Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kalinah and Umar - Wedding at Salish Lodge - Seattle Wedding Photography

Our Love Story
“Kalinah & Umar”

How we met
Kalinah had a close friend whom she’d grown up with. This friend had two sisters, one of whom was older than her friend, and married. The older sister’s husband worked with Umar (Umar and the husband had worked together for several years and had recently struck up a friendship). One day at the office, Umar saw a picture of Kalinah on the coworker’s Facebook page and made a casual comment that he thought Kalinah was really cute - and that's all it took! Without saying another word, the coworker went home that evening and mentioned it to his wife, who in turn mentioned it to her sister (Kalinah’s best friend), and their plotting of the set up began.

On a Sunday afternoon just a short two days later, Umar got a text from the older sister with Kalinah’s phone number, along with a message that Kalinah was expecting to hear from him that evening. Little did Umar know, Kalinah received the same text – Umar’s phone number, and a message saying that Umar was expecting to hear from Kalinah that evening. The set up was complete – and it actually worked! Umar picked the phone up and called Kalinah within the hour, to ask her out for dinner. Unbeknownst to Umar, Kalinah only agreed to the blind date because she was surprised that this stranger had the courage and respect to actually call her directly, instead of taking the easy way out and just texting her, like most would do. Chivalry being rare these days – and also an attribute highly valued by Kalinah – she decided to give the gentleman a chance. Their first date was on the water at Anthony's Home Port in Everett, WA (Umar's pick, coincidentally also Kalinah's favorite restaurant!). 

A month after they began dating, Umar invited Kalinah on a romantic getaway to the small island of Lanai, in Hawaii. It was during that trip that they both knew they were meant for each other. During the trip to Lanai, Kalinah came to the realization that she never wanted to spend another day without Umar by her side, and that she didn’t want to be apart from him again – at all. She knew that he would be the rock she needed, and that he’d be the perfect partner for her life. She had never met anyone so incredibly compatible with all the qualities she both had and desired. The feelings were mutual – while in Lanai, Umar also experienced an epiphany (he called it the greatest point of clarity of his whole life) and knew he was meant to spend the rest of his life with Kalinah. He knew there wasn’t another soul on earth that could make a better partner for him than Kalinah. The level of clarity and complete certainty wasn’t like anything he had ever experienced before; he knew he couldn’t let her go, so he would have to propose. Less than 2 months after returning from their first vacation together, they were engaged!

The Proposal

New Year’s eve to the start of 2012 fell on a Saturday, and we left town the day before. The plan was to spend the holiday weekend up in the snow in a little cabin with our good friends. Unbeknownst to Kalinah, Umar had been quite busy in the prior couple weeks. He’d had an education in diamonds – picked out the perfect ring – and also made several shopping trips to gather as many different candles as he could find, along with several dozen rose petals. All of the friends up at the cabin were in on the secret, and were able to keep the big surprise to themselves all weekend, and Kalinah had no idea what was to come!

Before we left town for the holiday weekend, after getting all packed and loaded in the car, Umar made up an excuse, snuck back in to the house, and put several hundred candles all over the bedroom – on the floor, the dresser, the wardrobe, window frames, etc., along with the rose petals.

We got up early on that frigid New Year’s morning and spent the day out duck hunting (a mutual interest). We took our time coming home from the mountains, stopping at several different points along the way and just generally enjoying the weather and each other’s company. Driving home late that evening, he made a big point of telling Kalinah that this New Year’s was a really big deal, for several reasons – it was our first New Year’s together, and most importantly, it was the first day of a brand new year together, the start of something fresh, new and exciting. He mentioned the importance of that iconic day, and how it could set the tone for the whole year ahead.

On that late drive home, he texted a friend (who’d been given a key in advance) at just the right time to run over and light all the candles. Due to the numerous comments made by friends over the past couple months about us getting engaged, he’d already known that Kalinah may have suspected something to happen that weekend. When it didn’t, he knew Kalinah’s guard would be down and she’d be completely unsuspecting of any surprises – just exactly how he wanted it to be!

Tired and cold from the long drive, we walked in the door to our house, and Kalinah was instantly confused and hesitated to go in because of single lit candle, burning in the kitchen. Once she realized Umar had planned a romantic surprise for her (she still had no idea it was a proposal), he guided her to the bedroom, with the awaiting hundreds of burning candles. Kalinah was in complete shock. Umar stood behind her in the doorway and when she turned around to ask what was going on, he pulled the ring out of his pocket and dropped to one knee. Kalinah answered with a resounding “YES!”

The Ring

Umar picked out a traditional round cut diamond engagement ring from the Shane Company in Alderwood, WA. He wanted a simple solitaire stone, just under 2 carats. He wanted her to pick out the setting and wedding band together.

After getting engaged, Kalinah began looking through bridal magazines. One of the very first ads she saw happened to be the one she fell in love with – a ring made by Tacori. She had a hard time tracking down the right jeweler, but eventually found L.T. Denny in Seattle, WA. Kalinah knew she wanted a unique, vintage-style ring.

The Dress(es)

Similarly to the ring, Kalinah saw an ad for a unique dress in another bridal magazine, and she fell in love with it immediately. She researched distributors for the designer (Ella), and was very surprised to find that the only retailer in the whole state who carried that brand was just 5 miles away Snohomish – right where she grew up! It was meant to be! She visited the shop and her fitting appointment confirmed her feeling – this indeed was the perfect dress. It had a gorgeous sheer, slowing-style, with an open, low-cut back and ruffed straps, along with ruffles flowing down the backside. The dress was lighter and less formal than she expected, however, and although it would make the perfect dress to dance in at the reception, she wanted something more formal and traditional for the ceremony itself. She ended up picking out a mermaid-style satin dress, with lacing up the back and a sweetheart neckline. The dress felt perfect and highlighted her best features, and she loved it as well! By the end of her fitting appointment, she bought both dresses and was thrilled.

Our Wedding Day

We really wanted a wedding that reflected us – who we both are, individually, and what we enjoy doing, together. While the wedding is always about the bride and groom, we wanted a wedding that would also entertain our favorite people in our lives, allowing them to truly enjoy themselves. We wanted amazing memories of our special day, with photos to match – photos that allow us to look back and recall all of the hundreds of little details, which came together and made our big day so special. Umar always wanted to get married at the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, WA. Kalinah always wanted The Herding Cats band to play live at her wedding. So they made sure that both happened! We wanted all the decorations and props to be extremely detailed and nothing short of perfect. So inevitably, we spent hours upon hours (and many dollars on new woodworking tools!) and made ALL of the props ourselves: everything from the wooden altar (which we stood underneath to exchange our vows), to each of the dinner table centerpieces (Umar cut the trees down, sawed each piece, and Kalinah completed her vision with the handmade mason jars, d├ęcor, and fauna), to the namecard table assignments, picture frames, wine barrel tables, cupcake and cake stands, etc. We had 10 months to plan and prepare, and not a day or week was wasted. The end result was a picture-perfect day and thanks to our phenomenal day-of coordinator, Jen Purdom (whom we can’t thank enough), it turned better than we even envisioned it.


·         Venue: Salish Lodge
o   Contact: Rachael Mates
o   Website:
o   Phone: 425.831.6596

·         Wedding Coordinator (day of): Formals and Frills
o   Contact: Jen Purdom
o   Website:
o   Email:
o   Phone: 425.327.6780

·         Baker: Simply Sweet Cupcakes
o   Email:
o   Phone: 360.863.2956

·         Baker: The People’s Cake
o   Contact: Beth Perkins
o   Website:
o   Email:
o   Phone: 206.484.2063

·         DJ: Adam’s DJ Service
o   Contact: Adam Tiegs
o   Website:
o   Phone: 425-652-6690

·         Transportation: British Motor Coach
o   Contact: Roy Dubrow
o   Website:
o   Email:
o   Phone: 206.283.6600

·         Florist: Plum Tree Floral Design
o   Contact: Sandy or Jennifer
o   Email:   
o   Phone: 206.954.3598 or 206.227.4771

·         Photography: Gessel Photography
o   Contact: Clane Gessel
o   Website:
o   Email:
o   Phone: 206.650.1030

·         Videography: Endless Love Productions
o   Contact: Jeremy Almeda
o   Phone: 253.549.8361

·         Hair:
o   Contact: Marie Nuss
o   Salon: Ericaz Hair Design
o   Website:
o   Location: Woodinville, WA
o   Phone: 425.485.5749

·         Band: The Herding Cats
o   Contact: Mike Mattingly
o   Website:
o   Email:
o   Phone: 206.940.1565

·         Makeup:
o   Contact: Alicia Burden
o   Brand: Laura Mercier Counter
o   Location: Nordstrom, Bellevue, WA
o   Email:

·         Reverend: Stephanie Adams
o   Contact: Stephanie Adams
o   Website:
o   Email:
o   Phone: 206.459.4556