Category Wedding Photography

Veronica & Tram – A Jamaican Destination Wedding

When the little sister of one of your best friends sends you a note asking if you would be willing to travel to Jamaica and photographer her wedding, you say yes. Who am I kidding, when ANYONE asks you if you would be willing to fly to Jamaica and photograph their wedding, you say YES. I was so thrilled to have the date (and week) open to be able to make this trip happen.  Jamaica is a place I had thought about many times over the years, but never really dreamed I would get to visit. So when the opportunity was offered, I was totally in. My family and I applied for our passports, booked our flights, and then waited the several months until the big travel day. We had already spent a week in San Diego, California for another work engagement and caught a red-eye headed to Miami from there. We landed in Kingston a little exhausted and starving, but our driver stopped at Burger King in downtown Kingston so we could eat.  We sipped our grape soda (“Mom! It’s like drinking pop rocks!”) and gobbled our fries and Whopper as we traveled north to Ochos Rios.
An hour and a half later and we were at the resort settling in to our room, navigating the grounds to the nearest pool and the soft sand of  the Caribbean.  We didn’t meet up with our group until the next morning at breakfast when I spotted a huge table with a few faces I recognized from the on going What’s App conversation prior to the trip. But, we kept zigging and zagging with the bride and groom and still hadn’t seen them yet.   We hung out at on the beach, had our first jerk chicken (zomg, so good), and a few cocktails from the swim up bar(yeah mon!), and then, finally spotted the couple and their family bobbing along in the blue waters where I got to talk details and plans with the bride.We had one more day to settle in, and then, on Monday it was the big day. The wedding day went something like this.

Lead the family in a little bit of beach  yoga, (BONUS! I teach yoga too).  Then, I head to the spa to catch the ladies getting their nails done and relaxing before the day picks up speed. I make my  way down the hall and find the room where the bride is going to get ready. I snag a few detail shots and start getting used to the light in the room.  I catch the mother and sister of the bride hauling mimosa fixings, and let them in as we all “oooh and ahhh” over the details of the wedding gown and a maybe get teary over the words I hear the my best friend and sister of the bride rehearsing for the ceremony.
The bride arrives and the prepping and primping begin. I love this part of the wedding day. The excitement and the love towards the bride that happen the hour or two before the ceremony is so special. The rituals and the care that go into hair and makeup are like a rite of passage in many way.  I sneak away for a few minutes and make my way up stairs to see how the guys are getting along in their prep. When I got there I found the groom helping the boys with their vests, tucking in dress shirts and rolling up sleeves. The music is loud and the smiles louder. The joy and the anticipation is tangible as I snap a few more shots, and then get out of their way to finish up. I get back to the bride’s room just in time to see the flower girls arrive. And then it’s time for the bride to slide into her dress. This is another detail of the day that I adore. Watching all the hands carefully help and assist to make everything perfect gets me every single time.
A few final touches and everyone heads outside. The moment is finally here, and everyone takes their respective place.
The ceremony is short in length, but definitely not short in meaning. Not only do Veronica and Tram exchange rings with one another, but they each share a ring with the other’s son. (The boys are 6 months apart in age and some of the nicest teenagers I have come across yet). You may kiss your bride!
Bartender! Drinks for EVERYONE!!! Here’s the entire party, look at that beautiful gang of family and friendship. Seriously, this group was so much fun!! The grandsons and the grandmothers and great-grandmother. Mom of the bride with her two gorgeous daughters. The matriarch of the family – isn’t she beautiful? I had a really great conversation with her later in the week about family,traditions, and respect in the Vietnamese culture. I also got invited to dinner any time I am in Sacramento. um that’s another one you say YES to when you are asked.The new families!Cousin chaos doesn’t stop just because you grow up…. A sweet moment between the baby and grandmother, I think Lemon was challenging her grandmother to a race, don’t you??! You guys, this pink wall… I was all heart eyes over it. Sorta like these two are with each other.
The wind wasn’t cooperating, with our portraits. Good thing these two have such great senses of humor. And then, we headed to the party!!! I don’t know what is happening here, but it seems serious… hard to believe with this gang, so maybe they were just plotting the play list (or trying to figure out where Tam left his passport?)Speeches to make you laugh, speeches to make you cry – champagne to help you celebrate!Is it hot in here or is the cake about to go up in flames? !! Don’t worry, we caught it as soon as it started, it was out. Then we were all schooled in the Jamaican cake cutting traditions. And then, the steel drum band started and the bonfire was lit (and then, it truly was HOT IN HERE!)- the party was on!!Veronica and Tram, your wedding day (and week) was one of the most amazing and heartfelt times I have had the pleasure to document. Your families are so much fun, and the love they have for you and your boys is tangible. Thank you for including me (and my family) in this incredible adventure!

Keep chasing the light,

Vanessa

Lydia & Aaron – A Seattle Wedding Day

The day started quiet and rainy, fairly typical for November in Seattle. There was fog hugging the Seattle skyline as I drove into the city from Tacoma. When I arrived Lydia and Aaron’s condo, there was soft even light streaming in through the windows. While scouting a spot to take detail photos upstairs, I woke their old cat who gave me a grouchy meow. As the knocks on the door began, the house started to fill with the excitement and love of dear friends and family. Girlfriends gathered in the kitchen, Lydia’s mom popped champagne, and they all toasted the day as the bride emerged from getting her hair and makeup done. As Lydia slipped into her dress and shoes, and finally her grandmother’s mink stole, there were oohs and ahhhs, giggles and tears. I love this part of the wedding day. The intimate bonding and the support as the couple readies for the walk down the isle.
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From there things got to be a bit of a blur… Guests arrived, drinks were poured, the room filled with laughter and hugs and music. The vows were short and sweet (and included a reading from the book, I Like You.)

I like you because
I don’t know why but
Everything that happens
Is nicer with you

I can’t remember when I didn’t like you

They signed their paper work to make it official in a little upstairs room, and took a few minutes alone together  before heading downstairs for the party. Meanwhile, their guests were fed amazing appetizers and drinks downstairs. 
The toasts were full of funny stories and teasing, as many are. But there was also a thread of admiration for the couple and all their hard work and determination to fulfill goals and make a difference. The first dance was sweet and then, silly and filled the room as the party got underway!FocusInPhotography (2 of 3)FocusInPhotography (3 of 3)

Lydia and Aaron, I loved that we have ties to Reno, but have found a home in the Pacific Northwest. I love how you two laugh and make each other smile. Thank you for including me in your day. Thank you for trusting me to document this new beginning.  It was truly an honor to be a witness.

Wishing you both a long and happy life together,

Vanessa

_____________________________________

Huge shout out to all the amazing vendors that I got to work with:

Hair and Makeup: Salon Maison

Florals: Thatch Floral

DJ: Magnolia Rhapsody

Location & Catering: Zoe Restaurant

Rebecca & Taylor – Seattle Engagement Session

It’s engagement season! So many new shinny rings and glowing couples to feature lately. It’s all sorts of wonderful in my book.

I met up with Rebecca and Taylor during a photography conference last weekend. These two not only braved the rain, but 25 photographers aiming their cameras at them as they snuggled, jumped, laughed, and splashed their way through Seattle (all I could think about as we clicked our shutters was Lady Gaga’s song, Paparazzi… and yes, I really do have a running soundtrack in my head as I photograph clients).

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Rebecca and Taylor- your love is tangible. It was so fun to meet you both and capture these sweet moments of you.

Congratulations again on your engagement!

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa

P.S. Thank you to Anita Martin Photography for teaching us about how you work with your couples, and to all the instructors, speakers, vendors, and people working hard behind the sense at this year’s Click Away !

Betsy and Shye – A Snohomish Wedding

When I talk with new wedding clients, I instantly want to know their story. I am genuinely intrigued in the how-why-when-what that brought them together. There are over 7 billion people in this world, and to find one that fits you like a puzzle piece? I want to dig into that story. Scratch that, I want to help TELL that story. Because why? Because it gives me hope, it gives me peace, it melts my heart, and makes my mind go “boom” in the most beautiful way.

After almost 9 months of phone calls and emailing, I finally met Shye and Betsy in Seattle’s Capitol Hill District over a cup of coffee. The minute I saw the pair, I was so excited to get them in front of my lens. These two are gorgeous and the chemistry between them is amazing.

20160724-img_9634As we tried to eat beignets politely (darn it, how do you eat those those things without ending up covered in powdered sugar?), we chatted about the wedding day venue (Stocker Farms in Snohomish, Washington) and the plans for the big day.

I told them I will probably cry at their wedding- they asked me, “Really? don’t you get sick of the same thing over and over? “

No, no I don’t. Because it is NEVER the same “thing”. Sure, the dress is usually white and the flowers are beautiful. There is a first dance and a first kiss. But the love, the love is never the same… and that’s what keeps me coming back for more when it comes to photographing a wedding day.

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“I like geography best, (s)he said, because your mountains & rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.”

-Brian Andreas

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Betsy and Shye, I absolutely loved being a part of your day. Thank you again a for trusting me to capture your beautiful faces and your stunning love. I wish you all the best as you walk forward in this adventure of wife and wife!

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xo,

Vanessa

Heather & Devin- An Orcas Island Wedding

The 2016 wedding season is in FULL swing here in the Pacific Northwest. And while I work on getting the latest wedding gallery edited and ready for my clients, I thought it might be a good time to blog a few of the weddings I shot last season, (finally).  Exactly a year ago today, I was lucky enough to shoot a weddings on the San Juan Islands. I would like to give a huge thank you to Sara Postma for having me along for the ride. I love second shooting for her. It’s an honor to have such a talented lady trust me as her assistant and second shooter for the day.HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0001Heather and Devon’s wedding took place on Orca’s Island last September. The private venue was stunning. It truly felt like a back yard party (now, if only I could get my backyard to include a garden, an orchard, guest house, a few chickens, and Deer Harbor to swim and paddle around in…).
HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0004HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0003If you ever throw a party on Orcas Island, make sure to call Asher and Olive to have them cater for you. These guys mix a great cocktail and grill a mean oyster.HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0009HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0002I mean, really… can you handle this backdrop?! HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0011HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0012Ceremonies always get me a little choked up- each one so special.
HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0007HeatherDevinOrcasWedding_0006Some of the best dancing I have seen at a wedding in a very long time! This crowd had SO much fun celebrating the night away.

Now, who wants to get married on Orcas Island?!? Call me, and let’s do this!

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa

Wedding Wednesday – Dharma and Scott

Awhile back, when I still lived in Reno (hello, I am playing some SERIOUS blogging catch up here!), I had the pleasure of second shooting a wedding with Sam Pierson of Pierson Photo Company . Sam is a fellow former-Reno photographer who has also relocated out of state.  If you are in the Salt Lake City area and are looking for a super fun lady and amazing photographer, look her up. Sam is a hoot and has mad skills behind that camera of hers.
FocusInPhotography (10 of 588)But back to the wedding… To be honest, it wasn’t a “wedding”, wedding. It was, however, an amazing, quirky, delightful celebration of love between two people.  Scott and Dharma, your laughter, uniqueness, and power point presentation of love (yes, you read that right this is what happens when academics tie the knot) made my entire afternoon.
Also, they made their grand entrance in a canoe, to Edward Sharpe and the Magnatic Zeros, Home
FocusInPhotography (16 of 588)FIP (3 of 7)FocusInPhotography (11 of 588) FocusInPhotography (26 of 588)FocusInPhotography (28 of 536)FocusInPhotography (5 of 536)FocusInPhotography (17 of 536) FIP (1 of 5)-2FIP (7 of 7) FocusInPhotography (45 of 588) FIP (1 of 1)-3I loved how this couple made their wedding day their very own! When you are planning your day, remember, you don’t have to follow any trends on Pintrest or the latest bridal magazine. What makes your union special? Do that.
FocusInPhotography (23 of 536) Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa

Holly and Colin – A Portland, Oregon Wedding

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The anticipation and nerves. The sweet and silly moments between friends and the transformation that unfolds right in front of my lens…HollyColin071616_0006HollyColin071616_0008HollyColin071616_0005The first look. The smiles and the giggles. The bond between Holly & Colin glows and fills my heart as well as my camera card.HollyCollin071616_web (189 of 609)HollyCollin071616_web (192 of 609)HollyCollin071616_web (270 of 609)FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0014FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0015FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0018FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0017FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0016The ceremony. We walk through the trees of Hoyt Arboretum, and up to the World Forestry Center. Laughter, tears, all the emotions. The kiss and the second kiss. The WHOOOOO! as they walk together, hand in hand, between family and friends.
HollyCollin071616_web (257 of 609)HollyCollin071616_web (208 of 609)HollyCollin071616_web (250 of 609)HollyCollin071616_web (252 of 609)HollyCollin071616_web (259 of 609)A few quiet moments together before walking out to the party. The smiles haven’t stopped and the celebration has just begun.FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0020FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0019Dancing and more dancing followed by more dancing!
HollyCollin071616_web (210 of 609)Colin and Holly,
Happy one month anniversary!! Your day was beautiful and full of so much love and laughter. Thank you for having me along to document it all. Wishing you all the best in the days, months, and years to come.
Keep chasing that light,
Vanessa-

 

 

***

Location: Hoyt Arboretum and World Forestry Center in beautiful Portland, Oregon

Flowers: Kathryn, Heirbloom Floral

Makeup: Lisette, Lisette Studio 

Beautifully Traditional | Seattle, Washington Wedding

Kathy and David had a beautiful wedding day in Seattle, Washington.  I loved how they followed tradition and truly went out of their way to not see one another before the ceremony. I am sure she took his breath away as her father led her down the long aisle towards him that day.

2015-09-15_00052015-09-15_00032015-09-15_0001I loved the drama the old catholic church where the ceremony was held. It added to the excited energy and pre-wedding moments of the morning. This wedding had me thinking about how beautiful traditions are and how a wedding day can be simple and sophisticated with the traditions in place. It had me pondering how some of those things give so much more meaning to the day than any amount of flowers and cake could do. The spaces between the laughter, and the love filled that large church to the brim on this late summer morning.2015-09-15_0002Congrats again, Kathy and David!

 

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa