“Everyday someone new turns to us for a helping hand, be it for health care, veterans’ benefits, housing needs or employment assistance, with contributions such as the one received, it assures that those who courageously served our country will not ever be forgotten.” – Jack McManus, National President VVA, 11/2/2023 in a thank you letter to Chanelle Carlin Weddings, LLC
Since starting my business, it has been my genuine desire that I would provide the highest quality officiating and coaching services and that Chanelle Carlin Weddings would exemplify my continued commitment to community. After each wedding, I donate a portion of my fees to a not-for-pofit organization whose mission I support and whose financial dealings I feel are honorable and trustworthy. Over the past three years, Chanelle Carlin Weddings has donated thousands of dollars on behalf our couples to their chosen organization. One of those organizations is the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and I am mentioning them in this article because just this past week, I received a letter of thanks from their National President. Having worked for many years in the not-for-profit sector, I know how important every donation is and I also know that thank you letters are generally sent out to thank donors, let them kow how their donation will be used and to invite them to donate more. This wasn’t the first donation that Chanelle Carlin Weddings, LLC has sent to the VVA and we have always received a nice email and receipt in the past for our donations, but this is the first letter we received from them so I wanted to acknowledge it and tell you a little about the Vietnam Veterans of America and why they are one of the chosen organizations of Chanelle Carlin Weddings.
First, the VVA is the only national Vietnam veterans organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families. Although the war was declared finished in 1975, by the late 1970s, it was clear the established veterans groups in America had failed to make a priority of the issues of concern to Vietnam veterans and there were many. In January 1978, a small group of Vietnam veteran activists came to Washington, D.C., searching for allies to support the creation of an advocacy organization devoted exclusively to the needs of Vietnam veterans. VVA, initially known as the Council of Vietnam Veterans, began its work. Finally, in 1986, Congress recognized them with an official charter. Today, the VVA has a national membership of over 85,000, with over 650 chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Philippines dedicated to serving the needs of Vietnam veterans and those who serve our nation regardless of the war they fought in.
Second, in case you’re still curious about why I chose the VVA, it’s simple and relates directly back to my own life. My Dad, Fred is a Vietnam Veteran who served as a teenager like many others of his generation. In 1969, at the age of 19 (younger than my son and three of my nephews now), he was seriously wounded by a land mine. Many were killed. My father was thrown, and initially presumed dead, though thankfully he wasn’t. Dad suffered many physical and psychological traumas during this conflict, only some of which were the result of this accident. I have chosen to support this organization to support the efforts and healing of all Vietnam Veterans, their families and the Veterans who remain in harm’s way today. Their founding principle, of “never again will one generation of veterans abandon another” touches deep within my heart. The VVA members know what returning veterans face. They have been through it before and understand full well that despite all the heart felt “thank you for your service” comments, returning veterans will face major hurdles. It is their mission to make sure that those who serve our country receive the care and respect they have earned and I support that mission.
In case you’d like to learn more about the work of the Vietnam Veterans of America and how they help all veterans, I invite you to check out this YouTube video which I found on their website. It describes their history and current work far more effectively that I can in this short article.
Just for a little lighthearted fun after talking about such an important topic, here is a photo of teenage me as cadet in the Civil Air Patrol in the mid-1980’s. Taken by another cadet, we were “in the field” at our monthly search and rescue training program in Shelton, Washington. For those who don’t know, I grew up in a family that believes in military service and at that time I had grand plans to join the air force. While my life took another direction (many, in fact), I treasure the memories of this time in my life and also still hold the gratitude of all who have served in the military. See, the things you learn about your wedding officiant when you read their blog posts. 🙂
Now, back to the thank you letter…
I’d like to personally thank Ciara and Joshua DeLys for allowing me the honor of officiating their intimate wedding ceremony and also because it was their decision to choose the VVA as their preferred donation recipient.
Also, thanks to my dad for his service and to all other service men and women who have responded to the call of our nation and served bravely (even if you didn’t feel brave sometimes). It is never easy and no one ever knows what they’re signing up for or sacrificing. I am grateful to each of you.
As I mentioned above, the Vietnam Veterans of America is just one of the organizations that Chanelle Carlin Weddings donates to and they are the only national organization. Each of the other organizations is unique to the Pacific Northwest:
Camp Fire of Snohomish County – https://campfiresnoco.org/ Oregon Dachshund Rescue, Inc. – http://www.odr-inc.org/ KSPS – Public Television in Spokane – https://www.ksps.org/ KSER (90.7) – Everett – http://www.kser.org/ Washington Trails Association – https://www.wta.org/
I’ll highlight another organization in a separate blog post, but since we’re so close to Veteran’s Day AND I just received this lovely letter, I thought I would start with the Vietnam Veterans of America. I’ve included links to each of the other organizations website though in case you’d like to learn more about what they do as well.
If you’re ready to schedule your consultation to talk about your wedding OR how you can donate to one of these organizations, please feel free to reach out. I’d love to chat with you.
Chanelle Carlin is Your Celebrant for LifeTM. She is an ordained minister, professional wedding officiant, coach and owner of Chanelle Carlin Weddings, LLC. Chanelle believes that life and love should be celebrated every minute. She collaborates with couples who’ve found “The ONE” to create custom, memorable ceremonies for their intimate wedding or elopement throughout the naturally beautiful Pacific Northwest and celebrates all the special moments that matter in their lives. She lives with her family in rural Okanogan County, Washington, USA and LOVES traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest to officiate weddings. You can visit Chanelle at www.chanellecarlin.com, on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
I LOVE being a Lake Chelan Wedding Officiant. It is truly a stunning place and one where memories made will last a lifetime. – Just ask any of us who spent our summers (or part of our summers) there as children. My husband (his grandparents had an orchard and his parents went to high school there) and I both have vivid memories of swimming in the lake, sliding down the water slides into the lake, getting ice cream at the Drive-In in the park, sleeping outside and of Campbell’s, which though a beautiful resort now, was a much smaller version of itself then. If you would like to learn more about me personally or my journey as a wedding officiant, I invite you to check out the About Chanelle page of my website.
Chelan is a stunning place with deep meaning
The name Chelan is a Salish Indigenous word, “Tsi-laan,” meaning ‘Deep Water’. It’s the third deepest lake in the United States (nearly 1500 feet deep) and the 26th deepest in the world. Chelan is surrounded by mountains, trees and now, on the southern end, wineries and orchards. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.
Most people don’t realize just how much Lake Chelan has to offer. Just three hours from Seattle, it is a lifetime away from the big city and the grey skies of the west side of the mountains. Did you know that Chelan has 300 days (about 10 months) of sunshine? There are also more than 30 wineries in the area. There is a fabulous small-town feel, with an artistic community and a year-round outdoor lifestyle (for those who enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, boating, skiing – snow and water). If you want more information on how you can fill your time in Chelan, check out this link to the Chamber of Commerce. For now though, I’d like to focus on your Lake Chelan wedding. That is why you’re taking time to read this post after all…right?
Throughout the rest of this article, I’ll share some stories from a few of the weddings I’ve officiated in Lake Chelan, as well as some reviews from a few of my amazing couples that have honored me over the years by letting me celebrate their marriage with them. Then we’ll look at what working with me looks like and if by chance you haven’t found all your wedding team members, I’ll share some of the amazing wedding professionals I have worked with over the years and who believe your wedding is as important as you and I do.
Your Lake Chelan Officiant
Let’s get started, shall we? As your Lake Chelan wedding officiant, I am honored to celebrate the most beautiful elopements and intimate weddings with some of the most amazing people. We laugh, we have fun, but we also take time to be fully present in the moment as you say your “I do’s.”
As a professional Wedding Officiant, I receive a lot of questions from couples who don’t even know where to start thinking about their wedding event, let alone their ceremony (the part during which they actually get married) and they start feeling stressed. Fortunately, while there can be a lot to consider when planning a wedding and putting together a wedding ceremony, you don’t have to do everything by yourself.
In fact, for every part of your special day, there is a wedding professional available and desiring to assist you: Wedding Venues, Wedding Planners, Florists, Stylists, and Stationary designers, Party Rentals, Caterers, Bakers, DJ’s, Musicians, Photographers, Videographers, Jewelers, Tailors, Retailers, Hotels AND, of course Officiants. Each professional can lead you to another.
If you’re already feeling the pressure, please know you’re not alone, but also that it doesn’t have to be so stressful. Planning a wedding should be a fun and an enjoyable process for the two of you. To aid in this process, I created the E.P.I.C. ceremony planning framework. For more info on creating your own E.P.I.C. ceremony, feel free to check out my blog article here, or give me a shout and we’ll talk through it. For now, though, let’s get back to Lake Chelan.
With more than 30 in the area, it will be no surprise to you that many of the weddings I’ve officiated in Chelan have been at wineries. There is a winery in Chelan for every couple’s personality and dream wedding ceremony/event. Some couples include their children in their ceremony and I have had couples who planned beautiful, elaborate, interfaith ceremonies that took place at a winery. Sometimes couples have included large numbers of family for a more formal wedding and dinner reception, while others opt for the very casual dress, quick, yet truly personal ceremony with just a wine reception afterwards.
Hey! Can anyone here marry us?
One such ‘mini-mony’ took place on a Labor Day weekend at Tsillan Cellars and a local couple had decided they were ready to get married but didn’t want a big “to do.” They had family visiting them from out of town and “decided” to take them wine tasting one evening. They had it worked out that after enjoying some wine in the tasting room, they’d all come out and enjoy the stunning view over the lake and then the groom, Bill would just say to Tamara, “Hey! Let’s elope!” He would then turn to crowd outside and kind of shout, “Can anyone here marry us?” Conveniently, I was there to answer the call as was their photographer. Of course, their guests didn’t know that Bill and Tamara and I had already planned the ceremony and they had the celebrations all worked out with the winery and the photographer.
If getting married at a winery isn’t really your thing, how about a B&B on the Lake? There are houses on the North Shore with back yards that are literally lakeside. You can’t get any closer to the water (without standing in the lake) than having your ceremony on the dock or the patio next to the lake wall of your patio. Two lovely ceremonies come to mind.
On the lake? Prepare for boats
When Jessica and Matthew got married, they had everything planned for the two of them and me to stand on the dock for their summer evening elopement. Their photographer and photographer’s assistant agreed to act as their witnesses and the couple had set up the iPad outside in the yard to live stream the ceremony for family and friends, all of whom lived far away.
It was picture perfect…until a very loud jet boat came by. Up and down the length of the lake, even when it was completely out of site, you could still hear the roar of the engine. There was no worry for time on our part, we just waited to finish their ceremony until the boat was gone and the peaceful sounds of the lake returned, but I’m sure the family on the other end was having a great laugh and it’s a memory I will keep.
The moral of this story is if you’re planning a wedding on a lake in the summer, be prepared for boats and folks who want to be part of the ceremony, invited or not.
How about a little dancing?
Mistie and Sean’s intimate family wedding on the lake was much more low-key – at least there were no boats involved. Of course, theirs took place on a September afternoon while most folks were at work or school. The B&B that they had rented for the event was large enough to hold their entire extended family in attendance. The ceremony took place on the back patio, with the couple and I (and their sweet little girl) standing up front, next to the wall with the water literally right on the other side. When I sat down on the wall prior to the ceremony, I could run my hand in the lake. Their ceremony is also memorable for how the couple and their family entered the ceremony spot…music blaring over the sound system and the couples exiting the house, dancing up the aisle to their seats and then Mistie, Sean and their little sweet pea dancing up to another song. It was fantastic. The setting was beautiful and everyone was having fun.
Other amazing options for wedding locations
Of course, if B&B’s aren’t your thing either, how about a beach wedding at Campbell’s Resort. If you’d like something a little more luxurious and less tourist focused? How about the stunning Harmony Meadows Tennis Resort in Manson (just up the road)? Looking for something a bit more secluded? There is always the option of a gorgeous boat ride on the Lady of the Lake up to Stehekin and rent a cabin and get married in the forest. Whether you’re eloping on the dock of your Lake Chelan B&B, having an intimate wedding with just a few family/friends at your favorite winery or dream of a wedding on the lake shore, I would love to talk with you about your Lake Chelan Wedding.
Here is what some of my amazing couples have to say
Chanelle officiated our wedding in Lake Chelan. She was wonderful! She took the time to really get to know us as a couple, and worked with us to make sure our ceremony reflected our personalities and story. She’s very sweet, professional, and extremely responsive. She communicated well with the venue and wedding coordinator to ensure everything went smoothly, down to the smallest details. If you are looking for someone who genuinely cares, and who can craft and deliver a heartfelt ceremony tailored to your wishes, I highly recommend Chanelle! – Claudia and Jarred
5 stars! The best ever! While I’ve not tied the knot before I couldn’t have imagined our special day any other way! Chanelle is personable, confident, respectful and caring, we are so happy we found her to officiate our wedding. She listened closely to what we wanted, and welcomed feedback, the ceremony was absolutely perfect! If I had to do it over again I would call her! Thank you! Yip! – Jillian and Bruce
Chanelle was absolutely amazing to work with. She helped us every step of the way in crafting the most perfect ceremony for us. She was very clear and transparent and because of her process there were no hiccups on the big day! She also was also very flexible and supportive when we had many changes to our wedding due to Covid. We would recommend Chanelle to anyone – she is a kind soul who truly cares about the couples she is working with and has the ability to understand and represent their love as an officiant. – Jessica and Matthew
Chanelle officiated our wedding in Lake Chelan a few weeks ago and it was perfect! She was so nice from the first meeting to the ceremony. We were planning the wedding from out of state, and very busy with other life events too. Even with communication low on our end, Chanelle reached out monthly and was always engaged during our zoom meetings. We felt she truly tried to get to know us and make sure the ceremony was what we wanted and matched us. Highly recommend Chanelle! – Jake and Tara
If you haven’t already spent much time on my website yet, I invite you to visit a while and browse. All the information about working with me and my fees is on the services page . You can also read reviews from some of my other couples here.
In a nutshell, as your wedding officiant, I work with you both to create a custom wedding ceremony that matches your personalities, your vision for your wedding and captures the magic and uniqueness of your one-of-a-kind love story. We begin this process with a complimentary consultation with the two of you to answer any questions you have, hear your ideas for your wedding and see if we all feel like we’re a good fit for each other (it’s important to feel good about the people working with you on your wedding).
In case you’re still looking for just the right people to help bring your E.P.I.C. wedding vision to life, I’ve put together this exclusive list of some of my top wedding pros that serve couples wanting to get married in Lake Chelan. This is not a paid list. I have either worked with these folks and been truly impressed with their professionalism and commitment to our couples’ joy on their wedding day OR I have heard about how amazing they are from other trusted professionals.
I remind all of my couples that your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding ceremony and most couples have never done it before so it can feel a bit overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is that the two of you have decided that you want to be together and whether you choose to commemorate that with a large family wedding at Campbell’s, an intimate family wedding at your favorite winery or elope with your witnesses and officiant to Stehekin, it’s YOUR special day and you want it to be meaningful to the two of you, not stressful. There are many, many resources available to help alleviate stress, including amazingly talented and committed wedding professionals and E.P.I.C. (my wedding ceremony planning framework that I’ve shared a bit about in this article). However, if you start with remembering to just breathe and enjoy your engagement together, all will fall into place. This is a magical time, and I’m absolutely delighted for you. Best wishes for a lifetime of love. – Chanelle, Your Lake Chelan Wedding Officiant.
Chanelle Carlin is Your Celebrant for LifeTM. She is an ordained minister, professional wedding officiant, author, gratitude coach, self-care coach and owner of Chanelle Carlin Weddings, LLC. Chanelle believes that life and love should be celebrated every minute. She collaborates with couples who’ve found “The ONE” to create custom, memorable ceremonies for their intimate wedding or elopement at Lake Chelan and throughout the naturally beautiful Pacific Northwest and celebrates all the special moments that matter in their lives. She lives with her family in rural Okanogan County, Washington, USA and LOVES traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest to officiate weddings. You can visit Chanelle at www.chanellecarlin.com, on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.