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A Real Wedding that joins the community

pinit
wedding ceremony

This Real Wedding takes place at the Fremont Abbey in Seattle, WA. A beautiful old brick church building (originally a Lutheran church built in 1914) with a warm, vintage feel. The location was chosen by the bride and groom for several reasons, but the foremost motive was their excitement to work with a nonprofit organization, which added a meaningful element to their day.

Our bride tells us about the planning of her wedding, “…I found quickly that it is easy to feel lost in the wedding industry "machine." For that reason, we attempted to keep our wit's about us while planning and work with vendors we liked and supported. We hoped to invest in organizations that seemed to represent integrity and generosity in their business. While the Abbey does host a limited number of weddings every year, its focus is on local arts programs and we really liked the idea of supporting through our venue fee, as it felt like a way to give back in the midst of the chaos of planning. That said, we absolutely appreciated the architecture and atmosphere of the Abbey, in addition to its artistic mission!” Read more about the experience of Sarah and Chris’s special day.

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bride and bridesmaids
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groom and groomsmen

What was your highlight of the day?

My highlight of the day is less about a specific moment, and more about the overall big picture of the day. Almost every part of our day was assisted, designed, or implemented by family and friends, so it was without doubt a collaborative effort. Chris grew up in Boise, I grew up in Portland, and we chose to get married in Seattle, where we had met and dated--so to have all our worlds collide together for that weekend was an incredible gift. This was particularly evident when a group of friends we had met in Portland or Seattle--a group of people now literally spread out across the globe, with many of them meeting for the first time that weekend--surprised us at the reception with a choreographed dance. That's right: in between all the prep of decorations, clothes, the rehearsal dinner, and a million other details, our friends were staying up late to hold secret dance rehearsals. We felt like the luckiest people in the world in that moment! Chris and I view the wedding day itself as an example of a community working together to create something lovely and meaningful. We can see their fingerprints all over the day, and this has made us smile and happy cry every time we reminisce.

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wedding party
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brides bouquet

Is there some unique you choose to do for your special day.?

We also served brunch for dinner! We served up a delicious waffle bar with various toppings, quiche, scones, and cheesy potatoes, and had mimosas and a coffee cart amongst our drink options. We love breakfast foods, and thought this would be a fun twist on the more formal dinner served at evening weddings.

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wedding reception centerpieces
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wedding cake and welcome sign

Would have liked to do anything differently?

I would have taken a bit more time off of work in the week leading up to the wedding. I was starting to feel really frazzled until I finally caught up on sleep two days before the wedding, and everything looked so much more beautiful and relaxed after that night of rest!

I would also delegate more tasks and details (I think this is a common woe among DIY brides). For the first few months of planning, I worried about putting too much on my loved ones, so I tried to do as much as I could alone. I realized that they really wanted to help out, not only because they loved us, but because it gave them a sense of contributing! It was fun for them to see their contributions involved when the day came--they felt some ownership in the day, which was fun to see.

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bride and groom holding hands

What advice could you give to couples planning their upcoming wedding?

Make sure to schedule time with your fiancé where the goal is to relax and have fun, not wedding plan. It can be easy to feel like that's all you should be working on, but the whole point of the planning is a joyous commitment of love and faithfulness you'll be making at the end! Don't forget to take care of the relationship in the midst of the madness of planning.

Utilize friends and family as much as you can, because it's more fun to work with people you already know and love--but use a day-of wedding planner! The people who know and love the bride and groom should be relaxing and enjoying the wedding day, not running around trying to make sure everything got taken care of. I planned most of the wedding, but communicated all the details and plans to my day-of coordinator. From the rehearsal dinner on, any questions about timing, details, or logistics went to her.

Use a checklist that breaks down what needs to be done by when. I think this helped me in my moments of feeling totally overwhelmed--I would remember, this is all I have to do for this week. I will worry about the rest as it presents itself. It made everything feel more bite-sized and managable.

Also, build some moments in where you can be alone for a moment or two on the big day. It's wonderful to be surrounded by loved ones, but I was glad for the few times I could be alone and let the significance of the commitment I was making really sink in.

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bride and groom on park bench
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Subtle Elegance Wedding Invitation

Bride & Groom chose our Subtle Elegance Wedding Invitation for their wedding stationery.

Wedding Location

The Fremont Abbey in Seattle, WA

Photography by

Gabrielle LeMieux