SW Portland has a lovely secret garden in an old, elegant neighborhood. I will not identify it here because it is a somewhat untrammeled space with neighbors who might like to keep it that way. On an early September afternoon, I had the pleasure of working with Sara and Kathleen and their wonderfully attentive crowd of family and friends. Anyone peeking into that garden was seeing a sumptuous feast and a lot of relaxed, friendly conversations… a perfect combination.
As the day moved towards twilight, the toasting glasses waved in the softer light. At any wedding, you can gauge the deep friendships as you listen to the little gasps and laughing during the toasts, especially with an open mic. This couple has earned the love of their people and it was great to witness that.
At the end of the day, #LoveWins is not just a hashtag. It is an abiding truth and no one should have the desire or the power to interfere.
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…”
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a prospective bride for next year. She said she was going to treat her wedding like a theatrical piece… if it were just about her and her man, they’d elope and call it good. She has decided to put on the “play” for their family and friends… to do it up right for them. To be fair, she teaches theatre to high schoolers so it’s how her mind works but, honestly, it’s a great way to look at a wedding. You write the script, design the set and hire some help for behind the scenes. The two of you also get to choose the players AND an appreciative audience… how cool is that?!
I love it that most of my clients are real and grounded people… they have a solid idea of what they want their wedding to be and the reviews are usually stellar by all accounts. ;0)
A thank you to Mr. Shakespeare for a marvelous quote, as always.
Remember when wedding photos were kind of stodgy? Attitudes have changed over the years in the best way!
Posing a wedding party used to be about symmetry and well dressed people on their best behaviour… the men all on one side with their hands folded in front and the women all turned just so with their matching bouquets lined up. I have worked a little against this for many years, trying to fit it to each client’s need for their real friends vs the staged lineup. The prevailing attitudes have brought a wonderful sense of fun to the whole process. These days, I’ll do one or two staged set ups for the older generations but if I can get the wedding party or the family groups to play in front of my camera, I feel like I have done my job very well. Many years down the road, you should be able to look back at these pictures of your family and friends and recognize them as the fabulous people in your tribe… not just a well dressed group you happen to know.
I’m hoping there will be a day soon when the brides and grooms follow their own hearts instead of blindly checking off a list in a magazine… make the day your own and have a blast!
Engagement photos can happen anytime… the rules have become much more relaxed and I’m fine with that. These guys, Gary and Steven, jumped the date for legal same sex weddings in Oregon by getting married in Vancouver last Spring. We all went to the courthouse and did the less romantic version to get the wedding done. Now, at the end of October, they will throw a great party for their family and friends. What has been missing in all of this was a chance to take portraits of the two of them in any kind of relaxed and sweet fashion. At the beginning of July, we spent a couple of hours at the Pittock Mansion in an attempt to give them something to hold for the rest of their lives… pictures to frame and take their place on the mantle piece where the rest of their special photographs live…. something to say, look, we are truly a couple and this is a reminder for all time.
Some people will tell you that engagement photos have to happen when you get engaged but that just isn’t the case. Sweet portraits can happen before or after or anywhere in between. It just doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have two people in love and the chance to put that on paper at some point in the relationship. For me, I have had the pleasure to get to know two very nice people and now I get to cover their party in a couple of weeks… how cool is that?
The first dance as newlyweds is always pretty special. As I watched Shannon and Amos twirling across the floor at the Armory, their smiles kept getting brighter and, soon, the whole crowd was smiling with them. That kind of happy is contagious and that is a good thing. ;0)
I know that when we think of destination weddings, we think of places other than Portland but if the couple and most of the guests are coming in from out of town, that makes this a destination wedding, right? That means our job as local vendors is to make these people happy to be here. Portland’s Armory, also known as the Gerding Theater at the Armory, is a fine place to stage a wedding. I must confess that I was surprised to have a mid-July couple having an indoor event… so many of our local couples are hell bent on vineyards and gardens for their summer nuptials because the weather is finally ready to cooperate. This couple, from New York, were actually quite lucky to be at the Armory… that weekend was one of our recent high 90°s spells. Once inside this sturdy old building, everyone was very comfortable.
A first dance in a cool and interesting space filled with your family and friends… what’s not to like? Come talk to me if you are planning a wedding… there is plenty of information to share. ;0)
Last Friday found me at Sellwood’s tiny, historic Oak’s Pioneer Church listening to one of the more personal wedding ceremonies I have heard in a long while. Lisa and Tom both spoke from the alter before the vows… they told the crowd how they met and they talked about their first couple of dates. We heard how he included her sons into their early relationship and how she did the same with his grown children. The best part, though, and the reason for this post, was when Lisa turned to the crowd and said “We could have had a big wedding… we could have invited family and friends and acquaintances but we wanted, more than anything, to share this day with you… our families and our closest friends.” It was evident to me through the rest of the evening that they were, indeed, surrounded by people who really loved them. The party was held at a beautiful home on N Ainsworth Street… crammed to the rafters with good food and happy people. The couple dancing in the living room are the lady of the house and her son… tell me that does’t look like a good time!
If you are looking for real and personal wedding photography, you might want to take a few minutes to check out my work… I’d be happy to show you around. ;0)
The answer is to surround yourselves with family and friends and bring your very full hearts to the table. I can’t tell you what a beautiful day this was but the pictures can! That was possible because Jac and Drew brought it all to the party. This was a back yard wedding of the very best kind and I am so pleased to have been a part of it.