A Modern, Elegant Seattle Wedding in a Sculpture Park

tommy steve wedding couple
Belathée Photography

After meeting at a Halloween party, Steve Hoedemaker (left) and Tommy Swenson (right) experienced a horror story of their own. But unlike most frights, this one ended in a proposal. About four years into their relationship, the pair was camping in Alaska when a storm rolled in and stranded them on a mountain for days. Luckily, as they were finishing the last few bags of nuts they'd packed, a flight made it up the mountain and delivered them safely back to Anchorage. On their last night there, Steve proposed to Tommy. "The joke is that I didn't give him a rock; we got engaged on a rock," says Steve.

Soon after returning home, the Seattle-based couple (who playfully refer to themselves as "Stommy") began planning a wedding that showcased their beloved Pacific Northwest. The mountains surrounding Seattle inspired the event's blue and gray color scheme. As a venue, the grooms chose The Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park for its modern but organic feel—an overall thread running through the wedding festivities. 164 guests gathered on September 19, 2015 to witness Steve and Tommy's marriage. As for his favorite moment of the day, Tommy fondly remembers, "stepping off the stage and walking through our friends and family while holding my husband's hand. My heart was bursting through my chest."

01 of 17

The Invitations

tommy steve wedding invite
Belathée Photography

Frederick Stivers, an artist and friend of the couple, created a custom watercolor hinting at just one of the wedding location's amazing pieces of art—Alexander Calder's The Eagle. Hillary Fieldsend Design made the modern invitation suite, which was printed on textured paper and used a clean, capitalized font.

02 of 17

The Fashions

tommy steve wedding couple
Belathée Photography

Steve wore a Lanvin tuxedo while Tommy's was by Canali. Both grooms wore Eton shirts, matching bowties, and Dolce and Gabbana shoes.

03 of 17

The Accessories

Belathée Photography

Steve opted for vintage cuff links while Tommy wore a pair from Tiffany & Co. The twosome also donned complementary pins made by a pal, which they incorporated into their boutonnieres.

04 of 17

All About Family

tommy steve wedding family
Belathée Photography

The wedding party of four was comprised of a brother and a sister from each groom's side of the family.

05 of 17

The Art

tommy steve wedding couple
Belathée Photography

Before the ceremony, the duo paused for a kiss and some portraits by Richard Serra's sculpture Wake.

06 of 17

The Ceremony Location

tommy steve wedding ceremony
Belathée Photography

Steve, an architect, and Tommy, a nurse anesthetist, chose the Olympic Sculpture Park partly because of their love of contemporary art. The venue also allowed them to combine their love for the city of Seattle with their desire for an outdoor wedding. During the ceremony, guests enjoyed views of both the city and the sound.

07 of 17

The Ring Bearer

tommy steve wedding ringbearer
Belathée Photography

Everyone was all smiles as Tommy's nephew walked down the aisle as the ring bearer.

08 of 17

The Ceremony

tommy steve wedding ceremony
Belathée Photography

The grooms walked down the aisle separately with Steve appearing from behind a sculpture and Tommy descending a staircase. They walked towards each other while the Total Experience Gospel Choir performed Etta James's "At Last." It was important to Steve and Tommy to put as much thought and special meaning into planning the ceremony as they did into planning the party. Thus, the couple wrote their own vows and had friends perform a few readings they had selected.

09 of 17

The Cocktail Hour

tommy steve wedding cocktailhour
Belathée Photography

The cocktail hour was timed so that guests could enjoy the park pavilion's patio during the late-summer sunset. Billboard hits played on the piano much to the crowd's delight. "Have you ever heard Beyoncé on a baby grand piano? You should," says Steve. Before heading to dinner, Tommy's aunt sang Amy Winehouse's "Our Day Will Come."

10 of 17

The Escort Cards

tommy steve wedding escortcards
Belathée Photography

After finding their names on these handwritten escort cards in the wedding's signature hues, guests moved into the Olympic Sculpture Park's Paccar Pavilion for dinner.

11 of 17

The Reception Tables

tommy steve wedding table
Belathée Photography

To keep everyone close, narrow tables were set, and ghost chairs ensured that the focus stayed on the tables and views. Nisha Kelen of Fleurish created floral arrangements that emphasized "simple elegance—without pretension or predictability," says Tommy of the small centerpieces that incorporated a mix of white and green flowers, greenery, and potted plants.

12 of 17

The Place Settings

tommy steve wedding placesetting
Belathée Photography

Handwritten place cards tied to mini baguettes helped people find their seats.

13 of 17

The Menu

tommy steve wedding menu
Belathée Photography

Guests feasted on arugula salad, salmon with quinoa, tenderloin with roasted potatoes, and summer squash fava bean succotash. In place of a cake, sweet carts passed out creamsicle popsicles and individual-sized ice creams.

14 of 17

The Guestbook

tommy steve wedding polaroids
Belathée Photography

The escort card board transformed into an instant photo station during the reception as guests wrote on polaroids they snapped before pinning them up. Later, Steve and Tommy compiled the photos in an album.

15 of 17

The First Dance

tommy steve wedding firstdance
Belathée Photography

The newlyweds chose The New Basement Tapes's "When I Get My Hands on You" for their first dance. Later in the party, the crowd danced to Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together," the couple's go-to karaoke song.

16 of 17

The Favors

tommy steve wedding favors
Belathée Photography

As the night came to an end, guests were sent home with colorful macarons tied with blue twine and a calligraphed tag sporting the pair's initials.

17 of 17


tommy steve wedding couple
Belathée Photography

Photography, Belathée Photography

Location, Olympic Sculpture Park

Catering, Taste

Flowers, Nisha Kelen of Fleurish

Officiant, Karen Schwartz

Stationery, Frederick Stivers (watercolor); Hillary Fieldsend Design (invitation suite)

Music, Total Experience Gospel Choir (ceremony music); Blueeyedsoul (dance party music)

Rentals, A-1 Piano (baby grand piano); Choice Linen (linens); Pedersen's (chairs, serviceware)

Grooms' suits, Canali (Tommy's suit); Lanvin (Steve's suit)

Grooms' accessories, Bow ties purchased at Mario's Seattle; Eton shirts; Tiffany cuff links and wedding band (Tommy's); Cartier watch (Tommy's); Dolce & Gabbana shoes

Escort card frame, Fast Frame

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