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Seattle DIY Boathouse Wedding

I have been crazy in love with this Justin Alexander number ever since the first time I saw it from this wedding we featured last year, and I don’t think I will ever tire of it. This wedding captured by Nichole Jordan brings all the charm of Seattle, and sun with it too! The bride and groom, Josh and Ali, are photographers as well, so you can be rest assured their day was nothing short of creative! You can view this wedding on Nichole’s blog and all images in the gallery right here.

vintage Seattle wedding boathouse
vintage Seattle wedding boathouse

From the bride, Ali: Vision: It was really important to us that our wedding was fun, light-spirited, intimate and DIY. We met in college as art students and so we really wanted to incorporate creative elements into our wedding. Josh and I now work as wedding photographers, and I love crafting, so creating the perfect wedding together was such a blast! I was very lucky to have a groom who was strangely involved in the whole process and genuinely enjoyed it. We only invited 50 guests and most everyone lived out of town so we were on our own in the planning! We managed to keep to a small budget while still making sure everything was really special. The first thing I bought was my wedding dress, and I kept an inspiration folder to build off of the vintage feel of the dress! I had pictures I saved from different movies or shows we loved that had vibrant colors and carnival-esque themes, such as Big Fish, Water for Elephants, and Pushing Daisies. The inspiration phase of planning was the best! We chose to go with red, eggshell blue, and black for colors, with ‘love birds,’ stripes, and red hearts throughout the wedding. I also wanted the girls’ dresses to be different colors but the same vintage style, so the hunt for those began early on!

vintage Seattle wedding boathouse
vintage Seattle wedding boathouse
vintage Seattle wedding boathouse

Handmade elements: So many elements of the day were handmade, and the rest were from etsy. Our apartment became a little wedding workshop! I created the nest boutonnieres and matched them to the bridesmaid’s hair fascinators, which I also made. I did not use any DIY instructions- I just made them with materials I liked so they were one of a kind. The girls carried lavender, which I wrapped in burlap with vintage-style buttons matching their different dress colors tied on with twine. My dad, who walked me down the aisle, and Josh’s dad, who officiated the ceremony, both had lavender boutonnieres to match the girl’s bouquets. I had my friend and talented florist of Monday’s Flowers create my bouquet before I put my hand-made touch on it: I wrapped it in burlap and individually sewed on vintage buttons with lace ribbon tied on loosely. The groomsmen wore ties (red, blue, and black respectively) to match the bridesmaid dresses. Josh chose for each tie to have a different design based on an inside joke with each groomsman (the guys also carried unique flasks). As for the groom’s tie, Josh wore ivory to match my dress with peacock feathers because it’s my favorite bird and it went with our theme.

vintage Seattle wedding boathouse
vintage Seattle wedding boathouse

Josh is a talented designer, so he and I worked together to create our invites, rsvp cards, and programs. For the reception tables, we spray painted wine bottles and small collected containers ivory and tied burlap and heart buttons around them with twine. The vases were filled with flowers from Pike’s Place Market, springs of lavender, and twigs. I made our favors by using small seed cartons and putting wildflower seeds inside of them, sewing on instructions with a pearl to each one (some of our guests’ flowers are already planted, so now they can think of our wedding and our love growing!). For our place settings, I used chalkboard paint on stones to paint ‘bride’ and ‘groom’, placed in birds nests that had lavender springs tied on with ribbon. I planned out how I wanted our sign-in table to look. Josh made the sign-in book with our engagement photos, and I decorated the table with a burlap runner my mom made, various gathered items such as birdhouses, and milk glass vases from my grandmother who could not be at the wedding. We did not have a planner, so for the day of the wedding, I had created detailed instruction lists with pictures of how I wanted everything set up. Friends and family were so helpful in making my vision happen! They filled up heart balloons, assembled flowers, and followed my instructions to a T. We were so grateful to hand over duties to them!

vintage Seattle wedding boathouse
vintage Seattle wedding boathouse

Ceremony: Josh and I wrote out the ceremony ourselves from beginning to end, keeping some familiar elements but making it all our own with special quotes (such as: “Sometimes, the only way to catch an uncatchable woman is to offer her a wedding ring” from Big Fish) and unique wording. We used the word “partner” and gender-neutral language out of respect for friends at our wedding and our belief in wedding equality. Every word meant something to us. We had family members send marriage suggestions to our officiant so that we heard them for the first time the day of the wedding. With Josh’s dad officiating, the ceremony was fun, relaxed, and very intimate. Everyone was crying (even the manliest of men). Josh and I wrote our own vows and people are still talking about how lovely his were, in particular. I was so emotional I could barely read mine!

vintage Seattle wedding boathouse
vintage Seattle wedding boathouse

Songs at the Wedding: Music was so important to us for the theme of the wedding. We handpicked every song that would play throughout the entire day, including the order they would play in. That was a fun project! I walked down the aisle to “Comptine d’un autre ete” by Yann Tierson from the movie Amelie. The wedding party walked down to “The Winner Is” by Devotchka. For the recessional we played, “I Would Walk 500 Miles” by The Proclaimers. The reception was more of a dinner party with the perfect playlist, with over 80 different artists (some were: Alexi Murdoch, Joey Ryan, Iron and Wine, Sigur Ros, Mumford and Sons, She and Him, and Rufus Wainwright). We also had an entrance song, “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, as well as a cupcake song, “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson. We did our first dance to “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Ingrid Michaelson, our Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance to “Black Bird” (the Glee version) and a special surprise song so our parents could dance together to “Faithfully”. As the night went on, the music became more bouncy and “fun,” including artists like Flogging Molly, Regina Spektor, Belle and Sebastian, and The Pogues.

vintage Seattle wedding boathouse

See Also
bride and groom kiss in front of floral arch

Memorable Moments: The whole bridal party came to the venue in a limo and the bridesmaids and I rode into the actual ceremony, getting out of the limo one by one, which was so much fun. Josh and I used it after the ceremony to ride away and spend a moment alone near the water to drink a glass of champagne. The day was so surreal so this time away really helped! Hearing each other’s vows ended up being our very favorite part of the day. Also, we did our exchange of rings very untraditionally by writing them each ourselves, which turned out to be quite the hit! As Josh put the ring on my finger he said, “Ali, I give you this ring as a promise to love you, randomly bring you flowers, slow dance with you in our quiet apartment, and rock you like a hurricane.” As I put on his ring I said, “Josh, I give you this ring as a promise to make you pancakes at midnight, to leave love letters on your windshield, and to love you madly.”

vintage Seattle wedding boathouse

Advice: Keep healthy and relaxed! Planning a wedding is fun but stressful, and I know I took on a little too much myself, which is probably why I ended up being very sick the week of the wedding (and the day of, darn it)! The whole planning process I kept thinking, “Oh, I can totally make that!” Though I enjoyed my projects, I suggest other couples delegate to either a planner or friends and family! Josh sent a masseuse to my hotel the morning of the wedding and it was much needed and such a lovely bride’s gift. Also, find vendors you trust and keep true to your vision for your day, but don’t be afraid to go with the flow of things when things don’t work out as you planned. We LOVED breaking traditions that didn’t make sense for us, personally, and that made it easy to plan! Josh and I would ask ourselves, “Is this element of weddings important to US?” If it was not, we didn’t worry about it. The day goes so quickly, so enjoy every moment and make sure it is well documented!

this wedding we featured last year, and I don’t think I will ever tire of it. This wedding captured by Nichole Jordan brings all the charm of Seattle, and sun with it too! The bride and groom, Josh and Ali, are photographers as well, so you can be rest assured their day was nothing short of creative! You can view this wedding on Nichole’s blog and all images in the View all images from this wedding in the gallery!

Wedding Venue + Vendors (Seattle, Washington):

Venue (Ceremony/Reception and Catering): Ray’s Boathouse / Hair/Makeup: Kat Green Events / Wedding Dress: I Do Bridal, Justin Alexander 8465 / Rings: E.E. Robbins / Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse / Bridesmaid Dresses: Unique Vintage / Bride’s bouquet: Monday’s Flowers / Cupcakes: Cupcake Royale / Photographer: Nichole Jordan Photography / Bridal Suite: Chelsea Station Inn / Alterations: Debra Hedeen

View Comments (25)
  • Oh, how charming! The bride’s dress and hairstyle are just so, so… DARLING! I love it! I would love it if I could have hair styled like that.. it’s just so… DARLING! There’s no other word! Her hair deserves a post all in it’s own! The way her make up and hair is done, her just personal style overall is just stunning! I would love to see what our lovely bride looks like on a regular day- I wonder if I’d be able to recognize her, she looks so dreamy here! <3

  • Everything about this wedding is great! They both look stunning and the colors fit perfectly. I love their programs and the little details on the decorations! Beautiful!

  • Great lavender bouquets for the bridesmaids! Also, where did they get those white centerpiece vases?

  • Unbelievably cute! Plus they got a gorgeous weather day in Seattle – perfect.

  • The bride is a knockout! Wow… I love her look. The wedding’s fab too, the details especially the cupcakes looking all eclectic, slightly mismatched but coming together perfectly on the stand – LOVE it!!!

  • Wow! What a Beautiful, stunning, classy bride! Love the details and simple elegance of this affair.

  • Thanks for all the kind words, gang. My wife IS one dreamy lady, I must agree with you there.

    To answer stephen’s questions, the centerpieces were all glass vases and wine bottles we picked up and miscellaneous antique stores, spray painted with a matt ivory. Then Ali did all the decorating herself, attaching the burlap, twine and wooden hearts by hand.

    We’re glad you all love our wedding (ALMOST) as much as we loved putting it together. Cheers.

  • This is so beautiful. I love the song choices! I also love how you spray painted the wine bottles! I didn’t even realize they were wine bottles, until I read about how they were made. We have kept the wine bottles from one of every kind of wine we’ve ever had together, and are trying to think of creative ways to use them in the wedding, and this might be the idea we borrow 🙂 So beautiful.

  • oh wow, LOVE the dress! the images came out stunning with a great, calm feel. everything is just magical 🙂

    XO Sahra

  • I think that there are three things that I especially love about this post. Ali is simply stunning in this dress. Her hair is magical and smile is timeless…ok four..and I LOVE the details:)

  • I fell in love with this dress when you guys featured it last year too…! I just can’t get it out of my mind, I know it’s the dress for me! Ali looks incredible in it!

  • From a Grandmother & Grandfather in Texas who couldn’t come to the wedding due to illines it is great to see these fantistic photos of everthing and to know they were made by two beatuful people, there day was important to us and we wished we could have been there and in our hearts we were. They are special to us and we wish them a long and prosperous Life together at least 65 years as we have been together and still very much in love.

  • in answer to above- in person ali is just as gorgeous and the bride and groom are just as spectacular as they seem to be. we are so lucky that they are photographing our wedding next year. these photos are gorgeous (but it is easier when you have models like that).:) love this wedding and this blog entry.

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