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!)
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
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…
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::
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!
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
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!