I (Cate) was there when Chris and Mandy met. We were volunteering with the Peace Corps in Moldova, and Mandy and I had gone to Balti, the second largest city in Moldova, for a little weekend get away. It was chilly, because I remember Mandy waving her bright, striped gloves in the air because she’d recognized another volunteer (who had been there a year longer than we had) across the Plaza. As soon as he walked over I could feel this weird chemistry between them… I watched them play on a jungle gym and then ride the Soviet era ferris wheel together and I just knew something was different and great about this guy but it wasn’t the right time. Two days later was apparently a much better time and they started dating.
Fast forward 3 1/2 years and Mandy and Chris had spent 3 years in South Korea teaching and doing amazing things with art such as creating an arts magazine and a screen printing company. Finally Chris asked Mandy to marry him and boom… just a couple of weeks later they signed the documents in South Korea and made it official. She messaged me and said they were going to be back in the States in August and she wanted us to be there- and bring The Photo Bus as well- to celebrate in a very non-traditional way. Non-traditional became a little bit more traditional (including a white dress from BHLDN!). Unfortunately it didn’t work out to bring the bus, but it did work out for John and I to be their photographers!
Here’s how the wedding was traditional: Mandy wore a white dress, Chris wore a suit, they had an intimate outdoor ceremony with their closest friends and family, and there was a reception with delicious food and drinks.
Here’s how the wedding was untraditional: Chris and Mandy got ready together (with their super close friends) in a house they were renting through AirBnB. Mandy had her hair done at a blow out beauty bar and came home and put on her own makeup. There was no real plan for the ceremony at the Seattle Arboretum except to be there… John scouted and picked a beautiful location and had everyone gather around, and then her mom and dad (and dog) walked her down the aisle. Their best friends, who they met in South Korea, married them. Both Mandy and Chris mentioned “poop” in their vows at least twice (Peace Corps makes you a LOT more comfortable talking about that kind of stuff). After the ceremony everyone had a picnic in the park and ate the most amazing sandwiches I think I’ve ever had. The driver picked us up, and “us girls” went back to the blow out beauty bar to get our hair and make up done, including Mandy, who got a completely new “do” (Yes, this was AFTER the ceremony, family photos, and some portraits of the two-three of them)! After the makeovers we (no bridal party… just friends!) went to their hotel room to relax, enjoy some bubbly, and get Mandy back in her wedding dress. [enter traditional part here of taking photos of just the 2 of them]… then the reception at The Piranha Shop began! There was no first dance, cake, or food served to everyone. Instead, food trucks provided the meals (I say “meals” because it was impossible not to try all of them!) and the dessert.
The tables were decorated with wild flowers and art supplies, Dicks Burgers were delivered for a late-night-snack, and the combination of the band/DJ kept the party going until after midnight. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without their INCREDIBLE wedding coordinator, Alex, from Tailor’d Events, who worked with Mandy and Chris to plan this while they were abroad!
The following day we all hopped on a boat and we got an inside tour of the outside of Seattle.
Mandy and Chris’s wedding was one for the books… I’m so happy we were able to celebrate with them. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed the weekend!