Second chances do happen, and sometimes they are the best thing in the world! Every girl dreams of finding the perfect person to listen to you and support you in achieving your dreams.
When Michelle met Roy she knew he was different. He was someone she could trust fully. He became her person and she became his.
Last weekend we were asked to attend and photograph a wedding for my best friend since 5th grade, Michelle, and her man Roy. It was a whole weekend of family fun! My mom performed the ceremony too (sometimes I think my mom is closer to my bestie than I am). Spending the weekend with Roy and his family made me really see who this man is and why she chose him. He is kind, he knows Michelle’s fears and dreams and he’s there to support her. He is everything she needs and wants.
Their families and closest friends came in from all over California, Texas, Oregon and Washington to support them in their marriage. Sometimes weddings aren’t about all the little details and perfect pieces. Sometimes they are just about celebrating with the people closest to you. It was a simple intimate wedding and it was perfect for them. Congrats Michelle and Roy!
It’s funny how you can plan things just right, but come wedding day, anything go wrong and totally mess things up. Michelle’s wedding happened to have a number of things that went wrong all of sudden and it totally through things for a loop! So what do you do when you show up to photograph the bride and she and the rest of the ladies are no where to be found? I went on a hunt. I happened to remember a comment she made about needing to pick up the dress across the street on her way to the getting ready sight. So I headed to one of two dress shops across the way and found her dress! I new I’d find eventually.
I finally got ahold of Michelle and found out there had been a hair disaster and they were running super late because of it. So, as any good photographer would do, I picked up the dress and headed to the getting ready site for dress photos and details. Well the fun didn’t stop there. The getting ready location wasn’t open. Now I had the bridesmaids with me and we called the location, banged on doors and couldn’t get it open.
I think God really likes it when two people commit their lives to each other, because I feel like every wedding day seems to come with a little bit of luck. Michelle’s family happened to be staying next door in a beautiful home. So we moved the getting ready photos over and captured some special moments for the bride!
I’m no t going to lie, I had a slight panic attack when Michelle turned to me after the ceremony and said that she wanted to skip all the portraits of her and her new husband.
We had 5 minutes for the first look. Normally after the first look we take about 30 minutes for portraits of the bride and groom so we cut out a large chunk of portrait time after the ceremony and they can get back to their guests. That was the plan, but we didn’t have time to take more than 3 portraits before the ceremony. I literally only had 5 minutes for the entire first look and portraits. So when my best friend/bride asked me to skip to portraits, I said NO. I made her do it.
I knew what we talked about before the wedding and I knew her priorities. I knew she would be heartbroken to not have beautiful images of the two of them on their wedding day. So we took 10 minutes and went out into the garden to capture a little bit of gorgeousness. She thanked me as we were walking to the reception.
I’ve always been known for capturing candid portraits during the wedding. This is one of my favorite things to do and especially for this wedding. I loved capturing special moments of my best friend’s family, the people I grew up with, as well as Roy’s family!
Of course this wedding day would not be complete with a few images of me and Michelle! Plus my boys were there so we grabbed a few of our family too! It’s so fun to be guests at weddings and not just photographers!
Styled shoots are always fun I’m surrounded by such amazing talent! Thanks to all the vendors who came together to create a beautiful space for Mount Bachelor Village Resort in Bend, Oregon.
I’ve photographed weddings here before but I never knew how many amazing spots there are for photos! When I arrived, Hank (the venue coordinator), quickly showed me to the secret spot where you can see down into the valley where the Deschutes River runs. He said that he really wanted photos here to show off the property, then he apologized for the bad direct-sun lighting as he saw how unflattering it was. We scheduled this shoot around the busy vendors and not by best light. Seriously, we shot from 11a-1p, midday! It was a true make-it-work moment and we did!
I always tell my clients that I’m not a golden hour only photographer. I don’t need the perfect light to make people look beautiful. I actually like the challenge of tough lighting, so this was fun! And it totally worked! Our amazing models look great!
And a special thanks to those models too! They were not pros, just two people willing to be in a few photos. I love working with people who just trust what I’m doing and go with it. These two did just that. Because they trusted me, I was able to get genuine emotions even on a fake wedding day.
Look at all this amazing food from the in house and very exclusive catering crew: Who’s Catering! Personally, I can’t resist the bacon.
Black Butte Ranch is such a beautiful place for engagement photos. I love the sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains and how many different places there are to take photos! We didn’t even have to walk far to get all these amazing images of Katie and Tony!
I was hoping there would be a few extra leaves on the trees, but Aspen trees look great no matter what. So, since spring didn’t quite arrive in Central Oregon in time for this session, we stayed clear of the winterized bushes and opted for those gorgeous white trunks and the mountains as our settings.
I can’t wait for their wedding!!
Nicole and David are the sweetest couple. They first told me their engagement story at our first coffee meet up. They went out to their favorite secret lake for a photo session. He stopped in the middle of the session and proposed. When we started discussing places for their engagement session, we all knew their lake was the place. So of course we got photos at the spot where he proposed (below) and all of the lake area. Despite being a gorgeous day late in March, we still had to fight some snow, but it all turned out great!
Who can resist a bonfire and a bottle of wine? These two have enjoyed countless summer sunsets looking out over the lake. Nicole chose Two Vines riesling for their engagement session because they are two vines becoming one. So sweet!
We just couldn’t resist getting their horses in a few photos. Every cowboy needs his horse and, had there not been snow at the lake, they would have come with us. So even though the sun had set and our session seemed like it really should be over, I just couldn’t be done without a few photos with their lovely horses.
Congrats Nicole and David!! I can’t wait for wedding day!
Josh and love to get away in the winter and Scottsdale, Arizona is warm and, most importantly, has a direct flight out of Bend so off we went to spend a weekend away together. While we were out discovering all of Scottsdale’s awesomeness we had a chance to hang out with one of our amazing couples!! It was so much fun to get to know Lindsey and Tyler a little more and to take engagement photos of them in their backyard.
Lindsey and Tyler moved out to Arizona only 4 months ago. Although Tyler grew up in Scottsdale, all the Arizona adventures are still new to Lindsey. We got to hike around Papago Park’s Hole In The Rock to get beautiful portraits of their little family together.
Of corse when Lindsey asked if their dog, Ranger, could be in some of the photos, I couldn’t resist saying yes! I love adding in fur babies for snuggles. He was great to have at the shoot and Josh was a great dog wrangler! Josh only got a chance to take a few images at this session, but his help in caring props and taking care of Ranger was so important! Overall it was a great weekend away together topped off with a beautiful and fun engagement session at Papago Park in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Not often do events mean as much to me as this one. My sister is finally engaged!! Courtney and her fiance held an elegant and fun, garden engagement party, thrown by Bryan’s mom. The fun went on and on. People stayed and partied with the guests of honor for about 8 hours!!! It was so amazing to be surrounded by the absolute most important people in their lives. Of course, we were missing a ton of family on both sides and friends, but if everyone they love was there, then it would have been the entire wedding guest list. It was a great day of Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and true LOVE! I’m so incredibly happy for these two and I can’t wait for the wedding day!
Everyone had so much fun!! I know this may seem like a totally random image to add into the mix, BUT it’s SOOO my family. My aunt is trying to take an amazing photo while my cousin is goofing around making his classic silly faces. My dad and two uncles, undoubtedly just got finished singing a song together and are laughing, having fun and waiting for my aunt to take a pic while someone else takes a photo of her (that’s me). Seriously, I think we have countless photos of someone in my family taking a photo of someone else taking a photo. So classic!! Plus I love that everyone is just being themselves and having fun.
All American Military Backyard Wedding
This military backyard wedding wedding could not have been more beautiful! I absolutely love when couples choose wedding venues that are close to their hearts and this wedding was no exception. The wedding started at the beautiful Oxford hotel in downtown Bend, Oregon. The ceremony was held at the groom’s parent’s ranch in Tumalo, with the reception at their friend’s wedding venue down the street. The Miracle Barn was a very fun are, perfect for any country reception and Ashley and Alex had a blast!
When Ashley went looking for a new apartment in New York City, she had no idea that one apartment would change her life forever. Ashley and Alex met on the steps of the apartment that once was Alex’s and would soon be Ashley’s. Taking notice of her, Alex casually gave Ashley a business card, knowing that “moving in the city is not fun”. After a few emails back and forth while Alex was off at military training, they both went on with their lives. A few months later, once Alex had graduated and was back in New York, he contacted Ashley asking if she had received any of his mail? They agreed to meet for a drink and so she could give him his mail. The rest is history…
Now, Alex and Ashley both call that apartment home.
With that apartment bringing them together, it was certain that it had to be part of their engagement story. While packing for an Oregon vacation, Ashley’s friend begged her to go out for a quick drink before she left. On her way out the apartment building her friend handed her a stack of mail with Alex’s name as the return to sender. Confused, she stepped outside to see Alex on one knee. Each letter in the stack of mail contained one word spelling out “will you marry me?”.
“Marriage is something Alex and I have clearly said is a once in a lifetime. There is no other option but to make it work. It is forever dating your best friend and always keeping the spark alive.” – Ashley
“I bought my dress at The Bridal Garden in NYC where they donate the proceeds to charity. My seamstress built on the sleeves and created my vision”. – Ashley
Bring on the mail! I love that brought the newspaper with their engagement announcement to be officially part of their wedding!!
Once belonging to her grandmother, these pins were added to Ashley’s bouquet as her something old.
Best groomsmen gifts ever! Each one was personalized for each man.
Ashely pinned her grandfather’s all American A onto Alex for the wedding.
In Alex’s own words, “there’s nothing hotter than a girl with a gun”.
After meeting and becoming friends high school, Camden and Aaron lost touch when she left to fight for our country. A few years late they reunited and have been together ever since. Camden explained, “We always knew we were soul mates. We have just loved each other for a long time.”
They both wanted a simple, beautiful and fun wedding at a stunning location and they found that at The Great Hall in Sunriver, Oregon. They did and amazing job putting together a simple and elegant wedding with the help of a few talented vendors.
Camden chose this beautiful wedding gown from The White Dress. It was the first dress she tried on and she fell in love immediately! She also loved her florist, Sweet Posey. They grow all their own flowers.
Love these patriotic socks to show their love for our county! Go USA!
“Marriage means being with your best friend for the rest of your life to go through the best and the worst of times with.” – Camden
When Brandon and Brooke first met, they quickly bonded over fitness and country music. After becoming friends and exploring beautiful Oregon on hikes together, they knew their was something more to their relationship. They knew they were the one for each other since they loved to do the same things together and now had someone to do them with! Even Brandon’s brother and best man admitted during the toast that he had found the girl version of himself to marry. After dating for a few years, Brandon surprised Brooke with a poster of photos from all their adventures together and with the words, “Will you marry me?”.
They love Brasada Ranch and knew it was the right place for their wedding because it was the place their parents first met. Brooke’s family has been visiting Brasada Ranch for years and she loves it there. In fact, the night their parents met (before they were engaged), Brooke let it slip that she would love to be married at Brasada Ranch.
“Marriage means I have my best friend for life. We are no longer taking on life by ourselves, but together, as a team.” -Brooke
Every wedding location is beautiful, but there is something really special about having your wedding in your own home. This backyard wedding took place in Mandy and Nate’s own backyard. Even after they move away, they will have beautiful memories of the place where their love grew into a marriage.
Mandy and Nate met while working at the same restaurant. Their relationship quickly developed into more than just a friendship. A year after they started dating, they moved into a home together. Little did they know then, that home would be the official place where they would start their life together.
Mandy’s sister helped with hair and makeup on the day of the wedding. Isn’t it so awesome that she had such amazing talent at her finger tips?!
Mandy had 18 diamonds in her wedding band to represent the year they were married, 2018!
This intimate wedding was all about celebrating these two with their closest friends and family. They even included their sweet little dog, Nalah, in parts of the wedding. She couldn’t help but cuddle up to her mom and dad.
Just a block away from their house was this amazing walking trail where Nate and Mandy take their dog almost everyday. I think it is so amazing to have wedding photos at a place that is such a big part of your life. I usually encourage this for engagement sessions, but it is extra special to have such a meaningful location for wedding photos.
Nate currently works at a sign company which he loves! Believe me, I get it! I grew up with a dad who owns a sign company and it is fun to be in such a creative place. At my wedding, I had the photographers stay extra late to make sure they captured the custom magnets my dad made for our limo. The sign company Nate works at had a big part in shaping their wedding design. Not only did have great signs everywhere but they made this custom Cornhole game made for their wedding.
When we travel for weddings I always watch the weather channel. I’m slightly obsessed with storm watches. The morning of Emma and Kevin’s wedding we woke up and saw that everything outside was wet. So we turned on the trusty weather channel and saw that rain was in the forecast for the day. Not only that, but out of the entire continental US, Portland to Seattle was the only area that would get rain that day. Seriously, the entire map was orange and red except the tiny little spot of green we were. They say rain on your wedding is good luck, but being in the only place in the US to get rain has to be the most incredible luck a couple can have, right?
Emma and Kevin really wanted an outdoor space for their reception. Thank goodness they knew that having a covered area was essential to stay out of the heat and rain. “We looked at a few venues in Seattle and a few venues in Portland, but we are so happy that The Reserve worked out.” – Emma
Emma and Kevin met on Kevin’s annual family camping trip when they were still in high school. Sparks immediately began to fly around the campfire. Even though they both knew it was love at first sight, they waited a few years until the timing was right to begin dating. At Emma’s prom she realized she had found her partner for life.
They’ve built a life together, following each others dreams and making them a reality. They even adopted a sweet little puppy named Hank who came with us to their engagement session. Taking care of Hank helped them learn how great they are as a team.
After six years of dating, Kevin proposed on the top of Smith Tower, a historical building in Seattle. With the sun setting over the Olympic Mountains, Emma said,”The mountains look beautiful tonight!”. Kevin leaned over and said,”Not as beautiful as you.” That’s when he got down on one knee and asked her to be his forever! After saying, “YES!”, Emma wanted to call everyone to tell them the good news, but Kevin made her wait. When they arrived home Emma found herself surrounded by all her friends and family to celebrate!
For Emma, a wedding with a rustic, casual and classic theme was the dream. I think she nailed it with these beautiful blue wedding invitations. I love that the flowers for the entire wedding match the invites!
“Finding the dress was a stress-free process! I went to one bridal boutique with my mom to get an idea of what I wanted, and the next day, I went to two bridal stores with my mom, mother-in-law, and all of my bridesmaids. It was a really special day because at lunch, I asked all of the girls to be my bridesmaids.” – Emma
Charlotte’s Bridal in Beaverton, Oregon was the perfect place to find the perfect dress. Being right across the street from Emma’s old high school, this bridal shop had been on Emma’s radar for awhile. After trying on this dress and falling in love with train, she couldn’t imagine herself walking down the aisle in anything else!
Even though the downpour began right as we were heading out for their first look, no one got too wet. The Reserve has a few covered spaces which were all we needed to keep everyone dry and get amazing portraits of the wedding party.
“Marriage means engaging in a lifelong partnership of teamwork. Although we are definitely in the honeymoon phase of our lives right now, we know that life gets hard, but we are so grateful that we will have each other through those times. We are each other’s biggest supporters and strongest advocates. Our love for each other is eternal.” – Emma & Kevin
Every wedding Josh and I go to, I am reminded why I fell in love. I think they nailed it when they describe marriage as teamwork. The thing I am most grateful for in my marriage is having a partner who, no matter what, will support me and be my teammate. I know Emma and Kevin and going to have an amazing marriage! Congrats!
This wedding was charming in more ways than one. Right from the start I knew I would get along with Jamie and Gregory. Josh was supposed to shoot their wedding, but after meeting them, I just couldn’t let him. They are so my people!
Not only is Gregory a hilarious theater guy, but he loves everything Harry Potter. And Jamie is a huge Star Wars fan. If you know me at all, you know theater, Harry Potter and Star Wars are three of my favorite things. How could I not fall in love with this couple immediately?
I can only describe their beautiful journey coming together through their own poetic words, “We talked Zen and the art of living in the present and found our Serenity in our first home, a 1981 air-cooled Vanagon named Ground Control. From there we embarked on a journey of countless nights beneath the stars with our home changing each time we put the van in park. Some nights were along the rocky shores of lakes sitting at the foot of snow-capped mountains. Other nights we were lost in the forest, hidden beneath the canopy of juniper trees. The close quarters and constant disconnect from the stresses of the busy world allowed us to see each other more clearly, and our bond only strengthened.” – Jamie and Gregory.
Every last detail of this wedding was incredibly thoughtful. Jamie and greg both love the outdoors so it was only natural to incorporate their favorite outdoor elements into their wedding. Jamie filled bouquet jars with pine tree clippings and adorned them with charms that perfectly described each of her amazing bridesmaids. One loved dogs and had a dog charm, another an elephant while Jamie had a collection of charms. Jamie’s charms also included two of her Grandmother’s rings as a little something old. In addition to these, Jamie added golden branches to her cascading braided hair.
Gregory will forever sport one of the coolest men’s rings I’ve every seen. All the way around is beautiful little trees. Whenever Gregory is stuck in the office he can look down and imagine being surrounded by trees with his beautiful wife.
Jamie described her dress as reminding her of a fancy grandma doily. I think it fits perfect with the charm of this wedding. When mom and dad both cried seeing her in the dress, she knew it was the one for her.
As a thoughtful bride, Jamie asked all of her bridesmaids to pick a Burgundy dress that they could wear again.
The day started with cheers from the groom to his best man with only the finest Scotch, Lagavulin, the preferred scotch of Ron Swanson form Parks and Rec. Seriously, how fun is this couple! Each groomsmen was gifted a flask with their names engraved on it.
Gregory went on to explain, quite seriously, that he’s bring back the 20’s in 2020. I really hope he does because it was the best decade (at least my favorite decade). To start bringing back the 20’s he and all of his groomsmen wore suspenders and knit ties. Josh would have been proud – for years his only tie was a dark blue knit tie. I think his heart broke a little when he had to wear a real tie. I say it’s time to bring this look back, because it’s awesome!
I just need to say that the lobster was even meaningful. The lobster once belonged to Jamie and was passed down to her sweet little nephew who could not put it down the entire day. It was so sweet!
Then we got to the good part… light saber vs. wand. Gregory got his own hand made Harry Potter wand from Oli’s at Comicon and is a huge Harry Potter fan. Jamie has her own light saber and is a huge Star Wars fan. My kind of people. When we met up before their wedding she asked if we could also grab a quick photo of her with her light saber and him with his wand. I immediately said, “Yes!” I needed no further explanation. I love this couple! They even hand sewed quilts as table toppers, Star Wars for her and Harry Potter for him.
Family. Outside. Tacos. These were the three words they used to describe their wedding. Tacos there were! If you have ever had El Sancho you know how yummy those tacos are.
Jamie and Gregory are so far, to this date, the only other couple that has used the Star Wars theme song as their grand entrance song. At our wedding, I let Josh be in charge of all things music, but this song was the only one I really needed to have. It was perfect for Jamie and Gregory too!
Again, I can’t get enough of this couple. We did the traditional cake cutting at our wedding, but we are not cake people. We had a whole table of pie and ice cream for us. Jamie and Gregory went completely without the cake and stuck to only the best in deserts – Marionberry Pie.
When you fall in love from traveling around in your van with your best friend, roommate and love of your life, of course you need to add maps all throughout the outdoorsy centerpieces for your wedding. It’s also a must to take wedding images with that charming little van that you rode in on the way to the spot where he proposed and you said “Yes!”, the van that brought you together and allowed you to escape life and fall in love forever.
“Knowing you’ve got a best friend for life and someone who loves you for who you are is the best feeling in the world. There is no one I adore or cherish more in life and I cant wait to spend forever together. We accept each other, encourage one another to try new things and talk about everything.” – Christi
When we first met Christi and Cory, I knew we would get along. We had kids the same age and Christi and Josh both coached girls soccer. Also, I could see how much they have already grown together as a couple and as a family. I could see how much they truly love each other.
They are a couple who likes to try new things together and who love hiking, camping and anything outdoors. When they moved to Bend 2 years ago, they went out and tried something new. Smith Rock was the first place hiked together and was really the place they started their Bend adventure. Although they had some trouble deciding on a wedding location, Smith Rock quickly became the winner and now the place where they will start this new chapter of their life together.
The main thing Christi and Cory wanted for their wedding was to celebrate with the most important people in their lives. 31 of their friends and family surrounded them on their wedding day for an intimate ceremony overlooking Smith Rock State Park in Oregon. Cory’s daughter and grandson, as well as Christi and Cory’s son, stood with them at the altar to show that they are all coming together as a family. Christi said, “At the end of the day we realized we wanted to have a simple wedding here in Bend with the people that matter most to us”.
When the Bend Trolley meets you at Brasada Ranch to take your whole crew out to Smith Rock for the ceremony, of course you use it for your first look, right? The trolley provided a bright backdrop for Christi and Cory’s first look. Before they came around Christi sneaked a peek at Cory through the window to try to see her man waiting for her. After the first look the entire group piled into the trolley for a fun ride to Smith Rock for the ceremony and back again for the reception.
When we got to Smith Rock their was another wedding taking place in the spot we wanted to use for the ceremony. Both brides were very sweet to each other and even posed for a photo. t could have been super awkward, but Christi and Cory were calm and looked to me to find a way to keep going. We found another beautiful place for family photos while we waited for the other couple to finish their portraits.
Looking back on their day, my favorite thing was all the amazing gifts they used to show how much they loved each other. The beautiful blue Rosary beads Christi held tight in her hand throughout the ceremony as her something borrowed and something blue and something old, were borrowed from Cory’s mother. Christi’s mom, stepmom and mother in law all provided her with things to wear on her wedding day. Even her stepdad gifted her a set of earrings and a necklace by Kendra Scott which she wore down the aisle.
Christi had a daddy daughter moment all of their own where Christi gifted him with a special tie that read, “Daddy, Thank you for walking by my side today and always,. I loved you first.” Although her stepmom couldn’t make it to the wedding, she did get to spend a few moments on the phone with Christi while she was getting ready. The whole day was filled with so much love!
Congrats to Christi and Cory! And thanks for letting us be part of your day!
I didn’t know raw diamond rings were a thing, did you? I love raw stones and Christi’s 3 rock raw diamond by Jill with Artifactum is one of the most unique rings I’ve ever seen.
I’m loving Christi’s fitted lace dress she found at Cordially Invited. Christi said her dress was everything she thought it would NOT be but she absolutely loves it! It’s elegant and makes her feel beautiful. When a bride feels beautiful she glows just like Christi is here!
Her bridal bouquet, by Flowers by Katie was filled with white roses and peonies which made it so simple yet stunning with all white flowers and greenery. The little hints of pink on the edges of the peonies perfectly matched Christi’s reception dress.
My favorite part of the day was sitting with Christi’s dad on the Bend Trolley on the way back to Brasada Ranch for the reception. He told me a story of how each year as a tradition, he and Christi would pose for a photo with a heart in the sand that read, “I love you”. She started on his knee looking up at her dad and throughout the year has stood taller, now looking down. Since this is the official day that she leaves her mother and father to become one with her new husband, we thought it fitting that they pose one more time for this photo, completing the tradition. Now it’s up to Christi to continue the tradition with her son.
Emma and Kevin were so much fun to photograph! Within minutes of photographing them I could tell that they had been in love for awhile. Emma and Kevin met years back on an annual family camping trip that Kevin’s family does at the Prineville Reservoir each year. Emma, who was best friends with Kevin’s cousin, would tag along. They would only see each other on this annual trip. Eventually they decided that even though the lived far from each other, they had to be together. After Kevin went with Emma to her senior prom, they officially started dating. They’ve been together for seven years and finally getting married! I love that they chose to do their engagement session on the way to that annual Father’s Day camping trip where they first met. It’s so perfect! And of course they added their puppy, Hank!
Brooke and Brandon were such troopers! We had this amazing Sparks Lake engagement session planned in May for them. We all had these perfect ideas of what to expect and were so excited to take their photos at such a beautiful place. When we arrive – it was blocked in by a ton of snow! Leaving Bend where it was 65-70 degrees, we just did not think there would be snow up at the lake. It still is amazingly beautiful at the trail head so we stepped out into the snow, with Brooke in a sundress, and captured some really fun photos in the 5 foot clearing. After that we headed back to the river trail and finished their session. This was the first engagement session I’ve done in 12 years where we captured both winter and summer photos in one session. I’m so thankful to have an amazing couple who quickly jumped on board with making the best of the situation. We had a lot of fun with them and Josh and I can’t wait to photograph their Brasada Ranch Wedding!