Rebecca Anne Photography captured this rooftop courthouse elopement and is sharing with you this sweet downtown Seattle nuptials!
Helena and Sothea share their love story below.
Where do I even begin to start talking about Helena and Sothea’s intimate Downtown Seattle Courthouse Elopement? Helena reached out to me quite a long time ago, before she could even reserve a time slot at the courthouse for their elopement wanting to starting planning their day! They are from Texas and she had been searching for the perfect place for them to elope. She happened to stumble across one of my Seattle Courthouse Elopements and fell in love with the look of the city from the rooftop of the courthouse and the urban feel of Pioneer Square and that was that! They made their plans with their closest friends and family and flew to Seattle. As I sat outside the front of the courthouse and waited for them I heard “REBECCAAA!!!!” from Helena as she ran up the steps so excited! I instantly knew this girl was my kinda bride. We hustled upstairs where their friends and family were already waiting and checked in. I got to hear of their story of how they met as they told the judge while filling out paperwork and then we headed to the rooftop for their intimate and emotional ceremony. Afterwards we took lots of photos with family and then headed to Occidental Square for their bride and groom portraits. I absolutely adored how in love Helena was with her Jenny Yoo dress from BHLDN and she could not stop swirling around while wearing it.
Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
A: The inspiration ultimately was a combination of "let's take it easy" and "we want to go to PAX (Penny Arcade Expo)". We had a friend that the year prior did a really nice elopement in San Francisco and that sort of seeded the idea into our brain. We mutually decided to get married (with him proposing officially later), and at the start was simply "We're going to do this in Seattle whether you guys are there or not!", and as the planning went underway, everybody decided to go and we were absolutely surprised by that. We're Asians but non-traditional and we're non-religious, so this is the best setup for us. Plus, we've been to Seattle twice before for PAX, and we absolutely loved the scenery and the weather!
Q: Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A: We had an after-the-ceremony dinner with family and close friends who came for the ceremony, but it's not an official reception as we planned a real one for a month after. We decided to let the scenery of Seattle be the ceremony decoration, and have the food at Din Tai Fung off Pacific Place be the after party.
Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
A: We utilized Pike Place Market the day before for my bouquet, the Dahlia in my hair and his boutonniere. I picked out 4 wonderful bouquets for him to choose from, and of course he picked the one with a sunflower in it (his last name is Sun, cue minor eye roll). I picked out the Dahlia; they were in season and it was just too beautiful to pass up. My sister-in-law was the biggest helper; she helped me ribbon up the bouquet and made the boutonniere, which I was very grateful.Overall, the way I handled this was along the same line as the rest of the planning: "this is fine". We weren't picky about stuff, and didn't have a color, so everything was super easy and we just made stuff work.
Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A: My favorite part of the whole day was how well everything turned out. The entirely planning process hinged on everything working just right the day of as I was planning in another state, so there was no meeting in person, no checking to see if I like my vendor, nothing but blind faith and I'm glad with the people I went with. Everything simply turned out perfect; even the judge that got assigned to officiate our ceremony was very personable and wonderful to speak with. I couldn't ask for a better turn out.
Q: Let's talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
A: Me: Please call me the Lazy Bride. My entire wedding was planned online in a very literal sense. It was not just planning and coordinating with people across in another state, but I didn't even bother go try on any dresses. I knew the style of dress that I wanted, which is something very flowy and possibly chiffon as the material, and I didn't want strapless nor did I want anything crazily bejeweled; I wanted soft, elegant look that will not hinder my movement (especially when I dance at my reception; yes, I got to wear my dress twice!). I went on BHLDN and looked under reception dress; it was there I found my Jenny Yoo Nadya dress in Ivory. I wait for the dress to go on sale and bought it, and then bought a Jenny Yoo belt to go with it on sale as well later. Since my mother in law is a seamstress, she was able to do minor alteration for me. For my husband, we knew navy suit would be the way to go with a bow tie. He did not go try on suits either; his brother has the same suit and we liked how it looked on my husband (they wear similar sizes) that we went ahead and bought the same one for his size on Black Friday. For our shoes: his was a brown dress shoes his brother found at a garage sale that were brand new, though I forgot the brand. Mine were second hand as well, the brand is Poetic Justice and I believe they were originally sold on Modcloth.The opal earrings and ring I wore were actually a set that was given to my mother by my grandmother (who couldn't make it due to old age), who thus gave them to me. I specifically asked my mother if I can borrow older jewelry from her as I wanted to add significance to what I wear, and she ended up giving me the set.
Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A: My husband and I met in 2005 on this social media site called Hi5. It's a bit weird to talk about it, since this was way before online dating was a thing like it is now, and my original intent was not looking for a boyfriend. I was 18 at the time and he was 19; I had originally messaged him as I was looking for people to essentially be pen pals with on that site and did a search for people in Asia, but somehow he was the first or second entry that popped up. I messed him and we started talking, and it would take another month or so before I realize we're in the same city, and about another month or so before we meet in person. I was not expecting a proposal as we had a conversation and we mutually decided to turn this over a decade, if-our-relationship-is -a-person-this-kid-would-be-in-6th-grade relationship official. We got engaged in April 2016, and we waited until Christmas to announce to friends and family; I was already planning by then and reached out to vendors essentially over a year in advance! I'm also a little slow with uh, I guess some romantic gestures, because we had a ring made for me that I participated in the design process for; the night of the friends' gather I thought about it and wanted to grab the box but I couldn't find it, so I approached my husband in a mild panic that I couldn't find it. He told me he had it, but I didn't get the hint then and told my sister in law about it (who did not react to it whatsoever externally). He apparently had it in his jacket pocket, which meant that once we were are our friends' apartment, he did not take his jacket off. I, the slowpoke here, asked him more than once he must be hot and he should take his jacket off, which he declined. At some point in the night, he had my sister in law played a song he liked on the bluetooth speaker, ambushed me in the middle of the living room, ring box in hand, and did a real official proposal. Our friends were ecstatic and excited out of their minds, he shed a few tears, and all the while I was in this dazed "what just happened" mode.
Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A: Weirdly enough, I was not nervous or nearly as emotional as I thought I would be leading up to the big day. The jitters did not occur until we're on the way in the car, and I thought we were going to be late. I thought I would have had a "oh my god this is it" moment when the marriage license was signed, but it turned out as the nervousness set in I didn't even realized the judge signed the license as he chatted us up. In fact, I didn't even realize that was what was happening when we signed the license too! Maybe it's because the the license looked like a regular form and it threw me off, but it's definitely that one moment that stuck out to me that I won't forget. Also I felt freaking beautiful. I also loved that our couple's portrait location as it was exactly what I wanted.
Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day?
A: I will quote Mel Brooks here: "Hope for the best, expect the worst".Planning an out of state ceremony + a honeymoon right after + a small reception 2 weeks after you get home from honeymoon is probably a bit much, but that's what we did, though I would not recommend it to everyone. Honestly, everything I knew about wedding planning, especially after being a bridesmaid a couple of times, I knew things can go wrong and it usually does. I say approach it as relaxed as you can be, and don't be afraid to rely on those you can count on. Planning is stressful, but always remember that it's just a day and not the rest of your life; definitely look forward to the times you'll be spending together and not just that one night. That's what matters. Positivity is probably what every brides need but can't always have due to unforeseen circumstances, but we try :)
Photographer: Rebecca Anne Photography
Dress Designer: Jenny Yoo
Dress Store: BHLDN
Location: Seattle Courthouse
Happy Wedding Planning!