The Marriage License, the part that makes it legal, begins with a lump in the throat as you stand in line at the county offices. If you go online, you can find out all of the do’s and don’ts involved before you go. At some point it must seem that it’s all coming at you kind of fast. So you get that done and you put it in a safe spot for the wedding day.
In the meantime, you and your officiant should have a short conversation about when you will sign the license. Some people sign it the day before and don’t have to mess with it at all on the wedding day. Others will have to be pulled out of their adoring crowd to sign it on a small, wobbly table before their officiant can leave… there will be photos taken, right? Or they go deep into the back of the church to sign in the daycare room while the crowd waits to throw flower petals… meanwhile, your limo waits.
Photographically, I really enjoy the ceremonies where the couple signs the license at the alter… it is an opportunity to make some very genuine and emotional pictures. You are so much in the moment here and your entire crowd can watch it become real. If you choose this route, please make sure your photographer is aware so that she can be in the right place when it happens.
Oh, and don’t leave the license at home… that just frustrates everybody. ;0)
The question that gets asked is “When should we do our family and wedding party photos?” The answer that you will hear from me is, do them ahead of the ceremony if you can… with very few exceptions it is the best route for a wedding day full of emotional truths.
Look at it this way, if all of the planned group photos are done beforehand, then you both get to enjoy your crowd fully and immediately… that makes them happy, too. ;0) Imagine the difference between that and having to disconnect for an hour of family shots!
How about the portraits of just the two of you, you ask? Spend some time with your people and, depending on the light, take a little time for some romantic portraits. You will be breathing again by then and relaxed enough to be in the moment for some very special images.
Just about every wedding has a timeline that will allow a couple of short sessions in sweet light… your photographer should line out the times that might work best for your particular day. Trust me… you won’t regret having made the effort. Years from now you will have those lovely pictures of the two of you… forever young and so very much in love.
Oregon is a paradise for August weddings… it’s a golden time of year, here. In central Oregon, it is doubly so.
Amanda and Hansford got married at the Crag Rat Hut just outside of Parkdale. It’s not a fancy place but it has a very cool vibe dating from the 1920’s and is perfect for any adventurous outdoor types. These two had a close set of family and friends join them for the afternoon and Mt. Hood was right there to enjoy their party, too. We watched the light changing on the mountain all through the day… it made for a very elegant backdrop.
In August weddings, the best light is a little after dinner so we trekked down the hill after a grand feast and after pie… a great excuse to stretch a bit after all that food. In the process we took about 20 minutes of sweet portraits in that golden light and they got to have a little time to themselves out of my earshot. I think it’s pretty important that all couples get a little time out of the crowd and out of my hearing to just marvel at the day… it’s a very sweet and personal time.
Maybe it’s the lemur in me for posting this on a chilly Spring day but I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world!
Glamour is something you recognize when you see it. Even a space can have a glamour to it.
Tiffany and Jon wanted to have their first meeting on the rooftop of The Nines so off we went. We did several in the bright September sun with Portland laid out around us. To get to that section of the roof, we had walked through this very dark, breezy space with tall, billowing panels of gauzy fabric. It was sort of trippy and it registered in the back of my mind as something interesting but we were on a tight schedule and she wanted the sunny roof. We did a few more in the restaurant and then it was time to get back to the lobby for the family pictures. We walked by this breezy passage on our way back to the elevators and I got to see it differently. It stopped me in my tracks! I knew if we didn’t do it, it might not look like that if we came back later.
I asked Tiffany to stand in the space and to hold very still… I was working without a tripod and knew that flash would ruin what I was seeing so I turned my shutter way down and leaned hard into that wall. She did her elegant best and we have this glamorous piece as our prize.
A professional photographer will see the possibilities and know how to make them work… count on it. ;0)
You can’t say no to a bride… you just can’t. So when my young wedding party asked me to do a jumping picture I did my level best to make it a good one. It’s not in my professional nature to request silly shots or overly posed pictures… my usual approach is much more editorial. I imagine, though, that this crowd of friends will remember many parts of this day and wonder how they ever jumped so high! ;0)
October in Oregon gives us some glorious days of wild suspense… in the hour drive from Portland to Yamhill, we passed through many types of weather. As a long time professional, I have learned to keep my eyes open on the way rather than make too many set plans ahead of time… it keeps me open to the possibilities.
Brooke and John got ready for their vineyard wedding at a friend’s beautiful home… as we drove up the driveway, I decided to ask if they might like the idea of the gate-keeper pumpkins for their wedding party shot. Turns out it was just right. ;0)
Kirsi was the bridesmaid with the sweetest smile at an early wedding in 2007. Three months later, I was pleased to see her standing up for another bride of mine… both crowds were great. When she called last year to tell me she and Tony were getting married, it honestly felt like a family connection.
Fast forward to 2010 and we have a fine, if damp, day at Edgefield… there are happy, familiar faces everywhere. The theme is mushrooms… programs and table decorations taken from their hobby of mushroom hunting. Tony likes photographing the various exotics he finds in the wilds of our beautiful Pacific Northwest and, of course, they harvest the edibles.
Some of the most beautiful mushrooms are communal by nature… I think it’s interesting that these two found each other in a shared circle of friends. Continue reading →