I know there’s a “what a catch” joke I could make about this Seattle Aquarium Wedding, but I’ll refrain. It’s just too pretty to ruin with a pun! Aside from the unique venue, the bride was glowing in her Monique Lhuillier gown and the whole affair looked perfectly verdant thanks to the floral genius of Loves Me Flowers. Bogle Productions captured some highlights from the day, so sit back and enjoy the view.
From The Bride…Patrick and I met in Seattle. I was very much a California native, with a love of being in the water and basking in the sun. He was a Pacific Northwest native, with a passion for the natural lush landscape and hiking the mountains. We debated between hosting the wedding in CA vs WA, but in the end, we wanted to celebrate where we met. We also wanted a wedding that would bring out these elements, and offer an outdoor/indoor experience for our guests to share our interests with them (and to avoid any incidents with the unstable Seattle rainy weather). We chose the Seattle Aquarium for many reasons: the gorgeous backdrop in the Puget Sound surrounded by the Olympic mountains and Mount Rainier, the uniqueness of hosting cocktail hour surrounded by giant octopus, starfish and tide pools with a sea otter feeding that can’t be viewed during normal visitor hours, and the notable giant wall of fish tank and unlimited access to the Aquarium throughout the night. There was never a dull moment available in the agenda!
We experienced so much love the week leading up to the wedding. Several girlfriends showed up at our place every night to volunteer their entire evenings to help prepare. The most grueling work was the escort cards that required different colored ribbons to denote which entrée type (red for beef, yellow for chicken, green for vegetarian) tied to starfish. Who knew finding 200 starfish of the right size and 16 rolls of red ribbon in the exact same color, size, and type would be so time consuming! An artsy friend volunteered to make my headpiece and showed up the day before the wedding rehearsal with 30 different options for my bridal party and I to play with. Two bridesmaids spent 16 hours baking 250 perfect macarons with flavors like earl grey and strawberry-raspberry cream filling, vanilla almond with lemon buttercream filling for our dessert table. Another friend took a cupcake decorating class and created red velvet mini cupcakes with beautiful flowers adorned on top. The outpour of support and excitement for our wedding made us only more enthused for the big day.
The day of, weather suddenly cleared after a week of gloomy darkness and heavy rain. It was clear and sunny, emphasizing the natural beauty of Seattle for our guests. As our string trio started playing Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major”, I smiled at my father and told him I was ready. Walking down the aisle, I was left breathless at sight of the intertwined fingertips of the 2 separate manzanita branches that symbolized our unity, filled with dozens of gold orchids, creating a simply elegant beachside look for the ceremony arbor. There were ombre rose petals placed in swirls on the runner. It felt magical. Our florist and our wedding planner truly brought my ideas to life in a way that was beyond our expectations.
After the ceremony, the guests enjoyed cocktail hour handling the sea life in the tide pool area and a rotating wheel of baby jellyfish. The guests were also treated to cute otters swimming on their backs, munching on crab legs. Watching the otters float by, chomping happily, we got to greet everyone as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time.
Patrick had a big surprise waiting for me as we sat down for the reception. He had been taking several quarters of Mandarin lessons, and gave his entire welcome speech in Chinese. The room erupted in applause and I was touched by his gesture and acknowledgement of our combined cultures on our wedding day. The rest of the night went perfectly. The speeches were heartfelt, words of wisdom from our dads, and fond memories from our Maid of Honor and Best Man.
We are very close to our family and wanted to blend aspects from our parents’ weddings into ours. His parents provided us with the exact wine glasses they used at their wedding that were from his grandmother’s hometown. My parents helped us placed the traditional Chinese wedding symbols for “double happiness” on the windows and we conducted the traditional ceremony of receiving red packets from immediate family.
Most of our guests were our age, so we wanted to emphasize the liveliness of the crowd and chose bold colors. Chinese wedding colors are traditionally gold and red, so we wanted to mix those in with our colors.
Patrick chose brightly patterned socks for his groomsmen to wear. I chose true red bridesmaid dresses. We wanted to liven up the reception, so we used red linens accented by white chairs and napkins. The background lights fluctuate between red, purple, and green. There was a white wall with 3D waves that was lit up in a multitude of colors.
Seattle grows amazing flowers, especially during the summer season. My favorites are peonies, calla lilies, and roses. The bouquets were a blend of all 3 types in orange, yellow, and magenta pink. Our florist went beyond expectations in creating the flower pieces for the aisle and the table centerpieces. The orange-yellow orchids in the bottom of the vase was a pleasant surprise.
We wanted to incorporate our love of the outdoors with our aquarium motif, so our wedding planner found some vintage Montauk wood crates and used it to decorate our welcome table. We found some different sized treasure chests and used them to store the wedding gifts. There were 6″ white lanterns that resembled lighthouses scattered throughout with candles inside to give a rustic beach vibe. We added ghostwood around the reception for a washed ashore look. We filled aqua wooden crates with sand and placed the starfish name tags so they stood tall.
For the ceremony arbor, we chose manzanita branches to touch as we stood under the arch. The branches reminded us of driftwood and decorated it with dozens of gold orchids. Lights were also strung around the branches, creating a romantic arbor for our sunset kiss.
Our delicious cake was provided by Celebrity Cake Studio were flexible and creative. They provided us with a 5 layered pink champagne cake filled with Bavarian cream. The outside layer was a turquoise buttercream with orange-yellow calla lilies cascading along the three square tiers. The turquoise layer was also sprayed with a gold sheen, to reflect the shimmer that’s on top of waves. Going with the aquarium venue, I got custom made penguin cake toppers with the bride and groom matching what we wore: the bride held orange calla lilies and wore a veil, and the groom had a tuxedo on.
It was the biggest party we have ever thrown and we are so happy that we hired a videographer to capture every moment of our wedding.
Photography: Red Box Pictures | Videography: Bogle Productions | Event Planning: Lindeman Weddings | Floral Design: Loves Me Flowers | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Celebrity Cake Studio | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids Dresses: JJs House | Hair & Makeup: Shanelle Allen | Bridesmaids Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. | Custom Hangers: Almas Weddings | Groomsmen Attire: Brooks Brothers | Music: Windsong Classical Trio | Transportation: British Motor Coach | Venue: Seattle Aquarium