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Annemarie's Blog

John + Jaime: A Glorious Day at Kiana Lodge, Celebrating Two Loving People Who Really Get It…

October 18, 2016

Marriage is a crazy affair.  It’s over-the-top joy.  It’s chaotic and messy.  It’s about learning, growth, stretching and finding the depths of compassion and resilience. johnjaimemonnig

It’s about friendship.  It’s about endurance and nurturing stamina and curiosity in the midst of upset and change. It’s about truly celebrating the ordinary moments and the extraordinary ones.

John and Jaime embody the best qualities of loving relationship.

And this I know for sure:  they have what it takes to create, nurture and protect a devoted relationship that will take them through the years and decades.

On a lovely Summer Sunday, it was my happiness to travel to Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo (one of my most favorite venues) to get these two lovebirds married.

John and Jaime, you invited me into your home and personal space.  You trusted me with your journey and story and I am so grateful for this gift.  Wishing you great happiness, joy and adventure!


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John + Elizabeth: On To Their Honeymoon After Hosting A Lovely Wedding At Seattle’s Mayflower Park Hotel…

October 17, 2016

In the moments before they walked down the aisle together at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Seattle, I joined John and Elizabeth in their suite.john-elizabeth

I love quiet moments before a wedding ceremony.  The few minutes before a huge life shift occurs.

And within minutes, we were in the elevator and making our way downstairs to be greeted by dozens of thrilled family and friends, who welcomed John and Elizabeth to their ceremony with a great round of boisterous applause.

What I love about John and Elizabeth is not only their smarts and fun-loving approach to life, but their loving graciousness.

It was important to both of them to have John’s adult children stand as their best people. Within ceremony, we acknowledged not only John and Elizabeth’s marriage and partnership but the new family created by this union.

With an evening of great food and drink, friendship and the ambiance of the lovely Mayflower Park Hotel, I’m quite sure that John and Elizabeth made their way back to their suite hours later, with the feeling of “we did very, very good.”

Photo: Sent to me from the plane, honeymoon bound!

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Nicole + Kimball: Two Loving and Inspiring Sweethearts With The Most Fabulous Wedding Party!

October 14, 2016

I’ve been around a lot of wedding parties ~ some big, some small.kimballnicole

Some traditional and  quiet.  And some loud, feisty and with a bit of rock ‘n roll.

I could go on and on as wedding parties are just that…all different.

As I reflect on Nicole and Kimball’s beautiful wedding ceremony and wedding day at The Pickering Barn in August, I can tell you these two lovely women had one of the happiest wedding parties I’ve been around, ever.

As I was sharing Nicole and Kimball’s love story and personal details about their path to August 21st, it was fun to hear muted comments and generous applause from their joyful wedding party on either side of us.

What I loved even more is that this delight and exuberance was shared by family and friends…seriously, the happiness was coming from all sides.

Often before going down the aisle, or even during rehearsal, I encourage a wedding party to fully participate in ways that are authentic, genuine and meaningful.  This may mean big great smiles going down the aisle or even hand motions, genuine giggles and even a ‘high 5’ during a ceremony.

A wedding party that is ‘in motion’ raises the joy bar in the room and Nicole and Kimball’s fabulous group did this and more.  Sweet ladies, you have such great love and support around you!




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Diana + Tim at The Monte Cristo Ballroom in Everett: With Some of the Happiest Family and Friends Ever…

October 12, 2016

Most often before I begin a wedding ceremony, I walk to the front of the room.  I thank family and friends for attending and give them direction on what to do during ceremony (if anything) and what’s happening after the bride and groom walk down the aisle. dianatim

This is an opportunity for me to also check my mic for the last time and to get a sense of ‘faces.’  Yes, faces.  I want to get a sense of the crowd, big or small, and what the ‘energy’ is like in the room.

This can be quiet and sedate, peppy and fun-loving or perhaps somewhere in-between.

When I did this for Tim and Diana at the Monte Cristo Ballroom on a lovely Friday afternoon last month, I saw beaming faces.

A lot of smiling faces.

I saw and felt great joy, elation, anticipation and happiness AND the wedding ceremony had not even started yet.

This kind of love and care always brings great happiness to my heart.

Because I know before we even start that everything will be okay – that we’re all present for the right reasons and even if something blows up or goes side-ways (which it does on rare occasion), that with a little self-deprecating humor, everything will be more then fine.  It will be real.  And that’s what I love most about a best ceremony.  It’s darn real.

Tim and Diana, the realness of your love, relationship journey and path to your wedding day makes my heart happy. Thank you for inviting me into your personal space and trusting me with your wedding ceremony. I wish you the blessings of great happiness, growth, courage and joy!

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Lacee + Bryce: Just the Best Couple, A Very Warm Wedding Day = LOVE.

October 9, 2016

I drove away from Lacee and Bryce’s wedding ceremony, on a very hot day in August, thinking to myself, “this beautiful couple has staying power; this couple has what it takes to hugely create, nurture and sustain a lifetime relationship.”  laceebrycetompkins

This marriage thing isn’t for the faint hearted.

For those of us in long-term relationship, navigating the ups and downs of careers, jobs, illness, loss/grief, disappointment, elation, aging, huge change, kids and more is a daily juggle.

Marriage is about jumping off a cliff, knowing what we know and knowing what we don’t know.

For Lacee and Bryce, we celebrated their years together at the Trinity Tree Farm in Issaquah with a ceremony that was real and authentic.  No flowery words.  No hyped up or trite stuff such as a “a ring is a circle, just like your love…”laceebrycetompkins1

Lacee and Bryce were clear with me when we first sat down together.

They wanted me to ‘get them’ and celebrate where they’ve been, where they were on their big day and their intentions for their future.

It was my happiness to launch this pair of sweethearts on their marriage adventure.  Lucky, lucky me!

Beautiful Photos:  Salt and Pine Photography


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Clint and Josalyn at Seattle’s Melrose Market: A Loving Stairwell Moment and So Much More…

September 23, 2016

I have this really sweet memory of Clint and Josalyn’s Seattle wedding day.

Because of special logistics at their venue, Melrose Market, we signed marriage license documents on a cocktail style table, at the top of a stairwell, with beautiful light streaming in.josalynclint

It was the two of us, witnesses and their photographer.

I watched Josalyn lovingly touch Clint’s arm several times during the signing.  During all of this, I loved the way that Clint kept looking at Josalyn and his outward affection and joy to be with her.

While we had a beautiful and personal ceremony, it was this stairwell moment and other personal glances and touches during their ceremony that reminds me that the best moments of a wedding day are most often the unexpected pieces that write a lifetime story.

Josalyn and Clint, thank you for giving me the privilege of sharing in your slice of happiness!

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They Did What We Did! Much Happiness to Carolyn and John, Married at Seattle’s Volunteer Park…

September 23, 2016


john-carolyn-1Years ago, my husband, Greg and I, were married in a tiny ceremony for “2” at his home in Woodinville. We then happily boarded a Holland America ship for Alaska, a first-time cruise for both of us (we’ve since been to Alaska this way 6 times!).

So, it made me smile when I heard that John and Carolyn were flying into Seattle to get married and then they, too, would be taking off on a solstice honeymoon cruise to Alaska.

On a lovely August morning at Volunteer Park, joined by two of their dearest friends, we stood together in a semi-circle and got these two beautiful love birds so hitched up, so married!

Take a look at these sweet faces ~ our world is a happier place, blessed by this sweet, loving and gracious couple.

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Jason + Laura at Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park: Lots of Personal and Sweet Touches…

September 23, 2016

As I was writing Jason and Laura’s wedding ceremony, I was touched by the amount of personal time and energy they were putting into small and big touches on their wedding day. jason-laura-stover

For instance, the Chuppah under which they held their marriage ceremony, was hand-crafted by Jason and Laura’s Father, Rik.  As Laura shared with me, bonds and relationships were strengthened during the creation of this Chuppah, which made their wedding day more meaningful.

For reception, it was fun to see all of the DIY touches that made the reception space that much more comfortable, easy-going and so “Jason and Laura.” jason-laura

And for ceremony, under the loving guidance of Wedding Planner Wendy Wojcik, all went beautifully.

Staging a processional at Golden Gardens Park can be a cumbersome task because of the people factor and the unknowns of a public space. With grace and ease, we had a beautiful processional of family and wedding party and got a gorgeous bride elegantly ‘down the aisle!’

Jason and Laura – here is to your marriage adventure!

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Sweetly Married at the Lovely DeLille Cellars in Woodinville: David and Misao

August 29, 2016


When it comes to a wedding day, such a lifetime experience is made that much sweeter when there is great kindness and graciousness woven into the day. DavidMisao

This is what I remember most about Misao and David’s wedding day.

Married at the end of July at DeLille Cellars in Woodinville, it was happiness for me to share in Misao and David’s wedding ceremony – a ceremony that reflected detail about their relationship, gratitude to their family and friends and other personal elements that tied everything together.

I look back and remember the love and devotion between these two, and I walked away with the heartfelt knowing that their family and friends were thrilled for this day…and rightfully so.

David and Misao, I wish you great joy as you move into this new phase of your journey together!

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Sam and David: Married on the 4th of July at the Glorious Kiana Lodge…

August 29, 2016

If there ever was a couple meant to love and marry, it’s Sam and David.

And it was my happiness to join them on their wedding day at Kiana Lodge…that much happier because it was the 4th of July!  SamDavid6

Joined by 100+ family and friends, we celebrated Sam and David with the gift of a gorgeous ceremony overlooking the water on the grounds of one of my most favorite venues ever for a ceremony, Kiana Lodge.

Within Sam and David’s ceremony, we incorporated personal elements including a few ‘surprise photos’ taken during ceremony by this very loving and sweet duo (see photo at right).

Most of all and with much happiness, I smile as I remember these two Sweethearts and wish them much happiness on their marriage adventure!

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Tidbits of Wisdom and Memories from Wonderful Summer 2016 Weddings…

August 25, 2016

My husband and I love dogs.  Cancel that.  We adore dogs.

In our time together, we have rescued dogs with vision problems and had also loved dogs who have lost their vision. SteveJulie

Perhaps this was one of the reasons I was so enchanted with Steve and Julie, married on Friday evening at DeLille Cellars.  This compassionate and gracious couple rescued their sweet dog, Kodi, a few years ago.  Kodi, who is now blind, was presented mid-ceremony as a ‘surprise ring bearer’ – a sweet surprise from Steve to his beautiful bride.

Two beautiful ladies, Kimball and Nicole, were sweetly married at The Pickering Barn on Sunday afternoon, surrounded by a great group of very joyful family and friends.  KimballNicole

These two women worked with me to create a beautiful ceremony that not only celebrated the two of them but their family and friends as well.  We wrote in a sweet remembrance for Kimball’s brother who is no longer with us as well as other pieces that reflect the anticipation these two gracious women have for their future.

JoannaMark2I love a wedding ceremony on Bainbridge Island.  Newcomers to the area, Mark and Joanna, chose the Hilltop park area for their ceremony and a lovely restaurant in Winslow for their reception.

This dynamic duo love adventure and while they are on their honeymoon to Alaska, I’m delighted to share this sweet picture taken just after ceremony.

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GREAT JOY! Helen + Martin Marry At The Lovely Alderbrook Resort…

August 8, 2016

When I received this marvelous photo from Photographer Jennygg, I just smiled.  BIG!

It was happiness for me to make a June road trip to the lovely Alderbrook Resort on Hood Canal to share in Martin and Helen’s wedding day.  Martin and Helen

These two love birds share a most delightful love story and this, and so much more, we celebrated with the gift of a personalized ceremony on a lovely June Sunday afternoon.

When Helen first met Martin in person, she thought to herself, “so this is what my future looks like!”  She went to give Martin a hug and he said to her, “I’ve driven all of this way….I deserve a hug!”

What I appreciate and cherish about Martin and Helen is their commitment, not only to their loving relationship but to the children of their union.  A wedding day is that much more special when it truly honors the children of a marriage and the honesty that goes with all of the ups and downs of a blended family.

Helen and Martin – I’m the lucky one….you found me!  Much, much happiness to both of you…


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Daniel + Zoe: A Field Of Lavender and a Beautiful Wedding Day!

August 8, 2016

There is a hidden gem in Woodinville, a field of abundant lavender that is hidden from the eye off the the Woodinville Redmond road.ZoeDaniel

Called Woodinville Lavender, this beautiful venue has fields of gorgeous lavender and a few weeks ago, at the peak of the season, Daniel and Zoe chose to be married, surrounded by such color and goodness!

I was touched that Daniel and Zoe co-created with me, a ceremony that celebrated their relationship in such a poignant and deeply touch way ~ and one that also honored family and friends.

This was extra special for me because even though Daniel and Zoe are young (and fabulous!), they desired a personal ceremony that celebrated their shared vision and anticipation  for their years together….nothing ‘blah, blah, blah’ here.

Daniel and Zoe, I wish you much happiness on your marriage adventure!   Beautiful Photo:  Jenn Tai


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From Iceland To Seattle With Love! Celebrating Elizabeth and Gerald at Lord Hill Farms…

August 1, 2016

Elizabeth + Gerald.

From different States, they unexpectedly met in Iceland while on separate adventure trips.   Elizabeth Gerald

After a week together in this lovely foreign country, they returned home. Shortly thereafter, Gerald was making his way across several States to see Elizabeth. And as they say, the rest is history!

Joined by happy family and friends, Elizabeth and Gerald, were married on Sunday, July 26th at Lord Hill Farms in Snohomish.

Elizabeth was absolutely beautiful, despite the heat of the day. It was a treat for me to celebrate with this couple and their festive group of family and friends, including Elizabeth’s delightful and spunky Grandmother!

At the end of the day, these two lovebirds were married and all was right with the world.

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A Group Photo for a Fabulous Couple and Their Family and Friends…

August 1, 2016

I love everything about Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo for a wedding.

Everything.  annie dave youn

And life is always better when you have a lovely couple who appreciates this gorgeous venue as much as I do.

On July 2nd, it was a pleasure for me to join Dave and Annie for their wedding ceremony at Kiana Lodge, surrounded by their family and friends.

When I look back on Dave and Annie’s day, I not only remember the two of them as a hugely committed, honoring and sweet couple, but I was taken with their commitment to get a group photo immediately after ceremony.Annie Dave Youn1

I LOVE a group photo.  It’s not easy to get one and takes some post-ceremony logistics to get it right – and when done, it’s a lifetime memento. (the photo to the right is mine and doesn’t do the moment justice!).

Dave and Annie – wishing you much happiness on your marriage adventure!


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Blake + Anastasia: A Country Wedding at the Lovely Pine River Ranch in Leavenworth…

August 1, 2016

Sometimes a girl just needs a mid-summer wedding road trip!

My excuse was Blake and Anastasia’s wedding at the magnificent Pine River Ranch in Leavenworth.   BlakeAnastasia

So, early on July 23rd, I got in the car and started driving over I-90 to Leavenworth.  I arrived early and after a bit of walking around the town, I made my way out to the Pine River Ranch.

If I could clone Blake and Anastasia, I would do it.  These two are an Officiant’s dream couple – fun-loving, easy-going, gracious and focused on what is important on a wedding day.

Anastasia was just beautitful and her boots (which complemented her gown beautifully) made me smile!

We had a lovely ceremony outside under a flowered arbor.  Yes, it was hot and happily, all went very well.  I drove off with a happy feeling in my heart, knowing these two were brought together for all the right reasons.


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Russell + Nicole: Sweetly Married At Roche Harbor…

July 25, 2016

It was happiness for me to take a Kenmore Air seaplane out of Lake Union on July 9th as I made my way to Russell and Nicole for their wedding ceremony at Roche Harbor.RussellNicoleCrew

This was a wedding of two very beautiful people, dear family and friends and a quest to create a “time out” for a weekend to enjoy, celebrate and to create lifetime memories.

In the waterside garden of the Roche Harbor Resort, Russell and Nicole exchanged vows in the happy presence of 100+ family and friends who traveled for this much anticipated destination wedding.

For ceremony, we shared a bit of Russell and Nicole’s love story, an honoring of family present, a little tribute to Russell’s daughter (and a hug), a remembrance for Russell’s Mom and Nicole’s Father and more.

As the seaplane took off a few hours later, my heart was full, so grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of this happy day and weekend.

Russell and Nicole…wishing you great blessings on your marriage adventure!

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Your Seattle Wedding Day: Create a Day Around What Is Truly Important…

July 5, 2016

I’m at home after a big Fourth of July wedding weekend.

I’m tired and I’m happy.  Lovely couples were beautifully married and all went well.

As I reflect on the weekend, I know one thing:  after so much anticipation to a wedding day, it’s important to remember what is important.  And what really doesn’t matter.  jamie and Justin

For Bill and Katy, it was just about “them” as they celebrated 14 years of togetherness.  Under my favorite huge tree I call “Esther.”   KatyBill2

For Jaime and Justin, it was about them and their small gathering of family and friends.  And to be married on the 4th of July, was a big personal deal for them.  Heck, they have a sweet dog named “Liberty!”

4th of July Love: David and Scott had the sweetest ceremony with family/friends before they boarded a cruise ship.  Kerry and Heidi were married on Alki Beach at sunset.  Sandro and Erica lit up DeLille Cellars with their great joy and Georgian traditions. Dave and Annie did things big and fabulous at Kiana Lodge.  And two days later, Sam and David, surrounded by family and friends, had the best fun during a vibrant and robust ceremony – also at Kiana Lodge.

As I shared with Bill and Katy:  what is big, is really small ~ what is small is really big.

Photo:  Justin/Jamie – jennygg   Photo:  Bill/Katy:  Sarah Potter

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