By Kara Spencer, Editor for Pacific Coast Weddings
“The glacier was definitely the hardest,” Elena said. “It took two hours of hiking in the snow and the last part was sliding down on our bottoms to get to this waterfall.”
A team of four slid down, bringing with them dresses, flowers, photography reflectors, lights and other equipment. And even while her couple was freezing cold at the edge of a spitting glacier, she got the shot. “The hardest ones to get are usually my favorite,” she said.
The grander the photos became, the more clients asked to do a shoot of their own. Whether an elopement, engagement or wedding, Elena had a vision for the photo she had to achieve. One particular vision: a stormy day on top of Rattlesnake Ridge, located in the outskirts of Seattle in North Bend, and sitting high above the northwest-famous aqua waters of Rattlesnake Lake.
“I saw this girl in a black dress and the vision was to have stormy weather,” she said. “I need dramatic clouds to be there”
A three-hour trek through hail and muddy trails in North Bend brought them to their destination. It was a long day and a lot of planning. It was a risk, she said, adding that “a risk often turns out the best.”
The risks have paid off since Elena first started four years ago. It was at that time that she became enamored with getting photos taken of her new baby girl, her youngest along with her two boys. Her husband purchased her first camera, a Cannon 60D, so she could start taking the photos herself. And so emerged the photos of her baby on a frosty day, with sapphire eyes looking right into your own.
Her progress was mostly self-taught, Elena said. She began watching Youtube tutorials and learning manual on her camera right away. And when she found herself ready to embark into wedding photography, she decided she might need a bit more help. “I had no idea how to shoot a wedding. I took a course, a ‘mentoring class’ specifically for weddings,” Elena said. “I was so scared. My first bride just said “I trust you, it’s okay."
Not too long after, Elena booked six more. She has since been to Arizona, Florida, Oregon, and all around Washington to capture weddings and engagements.
Elena said she still often wakes up in disbelief, asking how she got in this profession. As a quiet person who tends to be more behind the scenes, she said she never knew she had it in her to be an active photographer.
“I never knew this part of me. It shocked me. Once you give me a camera, it’s like I’m a different person.”
Discussing her future plans, she said she would like to focus specifically on elopements and engagement shoots and she wants to travel beyond where she has so far. With a trip to Hawaii for a shoot this April, she appears to be on her way. But Iceland is what she has her eyes on. No matter where she ends up, or how tight her schedule gets, it is the love for telling stories through photos that make it worth it.
“Seriously sometimes I wake up and I wonder ‘is this a dream, is it for real?’”
This real-life couple had already tied the knot, but were ready to do it all over again. This elopement shoot at Soule Estates in Woodinville features the venue's stunning suspension bridge and lake, a soft backdrop for the couple's color scheme of jewel tones embellished with grays and whites.
See the stunning photos captured by Betty Globa Photography below.
Photographer: Betty Globa Photography
Venue: Soule Estates (accepting weddings soon)
Wedding Planner/Invitations: Elegant Affairs
Flowers: A Flower Philosophy
Dessert: The Cutout Cookie
Rentals: American Party Place
Wedding Dress: Dream Dresses by PMN
Hair & Makeup: Natalie Kalini (Luxury Wedding Makeup Artistry)
Models: Anton and Dasha Sloboda
Jewelry: Blue Nile Diamond
The veil floating in the wind shot is timeless, isn't it? This bride said she wanted to keep her wedding classic and romantic and with these soft metallics and touches of that oh-so-trendy rose gold, it does the trick. The couple took notes from their location at Roche Harbor on San Juan island and incorporated rustic, beachy details to give it a soft, ocean-kissed feel. Shot by Caitlyn Nikula Photography. See full list of vendors below!
East Coast Meets West Coast: This wedding planner turned bride grew up in the East Coast, New York to be exact and the groom on the West Coast in Washington State. Their paths finally crossed when the bride trekked out west for college at the University of Puget Sound. It was on the West Coast where their love story started and where they got engaged. Then their story took them to the East Coast last fall for the groom to get his M.B.A. in Boston. But it was their love of the West Coast, specifically Roche Harbor (located on San Juan Island in Washington State) where these two wanted to say their I Dos.
Wedding Planner: Elegant Affairs
Photographer: Caitlyn Nikula Photography
Second Shooter: Delaney Brown
Videographer: Green Attic Films
Venue: Roche Harbor Resort
Florist: Bloom San Juan
Dessert: Pure Bliss Desserts
DJ: Miked Up Productions
Hair + Make-up: Kat Green Makeup Love
Transportation: Jolly Trolly
Bridal Glow: Divine Sunless (http://www.divinetan.com/)
Officiant: Greg Bradley (Bride’s Uncle)
Ceremony Musicians: Coral Marchant
Trumpet Performance: James Bradley (Cousin of Bride)
Lighting: Slava Caireac
Rentals: San Juan Shindigs
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Wedding Dress: Blue Sky Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN
Groom’s Tux: Calvin Klein
Groomsmen Tuxes: The Black Tux
Rehearsal Venue: Westcott Bay Shellfish Company
In this digital age, memories have become less fleeting. Especially with sacred wedding moments such as the first dance or that smile he wore when you walked down the aisle, preserving memories from your day means being able to reminisce for years to come.
Music can take you back. It is likely that you’ll put a lot of thought into each tune played at your wedding – from the first dance to the song that will get your friends out of their seats. Don’t let the beat go forgotten. Burn a CD or keep a digital playlist online (whichever way you are less likely to lose it). However way you choose to store your songs – you won’t have to worry about the music you’ll play during your next anniversary.
Digitally-produced photo albums have made it easier than ever to organize your snapshots. Pull the digital downloads from your photographer and load them up. Easy-to-use programs let you convert to black and white, make collages, add quotes and more. When compiling your pictures, keep it semi-organized in the order of the day (getting ready first, reception last). Your album will tell a story from beginning to end. This is your personal book, so focus on using the pictures that are most likely to make you laugh, smile or cry in the years to come.
It can be especially rewarding to see an event through someone else’s eyes. There are plenty of ways to include your guests in the preservation process. You can have your loved ones sign a guest book of warm wishes and advice before they leave, take photos on disposable cameras, or write down a memory.
After all the planning was said and done, brides reflected on their favorite moment from their big day. The moments that stuck out were simpler than expected, but filled with loved ones, gratitude and pure joy:
“My favorite moment was in between photos and the ceremony. Our photographer took us up Sunshine Canyon outside of Boulder, CO for some sunset photos. We parked his truck in a scenic spot, sat on the edge of the truck with a blanket, put on some Sorel boots and opened a bottle of champagne and toasted. The quiet moment at sunset was the perfect combination of beauty and remote scenery — the kind of spot that we seek in our every day. It calmed any nerves and allowed us a time alone to soak up the goodness of such a special day.” – Laura K.
“My highlight was the ceremony, specifically the vows. I had read them a few times before but never said them out loud. Looking into his eyes and saying my vows was way more emotional and meaningful than I could have ever imagined. A funny thing was both of our rings barely fit and it was such a struggle putting them on each other's fingers. The whole crowd was laughing with us and it was some nice comic relief.” – Emily C.
"My favorite memory of my wedding day is from the very end. Instead of dancing, which isn't really us, we had a bonfire at our small wedding. After the ceremony and the dinner were over, things settled down, and my husband and I sat snuggled up by the fire with our loved ones, listening to music and telling stories. It was a quiet moment in a whirlwind of a day, where I got to sit with the man I loved and really appreciate that we were officially in this life together forever." – Kara D.
“I think for me the biggest thing was just stepping back and looking at everyone who came that day! Looking around the room at all of the people we love most in the same place made my heart swell! Taking a second to breathe during the craziness of the day and really take in the love and joy of everyone who came to celebrate me was one of the most incredible moments!” – Olivia F.
“One of my favorite memories from our wedding was not something that I expected while we were planning our day. When my husband and I were announced into our reception and saw all of our friends and family gathered to celebrate us, we were absolutely overwhelmed with love. I had tunnel vision during the ceremony, too excited to marry the love of my life, so once we got to see all of the people who had poured into our lives, we lost it! Our goal during planning was to throw a big party with all of our friends, which helped us not to get caught up in the small details. It was a day straight from our dreams.” – Breanna D.
Congratulations! You just got engaged. There is a lot to do, but don’t think it all has to happen at once. You have some time to figure out the details. Here is what you should focus on right away.
1. Enjoy the moment
You just got engaged! Make sure not to obsess too much on the expenses, dates or getting everything done right now. Enjoy the moment you two are in, and the journey that awaits you. Chances are you’ve thought about your big day before. Discuss the wedding of your dreams and bask in how exciting it’ll all be.
2. Start small
Ok, now you can start crunching the numbers. What is that budget going to look like? Make a rough estimate of where you two want to go money-wise. What are the things you are willing to splurge on and areas where you could save?
3. Pick a season
Decide when this grand event should take place. Do you want a summer wedding or a backdrop of amber and gold leaves?
4. Size it up
The cost of your wedding mostly depends on the number of people who will see you walk down the aisle. Do you and your partner foresee an intimate wedding of close family and friends or a ballroom filled with everyone you know? Start by each making a list of who you absolutely must have, and then a bit more. Get an estimate – you can start scaling it down once you start looking at possible venues.
5. Think about engagement photos
Go ahead and schedule your engagement photo session. These photos are fun to post on social media and, of course, to use for save-the-dates. Many wedding photographers offer a package that include engagement photos. See our section on why we recommend hiring a professional on page 14.
1. Start out sprinting
Go ahead and start planning a little – it’s part of the fun! But don’t stress yourself by trying to get venues, photographers and vows right away. You want to take your time and make sure you see all the options out there. A speedy decision could mean missing out on a better option down the road.
Staying tight lipped about your proposal isn’t going to be easy. But until the people closest to you get a visit or a phone call (don’t forget grandma!) the not-so-close friends on social media can wait.
3. Make promises
It is easy to get caught up in everyone’s fantasy for your wedding. Your best friend might have the best idea for a color scheme and your mom might know just where you should book the venue, but at the beginning, make sure you’re just listening instead of jumping into anything too soon.
4. Plan the party
Don’t start sharing the big news and handing out titles for bridesmaids or maid of honor too soon. Talk to your spouse about who they are thinking of including, figure out numbers and take your time before handing anyone a bouquet.
5. Shop and stop
The perfect wedding dress could be the first one you find, but unless you’re absolutely sure, be careful in writing that check too soon. Feel free to go shopping early on, but look at your options before deciding on the dress. Compare prices at different locations and shop around so you know you’ve found the perfect gown.