My International Brooch Bouquet

Brooch Bouquet

Last year for our wedding, I. Made. This. Brooch. Bouquet! It has an international flair. It has contributions from family and friends. It has my favorite flower, the sunflower. It has pieces representing important parts of our lives. It has symbols of love.


Brooch Bouquet

I came up with the concept of creating my own brooch bouquet when I was originally searching online on how to make my own flower bouquet. I came across a website that listed alternatives to the traditional flower bouquet, so my curiosity took me there. Especially because I was not doing everything traditional in our wedding anyway.


Brooch Bouquet

Some of the alternative bouquet options included feathers, peacock feathers, wooden flowers, button bouquets, fans, origami, shells, Christmas ornaments, umbrellas, pin-wheels, even candy. However, the one that really caught my attention, and got me excited right away, due to its beauty and uniqueness, was the brooch bouquet.


Brooch Bouquet

I began to research more about the brooch bouquet. I looked at gorgeous images online. I looked at websites that sell them. Then I thought, I wonder if I could make my own? Sure enough, there are video tutorials that teach you how to make your own brooch bouquet.


Brooch Bouquet

I sat on my couch one evening, and studied the videos. Yes, I can do this, I thought. First though, I must collect the brooches. You can buy some online at places that specifically sell brooches, but those looked too manufactured to me. I decided I wanted my brooches to be more unique. A few videos suggested buying brooches at thrift stores. Fortunately, I had several months before our wedding, so off to shopping I began!


Brooch Bouquet

I started with thrift stores near our home and my work. I bought a few, and was excited with my beginning purchases. Then I remembered that some of the videos online, and other informational websites about brooch bouquets, said that to make one bouquet, you needed anywhere from 50 to 100 brooches. I must shop more!


Brooch Bouquet

I spent several weekends, and evenings, traveling to thrift stores. I think I hit just about every single one in the greater Seattle area, and beyond. From Everett to Kent, and from West Seattle to Issaquah. One weekend, I even drove to my dad’s in Bellingham for a visit, so I hit the thrift stores on my way up there, as well as in that town, too. Another weekend I flew to San Francisco to visit my mom, my sisters, and my niece, so I hit some more thrift stores there as well. Basically, I covered it from Bellingham to Burien, and from Seattle to San Francisco.


Brooch Bouquet

I continued to buy a few brooches at thrift stores along the Oregon Coast during our pre-wedding travels. Then my family started buying me some – my mom got me a few brooches near her home in the Bay Area. My sister got me some more in the San Francisco area as well. In addition, a good friend gave me a couple more. I even bought a brooch at an antique store on my travels of walking the 42-mile road that encircles Île d’Orléans, near Québec City, Canada!


Brooch Bouquet

In all this shopping though, I had to come up with a theme for my brooch bouquet. I wasn’t just buying any and every brooch I saw. I was thoughtful and methodical. My main theme was the color silver, to match my non-traditional lacey silvery-blue wedding dress. I expanded this theme however to also include colored brooches, flower brooches, butterfly brooches, heart-shaped brooches. Even a strawberry and a dragonfly made it into my growing collection of brooches.


Brooch Bouquet

I also bought brooches that represented something important and meaningful my husband’s and my lives. We met Zydeco dancing, so I found an accordion to represent the Zydeco influence in our lives. I added a few cats because my husband has a love for animals. Sunflowers were included, in yellow and other various colors, because that is my favorite flower. There is also a special miniature “picture frame” brooch, to which I added four pictures of me and my husband doing some of the activities we enjoy – hiking and mountain bicycling. And, a lighthouse brooch bought from the gift shop at the Mukilteo Lighthouse, the location of our wedding ceremony.


Brooch Bouquet

I also decided to include an international flair in my brooch bouquet, because well, an important and meaningful part of my life is travel. Instead of finding international brooches at the thrift stores however, I realized that I could use items that I had already purchased during my travels. Therefore, I pulled out my jewelry, and other trinkets, and added them to my bouquet. A double-heart piece, with a yellow directional arrow, as well as a scallop shell bracelet hanging from the heart, all from my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage walk in northern Spain. A red charm from a necklace given to me by a woman in Cappadocia, Turkey. A pink beaded bracelet from Venice, Italy. A purple-beaded metal bracelet from an outdoor market in Brussels, Belgium. A prayer wheel from Bhutan.


Brooch Bouquet

I threw in a couple of “blue” brooches as well, to cover my “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” One is a cloud, with a few blue rain droplets from a thrift store. The other is a blue-stone on a ring from one of the Greek Islands. I even took this blue-stone ring and surrounded it by two “spoon rings” from Cambodia.


Brooch Bouquet

Needless to say, I did not do the traditional tossing of my international brooch bouquet at our wedding. I am keeping this creation as a symbol of not only our wedding, but of our lives.

Sweet Travels!

For blogs about my other bouquets, please visit my brooch and button bouquets category.

Walking Ten Miles Round Trip to the New Dungeness Lighthouse

New Dungeness Lighthouse

Several years before we got married, my husband and I went on a car camping trip to Dungeness Spit, located on the Olympic Peninsula in Sequim, Washington. The purpose of this trip was to walk the 5 miles to the New Dungeness Lighthouse located near the end of Dungeness Spit. And walk the 5 miles back to the campground! I loved being able to walk for miles and miles and miles on a beach, hearing the waves and birds, feeling like I was out in the middle of nowhere. Now this would have made another beautiful location for our wedding, but alas I did not think that our guests would have wanted to walk 10 miles on our wedding day.


New Dungeness Spit Lighthouse

What is really unique about the New Dungeness Lighthouse is it is one of the very few lighthouses that provide the opportunity to see what it is like to live the life of a Lighthouse Keeper. Yes, if you are up for it, and are a current member of the New Dungeness Light Station Association, you can live the life of a Keeper for a week in much the same isolation as Keepers of the 19th century did. You would be responsible for the operation of the Lighthouse, maintenance, repairs, taking care of the lawn, and giving guided tours to those who have made their way to the lighthouse, like us, who had walked the 5 miles to get there.


Lighthouse New Dungeness

In use for the first time on December 14, 1857, the New Dungeness Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Northwest. It was originally 91 feet tall, but due to deterioration over time, and possibly damage from an earthquake, the lighthouse tower was lowered to 63 feet in 1972. It was automated in 1976, although it was the last lighthouse on the West Coast to be manned by the Coast Guard until 1994. It has 74 steps to the top for a nice view.

Located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and part of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, the six-mile total, flat sandbar of Dungeness Spit is one of the longest natural spits in the world. Be sure to check the tide tables, and plan on at least a 5 hour round trip for walking to the Lighthouse. Access to the lighthouse is also possible by kayak.


Dungeness Spit Lighthouse

Now while we did not have our wedding at the New Dungeness Lighthouse, or at one of my favorite places on this planet, the Discovery Park Lighthouse, needless to say we did have the perfect wedding at the Mukilteo Lighthouse!

Sweet Travels!

Some information in this blog obtained from:
New Dungeness Lighthouse
Lighthouse Friends – New Dungeness Lighthouse, WA

For more lighthouse blogs, please visit my lighthouses category.

West Point Lighthouse at Discovery Park in Seattle (and almost a Wedding)

West Point Lighthouse Discovery Park Olympic Mountains

On a clear day, while standing at the sandy and rocky tip near the West Point Lighthouse, you can amazingly see three of Washington State’s major mountains and ranges at one time – Mt. Baker to the north, the Olympic Mountains to the west, and Mt. Rainier to the south. With beautiful views like this, it one of my favorite places on this planet.


West Point Lighthouse Discovery Park Olympics

Located below Magnolia Bluff at Discovery Park in Seattle, next to the waters of Puget Sound, with beaches on either side of the lighthouse, and hiking in the bluffs above, this would have been a beautiful setting for our wedding. Alas, they do not allow weddings to take place right at the lighthouse, only at a few places in the park above. However, it ended up not mattering much, because where we got married, right next to the Mukilteo Lighthouse, was perfect.


West Point Lighthouse Discovery Park Mt. Baker

Construction of the West Point Lighthouse, also known as the Discovery Park Lighthouse, started in July 1881, and by November of the same year, it was operational. At a height of 23 feet, what makes this lighthouse unique is that this was the last lighthouse in the state of Washington to be automated, which did not occur until 1985.


West Point Lighthouse Discovery Park Mt. Rainier

Currently part of the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, I love visiting the West Point Lighthouse at Discovery Park because it is close to home, has the hiking trails above, has great views, the water, and of course the lighthouse itself. The photos in this blog were taken on a clear January day a few months ago where my husband and I could see the Olympics (the first two photos), Mt. Baker (the small white spot, in the distance, on the right side of the third picture), and Mt. Rainier (in the distance on the right side of the last picture).

Sweet Travels!

Some information in this blog obtained from: Lighthouse Friends

For more lighthouse blogs, please visit my lighthouses category.

The Mukilteo Lighthouse near Seattle (and a Wedding)

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you can control it.” John Steinbeck.

I love lighthouses. I am completely fascinated by them. So much so that I visit as many of them as I can when I travel, I write blogs about them, AND I got married at one last summer! The Mukilteo Lighthouse was the location of our grand event. Located about 30 minutes north of Seattle, Washington, next to the ferry landing in Mukilteo, our wedding day was warm and sunny, with a slight breeze. With the background of not only the lighthouse, but also the ferries, the waters of Puget Sound, and Whidbey Island beyond, it was perfect.

Mukilteo Lighthouse Seattle

I wore a lacey silvery-blue dress, my two sisters and my husband’s brother stood beside us, my niece was our flower girl, and many of our guests sat on the grass, some in chairs, and some even on blankets. I made my own brooch bouquet, I wore sandals, and we had four special people say “blessings” to us, one about love from my mom, and the other three based on our common interests of dancing, the outdoors…and travel. Beth Whitman, of Wanderlust and Lipstick, read this blessing to us, followed by the above travel-marriage quote from John Steinbeck:

“As you travel through life together, as you depart down new or familiar roads, whether you get off the beaten path, take the roads less traveled, or visit all the touristy places, may you remember that life is about the journey, not the destination.”

Mukilteo Lighthouse Ferry

Even when a ferry blew its horn right in the middle of my husband’s niece singing “Love Me Tender,” it just made our wedding that much more fun. Our wedding at Mukilteo Lighthouse was perfect.


Lighthouse Mukilteo

Mukilteo Lighthouse was built and became operational in 1906, at a cost of $27,000, and is made of fir wood, which is significant because similar lighthouses, Lime Kiln Lighthouse on San Juan Island and Alki Lighthouse in West Seattle, were built of concrete. In 1927 electricity was installed at the Mukilteo Lighthouse, and it became fully automated in 1979. During the days of lightkeepers, “due to its location and amenities, the light station was considered a choice assignment that was often given to keepers as a reward for outstanding service.”


Mukilteo Lighthouse Washington

Mukilteo Lighthouse is located in Mukilteo State Park. “Native American Indians [the Snohomish] originally used the land in this area as a site for a camp during the winter months. In fact, Mukilteo is a local Indian word for ‘good place for camping.’” Next to the lighthouse, there are two keepers’ houses, a small museum with exhibits, photographs and information, and a gift shop. In the park there is a beach, picnic grounds, a playground, and a boat launch.


Mukilteo Lighthouse

When the Mukilteo Lighthouse began allowing weddings, “according to volunteers, not one of the first hundred performed at the lighthouse was rained on. There was rain before or after, but never on the actual ceremony.” Now I don’t know what number wedding we were, and how many weddings have been rained on after that first hundred, but we did not have a single drop!


Mukilteo Lighthouse Views Puget Sound

And when our ceremony was over, our guests got to go into the lighthouse to climb the 36 stairs of the 38-foot tall tower, for not only a tour, but also to see the beautiful views.

I also designed our Thank You cards to include a picture of the Mukilteo Lighthouse.

Sweet Travels!

Information and quotes in the blog from:
Mukilteo Historical Society
Lighthouse Friends-Mukilteo

If you are interested in getting married at Mukilteo Lighthouse, here is the link: City of Mukilteo

For more lighthouse blogs, please visit my lighthouses category.