Happily ever after seems like an awfully accurate description for Ariel and Andrew Valley.
The Seattle couple with Whatcom County roots said their "I dos" Aug. 25, 2012, at Squalicum Boathouse in a fairy-tale ceremony that took a page from Disney's playbook.
"It was so much fun," says Ariel, who grew up in Bellingham. "We basically made it seem like you were going to Disneyland."
When guests arrived, they were welcomed by a program modeled after a ticket to Disneyland, good for admission into the couple's wedding. Escort cards were like the theme park's "Fastpass," letting guests know at which table they would be seated.
"We really, really love Disney. We go to Disneyland at least twice a year," she says.
So when they were figuring out a theme, Disneyland and its many fairy tales seemed just right.
"It fits our personalities really. We're just kind of big kids," she says. "When we go to Disneyland, we're definitely children all over again. We really wanted to make our wedding something that was really fun and enjoyable and unique."
At the tables, the guests would find even more whimsical surprises: each one was themed after a different Disney fairy tale.
"I would take little things from each fairy tale and put it in there," she says.
Each table had a slightly different arrangement of flowers and candles and included a sweet quote from the Disney movie, as well as adorable hints at the movie. The Cinderella table included a little glass slipper and a decorated clock striking midnight. For the Aladdin table, Ariel found a perfect genie lamp at a thrift shop.
For dinner, they had a barbecue cart inspired by Disneyland's Big Thunder Ranch section. For dessert, instead of cake, they had an ice cream cart, modeled after the parlor on Disneyland's Main Street. Even the caterers got into the theme, donning cowboy boots for dinner and fancy bow ties for dessert.
Instead of a guest book, Andrew tracked down a variety of vintage Disneyland postcards on eBay for guests to sign and send messages of love.
"He loved it," Ariel says of the theme. "He's even more of a big kid than I am. He's grown up going to Disneyland every year of his life."
The fairy tale didn't end after the wedding was over. The couple spent their honeymoon at Disney World in Florida, exploring the park, riding rides and running around like big kids. To match the vintage postcards at their wedding, the couple bought new postcards from Disney World to send out as thank you cards.
When they arrived, they got pins to wear that said "Happily ever after," and "Just married," so that all the characters at the park would know they were newlyweds.
"It's cheesy, but it really makes you feel special," she says. "Everybody really congratulates you and makes a big deal out of it. It's a really good feeling."