Ferndale man writes vows for wife, stepdaughter, too

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 6, 2014 

When Daniel Amanda married, they surprised Amanda's daughter, Zoe, by including her in their vows.

BRENDA C PHOTOGRAPHY — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Some people are just plain hard to surprise.

Amanda Zollner, 27, didn't make it easy for her now-husband, Daniel Zollner, 26, to catch her unawares with a proposal.

"We knew we wanted to get married, and I kept bugging him about it," Amanda says. "I didn't understand what he was waiting for: We already owned a house and we were looking at buying another one at the time."

Daniel knew he wanted to propose, but to really make it special he would have to find a moment when Amanda least expected it.

"Anytime I mentioned we were going somewhere, I think she kind of expected it," he says.

So when they went out to dinner on their one-year anniversary, Daniel waited to say anything until the end of the night, when they were walking up the driveway to their house.

"She thought the night was over," he says.

He told Amanda he had to ask her something, and upon seeing her confused face, he dropped down to one knee and asked if she would marry him. She was happily surprised.

Amanda has a 12-year-old daughter from a previous relationship and subsequent marriage, so when Daniel suggested before he proposed that they should start a family of their own, Amanda said she wanted to be sure they married first.

"I had my daughter very young, and I did it the mixed-up way the first time around," she says. "I told him this time I wanted to get married first and do it right. I think he was teasing me to make sure it was a surprise."

When the couple married Aug. 10, 2013, at Glen Echo Garden, off of Mount Baker Highway, Daniel showed his commitment to both Amanda and daughter Zoe while giving his vows.

"I had said I wanted to get Zoe a ring too, so I needed to have some vows to go with it," he says.

The couple worked together on their vows, and kept them a secret from Zoe.

"Zoe was up front during the ceremony," Daniel says. "I grabbed her hand and started saying vows to her as well, and she started crying."

There wasn't a dry eye in the audience.

The couple had a DIY lovebird-theme wedding, making virtually every decoration and bit of food with the help of friends and family. Bird cage centerpieces filled with moss adorned the tables, along with salt and pepper shakers shaped like birds.

Paper banners that read "Lovebirds," "Love is Sweet" and "Eat, Drink, Love" lined the buffet, and the wedding programs doubled as folding paper fans.

Food was a family affair. The couple prepared a croissant sandwich bar, Zoe helped make cupcakes, and family friend Renee Miller baked a large cake.

Daniel's brother, who was ordained via the Internet years ago, married the couple, only because Daniel, who was also ordained online, couldn't do it himself.

The couple vacationed in Maui in late September for their honeymoon, and now live in Ferndale.

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