When it’s one of your own getting married you just can’t hold back!
Robin is the hair and makeup goddess behind Desert Rose Bridal Styling. Her seamless blending, bold moody eyes, and refined hair styles are, in my opinion, her signature look. So when she announced that she and Russ were tying the knot the whole wedding community was bustling with excitement! If there was one thing everyone knew to be true, Robin & Russ’ wedding would be GORGEOUS… and it really really was.
The reception tables were my favorite part of the design and styling. Rich blue linens, mismatched chairs and jewel toned glass, centerpieces ranging from full blooms to delicate cloches to gothy skulls lined the tables. Everything was placed with intention and created an intimate reception spaces for the cold night ahead. One hiccup was the weather… as is common in Central Oregon the Fall can be unpredictable and turbulent. The original plan was for the ceremony to be in front of the tipi with Smith Rock State Park in the background. During set up we had to make the call: outside and risk everything getting ruined plus a rainy ceremony? Or inside where everything is safe, but it’s dark and there isn’t enough room for everyone (anyone) to sit. We went with inside; then just as the ceremony was getting ready to start everything settled down and the sun broke. Such is (wedding) life. …that’s probably a good analogy for marriage actually. Ha!
The creative teams worked through the morning and early afternoon to get the spaces just right; full of floral arrangements, heat lamps, boho decor, candles, string lights, and a prettiest geode cake I’ve ever seen. At the Clubhouse, Robin was working her own magic in the bridal suite with her sisters and soon-to-be step daughter, while Russ was managing their two little boys and rubbing elbows with family. Soon guests would start to trickle in and take in the views from around the Tuscan Stables and enjoy the pre-ceremony cocktail hour that included a rosé that they made from grapes grown at a small vineyard on the Ranch at the Canyons property. With a limited guest list everyone was there because they had deep ties to Robin & Russ. There was laughing and crying, hootin’ and hollerin’, all the hugs and all the cheers! The entire day felt so intimate and personal, like we were all getting a first hand glimpse into their life, their family, and their love.
Remember that time when Central Oregon was heavy with wildfire smoke… yea, we all do.
Fortunately for Alison & Austin the Millie Fire didn’t advance far enough to put a damper on their wedding day at Five Pine Lodge in Sisters, Oregon. The air was still scratchy and it “looked like” a thick overcast or fog was looming in the sky, if it wasn’t for the plenty high temps and red glowing sun you’d almost believe it.
Both having Oregon roots, Alison & Austin chose Central Oregon for their ceremony with their love of the outdoors, mountains, and our favorite… beer! They also enjoy “good tv”, eating amazing food, and fun music. In fact their first dates included the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Fransisco and a Stanford vs. OSU football game. “I can’t believe we rooted for Stanford!”, said Alison. Lol! Speaking of fun music, a friend of Alison’s from high school was their live band – professional honky tonk one man show!!! It was glorious.
My favorite parts of the day: Alison’s Trample the Patriarchy unicorn tank top and GORGEOUS blue & gold wedding dress <3, them both working so hard to keep it together during their vows… even though I insisted that they let it out and cry, those custom riiiiiings, forgoing cake for dessert and having Addy Mac’s ice cream instead!
Here’s what they had to say about their special day:
1. What was your favorite part of the day?
Alison: My favorite part of the day was walking into the wedding venue after the ceremony and greeting all of our guests. It’s a really rare thing to be in a large crowd of people where everyone you see is not only someone you know, but also someone you really like! On top of that, I knew that each one of my guests had made a lot of effort to travel to the wedding venue just to show their support for me and Austin. So each time I said hi to a different person, I was overwhelmed with the love their presence suggested and how much each person clearly cared about me. I was left with a very full heart after having everybody I care most about in one place at one time!
Austin: Seeing Alison for the first time and being absolutely blown away! Also the combination of Alison / her amazing dress / the FivePine landscape / the smoky alien sun just made for an incredible scene.
2. What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Alison: I’m most looking forward to seeing how Austin and I change and grow together over the years. We’ve known each other for five years now, and every single year we grow up a little bit and also grow a little bit closer. We challenge each other to be kind, thoughtful, and empathetic people not only towards others, but also to each other and to ourselves. Now that our lives are officially entwined, I hope our insight and care will lead to an even deeper relationship that allows us to support each other through whatever obstacles lie ahead.
Austin: Hanging out with my best friend every day and knowing we get to do that for the rest of our lives!!
3. What advice would you like to share with others?
Alison: My advice for wedding planning is to hire good people (like Amanda!) who clearly know what they are doing and really know the whole process. Then, give them a little guidance on the vision, hand them a check, and let them take over the rest. I had an amazing time on my wedding day and wasn’t stressed during the planning process because I didn’t go insane over every tiny little detail. There were still inane details for which I was the one that eventually had to make the decision, like what color pens I wanted for my guest book and how to display the seating charts. In those cases, I spent a short while looking at options, and then just made a decision, ordered the necessary things from Amazon, and then crossed that action item off my list. You can spend forever optimizing, but in the end, what people really remember about the wedding is how much fun everyone had! No matter how beautiful your seating chart is, people won’t be talking about it for years to come like they will be talking about the smile on your face.
Austin: For the wedding: Make it your own day – don’t be bound by traditions that you think are important to other people. Make your OWN traditions that reflect your values and what has brought you together as a couple. Everyone will recognize the authenticity and embrace it (otherwise why are they at your wedding?!?)
Venue & Catering // Five Pine Lodge & Conference Center Photographer & Photo-Booth // Amanda Photographic Florals // Woodland Floral HMUA // Makeup Mafia Dessert // Addy Mac’s Ice Cream Second Photographer // Andrew Paul Photography Assistant // Sara Mansfield Ceremony Music // Sam Saunders (Alison’s Brother) Reception Music // Mario Carboni “The Honky Tonk Rebel” Custom Rings // Waylon Rhoads Dress & Suit // Nordstrom
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
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.