Happy Halloween, everyone! Today, we’re looking back at the best party I’ve ever been to (and certainly the best costume I’ve ever worn)… our wedding day on October 29th 2011.
I fell in love with my wedding gown on my first excursion to Cynderellie’s Closet in Edmonds. My mom plucked it from the rack and I think we both knew right then. The intricate beading and dark, feathery lace had the Victorian Gothic aesthetic that I’d envisioned for my Halloween weekend wedding. It was almost uncanny. Of course, trying on gowns was so much fun (so much fun), I had to try on several dozen more. But nothing compared, especially after I found out that I could customize the dress: removing the straps, emphasizing the sweetheart neckline, and trading uninspired chiffon for a full satin ballroom skirt (with pockets!). I couldn’t wait for it to arrive, and when it did, it fit like it was made for me. It was perfect in every way.
With such a statement gown, everything else needed to be simple and subtle: a dark manicure, a sweet veil with just a touch of gold thread at the hem. I borrowed my mother’s antique gold filigree earrings, with smoky gems that fit my colorless theme. To stand tall next to my 6’7″ husband-to-be, I picked burnished gold pumps with the highest heels I could find!
I’m going to gush more about the florals shortly, but let’s just take a moment to breath a collective sigh over this bouquet, shall we? Had I not had an important “I do” at hand, I could’ve spent the entire day gazing at it. I asked Maxine for texture, variety, contrast between sharp edges and lush layers, and to incorporate trails of black and white feathers (which, I believe I was wearing in my hair when I first met Max!). I knew exactly what I wanted, and somehow, Maxine did too.
I’ve always thought that I was born in the wrong era. So I showed the brilliant Jenny Bowker my pins of old-fashioned beauties with soft eyes and loosely piled hair, and for one day I became the Edwardian woman I’d admired. The wedding color scheme (or lack thereof) was inspired by vintage photography. I love the timeless, mysterious quality that comes with faded photographs- how the faces of the subjects are both haunting and riveting. I dressed our wedding party and our venue in a broad palette of neutrals, with just light tints of color. It suited Adam well too, as we both gravitate towards muted tones in our wardrobes.
I wish I had more pictures of my handsome groom! Adam and his groomsmen sported classic black tuxes with herringbone patterned vests. Adam wore a pearl and pale gold paisley silk tie. All of the gentlemen in the wedding party received white rose and feather boutonnieres, wrapped in black and white cord and finished with a vintage pyramid stud button.
My beautiful bridesmaids wore shimmery greige dresses with ruched bodices and sweetheart necklines. I wanted to give my girls something special to thank them for standing beside me (at the wedding and always), so each received a one-of-a-kind necklace. I designed the pieces with an eclectic assortment of pearls, crystal, and vintage elements, linked together with chain. Each piece featured a tiny gold skull- a reminder of how we all celebrated Halloween weekend in 2011.
My Mother (and partner in planning) truly shone in a green-tinted gown with a bead-encrusted band. I hope you can see some resemblance, because… wow.
These ladies kept me smiling until 5:00 sharp, when our ceremony began.
Adam and I were married at Lord Hill Farms, in Snohomish, Washington. The setting was everything I’d dreamed of- a converted barn with moody lighting, soaring windows, and a pastoral view. Knowing we’d have Fall foliage as a dramatic backdrop, all of the ceremony decor was limited to natural green, blushy pink, shades of white, and a roomful of gilded chiavari chairs. We decorated the aisle (and just about every other surface) with pale pumpkins and mercury glass candleholders. To achieve the lush, overgrown garden look that I desired, Maxine clustered vintage plant stands and a wire arch with branches, gourds, candles, and greenery. One of the spiral plant stands now resides at WarLock Manor!
The week preceding the wedding had not been Seattle’s prettiest- drizzling and dreary, cold and muddy. But we woke up to a clear sky and that spicy smell of Autumn in the air. Scenery that had been dull gray and lifeless the day before was suddenly rich and surreally vibrant. It was magnificent.
A cellist friend from my orchestra days played unaccompanied, setting the tone for our ceremony with low, resonant notes that filled the lofted space of the barn. Music has been an important part of our relationship (I opened my first attempted flirt with Adam with discussion of a song by The Doors) so we flavored our event with a bit of rock and roll- I walked down the aisle to an arrangement of “Moonlight Mile” by the Rolling Stones. The ceremony was officiated by my Uncle Craig, lending extra significance to words from Joseph Campbell and our simple vows. As Adam and I met as English majors, we spent hours immersed in poetry to find evocative and intelligent readings that spoke to us both. And we chose dear friends whose voices brought the poems to life. Lovely Sarah read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnet XLIII” from Sonnets from the Portuguese, giving it gravity and sincerity. Kelly recited “Prothalamion for an Autumn Wedding” by May Sarton with her natural joy and sparkle. Lastly, my dear friend Austin read a sweet few lines that I stumbled upon as Adam and I researched together in a bookstore. It brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. This is us.
Sweep the house clean,
Hang fresh curtains
in the windows
put on a new dress
and come with me!
The elm is scattering
its little loaves
of sweet smells
from a white sky!
Who shall hear of us
in the time to come?
Let him say there was
a burst of fragrance
from black branches.
WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
We exchanged rings and a kiss, and made our exit to the Prelude of Bach’s Solo Cello Suite #1. And that was that- we were married.
While our guests enjoyed a signature cocktail (I’ll share the recipe soon!) and the piano stylings of our friend Elliot Gray, Adam and I went outside for photos in the golden hour before sunset.
As promised by our Save-the-Date cards, the tables were indeed set for a fantastic dinner party. Each table featured a unique centerpiece of rustic metal cake stands and wire birdcage cloches, flickering candles in mercury glass, scatterings of gourds and feathers, and more incredible floral arrangements by Maxine. I selected black tablecloths to set off the flowers and white dinner plates.
Dinner, catered by the talented resident chef at Lord Hill, lived up to even Chef Adam’s culinary standards and was by all accounts delicious (I only managed to sit down long enough to taste the mashed potatoes!). We selected a rich menu and served it with our very own cranberry sauce, giving the recipe to our guests as a timely favor for the holidays. Our cake was a masterpiece by Dan of Decadence, who created a custom pumpkin spice recipe baked with bits of ginger and swathed in thick frosting (we resurrected the top layer after two years in the freezer, and it was heavenly). The cake was adorned with chocolate cosmos sugar flowers and sculpted gold pyramid stud trim, and topped with glass pumpkins by a local artist.
As aspiring brewers and connoisseurs of fine libations, we offered our guests a selection of wine, and locally-brewed beers, cider, and root beer. The groomsmen toasted with skull beer steins!
Photos by Tasha Owen Photography