the shoulder mermaid style with an embroidered lace top c) Silk chiffon sheath with a deep v-neckline d) A long-sleeved lace and tulle ball gown with an open back and lots of glam accessories!

RESULTS

Mostly A's: You are a Spring Bride! Whether your wedding is indoor or outdoor, you thrive in the spring time when the cherry blossoms and tulips have fully bloomed. Your best wedding date is anytime between the months of April – June.

Mostly B's: You are a Fall Bride! Your favorite time in the city is when the leaves turn crimson and orange, the weather feels cool and crispy and football season returns. Your best wedding date is anytime between the months of late-September – November.

Mostly C's: You are a Summer Bride! You crave warm weather and the sand in your toes…and who can blame you?? Your best wedding date is anytime between the months of July – mid-September. This is peak wedding season in Seattle. Or you may want to consider a destination wedding! May we suggest Maui, Hawaii?

Mostly D's: You are a Winter Bride! You love the holidays and think nothing is more romantic or elegant than a snowy backdrop in the woods with lots of candlelight. Your best wedding date is anytime between the months of December – February.

Planner to Bride - Top 10 Wedding Tips

by VOWS Planner/Designer Amber Sooter

As a wedding planner in Seattle, I'm used to being behind the scenes. The one in a black dress, directing vendors, setting-up décor and most importantly, ensuring that my bride and groom are happy. But on January 24, 2015 the tables turned. Exactly two months ago, I was the bride and this time my dress was ivory. Following are the Top 10 wedding tips learned on my own big day!

One of my biggest goals and hopes for my wedding, was to be able to turn off my "planner mode" and instead, to relax, let go and truly be in the moment from beginning to end. Something I always remind my brides to do. Getting married gave me a newfound perspective of what it's like to be The Bride. Thankfully, this new wisdom can only make me a better wedding planner for my clients, and I'd like to pass along a few helpful tips.

Call me Type A (and you should), but I'm a big fan of lists: To Do Lists, Grocery Lists, Meal Planning Lists, Recommended Vendor/Venue lists, the list goes on. So, it only feels right to share what I learned on my wedding day, as a Bride:

1. You will not sleep well the night before, that is, if you sleep at all: Sadly the latter is true. With pure excitement running through my veins, I didn't sleep a wink the night before my wedding day. What I learned: False eyelash extensions are a Godsend.

2.  If at all possible, get ready with your bridesmaids and mothers: What girl doesn't like playing dress up with her closest gal pals? That's kind of what it's like, but with gifts and champagne. Nothing helps calm nerves like giggling with your girlfriends; I couldn't imagine the perfect day without them.

3. The most important aspect of the day, is Each Other: We can get lost in the many details and moving parts of a wedding. But (with ample plans in place and a kick butt wedding coordinator to execute them) my #1 thought and priority of the day, was seeing and celebrating with Aaron. I couldn't wait to see him. Which brings me to my next point...

4. Have a First Look: The day for brides and bridesmaids begins early. With hair and make-up appointments, getting into that dress, portraits, etc. I couldn't wait to see Aaron, and once I finally did, any nervous anticipation I was feeling was gone. I was relaxed and able to spend the rest of the day with my husband and our closest friends and family. Which to me, was what my wedding day was all about. Our First Look was a beautifully private moment between the two of us, plus our photographer and a flock of seagulls. Don't worry, they did great. See proof below:

5. Eat. Everyone tells you you'll never eat on your wedding day. Don't listen to them. You should absolutely make food a top priority on your wedding day. Eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat appetizers, eat dinner and of course, eat cake and any other dessert. You may not eat a ton of each, but the day will fly by and the opportunities to eat are few and far between. We both love to eat so luckily, we were able to enjoy all those menu items we planned, except for the doughnuts. D’oh!

6. Take mental images of moments throughout the day: I only hope to remember the special moments and details of our wedding day when we're celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Sure, we'll always have the photographs and video, but I want to forever remember the feelings that a camera cannot capture. Memories like how big my heart felt looking out to all of our closest friends and family during dinner; the love and joy in the room was palpable. Or those final thoughts walking down the Edgewater hallway before entering our bridal suite to get ready, holding my morning coffee, with a smile on my face… "Here we go!"

7. Gracefully embrace the spotlight: Whether you're comfortable with it or not, all eyes and ears will be on you on your wedding day. You'll feel like a celebrity with all of the attention. Enjoy it, but be a gracious host. Try to talk to every guest. Many of them made sacrifices to attend your wedding and some traveled long distances. An important aspect of our wedding was honoring all eight of our grandparents, for whom we are so fortunate could attend our wedding. Grandpa Sam was surely casting that bright sunlight down on us.

8. Less is more. In other words, keep it simple. Aaron and I chose to have our ceremony and reception at the same venue, not only to simplify logistics for our guests and vendors, but also for our own sanity. The less traveling you and guests have to do on your wedding day, the easier and smoother the day will go. The same applies to décor. It’s about creating a cohesive and impactful look, without recreating your entire Pinterest board.

9. Keep it Personal: Incorporating personal touches and unique details into your wedding day and décor makes your wedding stand out and not just any other wedding. I didn't want a cookie cutter wedding that would work for anyone. We made sure to reflect our style and personalities. Getting married at Seattle's iconic waterfront hotel, The Edgewater, truly represented our personal style. It's the perfect combination of elegance and comfort, urban and Northwest outdoorsy. We also chose an "off-peak" month because we wanted a cozy-urban-log cabin-winter-wedding, as well as less competition for our vendors.

10. Finally, in my humble and experienced opinion, it is absolutely imperative that you hire at least a Day-Of Coordinator: You can be the most organized and detailed bride in the universe, but you still cannot afford to devote any time to fielding vendor questions, handling set-up/clean-up, keeping everyone on schedule and managing all of the many tasks and challenges that come with executing a wedding. I would have been a ball of stress the week and day-of my wedding if it wasn't for my incredible Day/Month-Of Coordinator, VOWS colleague and friend, Channy Sea. Channy ensured my day was seamless and exactly what I envisioned. I was completely able to relax, be in the moment, and truly enjoy every second of my big day. Thank you, Channy! You are simply the best!

Maui Destination Wedding - Karlie & Matt

Karlie and Matt-0786 Beach bride

by Katy Roberts, VOWS Owner & Maui Wedding Planning Specialist

As a Maui wedding planner, I more than understand the leap of faith needed to plan a wedding from afar. Destination weddings are a true blessing for those looking to get away from the realities of their backyard. It's a freeing and exciting experience, but can also be stressful when you realize you can't control every detail.  That's where a good wedding planner comes in.

Karlie and Matt-0458 Ceremony

Sending photos, reviews and reassurances is my first step in instilling a couples' confidence in a destination wedding. A trip to Maui prior to wedding week is ideal if budget and time allow, but not mandatory. Instead, I encourage couples to talk to others that have married on Maui. I connect current and former clients. I offer flexible wedding packages that give couples options on how they would like to work together. Some like to hand over the reins to me while others want to lead the charge with my support. Full planning is most popular and encouraged. Having someone with experience, relationships, and expertise holding your hand along the way is priceless. (See more about my experience and approach at Why VOWS .) A wedding planner is truly an investment in your engagement as well as your wedding day. You want this time together to be fun and stress free.

Karlie and Matt-0508 Couple Shot Ceremony

Another way I help make my clients feel confident in their destination wedding decision is to focus on (and get excited about) their top priorities. I make it my mission to get them beyond right. As a Maui wedding planner, I'm used to driving the island in search of the right venue fit for my clients. I take photos, video, taste and touch on my couples' behalf. My goal is to make sure I have exceeded my clients' expectations when they step off the plane.

Miss B Calligraphy, Perfect Pour Maui, Olowalu Plantation House, Maui Wedding Planner, Dmitri & Sandra Photography
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Olowalu Plantation House, Maui Wedding Planner, Perfect Pour Maui, Dmitri & Sandra Photography

Enter the beautiful Karlie & Matt, foodies and cocktail connoisseurs from Seattle. We talked through these top priorities and also their vision for a playful and fun party. You learn a lot about people when you plan their most intimate celebration. Karlie & Matt are huge Elvis fans (our table names were titles of Elvis songs), accomplished ballroom dancers (beautiful choreographed dances wowed and moved guests), and the groom has a fondness for sewing. I had the first ring bearer pillow in VOWS history that was designed by the groom!

Miss B Calligraphy, Dellables Flora, Maui Wedding Planner, Dmitri & Sandra Photography
Maui Executive Catering, Maui Wedding Planner, Dmitri & Sandra Photography
Maui Executive Catering, Maui Wedding Planner, Dmitri & Sandra Photography

For seven months I collaborated with this smart, creative and ambitious couple mostly over phone and email to create their dream wedding in paradise. In the end, like any couple, they just wanted to enjoy their wedding day and focus on their love. The photos and Karlie's words below speak volumes. Mission accomplished!

"Katy, thank you for giving us the best wedding we have ever been to!"

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Prague to Seattle - Mariko & Caesar

Congratulations to Mariko & Caesar who wed on November 8th, 2014 with the help of VOWS Planner/Designer Channy Sea at the Court in the Square. It all began with a proposal in Prague! The groom, Caesar, knew he wanted his proposal to Mariko to be an unforgettable experience. With the help of his brother-in-law, Daniel, who was also their photographer for the proposal and wedding, they came up with a plan to surprise Mariko during the couple’s vacation in Europe. The story was that Caesar and Mariko would be models in a foreign country for Daniel’s portfolio – a couple’s shoot in Prague. Mariko was definitely in for a surprise when Caesar got down on one knee on the famous Charles Bridge, and popped the big question!

Fast forward a couple months later and we are here helping Mariko and Caesar plan and coordinate their wedding in Seattle's historic neighborhood of Pioneer Square. It was definitely a family affair where the bridal party consisted of the bride’s brothers and the groom’s sisters, the groom’s father officiated the wedding, and the groom’s brother-in-law captured all of the moments from their big day. The love these two have for one another could be felt and seen through the decisions they made together – always thinking about how that decision would impact the other person. 

A bond as strong as theirs is always a reminder of the importance of finding a partner that understands and adores you, no matter what.

 Big thanks to our vendor team:

Court in the Square

Dillard Creative

TM Dessert Works

Bruce Pavitt

Pure Beauty Co

Their Day their Way - Jacqueline & Michael

by Katy Roberts, VOWS Owner

What I love about this job is the variety of personalities I meet. My clients always open my eyes a bit wider to the different perspectives and approaches to this crazy life we live. Here at VOWS, we always say:  "This is your day, your money, your memory to make...we just want your vision to become a reality, traditions or not." There are really no "shoulds" in 2015. Do what makes you happy, be yourself, and fun and joy will follow.

When Jacqueline and I first met, I knew she was grasping this concept and holding on tight with both hands. Her 2nd marriage, his first, but I was warned Michael was very shy and didn't want all the traditions and the inevitable attention. He just wanted a day that let him marry his gal and that matched their personalities. Enter their yacht moored on Lake Union the "Majestik" and some fabulous friends including owner of Barolo Ristorante in downtown Seattle. The beautiful images from La Vie Photography speak for themselves. Great style, romance, delicious food, and a club style reception complete with a sparkler presentation of the couple's favorite champagne. The day and late night impressed and wow'd guests AND our team! Enjoy the visual candy below...call us if you want to do it your way too!

We can’t be successful unless we have the teamwork of great vendors. Big thanks to:

La Vie Photography

Barolo Ristorante

Greenlight Event Design

Garden Gate Floral

Julian Catford Guitar

Erin Skipley Beauty 

Lady Yum

New VOWS Maui Packages

Hot off the Press!  Click here to see our brand new:  VOWS Maui 2015 Packages.  A different approach and updated services that appeal to our destination-ready brides and grooms. Maui, Hawaii is a place like no other. Come and relax, enjoy the warmth, romance, and wonders of mother-nature. Most importantly, get away from the realities of your backyard. With VOWS Owner Katy Roberts now a resident of this beautiful island, you get personal, boutique quality service from a career wedding planner of 11 years.

Aloha!  Hope to see you in paradise soon!

Dear Amber #2 - All Your Wedding Questions Answered

DEAR AMBER: I’m getting married in May and recently sent out my Save the Dates. Since my fiancé and I are paying for the majority of the wedding, we had to limit our guest count to family and only our very closest friends. I have some holiday parties coming up where friends that we weren’t able to invite will be in attendance. I’m worried that the topic of the wedding will come up and make for an awkward situation with those not invited. What’s the best way to handle this potentially uncomfortable situation?

-Jessica

DEAR JESSICA: I can completely relate to your situation. The important thing to keep in mind is that no bride & groom can invite everyone they know. If they’re acquaintances of yours, they’ll understand. It sounds like your guest count might be on the smaller side. If the topic of your wedding comes up with anyone not invited, and it most likely will, politely answer their question and mention that the wedding will be a small, intimate affair. As we caution all of our brides here at VOWS, scaling back your guest count is the number one way to save money on your wedding, so stick to your guns. Don’t sweat it and Happy Holidays!

-Amber

Would you like a question answered on our bi-monthly series "Dear Amber"?  Please email me your name, role in the wedding (bride, groom, bridal party, parent, friend, even vendors!) and your question to: amber@vowswedding.com.

Dear Amber (Debut) - All Your Wedding Questions Answered

DEAR AMBER:My best friend is getting married, and has asked me to be her Maid of Honor. I’m excited to be given such a big role. However, as the big day approaches, the bride is not letting me help with anything. Every time I ask what she needs help with, she tells me she has it handled. But when we meet in social gatherings, all she can do is complain about how much work she has to do and no one is helping her. How can I help her if she’s not letting me?

-Molly

DEAR MOLLY: Insightful question. Some brides have a difficult time admitting that they need help and try to take on every aspect of wedding planning. A friendly, but firm and actionable approach is best in this situation. Invite the bride-to-be to coffee and help her prioritize the most pressing tasks. Make it clear that you want to help her and commit to the tasks you will handle. Lastly, similar to what we do here at VOWS, set bi-weekly or monthly goals together, so neither of you feels overwhelmed. Good luck & happy planning!

Would you like a question answered on our bi-monthly series "Dear Amber"?  Please email me your name, role in the wedding (bride, groom, bridal party, parent, friend, even vendors!) and your question to: amber@vowswedding.com.

Rumba Fun for Kristin & Bob at the Ballard Bay Club

Congratulations to Kristin & Bob who wed on July 18th, 2014 with the help of VOWS Planner Channy Sea at the Ballard Bay Club. Kristin, a yoga instructor, and her fiancé, Bob, were living in Arizona, but wanted a Seattle celebration…and in 5 months!  Kristin’s energetic and positive attitude made the entire process easy. They knew they wanted a fun reception for their family & friends including a dance party that lasted to the bitter end.  And they got it!  The couple even surprised their guests with a choreographed Rumba to “Let’s Stay Together”.  Congratulations, Kristin & Bob! Big thanks to Medcalf Photography for the beautiful images!

K&B1

K&B1

K&B 2

K&B 2

K&B3

K&B3

K&B4

K&B4

K&B7

K&B7

K&B9

K&B9

Kristin & Bob personalized their table numbers by showcasing their love of hiking and the outdoors.

The couple had a world map for signing vs. a standard guest book since majority of their guests were from out of town.  It was a sweet, special touch to make guests feel that much more appreciated for their investment in their celebration.

K&B8

K&B8

K&B10

K&B10

K&B11

K&B11

The couple surprised their guests with a Rumba style 1st Dance to “Let’s Stay Together” performed by the Michael Benson Band!

It was definitely clear that their song “All You Need Is Love” reminded their family and friends that love is everything, and how important it was for Kristin & Bob to be surrounded by their nearest and dearest.

K&B12

K&B12

In the couples' own words:

I knew living in Phoenix and planning a wedding in Seattle was not going to be an easy task (let alone planning a wedding in 5 months!) Enter VOWS Wedding & Event Planning... Working with Channy from VOWS was hands down one of the best decisions I made for my wedding! I know that she had so many other weddings going on, yet she had the most incredible ability to make me feel like the most important and only one. It was a true gift and something every bride wants and deserves from their wedding planner!  A lot of my friends and family members talk about their wedding as “a blur” or they say that it passed by in the “blink of an eye.” Thanks to Channy, the entire wedding party and I felt prepared and fully present at the wedding. The level of organization, commitment and care Channy demonstrated to the wedding party and the guests helped create an atmosphere of family, friendship, fun and love.  Not only does Channy handle all the details with the utmost professionalism, attention and ability to just ‘make it happen’, she was also just so much fun to work with! She truly became a friend throughout the planning process and my husband and I are forever grateful for her.”

- Kristin Haberly and Bob Gliege

We can't be successful unless we have the teamwork of great vendors. Big thanks to:

Ballard Bay Club

Medcalf Photography

Michael Benson Band

Trophy’s Cupcakes

Salon Maison

Wedding Traditions Becoming Nontraditional

By Amber Blondin, VOWS Planner/Designer

If you’ve been a guest at a wedding recently, chances are you've noticed the absence of a few long-time traditions. Here are some old—and new—traditions we’ve seen evolve over the years here at VOWS:

Blusher Veil:  Dating back to Greek and Roman times, a blusher veil was believed to shield the bride from evil spirits. It was later embraced by cultures with arranged marriages to prevent the groom from changing his mind upon seeing his bride. While some brides prefer to still honor this tradition, it’s easy to see why this tradition has become obsolete.

First Look
First Look

First Look:  Similar to the blusher veil, the tradition of waiting to see each other until the ceremony has become less common over time. More often than not, couples are choosing to see each other before the ceremony at a special location, to ensure sufficient time for photographs and more time together on their special day.

Wedding Cake:  In place of the traditional multi-tiered wedding cake, many couples are instead treating guests to a variety of their favorite desserts, and include a smaller ceremonial cake for that cake cutting tradition that is still alive and well.

Pinterest
Pinterest

Personalization:  From monogrammed everything, to signature cocktails, and custom cake toppers resembling the bride & groom (and sometimes their pets!), couples are getting a lot more creative these days. We have Pinterest to thank (and sometimes blame!) for the endless wedding inspiration from across the globe.

engagement ring
engagement ring

Rings:  Though the wedding band symbolizes a present commitment of marriage and the engagement ring represents a future commitment to wed, these days, many brides are rocking just one blinged-out, engagement ring in lieu of both traditionally worn rings.

bouquet toss
bouquet toss

Bouquet & Garter Toss:  Originating in the 14th century, the bouquet toss allowed the bride to share her good luck and fortune with others. However, in the 21st century, many consider this tradition a little awkward by calling out the (sometimes, very few) single ladies. Even more awkward – the garter toss. How many of us have cringed watching a groom remove the garter with his teeth?

Anniversary Dance: This modern alternative to the bouquet and garter toss is quickly becoming a new wedding tradition. The emcee invites all married couples to the dance floor and couples are eliminated based on the number of years they’ve been married. By the end of the song, the winning duo is the longest married couple. The bouquet is then gifted to the wife.

We’d love to hear from you! In the comment field, tell us about the wedding traditions you’re either happy or sad to see go. Any new traditions you’re hoping to see more of?