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Laura Hunt

An Unforgettable Weekend
Text: Johanna Kaestner
La Vie Photography

        Not wanting to get caught up in the whirlwind of wedding day details, Andrea promised herself she would try to embrace each moment of her special day.

When she thinks back to that unexpectedly sunny September day, she still remembers the festive ceremony at St. Joseph’s Church, during which she promised Steve a life.

The ceremony was followed by the joyful, warm, family-oriented reception in the stately, beautifully decorated Rainier Club in Seattle. Sitting next to her new husband and listening to her father's and brother's heartwarming speeches, the impromptu remarks by family and friends, and the cheers, skols, and chin-chins that reflected the backgrounds of the different families, Andrea was overjoyed to experience this beautiful time with the man she loved.

It was fun to see all her relatives again and to meet the new ones from Steve's side. The guests came from as far away as Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Later, after floating with Steve over the dance floor, she danced with her own proud father. This dance was particularly special because, just three days before her dad's physician had given him a clean bill of health, so he was able to keep his promise of leading her in this dance. That was the best gift of all.

How quickly the time had passed since their first encounter while working for the same corporation four years ago; their falling in love in Italy, Steve's wedding proposal in Hawaii, and the wedding planning process.

Andrea was lucky; she had a wonderful support group: her mother Kristi, an experienced hostess and a former caterer, and Kristi's friend Linda, an seasoned event coordinator from the San Francisco Bay Area. Linda assisted mother and daughter with ideas via email and phone, and oversaw the wedding day.

"It was great to see so much of Mom, and I loved to spend so much time with her. Of course, there were times when planning got hectic, but overall the process was enjoyable,” Andrea told me. Her mother also cherished the planning time with her reasonable daughter.  

In addition to supporting Andrea and Kristi's efforts, Steve created the beautiful invitations.

Andrea designed her three-part wedding gown. She then handed over the design to Carmen Hartill, a dressmaker in Olympia, who made the gown and helped with the details. The plain, strapless silk dress was adorned with a removable lace bustier which Andrea wore during the ceremony and then later while dancing. During the cocktail hour and dinner, Andrea exchanged the bustier for a lace bolero.

Since John and Kristi were members of the prestigious Rainier Club in Seattle, the choice of venue was easy. In addition to being able to have exclusive use the club, they could book the 5 guest rooms for an overnight stay. Out of town family stayed in the club while Andrea and Steve had booked a suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle.

The reception began with the cocktail hour in the club's rooms upstairs. Then the guests were invited downs to the main dinning hall. Andrea and Steve choose an Italian menu reminiscent of their first trip to Italy. The dinner began with Italian bread, olive oil, and cheeses displayed on the long kings tables. The main course, pasta and Saltimbocca, was served by the waiters, followed by the cake cutting ceremony before the dancing began. A big hit was the self-serve S'.mores Station, which was set up next to one of the club's large fireplaces.

The event took place over a four day weekend, with the rehearsal dinner on Thursday night, a buffet-style BBQ for the out-of-town guests on Friday night that hosted by Andrea's brother, and a Sunday brunch hosted by Andrea's parents Kristi and John.

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