Second shooting for Gina Cholick.
It’s that time of year where I get to share the photography from weddings that I was a second shooter for this past season. For those of you that aren’t familiar, it has become increasingly common for a wedding photographer to bring on another professional to assist them on a wedding day. This has so many benefits to it and is absolutely worth the investment if it’s not included in your photographer’s service. The second shooter covers alternate angles during the ceremony, helps wrangle family and wedding party for portraits, will work with one of the partners while the primary photographer is with the other, shoots boat loads of candids and reaction photos while the formal portraits are happening, and fixes clothes, hair, makeup, etc. Sometime photographers will use the opportunity to second shoot to learn and gain experience in a highly competitive and high pressure field… personally I only use established professionals for second shooters, but will bring on an assistant or third shooter if someone reaches out to me. As an established professional myself, I really enjoy second shooting for other pros! It gives me an opportunity to make connections with other photographers, try new ideas/techniques, and sometimes diversify my portfolio.
Tim and Emily’s wedding had a certain coziness to it. I’m not sure what it was exactly… but it felt extra welcoming and chillax.
Aspen Hall is a local event hall next door to one of Bend’s larger city parks – Shevlin Park. The hall is surrounded by walking/hiking trails, a fishing pond, Tumalo Creek, and of course aspen trees. Tim and Emily had an outdoor ceremony under a rustic arbor decorated with flowers and greenery. Their indoor/outdoor reception was centered around the photo-booth, dance floor (indoor), and shaded bar (outdoor) featuring local Deschutes beer and custom pint glasses. Toward the end of the day we took advantage of a glowy sunset for some romantic post-ceremony portraits at a nearby overlook.
Enough talk… more photos!
Venue // Aspen Hall
Planning + Coordinating // Shine Events
Floral // Woodland Floral Design
Catering + Bartending // Bleu Bite
Music // DJ Sir Juan
Photo-Booth // Adventure Box Photo Booth
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
Could these two be any more adorable?
I didn’t think it was possible for them to be any cuter than they already were at their engagement session at Forest Park back in March, but they really upped their googly eyes game for their wedding day! Hannah and Nathan were celebrated by their friends and family at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church outside Portland in mid-August, followed by a tented garden reception at the McMenamins Cornelius Roadhouse. The entire day was filled with happiness, signing, memories, and a few surprises.
My top three moments of the day: 1. Hannah’s mom, Erin, seeing her daughter at the hotel and immediately bursting into (happy) tears. Besides that Hannah was a stunning bride, she was also wearing several pieces of heirloom jewelry from her grandparents and a garter made from part of Erin’s wedding dress. 2. The first look! Always a favorite. 3. Nathan’s sister and cousins surprising them with a group rendition of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” … all the guests joined in of course.
I love sharing the couple’s perspective on my blog so here some words from Hannah and Nathan…
1. What was your favorite part of the day?
H: I think my favorite part was actually saying the vows. Looking at Nathan and making that promise to him was by far the most meaningful moment that I will always remember.
N: There was a moment, as my parents introduced/recognized my grandparents, that I made perhaps the most meaningful eye contact I’ve ever made with another person, with my grandfather. Other than that, my favorite part was probably going around the tables and talking to everyone.
2. What are you most looking forward to in married life?
H: It’s really nice to always have a person to come home to. So much about the future is uncertain, but being married, I can count on this awesome person to always be a part of my life.
N: Not living alone/having someone to do something with during the week.
3. What advice would you like to share with others?
H: Whenever I got stressed out about wedding planning, I would try and remind myself that the important thing is the marriage. Not the wedding. The wedding is really just a big party. Technically, it’s optional. Whatever happens with the wedding, we are still going to get married, and that’s what matters.
N: 6 month engagement was fast, but definitely worth it. My advice to all my friends who are engaged or nearly is to try for a faster rather than slower engagement.
Venue // Prince of Peace Lutheran Church & McMenamins Cornelius Roadhouse Photography // Amanda Photographic Second Shooter // Stevi Sayler Bride & Bridesmaids Dresses // David’s Bridal Menswear // Mens Wearhouse HMUA // Bella Salon Floral // My Belle Blossoms Catering & Bartending // McMenamins Cornelius Roadhouse Officiant // Pastor Butch Olsen Papergoods // Emily Klammer Decor //DIY
Jeff and Amy have quite the love story…
It all started waaaaay back in 1997. Amy was blissful 19 year old working at BoA as a drive-up teller and Jeff was already sporting is own construction business so he was a regular at Amy’s window. One day she “happened to remembered” Jeff’s phone number from his checks and decided to give him a call. …crickets for 4 days. In her own words she was mortified and thought about how she could never show her face again. Lol! Teenagers can be so dramatic. Jeff called on the fourth day with a perfectly legit excuse; he was out skiing and had just gotten the message. Keep in mind this is 1997 and cell phones were not a thing yet. I remember there being car phones but only rich people or people who lived in the middle of nowhere had them. They had their first date at Applebee’s and 20 years later it was their wedding day!
Ok now time for the proposal story… also super cute.
Amy was home chillaxing when Jeff arrived home and scooped up their pug, Ryder, to “trim his nails in the garage.” He told Amy not to come in the garage because it would excite Ryder and we all know how tricky it can be to trim doggy nails. Jeff put a black shirt on their dog that said, ” Amy will you marry me? p.s. Ryder thinks you should.” When he let their pooch back in the house he immediately jumped on Amy’s lap; she read the shirt as Jeff approached her with a big bouquet of flowers and proposed on one knee. Awwwww!!! Then he spoiled her all day with shopping and dinner at their favorite restaurant. Good work Jeff!
Their wedding was held at Three Strands Farm outside Lebanon – surrounded by tall trees, friends, and family.
According to Amy choosing her bridesmaids was one of the hardest things she’s ever done. I guess having a million best friends is a good problem to have. 🙂 Her Uncle Pat officiated the ceremony with sincerity and humor – his specialty. My favorite part was their 4 year old nephew walking down the aisle with his twin sister holding a sign that said, “After 20 years are you sure?” Lol!
Less talking, more photography! #keepcalmandcurryon
Venue // Three Strands Farm
DJ + Lights // Apogee Events
Dresses // David’s Bridal
Suits // Men’s Warehouse
Videographer // Alicia Scherer
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…
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
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.
Nicole and Michael planned for an intimate wedding ceremony with witnesses and Nicole’s boys in the woods at Mt. Pisgah. Unfortunately March in the Willamette Valley is unpredictable and it did nothing but pour and pour the days leading up to their wedding. The Plan B location was the historic house at Wayne Morris Ranch, which also gave them some wiggle room and they invited their immediate family to join them.
Apparently Michael is a big fan of proposing to Nicole… the first time was at the beach. Michael had been playing catch with her boys in the water and he ran up the sand, planted one knee, and told her that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, “Will you marry me?” Nicole thought he was messing with her, “Are you joking?!” So Michael tried again… “Will you marry me?” She said yes, but that didn’t stop him from proposing again and again.
I’ve proposed a few more times since then. At home with the ring, at Crater Lake on New Year’s Day, on the Mediterranean Sea in France, and a few other times. Thankfully she never said no.
After their ceremony everyone made their way to the Oregon Electric Station for a yummy dinner with more friends and family. The evening was full of laughter, celebration, photo-boothing, and a few tears. These two are living proof that LOVE makes a family… and family is one place these two will never be lacking!!!