A Washington State Park Wedding

With hurricane force winds

James, Vehicle Repair and Logistics Coordinator at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Bassist for Toarn & Amanda, Photographer

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: Naturally chaotic and perfectly ours.

Soundtrack for reading: “Come and Listen” by David Crowder Band

Other Cool Stuff We Should Know About

The Proposal. On March 17, 2013, James took me to the pier next to the Seattle Aquarium (where we had our first date), took me aside and prayed with me, then got down on one knee with the water and the mountains as a backdrop. I immediately began crying like a baby, and when I looked back up I saw two of my good photographer friends from my hometown of Puyallup standing there taking pictures of us. I said yes, he picked me up and spun me around, and an unknown group of bystanders erupted into applause, only to disappear as soon as we turned back around. I appreciated the traveling ninja celebrators. We then had lunch at Anthony’s, the same restaurant we went to on our first date. (Oh, and I had gotten a black eye at work two days before. Our first date ended with me taking him to the hospital after he gashed his eyebrow open playing a metal show, resulting in a black eye. The proposal ended up being an almost exact replica of our first date.)

The photographer. Jonas Seaman was the first person we booked, even before our venue. Aside from the man I was marrying, the photography was the most important part of the wedding for me. Jonas and Mary were the perfect photographers for us—I looked up Jonas’ website and was floored by their attention to detail and the way they use light and focus. I love the look of tilt-shift lenses and the timeless feel of film, and immediately fell in love with their work.

Decorations. We ended up spending more on flowers than I had hoped, but that was really all that went into decorating. We had friends and relatives pool their string lights together, and my uncle spent a weekend cutting up a bunch of wood rounds for the tables. We wanted it to be simple and for the natural beauty of the park to be able to shine through.

The location. The story of how we found Deception Pass and how we found Rosario Head in particular is kind of ridiculous, and it was completely Divine intervention. It was very different from what I though I had wanted, and everything I never knew to hope for. After seeing a picture of the cliff that had no more description on it than “Deception Pass,” James and I decided to run up there one day before a show he was playing about thirty minutes east of the pass. The first place we found was Bowman Bay, and vowed that if we didn’t find the cliff that we would have our wedding there. The beauty of it completely floored us. We didn’t have much time to explore, but we found a map, and a peninsula with surrounding islands of rock that matched what we had seen in the picture. Jumping back in the car, speeding down the road, praying we were going the right way, we made it to another parking lot that didn’t look anything like the cliff we had hoped for. “Whatever. We can at least check this place out.” Down the trail, the path suddenly cut up. We looked at each other, and ran. Being the type for adventure, James found the tiniest of man-made trails branching off from the main path and cutting directly up the hill, and dove at it head first. Regretting my lack of commitment to cardio workouts, I followed. Through thick brush and grabbing branches, panting and wheezing, I reached the top just behind him. And stared in amazement at the open sky and water in front of us. We found the cliff, more wild and full of rocky beauty than I had ever expected. Mouths and eyes wide we stared at each other, then stared at the scene, then hugged, then danced. “This is it.” “We found it.” “We’re getting married here.” Even the $90 parking ticket we found upon returning to our car couldn’t dim our joy.

Favorite Thing About The Wedding

The location, insane as it was. From the story behind finding it, to the completely unreal experience of getting married in a hurricane, the place we stood and declared our love and dedication before God and everyone was what made our wedding ours.


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  • JDrives

    The picture of the family praying gave me goosebumps all over. Powerful amounts of love spilling out of these photos. Thank you for sharing this beautiful day with us!

  • Kestrel

    Good taste in dresses! That’s the one I’ll be wearing. It looks just like I hoped it would too, so that’s fantastic. And we’re even having pizza too…Great minds think alike!

    I just wish we could get married on a cliff! I love how the wind just blew everything all over – your hair on your kiss photo particularly!

    • Emmers

      Agreed– that dress is beautiful on you!

  • Cara

    Blown away. (No pun intended).

  • KM

    the profile photo of huge sky and the two of you holding onto each other so tightly … is so emotional and so perfect.

    • JDrives

      Yes, this got me too, right in the heartstrings!

  • vegankitchendiaries

    Jonas Seaman does it again. AMAZING PHOTOS.

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! But then I have a certain soft-spot for PNW weddings…. Congrats!

    • Jonas Seaman

      Thank you sooo much!! : )

      • vegankitchendiaries

        I am, like, your biggest, biggest, BIGGEST fan!! I just think that EVERYONE should hire you.

        • Jonas Seaman

          Ah! My day has been made!

        • Riiiight? So. Damn. Good.

    • Amanda Kolstedt

      He is the absolute best. Ever. Forever.

    • Jules

      I have never managed to make a place with a grey sky look so incredible. The first picture blew me away.

      I loved how the rest told such a story. These were incredible photos. (ALSO, I totally want a pizza reception.)

  • soyemily

    I’m also getting married on a cliff in Washington State (at Fort Flagler this August), and have been wondering about sound. It doesn’t look like you used a mic or anything — could your guests hear the ceremony?

    • Amanda Kolstedt

      Well, they would have been able to hear the ceremony except for the 70 mph winds lol. James and I had to shout our vows at each other just so WE could hear them ;) We had done some tests and the sound levels were going to be fine… Our officiating pastor was also suppose to have a mic for our videographer, but ended up not using it because of the overwhelming sound of the wind.

  • Lindsay Rae

    Oh my gosh, chills!! Mostly from the powerful images and words you’ve used, partly from the fact that I can actually feel the wind by looking at your photos. Amazingly beautiful. Congratulations! xo

  • Bets

    Beautiful! My boyfriend and I did a road trip down the washington coast, it was so magical.

    Curious: how much did it cost to use the state park as a venue? And was the hike ever an issue for your guests, and where did they park?

    • Amanda Kolstedt

      Hi Bets!

      The cost ended up being a little over $300 for all of the location rentals (just another miracle we got from the park!)… We rented both large covered areas at Bowman Bay, since you’re only technically allowed 75 people per area, and one of the covered areas at the base of Rosario Head, since we couldn’t rent the cliff itself.

      The hike was pretty simple, but we didn’t have anyone who was bound by a wheelchair or a walker. It took some guests longer than others, but I think everyone said it was worth it :)

      Parking was pretty limited, and we told everyone before hand to carpool if possible, and if not possible to do it anyway haha… There was also the issue of needing a Discovery Pass to park in the lots there, but all of our guests were awesome in not complaining about that detail (and it helped weed out the people who were looking for an excuse to not be there ;) )

      • Bets

        That sounds amazing! And yeah, weeding out people who don’t really want to be there in favour of a great location sounds even better.

  • iz

    So beautiful! and obviously so much love present. I usually don’t comment, but this was gorgeous enough for me to do so. Pictures made me smile.

  • jashshea

    Holy smokes this is gorgeous. Every picture is better than the last (except for the one where your husband is jumping behind you, that one is the real best). And PIZZA. Oh and the kissing picture with your hair blowing in the wind! So cool! Looks like a crazy day!

  • Meg

    I absolutely love how the pictures look with the wind in their hair. It adds something very romantic and sort of …wuthering heights-ish???

  • swarmofbees

    So so gorgeous! What a stunning wedding. I am now furiously researching this area for our honeymoon!

    • swarmofbees

      I love those gorgeous pre-ceremony pictures! Did you stay at a local hotel? Preferably one I could visit some day :)

      • Amanda Kolstedt

        We stayed at a local rental home in La Conner :) Gorgeous area!

  • sara g

    I spent many summers at the marine research laboratory right next to that state park. We spent so many evenings watching the sunset from Rosario Head! If I wasn’t such a private person (and paranoid of random people watching my wedding) I would totally get married up there. It’s so gorgeous.

  • I had the privilege of attending this wedding. I think it was the most memorable I’ve ever been to. (And, I’ve been to many.) Amanda and James are one couple I am very proud of!

    The only problem was, I wore a hat. In a 60mph gale, I discovered that creates certain issues!

    • Amanda Kolstedt

      We love you Larry! And we’re glad you didn’t lose your hat ;)

  • Fiona

    Gave me shivers. Beautiful wedding. Also, the bride is a stunner!

  • Christine

    Wow, just WOW! These photos are something else!! I love how you capture all the details about the wedding…. The place, the people, the food! All the minor details that seem so major to you, amazing, & will be everlasting in all these ppls memories. Awesome photos!

  • The money spent on the photographer was definitely worth it. Beautiful!

    And the windy weather just makes it that much more spectacular. :)

  • Alyssa M

    That’s so beautiful! I’ve always wanted my wedding to be on a cliffside next to the ocean… Not really possible in Arizona though, lol! And I have to say, I’ve always felt God more strongly in a storm… the power of the weather and the ocean had to be awe inspiring.

  • Rachel

    Oh my, I have looked at A LOT of wedding pictures in the past year, and I think these evoke the most emotion. I couldn’t even pick a favorite. How amazing for this couple that their day was captured so divinely!

  • Daniella

    I have no words for these pics!! Seriously, it’s so much more than “wedding pics” it’s like got an incredibly talented artist to come an participate in your wedding, amazing.

  • Becky Young

    Amazing photos!!!