Kaira + Dave | Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park Wedding

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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!!!

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“OMG this pie is amazing!”

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Katie + Zach | Country Club Chic at The Aerie at Eagle Landing

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What a pleasure it is to watch love grow in two people.

Katie + Zach had a beautiful wedding at the Aerie at Eagle Landing just outside Portland in early September. …you know the time, when it’s still summer, but fall is in the air.
Surrounded by their families and best friends they promised to always be there for each other and to put the other one before themselves.

The last few months I’ve been asking my couples some post-wedding questions and share their answers on this blog. It’s been such a lovely insight into what my couples value in their relationship.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Our favorite part of the wedding day was simply just being able to celebrate a very important event with our friends and family.

What are you looking forward to most in married life?
What I am looking forward to the most in married life is spending everyday with my best friend. Going on adventures, exploring a new city (Portland) together, just being together and seeing what life has in store for us.

What advice would you like to offer others?
Advice would be to have fun and remember everybody is there for you. You can’t possibly control how everything goes, so trust the people you have hired and just have fun. The day goes by in a blink of an eye so just enjoy it. Another note would be to hire a day of wedding planner to be in control of all the details and timing. Lastly, find a pastor/officiant that you connect with. We love(d) our officiate he is great at what he does and he is very personable, it made everything a lot easier.

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If you just can’t get enough of these two check out their engagement session from earlier this year.

Jess + Aaron | Adventure Engagement on Mt. Bachelor

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What a fun way to explore a little of Mt Bachelor’s summer side!

I first met Jess in Corvallis after she relocated to the area and joined a ladies business group that I was in. She joined with her own small business, JessBFit, which as you might guess from the name is focused on fitness training …but Jess isn’t your average fitness trainer. Jess believes that physical activity should never be used as punishment – drop and give me 20! – but that instead it should be considered a reward for dedication and hard work. Through play, natural movement, and exploring the outdoors she guides others to their goals of physical freedom. I met Aaron on a training hike up Marys Peak in the Oregon Coast Range and could instantly see how they complimented each other.

Fast forward a few years we moved to Bend and discover that Jess and Aaron had also been pondering moving to Bend! Hooray!!! A few short months later and we’re riding up the lift at Mt. Bachelor trying to not get run-over by mountain bikers as we cross the trails to find epic views of the Cascades. This was also my first opportunity to see the softer side of their relationship with lots of snuggles in between playful bouts and piggy-back rides.

I can’t even begin to say what a blessing it’s been to have these two in Central Oregon. They are community focused and have been monumentally helpful while we prepared for John’s recent foot rebuild. I hope that the four of us can have some snowy adventures this winter and summit some mountains next summer!!!

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Mida + Phil | Summer Love at Lumos Winery

Newly weds in the Lumos Winery vineyard in Oregon's Wine Country

There’s nothing that will make you feel more connected to your family on your wedding day than incorporating their love and spirit into your day.

That’s what Mida + Phil did a few weeks ago at their beautiful wedding at Lumos Winery in Kings Valley, Oregon in the coast range foothills. Family and friends put together the center pieces and set out the table cloths, Phil and Groomsman – Lee – brewed a sour beer, Phil and his Brother/Groomsman – Nick – featured some of their Nectar Creek Mead as well, Mida wore her Grandmother’s dress, and her brother DJ’d. The morning was bustling with everyone working on their respective tasks, but the day never felt rushed or stressful. Instead it felt like one giant family working together to celebrate two people that they all love.

I was completely enamored with their personal details… especially Mida’s jewelry and handmade hair piece! Not to mention the view. Hello!

 

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Heather + Patrick | Love in Rural Oregon

A small selection from another wedding that I second shot for Ashley Cook Photography last summer.
The little boys totally stole the show in their adorable red suspenders!

Happy Wedding Wednesday!!!

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Edith + Cody | Vow Renewal at Alta Lake, British Columbia

edith and cody renew their wedding vows at alta lake near whistler in british columbia canada

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.

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Christine + Ben | Saying ‘I Do’ in Oregon Wine Country

Classic newly weds in the vineyard at sweet cheeks winery eugene oregon

Second Shooting for Ashley Cook Photography

Another Wedding Wednesday another beautiful couple on their very special day.
Last summer I worked with a number of other photographers as their second shooter. It’s loads of fun, a great way to work at new venues, an opportunity to learn (there’s always more to learn) by watching another pro at work, and my favorite – the perfect time to experiment with new styles, techniques, and compositions. One of the best things about have a second shooter with you is that, as the primary, you can focus on the must have photos without sacrificing the creative, alternative, and candid. You also get to spend more time shooting, because your second is handling the crowd, the dress, the veil, pinning boutonnieres, and all those other things that distract you from your creative flow and take up valuable minutes in a very busy day.

To me the most valuable thing a second shooter can do for their primary is give them variety. My goal for this day was to not give Ashley any doubles or anything repetitive of what she already photographed herself. These are some of my favorite shots from Christine + Ben’s wedding at Sweet Cheeks Winery just outside Eugene.

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Heather + Tyler | Line Dancing Wedding at Dee Bar Farms

Newly weds at summer country wedding on dee bar farms powell butte oregon

If there’s one thing that Central Oregon has no shortage of it’s SUNSHINE! While I never wish for rain at a wedding, I do usually wish for a nice overcast or big billowy clouds to help shield myself and my couple from the harsh sunlight. Heather + Tyler’s wedding at Dee Bar Farms in Powell Butte gave me a big lesson in the how to work when there’s no hope for shade and also about the beauty in the vibrant colors the direct sun produces.

The day was hooooot. I felt bad for the guys in their three-piece suits and for the bride in her GORGEOUS, but heavy, gown. Despite the heat the entire wedding party kept a high morale the entire day and danced their booties off late into the night. Dee Bar Farms is a working quarter-horse ranch, boarding, and training facility. They’ve recently opened up their front pasture and open-sided barn for weddings and small events. An adorable bridge takes you to the tiny island with a single willow tree that’s surrounded by an equally tiny mote filled with frogs and tadpoles; while the Cascade mountains from Bachelor to Jefferson sit quietly in the background waiting for sunset.

It’s difficult for me to pick a favorite part of the day… there were sooooo many great moments! 1. Silly bridesmaids going the extra mile by fanning Heather under her dress to help keep her cool. 2. Cheeky Minister. …seriously the best ever! 3. Ring Bearer Dogs!!! Dozer + Diesel were the most well behaved ring dogs I’ve ever seen and completely worked their entrance song “Who Let The Dogs Out?!” 4. When the flower girl, Regan, stopped the show because her little shoe came untied mid aisle. Her brother even tried to help by gently attempting to push her down the aisle. Lol! 5. The entire wedding party line-dancing to “Boot Scootin’ Boggie” for their reception entrance. 6. Tyler’s …ummm enthusiastic dance for taking off Heather’s garter. Just watch Magic Mike to get an idea. I could easily name a million more things that were wonderful about this day, but then you’d never get to see the photos.

Here’s what Heather + Tyler had to say about their wedding, what they’re looking forward to, and what they’d like to share with others.

1. What was your favorite part of the wedding day?

Heather : That’s a hard question, every part was amazing! Some of my favorite moments included finally being announced as Husband and Wife and then the incredible dance party!

Tyler: When I first saw my beautiful Bride followed by the dogs walking down the isle and dancing with people we haven’t seen in a long time.

2. What are you most looking forward to in married life?

Heather and Tyler: For people not asking when we are going to be married 😉

Heather: We’ve basically lived the married life for a while now, so it will be awesome to finally be able to call Tyler my Husband.

Tyler: Heather has been in my phone as “wife” since soon after dating, so now that name has finally come true. Excited for Heather and I to share the same last name.

3. What advice would you like to share with others?

Heather: During the planning process and day of, take time to breath and take it all in. It will all come together in the end! Having a ladies craft night was one of my favorite planning ideas. Nothing better than crafting for the wedding with drinks and a great group of girls. The wedding day goes by too fast, allow extra time for everything! Relationship advice: Never hang up the phone or go to bed angry.

Tyler: Embrace all the chaos, even though it seems stressful at the time, you are still creating lifelong memories. Relationship advice: No matter the argument or situation, your wife is always right (so I’ve been told).

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Venue // Dee Bar Farms

Photographer // Amanda Photographic

Second Photographer // Mallory Torchio

Coordination //  Abigail Colombo

Floral // Ana’s Rose ‘n’ Thorn

Dessert // Liq-her Cupcakes

Catering // El Rancho Grande

DJ // Central Oregon DJ – Eric Van Dyke

Invitations // Wedding Paper Divas

Formal Wear // Cordially Invited

H&MUA // Misty O’Brien

Signage // Kate Mitchell

Jessie + Michael | Growing in Love on the Oregon Coast

Newly wed couple at three arch rocks nwr in Oceanside Oregon after their wedding ceremony

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. 😉

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Haley + Kaden | Red White Blue and Married!

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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.

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