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Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

After dating for three years Mike Bills, a Boeing engineer, decided to pop the question to his girlfriend, Beth Kilcline, in a Seattle park where they had one of their first dates. "I asked Beth to join me for a walk on Mercer Island, using our dog Callie, who we adopted together, as my cover. She was surprised when I asked her to marry me … But she said, ‘Yes.’ "

As a nod to the holiday season, "Winter Wedding" became the event’s theme. Beth and Mike chose a simple palette of blues (his favorite color) with accents of white and silver. Natural elements evoked a wintry forest scene. Beth and Mike spent a weekend in his hometown of Flushing, Michigan, collecting hundreds of small pinecones, each one then frosted with silver paint, as if iced over, which they scattered about. The flower arrangements featured silvery dusty miller, roses, lisianthus, hydrangea, and anemones with dark blue centers. Guests received tubes of bubbles adorned with jingle bells to enhance the couple’s exit from the chapel. Silver ornament wedding favors in the shape of the words "love," "peace," and "joy" also captured the holiday spirit. Beth adds, "The natural winter-wedding theme was a lot of fun for us because we both love the outdoors."

The bride wore a stunning gown from Allure Bridals of Seattle. Her maid of honor, her twin sister Katie, along with her bridesmaids, her sister Sarah and her friends from her alma mater Notre Dame, all chose their own dresses in varying shades of blue. The groomsmen looked sharp in black suits with blue ties, which complemented the bridesmaids’ dresses.

The guests dined on macadamia-encrusted halibut, roasted New York strip steak, Napa Valley chicken and a vegetarian Wellington. Local San Diego favorite Michele Coulon Dessertier designed the cake, a six-inch Gâteau Aileen, topped with white chocolate shavings and flowers, with hot milk sponge cake and butter cream inside, for the newlyweds. Guests enjoyed gourmet cupcakes in four of Michele’s delicious flavors. Silver-framed wedding photographs of Beth’s and Mike’s parents and grandparents surrounded the cupcake tower.

After the meal, the couple had their first dance to "Have a Little Faith in Me," by John Hyatt. Because the bride’s father flew an F-14 in the movie Top Gun, the surprise finale of the father-daughter dance was choreographed to the song "Danger Zone," adding to the fun.

Beth recalls, "One of the most meaningful moments for me was when I realized how many of our friends and family had traveled so far during the busy holiday season."

Mike loved the setting: "Naval Air Station North Island is absolutely beautiful. We took great pictures on the huge white-sand beach across the street. And since many of our guests were Boeing engineers, they were thrilled to see all the aviation action on the base. We even got to watch a few F-18s land. It was exciting to hold the reception in the same building as the world famous I-Bar, the historic watering hole frequented by U.S. Navy pilots," explains Mike.

In contrast to their wintry wedding, the couple honeymooned on Maui where they snorkeled and zip-lined, reveling in the warm tropics, kicking off their new life together.


Ceremony location: Airman’s Chapel, Naval Air Station North Island. Reception location: Building I. Wedding coordinator: Melissa Barrad, I Do...Weddings!, Cake: Michele Coulon, Pianist: Ben Parkison. Vocalist: Carrie Lett. DJ: Mike Farmer, Florals: Modern Bouquet, Gown: Exclusive Bridals by Allure, Pearls and Lace, Jewelry: Jeannine Goodsell, Pearl Design International, Shoes: Culver, Nina Shoes, Hair and makeup: Sarah Torey, Domani Salon, Groom’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse, Bridesmaids’ dresses: David’s Bridal, Ann Taylor and J.Crew, Invitations and paper products: Paper Delights, Rentals: All Seasons Rental, Officiant: Father Robert Spencer and Chaplain Timothy Eichler. Photography: Jeff & Erin Youngren, Transportation: Elite Image Limousine Service,

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