In the early emails that Holly sent me, she told me all about how they wanted to get married up at Vista House on Mt. Spokane. She told me that they wanted a small wedding, not quite an elopement, but only their families there. And what she told me resonated so much, because they knew what they wanted, they knew the wedding that would be best for them, and they chose to make that a reality. You guys, this wedding was so beautiful and so perfect for one reason – Holly and Justin planned a wedding that was exactly what they wanted! They could have had a big wedding, or eloped with no one there, but they listened to what their hearts wanted, which was to have this intimate wedding with just a few special people there to share the day. They got ready together at the top of the mountain, and we traipsed around to take photos after their sweet ceremony, before they drove off to have a family dinner together.
And here is the thing, big or small, first look or no, traditions or no, I don’t care. I’m going to advise you on how to budget time for photos so that you’re less stressed and get beautiful photos to keep forever (print them, please!). I’ll tell you the pros and cons of each option when we plan your timeline, but it’s not my job to dictate how your day goes. You should have a wedding that is a reflection of your relationship, your love, and your dreams for the future.
Which, on a mountain top on a Friday afternoon, is exactly what this Holly + Justin did. But I would have loved this wedding just as much if it’d been at the courthouse.
Holly + Justin, thank you for letting me into your lives to capture this precious day. I wish you both all the love and joy in marriage for the rest of your lives!!
Anyone remember Jamie + Melissa‘s gorgeous wedding up at Priest Lake from last spring? Gosh, it was such an absolutely perfect day, and I’ve been thinking ever since last May about what to say for this post.
Jamie + Melissa reached out to me long distance from Florida. They are both in the Navy, but wanted to get married in Idaho, where Melissa is from. We sent a lot of emails back and forth over the months, and chatted a couple times on Skype (with most of our pets making appearances) before I drove up to Priest Lake for their wedding. We were prepared for all sorts of weather, but ended up with the most gorgeous spring day. From the moment of their sweet and emotional first look, to the beautiful vows and the epic dance party, this wedding was one for the books. Jamie + Melissa had family and friends come from all over, and from all different parts of their lives. I think one of the things I love most about weddings is that you finally get to have all the people you love in your lives together. And, for Melissa and Jamie, they got to bring them all to Priest Lake and Hill’s Resort, which made the day even more sweet for them.
Thank you two for having me up at Priest Lake for your wedding! It was a joy to meet you both in person, to meet your wonderful families, and all your friends!! Check out all the wonderful vendors at the end of the post!
Venue + Catering: Hill’s Resort at Priest Lake // Hair & Makeup: Friend // Officiant: Friend // Florist: Floral Traditions // DJ: Chad Yount // Clothing: Men’s Warehouse + David’s Bridal
You may remember Katie + Ben‘s sweet wedding from the preview I blogged last spring. Remember how I basically said nothing about the wedding because I was called in to jury duty? Yeah, that was a crazy week.
Katie + Ben wanted a small wedding, but they also wanted to get married at St. Al’s. Ya’ll know how much Gonzaga weddings make my heart sing, but this one was extra special because Katie and Ben were sent my way by the lovely Laura (whose wedding you might remember from a few years ago) and if you peek at a few of the photos, you’ll find Laura and John in a couple photos. :) Katie and Ben blew my mind by creating such a sweet little wedding, and it was so absolutely perfect. They had their siblings stand up for them, one on each side, and we spent just a couple hours taking photos before and after the ceremony. [Side note: most weddings at Gonzaga happen when the students are out for the summer, so you have an empty campus. But Katie and Ben got married in the spring, when the students were still around. So there were lots of cheers as we made our way across campus to some of their favorite haunts. And, as almost any GU alum will tell you, the music was blasting from DeSmet on this sunny, spring day, and when they saw us walking across campus, the Wedding March was cued up and we couldn’t stop laughing.] One of the things I love most about taking weddings at a location that means so much to you is that you get photos at places that have significance to you. Like pointing out the room where one of you used to live, and the bench where you’d often wait for the other. If you can’t do something like that for your wedding, it can be such a blast to do it for your engagement session.
After taking their portraits, Katie + Ben headed over to Luna for an intimate dinner in the private room there with their guests. So, I guess what I’m saying is: this wedding is the perfect example about how you take the wedding stuff you love and plan a wedding that is perfect for the two of you. A classic ceremony, a small guest list, a simple dinner with your close family and friends.
Katie + Ben, thank you thank you thank you!! It was wonderful to meet you both, to play a small roll in your love story, and to celebrate this special day with you in a place that holds so many memories. I wish you both all the best in live and love!!
Dress // The Wedding Bell – Tacoma, WA
Groom’s Apparel // Men’s Warehouse
Florist // Special Touch Florist
You may remember the sweet little preview I shared of this Roosevelt Inn elopement last year, but now I’ve got more for you! Evelynn and Nikita reached out to me in December about photographing their wedding in January. They’d been engaged for a while and the thought of planning out a big wedding didn’t excite them. So instead, they called around and found this sweet bed and breakfast in Coeur d’Alene (which does small weddings too!) and called me to photograph it. Besides their officiant and myself, the only two people who attended were their son and Nikita’s dad.
Evelynn and Nikita met up with me about a week before their wedding to chat about where they were getting married, taking photos, and just to talk a bit for the first time in person. We ended up talking for almost two hours! These two had me cracking up laughing, and I enjoyed every minute I got to spend with these two and their stubborn little boy who resisted smiling at me when I had the camera pointed at him. In the end, I got a smile or two out of him, but I had to earn it! :) I especially loved that Evelynn found this gorgeous and glittery green dress to wear, instead of going for something white. It really popped in the winter light!
Happy first anniversary to these two beautiful souls. I hope your first year of marriage was beautiful. Thank you for allowing me to capture your wedding last year!!
This beautiful wedding has been next in my editing queue for quite a while. It was equal parts being busy and being tempted to share basically every single photo I delivered to Heather + Craig last fall! This wedding, these people, were so sweet and kind, and I went home with a sore face from smiling the whole time I was there.
This wedding was more about the people than the details, and the couple stressed to me that they wanted photos of their guests having a blast and some awesome portraits for themselves. They made my job super easy too, because Heather and Craig were married on her parents’ property on a mountain just outside of Winthrop. The ceremony was followed by a mountaintop toast, a musical processional down the mountain, and a reception at Cub Creek Ranch. Not only were these two some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, they planned all of this wedding long distance and it was the most magical kind of day. Their vows had everyone in tears, the toasts gave us all belly laughs, and when you see all the processional photos down the mountain, you can see that nearly every guest traipsed down the mountain in the wedding finery while dancing and singing. This was the first wedding where I’ve worn my actual running shoes (which were covered in dust by the time we got down the mountain) and the first time I’ve hiked down a mountain with all my gear.
During the reception, we did sneak back up to their parents’ property for a few more portraits and some quiet time for them. Which included lots of snuggling, a decision to climb a huge rock in a wedding dress (they are both climbers), and the most beautiful light. Stew Dietz Catering, as usually, was on hand to make this one of the smoothest wedding days of my year. Not only does Stew make amazing food – with no kitchen! – she and her team keep the day running smoothly. They handled cocktails on top of a mountain and the dreamiest crab cakes that I am still drooling over more than a year later. At the end of the night, the coats came off, the dancing started, and the guests all had pie and coffee under the twinkling lights while a local band played music.
Heather + Craig, thank you for including me in your wedding day. Your beautiful hearts make my job so easy.
Sonja + Phil had absolutely perfect fall weather for their wedding on Saturday, only after a huge storm moved through dumping lots of rain on Friday and leaving us with clouds on Saturday morning. But the umbrellas stayed in my car and we had a beautiful day! This was the last wedding of the year for me – unless someone calls about an elopement, and you know you want to do that! – and as always, it’s bittersweet. Another year in the books, and now tons of editing and meeting with 2019 wedding couples!!
Sonja + Phil, thank you for having me at your wedding, I can’t wait to share the rest of the photos with you!