There aren’t many indoor venues outside Portland for winter weddings, but Ally + Patrick created an elegant space for their friends and family to celebrate their union. The weather was off and on all day with wind, dark clouds, sunshine, and rain… you really never know what you’re going to get at the end of February in the valley.
Ally’s bridal room was in full hustle-mode with all five bridesmaids doing hair and makeup at once. Mimosas were plentiful as was laughter and tears, smiles and hugs. The girls were all sporting leopard print robes with their hair in curlers when they gave Ally their gift to her: A book full of cards, photos, notes, memories, and love. Ally held it together remarkably well until she got to a photo of her Grandma and the tears wouldn’t stop for a solid five minutes. That’s what happens when you have two bestie MOHs! The guys arrived later and immediately took advantage of the foosball table upstairs before getting ready. In typical groom style Patrick and his groomsmen were casual, low-maintenance, and obviously hiding their giddy excitement for upcoming festivities.
Every wedding has elements that are specific and unique to the couple; Patrick’s boutonniere carried a charm necklace with photos of his mother’s parents, while Ally’s bouquet had a necklace with both a chicken and hummingbird charm tied around the stems. The opportunity to include a piece of your family and wear it on you is such a special practice that brings even deeper meaning to a day already full of joy.
Q1: What was your favorite part of the day?
Ally: My favorite part of the day was seeing everyone dressed all snazzy and supporting us. Also marrying my best friend, of course.
Patrick: My favorite part of the day was dancing in front of my friends and family with my wife.
Q2: What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Ally: I’m looking forward to lots of adventures.
Patrick: Setting and achieving goals together. Starting a family together.
Q3: What advice do you have for others?
Ally: My advice for wedding planning is don’t sweat the little stuff and enjoy the process!
Patrick: Support the bride because lots of pressure and things going on that week of.
They met in college while studying abroad in Berlin. David is from Boston and was attending college in Maine; while Andrea is from Oregon and was attending college in Los Angeles. …talk about the stars aligning. Upon returning to the states they each finished their programs while dating long distance. After graduation they both moved to the Bay Area before heading east for NYC – can you image planning a wedding in Oregon when you live in New York?!?! David proposed on a Friday at the park near their apartment before embarking on a dinner and city strolling filled evening.
When you’re planning a wedding 3,000 miles away from where you live it’s important to work closely with those that live near your wedding location. Andrea’s mom assembled a family work party to get Flinn Block Hall ready the day before and morning of the wedding. I was amazed at how seamlessly everything came together and impressed by how elegant and pacific northwest inspired everything looked. The decorative sprigs on each napkin were my favorite – bay leaf and rosemary. Everything had purpose and meaning like the table filled with portraits of couples from both of their families. The day was sunny, but cold… like 15 degrees kind of cold. Despite the occasional freezing gust of wind Andrea, David, and their wedding party were troopers enough to agree to outdoor photography. Hey, at least the ground was frozen solid and not muddy…
As is my new-ish habit I asked Andrea + David for their perspectives on their wedding day with a few questions:
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
David: My favorite part of the wedding day was seeing Andrea come down the aisle with her parents. When everybody stood up and turned to look at her, it was a really special moment and one that I’m glad to take with me.
Andrea: Of course it’s so hard to break down such an intense and emotional and beautiful day and say what my favorite parts were. I think my top three moments, where I felt the most overwhelming love and emotion, were: 1) The first look! It was SO exciting and joyful to finally reconnect with David again after a morning apart, and to see how amazing he looked in his suit 😉 2) Walking into the ceremony with my parents. The moment we walked into the room, I knew it was going to be such an emotionally intense experience, and it just got more so the closer we got to all our friends and family. Seeing the love on everyone’s faces as we walked down the aisle, and being supported on either side by my wonderful parents was overwhelmingly beautiful. 3) The toasts! Each of them was so heartfelt, and being able to sit next to my new husband while we laughed and cried (happy tears) together was pure joy.
What are you most looking forward to in married life?
David: I’m most excited to have a partner in crime that I can always to to lean on, and celebrate the ups and downs for life with. Sounds corny but it’s true. Also, in the more near-term, we’re going to take our first world voyage together to Europe — to England to see my relatives who couldn’t make it to Oregon, Berlin because that’s where we met, and Paris (because we’re married and it’s romantic, duh).
Andrea: I am looking forward to continuing to make a beautiful life, home, and partnership together. I am so excited for the tangible and intangible ways that our love and relationship will deepen and expand now that we have made this formal, public commitment to one another. I look forward to continuing to learn about David, about myself, and about love through our years together, and to be able to share those years with our family and friends.
What advice to do you have for others?
David: My advice for others on their wedding day: let go of the stress! There’s so much that goes into planning your wedding day and you always want to be perfect. But letting go of the stress of having *everything* happening really lets you enjoy your big day. It’s amazing to realize the room is full of people that are rooting for you and are so happy to be there, so just open up and enjoy the day as it comes.
Andrea: Enjoy the wedding planning process! The wedding day is beautiful and joyful, but it is only one day, and it goes by quickly. So be intentional and present in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the wedding, as those are very much a part of the event as well. Be grateful for the opportunity to take on such a fun and fulfilling project with your dearest loved ones (fiancé, parents, in-laws, grandparents, friends, etc.), and cherish the quality time that it brings to you. Yes, there are stressful moments, but if you keep the big picture in mind, I think it can be such a rewarding experience, and one to look back on fondly.
Venue // Flinn Block Hall Decor // MoB – DIY Catering // Valley Catering Cake // Andrea – THE BRIDE! Dress // BHLDN Bridesmaid’s Shalls // Downtown Austin Suit // Suit Supply Groom + Groomsmen’s Ties // Hobo Ties Rings // Brilliant Earth & Blue Nile Flowers // Market of Choice Invitations // Etsy Programs // Ari Vance-Borland
What can I say about Danna + Uriah?
These two are crazy stupid in love, super cool rockers, and have excellent taste in champagne!
I met up with Danna a couple weeks before their elopement date to get to know her and work on a logistical plan for their day. It was going to be a simple day with all the best visual elements of a full wedding; she had a cocktail length beaded dress (YASSSS!!!) and flowers from Summer Robbins, while Uriah had a gray suit and would be sporting his vans (Perfect!). They reserved a cabin at Brasada Ranch just outside Bend where they would have their sunset ceremony and we planned to take all their photos around the property before hand. Everything went according to plan except for one teensy thing… it snowed like 2 feet just days before! This elopement just turned into a winter wonderland of freezing amazingness!!!
Danna + Uriah met at a local bar when he put her favorite band, Clutch, on the jukebox. “You don’t even know who that is!”, shouted Danna. “Yea, I do!”, he replied and proceeded to put every single Clutch song into the cue and sang ALL of them with her. Awwwwww! The next night Uriah made her dinner – chicken and kale – and it was looooove. But Danna was moving to Costa Rica, so they spent every available waking moment together. After awhile in Costa Rica Uriah reached out asking her to come back and immediately whisked her off to Mexico for a sunny vacay where he proposed.
I am so excited for these two! They share such a wonderful love of adventure, life, and of course each other.
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!
What on Earth could I have done to deserve such an amazing couple in Kaira + Dave?
I first met them last year at The Big Fake Wedding in Seattle; I learned at their reception that it was Kaira’s sister, Audra, who had encouraged them to go in an attempt to get them to start planning… because she’s a great MOH! I heard from them a few months later about their wedding photography and got more and more excited as their plans came to life.
Before we get to the wedding photography you must know more about these two love birds. 1. They met at a week-long Latvian retreat in Malibu, CA that peaked with a NYE party in LA. Kaira was there with Audra and they both joked that their Mom had sent them on this trip to meet single Latvian men. Kaira and Dave participated in a cooking class together and kissed on the stroke of midnight to bring in the new year. There was just one problem; Dave lived in Florida and Kaira lived in Pennsylvania. They both made trips to visit each month as their relationship got more serious, and when Dave moved to Seattle for grad school he invited Kaira to come with him. Awwwwwww. 2. On Valentine’s Day 2015 Dave surprised Kaira with a trip to Hawaii (totally not jealous). After a day of exploring the big island Dave proposed while they watched the sunset AND an active volcano. 3. The whole wedding was in Latvian, with some of it repeated in English, overlooking the Olympic Sculpture Park and Puget Sound. 4. They had wedding pie… because they’re awesome! 5. Latvians know how to daaaaance. No joke the dance floor was full for like 4 straight hours. Even the bartenders were dancing while pouring cocktails. Dave + Kaira wanted a live band for their reception, so naturally Dave called the Hard Rock Cafe and asked them who they liked for cover bands. The HRC told them to hire The Slacks and now I want them at every single wedding I photograph for the rest of my life.
Here’s what Kaira + Dave had to say about their wedding day:
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Kaira: I loved seeing Dave at the end of the aisle as I walked in! After that, dancing to the band at the reception. Also, Dave’s impromptu performance of the Pixies “Here Comes Your Man” was pretty awesome.
Dave: For me, my favorite part was the first look and also dancing to some amazing music at the reception. Watching Kaira walk down the aisle was something of a “life moment” for me that I’ll never forget.
Kaira and Dave: Basically everything, the whole day was perfect!
What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Kaira and Dave: We’re very happy to be done with wedding planning! We look forward to building our lives together as a team: traveling together, hopefully one day owning a home together, and possibly starting a family.
What advice to do you have for others?
Relationship advice: We say “I love you” to each other a lot and try not to take ourselves too seriously.
Wedding advice: Creating a dedicated wedding email account that we both had access to was a huge help. We also used Trello for to-do lists and the seating arrangement. Make sure to give yourself a few days off after the wedding to recover from “post-wedding amnesia.” Just 3 days after the wedding, Dave already lost (and found!) his wedding ring and we both feel very scatterbrained after being so organized all weekend. Go with your gut when it comes to vendors and partners. Everyone we worked with had a great vibe and it showed in how smoothly our wedding went. There were no last-minute surprises!
Enough talk… let’s see some photos!!!
What a pleasure it is to watch love grow in two people.
Katie + Zach had a beautiful wedding at the Aerie at Eagle Landing just outside Portland in early September. …you know the time, when it’s still summer, but fall is in the air.
Surrounded by their families and best friends they promised to always be there for each other and to put the other one before themselves.
The last few months I’ve been asking my couples some post-wedding questions and share their answers on this blog. It’s been such a lovely insight into what my couples value in their relationship.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Our favorite part of the wedding day was simply just being able to celebrate a very important event with our friends and family.
What are you looking forward to most in married life?
What I am looking forward to the most in married life is spending everyday with my best friend. Going on adventures, exploring a new city (Portland) together, just being together and seeing what life has in store for us.
What advice would you like to offer others?
Advice would be to have fun and remember everybody is there for you. You can’t possibly control how everything goes, so trust the people you have hired and just have fun. The day goes by in a blink of an eye so just enjoy it. Another note would be to hire a day of wedding planner to be in control of all the details and timing. Lastly, find a pastor/officiant that you connect with. We love(d) our officiate he is great at what he does and he is very personable, it made everything a lot easier.
If you just can’t get enough of these two check out their engagement session from earlier this year.
There’s nothing that will make you feel more connected to your family on your wedding day than incorporating their love and spirit into your day.
That’s what Mida + Phil did a few weeks ago at their beautiful wedding at Lumos Winery in Kings Valley, Oregon in the coast range foothills. Family and friends put together the center pieces and set out the table cloths, Phil and Groomsman – Lee – brewed a sour beer, Phil and his Brother/Groomsman – Nick – featured some of their Nectar Creek Mead as well, Mida wore her Grandmother’s dress, and her brother DJ’d. The morning was bustling with everyone working on their respective tasks, but the day never felt rushed or stressful. Instead it felt like one giant family working together to celebrate two people that they all love.
I was completely enamored with their personal details… especially Mida’s jewelry and handmade hair piece! Not to mention the view. Hello!
A small selection from another wedding that I second shot for Ashley Cook Photography last summer.
The little boys totally stole the show in their adorable red suspenders!
Happy Wedding Wednesday!!!
Second Shooting for Ashley Cook Photography
Another Wedding Wednesday another beautiful couple on their very special day.
Last summer I worked with a number of other photographers as their second shooter. It’s loads of fun, a great way to work at new venues, an opportunity to learn (there’s always more to learn) by watching another pro at work, and my favorite – the perfect time to experiment with new styles, techniques, and compositions. One of the best things about have a second shooter with you is that, as the primary, you can focus on the must have photos without sacrificing the creative, alternative, and candid. You also get to spend more time shooting, because your second is handling the crowd, the dress, the veil, pinning boutonnieres, and all those other things that distract you from your creative flow and take up valuable minutes in a very busy day.
To me the most valuable thing a second shooter can do for their primary is give them variety. My goal for this day was to not give Ashley any doubles or anything repetitive of what she already photographed herself. These are some of my favorite shots from Christine + Ben’s wedding at Sweet Cheeks Winery just outside Eugene.