Marine Hugh Tychsen wanted the moment he proposed to Claire Copeland to be romantic and memorable; he was on the mark. Knowing that his girlfriend’s parents were engaged on the Fourth of July and recognizing his coming deployment, it was the perfect time. Hugh was about to leave for Iraq for the third time and he needed to say goodbye. “I flew Claire out to California for the Fourth of July, just before I was to leave,” Hugh explains. While sitting on a bluff, overlooking the fireworks, Hugh waited for his moment. “During the fireworks finale, I got down on one knee and proposed.”

They were engaged for a year and a half. “During that time, Hugh was in grad school while trying to find a job, so when we finally decided to get married, we had about five months to prepare,” Claire says. Time was of the essence but the wedding party fell into place. “I am one of four,” Hugh says. “I have two brothers and a sister, so my brother, Andrew, served as best man; my brother, Paul, was a groomsman; and my sister was Claire’s bridesmaid. Claire has one sister and she served as maid of honor.” Keeping the wedding party and guest list small relieved a lot of pressure. “It was less stressful— and a supportive family did their best to keep me calm,” Claire recalls. “We made sure it was extremely intimate. There were 85 people at the reception—it was really personal. We spent time talking to everyone and never felt overwhelmed,” states Hugh.

Both the bride and groom wanted to show their appreciation to their parents. “We brought our parents up to the altar during the ceremony and gave them each a rose,” Hugh explains. The reception also held many touching moments, including a surprise for Claire’s mother. “My sister and I got married within one year of each other, and our mom did most of the planning. My dad surprised my mom with a new wedding ring as a thank you at the reception,” Claire recalls. A few personal touches were added to the reception, such as when the couple used a 1959 Marine model sword to cut their cake and the groom’s parents surprised them with fireworks. When asked about the most special moment, Claire’s answer came easily: “The whole day was special to me.”

Claire Broderick Copeland & Hugh Danford Tychsen

March 5, 2011

CEREMONY: Church of the Annunziata

RECEPTION: The Copeland Residence

FLOWERS: Bloomin’ Buckets

CAKE: Party Pastry

MUSIC: DJ Paul Tyson


BRIDAL GOWN: Tadashi from Nordstrom


BRIDE’S PARENTS: Robert and Deborah Copeland

GROOM’S PARENTS: Dr. Robert and Katherine Tychsen