When Sarah Haggen and Paul Hammann got married, it was a team effort from start to finish.
It started with the proposal in March 2014. Paul, who interned with the University of Washington’s athletic department while he was getting his master’s degree at the school, proposed to Sarah on the 50-yard line of Husky Stadium. Sarah thought she was going to a donor event, but she walked onto the field to see Paul waiting, with family and friends watching from the suites.
“Huskies football has been in both mine and Sarah’s lives forever,” Paul says. “It was a place that was really meaningful to us.”
They were married April 11, 2015, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bellingham, and held their reception at Bellingham Golf & Country Club. With two pastors and a 26-member bridal party, that was a team effort, too.
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“That was actually cutting it down” Paul says. “We could’ve had more.”
One of our goals was to give guests kind of a quick snapshot of what Bellingham has to offer.
Paul Hammann, groom
They live in Seattle, where Sarah, 25, works for Make-a-Wish Foundation and Paul, 28, works for First American Title Insurance Co. But Sarah is from Bellingham, and she and Paul visit her family here often. In many ways, their decision to marry in Bellingham instead of Seattle was a love letter to the place where Sarah grew up.
With many of the nearly 250 wedding guests from out of town, Sarah gave people a list of her favorite things to see and do in Bellingham. At the top of her list: Enjoy a latte at The Woods Coffee, shop in Fairhaven, and stroll by the bay at Boulevard Park.
“One of our goals was to give guests kind of a quick snapshot of what Bellingham has to offer, and give them an idea of what we do when we go up there,” Paul says.
Another thing that drew them to Bellingham was the church. St. Paul’s has been the location for many of Sarah’s family’s milestones, from baptisms to funerals to weddings.
“It felt like a way for me to have those who are no longer with us be a part of the ceremony in spirit,” Sarah says.
The grandeur of the church lent itself to the formality of the ceremony.
Our goal was just to make it fun and sociable. It was one of our big reasons to not do a seated dinner or assigned seats.
Sarah Haggen Hammann bride
“It was very important for us to put a lot of thought and tradition and meaning into the ceremony,” Sarah says. “We wanted to make sure we could take it in to make it a strong union.”
Walking to the church altar was memorable for Paul, too.
“When I walked down the aisle and turned around and saw everybody staring back at me, that was a moment I’ll remember,” he says. “My heart probably was up near my throat pounding, ready to jump out of my chest. It felt like all the stars had finally aligned.”
After the formal ceremony, the reception with food trucks and dance-offs was a casual counterpoint.
“Our goal was just to make it fun and sociable,” Sarah says. “It was one of our big reasons to not do a seated dinner or assigned seats. We wanted everyone to meet each other and have fun.”
“The food-truck theme helped that happen,” she says. “After the wedding, we heard from so many people that that was their favorite part, that they could stand in line and tell each other stories about how they knew us.”
Photos by Courtney Bowlden Photography