Jen & Tim

Jen & Tim’s Awesome Autumn Wedding

Eatonville Washington

I had the pleasure of meeting Jen and Tim through one of my senior photography clients. Jen is her pseudo older sister, practically an adopted member of the family.  I couldn’t be happier to be entrusted to capture photos of this fantastic couple on their special day. One of the very best parts of my job is having the honor of developing relationships with my clients and to watch their families grow and change year after year.

Jen and Tim are both middle school teachers who have a passion for both modern and classic literature. They incorporated their love of books into their their Eatonville Washington wedding celebration and even into their vows in fun and creative ways.

There is something really cool and fresh about an Autumn wedding. Jen and Tim’s nod to their favorite holiday, Halloween, can be seen in several playful elements throughout their special day.  The handmade witches hats used as table centerpieces, the striped witches tights in various colors, and the abundant use of pumpkins all made for a whimsical and festive feeling during their October wedding.

The beautiful sage and rust color scheme was another gorgeous and welcome aspect of this amazing celebration.  Tim and his bride were definitely not ones to shy away from color and whimsy. Even though it started to sprinkle a little bit we persevered and pulled out some colorful rainbow umbrellas to capture their adorable couples portraits. Jen and Tim were so flexible and they decided to go with the flow, and not to worry about the things they couldn’t control like a few sprinkles, Nothing was going to ruin their day, especially not something like a little mist and rain. They are seriously one of the most fun couples you could ever hope to meet.

Speaking of fun -  or at least funny - this is the only wedding I’ve ever photographed where I got stung by a bee, on the butt!  Yep, that’s right folks. My plush posterior was even plumper when I disturbed a hornets nest under the front porch and one stung me right in the center of my butt cheek!

Despite a swollen rear end, and a little case of embarrassment Jen and Tim’s wedding went off without a hitch.  The worst of the rain held off for the day and other than a few sprinkles the couple and their guests stayed dry under a jumbo sized white tent, and then proceeded to dance to the night away in the family’s pool house turned dance floor.

This wedding is another perfect example of a backyard wedding done right.  Custom DIY elements and decor, beautiful seasonal florals, and a little flair mixed together with a little good luck in terms of the weather all added up to a spectacular Autumn wedding to remember.

Shelby & Spencer

A Commellini Estates Wedding

Shelby and Spencer have a fairytale love story.  They met in Middle School… yep, you heard me right, in Middle School! In fact we returned to their old stomping grounds for their sweet engagement photos, and we even included their energetic pups!

Commellini Estates, located in Spokane Washington was the ideal venue for their bold color pallet of gold, navy, and burgundy.  Everything was picture perfect - from the pond and fountain to the hanging lights. The weather even held out for them and even though it was a bit chilly it was a beautiful outdoor ceremony.

One of my favorite elements in Shelby and Spencer’s wedding were the love quotes.   Printed and mounted these various quotes were placed at each table, and near the cake.  They were reminders about what love truly means, and really helped create a fun centerpiece for each table.

Shelby was such a gorgeous bride.  Her amazing gown fit her perfectly.  It was feminine and classy, and highlighted her bold and colorful tattoos - which I just can’t get enough of! I also think Spencer pretty much reached Prince Charming level rocking that modern navy suit!

These two lovebirds rocked their romantic couples portraits and their wedding will go down in history as one of my favorites.  

Red Barn Studios Engagement Session

A Red Barn Studios Engagement Session

You know what I adore… like, seriously makes me over-the-top happy?  When I get referrals. Having a couple chose me as their wedding photographer because they love their friend’s or family member’s images means so much to me.  It’s like happiness and validation, and the warm fuzzies all wrapped up together!

I really strive to build a relationship with my couples. I want to know how your wedding planning is going. I want to help support you with vendor recommendations if you need them.  I want to help you develop your timeline, and hear all about your wedding photography wish list. And once the wedding is over - I still want to know when you’re moving to a new place, or taking an epic vacation.  And if, or when you start a family my heart will give a little tug, and I’ll usually pull up your wedding photos and relive that moment for a bit. Because I LOVE this job. I love creating wedding images that mean something special to the couples who trust me to document the beginning of their journey as a married couple.

Makenzi and James met me at the Red Barn Studios in Chehalis for their early morning engagement photos.  We chose an 8 am start time because the sun is less harsh than later in the day. Plus it left the whole rest of the day for these love birds to get some breakfast and enjoy their weekend together. There’s so much to love about this venue - but can we talk about the lighting upstairs in the barn...for just a moment, can you drink it all in?  Check out this romantic dip kiss in that light! Feeling proud of this image, I won’t lie to you. I just love how warm and open the space is.

As we moved around the property we talked to the chickens - okay so I talked to the chickens, we hung out with their umm, well fed, Aussie who is sweet as can be, and we took advantage of the apple trees, the dirt road, the pretty barn doors, and the quaint outbuildings (as well as the shade they provided - it’s been hot!).  

We mixed in a few close up shots with traditional lovey-dovey “kiss that girl like you mean it” poses.  There’s always a bit of nervousness and what-do-I-do-with-my-hands moments when you’ve never been professionally photographed before.  And you know what? That’s just fine. We chat, we joke around a bit, I help you with posing and give you some guidance - and before you know it you feel like a pro in front of the camera!  

James and Makenzi came prepared in proper country attire with their boots and plaids. Even when you’re not getting dressed up in formal wear for your session professional hair and makeup makes all the difference, and Makenzi’s gorgeous red hair is just perfection - she’s going to be a seriously beautiful bride at her late summer wedding next year.  When booking your own wedding or engagement session I would be happy to provide contact information for some amazing hair and makeup artists that I love to work with like Dawn from Seattle Bridal Hair. Taking that extra step really helps ensure that you’re feeling gorgeous and fierce for your engagement photo session.

M & J

A Traditional Twist to a Modern Wedding

Megan and Lupe have been sweethearts in the truest sense of the word for years. Their long awaited wedding was a modern, colorful, family affair with a side of traditional glamour.  When I met with Megan she asked me if I was comfortable shooting a large wedding party - little did I know she meant a wedding party of 31!

I knew I was up for the challenge, and I was so excited when I got the call from her that said I was the photographer who best fit their needs and I was hired.  I admit there may have been a little celebratory dance off in my kitchen that night. (okay so the secret is there’s a celebratory dance in my kitchen each time we book a wedding because I freaking LOVE what I do, and when a couple trusts us to photograph their wedding it gives me all the feels!)

Fast forward to the wedding day - I show up at the gorgeous church in Tacoma where they are having their wedding, and I’m thrilled to see such an open, modern space with amazing colored lights and clean lines.  Add in a gorgeous gazebo in the back for portraits and the sweetest first look with her dad, and it was just a winner of a wedding venue all around.

I’m especially fond of the gorgeous bridesmaid dresses that Megan chose - the dresses were flattering on everyone, even her cousin’s sweet baby bump! And can we talk about  the shimmery, fairytale perfect wedding dress she chose for herself? In some kind of magical material voodoo the bottom of her gown shimmered in the light as though there was a fine dusting of glitter all over the bottom half.  I have dress envy to this day! The dusty purple color the couple chose was carried throughout the wedding decor, and the dahlias and florals were a wonderful accent in their darker purple tones.

There were so many wonderful parts of this wedding celebration.  From the touching first look with Megan’s father, to the exchange of letters before they walk down the aisle - there was so much love to love.  It really was a perfect wedding!

After a beautiful Traditional Christian ceremony the couple took off for Pioneer Park Pavilion in Puyallup Washington.  While family was arriving we took some extra time, and got a few more romantic portraits in the park before their grand entrance - with an exuberant and rowdy greeting from all of their family and friends.

The couple included several traditional Samoan dances into their wedding reception, and Lupe - more commonly referred to as Junior - surprised Megan with the most amazing choreographed dance that he and his groomsmen secretly planned, practiced, and performed for her!  
After the traditional dances, the toasting, and cake cutting this large combined family danced the night away and took advantage of the photo booth and fun props we set up for the reception.  Overall this wedding was a wonderful combination of time honored Samoan traditions, a beautiful faith based Christian ceremony, and plain old F-U-N and playfulness. These two high school sweethearts gave everyone a wedding to remember. They combined all of the things that meant the most to them and made a grand exit by taking off into the night after a magical sparkler exit under the stars!

Nick & Nikki

An Eatonville Wedding on Horseback

When Nikki first contacted me asking if I was available to photograph her wedding, I had no idea what kind of surprise she had in store for me. I am beyond thrilled to have accepted the challenge of photographing her beautiful intimate wedding - on horseback!

To say that Nikki’s horses are important to her would be a huge understatement. They play an important roll in the couple’s life, and it was natural that they wanted to include their equine family members in their special day!
Not only were the couple on horseback. So was their officiant. The ring barer was their new colt (and he’s very handsome!) and the ceremony was held on a friend’s property, a short distance from their home. With a bubbly creek nearby and blue skies above it was a perfect day.

One of my favorite features of this unique wedding are NIkki’s amazing boots and her beautiful choice of jewelry and cream lace dress.

After the ceremony we all gathered at their home for a sweet, simple front porch reception to celebrate the newlyweds.

First Look

The First Look - from a Photographer’s Perspective.

What exactly is a “first look” you may be asking.  A first look is when a couple chooses to privately (or occasionally publicly)  see each other in the moments before the wedding ceremony. These couples chose to buck the wedding tradition that states they will not see each other before the ceremony, and instead spend a few intimate moments seeing each other for the first time in a more controlled and often private moment.  

As a photographer I ADORE capturing this event.  Ideally we shoo away all spectators and allow the couple to spend a few moments taking each other in, embracing, connecting and sharing a few minutes of calm before the storm.  This is the perfect time to capture those heartfelt intimate photos of the couple together - before the often hectic family and group portraits that take place later.

There are a few key benefits to incorporating a first look into your wedding timeline.  First, it allows us to choose a location that is not only private, but has ideal lighting.  This allows me, as your photographer, to control one of the key elements of your day and ensure you get those meaningful couple’s portraits that are so desirable.  These are the photos that most people will consider “wall art” worthy - they are the ones that will pull at the heartstrings of the couple and their family whenever they see them hanging on their walls.

Second, it shortens the time that family and friends must wait or entertain themselves after the ceremony while we do formal portraits.  With so many portraits to complete, it’s wonderful to be able to streamline that process a bit by doing the intimate couple photos ahead of the ceremony before family and friends have arrived.  

Third, it tends to calm the nerves.  The wedding day jitters are no joke! Seeing each other a little before the ceremony allows you to shed those tears, cheer in excitement, take a few deep breaths together and work out a bit of that nervous energy before walking down the aisle in full view of your guests and family.  

Lastly, a first look allows you to truly appreciate each other.  So much love and energy went into planning your wedding day - and it can all go by in a blur.  Taking time alone, early in your day allows you to really look and appreciate each other, and all that preparation.  The shoes, the hair...the perfect accent pieces. Before the day takes its toll you get to appreciate how your loved one looks - you may never see them dressed this lavishly again!  Take a few moments to soak that in and appreciate each other’s efforts.

The best way to plan your first look is to contact your wedding photographer (psst...I love it when that’s me!) and work together to incorporate this event into your wedding timeline.  I am happy to help you choose the perfect location and time your first look appropriately to ensure that we have enough time to soak in this special, intimate moment before we get to the craziness that will be the rest of your wedding day!

A Few Fun Ideas for Your First Look
Okay, so you’ve decided to have a First Look.  AWESOME! I’m such a huge believer in the benefits of a First Look.  Not only is the is an intimate moment between the two of you, but it can be a moment full of fun and whimsy as well.

The first thing to do is decide where you want your First Look to take place?  Touring your venue during the time of day that you will be having your wedding is key.  As a photographer I look for ideal lighting situations to achieve the very best images for you.  Seeing the location at the time we’ll be shooting your photos is so very valuable. It will allow us to help you chose the perfect location - one that is attractive, private, and has lovely soft lighting.

Next you’ll want to discuss whether you want your First Look to be a private moment between the two of you - or if you prefer to have your wedding party and parents participate as well.  It’s natural that the people who love you are excited to share this moment, which can be fun. However it can also be a big interruption in what is ideally an intimate moment. Personally I feel as though a private First Look better achieves the romantic and intimate portraits that most of my couples are hoping for.

Once you’ve decided on the Where and the When for your First Look you’ll want to discuss the How.  There are several ways you can go about seeing each other for the first time. One of you can stand in a private area with their back turned, and the other will approach quietly and surprise them.  This is the most common option, since it doesn’t take any special preparation and can be accomplished just about anywhere that is private.

Another option is to use a blindfold.  Or hide one person behind a screen / hedge / jumbo balloon bouquet perhaps? You are only limited by your own imagination!

A fun and easy option is for both parties to be blindfolded and take off them off simultaneously!

If you don’t mind getting friends or family involved you can have a little treasure hunt, leave a trail of rose petals to a private location, plan a little “pin the veil on the bride” or a silly little game of Marco Polo until you find each other!  Have fun with this moment if that’s your personality. Or keep it serious and solemn if that’s your speed - there is no right or wrong way to have a First Look.

However you decide to do it - this is such a sweet, intimate moment.  You won’t regret spending a few moments enjoying each other before the rush of the wedding day takes over and you are swept up in the celebration of your marriage.

Kaylee & Ryan

A Country N Lace Wedding

Country N Lace is an amazing barn venue located in Tenino Washington. It was the perfect location for Kaylee and Ryan’s sweet country wedding. This color infused, rustic country wedding had everything you could hope for: sunflowers, burlap and lace, killer red boots… not one detail was left out.

Kaylee was a gorgeous bride, and the couples two kiddo’s could not have been any cuter. I love the combination of cherry red and aqua in Kaylee’s accessories, and her soft romantic curls perfectly matched the feeling of her classically romantic strapless gown.

Kim & Sherry

Kim and Sherry’s Seaside Cottage Wedding

One word I would use to describe Kim and Sherry’s wedding would be intimate.  With only a small group of their closest friends and family members present these two amazing souls exchanged personal and deeply moving vows at Sherry’s family retreat - a quaint and homey seaside cottage on Fox Island.  This lovely cottage has sentimental value to the ladies. It’s been in Sherry’s family for generations and is a beloved vacation spot. The brides decided to have an intimate seaside wedding in Washington followed by a larger reception in Portland for their extended family and large social circle.  This way they got the best of both worlds… smart ladies!

Sherry and Kim got ready privately in dresses that each one picked out in secret.  Including sentimental pieces of jewelry worn by both ladies. Lovey, simple white flower bouquets complimented their individual styles and made everything harmonize perfectly.

With the waves lapping at the property edge they each walked around opposite corners of the cottage, past blooming hydrangeas and evergreens to see each other, and then joined hands at the water’s edge to share their vows and exchange rings.  

The officiant and the musician for their ceremony were both long time friends, which made their contributions even more special.  And Apollo, the couples precious pup was the most handsome best man you could ever ask for. The only trick was keeping him out of the ocean long enough to participate in the wedding!  Apollo takes frolicking in the waves very seriously!

Immediately following a ceremony that didn’t leave a dry eye in the house these two gorgeous brides served champagne and an adorable cake made by their niece.  After changing into comfortable beachwear and flip flops everyone sat down to a scrumptious Pacific Northwest style crab feed as afternoon stretched into a hot summer night.  

This amazing wedding had all of the hallmarks for an epic love story - sand, sun, surf (an adorable pup even!)  and two of the sweetest and most genuinely in love people I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing.

Josh & Lauren's PNW Engagement

Two Lovebirds & Two Engagement Sessions

Joshua and Lauren celebrated their wedding engagement with two separate photography sessions.  The first took place in downtown Tacoma, in the colorful urban area that surrounds the Wink Studio.  We love the variety of color and texture we can get just outside our door!

Starting out at Dorkey’s Arcade the couple enjoyed a few old school arcade games - after all the couple that plays together, stays together! It’s so fun to have a couple who chooses a unique location, indoor or out for their session.  This arcade is colorful and fun - it represents something that Joshua and Lauren both love, and his has a hip, old school vibe! From the arcade we hit a few of our favorite spots along Pacific Avenue and in Fireman’s Park - a little hidden gem that overlooks the Port of Tacoma.   I think Lauren’s sweater perfectly coordinates with the citrus colored door we discovered during their engagement session.

The second half of their photos were taken during Spring time.  We met at Mineral Lake Lodge, a rustic Bed & Breakfast located in the foothills of Mount Rainier, just outside of Elbe Washington.  The Bed & Breakfast offers intimate rooms, as well as teepees for overnight guests. The lush forested areas, and long grasses surrounded the Lodge were a beautiful landscape and background for a dynamic light filled photography session.

We created some really gorgeous, romantic photos when the sun was setting, and we made our way down to the river that slowly meanders past the Lodge.  

Aki & Miles

Flashback Friday - Aki and Miles
Puyallup Washington

Flash back Friday to 2015 and one of my all time favorite people, marrying another one of my favorite people! I met Aki when she was the daycare provider for two of my small children. She is warm, she is funny, and she is the most genuine and loving person you could possibly meet. Miles is her perfect counter part. He is the cheese to her macaroni and together they are so fun to be around. Their happiness is contagious.

Aki and Miles had a lovely wedding infused with sweet Disney elements, including a Little Mermaid themed cake topper. With their best friends surrounding them they tied the knot in a sweetly intimate outdoor ceremony at what is now the Pierce County Habitat Park in the South Hill area of Puyallup Washington.