Brinn & Cody
September 7, 2019
Photography by: Kymberly Janelle Photography
Written by: Becky Mandelbaum
Brinn and Cody Hollander met in 2018 while training for their first full-distance triathlon. Over many miles of swimming, biking, and running, the two got to know each other. "It was good incentive for me to get better because she was (and is still) much faster than me," Cody says. "I really loved her work ethic and enjoyed spending time with her whether we were training or going to grab dinner. Plus, she just looked so dang good in a swim cap."
A year later, the two were planning a trip to Bend, Oregon when a big snowstorm hit. Brinn was worried about traveling in bad weather, but Cody insisted they stick to their plan. On the way home, the reason for his insistence became clear; he stopped at a snowy cliff near the Columbia River and proposed. He then surprised Brinn with a trip to the winter-wonderland village of Leavenworth.
“I called her work a month or so ahead of time and secretly requested the day off for her,” Cody says. “I think that it was a nice surprise when I told her that we were going to go to Leavenworth instead of going back to work the next day.”
Soon after the couple’s engagement, Brinn’s parents -- Margie and Greg -- noticed a cottage near their home on Lake Whatcom was for sale. "As Gary and I approach retirement we’ve decided to downsize,” Margie explains.
They’d admired the cottage for decades, so they decided to buy it, knowing that before they made the cottage their home, they would transform it into the perfect wedding venue for Brinn and Cody.
Over the next seven months, Margie, Greg, and Brinn’s aunt Susan worked tirelessly to convert the run-down structure into something suitable for a wedding.
The cottage was in a pretty dire state of disrepair, with a leaking roof, rotting deck, water pump issues, open gaps in the walls and floors, and doors that let the wind howl through.
While Greg tackled the technical issues, Margie and Susan worked on revamping and decorating the cottage’s interior. “Both Susan and I enjoy the ‘thrill of the hunt’ when it comes to vintage shopping,” Margie says.
The pair went to garage sales and thrift stores to find attractive vintage seating and lighting pieces, such as the “chandelier bouquets.” “We were most pleased by how the cottage transformed into a ‘shabby chic’ venue!” Margie says.
Although the renovation took months of dedicated effort, Brinn’s family enjoyed lots of fun and laughter along the way. “It was a true labor of love,” Margie says. “So it really didn’t feel like work.”
It all paid off that early fall when Brinn and Cody married at the site.
While the reception was held in the cottage, the ceremony took place outdoors, with the lake in the background. Instead of walking down an aisle, Brinn boated into the wedding and walked down the dock with her father. Cory and Brinn then walked together to the arch where their officiant waited.
“I totally forgot that the ‘you may kiss the bride’ part of the wedding is like the grand finale, so I kissed her two or three times on the way to the arch. Oops,” Cody says.
Once the pair was officially hitched, weddinggoers celebrated with woodfired pizzas from Övn Wood Fired Pizza in Fairhaven, cake from Nancy at Saltadena Bakery, and blackbottom cupcakes from the Bagelry.
Toward the end of the reception, a late-summer storm began to roll in over the lake. Fortunately, the rain held out long enough for partygoers to admire the brewing weather while still celebrating outside. When the rain finally started to pour, Brinn and Cody decided to soak in the moment.
“Cody and I went out to the end of the dock and let ourselves get drenched watching the storm all around us,” Brinn says. “It was the perfect end to a perfect day that I will never forget.”
When asked about the best part of his night, Cody says, “Above all of the amazing details of our wedding day, my highlight was just knowing that I was going to get to spend the rest of my life with Brinn.”
Dress: Alecia’s Bridal (Patty Robinson Alterations)
Venue: 1930s Lake Whatcom Cottage
Catering: Övn Pizza
Music: Ray Kamada recommended stringed trio
Hair: Ashley Steinbach
Makeup: Lauren Bell