Brides Alex and Megan plan a wedding to rival “The Greatest Show on Earth”
By Deanna Duff
The courtship of Seattle residents Alex Alexander and Megan Gonzales was the perfect storm of surprises, struggles and adventure—sometimes literally. The two began dating after being coworkers and friends for five years and harboring secret, mutual crushes. It would take another two years and an act of nature to inspire their engagement. On a road trip through Kansas, they survived a tornado that left Gonzales praying for dear life on the floor of the car.
“I’d already bought a ring, but I was too chicken to give it to her. After we survived the tornado, I thought that I’d better pledge my undying love and commitment before the next thing blew us off the road!” laughs Alexander.
They envisioned their dream wedding as a celebration of their whirlwind lives that now include three children, four chickens, two cats and one very large Dalmatian.
“We wanted our wedding to be a great, fun party that was also in line with the theme of our lives—a circus!” says Gonzales.
Planner Alex Martin, Jubilee Event Engineers, describes the Aug. 6, 2011, wedding as a balance between fun and formal. Before guests let their hair down at the reception, which included aerialists, stilt walkers and palm readers, the couple exchanged personallywritten vows at a small, public park overlooking Seattle’s Lake Washington. To honor religious tradition and Alexander’s Southern Baptist background, a non-denominational minister officiated.
“It was always going to feel official to us, but we wanted to make sure that it did for the rest of the family,” says Gonzales.
Against the backdrop of a perfect, summer day, Gonzales, dressed in an off-white, strapless, tea-length gown with floral overlay, carried a bridal bouquet of sunflowers, foxglove and dahlias purchased from local farmers at the Pike Place Market. Alexander, in a three-piece, white suit, wore a matching boutonniere. “The ceremony ended up being really beautiful,” says Gonzales.
The party really got rolling as a little over 100 guests and 26 children assembled at Hale’s Palladium, an event space owned by Hale’s Brewery who also catered. Colorful tents, both inside and outside, housed the food and activities including the fortunetellers and a children’s activity space with face painting, hula-hoops and arts and crafts. the The brides’ mothers and family friends sewed vibrant flag banners emblazoned with “Oracle” and “Delicious” advertised the booths’ wares.
“The brides were clear that they didn’t want a glossy, Barnum and Bailey theme,” says Martin. “It was very Americana, with an old-fashioned, gypsy carnival feel.” There were no clowns, no elephants and only one lion—an enthusiastic youngster dressed in costume.
“We just wanted to have fun and celebrate our family, friends and love for each other,” says Gonzales.
Wedding Planning, General Decor and Kid’s Area
Alex Martin, Jubilee Event Engineering
Rental Supplies (tents, etc.)
Food and Drink Catering
Sourced from local farmers at Pike Place Market
Stilt Walkers, Juggler, Aerial Performers
Tarot Card Reading
Shoes – John Fleuvog
Vest – J. Crew
Shoes – The Walking Company
Hair and makeup for both brides
The food was served buffet style and everything was made for mobile munching—fried chicken drumsticks, chicken and steak skewers, thick-cut French fries—so that guests could eat, wander and mingle. A carnival-style popcorn machine provided freshly popped snacks.
Brownies served as the wedding cake since the couple bonded over the sweet treat before dating. Seattle small businesses, Bluebird and Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, provided gourmet ice cream.
The reception’s upbeat soundtrack was provided by The Blackberry Bushes Stringband, a bluegrass group from Olympia, Wash., that Alexander listened to while in college.
“I felt like a high school kid because I was so excited to have them there!” says Alexander. The music also resonated with Alexander’s 91-year-old grandmother who was once invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry as a child.
“It was really special for her and she was loving it,” says Alexander. “Throughout the night, a lot of people were sharing stories with us about what the wedding meant to them.”
Most guests could summarize their experience with “Amazing!” An aerialist in a blazing red and gold costume performed jaw-dropping stunts while suspended from the ceiling. Stilt walkers in top hats and red and black striped costumes circulated and performed slow-motion choreographed routines.
The tarot card and palm readers were particularly popular and a line snaked around the booth as guests waited to hear their fortunes. “There were a lot of guests bonding while in line,” says Gonzales.
The brides had their cards read, too, and fate was smiling. “It was pretty perfect because the first card she flipped up was the marriage card. She told us that as long as we remember to keep looking into the future, it will be great,” says Gonzales.
For a couple who has weathered many storms, their wedding was intentionally a chaotic, three-ring circus in the most enjoyable way. “We have beautiful children, wonderful families, great friends and support. It was the perfect keynote at the end of our wedding to begin looking towards our future,” says Alexander.