Not many people go to the trouble of planning a wedding only to get married months ahead of time.
But that’s how it worked out for Brianna Edwards and Brandon Longwell.
Though they had already planned much of their Sept. 10, 2016 wedding, the two technically married on Feb. 29, 2016 (leap day) at The Temple Bar, where they had had their first date together years earlier.
But that was mostly the result of circumstance – “soccer players are expensive” when it comes to insurance coverage, and Brianna wanted to make sure Brandon was covered.
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But they had already planned a big party and darn it, they were going to have it, so when the time came for their big day, they held their ceremony at the Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall and their reception at the Lightcatcher museum just blocks away.
“We wanted something to mesh our personalities,” Brianna says. “With the museum, the beautiful thing is you have the decorations built in.”
She’s a painter and counselor, and he grew up in Bellingham and has worked as a carpenter and project manager.
I tried to create a party where everyone could be independent and do things on their own while being around their friends.
Their color scheme used the primary colors: red, blue and yellow.
The reception was really one big mish-mash of fun.
“I tried to create a party where everyone could be independent and do things on their own while being around their friends,” Brianna says.
Along with food from Danielle’s Back East BBQ, cake from Pure Bliss and dancing, there were board games and glitter tattoos and karaoke.
“Everyone meshed. There was no tension or awkwardness,” Brandon says. “Complete strangers made friends instantly. … It was a grand cross-pollination of all these people who didn’t spend time together before.”
One of the perks of renting the space at the museum was being able to “add on” additional galleries, which the museum staffed so guests could enjoy the art.
Guests also were able to view a gallery unique to the couple: Brianna commissioned paintings from a bunch of artists who painted the couple in the art styles and character motifs of many of their favorite shows and games. Some of the styles included Dr. Who, Sailor Moon, Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, Legends of Zelda, Game of Thrones and more.
It was a grand cross-pollination of all these people who didn’t spend time together before.
One of the best things about hosting their 120-or-so guests at the Lightcatcher was that the kids got to play in the family interactive gallery, the couple says.
“So many friends who are parents said that was awesome,” Brandon says.
The two had a hard time picking a favorite moment from that day, since everything was so fun, from their close friends belting out Queen songs during karaoke to everyone dropping what they were doing to dance to “Gangnam Style,” to enjoying the sunset and all the company.
If they have any advice for other couples, it’s just to take care of each other and remember that at the end of the day, it’s a big party.
“It is an expression of the two of us and our relationship, but it is also for your friends and your family,” Brandon says.
“They’re the life of that,” Brianna adds. “I got to relax at my wedding, and I don’t know many couples who got to. That’s ‘cause I was in the moment.”
“Don’t lose sight of the joy that brought you together,” Brandon says.
The two had been living together for a few years when they were married, so in lieu of gifts they asked people to contribute to a honeymoon fund. They hope to go take a Lord of the Rings tour in New Zealand some time in 2017.
By: Katheryn Moran Photography