At Firstlight Photography we get invited to photograph amazing weddings, but this Valentine’s Day we experienced a first. We felt like Charlie peeling back that golden ticket and gaining entrance to the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. Theo Chocolate was giving away a wedding to be set INSIDE the historic factory. A pop-up elopement on Valentine’s Day – and we were able to photograph this one-of-a-kind wedding!
We got in touch with the Drew Zandonella-Stannard, the Marketing Manager at Theo Chocolate, and asked her just how this genius plot was developed.
Was this the first wedding at Theo?
“We’ve had many proposals and a few weddings inside the factory, but this was the very first wedding giveaway we’ve done on Facebook especially for our fans. And it definitely was the first wedding to take place on Valentine’s Day and on our factory floor, no less!”
What was the inspiration for the Feb 14th wedding giveaway?
“At Theo, we believe in celebrating love in all its many forms. We wanted to do something different and fun for our social media fans on Valentine’s Day and thought that giving away an elopement inside of our chocolate factory with generous local partners like Firstlight Photography, Hotel 1000, Terra Bella Flowers, and Westward restaurant would make for an amazing and unique experience.”
What stood out about the contest winners’ story?
“Each one of the couples who submitted their love stories to us were special. It was extremely difficult to narrow it down to the final four! In the end, our Facebook fans chose Brenda and Andrew. It was such an honor to witness their commitment to each other as well as their love for their baby to be. Plus, the Seahawks jerseys they wore in their profile photo were a huge hit!”
Brenda, the beautiful bride, shared details of Andrew and her story and how she was able to secure a truly unique wedding.
How did you learn about the Valentine’s giveaway?
“A friend of mine told us about the competition. Her mom had sent her the information. Funny side note, she lives on the east coast – the power of social media and subscription lists. I entered us and actually didn’t tell Andrew until we were selected!”
Your profile story garnered quite a following. What did you do to rally the social media troops?
“We shared several times each day and sent messages to almost all of our facebook friends asking them to like and share. We had friends that took it upon themselves to do the same.”
What is the Andrew and Brenda story? How did you two come to be?
“My fiancé and I met when we were in junior high. We were inseparable until senior year of high school when we parted ways as many young people do. I went to college, and he stayed around our hometown working. Four years passed and we both had been down some pretty broken paths filled with heartache. On July 4, 2009 we saw each other and all of those young love feelings came flooding back. We were again inseparable. Things moved pretty quickly for us and we ended up moving in together within a few months. We have spent the last (almost) six years rebuilding our relationship into the great thing that it is today.
We are that couple that doesn’t go a day without seeing each other. We have two dogs, and a house and live in our hometown. Things have been great for us for a while. We have spent the last few years traveling being reunited. Last fall we found out we are pregnant with our first child – a boy! Our baby is due June 7, 2015.
We are so excited and basking in the fact that we have become so much closer already. Lucky for us, there’s more to come. While in Hawaii in December, Andrew proposed to me on the beach near a small lagoon. We were not sure when we would have a chance to have a wedding with a baby on the way, and were excited to win the Theo competition. We have always loved our story, but having the Theo Chocolate wedding makes it that much more unique and special. We are so thankful for the life that we have together.”
There were only a few days from being announced winner to saying your “I Do’s” How did this play out for you?
“On Friday of the competition, I took a risk and bought my wedding dress. It’s not returnable, but I figured that we planned to get married regardless of if we won the competition. Luckily, my dress was only $200. I am a planner. I can’t stand not having a plan. So, naturally, I planned everything out in my head as the competition was going on. If we win, this, this, this and, this needs to occur. Luckily, we didn’t have to do much because Theo took care of most everything!”
What will you remember the most from your wedding?
“I think what we will remember most from our wedding is the unique situation. We have been hearing so much about it even a month later because people are just amazed at the situation. It has, I hope, been a great advertising piece for Theo. I especially think this because we live in Kitsap County, so people do not know of all of the shops in Seattle. We have an amazing wedding story, thanks to Theo. We were so grateful for the entire thing and were treated like royalty!”
Dress & Shoes
The dress was purchased at Benita’s in Silverdale. Since middle school Brenda has been shopping there for dance and pageant dresses. Her dress had to fit over her pregnant belly so her sister and good friend met at Benita’s and the staff pulled five options. Brenda knew at first sight which dress stood out. She tried it on first because she fell in love with it immediately. She did try on the other dresses, but went with the first dress of the day.
Brenda wore sparkling diamond hoops that were a Christmas gift from Andrew. Her grandma asked her to incorporate a ring that belonged to her grandfather. He found the stone in the mountains of Wyoming. Brenda showcased the ring in the bow on the back of her dress.
She found her shoes at Benita’s and went with a sensible low heel since she was pregnant and wanted to be as comfortable as possible on her big day.
Terra Bella Floral Design and Mercantile provided the wedding flowers. Terra Bella Floral Design and Mercantile hosted a pop-up shop inside Theo Chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Their selection of floral design is unique and artful. They are a sustainable flower shop, sourcing local, organic and consciously grown flowers.
About Theo Chocolate
Theo Chocolate is proud to be the very first Organic, Fair Trade certified bean-to-bar chocolate maker in North America. Since 2006, the company has been making mind-bendingly amazing chocolate. Many people would be surprised to know that on a good day, they can make up to 55 THOUSAND chocolate bars at the Seattle factory!
Theo Chocolate has lots of exciting things brewing for the future, including exclusive tasting events, chocolate making classes, and special tours. Folks who are interested in keeping up with all of the latest happenings can follow @theochocolate on social media and check out the Events Page.
About Firstlight Photography
Firstlight Photography is a husband and wife team. Kier and Mitzi spend their time doing work they both love. Services provided include wedding photography, boudoir and pin up photography and corporate events. The studio is located between Seattle and Tacoma with frequent travel throughout Washington, Oregon and California. Call Firstlight Photography for a phone consultation or meet over coffee to talk about your photography needs. Firstlight Photography works with each client to devise custom fit packages. A 15% military discount is offered on all services.
Our Social Circle
Here is a sneaky peek at our latest post from our wedding blog. We met up with Joplin Designz and Wanna Cupcake and had a meeting of the wedding vendor minds. Hop on over to the Firstlight Photography Wedding Blog for the full skinny on these amazing (and local) vendors.
bartering we will go
It has been a long time coming, but Firstlight Photography is getting a shiny new website! The barter system is alive and well and our web story is living proof. Last fall I shot a wedding for a fabulous couple and we were able to work out a trade for services. The groom has done some amazing coding but I have been struggling with the overall design when my pal Camron of Level 70 Design stepped in to do some mock ups for us. We love our network of incredibly talented friends (including Kieran and Sherri Murray and their exuberant take on social networking). I can’t wait to see what Camron does for our weddings page!
door #1 or door #2?
The below mock ups are two different takes on one commercial photography page (to see our current page click here). Which one tickles your fancy the most? Please post your comments and help us make a decision. The overall look will find its way onto our wedding, portrait, sports pages. Our new web will also feature landscapes.
Visit us on facebook and become a fan and we’ll keep you updated on our web and upcoming specials.
1730 – 10th Avenue NW, Issaquah
The Pickering Farm is located on 9 acres adjacent to Issaquah Creek. The Farm includes the Pickering Barn and outside recreational opportunities. The seasonal Public Market is also located at the Farm.
A couple of years ago I learned a very important lesson. Networking on a golf course works! I met one of my best clients on a golf course and I don’t even play golf. I was shooting a charity tournament at the Newcastle Golf Course and was asked if I was able to cover another event a couple weeks later for the Young President’s Organization (YPO) and they have since become one of my best repeat clients.
In March I got a call from YPO to cover an event they were having up at the Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center. I was super excited to find out that as part of this event I would have to go with them on a private tour of the 747 / 787 assembly plant and Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection. I’ve had an obsession with airplanes, especially WW II airplanes, since I was about 8 years old and it was this obsession that sparked my passion for photography. Now, because I happened to be on a golf course one day I got the chance to combine my two obsessions! It is days like this that when asked if I like what I do I always give the same answer, “It sure beats working!”
I wasn’t allowed to take my camera into the Boeing assembly area, but I did get to take pictures of Paul Allen’s collection and what a collection it is! There are some one of a kind planes there and every plane is in flying condition even if they don’t fly it due to being the last of its type. If you love airplanes as much as I do, or have a father-in-law that does, this is the perfect place to go. All in one location you have the Future of Flight Aviation Center, the 747 plant that gives FREE tours, The Flying Heritage Collection and near by is the Stormbirds Me 262 Project.
Robyn, the owner of Ubiquitous Journey, has invited me to be a featured artist at her in-store gallery in Puyallup. I met Robyn through a Kieran’s List networking meeting and paid a visit to her store. The store is a one-stop shop for natural and earth friendly products.
Robyn carries a wide array of natural products for infants and adults including organic cotton clothing, personal care items, teas, supplements, jewelry and beaded art, home decor and a variety of other goods. Visit her website to register for the next beginning yoga class or to learn how to make medicine bags. It is truly the most unique store in Puyallup.
While you are there, please check out my photographs! For those that are most familiar with my wedding work you will get to see what I do in my spare time. So, stop by and check out my landscape portraits.
Please come see us at the South Sound Wedding Show on Sunday February 22nd!
Presented by South Sound Wedding & Event Magazine
Sun., Feb. 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Red Lion Hotel, Olympia
Please stop by our booth to say hello. We will be showcasing our new flush mount and press print books.
We still have a few more complimentary tickets – just call and we can send you several (tickets are $5 the day of the show).
Visit South Sound Wedding and Event Magazine at www.weddingandeventmagazine.com
Recently we have had a chance to shoot a couple of very interesting events, one was a fund raiser for the Bellevue Boys & Girls Club with a James Bond theme. As part of that theme they had an ice bar set up featuring Pravda Vodka, it was very impressive. The other event was for the Young Presidents Organization at the Triple Door Theater in Seattle.
At Firstlight we are excited to be serving more and more corporate clients. In addition to our wedding, sports and portraiture services, we are meeting the needs of businesses in need of photos for annual meetings, product photography, holiday parties and web publication.
For more information on corporate photography visit our website.