An intimate family wedding at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate in Spokane, Washington. PC Abby Muir Photography

Reflections from your Officiant

Each wedding is so special to me and always stands out in my memory for a few reasons. First, and foremost, is the relationship I’ve been honored to build with the couple. There is no wedding ceremony without them. After that are the truly beautiful venues these amazing weddings take place – case in point, the gorgeous, historic Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate in Spokane, Washington. Finally, there are the truly exceptional wedding professionals that I’m fortunate to work with. Here are some of my favorite reflections from this sweet, intimate family wedding.

Wedding cake with “It was always you” cake topper and autumn-themed flowers. PC Abby Muir Photography.

Austyn and Marisa – “It was always you.”

Austyn and Marisa are a very sweet couple that I was honored to “meet” virtually in the spring before their Autumn wedding. Marisa told me their special quote that they really wanted to have as the theme for their ceremony was “It was always you,” because it was. Their marriage was a decade in the making.

Fast friends = best friends

During our initial zoom meeting, they told me that they had met the 2nd day of 5th grade and became fast, best friends. Many afternoons after school saw Austyn at Marisa’s house, watching TV, doing homework, playing games – just hanging out.

First date to the ‘always’ date

Then, in 7th grade, they had their first “date” at Austyn’s house where they had Papa Murphy’s pepperoni pizza and watched Cake Boss with Austyn’s mom. Their young relationship continued through middle and high school, even when Marisa moved to Spokane. Although they contemplated a break-up as a couple, they couldn’t imagine not being best friends anymore, so twice a month, Austyn found himself making a long trek (sometimes via Greyhound) from the Seattle area to Spokane and home just so they could be together. Finally, when Marisa turned 18, she moved back to Seattle and graduated from high school with Austyn and their other classmates.

Planning a lifetime together

Fast forward a few more years…living in their home in Washington, being together day to day, preparing for the rest of their life together. Who wouldn’t want to be part of their wedding day?! Austyn and Marisa LOVE to laugh and its infectious. They are also kind and so in love with one another. Over the months of planning their ceremony, I saw multiple examples of this, but one I want to share here is so sweet. You see, Marisa had always wanted a pearl necklace so Austyn made that dream a reality on their wedding day. With the most beautiful, tender hearted note for his beloved, he gifted Marisa with a lovely strand of pearls. Marisa wore them on their wedding day and Austyn saw them around her neck for the first time as she walked up the aisle.

Austyn’s tender hearted gift to his beloved. “You are without a doubt, the most gorgeous woman I have ever met. I got you this as a symbol of your forever timeless beauty <3.” PC Abby Muir Photography at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate

Austyn and Marisa – their day…

The day of their wedding was a gorgeous September day in Eastern Washington…beautiful sunshine and not too hot. The venue, Roberts Mansion, is a 120+ year old historic mansion located in the Brown’s Addition of Spokane, Washington. It has a stunning, walled garden (back yard) perfect for elopements, weddings and other events that need a little shade and privacy. Marisa had always wanted to have a wedding here.

Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate, Spokane, Washington. PC Abby Muir Photography.
The ceremony arbor in the walled back garden at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate, Spokane. PC Abby Muir Photography.

There were actually several things that stood out to me during this ceremony and because I couldn’t choose just one, I decided to include all the ones that are STILL standing out in my mind.

First Reflection – a beautiful “Boho” paradise

First, the incredible detail and beautiful design and decoration of this wedding still stand out to me. Marisa’s mom worked with the Coordinator at the Roberts Mansion to transform the event space from a lush, shaded back yard into a beautiful, romantic, “boho” paradise. The couple had chosen gorgeous autumn colors of forest green, rust and purple as their colors and the wedding party (and most of the guests) dressed in those colors. The effect was truly beautiful and felt just like fall in the Pacific Northwest.

Forest green, burnt orange and purple boho-style floral arrangement at an autumn Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate wedding. PC Abby Muir Photography
An autumn-themed, family-style banquet table designed by Marisa’s Mom in the walled garden at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate. PC Abby Muir Photography.

Second Reflection – tears of joy

As the wedding started, the guests were seated. The groom, Austyn was in his spot waiting for his beautiful Marisa. Standing behind him, I could see and feel his nerves as well as the tears of joy as she was escorted up the aisle. Once his best friend and future wife arrived in front of him, they held hands and closed their eyes. I grounded everyone in the moment and then they were ready. They both had tears in their eyes and the very biggest of smiles. Talk about a joyful moment for everyone!

Tears of Joy and smiles all around at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate. PC Abby Muir Photography.

As the ceremony progressed, Marisa and Austyn shared their heart-felt, personal vows and exchanged wedding rings with each other.

Austyn shares his vows with his beloved Marisa at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate wedding. PC Abby Muir Photography.

Third Reflection – A tardy guest arrives in the “knick” of time.

Just as we were getting ready to pronounce Austyn and Marisa married and have them kiss, a late guest arrived and walked straight through the wedding party and up the aisle, taking center stage…

A tardy guest. PC Abby Muir Photography
Making his way through the crowd. PC Abby Muir Photography

Rather than being shocked or irritated by this, our couple thought it was brilliant! Both passionate cat lovers (with three at home), Austyn shouted, “I was hoping he’d come back for the ceremony!” We allowed the tardy but very welcome guest to join the festivities. I then pronounced Austyn and Marisa married, they kissed and as they danced up the aisle, their family and friends stood and cheered!

The Kiss at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate. PC Abby Muir Photography.
Mr. and Mrs. Saunders dance up the aisle after their autumn-themed ceremony at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate in Spokane, Washington. PC Abby Muir Photography

Fourth Reflection – Let’s make it Official

Then…on to what is probably (to me), the most important part of a couple’s wedding ceremony…the part that makes them legally and officially married…the signing of the Marriage Certificate. Don’t get me wrong – as your Celebrant, I am all about the ceremony, the vows, the ring exchange AND the pronouncement in front of family, friends and witnesses. However, I also believe that as a couple, you are making a legal commitment to one another, so the signing of the certificate is just as important as the rest. I loved that they were both so happy to sign the ‘paperwork’. Look at that smile on Austyn’s face.

Signing the Marriage Certificate upstairs in the bridal suite at Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate – now it’s official! PC Abby Muir Photography

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Saunders for the honor of celebrating your magical autumn wedding. It was truly a joy filled day! I wish you both (and now little Master Saunders) daily celebrations of love for a lifetime.

The Wedding Team

A quick note about the venue:

Roberts Mansion & Urban Estate – Spokane’s Historic Bed, Breakfast & Event Center –
The 24-room mansion was built in 1889, and was one of Spokane’s premiere homes. Featuring granite window trim, spindle work in the gables and a prominent turret, the Mansion is one of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture in Spokane. Seasonally, the gardens are lush and worthy of a park-like stroll. Inside you will find beautifully appointed suites complete with antique furnishings, private balconies, claw-foot tubs, and modern amenities. Roberts Mansion is also conveniently located just one block from local restaurants and bars, a 3-minute walk from the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and a 5-minute walk to downtown Spokane. With its rich history and romantic charm, The Roberts Mansion + Urban Estate is the perfect setting for your next elopement, wedding or other celebratory or even corporate event.

And the Photographer:

Abby Muir Photography –
Abby is an elopement + wedding photographer living in Spokane Washington with her husband, their dog, Blu and the two gorgeous little humans. They love spending time in the outdoors and enjoying all the amazing views the Pacific Northwest has to offer. While Spokane is Abby’s home base, she also loves to travel and visit new places so don’t fret if you’re not close by!

Photo credit Roxanne Best

Finally about Chanelle:

Chanelle Carlin is a Washington State Elopement and Intimate Wedding Officiant and Your Celebrant for Life. She is an ordained minister, professional wedding officiant, coach, and owner of Chanelle Carlin Weddings, LLC. Believing that life and love should be celebrated every minute, she collaborates with couples who’ve already started building the foundations of their relationship over the years and are now ready to venture forth into marriage with a custom, memorable (for all the right reasons) elopement/intimate wedding ceremony. While Chanelle works throughout the Pacific Northwest and Ireland primarily, she gladly travels to wherever her couples prefer to marry (especially Spokane). As your Celebrant for Life, Chanelle also celebrates all the special milestones and moments that matter in each of her couples’ lives. She lives with her family in rural Okanogan County, Washington, USA, and totally LOVES her life. You can visit Chanelle at, on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.