Elopements are sooooooooooo good!!!
Darlene + Joel had been engaged for awhile, and were in no particular hurry to have a ceremony. They wanted to focus on other things like moving to Bend, buying a house, building Darlene’s business, and trying to start a family. They knew they didn’t want a big wedding and the more they thought about it eloping really felt like the right thing to do. …especially after they modeled for me last fall. 😉 On a soggy day at the end of March I met them, along with Joel’s brother Jesse and his husband Jai, at Silver Falls State Park just east of Salem. I was hoping that the rain would have deterred people, but the parking lot was crowded with tourists that wanted to see the main South Falls. Darlene looked BEAUTIFUL with a tiny baby bump (it’s a girl!) and DIY bouquet of lilies and rosemary. Everyone carefully walked down the muddy path, making sure not to step on Darlene’s dress, and gathered at the base of the falls on the far side of its misty pool. Jesse was the official ring bearer, while Jai officiated a perfectly written ceremony – smart guy even laminated the paper. After some portraits on the bridge we made our way back up the path, accepting congratulations along the way, and enjoying some bubbly at one of the park’s many picnic tables.
A very tasty lunch and cake awaited us at The Wild Pear in Downtown Salem. …I had the banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich).
Q1: What was your favorite part of the day?
Darlene: My favorite part of the day was saying our vows down by the waterfall. The rest of the world faded and it was the two of us in this beautiful setting. It was surreal and yet my senses were heightened at the same time. I loved the vows that Jai wrote for us and they fit us so well.
Joel: The getting married part. Having my brother there and my bro-in-law marry us was really special.
Q2: What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Darlene: Because we’ve been together for awhile, and acted like we were married anyways, I think I’m just looking forward to a continuation of that and entering the next phase of our lives together and seeing what parenthood will be like. I feel like we are on the same team and here to support each other through that, so I can’t wait to see how we both grow and evolve as we start our family.
Joel: Building our lives together and going on adventures.
Q3: What advice do you have for others?
Darlene: For weddings – Focus on the day being about the both of you, not worried about making the other happy or getting what you want, but making the wedding and celebration be an expression of your relationship together. Have it be totally “you” and don’t worry about what everyone else typically does – just do what feels right for the two of you. For relationships – listen to each other and truly honor where the other person is coming from, or what they need. It won’t always line up with what you need, and there will be compromise, but acknowledging each other goes a long way.
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 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.
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. 😉
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!
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!
I’ve always said that I’m good luck for wedding weather. I’ve only had one wedding get rained on, and they actually kind of liked/planned on it. It’s true that it did rain on Allison & Derek’s wedding day, but I maintain that I’m still good luck because it let up whenever I needed it to and kept the natural beauty of the Dorris Ranch property lush and colorful.
Allison had a traditional old, new, borrowed, blue, six pence for your shoe theme with her blue belt (that she made!), new shoes, an old family doily, and borrowed a necklace from Derek’s mom as well as carrying a shamrock pin that was her Mom’s. Derek also had a borrowed piece – his Grandfather’s watch. All of the decorations were DIY’ed, kept simple and seasonal, with hints of familial heritage references in the Dutch dolls that held small bouquets of flowers. My favorite part of the day was their improv vows! Derek promised to always do the dishes AND put them away where they belong. WOW!!! Allison promised to make sure that she’d recently eaten before having serious conversations or heading out for important tasks. Both are solid ways to start a marriage.
Allison & Derek were my last (currently booked ::wink::) tiny wedding of the year. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m falling head over heels for slow paced, tiny weddings. About 25 people were in attendance at the Tomseth House for their ceremony and BBQ reception at the near by barn. It was a bit chilly that Saturday, with a cool wind keeping most guests indoors, but once the sun broke for the afternoon everyone was outside enjoying the warm rays, hazelnut grove, and small wildlife on the property. Allison’s baby niece kept all the adults entertained with her cooing and smiles, while the “big girls” ran around enjoying the open space, hiding behind Allison’s big skirt, and occasional 1… 2… 3… BLASTOFF!!! game.
Congratulations to Allison & Derek!
I have a few remaining available dates for summer and fall 2016 AND I’ve started booking for 2017. Contact me for booking and details – I’d love to hear your plans and vision for your wedding day. …tell me your love story.
Where do I begin with these two?
Hillary (HK) and Josh stole my heart the moment I met them. I had actually seen HK around Corvallis the last few years at various events, but honestly she seemed waaaaay too cool and I was intimidated by her awesomeness. Josh had moved to the Willamette Valley at the same time Hillary did, but since I don’t run marathons or do triathlons I guess I didn’t really have a way to bump into him. …Hillary should have though, but she didn’t until last year when Josh was in one of the fitness classes that she was teaching at OSU. You can read more about their adorable beginnings on my post with their engagement session photography.
HK & Josh planned a small ceremony and reception at one of their favorite places – Historic Soap Creek Schoolhouse. This is a popular stop for runners and cyclists who are playing nearby on the Lewisburg Saddle or in Peavy Arboretum/MacDonald Forest. It was actually one of the things they discovered they had in common, so it only made sense to celebrate their love at a place they now enjoy together. Speaking of their obsession with fitness, HK actually had to buy a new outfit the day before her wedding because her shoulders and upper back had gotten too muscular to fit into her original dress. I kept texting her to stop lifting things… she would hear none of it. Almost every aspect of their day was handmade/DIY crafted by themselves or their community – Vegan treats, decorations galore, bouquet, boutonniere (I actually made it that morning and was super proud of how it turned out), cake, table settings, party favors, floral arrangements, and more!
They started the day with a trip to the local farmers’ market to get flowers for the bouquet, reception tables, and school house steps. The Saturday market in Corvallis is crazy town, so we left as quickly as we could to start work on the reception location – LUC restaurant. Everything was coming together so beautifully, and the day had only just begun!
I met up with HK at Epic Day Spa for hair & make up while Josh was getting ready back at their house in the country. I was immediately blown away by her bold eye make up and salon curls… she is my ultimate Bad Bitch Bride. Once everyone was ready to go we met at the schoolhouse to begin with a first look and move into some portraits. It was a perfect day outside, even though the ground was a little soggy and soft from recent rains. Tears… so many tears filled the first look and I knew that happy crying would be the theme of the day. I wasn’t wrong. Every time a new guest arrived they were greeted by smiles and watery eyes. Neither Josh or Hillary made it more than 3 steps into their processional before they started crying and not one of their guests made it through the ceremony without wiping their eyes. A total of 28 people watched as HK’s brother, Sean, played the violin, poems were read, and rings were exchanged. Hillary’s Grandmother, Pauline aka Bubbie, was the guest of honor and glowed with pride as she watched her youngest granddaughter say her vows and each of them stomp on a glass to honor HK’s Jewish heritage. Her Grandmother also gifted them her 25th anniversary ring – which HK was veeeeeery protective of and I can honestly say suits her so well.
After a mini champagne reception at the school house everyone made their way back into Corvallis for a delicious dinner at LUC.
This was my second of three (so far) tiny weddings this year and I have to say that I’m becoming a huge fan! The couple get to enjoy their day and guests more, can focus on quality details, and the size helps slooooooow down the day. All of these are excellent things to consider because let me tell you, wedding day blur/amnesia is a real thing. I’m absolutely not saying that you shouldn’t have 150–300 people at your wedding if that’s what you want. If having all of your family, new and old friends, and colleagues at your wedding is the most important thing to you then you should definitely definitely do that. …but man, I’m really liking these tiny weddings.
Congratulations to Hillary & Josh! Here’s to many many many years of friendship and wedded bliss…
Hillary has started a new fitness program specifically geared towards engaged couples – Shreddin’ for the Weddin’. Looooooooove it!!! You can follow her on instagram (@oregonbridalfitness).
I have a few more available dates for the 2016 calendar, and 2017 is starting to fill up! Contact me TODAY and we can gush over wedding details over coffee or skype. …tell me your love story.
>><<< Vendor Love >>><<<
Photography // Amanda Photographic
Venue // Historic Soap Creek School House
Reception // LUC
Floral // DIY – Farmers’ Market
Decor & Papergoods // DIY
HMUA // Miranda – Epic Day Spa
HK Outfit // Mod Pod
HK Crown // Ruby & Cordelia’s – Etsy
Josh Suit // Nordstrom
Cake // DIY
The story goes that Andrew + Ashley decided that, after what many would consider a lifetime’s worth of adventures together, that it was time to get married. …seriously though, they’ve been to like half a dozen plus countries, challenge each other, work together, have a fur baby, and just opened a chiropractic clinic together. Sheesh! Anyway they decided that they wanted to elope. After participating in a stylized elopement at the end of last year and consulting with the coordinator, Abby of AE Creative, on a real elopement they realized that they would still need witnesses and couldn’t have only an officiant.
Ashley: I asked my Mom to be my witness!
Andrew: Well then I’ll ask my Mom to be my witness! …hmmm I can’t invite my Mom and not my Dad.
Ashley: I also want my brother to be there.
Andrew: It wouldn’t feel right to not invite my brothers too. I mean they live IN Bend…
Both: …this is turning into a wedding. Ok, immediate family only.
Family is very important to both Ashley + Andrew, but so is being super chill and actually getting to spend lots of time with said family.
So with they help of AE Creative they planned an intimate family wedding at the Triple D Ranch, where they all stayed for the weekend, with minimal fuss. Abby brought in Foxtail Bakeshop, Summer Robbins Flowers, Cascade Catering, and The Broomsmen to make the day beautiful, delicious, and worry-free. Andrew’s brother, Phil (The Original Broomsmen), built a simple arbor to be decorated with foraged Juniper branches, feathers, and dream catchers (made by AE Creative) for their ceremony backdrop. Foxtail Bakeshop took advantage of the small cake and full creative license to hand paint flowers and texture on the frosting (“We never get to paint on cake!”). AE Creative also had a lot freedom for the dinner table set up and designed a venue appropriate, Central Oregon based, colorful tablescape with personalized place setting for each of the 17 people in attendance. Summer Robbins crafted a stunning bouquet with seasonal blooms, foraged elements, and a palate that was perfect for this winter wedding. Lastly, Andrew had his friend and fellow fly-fisherman tie a fly boutonniere for each of his three brothers and his Dad.
During their tear-jerking ceremony, officiated by Andrew’s brother, surrounded by their family, it started to sprinkle just a little bit… which actually fit the scene perfectly. After exchanging rings and vows, a kiss, and a wedding-dream-catcher-rocket everyone moved inside to enjoy a roaring fire, s’mores, photo slide-show, and a very VERY very yummy dinner.
…ok that’s enough from me. Let’s see the photos!!!
Coordination + Decor + Invitations // AE Creative
Venue // Triple D Ranch
Bride’s Dress // Free People
Groom’s Attire // Revolvr Menswear
Catering // Cascade Catering
Floral // Summer Robbins Flowers
Cake // Foxtail Bakeshop
Setup + Cleanup // The Broomsmen
Photography // Amanda Photographic
If there was ever a wedding worth me traveling for…
A wedding photographer’s dream is to work with a couple that are deeply in love, have solid visual chemistry, trust their creative team, and have families that are equally as excited and supportive as the couple themselves. Emily + Elizabeth are that couple.
I made my way to Seattle the day after Thanksgiving to prepare for their wedding the next day. Needless to say I wasn’t excited about traveling on Black Friday, a day when I normally don’t even leave my house, but the trip was thankfully uneventful. I was rewarded that night with a yummy dinner with my second shooter, Stevi Sayler, and her longtime bestie Hannah at her Seattle apartment. Stevi and I planned the next day, had some wine, and finished the evening with Exploding Kittens (it’s a card game – no kittens were harmed. I’m not a monster).
The morning was cooooold, but clear and sunny. I had a chance to talk with E&E about changing the first look location to a really lovely spot across the street from the hotel called Four Corners. Initially they were worried that it would make the day and transitions more difficult; I reassured them that not only would it likely make the first look easier since Emily was getting ready at the hotel, but that the scenery and lighting would be well worth the change in plans. They trusted my professional opinion and we went for it. Four Corners did not disappoint.
It was a busy morning with friends and family preparing the 8th floor of the Pacific Tower that overlooks Seattle. The excited brides planned long tables to diagonally fill the space where their guests would both watch their ceremony and enjoy a second Thanksgiving feast. Each table was named after a bird to follow one of the sweetest relationship stories I’ve ever heard…
Emily and her cousins were riding in the car together one day. One of them was looking through an online dating app and swiping passed profiles she wasn’t interested in. Soon the others added commentary including the work “Duck” whenever she would swipe passed one and “Goose” when she would give the profile a thumbs up. Fast-forward to early in Emily’s relationship with Elizabeth… there was a gathering with Emily’s family and upon seeing the way they looked at each other one of Emily’s cousins pulled her aside and asked, “Is she your Goose?”
With their siblings by their sides as bridesmaids and bridesmen and Emily’s uncle officiating these two read their vows of support, promises, and love to each other while the sun went down behind the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle lights began to glow behind them. Happy tears, laughter, and love swept over the whole building as the wedding ceremony ended with a kiss and transitioned into a sequin filled dance party.
I wish E&E many many many long happy years together being each other’s gooses.
Blooper/Pro-Tip: Mostly likely a situation specific for two ladies tying the knot, or even more specifically two ladies who are both wearing dresses, make sure that your dress materials aren’t so likely to get stuck together when you go in for a kiss (like lace + bedazzled beading). …or your photographer will have to very carefully and only slightly awkwardly separate you. lol. Thanks to Stevi for catching this #photoglife moment.
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!