Aya & Britta both hail from the Pacific Northwest, so even though they now live in Los Angeles it made the most sense to get married here in Seattle. I find their love story to be all sorts of adorable… they were college roommates, and they loved living together, but it wasn’t until the very last few weeks of their first year living together that they realized they were honest-to-goodness in love with each other. They are such a fun couple (and it’s no surprise to me that they fell in love after living together for a year!), and their wedding was seriously fun!
Aya & Britta decided to get ready together on their wedding day, so when I arrived at their reception venue, the energy was of quiet excitement. They watched each other as they each got pretty & primped for the day, while upstairs a team of their friends were setting up the reception space. Every so often, a family member would peek in to check on them while they got ready; both of their mothers were especially giddy, like little children on Christmas morning, just dying to be in the same room as them. As Aya & Britta got dressed together, they looked at each other lovingly and with great pride, and just bursting with anticipation… at that time I stayed as quiet as possible as I photographed them because I could feel what could only be described as a sort of sacred magic in the air, and I didn’t want to disturb that feeling.
When they were ready, we walked to the park where their wedding ceremony was to be held, about eight city blocks away, and we took photos along the way as they took in the neighborhood hand in hand. We even stopped at the apartment that they once shared, and they took me by surprise when they stood there and shouted up to the balcony and out popped a couple who Aya & Britta asked to let them come up for a photo together on the balcony! It turns out that the current tenants are actually old friends of theirs, but I had no idea and honestly it seemed like such a “them” thing to do… their lives seem so filled with happiness and opportunity, and it just felt normal for them to call out to neighbors as they walked to their wedding, joy following their every footstep.
Their wedding ceremony was equal parts reverence and celebration; it was in a park that overlooked parts of Seattle as well as Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, and they greeted their guests as they arrived with deep hugs, before everyone gathered around them as they spoke their love for each other. Both Aya & Britta come from wonderful families, and their wedding ceremony was a testimony to how much love they have in their lives. They were married by one of their best friends, Aya’s dad and Britta’s sister each read a passage (one of them being from Harry Potter!), and their friend Tomo Nakayama performed a song just for them and their guests… and when it was all said and done, every single one of their loved ones gathered round and laid hands on them to gift them with love, energy, and all the good wishes they could send, and then the ceremony climaxed with everyone exploding in celebration! Whooping, hollering, crying, hugging, and laughing! That’s how the ceremony ended, and then we all walked back to the reception together in an impromptu parade, led by a very exuberant drummer. One of my favorite things that I remember about that walk back was that so many of the neighbor kids were coming out of their houses to see what all the ruckus was about, and pretty soon even strangers were excitedly celebrating the love of Aya and Britta!
At the reception, everyone sat around, colored on the tables, took photos of each other, and happily dined on a southern-inspired food truck dinner, until the dancing began. Aya and Britta had a choreographed dance that they did together that made the crowds go wild, and then an impromptu family dance happened, where they were dancing with their parents and their parents were dancing together, even at one point mother & mother and father & father. It was possibly the most beautiful coming together of families that I’ve ever witnessed and was the perfect start to an evening of audience-led DJ’ing that made the night feel like a wild and wonderful house party, in a giant house filled to the walls with love.
Photos and Words by Catherine Abegg
Catherine Abegg is a family and wedding photographer based in Seattle, Washington. Her award-winning work has been featured on many blogs & magazines, and she was recently highlighted by Buzzfeed as one of the Top Queer Friendly voices in social media. Her work can be described as happy, loving, and genuine, and she seems to attract couples & families whose love stories reflect the same qualities. A fun fact about Catherine is that she lives in her VW van with her little family, exploring this great country and also exploring a life of adventure, togetherness, and mindfulness.