I love weddings. And, like most people, I have been to a lot of them, big and small. I’ve celebrated in halls and hotels, Elks Lodges and American Legions, fire stations and VFWs. I’ve danced in rustic barns and under white tents, in flower gardens and on open fields. A few years ago I even attended a surprise wedding in the privacy of a friend’s backyard.
For me, a quick “I do” under a trellis followed by an outdoor barbeque is equal to a formal church service followed by a four-course sit-down meal. Each is a rite of passage. Each is a celebration of the coming together of two people and their families. Each is inevitably followed by hours of lively fun.
For all my love of weddings, however, I opted out. I eloped. And it was romantic and quiet and private. It was just the two of us on a Wednesday afternoon at the county courthouse. We walked to a nearby restaurant and ordered champagne. We ate dinner at a favorite tavern. I danced to the juke box. It was perfect for us. But as years pass, one regret is slowly forming. Six years ago I couldn’t face the planning, logistics and public vow-making. But now I realize that having our closest family and friends from near and far in the same room would have been worth the effort. Now it almost seems like a lost opportunity.
Almost. Because we do have an anniversary every year… and because I’ve also realized that a wedding, or a vow renewal, doesn’t have to be monumental undertaking with a hundred or more guests.
I’ve been asking around about the best place to hold a special event. My key words are: simple, intimate and elegant. The top of everyone’s list is: The Living Room and Terrace at The Chrysalis Inn & Spa in Bellingham. To better acquaint myself with their wedding accommodations, I found some couples who chose to be married at The Chrysalis.
Heidi and Samantha Thomson-Daly of Seattle were married at The Chrysalis in August of 2016. As I spoke with Heidi, she was clearly reliving that “beautiful summer Saturday,” when the couple assembled 30 guests for an outdoor ceremony on the terrace overlooking Bellingham Bay.
She described an idyllic scene of family and friends sipping “pink bubbly” and signature cocktails in what she called an “inspiring and peaceful venue” with stunning ocean views. There were passed appetizers followed by a four-course dinner, and the couple forwent the traditional wedding cake for a choice of house-made desserts from Keenan’s at the Pier. The only decoration added to the already-exquisite Living Room were handmade garlands, but Heidi stressed that the room really needed no extra embellishment. It was perfect.
For Heidi and Samantha, The Chrysalis was, indeed, perfect. But not just because of its elegant rooms, waterfront location or fabulous food, but because it has been a place for relationship milestones. Their first special getaway as a couple was a weekend stay at The Chrysalis, and they would return multiple times thereafter. It was during one of these stays that they were engaged to be married. Clearly, there would be no better place for them to exchange their wedding vows. And there wasn’t.
For another perspective I spoke with Deb Pelham, a bride-to-be for the second time, who was in the midst of preparations for her upcoming Chrysalis nuptials. She and her fiancé Mitch Bubb were initially planning to be married at Boulevard Park, where they met, but unreliable weather deterred them. They quickly settled on The Chrysalis, which Deb referred to as the “obvious choice” because of its proximity to Boulevard Park and because it is, “lovely and elegant, but not pretentious at all.”
Deb is an easy-going bride-to-be—not at all how movies and television portray a soon-to-be-wed woman. Her choice of The Chrysalis, which she refers to as “a little oasis,” vanquishes stress. “If it’s nice, we’ll get married on the Terrace, if not, in the Living Room,” she says happily.
She and Mitch have been a couple for nearly three years and are planning a quiet, intimate wedding with only family and a few “very, very close friends.” There will be 18 guests total and Mitch’s son and daughter will take part in the ceremony. The wedding will go from afternoon to evening, with dinner and drinks, conversation and celebration. And while all of the other guests will return home, Deb and Mitch will stay all weekend, as a short honeymoon of sorts. They’ll use the spa and do plenty of walking along the waterfront, things they would normally do. But now they’ll do them as newlyweds.
These couples prove that a wedding doesn’t have to be an overblown bash to have an enormous impact. And I know from experience that elopement isn’t for everyone. But a place like The Chrysalis Inn & Spa gives you a little bit of both. You can have an extraordinary celebration in an intimate package, all tailored to you and your partner.
For more information visit The Chrysalis Inn & Spa event page.