Life is a wild ride and the path takes many twists and turns, which never ceases to amaze me. This fun Vashon Island wedding had many layers of unfolding magic.
It is a Pandemic Love story times two.
You see, Gabe and Amy took to the online for dating during the 2020 pandemic and fell in love over these two years. First via phone calls, then via socially distanced walks, followed by in-person dates.
The couple fell in love, decided to say ‘I do”… and then as soon as the wedding arrived, the Bride caught COVID-19!
A COVID-19 Outdoor Wedding Weekend
Being two years into the new normal, everyone showed up anyway to this already COVID-friendly outdoor wedding at a camp on rustic Vashon Island, near Seattle.
It was all socially distanced and outdoors anyway! Plus, most of us (including me) have had it recently. So, when I got word the week prior, I wasn’t worried. I hopped the plane across the country anyway.
This particular wedding was worth the risk for me, not only because I had a job to do, but also because I’ve known the Groom since 1993!
So, not only was I excited about every single thing Amy and Gabe planned for their wedding, like the locally sourced Vashon island food and vendors, but also because some of my oldest pals would be there.
Including the dude that started it all with his blue hair… Chris Pfeifle! We met at Gracie’s dining hall my first year at the Rochester Institute of Technology because he had blue hair and braids and I stopped him to chat.
Through Chris, I met all of these other great guys, like Gabe!
We spent all of college seeing punk & ska concerts, hippy festivals, winning halloween scavenger hunts, and all the other crazy adventures of our college days at RIT.
There’s nothing like seeing your own history in the faces of your friends.
~ Ani DiFranco
Glamping on Vashon Island at AYH Ranch
All of these decades later, and these guys are all living the life in Seattle and have created a camper van posse, with Seth taking it up a notch.
I loved loved loved meeting the others in the group and seeing their epic rigs. Many new friends were made. It’s such a solid crew of solid people.
Weekend at AYH Ranch
We all stayed at the AYH Ranch, which was an American Youth Hostel and now a camping/glamping property on stunning Vashon Island. There were teepees, tiny cabins, glamping cabins, a glamping tent, tent camping, and the van camp.
With a little something for everyone, it was a relaxing and raucous four days in the woods.
I stayed in the tiniest little cabin surrounded by fruit, and it was perfect.
Mornings were spent trail running in the nearby forest, having coffee and meditating on a little trumpet vine covered veranda. The evenings were spent looking at the stars and sitting around the bonfire.
Garden Party Themed Wedding
Amy and Gabe chose the AYH Ranch for their wedding weekend because Gabe lives on Vashon and it’s just a quick ferry ride from Seattle. So, it’s a simple and easy way to escape city life and slow down.
The guests were all encouraged to sport their best summer hat and enjoy the entire property while we waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin.
Amy and Gabe Tie the Knot
With the drizzle of rain subsiding and the beautiful Bride ready, the ceremony began under the chuppah that Gabe built.
Amy looked stunning in her vintage inspired gown and you’d never know that she was down with the sickness all week. She was glowing anyway!
Their dog, Pixel, was a witness, Gabe’s daughter was the comedienne/ring bearer, a longtime friend was the officiant, and several friends made the flower arrangements and decorated the chuppah (with ferns from the forest).
A true community affair!
… and now we all know that Gabe takes the “in sickness and in health” part seriously…
Vashon Island Wedding
Every wedding vendor (except for me) was local to the island. The catering was off-the-charts good and I legit took a bowl of the beet hummus to the fire pit later.
Without formal wedding reception events, save a few tear-inducing toasts, everyone mingled and explored and laughed and ate.
Sigh… what a wonderful long weekend reconnecting with some of my favorite men on the planet and making many new friends along the way.
Amy and Gabe, MUCH LOVE to you both. You have such an inspiring and loving group of friends and family in your life. It was an honor to document this community for you and your growing family.
A special thanks to Steve-o for the airport shuttle & yoga mat, Chris for the wonky tripod, and Tom for capturing me in action!
Vashon Wedding Vendors:
Photographer: Heather McKay of McKay’s Photography || Saturday Catering: Old Chaser Farm || Sunday Dinner: Gravy Vashon || Flowers: Sweet Alyssum Farm || Cake: Snap Dragon || Cookies: Champagne Cookie Co || Favors: Celebration Salts, Flashlights by For-Most Specialties || Dress: Brides For A Cause