I think that most of us would agree that wedding planning is stressful.
My thoughts are that if a relationship can survive planning a wedding then the couple is off to great start. …I mean think about all the skills you need to successfully plan a wedding. Communication, decision making, compromise, budgeting, dedication, and a BIG one – gracefully handling when things go wrong.
Well if we’re using those metrics as a way to gauge the longevity of a marriage then Marissa and Russ are going to be married for like a million lifetimes.
I met them both to discuss engagement portraits, but not wedding photography because they were going to get married in Utah and had already booked someone there. I liked them immediately and was super sad that I couldn’t be the one to photograph their wedding day. ::insert sad face:: A couple months later we met up at the Painted Hills for their engagement session, but not before I got an email from Marissa saying that she’d been in a 4-wheeler accident and was now sporting a sizable forehead scar and a very broken wrist. …but they were determined to have this session on time. Ok. When I arrive it’s HOT outside so Russ is getting read to change out of his (much cooler) sport shorts and into his jeans only to discover that he packed a pair of Marissa’s jeans by mistake. Ummmmmm …that’s ok we can roll with this. Careful placement and composition omit the shorts in 99% of the images.
Over the next few months wedding plans fall apart, things are replanned and replanned again …and again. Nothing will stick! I finally get an email from Marissa to ask about my availability in October because they’ve decided to scale everything back to the essentials only and are getting married in Oregon. Of course I wasn’t happy to hear about all the trouble they’d had, but I was so happy that I would get to be there to celebrate them. I only have a couple dates available for that month but as luck would FINALLY work in their favor I was available for their original date!
Planning continues to be an issue for these two as the universe really puts them to the test. But NOTHING in the ‘verse can stop these two or diminish the giggly-googly-eyed love that they have for each other. Seriously, I’ve never heard a couple giggle so much. There is one MAJOR thing that goes right for them – after Marissa’s accident she had to do tons of physical therapy to regain use of her wrist and hand. …her left hand. Her goal for the entire process was to be able to wear her wedding ring and hold her bouquet with her left hand. It was an enormous undertaking, but she worked hard and was so proud to show Russ that she’d reached her goal during their first look.
Congratulations to Russ & Marissa!!! I know that you will be together loooooong after the sun burns out.
H: It was a complete tie for first between the intimacy and excitement of the first look, and seeing Tim standing in front of me, bursting with anxiety and joy as my Dad and I made our way down the aisle. In such an enormous moment, one wink reminded us both that this is just an expression of what we already are – life partners and best friends.
H: …daily morning kisses as we wake up. Walking through the routine of daily life, watching baseball and playing dice, making dinner. Watching the day evolve into night over red wine on the back porch. But even the incredible beautify of the mundane is not as exciting to me as watching Tim grow into a wrinkly ass curmudgeon!
H: As for weddings, work from the inside out: what do you want the day to feel like? What emotion, aesthetic, experience do you want to have and share with those closest to you? Remember who you are together, and infuse that into everything. And remember, no matter how organized, how communicative, or how well intentioned you are, you are not in the driver’s seat. You, your fiancé, your family and friends, bought tickets on a roller coaster that will turn left, right, upside down, speed up, slow down, and jostle you in the most unexpected ways…. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Release yourself to the natural energy of the day. Such is life, my dears, such is life.
It was an afternoon of celebration that lasted late into the night. One of my personal favorites was Tim’s brother opening up a bottle of champagne with a small sword!
When I look into your eyes / It’s like watching the night sky / Or a beautiful sunrise / Well, there’s so much they hold / And just like them old stars / I see that you’ve come so far / To be right where you are / How old is your soul?
Well, I won’t give up on us / Even if the skies get rough / I’m giving you all my love / I’m still looking up
And when you’re needing your space / To do some navigating / I’ll be here patiently waiting / To see what you find
‘Cause even the stars they burn / Some even fall to the earth / We’ve got a lot to learn / God knows we’re worth it / No, I won’t give up
I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily / I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make / Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use / The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake / And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend / For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn / We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in / I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not, and who I am
I won’t give up on us / Even if the skies get rough / I’m giving you all my love / I’m still looking up, I’m still looking up.
Well, I won’t give up on us / God knows I’m tough enough / We’ve got a lot to learn / God knows we’re worth it / I won’t give up on us / Even if the skies get rough / I’m giving you all my love / I’m still looking up – Jason Mraz
Edith & Cody planned a secret vow renewal while they would be on a family vacation at Whistler.
The original plan was to do everything at the Top Of The World, but when we went to buy our tickets for the lift to the top the entire mountain was clouded in with zero visibility. That was basically the theme of all the planning… plans go horribly wrong and we find an equally beautiful solution. For months I was the only other person who knew about the vow renewal so Edith and I would regularly text and talk about plans, new plans, and new new plans. When the Top Of The World vision was off the table I saw Edith’s heart sink. The ticket gal suggested we check out Alta Lake just down the road and even showed us some photos of the area. As we walked back to the car I saw Cody take Edith’s hand to comfort her; it was a subtle reminder of the trials that they’ve overcome during their marriage and that it was their love and commitment that saw them through.
It was such an honor to be there with the two of them as they spoke about the adventures they’d already had and made promises for the future. I couldn’t be more proud of Edith and Cody, the family they’ve built, the grace that leads their lives, and the inspiration they’ve been to me.
Jessie & Michael had a beautiful DIY wedding over looking the Pacific and Three Arch Rocks in Oceanside, Oregon on an overcast afternoon in July.
Utilizing a small community center with an adjacent lawn and patio for the day’s activities the newly weds craved an intimate, low key wedding filled with celebration and laughter. Every element had a personal meaning for their relationship as it existed and for their future adventures to come. Jessie wore a locket with photographs of her grandparents inside, along with the family diamonds that were set into her engagement ring and a pair of earrings. They passed around their wedding bands for the guests to hold and put their love and positive energy into before exchanging them. Michael’s Mother read a poem by E.E. Cummings during the ceremony, while Jessie’s Mother did all the floral arrangements. My personal favorite was the Hemlock tree. Maid of Honor, Kimberly, shared information about the significance of the tree (did you know that the Hemlock carries both male and female cones?) while Jessie and Michael added soil from their respective hometowns. They were surrounded by friends and family – laughing, happy crying, playing lawn games, blowing bubbles, eating, drinking, dancing, smiling, and later… playing with sparklers on the beach.
I asked Jessie and Michael to share some of their thoughts and advice from their experience planning and hosting this wonderful weekend, as well as on being a really AMAZING couple.
1. What was your favorite part of the wedding day?
Jessie: My favorite part of our wedding day has to be seeing how excited and happy Michael was to see me at our first look. I could tell he was nervous just by the way he was standing with his back to me, and then when he turned around, his jaw dropped. I felt like a beautiful flower.
Michael: My favorite part of the day was the first look, I was so stunned I forgot to breath for a few seconds and almost fell over.
2. What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Jessie: Relaxing into our partnership. This has been, and will continue to be, a year of a lot of changes and hard work. We have done really well weathering the stress, decisions, and grunt labor together. Now I’m glad to see our hard work pay off, and spend some time just being still and breathing. Honeymoon!
Michael: I’m looking forward to all the fun stuff we’ll get to do together, buying a house, starting a family and having the best garden ever.
3. What advice would you like to share with others?
Jessie: Really appreciate your partner and all of the things that make them great. Then tell them. Often. Be supportive and kind when things are tough. Don’t give advice unless it is asked for. Keep good wine on hand. Wedding planning is really hard. Things will fall through, you will cry and be disappointed… And then you’ll fix it–together. That is the important part: together. Make choices that are impactful and represent you as a couple. When I met Michael, and decided I really liked him, I often repeated to myself: “be more awesome”, in an attempt to keep his interest. Sounds cliche, I know, but it reminded me to put my best self forward at all times. I still say that to myself if I’m feeling discouraged or challenged.
Michael: For wedding planning, make a list and get started early. You’ll have less stress that way. For your relationship don’t force anything and just be yourself. And for tacos, home made is the best, slow simmer the chicken for 5 hours and add lots of spicy peppers.
Thank you to the Kneisler and Palmer/Miner families for helping Jessie & Michael coordinate this wonderful day!
P.S. The cake had a little accident, but that didn’t stop anyone from enjoying it. …you’ll see. 😉
Hello everyone! Happy Wedding Wednesday!!!
Today I’m sharing another wedding that I second shot for Stevi Sayler last summer.
Let me just say that it is always such fun to work with Stevi, whether she’s the primary photographer or I am, we are a POWERHOUSE together and I don’t understand why anyone anywhere wouldn’t choose the two of us to rock their wedding photography. Yep, tootin’ my own horn on that one!
This particular wedding was on a beautiful sunny day in July at Silvan Ridge Winery just outside Eugene. The grooms Paul & Gary were just the sweetest, most chillax, good humored grooms that ever existed. …and they knew how to throw a proper event/party! Black tie with plenty of glitz and glamour – Gary’s black sparkle Jimmy Choo shoes were the envy of the everyone and I’m not going to lie that I considered how quickly I might be able to steal them and run. After a first look and some portraits in the vineyard it was time for their ceremony. All of the guests were a mess of tears watching these two exchange rings and vows. The sun finally got down behind the ridge line and everyone went inside for a very yummy plated dinner.
For Gary & Paul – who plan the Charlotte Pride Festival – the night wouldn’t have been complete without a crazy brilliant performance by Delighted Tobehere.
The End! Ooh wait… check out Stevi’s blog post of this wedding for even more photos!
Last year I had the very good fortune to work with a new (to me) photographer as her second shooter. Even though I’d obviously prefer to book my own weddings to photograph I really enjoy second shooting, especially when I get to work with friends, at new locations, and/or with AWESOME Oceanside, California photographers like Heather Vallentyne Moreau of Vallentyne Photography. PS I’m super jealous of her name!
Her couple, Anne Leigh + Jonathan, were having their destination wedding in Pacific City, Oregon where the bride’s family lives (again, jealous) with the reception at the ever popular Pelican Brewery + Pub. While Pacific City has its share of tourists, it actually doesn’t for how completely beautiful it is. Since it’s not right on Hwy 101 I think a lot of people drive right by not knowing what they’re missing – like THE DUNE, or one of Oregon’s Haystack Rocks, a very tasty cream ale, and rolling ocean view meadows on the cliffs above. One challenge with working at the coast is that the wind can be a bit strong as can the light… if you happen to get a sunny day. However this can also be an opportunity to try some new locations, poses, and work some serious action/drama/emotion into the photography.
Anna Leigh + Jonathan were surrounded by their family and friends while they said their vows over the Pacific Ocean. Deer munched on grass just out of sight in the tall grass, and the sun warmed everyone as it gently came through the trees. Kids and grown-ups alike played in the sand just off the brewery patio, and A+J danced on the beach as the sun went down. Congratulations!!!
Sometimes you plan a spring wedding and really just hope that the typical Pacific Northwest rainy weather takes a break to give you a beautiful “Fantasy Spring” day. Well Alison + Chris got just such a day for their I Do’s at the McMenamins Kennedy School in NE Portland in mid-March. The skies were blue, the cherry trees and honeysuckles in full fragrant bloom, and everyone was in a twitterpated mood.
Alison + Chris met during grad school in Georgia, for Masters of education in student affairs and counseling. They displayed their love of their various Alma Maters – where they had either attended or worked – by having each of the reception tables labeled with a university and mascot. They even had one of their grad school professors officiate their ceremony! After a long distance period Chris finally joined her in Seattle and after just a week proposed at Gas Works Park. “…We had decided that it would be our city to finally settle down in and stop doing long distance. It was perfect! Now we go back and picnic there.”
Even though they [still] live in Seattle they’ve always had a fondness for Portland and decided it would be the perfect destination to start the next chapter together.
What was your favorite part of the day?
Our two favorite parts of the whole day were the toasts (so funny, loving, sentimental, and perfectly us) and then just being surrounded by so many loved ones. More than half the people present had to get on a plane to be there and it means the world to us. We’ve moved around so much, and we come from opposite sides of the country, so it was just amazing to have all that love in one room.
What are you most looking forward to?
We are most looking forward to many many years of adventures together. We love to travel and explore new cities and cultures, and we wouldn’t want to do it with anyone but each other. I am a planner and Chris is a lets just see what happens kind of guy, we balance each other out so well.
Planning + Coordination // Liz of Soleil Bliss
Ceremony Music + DJ // Nate with John Ross Music
Floral // Flowers Washougasl
Venue + Catering // McMenamins Kennedy School
Photography // Amanda Photographic
Planning a wedding? Let’s get coffee and gush over details and the vision you have for your special day! Contact me for a consult, info, and booking. …tell me your love story.
A few weeks ago I blogged about working in Phoenix for The Big Fake Wedding (BFW), now it’s time to show off the Seattle show. Unfortunately this was the event where I broke my ankle last fall… sigh. Before we get into all the pretty photos let’s recap so that ya’ll remember what BFW is and why it’s so awesome.
Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the team the organizes BFW series all over the US. I applied to photograph the Phoenix and Seattle shows and couldn’t be happier with my experience working at both events. The vendor teams totally brought their A-game and I’m crazy in love with the concept behind the BFW…
Complete with a cocktail-style dinner, an emotional vow renewal ceremony and a dance-party reception, The Big Fake Wedding has become a killer alternative to a bridal show. The hand-selected vendors perform their services as they would at a real wedding, and the “wedding guests” (brides-to-be!) get to hear the music, taste the cakes, and smell the flowers… while enjoying a night of great food, dancing and surprises.
I was worried that it would be strange or competitive working with other photographers that weren’t working for me, but the other photo teams were just as excited as I was to participate in an event that fosters community over competition. We helped each other when needed, made sure that each other got time with all the bridal details, and even took a couple photos of each other working. Overall I’m going with “Magical” for my description.
When Whitney went to visit her brother in San Diego, who knew that she would fall in love with his roommate?! The only problem was that she lived across the country in Orlando. Garrett asked if he could come out to visit her, and she said no, but he booked a flight anyway. He came out, spent a week with Whitney and her family, and then what happened next is a direct quote from Garrett (because it’s just too sweet not to share verbatim). “After the best week of my life, I was all in and knew I would marry her someday.” Aw, shucks. By the end of the trip, Garrett asked Whitney’s dad if he could move to Orlando to date her, and a year later he proposed on the dock where they sat that first week and fell in love.
What is the best date you have ever had? From her: My favorite date we’ve ever had was our first one. I was in San Diego for the weekend and he told me he was picking me up to watch the sunrise. He got me at 4:30 am, we got some coffee, and went to Torrey Pines and climbed a lifeguard stand while we waited for it. The conversation was great so the sun was pretty much up by the time we realized – the sun doesn’t “rise” on the west coast. It was definitely behind us. He still gets made fun of for that.
What is the most awesome thing about your marriage? From him: The most awesome thing about our marriage has been the constant growing of “in loveness” that we have felt for one another. It feels like through each season of life we have come to we become better friends and more united.
One of the things that completely sold me on working with the teams at The Big Fake Wedding is their commitment to promoting healthy, happy, and lasting marriages; not just inspiring people to live out their wedding day fantasies. It would be so easy for them to say “Great, thanks for coming, good luck with that whole being together forever thing.” I believe that as a professional who witnesses dozens of weddings each year and who works to build a relationship with each of my wedding couples, that it is so important for me (and my fellow creative vendors) to encourage those couples in their marriages. One of the ways that I believe I can do this professionally is to give their wedding photography my full attention, deepest care, as well as being a calm and confident fixture on what can be a very stressful day. My wedding day goal: Bride-chilla. …not Bride-zilla.
Now you might be asking, “Why would you want to photograph an event in Seattle? You’re an Oregon photographer!”
Well let’s just say that while I LOOOOOOVE OREGON and would never dream of living anywhere else; I also love working in new places, I love to travel, and I love Seattle – The Emerald City. While Seattle has the same general “wedding season” as the rest of the PNW it has some pretty fantastic urban scenery. I also serve Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Montana, and Colorado.
Sometimes you elope because your fiance is getting sent out on his THIRD deployment… then your families really want you to have a second wedding where they can participate, attend, and celebrate with you.
That’s just what happened to Amy + Michael over the course of the last couple years.
We started the day at the McMenamins Kennedy School on Portland’s East Side where the whole wedding party was staying for the weekend. It was hair and make-up for Amy and her sister (MOH), and beer while playing pool and cards against humanity for Michael and his guys. I was really excited to get to explore the Kennedy School, McMenamins properties always have something special happening and this one is no exception.
Amy + Michael didn’t want to see each other before their ceremony, even though they were technically already married and she wore her dress to their elopement, to help make the this wedding extra special. My second and I scouted a really cool location in the one the bars where they could both be in a photo without being able to see each other. Score! We moved everyone over to Bridgeport Brewery in the Pearl District for the ceremony, reception, and formal portraits.
Rather than attempt to flip a room while everyone is trying to enjoy cocktail hour – inside the same room – Amy + Michael opt’ed to have everyone already seated at the dinner tables for the ceremony. *Smart!* The same officiant that married them for their elopement was available to marry them again for their second ceremony. Awww.
It was a beautiful night of love, laughter, beer, and dancing. Congratulations to Amy + Michael!!!
I know that a lot of folks have seen this particular photo on my social media, but it’s too good to not share again. I broke my ankle in early October and was still stuck in my walking boot for Amy + Michael’s wedding. My lovely second shooter grabbed this shot while I was working on finishing up family portraits. #photoglife
Amanda Photographic is available throughout the Pacific Northwest and American Southwest for weddings big and small. I would be happy to discuss details with your via coffee or Skype and hear all about your wedding day vision. …tell me your love story. Contact me today!
2015 was an enormous growing year for me as a wedding photographer. Every venue was one where I’d never worked before, I booked twice as many weddings, second shot seven more, and participated in two stylized weddings out-of-state. With virtually no off-season at the end of last year I’ve already started on this years’ weddings and I can already say that 2016 going to give 2015 a run for its money. Last year I had the good fortune to do a bit of traveling to photograph some of these weddings – Eastern Oregon, Portland, New York/Massachusetts, Seattle, with plenty of local-ish ones in between. Some of these categories were really really really difficult to pick just one… Note: I didn’t include any of the stylized weddings or weddings that I second’ed for in this favorites list.
Emily + Collin | Conway Ranch, John Day, OR
Favorite Groom Attire
Rosalinda + Jeremy | Cathedral Park, Portland, OR
Favorite Bridal Attire
Erika + Matthew | H&H Ranch, The Berkshires, Mass/NY
Sarah + Ben | Old Iron Ranch, Shedd, OR
Amy + Michael | Bridegport Brewery, Portland, OR
Brittany + Patrick | Family Farm, Junction City, OR
Favorite First Look – Tie!
Stephanie + Tim | Green Villa Barn, Independence, OR
Favorite First Look – Tie!
Elizabeth + Emily | Pacific Tower, Seattle, WA
Erika + Matthew | H&H Ranch, The Berkshires, Mass/NY
Favorite Wedding Party Creative Photo
Madison + Scott | St. Mary’s Church, Corvallis, OR