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Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding - Buckwart Wedding sign

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding – Tom Ellis Photography

Shannon and Kevin get married at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal

On September 3 Shannon Buckham and Kevin Stewart were married at Marine Park and the Cruise Terminal in Bellingham.  The event was dubbed the “BuckWart Wedding” by their friends, a combination of the couple’s names that had obviously been used for some time.  And I have to admit that I thought it was pretty clever.  But I am still unsure whether they plan to legally change their names to Kevin and Shannon Buckwart.  😉

Getting Ready at the Cruise Terminal

I arrived at the Cruise Terminal just before noon, at the same time Shannon and a couple of the bridesmaids were pulling up in their own car.  The weather was pretty nearly perfect, with clear skies and warm (but not too hot) temperatures.  Kevin and the groomsmen were already there, and were busy decorating the venue.  Shannon snuck in and she and the bridesmaids worked on getting dressed, while Kevin and the groomsmen (having their priorities straight) worked on having some lunch before changing into their wedding clothes.  Once the guys were all dressed, they left the building and walked down the street to Marina Park, where the ceremony would be held in a couple of hours.  When Shannon was dressed (and looking incredible!) we set up a “first look” for Shannon’s father Gary in the Dome Room, and then she and her bridesmaids and I all made the walk to the park as well.

The First Look

Now it was time for the “First Look” for Kevin and Shannon.  I found a good spot without too many extra people in the background and Shannon was able to sneak up on Kevin before he turned to see her in her wedding dress for the first time.  I love first look sessions, the emotions and excitement of both bride and groom are always apparent and fun to capture with my camera.

We spent the next hour or so first taking photos of Shannon, Kevin and the wedding party, taking advantage of the wonderful weather and great backdrop of Bellingham Bay to get a lot of photos of Kevin, Shannon and their best friends.  The bride’s side of the wedding party consisted of Maid of Honor Ally, Bridesmaids Ana, Melissa, Julie, Julia, Stef and Lauren; the groom’s side was Best Man Kyle (Kevin’s brother), and groomsmen Zack, Max, Cliff, Casey, Chris and Kyle.  As the time for the ceremony got closer we got the entire wedding party out onto the nearby train tracks for some last group photos.  And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as we got into position on the tracks here comes the first train we had seen in our entire time at the park!  We waited for the (very long) train to pass and then moved back onto the tracks to finish our photos.  At this point guests were beginning to arrive at the park, so Shannon and the bridesmaids moved into hiding until it was time for the ceremony to begin.

The Wedding Ceremony

In what seemed like no time, the guests were all in position and it was time for the ceremony to begin.  Once the wedding party had all gotten into position Shannon came down the aisle accompanied by her father Gary.  Shannon’s aunt Kari Tupper began the ceremony with words of wisdom for the bride, and then friend (and groomsman) Casey Zangari conducted the actual wedding, wearing a special towel inspired by an episode of “Friends” (as you will see in the photos that follow).  I have been seeing more and more couples opting to have their wedding ceremony conducted by a friend or family member, since it is now so easy to get ordained online and be qualified to officiate at a wedding.  Sometimes these brand-new officiants have some problems; after all, this is almost always the first time they have ever officiated at a wedding.  But Casey did a great job of officiating and in a short time we had a brand-new married couple.

Because we had not taken any family photos before the ceremony, we now kept Shannon, Kevin and their immediate families at the park while everyone else made the short walk back to the Cruise Terminal for drinks and appetizers.  The photo session went quickly and we all moved to the Cruise Terminal to join everyone else for what turned out to be one hell of a party!

The Reception

Once Kevin and Shannon were announced to the crowd during their grand entrance, the dinner buffet was set up while the newlyweds mingled with the crowd.  For those of you who have not been to the Cruise Terminal, the area where the reception was held is called the Dome Room, because of the beautiful glass dome area that takes up one wall of the room, offering great views out over the harbor and across to Vancouver Island.  Once dinner was served Shannon and Kevin moved to the head table, located in the prime real estate in the center of the dome.

When everyone had had their fill of the very tasty dinner, we moved on to some of the traditional reception events.  First up was toasts.  Shannon’s father Gary gave the first toast, followed by Maid of Honor Ally and finally the Best Man, Kevin’s brother Kyle.

After the toasts Kevin and Shannon moved right over to the cake for the traditional cake cutting.  In spite of several shouts of “Smash the cake!” from various friends, the couple showed great restraint and did a nice job of cutting the cake and feeding each other without either the bride or groom wearing any cake on their faces.

Next up was the first dance, to to Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be”, followed by Shannon and dad Gary doing the Father-Daughter dance.  The dome area had been cleared of tables, and was now set up as the dance floor.

And finally the dance floor was opened up to the guests, who very enthusiastically moved in and started dancing.  At many weddings the initial dancing can be a bit tentative, with only a few couples making their way to the floor.  Not with this group!  It help that there was a great DJ present, Jack Duran of WhatcomSound, and Jack started things off strong and kept the dance floor packed with his music.

Leaving the reception – the “Fake Goodbye”

Because my time at the wedding was set to end before the reception would reach its conclusion, I had talked beforehand with Shannon and Kevin about doing a “fake goodbye” so we could get photos of their leaving the reception, since I would not be there to catch the real thing.  These “early goodbye” shots are something that many times is better than the real thing, because there are more guest presents earlier.  We arranged everyone out on the staircase, and all were supplied with bubbles and told to blow like crazy as the couple descended the stairs.  And they certainly did perform!  The bubbles were so thick it was hard to see the newlyweds at times!  Because this was not the real exit, we decided to do it a second time just to get more photos.  The guests loved this idea, and if anything were even more enthusiastic with their bubbles the second time.  As Kevin and Shannon reached the bottom of the stairs everyone was yelling “Again!  Again!”, so the couple walked back upstairs and for a third time descended through a cloud of bubbles.  We probably could have kept this up until we ran out of bubbles if necessary, the crowd was really into it.

Time for me to stop yapping and let you do what you probably came here for, to look at the photos from the event. I hope you like the pictures!

And if you’d like to see the photos from Shannon and Kevin’s engagement session, at Snoqualmie Falls last January, just click on the linked text or right here.

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

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Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

Bellingham Cruise Terminal Wedding

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