As I settled in to my seat and waited for my breakfast, I sat gazing out the window – beyond rain pitter-pattering on the patio – to the calm peaceful view of Lake Washington. As I waited, two ducks caught my attention. They were swimming directly towards one another and, when they met, they began swimming together as if it were a dance. Their silhouettes would meet and mesh into one only to separate again and mesh again. Next they began swimming side by side and then, together, they dove under…only to come up once again together…and further in the direction they chose to head. And I thought, this is so much like marriage…like life with the one you love the way it is intended. At times both of you shine separately, and at times you shine brightest together as one. You both keep moving forward not one ahead of the other, but side by side. When one of you is down, the other goes there with you, only to provide a much needed companion and to bring you up once again to find yourselves still moving forward – together. And this, I thought, is what I hope and pray Barb and Elliott will share together as they begin their life as husband and wife.
It was right then that a beautiful gal rounded the corner and squealed as soon as our eyes met. Barb was waking up on the morning of her surprise wedding (more on that to come), and she was eager to live out the excitement in her heart. From our hilarious impromptu lunch the day before, to seeing her the morning of her wedding, I was so ecstatic to be able to put her questions to rest, help put her nerves at ease, and just be excited with her all the way up to her Wedding Celebration. Barb and Elliott planned their wedding to be this coming June in Kauai – where Elliott proposed to Barb. We’d looked at the church and locations, they had planned snow cones instead of cake, and they were both excited about their fun unique wedding. However, the further along they planned, Barb and Elliott realized they had to change their plan. “Life is short, and the people we love are important to us, so we wanted to have it where everyone could be there, and – why wait?!” Barb told me. But a wedding cannot just be ordinary when you have these two involved. When I received the email that we would be meeting in Washington rather than Hawaii, I was told that they had an even more fun plan – the wedding was going to be a surprise! With their stealthy bridal party and parents, they pulled off something I have never seen before!
I don’t think Barb could have selected a more perfect groom’s gift for Elliott. All he said was “She knows me well.” It was perfect for a celebratory toast for the guys.
Elliott gave each groomsman a tie to wear for the wedding along with a knife fire starter. If you want a guy to really smile for you, give him what he needs to start a fire…anywhere, and you are sure to make his day. 😉
Soon it was time to go check on the blushing bride, and we had fun admiring the dainty elegant details she chose!
I just love that Barb and Elliott’s wedding set was in rose gold!
One of the sweetest things about this is that Barb’s Matron of Honor – Ashley – was a bride I photographed back in Alaska in 2012! It was a sweet sweet reunion for us and so fun to watch the roles flip between Barb and Ashley. As her matron of honor, Ashley gave Barb her “something blue” – this gorgeous handkerchief!
Barb wanted to make sure and have a moment caught showing the Bridesmaids’ reactions seeing her in her gown, so Ashley helped them come in with eyes closed building up their anticipation. Their reactions were simply FANTASTIC!
Barb is the kind of girl who just radiates her cheerfulness in the most contagious way. She had so much fun with the girls and ate up every second laughing and having fun as a bride.
I have to say that – as perfect as her gift was to her groom Elliott – Barb could not have been more surprised and blown away at the beautiful rose gold and diamond necklace Elliott surprised her with the day of her wedding!
With the rain still sprinkling, Barb and Elliott shared a romantic First Look on the stairs in the Woodmark’s gorgeous lobby.
May I just say that this gentleman is the most perfect complement to Barb’s vivacious personality?! They were so giddy once they were together and were complete hams for the camera – no coaching necessary! 🙂
You know that a couple as flamboyant as Barb and Elliott are bound to have an amazing group of friends – I found this to be a FACT. While the girls we having fun and looking fabulous, the guys were ready to put their firestarters to use to make some smoking hot memories for Barb and Elliott on their big day.
Elliott has a large family and, while his Mom and Dad were in on the wedding surprise, the siblings could not have been more shocked to arrive to find Barb in a wedding gown and realize they would be attending their brother’s wedding that evening!
Barbs Dad also arrived to see his little girl as a bride. I love how he just quietly made his way through the crowd to her. 🙂
About a half hour before remaining guests would arrive, Barb, Elliott and the Bridal Party were tucked away to keep the secret until it was time.
Elliott’s long time friend (and groomsman) Tony’s mother Maureen made Barb’s day extra special by designing the bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces and all the elegant floral accents for the big day, and with some help from Ashley, Barb made homemade granola as her favors for her guests – YUM!!
As the sun set, guests strolled in to what they thought would be a cocktail hour to celebrate with Barb and Elliott before their upcoming June wedding…only to find a letter revealing their surprise announcement!
Soon guests began anticipating the appearance of the Bride and Groom. With our flower girls and ring bearers present, even the rain couldn’t dampen this Bridal Party’s enthusiasm! It was time for the surprise ceremony everyone was now waiting for!
Can I just say – this is Elliott as he walked down the aisle. There was no hiding his excitement to marry the love of his life!
This post could just go on forever, because each moment was fun and lively and packed with so much emotion…but let’s just say that after the ceremony, the party had only just begun. Barb danced with her Dad, Elliott danced with his Mom, and Barb and Elliott shared their first dinner, toasts, and evening with friends and family as husband and wife…oh – and glowsticks involved. 😉
A special thanks to the amazing team that helped make this day happen! –
- Wedding Officiants (Husband and Wife Team) Pat + Kent – A Heavenly Ceremony
- Venue & Coordinator – Mallory Knapp at the Woodmark Hotel, Yacht Club & Spa
- Music and Emcee by Sounds Unlimited
Barb and Elliott – Congratulations on orchestrating the most fantastic surprise, on making the most important vows you’ll ever make, and to living life with enthusiasm and not waiting to celebrate the love you have grown together! It was a blessing to be with you both and to photograph the moments and people who mean so much to you! I wish you both all the best!