Mo + Stacey | Mountain Biking Wedding at Horse Creek Lodge

I’ve been waiting all year for this wedding!!!

Mo & Stacey are two of the most genuine people I’ve had the good fortune to meet since moving to Bend. We hit it off immediately over pints of cider and gushing about wedding plans, snowy adventures, and their dog Georgia. We started our photo-relationship with their engagement session at Edison Sno-Park just outside Bend, which contrasts so beautifully with their summer forest wedding at Horse Creek Lodge in McKenzie Bridge.

The day started like any other… with a mountain bike ride. A dozen or so wedding guests joined them for a few “laps” around a forested trail system near the lodge while designated friends and family continued set up for the ceremony and reception later that afternoon. Both Mo and Stacey agreed that it was a great way to get some energy out while spending time with friends. I’ve seen morning yoga sessions, river floating, fishing trips, and hikes as well.

They got ready together while guests began to filter in and enjoy the teahouse tipi, lawn games, photo-booth, and scenery. When it was time for the service to begin the guests made their way down a wooded path with photos of the brides on either side; they were greeted by a sage smudging before entering the clearing.  Both Mo and Stacey were walked part way down the aisle by their parents and Georgia; after a family hug the parents found their seats at the front while Stacey & Mo high-fived their way down the aisle – their roomie, Alicia, played her guitar and sang for the processional. A close friend Jenni officiated the ceremony while radiating love and joy over them; another friend John Paul made their rings and passed them between guests for blessings. Thoughtful vows were exchanged that were serious with a pinch of humor followed by placing a ring on the other’s finger. Another friend, Beth, read an original poem that she wrote for their wedding that left everyone who wasn’t already crying in tears. …this was my FAVORITE part. 🙂

I asked Stacey & Mo what they thought about their special day. Here’s what they had to say:

What was your favorite part of the day?
Mo: The Ceremony. Stacey doing 15 push ups in a wedding dress. (it totally happened!)
Stacey: The Ceremony- looking out at all the smiles and the teary faces of our most favorite people….and sharing the most pivotal experience of my life with all of them. All of the hugs!

What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Mo: More adventures!
Stacey: Not planning another wedding. (lol!)

What advice do you have for others?
Mo: Make lists, ask for help, invite people you want to build community with.
Stacey: Make lists and make more lists, Smaller is better- invite those closest to you, and those that you want to pull even tighter into your community.  Delegate tasks…don’t do everything yourself.  Ask for help – friends are resourceful and are always happy to help!
Soapbox: In some of our initial emails it was brought to my attention that planning a wedding and attempting to hire vendors was a bit of a daunting task. Each time Mo would email a potential vendor she would have to preface it with the fact that she and Stacey are a same-sex couple hoping to work with them. Fortunately there are sites like A Bicycle Built For Two – a LGBT/Queer wedding website – which is where they found me. It hadn’t occurred to me (privilege) that one aspect of wedding planning/vendor hiring that could be particularly stressful for queer couples is coming-out over and over and over again to strangers via email. Is this person LGBT friendly? Friendly vs. Affirming? etc. In our current climate being part of the LGBT community is hard enough. Planning a wedding is hard enough. Doing both probably feels impossible sometimes. …which to me is complete crap! Nobody should feel sadness, fear, pain, or loss because of who they love. If you are fortunate enough to love and be loved by another human being hold on to it with everything you have. …and give a big middle finger to anyone who tries to take that away from you. Mo & Stacey: I adore you both, your love for adventure, your fierce commitment to your community, and the work you both do. Thank you for letting me celebrate you!!!

Venue // Horse Creek Lodge

Rings // John Paul Designs

Catering // El Sancho

Music // Cascade Crescendo

Photography // Amanda Photographic

Everything Else // DIY

Samara + Brett | Ainsworth House Garden Wedding Portland Oregon

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. -Marcel Proust

Samara + Brett classic, beautiful, and intimate wedding at The Ainsworth House & Garden outside Portland was everything they’d dreamed it would be.

They each spent the morning with their respective bridesmaids and groomsmen at a nearby hotel, before making the short but sometimes time consuming trip to their venue. Everything was ready for them upon arrival and the garden was in full bloom. After exchanging gifts through Samara’s dual Matrons of Honor it was time for the bride to have a first look; first with her Dad, then with her groom. The entire day from beginning to end was full of happy tears and plenty of laughter; munching and sipping; hand holding and butt grabbing. Did I mention yet that Samara is a triathlete? …and that Brett loooooves motorcycles? Let’s just say that their guest list included some really adventurous folks.

The color palette of gray, cream, and Tiffany blue was perfectly elegant for the formal garden setting.

When asked what their favorite parts of the day where this is what Samara + Brett had to say…

Samara: OMG That Garter toss though. Also Brett’s vows.
Brett: The best man toast. Also the vows…the look on Samara’s face when she sees the ring on my finger.
What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Samara: Finally being married! Putting a ring on it (Brett’s finger), also cake.
Brett: Being married! The little black book, also leftover cake and beer.
What advice do you have for others?
Samara: (Wedding planning) Give yourself time to plan and when the day finally comes take a breath and let it all go. Unless it will make or break your wedding day it absolutely isn’t worth worrying about. Your day will be uniquely you, no matter what happens. (Training) As with most things, Quality over quantity. If you’re training with your partner but aren’t at the same level. Find ways to make your workouts overlap so they still feel like you’re doing something together but allow you to work at your own pace. (Motorcycles) Ride hard, ride fast, don’t be stupid and don’t get caught. (In life) Do what makes you happy! In your relationship, in your life, in your wedding. At the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself, your needs, and your goals.
Brett: Don’t puke on her dress if you get nervous.  Take a second to breath and step back and look at the situation, they are who they are, you are who you are, and the the situation is what it is. You’ve got to accept and appreciate what is in front of you and the experience around you.
Solid advice guys.
Enough talk… let’s see some photography!!!
Photography // Amanda Photographic
Event Planner // Purple Lilly Events
HUMA // Katie Meyer
Flowers // Palisades Market Place
Bride’s Dress // Sophia Tolli at Rosewood Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses // David’s Bridal
Suits // Jim’s Formalwear
DJ // Celebration Music and Events – Lynn Winkle
Cake // Lambs Marketplace
Second Shooter // Stevi Sayler Photography

Jenna + Andrew | Breakfast Wedding at Historic Ashland Springs Hotel


Second Shooting for Stevi Sayler Photoraphy

Two words: BREAKFAST WEDDING…

It was a double-header weekend in Southern Oregon as Stevi and I second’ed for each other on back-to-back weddings. My wedding with Rosie + Greg at Buckhorn Springs was first with a full fiesta theme at the rustic yoga retreat lodge. After most of the dancing died down I turned in so that I could be at the historic Ashland Springs Hotel downtown for Jenna + Andrew’s elegant breakfast wedding bright and early. Admittedly we were both really excited by the concept of a morning wedding. The breeze was still cool, we had Lithia Park to ourselves, and the breakfast buffet was delicious. Their ceremony was held at the enclosed patio garden under a rose pergola in full bloom; literally surrounded by their loved ones Jenna + Andrew said I do.

I hope there are more breakfast weddings in my future. ::wink wink::

Stevi’s Blog Post

Bridal Dress Editorial Shoot at The Painted Hills

A few years ago I had the very good fortune to meet Allison, owner and designer at The Nature of Isa. I was instantly drawn to her sense of style, texture, lines, contrast, flow, shape, color, and form. I got an opportunity to work with her on a styled boho glam wedding in September 2014 that was published later that year in a UK-based blog (no big deal). Ever since that collaboration I’ve wanted to do an entire shoot that was focused on the custom variety that she offers in her dresses. I saw her again at the Luxe Bridal Show in Portland in February 2015 and we decided that in the spring we were going to rock this project! Yes, it was happening! I emailed Allison to get the concept fleshed out a month-ish later only to learn that she found out after the show that she had leukemia. WHAT?!?! The project was put on hold while Allison fought the good fight and her community rallied around her for the next several months.

Fast forward to December 2016: I reach out to her again and not only has she been in remission but she’s been designing new dresses and wanted to revive the project. Yay!!! After some exchanges we settled on May 20th 2017… it was the perfect day.

Thank you to everyone that helped bring this concept to life, especially my 3 models who all drove over from the Willamette Valley to participate.

Photography // Amanda Photographic

Dresses // Nature of Isa

HMUA // Wren & Wild

Jewelry // Junction.Co

 

Azita + Evan | A Laughing, Dancing, Movie Themed Wedding

Second shooting for Stevi Sayler Photography

One area of being a small business owner in a highly competitive field  is knowing that you won’t always win. …sometimes your photo-BFF will win and hire you as her second. Stevi and I each, along with a handful of other photographers, met with Azita + Evan while they were planning their wedding about being their photographer. For myself I met them at Off The Waffle in Eugene and we talked for like a million hours. There was so much laughter and connection; I thought for sure that I landed the job. Then I found out that they’d also met with Stevi and were having trouble choosing between the two of us. Now you might think that this would set off our inner competitive natures, but we were both so excited for each other and decided that either way we would hire each other so we could both be there.

It was a soggy afternoon in May, but Azita + Evan had all their little ducks in a row including a tent for the patio ceremony. Everything had a movie element from the red carpet and velvet ropes, to the romance movie cover table numbers complete with Azita + Evan photoshopped in as the main characters. lol! Azita danced her way up to Evan after walking down the aisle with the Dads inspiring everyone in the wedding party to start dancing. Yes! My favorite part of the whole day was the sheer amount of laughter over the course of the day! So. Much. Laughing!

Here are some of my favorites from their wedding at Lewis + Clark Hall in Eugene.

Stevi’s Blog Post!

Romantic Styled Elopement at Smith Rock

Every photographer has a place that they dream of working at someday.

Maybe it’s a fancy hotel or resort, maybe it’s a foreign country (Thailand, Morocco, Italy please), or a place with sentimental meaning. For me that place was close to home, and even closer when we made the move over the mountains to Bend – Smith Rock State Park.

I had never been to this Oregon gem until we moved to Central Oregon. Now I can’t seem to stop showing up and suggesting it to clients. The landscape is dramatic and beautiful. A rock climbers paradise, it’s also perfect hikers, bird watching, sunsets, and of course photography. When I decided to do a series of micro styled shoots during the off season I wanted to be there while there was still a little snow to give the rock formations some additional definition and deter the hundreds of people that visit the park on any given day.  The snow came, and came, and came, and then it wasn’t funny anymore because it just wouldn’t stop. Shoots were pushed back so that models could safely travel and vendors could get supplies delivered. For this shoot we ended up losing the snow, but don’t worry it was plenty cold by the end of the day when the wind started to pick up with cold air from the mountains.

Melinda and Brandon are a beautiful couple that were perfect for any styled shoot… mostly because they’re crazy stupid in love with each other. We put Melinda in a two-piece dress with a large skirt to start and changed into a long formal gown with illusion cutouts for a less bridal look at the end. Brandon rocked a rich jewel toned outfit with a funfetti shirt and a pair of hiking boots… duh Smith Rock. We worked and laughed and worked until we were all too cold and hungry to continue.

Now I have to find another dream location. I’m open to suggestions…

Photography // Amanda Photographic

Floral Crown // Summer Robbins Flowers

Dresses // Bella Brides

Menswear // Revolvr

HMUA // Desert Rose Bridal Styling

Tiffany + Josh | Music Infused Wedding at the Holocene

Hip Portland Oregon Bride and Groom Walking Down the Sidewalk Together

OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!! This wedding we so amazing and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!!!

First let me say that it was a privilege to be included in their wedding planning and celebration. I’ve known Josh since high school and we have several mutual friends, most of whom worked at his Dad’s burger joint Paul’s Place (BEST EVER!!!). I used to be more excited/flattered when people I had no connection to wanted me to photograph their wedding, but now I’m equally excited when a friend asks because they enjoy my work, appreciate my value, and in this case wanted to keep the vendor list as personal as possible. As I grow in my profession and friends scatter over the country it is a rare and special day when we can all come together to celebrate and support one of our own in a new and beautiful chapter.

Josh and Tiffany met through their mutual love of The Beatles and vegan food. Their first date was at a neighborhood pub, The Triple Nickel, which boasts 38 beers on tap, giant jenga, and a jukebox… how could it be anything but true love?!?! Fast forward a couple years and Josh found the perfect ring – a simple  silver band with a wrapped infinity symbol – and proposed shortly before they went to see Paul McCartney in concert. “Of course she said yes, and of course the show was amazing. One of the best days of my life!” said Josh. Later while they were adventuring in Mexico City they found a hammered brass band for Josh and appropriately haggled on the price. Lol!

We started the day at Tiffany and Josh’s house in SE Portland they way they start most mornings; with coffee, planning, and snuggling their two kitties. After waaay too much coffee Tiffany and her Mom went to a nearby salon, while Josh packed up a couple cars with wedding stuff and headed to the Holocene to start setting up. It was all hands on deck the first half of the day with friends and family eagerly contributing. Naturally their wedding was heavily focused on music and overall guest comfort. The officiant, Adam, was a long time friend/former roommate was the first of Josh’s friends to get to know Tiffany. Being a witness to the fullness of their relationship allowed Adam to deliver a deeply personal ceremony. Between Adam’s carefully chosen words, a reading by Josh’s Uncle, and a handful of exceptional toasts everybody was in tears at some point during the evening. After an… enthusiastic kiss Tiffany and Josh retreated to his ready-room to sign paperwork and take a few minutes to really take in everything that just happened. Tasty vegan tacos, cupcakes, and dancing were easily the highlights of the reception!

Let’s see what Tiffany and Josh thought of their day…

Q1: What was your favorite part of the day?

Josh: The first look was pretty great. Tiffany looked amazing, and with the experience being more private, the memory is probably better preserved in my mind than it would have been in the intense blur of the ceremony.  It’s impossible to pick just one favorite part of such a fantastic day—so honorable mention goes to the music we compiled (partly from soliciting guest suggestions), bringing so many friends and family together, and especially seeing Tiffany feeling so happy and beautiful and having the best day of her life.

Tiffany: The day was just amazing, so deciding on one favorite is very difficult for someone who has problems making decisions.  I would have to agree with Josh and pick the first look.  It was a very emotional moment for me and having that be private is something I’d highly recommend.  Plus Josh looked smoking in his three piece suit.  In addition to the first look, I’d add the love that we felt throughout every moment in the day.  Having so many friends and family take time out of their lives to celebrate us was something that still fills my heart with joy.

 

Q2: What are you most looking forward to in married life?

Tiffany: I’m looking forward to Josh being my date for life.  I love thinking about the local and the foreign dates that we will get to go on together.  He is usually up for any of the bizarre things that I ask him to do – walk seven miles for a meal, go see some weird time based art, act goofy, or try an absurd food combination.  He also doesn’t tease me too much when I back out of something that scares me.  I love him for those things. I also look forward to the new vegan foods that we will try all over the world.  I can’t wait to eat weird fruit!!!

Josh: Traveling together! We’ve already had adventures in Canada and Mexico, and the goal is to shoot for one big trip per year. Tiffany is a great traveling companion, we complement each other well as a team, and we both love long exhausting days exploring cities on foot. I got a big wall map with pins for her last birthday, and I look forward to filling it with pins and memories!

 

Q3: What advice do you have for others?

Josh: Get friends involved to play roles in the wedding or help with prep! It’s a great way to spend quality hangout time with people you don’t get to see much, offset some of the stress, and fill the event with love. We had close friends acting as officiant, M.C., design consultant, and even photographer 🙂 The fact that most of my friends have known Amanda for years helped make a lot of guests comfortable with the camera. Of course, you should hire her too because she’s incredible at this, but even better, make friends with her and then hire her! (I second this!)

Tiffany: I second Josh’s advice to include friends and family in your day.  It helped to add to the love and community that we felt and that others felt too.  I will never be able to thank those involved enough – this includes Amanda!!! (Awwww thanks guys!) Also, it was really important for us to keep the wedding budget reasonable.  We were able to do that by picking the three things that were the most important to us – venue, food/drink, and photography – and spending our money there.  In all other areas, we made financial cuts or did the work ourselves.  It really made the day special and is allowing us to take the honeymoon of our dreams – Bali.

VENUE + BAR // Holocene
PHOTOGRAPHY // Amanda Photographic
CATERING // Mi Mero Mole
DESSERTS // Back to Eden
BUD VASES // Elaine’s Peony Gardens
DRESS // BHLDN
SUIT // Kenneth Cole
INVITATIONS // Paperless Post
OFFICIANT // Adam Lisser

Snowy Winter Styled Bridal Shoot

It was so cold. Like so cold it took me until June to thaw out enough to blog about this shoot.

But seriously this shoot was an undertaking that required all of our skills, ideas, and fast thinking. Cars got stuck in the snow, flowers were frozen, and there was a frost bite scare after I worked for hours without being able to feel my feet. In the end it was all worth the discomfort. …hot toddies helped.

Thank you to Robin Schneider of Desert Rose Bridal Styling for her vision and coordination of this shoot.

Photography // Amanda Photographic

HMUA // Desert Rose Bridal Styling

Rentals // Peanut’s Gallery

Dessert // Dreamin Desserts

Venue // Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center

Floral // Hart Floral

Dress // Helen Manuell Bridal Couture

Jewelry // Citrine Bling

Model // Rachel Schneider

Hannah + Nathan | Rainy Engagement at Forest Park

This has been one of the wettest years on record for the Pacific Northwest. Yep, it’s been soggy out there.

But that never stops an Oregonian couple from getting out there for a set of romantic adventure portraits… we’re a hearty bunch.

Hannah + Nathan have known each other since they were little and in the the Heart of the Valley Children’s Choir together. They also attended the same high school, but didn’t start dating until Nathan returned from a study abroad year in Europe. It was immediately a long distance relationship as Hannah headed off to college at Western Washington in Bellingham. Upon graduation Hannah returned to Corvallis, and even though it was still long distance the distance was shorter. Let’s hear about the proposal…

On a weekend when I came up to Portland, Nathan suggested we go out to lunch at Pine State Biscuits. So delicious! Afterward, we went to Forest Park for a short hike. We go on hikes all the time, so I had no idea we was about to propose! When we got back to the clearing where we started, we sat on a picnic bench to talk for a bit. We were reminiscing about our relationship when he pulled out a ring box and got down on one knee!!! I said yes, of course. That evening, he took me to a fancy dinner fundraiser for his choir, so it was a really fun and special day.

We decided to use their engagement location – Forest Park – for their portraits because it reflects their interests of hiking and being outdoors. It was soggy and getting colder by the minute, but that just prompts more hugging and snuggling so that works for me. They were absolute troopers and even ventured out onto a mossy fallen log! I’m so excited to photograph their wedding this summer in Portland and wish them a very musical future. 🙂

Darlene & Joel | Elopement at Silver Falls State Park

Elopements are sooooooooooo good!!!

Darlene + Joel had been engaged for awhile, and were in no particular hurry to have a ceremony. They wanted to focus on other things like moving to Bend, buying a house, building Darlene’s business, and trying to start a family. They knew they didn’t want a big wedding and the more they thought about it eloping really felt like the right thing to do. …especially after they modeled for me last fall. 😉 On a soggy day at the end of March I met them, along with Joel’s brother Jesse and his husband Jai, at Silver Falls State Park just east of Salem. I was hoping that the rain would have deterred people, but the parking lot was crowded with tourists that wanted to see the main South Falls. Darlene looked BEAUTIFUL with a tiny baby bump (it’s a girl!) and DIY bouquet of lilies and rosemary. Everyone carefully walked down the muddy path, making sure not to step on Darlene’s dress, and gathered at the base of the falls on the far side of its misty pool. Jesse was the official ring bearer, while Jai officiated a perfectly written ceremony – smart guy even laminated the paper. After some portraits on the bridge we made our way back up the path, accepting congratulations along the way, and enjoying some bubbly at one of the park’s many picnic tables.

A very tasty lunch and cake awaited us at The Wild Pear in Downtown Salem. …I had the banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich).

 

Q1: What was your favorite part of the day?

Darlene: My favorite part of the day was saying our vows down by the waterfall. The rest of the world faded and it was the two of us in this beautiful setting. It was surreal and yet my senses were heightened at the same time. I loved the vows that Jai wrote for us and they fit us so well.

Joel: The getting married part. Having my brother there and my bro-in-law marry us was really special.

 

Q2: What are you most looking forward to in married life?

Darlene: Because we’ve been together for awhile, and acted like we were married anyways, I think I’m just looking forward to a continuation of that and entering the next phase of our lives together and seeing what parenthood will be like. I feel like we are on the same team and here to support each other through that, so I can’t wait to see how we both grow and evolve as we start our family.

Joel: Building our lives together and going on adventures.

 

Q3: What advice do you have for others?

Darlene: For weddings – Focus on the day being about the both of you, not worried about making the other happy or getting what you want, but making the wedding and celebration be an expression of your relationship together. Have it be totally “you” and don’t worry about what everyone else typically does – just do what feels right for the two of you. For relationships – listen to each other and truly honor where the other person is coming from, or what they need. It won’t always line up with what you need, and there will be compromise, but acknowledging each other goes a long way.

Joel: Do what’s right for you. Don’t live your life for others.