I’m blogging all out of order because I’m so so behind, but I really wanted to share Tara and Alex’s engagement session before their wedding tomorrow! We met up last fall for a chilly but super cozy engagement session at Manito, and they brought their super adorable, snuggle puppy – Nacho – to join us for a few photos. Y’all, I love (most) pets, so I would love love love to photograph you with your sweet pets! Please bring them to your session!! After years of photographing sessions with dogs and some at home with cats, I’ve learned a few things, and that makes your session go smoothly with your furry friends. Alex and Tara had me laughing the whole time we were taking photos, and they were so great to work with and even humored me when I asked them to jump a couple times so I could put together this fabulous little GIF at the end. I’m already planning what to do for their wedding tomorrow. You know it’ll be fun!!
I’m going to confess that I took the easy* way out when we got married, and we decided to host our wedding at a family member’s house. It was lovely, and everything I’ve ever dreamed of, but after four years back in Eastern Washington (no, I can’t believe it), I wonder what it would have been like to get married at one of my favorite area venues. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing weddings all over the Pacific Northwest. When I jotted down this list, I knew I’d have to split them up into multiple posts.
First up! My favorite Spokane wedding venues that are within 15 minutes of downtown.
The Davenport Hotels
Let’s get the most obvious location out of the way first. The Davenport Hotels are a Spokane classic, and even though I’ve only photographed weddings at the Historic Davenport, the newer Grand Hotel is stunning too. What I love about the Davenport is that it’s a beautiful blank slate, and it’s perfect if you’re planning your wedding from out of town, and they can handle any size wedding at almost any time of the day. Brunch wedding with a morning ceremony? No problem! Huge Bollywood style, Hindu-Christian wedding that doesn’t end for day? No problem! [For reference, the second photo is the Isabella Ballroom. It’s amazing what you can do with this space!] Not into getting married at the Historic Davenport Hotel or the Grand Hotel? Stay there with your wedding party! It is a wonderful place to get ready, and if the weather isn’t great, you’ve got a beautiful space to do your getting ready photos and first look.
On the complete other end of the spectrum, there is Manito Park. You’ll still need to find a reception space, sure, but for small weddings, nothing really beats getting married at one of Spokane’s parks. It’s perfect for small weddings, like Delta & Ricky’s Duncan Gardens not-quite-elopement wedding. One of the things I love most about a park wedding is that you’ll be able to come back whenever you want to your ceremony site. Imagine having a picnic at the spot where you got married on your anniversary? How fun!
This may be my new favorite Spokane wedding venue, especially after Misha & Tony’s beautiful Barrister Winery wedding last summer! What I love most about this space is that it’s got everything you want in a winery wedding venue, but it’s downtown! You’ve got a gorgeous outdoor space for the ceremony, and a perfect inside space for the reception (and the ceremony, if the weather is bad). The food – from Beacon Hill Events – is amazing, and the wine barrel room is a beautiful spot to take photos. Plus, it goes without saying that their wine is pretty amazing too. :) And, should that not be enough to sway you towards having your wedding at Barrister, there are tons of fun little photo spots nearby too.
Gonzaga University – St. Aloysius, the Hemmingson Center
I would be a terrible Gonzaga alum if I didn’t have Gonzaga University’s new Hemmingson Center, and the two beautiful chapels – St. Aloysius, and the Student Chapel. I haven’t had a chance to photograph a wedding at the Hemmingson Center yet, but I did photograph an event there last fall and it was stunning. If you’re looking to have a Catholic wedding ceremony in Spokane, it’s hard to find a more beautiful spot. What I love about Gonzaga…well, I love a lot of things about Gonzaga…is that you’ve got everything close by, the parking situation is easy (not something that is simple in or near downtown Spokane), and it’s gorgeous. There are tons of little spots around campus for photos, and even though I went to Gonzaga for four years, I’m still finding new little nooks and crannies when I visit. Not to mention, the catering at Gonzaga is top notch.
Nectar Catering & Events
Nectar has had a bit of a remodel since I photographed Dan & Danielle’s intimate wine bar wedding a couple years ago, and I need to go back and see what they’ve done. No matter what, it’s a great space for a small wedding, and has such beautiful details, like these gorgeous brick walls and wine barrels. Josh is amazing, and I really loved working with all the staff at Nectar. Stop by for wine tasting or lunch. In fact, now that I know they do lunch…I might have to stop by and grab lunch with a friend this summer.
A few years ago, I went to a grand reopening at Riverside Place, and then didn’t make it over there again until last summer, when I had the chance to second shoot a wedding for April Egly. I had forgotten what a beautiful (and huge!) space it is. The views from the Falls Suite are top notch, especially because there is a great balcony, so you don’t have to peek at them through a window, you can stand out there and see them! Plus, they have such fun rooms all throughout the building. It’s a total maze, and I would have gotten lost more than once, if it wasn’t for the amazing staff there who directed me to all the fun little spots like marble hallways and old theaters. I’d move into this space if they would let me!
Other Downtown Venues I Love:
I haven’t had a chance to shoot at every downtown Spokane venue, so I wanted to toss out some more places that might be a good fit (hey, hire me to photograph your wedding at them, okay?) for you.
— The Spokane Club
— Fox Theater
— Glover Mansion
— The Convention Center
*not easy. In fact, there were many times that we regretted it, because it is so stressful to host your own wedding. If you do a backyard wedding in the Spokane area, I highly recommend hiring a planner.
When I met up with Jen & Matt in person, the first thing I learned about them is how much they love their kids, and how excited they are to have their kids in the wedding. So, it was only natural that we include them in their engagement photos as well. And heck, why not add in an over exuberant dog as well? We had a wonderful time on one of the last true fall days, and I can’t tell you how much I laughed with this sweet family.
While we did the majority of their photos at Manito Park, they wanted to do a few photos at Taco Bell as well, since that is where they met. And how cute are those hot sauce packs?!
Jen & Matt, I can’t wait for your wedding in July!!
Jen, Matt, and their five kiddos kept me laughing on Saturday at their engagement session. We lucked out with the perfect window of weather, and the last of the fall leaves in Spokane. I can’t wait to share more of this sweet family in a few weeks, and I am so excited for their wedding next July!!
Today might be one of the hottest days of the year, but as I was going through my computer, looking for a photo, I realized I never blogged the rest of the Davis family’s sweet Christmas session from December. Six months later, and I can barely remember how I couldn’t feel my face, and that it was so cold we escaped to one of my favorite places – Rockwood Bakery – to warm up midway through the session.
I’ve said it before, but I really believe that it’s so important to do family sessions, even as your kids get older and become adults themselves. I don’t recommend you do them on one of the snowiest, coldest days of the year, but if it’s the single day that all your family is in town, and we’ve scheduled a session, I will be there with my winter boots on! :)
Davis family, thank you for being so cheerful, in spite of the cold. I hope that the next time we do your photos, it’s a bit warmer!