Alice and Duncan met in Seattle, just months after Alice moved to the U.S. from her native Ireland. The couple set out to create a wedding day that celebrated both the Pacific Northwest, as well as Irish wedding traditions. The Orchard at Sunshine Hill set the scene—”open, elegant and the ceremony site had a full view of Mt. Rainier – a Washington State staple, in the background.” And—get this—the groom’s mother planted ALL the florals the fall prior to the wedding, so when the big day arrived the following June they had an abundance of local blooms for Doghouse Flowers Heidal to create the stunning arrangements. We’re loving the bright orchard vibes for fall and lucky for us Mist of Morning Photography was on hand to capture it all in these sunny photographs.
What made your wedding special & unique? Were there any touches that you added to make the day personal?
A: Duncan and I definitely had a vision for our day. We knew that we would have a lot of out of town guests there, and so we really wanted to give it a strong PNW feel. We wanted a barn wedding, but when we stumbled across ‘The Orchard at Sunshine Hill’ whilst looking at another venue in the area, we fell in love. It was open, elegant and the ceremony site had a full view of Mt. Rainier – a Washington State staple, in the background. Duncan’s Mom Stacy and her best friend Margaret (Doghouse Flowers Heidal) planted up all of the flowers the summer the year before, so that they were ready for us to use in June. And so all the flowers (and there were a lot of them!) were hand grown, just for us. I also made the mistake of thinking that sign making looked fun… I spent approximately 30 seconds on YouTube finding out how to stencil our own signs, and off I went! Duncan’s sister Lilli helped out, but in all we both must have spent about 50 hours making signs for anything that could possibly need instruction. The table signs, the seating chart, the bar menu, the unplugged ceremony. The list goes on and on!
D: Alice is from Ireland, and I am from Seattle, so it was very important that we included elements from both in our wedding: having an outdoor, American style “barn wedding”; choosing an Irish inspired tweed three-piece suit for the men; and including lots of beautiful PNW greenery in floral arrangements. We even transported everyone to the venue in a yellow school bus and had s’mores at the end of the night (which all of the Irish LOVED).
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
A: I am a huge thrift-store shopper. I love a bargain. I also didn’t have a clue what sort of a dress I wanted, so when I went in to a bridal gown shop with my parents to try them on, I was almost disappointed. We had an hour appointment, I tried on about 8 gowns, most of which I immediately knew were wrong, and they all cost a small fortune. Over a rosé-soaked lunch, I mentioned a store that I had heard of called ‘Brides for a Cause’. It was a store where all the proceeds went to charity, and people/stores donated their used/sample/excess dresses. My mother was hooked. We sent my father off sightseeing and we jumped in an Uber. It was a Thursday afternoon so we had the store basically to ourselves. Which was fantastic, because I stood half naked in the changing room whilst my Mother pulled dresses on and off of me. I must have tried on at least 40 dresses that day, but I loved it, because I was able to give every style a try, knowing that cost wouldn’t be a barrier – nothing that I tried on was more than about $800.
We put a few dresses on hold and came back the following morning to do it all again. When I put on my ceremony gown, we just knew. The chest area didn’t fit, but everything else hugged me perfectly. I wanted something that wouldn’t crumple when I walked – so the lace overlay was perfect. And I was surprised that I actually loved the flared skirt. It was my wedding day, and I wanted to feel like a princess. And at $2500 down to $450 for and unworn sample dress, we were SOLD. Funnily, the night before I had also tried on an incredible ‘party gown’, a backless number that Mum said wasn’t ‘suitable for a serious ceremony’. But once we found my dress, she said of course I had to have that one too – so that I could change in to it for the party! ($750 down to $150, again, a sample).
The alterations were interesting – unfortunately my ‘party gown’ took 11 fittings to get to fall correctly! But I wouldn’t change any of the decisions I made. I was so glad to be able to slip into something more breathable for the reception. Trish Jens from PA Jens Custom Sewing was my seamstress and I would recommend her in a heartbeat.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
A: The entire day was just magical and so I have a hard time picking out a memorable part. I tried hard to stand back and appreciate every part as it happened. From a prosecco-fueled morning getting ready with my girls, to the car down with my MOH Ruth and my parents, to the INCREDIBLY nerve wracking first look and excitedly greeting the bridal party as they arrived… I could go on and on. If I HAVE to choose though, one memory that feels as real today as it was then, was standing in the bridal cabin with the bridal party as the guests arrived and were seated. We had Sigur Ros playing as we walked down the aisle, and I got to watch as our bridal party headed out one at a time to the ceremony, leaving just my Mum and me alone. I couldn’t stop crying! But as my music started to play, Mum turned to me and said, ‘he’s the right man Alice, and I’m so, so happy for you both’. She was right – and that memory of walking down the aisle to my future husband, surrounded by all of my favorite people in the world will stay with me forever.
D: Right after the ceremony the entire wedding procession ended in the bridal suite. Everyone cleared out and Alice and I were alone. We were both a little too overwhelmed to do anything yet, so we spent a couple of minutes just holding each other. It was a beautiful way to start off our marriage; just her and me focusing on us first before getting distracted by anything else.
Tell us how you met & became engaged.
A: Duncan and I are both pretty active gym-goers, and so it figures as much that that is where we met. I had moved to Seattle from Ireland in September 2016 and wanted to find a social gym that would allow me to make friends in a city where I knew no one. I met Duncan within a few weeks (he was hard to miss – he was the beautiful, strong, shirtless man making lots of noise and throwing weights around) but since he worked out in the morning and I went in the afternoons, we rarely crossed paths. We got talking one day after I had been around for a few months and I found out that he was a. single and b. so much cooler than I thought… I started going to the gym in the morning and the rest is history!
We got engaged by the Ballard locks in Seattle. We’d discussed marriage a lot and so I knew that it was on the cards, but the actual proposal was a complete surprise. A passerby obviously realized what was happening before I did and stopped to take a picture of Duncan down on one knee. They came up to us afterwards and passed on the picture. It’s incredible to have a memento of it.
D: Our “Sunday Strolls” are probably my favorite part about the weekend. Most Sundays, after we have taken care of errands or social obligations on Saturday, Alice and I like to walk around different parts of Seattle, exploring neighborhoods, browsing shops, or discovering cool little cafes. So when it came time to propose, a Sunday Stroll was the obvious choice. That sunny, Spring afternoon watching the boats pass through the locks was the absolute perfect day – even though my heart was beating 200 bmp for about 90 minutes leading up to the proposal.
Photography: Mist of Morning Photography // Florist: Doghouse Flowers Heidal // Venue: The Orchard at Sunshine Hill // Ceremony Dress: Adriana Alier from Brides for a Cause // Hair & makeup: Bridal Beauty Agency // Reception dress: Brides for a Cause // Heels: ASOS // Jewelry: Anne Klein // Suit: Jennis & Warmann // Shoes: Cole Haan // Rings: Brilliant Earth // Catering: EZ Foods Olympia // Cupcakes: Truffles Cakery // DJ: Chris Blackburn