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Sydney & Cole

June 2, 2019

Photography by: Courtney Bowlden

Written by: Becky Mandelbaum

Sydney was a sophomore at Northwest University in Kirkland when she heard that one of the new freshmen in the school’s choir had a great singing voice. She also heard that he was attractive, but had a girlfriend back home in Olympia.  

“When I met him, I initially thought he seemed a little too full of himself, but was still intrigued,” Sydney says.


Despite this intrigue, she kept a distance. It wasn’t until a few months later, when she and Cole were placed beside one another in choir, that the two slowly struck up a friendship. During this time, Sydney learned that Cole was going through a breakup.  

“Every step I made after that was extremely cautious because the last thing I wanted was to be a rebound, but there was just something between us. I had never had that initial connection with someone before. He made me laugh more than anyone ever, and I just had a feeling that it was right.”  

Five years later, Sydney’s sister, a professional makeup artist, was planning a shoot with a photographer friend, Courtney Bowlden. Sydney’s sister did her makeup and her hair, then the group went around town taking pictures, supposedly for her sister’s website. After taking a photo, Courtney showed it to Sydney. In the background was Cole—proposing.  

The two married at Suncadia resort in Cle Elum, where they often went while dating. “I loved that it was a winery, had a romantic, and rustic feel. The views are breathtaking and I loved that it could be a place for everyone to gather for the weekend and spend quality time together,” Sydney says. For the rehearsal dinner, they rented a nearby house and hosted a laid-back barbecue for friends and family. 

On the big day, Sydney wore a simple Sarah Steven dress from The Dress Theory in Seattle, a diamond pendant from her mother, a bracelet from BHLDN, and shoes from Nordstrom.  

“The florals were by Carol Allmand…she did absolutely amazing and made my Pinterest board mash-up come to life! My mom surprised me and had gardenias put in my bouquet because she had them in hers… I had no idea and they looked amazing!” 

The wedding itself was a musical affair. “Music is really important to both Cole and I, so we chose everything! We even made a road trip playlist for our guests to listen to on the drive up.”


The couple selected various songs to play throughout their ceremony, including songs by Ed Sheeran, Tori Kelly, and Lauren Daigle. As Sydney walked down the aisle with her father, a friend sang “Love Me Tender” by Elvis.  

Music carried over into the reception, where they were introduced to “Feels Like the First Time” by Rascal Flatts and had their first dance to “Still Fallin’’ by Hunter Hayes.


“Who knows if it even happened, but Ariana Grande’s ‘Honeymoon Avenue’ was supposed to be our exit music,” Sydney says. 


At the reception, guests enjoyed chicken marsala and pasta with salad, wine from Swiftwater Cellars, and eight different kinds of cake from Deru Market in Kirkland. Because the couple is gluten-free, Sydney’s grandmother also made a special pie for them to cut.  

For Sydney, one of the best moments of the night came during cocktail time. “We just had 20 minutes to ourselves, sat, ate, drank, and freaked out together.”

The speeches from family and friends were also a bright point.“We admire our parents and friends so much, and I feel like you could hear a pin drop in the room -- they had everyone's attention! Everyone truly killed it,” Sydney says.  

To show their gratitude, the couple spent a portion of the night going from table to table, visiting guests. “We missed sunset hour pictures because we were doing this, but it was so worth it to be in the moment and hug all of those people who came to celebrate us.”


Dress: Sarah Seven 

Venue: Swiftwater Cellars 

Catering: Swiftwater Cellars 

Music: James Nylander  

Hair: Alise Buckner 

Makeup: Lauren Mae Beauty 

Photographer: Courtney Bowlden 

This feeling of gratitude has carried on months after the wedding. “We could have eloped and saved money ... and it still would have been amazing and meaningful, but it was having all of the people who helped shape us, teach us, and love us all in the same room together that made the day so special. We were so thankful!” 

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