Rachel and Dan get married at the Kingston House
The first time I met Rachel and Dan was when we did their engagement photos last spring, at their home on Bainbridge Island. Dan is a licensed Arborist and most of his business is on the Olympic Peninsula, and Rachel works at Harborview in Seattle, so they decided to split/share the pain of commuting and live (more or less) halfway in between. We had a lot of fun with the engagement photos, along with their dog Chloe, who I learned later was one of the big reasons Dan and Rachel first got together. Here is their story as told by Rachel’s sister Sarah –
“When Rachel went off to college she ironically met Dan in their freshman year at Winona State in Minnesota. However, they were two different people at the time and it was not meant to be the beginning of their love story. Fast forward to when college was over and they were both at a Bluegrass Festival and ran into each other again. Given that Rachel and Dan are both dog lovers it was a great way to break the ice again when Dan said he had Chloe with him and invited Rachel to come and meet her. The following morning both Rachel and Dan were hazy from the fun night before, and they said their goodbyes, each believing that they remembered the person they were hanging out with the night before as being “Ashley” and “Brian”, instead of Rachel and Dan. Somehow Dan managed to figure out Rachel’s real name in order to ask her out on a real date.
I knew that Dan and Rachel were meant to be when she Dan moved out to Washington to pursue his arborist career, and Rachel left a stable hospital job in Minnesota to follow him, taking a job as a camp counselor for ‘at risk youth’. When Rachel was out in the woods there was no daily communication between them, but before they would part she and Dan would write each other letters to read while they are apart. At that job Rachel contracted Giardia, a parasite from unfiltered water. I figured that if Rachel was willing to move cross-country and contract a parasite to be with Dan then it must be love.”
The prelims before the wedding
The wedding was held at the Kingston House, a really beautiful venue located just outside Kingston. I met up with Rachel and Dan a couple of hours before the scheduled start time of the ceremony, and we first took photos on the Kingston house grounds with Dan, Rachel and the wedding party (including Chloe, of course!) before we made a short drive to a beachfront park in Kingston so we could get some different looks for some of the photos.
Because getting to Kingston from most directions involves taking a ferry, Dan and Rachel had arranged for a couple of school buses to transport most the the family and guests to the wedding. Great idea, but things got slightly confused and one of the buses got sidetracked and arrived late, so the ceremony was bumped back about a half hour. However, this was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed us to take all of the photos with the immediate family before the ceremony rather than afterwards as planned.
The wedding ceremony
The ceremony was held outdoors in a large field near a pond, but separated from the “main facility”. Once the guests were all in position, the family and wedding party made their way down a long path to the ceremony area (great photo ops!). Chloe was part of the wedding party, and was brought down the hill to the ceremony by one of the ushers.
Here is the list of the wedding party –
Matron of Honor – Sarah Jennings (Rachel’s older sister). Bridesmaids – Alisa Reese (sister of the groom), Jourdan Togstad, Lindsey Dargiewicz, Andrea Dai. Flower Girls – Chloe Hemlock Field (yes, that is their dog!), Morgan Arnoldussen (cousin of the groom). Best Man – Kevin Reese (brother in law of the groom). Groomsmen – Trevor Caliebe, Paco Arnoldesson (groom’s cousin), Conor Pesci, Jason Tschosik. Ushers – Greg Mittelman, Andy Arnoldussen (groom’s cousin).
The ceremony was a blast, officiated by Grant Schaller, who is also a Rachel’s cousin. Rachel and Dan only lost it a couple of times during the ceremony, completely cracking up as they attempted to exchange rings. They did a very creative adaptation of the Sand Ceremony, with each of them placing dirt into a pot in which they planted a tree. Chloe had managed to get as close to “her people” as possible, spending the entire ceremony right at their feet under the table that served as an altar.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the newlyweds had all of the guests form a large circle in the field and some toasts were made, and then it was time to move on to the cocktail hour. I loved the setup here, with a great open area for the ceremony and right next door a covered area for the post-ceremony cocktail hour, but still separated from the main facility, which was located ~100 yds away up a small hill. While everyone enjoyed drinks and munchies, we worked on getting the more extended family groups together for photos. But mostly it was just a fun time for everyone to greet and congratulate the newly married couple.
On to the reception and dancing!
Everyone then made their way back up to the main facility for dinner and the reception proper. Wonderful setup, with a big tent covering the guest tables right next to a house that held the dinner buffet and the bar. Immediately adjacent was a large patio where the dancing would later take place. Many of the decorations reflected Dan’s arborist career; the numbers on the table were short sections of logs, and the “guest books” were large cross-section cuts from a tree; you will see these in the photos below. I think my favorite was Dan’s bow tie, which was a nicely carved piece of wood.
After a lot of very good food and some very amusing toasts, it was time for the REAL party to get underway. Rachel and Dan had hired one of their favorite bands, Joy in Mudville, to provide music for the reception and dancing. The band’s website describes their style as “Progressive Old-Time Bluegrass, Folk Rock, Country & Funk”. All I know is that they can really play! And the crowd obviously felt the same way, as once the band started playing the dance floor stayed busy. This was my first time hearing this band, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for any gigs that I am able to catch in the future.
The overview of the day? This was a fantastic wedding and even better party, and I loved being a part of it and having the chance to record it with photos. Some of the photos from the wedding are below, I hope that you like them!