Whatcom Weddings

‘We still wanted to be traditional, but just with a twist’

Amanda Martin and Chas Hoppe were married Aug. 27, 2016, at Shuksan Golf Club with a wedding that fit their personalities.
Amanda Martin and Chas Hoppe were married Aug. 27, 2016, at Shuksan Golf Club with a wedding that fit their personalities. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

For anything to make the cut to be at Amanda Martin and Chas Hoppe’s wedding, it had to be ranked somewhere on the four-point “BEAV” scale.

BEAV stands for bizarre, elegant, asinine and vintage. It’s a scale the couple invented to apply to everything from how to decorate their living space to, well, getting married.

An example of something that might hit a few points on the scale?

Well, one of their bridesmaids was a miniature horse, and so was the accomplice of the flower girl.

“They were covered in glitter and had sparkly hoof polish,” Chas explains.

Anyone familiar with Amanda and Chas knows the BEAV scale fits well with their unique bond.

We bonded over monsters. It had always been a common language we spoke. Every couple builds their own code kind of thing. Monsters became that.

Chas Hoppe

The two originally met in 2008 as students in Western Washington University’s English graduate program.

Amanda did her master’s thesis on Victorian female werewolves. Chas’ involved zombie poetry.

“We bonded over monsters,” Chas says. “It had always been a common language we spoke. Every couple builds their own code kind of thing. Monsters became that.”

Take how Chas proposed.

“I had written a poem where there was a character, the girl who thought she knew something about monsters,” Chas says. “Initially it was this little kid who announced animals were just monsters we’d gotten used to. (Amanda) just got amped on that poem.”

So once Chas knew he wanted to propose, he started writing poems with the girl as the main character, tying elements of his and Amanda’s relationship into the writings, and often hiding the poems around the house for her to find.

It wound up taking two years to write the full anthology to the point where he popped the question.

Because of their study of monsters, which Amanda explains are really just things outside the course of social patterns, the couple is highly aware of cultural norms and how to bend them.

“So when we did the wedding, we wanted to complicate as many norms as we could,” she says. “We still wanted to be traditional, but just with a twist.”

People were delighted the entire time. A lot said it was one of the best weddings they’d ever been to. It’s like, okay, we pulled this artistic performance piece off.

Amanda Martin

They invented a country, “The Crocodilian Republic of Chamandia,” which formed the basis of their wedding website.

They went to thrift stores and bought vintage postcards, and Amanda painted monsters into the scenes before sending those out as save-the-dates.

They also hired young local artisans whenever they could.

One friend made their rings and Amanda’s garter, which was a monster with a big open mouth. Another made cupcakes. Others helped with a pre-wedding party they held at The Shakedown.

For their Aug. 27 wedding, at the Shuksan Golf Club, they asked a friend to dress as Waldo and make sure to pop up somehow in everyone’s photos.

“There was a lot of intention that went into everything. We made sure every little thing had some sort of thing behind it, spending over a year building this intricate contraption, like a little music box,” Chas says. “Putting all the gears and springs and all that stuff together. You haven’t turned it on yet, and you have no idea if it’s going to work or blow up in your face.”

Everything went off as planned. When the day came, they danced, and they sang, and they spoke of monsters.

“People were delighted the entire time,” Amanda says. “A lot said it was one of the best weddings they’d ever been to. It’s like, OK, we pulled this artistic performance piece off.”

Samantha Wohlfeil: 360-715-2274, @SAWohlfeil

Photos

By: Nicole Raine Photography

Email: studio@nicoleraine.com

Website: nicoleraine.com/

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