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.