I think that most of us would agree that wedding planning is stressful.
My thoughts are that if a relationship can survive planning a wedding then the couple is off to great start. …I mean think about all the skills you need to successfully plan a wedding. Communication, decision making, compromise, budgeting, dedication, and a BIG one – gracefully handling when things go wrong.
Well if we’re using those metrics as a way to gauge the longevity of a marriage then Marissa and Russ are going to be married for like a million lifetimes.
I met them both to discuss engagement portraits, but not wedding photography because they were going to get married in Utah and had already booked someone there. I liked them immediately and was super sad that I couldn’t be the one to photograph their wedding day. ::insert sad face:: A couple months later we met up at the Painted Hills for their engagement session, but not before I got an email from Marissa saying that she’d been in a 4-wheeler accident and was now sporting a sizable forehead scar and a very broken wrist. …but they were determined to have this session on time. Ok. When I arrive it’s HOT outside so Russ is getting read to change out of his (much cooler) sport shorts and into his jeans only to discover that he packed a pair of Marissa’s jeans by mistake. Ummmmmm …that’s ok we can roll with this. Careful placement and composition omit the shorts in 99% of the images.
Over the next few months wedding plans fall apart, things are replanned and replanned again …and again. Nothing will stick! I finally get an email from Marissa to ask about my availability in October because they’ve decided to scale everything back to the essentials only and are getting married in Oregon. Of course I wasn’t happy to hear about all the trouble they’d had, but I was so happy that I would get to be there to celebrate them. I only have a couple dates available for that month but as luck would FINALLY work in their favor I was available for their original date!
Planning continues to be an issue for these two as the universe really puts them to the test. But NOTHING in the ‘verse can stop these two or diminish the giggly-googly-eyed love that they have for each other. Seriously, I’ve never heard a couple giggle so much. There is one MAJOR thing that goes right for them – after Marissa’s accident she had to do tons of physical therapy to regain use of her wrist and hand. …her left hand. Her goal for the entire process was to be able to wear her wedding ring and hold her bouquet with her left hand. It was an enormous undertaking, but she worked hard and was so proud to show Russ that she’d reached her goal during their first look.
Congratulations to Russ & Marissa!!! I know that you will be together loooooong after the sun burns out.
H: It was a complete tie for first between the intimacy and excitement of the first look, and seeing Tim standing in front of me, bursting with anxiety and joy as my Dad and I made our way down the aisle. In such an enormous moment, one wink reminded us both that this is just an expression of what we already are – life partners and best friends.
H: …daily morning kisses as we wake up. Walking through the routine of daily life, watching baseball and playing dice, making dinner. Watching the day evolve into night over red wine on the back porch. But even the incredible beautify of the mundane is not as exciting to me as watching Tim grow into a wrinkly ass curmudgeon!
H: As for weddings, work from the inside out: what do you want the day to feel like? What emotion, aesthetic, experience do you want to have and share with those closest to you? Remember who you are together, and infuse that into everything. And remember, no matter how organized, how communicative, or how well intentioned you are, you are not in the driver’s seat. You, your fiancé, your family and friends, bought tickets on a roller coaster that will turn left, right, upside down, speed up, slow down, and jostle you in the most unexpected ways…. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Release yourself to the natural energy of the day. Such is life, my dears, such is life.
It was an afternoon of celebration that lasted late into the night. One of my personal favorites was Tim’s brother opening up a bottle of champagne with a small sword!
Theme // Glamping (Glamorous + Camping)
Colors & Patterns // Red plaid, Navy, Yellow, and Espresso
Venue // Five Pine Lodge Coordinator // Everything Else Events Photography // Amanda Photographic Florist // Summer Robbins Flowers Cake // Foxtail Bakeshop Bar + Papergoods // AE Creative Dress // Bella Brides Hair & Make Up // Edge Hair & Make Up Menswear // Revolvr & The Alley Tablescape Rentals // Special Occasions Misc Rentals // The Inkwell
At the beginning of this year, shortly after moving to Bend, I was excited to photograph a styled shoot for Everything Else Events. Extra exciting was helping them find local vendors to feature, which gave me a great excuse to make connections with some of my favorite people in Central Oregon!
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!!!
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.
If you just can’t get enough of these two check out their engagement session from earlier this year.
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!!!
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!
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!!!
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.
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.