By Rachel Belle
Owners Bronwen Stevenson & Sarah Qureshi at the Shotgun
Wedding Chapel. (97.3 KIRO FM Photo/Rachel Belle)
If you want a quickie, shotgun wedding, you no longer need to travel to Las Vegas. You can get married right here, at Shotgun Ceremonies in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.
Owners Bronwen Stevenson and Sara Qureshi often cater to the quirky at their chapel or on the road.
“We’ve married a couple in a booth in a diner in Fife, called Poodle Dog,” Bronwen says. “We have married somebody in jail, behind the glass, where I had to talk through the phone, and he said his I do’s, and she did hers on the other side.”
They’ve done Halloween weddings, married a local woman to her Pee Wee Herman doll and a bride to her penguin groom.
“They’re a really cute couple. She’s all dolled out and they have a bunch of friends. He goes and changes into a penguin suit, and comes out, and just does his wedding in a penguin suit! It was like, well, ‘This is how I want to get married!'”
Of course, they also do a lot of real shotgun weddings, which was a big inspiration for Bronwen to open the chapel.
“That’s how I got married, in Vegas, shotgun, almost 20 years ago! It will be 20 this year. It’s worked out great for me, so why not keep that open for people in Seattle and not have to go to Vegas.”
Skyler and Daniel Wickersham got married at Shotgun nine months ago, after a four month courtship.
“It was pretty much impromptu. He announced that he was getting married, on Facebook, a couple weeks beforehand, and got bombarded with phone calls and emails. A lot more people showed up than we were anticipating; we had about 30 guests.”
But one special guest didn’t make it.
“We did want to bring our boa constrictor, but she doesn’t do well around a lot of people. So it was better we didn’t.”
Top: Skyler & Daniel Wickersham kiss on the Shotgun wedding altar. Bottom: A Facebook photo shows the groom that wanted to get married in a penguin suit.
Bronwen says pets of all kinds are welcome at the chapel, and they have had dogs wearing tutus walking down the aisle, acting as ring bearers.
A wedding will cost you $275 and includes a framed photo, two shot glasses and, unlike a courthouse, they can provide the necessary witnesses.
“We run across the street to The Central [Saloon] or the J&M cafe and get witnesses. We put Facebooks up saying ‘Hey! Is anybody in town who wants to come down and witness a wedding?’ Our weddings are short and fun and interactive, so the people that witness it get to be a part of somebody’s special day.”
The weddings may be quick and last minute, but Sarah and Bronwen take their roles as officiants very seriously. They want to make the ceremony special and memorable.
“We ask them a series of questions,” Bronwen explains. “Whoever is here gets to hear their love story, where they met, when they first said ‘I love you,’ something they’d change about themselves to perfect their relationship. We really try to get them to remember why they’re here and what they can do to improve it when they leave.”
And as you can probably tell from the stories of penguins and jail cells, everyone is absolutely welcome.
“We’re very open to people that are in need of this, without judgment. Whatever walk of life, whatever marriage you’re on, we’re gonna support you.”