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
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
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
HMUA // Gamine Studio
What do you do when you’re not really into the idea of planning a big wedding? You elope!
…but first you have to get engaged. Last spring J+A took a vacation to Hawaii (jealous) and as you might expect wanted to do some exploring. They started on a short side-trip on their way to Hana to a quite little town; as they walked down the dilapidated road they found a beautiful secluded beach. They sat there watching the waves crash on the rocks when Aaron took Jessica’s hand, knelt down on one knee, and asked her to marry him! In her own words [she] was not expecting this! …ummm I’m pretty sure that’s the idea. lol!
Jessica + Aaron wanted something low-key and scenic for their ceremony to stay in line with their overall personalities and love of the outdoors. They invited Aaron’s brother and a few close friends to be witnesses and officiate – they spent the weekend cooking, playing games, and enjoying the fresh powder. I loved how personal they made everything, while still keeping it very simple, proving that meaningful is always better than basically anything else. Instead of rings they chose to tie a knot using two colors of climbing rope – because they’re the adventurous type – and picked a knot that each piece played an equal role in its formation and strength. They shared vows that focused on loving each other for who they are as individuals as well as supporting growth and deepening their relationship. Though I have to say that my favorite part was that everyone was wearing snowshoes or yaktrax, oh yeah AND that we celebrated with rootbeer floats at the local diner after the ceremony!!! …because that’s how we role in Central Oregon.
Q: What was your favorite part of the day?
Jessica: My favorite part of the day was spending time with everyone and feeling an overwhelming sense of joy that was present in every moment. From cooking breakfast, to getting ready, to the drive over, the ceremony itself and the celebration after. It wasn’t stressful or rushed at all. We all just had time to be together and enjoy each others companionship.
Q: What are you most looking forward to?
Jessica: I am looking forward to sharing more adventures together, to being beside each other through life’s difficulties, and to celebrate the good things that happen every day.
Q: What advice do you have for others?
Jessica: Advice is to keep things simple and personal. Once planning my wedding became about making it a special day for me and Aaron, and not worrying about the “norms” or what other people would like, I was able to relax and I actually was excited about the process. Hunting down each element of my wedding outfit, developing the knot-tying ceremony, and scouting the perfect location for our ceremony with Aaron were all fun parts of the pre-wedding process. It was kind of crazy how quickly the ceremony buzzed by, and thinking how much time and energy was put into crafting that 5 or 10 minutes of scripted behavior. Being surrounded by the right people in an inspiring place made it easy for the rest of the day unfold. And having [Amanda] there to help guide us through the day was invaluable so she could capture all the special moments that we’ll now have to remember forever in photos. That took a lot of planning and thought off of my plate.
Venue // Fort Rock State Park
Photography // Amanda Photographic
Floral // Summer Robbins Flowers
Literally everything else // DIY
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!!!
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. 😉
Haley & Kaden, with their families, hosted a beautiful wedding over the 4th of July weekend in Lamar, MO.
The original plan was for it to be a classic summer backyard wedding with poolside reception, but the persistent thunderstorms and rain, forced them to relocate to their home church and local reception hall just a week before the big day. Fortunately both these buildings are air condition which kept everyone comfortable since it was also hot and humid. …yuck. Also fortunately we got a break in the weather just long enough for the swampy conditions to subside so that we could use the nearby running path for their portraits. The theme quickly changed over from backyard chic to small town elegance with a red, white, and blue color palate. I have never seen so many personalized details – Haley & Kaden made sure to make their wedding completely their own.
Thank you to all the friends and family that made this wonderful day possible.
Brace yourselves people, because this wedding is full of color, sequins, pom-poms, paper flowers, amazing food, DIY projects, and toooooons of love!!!
I first met Greg + Rosie over skype to discuss wedding details and planning for their Memorial Day Weekend fiesta themed wedding in Southern Oregon. Rosie’s littles, Blaise and Ruby, joined the conversation briefly, mostly just to see what the grown-ups were up to and show me some cool toys they were playing with. I could instantly see the deep love they have for each other and the love that would bring them all together as a family. I got to meet up with them for an engagement session at Lithia Park in Ashland last fall and all of my lovey dovey suspicions were confirmed.
Fast forward to the end of May and I travel down a dirt “road” to arrive at Buckhorn Springs. It’s really not that far from Downtown Ashland, but it feels completely remote and cell service is spotty. This actually helps the venue that predominantly functions as a yoga retreat …you almost have no choice but to unplug from the outside world and enjoy the sounds of the creek and wind in the trees. Fun fact: Looooooooong ago people would come to Buckhorn Springs to take carbon dioxide vapor baths from the natural CO2 spring in the creek. They would lower everything but their heads down into a vapor pit and take in all its healing properties. Not sure if CO2 vapor baths actually have healing properties, but there’s a small, now closed, building across the bridge for just that purpose. The venue also hosts a main lodge, several small cabins, and a large house that Greg + Rosie’s friends and family stayed in over the long weekend complete with nightly gatherings around the fire.
The morning of the wedding began with a yummy breakfast followed by a lady’s yoga session and blessing way for Rosie. If you have the space and the time on your wedding day I highly recommend it; it set a wonderful mood and pace for the rest of the day. After a quick lunch Greg + Rosie separated and started to get themselves ready. It was only a couple of hours later that they came back together for their first look, but the high emotions of the day fed their mutual anticipation to see each other. We explored the property and took every opportunity to slow it down, let them enjoy each others’ company, cuddle, and feel celebrated. After a quick-ish round of family portraits Rosie + Greg hid themselves away to collect their thoughts, feels, and prepare for the ceremony in the Dodecagon building. Family and friends removed their shoes and blessed the wedding rings as they entered the space. <3
Greg and Blaise walked from their creekside cabin first, followed shortly by Rosie and Ruby. Vows were exchanged in turn; Ruby did her best to hold still while Blaise tired to look tough standing next to Greg. After vows Rosie + Greg also shared vows with their children as they all stood in a family circle – they were given necklaces with “love you to the moon” charms. Once the kids were settled with Grandma and Grandpa it was time for Greg + Rosie to exchange the rings that had been heavily blessed by everyone in the room. A strong 5-mississippi kiss ended the ceremony and they exited together with their faces glowing with happiness!
Venue + Catering // Buckhorn Springs
Dress // Aidan Mattox
Suit // Men’s Wearhouse
Photography // Amanda Photographic
Second Photographer // Stevi Sayler
Everything Else // DIY
I still have a few dates available for October-December 2016. Contact me for booking details and …tell me your love story!
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!!!