An intimate family wedding at Roberts Mansion 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. After that are the truly beautiful venues and wedding teams I’m fortunate to work with and one or two memories from the day. Here are my personal reflections from this day… September 12, 2021.

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. Their marriage was a decade in the making. 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. 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. Fast forward to 2021…living in their home in Washington, being together day to day, preparing for 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, which Marisa wore on their wedding day.

Austyn’s tender hearted gift to his beloved. PC Abby Muir Photography

Austyn and Marisa – their day…

The day of their wedding was a gorgeous autumn day in Eastern Washington…beautiful sunshine and not too hot. The venue is an 120+ year old historic mansion located in the Brown’s Addition of Spokane, Washington and has a stunning, walled garden (back yard) perfect for weddings that need a little shade and privacy.

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

First, the incredible detail and beautiful design and decoration of this wedding. Marisa’s mom worked with Denise, the Coordinator at the Roberts Mansion to transform the event space into a beautiful, romantic, “boho” paradise. The couple had chosen gorgeous autumnal colors of forest green, rust and purple as their colors and the wedding party (and most of the guests) dressed thematically. The effect was truly beautiful.

Forest green, burnt orange and purple boho-style floral arrangement. PC Abby Muir Photography
An autumn themed, family-style banquet table designed by Marisa’s Mom. PC Abby Muir Photography.
Wedding cake with “It was always you” cake topper and autumn themed flowers. PC Abby Muir Photography.

Second Reflection

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, closed their eyes, we 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 and Smiles all around. PC Abby Muir Photography.

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

Austyn shares his vows with his beloved Marisa. PC Abby Muir Photography.

Third Reflection

Just as we were getting ready to pronounce them 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 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! After allowing the tardy but welcome guest to join the festivities, Austyn and Marisa were pronounced married, they kissed and were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Saunders and danced up the aisle as their family and friends stood and cheered!

The Kiss. PC Abby Muir Photography.
Mr. and Mrs. Saunders dance up the aisle. PC Abby Muir Photography

Fourth Reflection

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 – 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.

A quick note about the venue:

Roberts Mansion – Spokane’s Historic Bed, Breakfast & Event Center –
Located within walking distance to downtown Spokane in historic Browne’s Addition, the restored Roberts Mansion celebrates its Victorian heritage in grand style. Comfortably suited as a Bed, Breakfast and Event Center, guests can consider holding their wedding, corporate meeting, overnight stay or special occasion at the Roberts Mansion.

And the Photographer:

Abby Muir Photography –
Abby is an elopement + wedding photographer living in Spokane Washington with her husband, their dog, Blu and their baby girl, Sawyer. 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

About Chanelle:
Chanelle Carlin is 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. As their 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.