I couldn't think of a better way to end 2016 other than doing what I love the most which is documenting love stories! Carmella contacted me a few months ago after finding me from Carly + Austin's Seattle Courthouse Elopement Downtown. How fun is that?! It's so exciting to me how the world of social media works because it works! When you put it out there, people find you. If Carly never would have found me on Instagram, Carmella + Chris never would have found me.
I am completely falling in love with intimate elopement weddings.
While this is only my second offical Seattle Courthouse Elopement Downtown, I'm completely head over heels in love with the entire concept. There is something so romantic and intimate about this style of wedding that I am completely drawn to. Don't get me wrong, I love everything there is to love about big weddings but before now I'd never experienced something like this and it's opened my eyes to the power of simplicity.
Chris proposed just before the holidays in 2015. He said he wanted to go away for a couple of nights before heading home to see family. So Chris, their dog Louie, and Carmella traveled to Carmel, California. One morning after breakfast they were walking Louie on the beach when Chris turned to Carmella, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry him.
A little on the planning and vision that went into their courthouse elopement in Seattle!
Carmella didn't have a specific vision or color scheme for their courthouse elopement. If it were up to her own devices she would have probably shown up to the courthouse just her dress and a heavy overcoat. Luckily her wonderful mother-in-law and sister-in-law helped her with the gorgeous bouquet and (faux) fur wrap that you will see below in the images. It was those subtle details that made a huge difference with the photography and adding a little something special to the images.
Why the Seattle Municipal Court - 12th floor?
They chose to eschew the traditional, large ceremony in favor of a courthouse ceremony. Carmella absolutely adores big weddings and loves being a part of them. However, she had never in her life given any thought to what her own wedding would be like. And the more she and Chris discussed the idea of throwing a traditional wedding the more they realized how out of their depth they were! They decided in the late summer of 2016 to just keep it simple (and affordable). Her brother had gotten married at San Francisco City Hall the previous year and it was the most intimate and beautiful wedding they had ever been to. They decided to follow suit but instead get married in Seattle, where Chris grew up.
What made Carmella + Chris's Wedding ceremony so unique and special?
It was so incredibly intimate! They were only allowed to bring 14 people max to the ceremony so that only allowed room for the people who matter the most to the couple - parents, grandparents, siblings, and just one of their best friends. Since Chris and Carmella are from different states, this was the first time they had all of their family members together at the same time and because the courthouse was pretty busy that day, there was a lot of down time as they waited their turn to get married. But as a result, their families got a ton of time to talk and get to know each other better. Carmella said if they had done a bigger ceremony they would have probably been too busy mingling with others to spend that quality time together. Everything about their tiny ceremony affirmed their decision to buck tradition.
A little advice from one bride to another.
"Just do you! If you have been dreaming up the details of your future wedding since you were a little kid, you should definitely do your best to make those dreams real because getting married is one of the most significant events in your life. If you're more like me and wedding planning isn't your thing - do something small and easy. Also, no matter what you choose, people in your life will have an opinion. Just ignore the noise and be true to yourself!" -Carmella
When I asked Carmella and Chris what their favorite part of the day was, they said that it was hands down the ceremony! The ceremony itself lasted all of three minutes but was still long enough for Carmella to get completely choked up and lost in that moment with Chris and their loved ones. Standing together, holding hands, encircled by their parents, siblings, and grandparents as they made a lifelong commitment to each other was the most meaningful moment of her life and something she and Chris will never forget and it also affirmed their decision to have a very brief ceremony. Carmella says that she would never have been able to get a long set of vows out between her sobs! So now what you've been waiting for, the pictures!
Congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you again for inviting me into your lives for this breif time to help tell your love story. It was something I will never forget!