As is probably clear by the fact that I’m just now posting Mike + Dena’s (July 11th 2015) space love wedding, it’s been a CRAZY BUSY summer. It’s a good problem to have, let me tell ya. By the end of this year I will have photographed more than the last two years …maybe even three years combined! So, apologizes for the delay in showing you all this lovely wedding day that had everyone in happy tears all day long 🙂
You many recall from their engagement session post that Mike + Dena have a very special love. As high school sweethearts Mike was Dena’s first kiss; once they parted for college Mike compared any prospective girlfriend against the chemistry and bond that he shared with Dena. Fate brought them back into each others’ lives about six years ago when Mike had a dream about her and reach out hoping that her email address still worked. It did! Mike was living in Washington DC, while Dena was in med school in Phoenix, AZ. So she did what any reasonable person would do; she signed up for a last minute conference in DC so that she could see Mike for dinner. Duh! They met, fell in love all over again, and the rest is below…
Mike + Dena are a very crafty couple. Between the two of them they grew succulents and sedums for their reception center pieces, collected plastic dinosaurs, made pennants, streamers, hearts on sticks for the table floral arrangements, M&D marque lights, and probably a million other things that I didn’t even realize were hand made. Usually when a couple tells me or their coordinator that they’re going to DIY something, it’s a yellow flag – and easily moved up to orange or red depending on timing, budget, and the couple – but with these two I knew that it would turn out better than anything they could buy. Dena’s family came in early to help with last minute assembly and set up – hooray for big families! We started the morning on Saturday with coffee at Tried & True in Downtown Corvallis, before heading a couple blocks up to the farmers’ market to pick up flowers for center pieces and the bouquets. Dena used to tease Mike that she would walk down the aisle with a bouquet made of kale, so naturally we picked up a bundle of black lacinato kale to incorporate with the flowers. As an artist and detail oriented person the subtle addition wasn’t lost on Mike.
Dena and her sisters fussed over hair and make-up just blocks from their apartment at the Holiday Inn, while Mike and his groomsmen had the half empty apartment all to themselves. …you see aside from being crazy in love, Mike + Dena are so just plain crazy. They moved out of their apartment just THREE DAYS after their wedding to start their vagabond summer/JMT hike/honeymoon before moving to Portland in the fall. More on that in a minute. The getting ready time can be stressful on a rushed wedding day, but M+D made specific plans to have a slow, easy, and relaxed wedding day. This time was used for last minute lettering of seating assignments for dinner, self-addressing postcards for their guests to send to their time-capsule PO Box (awesome), and of course laughing while day-drinking with those closest to you.
Mike arrived to the Bald Hill Barn hours early to help set up the decorations and greet people after they had a lovely 1/2 mile stroll on one of Corvallis’ favorite bike paths. Guests parked at the Benton County Fairgrounds before being bused to the very small Oak Creek parking lot, which is at the far north end of the Bald Hill Park. After finishing photos with Dena and her sisters I also parked at the fairgrounds, but instead of getting on the bus I tied up my maxi dress and biked directly to the barn via the 1 1/2 mile Midge Cramer Path… first time I ever used my bike to get me to a ceremony location.
Dena was brought to the barn to marry her love by her sisters and her parents.
You know that you’re going to cry, well that EVERYONE is going to cry during a ceremony when it’s written by the couple. Dang! Not a dry eye in the barn. The ceremony was personal, thoughtful, and loving. It remembered the past, but focused on their future. It spoke to their bonded love, but honored their independence. After a very enthusiastic kiss Mike, Dena, their wedding party, and their families stayed at the barn for formal portraits, while their guests were led by honorary bridesmaid, Emily, in a post-wedding parade to the reception site back at the fairgrounds in the floral garden courtyard. Once Mike + Dena joined the reception is was party party, cry, party party party, rest, party party party!