Tag Archives: Lan Su Chinese garden

Because… Portland Weddings


Portland weddings abound in September. I’m sure it’s partly because the weather is a bit more predictable… also might be because the flurry of summer schedules is coming to a close. In any case, this is the time of year Portland’s wedding photographers are seeing some of the work start to stack up. Whenever I have a queue of brides and grooms lined up, I try to send out a couple of teasers to make the waiting a little easier. These went out this week to three great couples who had September weddings. Not only do they have to wait their turn, they also have to wait for me to take a short honeymoon… how’s that for tables turned? ;0)


Hanna & Caitlin are proud members of the Lan Su Chinese Garden so it made perfect sense that their Portland wedding take place there. The Lion Dancers are incredible!


Tracey and Michael had an intimate day starting at Cathedral Park and moving to a cozy and sumptuous feast at The Dekum Firehouse… of course, everyone will enjoy the story of the pole dancers that day… they were wonderful about letting us get the wedding done before setting up their rig in our line of sight. I am amazed that they can do what they do!!


So Lucile and Scott had to do a work around the street protesters, the riot police and the Malhuer vigil… it was supposed to be a simple Friday afternoon courthouse wedding in downtown Portland… we did some sweet pictures but I wish they were taking me with them for their Paris wedding this weekend… she is from France and most of the small crowd spoke no English… it was a blast trying to talk to her dad about our respective cameras. ;0)

I love my job… it’s rarely the same twice.
If you’re getting married, I can guarantee you a good conversation about what to expect!

Walking to your Wedding


Walking to your wedding can be pretty cool. Think about it… maybe it’s just the two of you and your photographer walking from the Nines Hotel to the Chinese Garden. Maybe you have a cool and cloudy day and you have to carry a wrap but nothing else. Maybe your photographer is carrying just the amount of gear she needs for the walking, knowing that her big bag is being dealt with by her assistant who is also moving the car. Meanwhile, your bridal party and family are moving towards the garden, too, bringing all of your stuff. The posed pictures have been done and we have timed it so that you have some spare time to play.

All this means that for about a half an hour, the three of you are making interesting personal images and getting used to each other before you join the rest of your crowd and before the nerves kick back in for the ceremony. There was the stop at the gate to China Town and then the quick dip into Voodoo Doughnuts followed by some sultry shots at the adult theatre with the old marquee lights. Then, just as you were getting a little worried about the time, that nice Pedicab driver gave you a free lift the last four blocks to the garden… just because. ;0)

Portland was a destination wedding for these two and they wanted to be sure to put some Portland into their day… this was a small but heartfelt chance to do just that.

Weddings rock!

Love For the Ages


Love rules at any age. All the sweeter to find it later in your life… all the more wonderful to find it in a best friend. These two, their friendship goes way back… you could tell by listening to the toasts from people they have known since school. I got a real sense of their younger selves that night. I believe that the inner person ages much differently than the outer parts and I think it takes a long time for some younger people to “get” that. What I see in most older couples is a much clearer sense of self and a true trust in each other.

Kat and Roger called me about two weeks before they were to be married… since they live in the Virgin Islands, there was a shifting set of plans and it finally settled in at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Instead of using the bridge, where countless ceremonies take place, they chose the beautiful Scholar’s Courtyard for their intimate crowd. It was just right!

Love is sweet in front of my camera… come see me, ok?

Suspended in Time


Dave was lost in thought a few times as he got dressed for his wedding on that rainy day in May. He was paying close attention to the details so I tried not to intrude very much. There is a process to dressing, yes, but you can bet there is a process to getting ready to get married… an interior conversation that goes on. His best man and his father were in the other part of the suite and we could hear the comfortable humor of two men who were there for back-up. Pretty soon the four of us were downstairs in the library of the Nines Hotel… the men began playing pool while they waited for the women.

Upstairs, Tricia was smiling and sharing sake with her mom and sister… her mood happily contagious. When her dress was finally finished, I asked if she was ready to go see Dave. Her answer was purely visible… a twinkle of an almost tear in her eyes.

There was an amazing day ahead of them…the unexpected stop at the 24 Hour Church of Elvis and the quick drop into Voodoo Donuts before arriving at the Lan Su Chinese Garden… all of the details and flavors of the day swirling through my cameras. I am sure they will never forget their lovely and lucky wedding. ;0)

Before the Crowds


Lan Su Chinese Gardens is a very special walled garden in Portland. It is a lush and intimate space full of bamboo, lotus flowers and beautiful koi swimming in the small lake. One of the things to know about Lan Su is that you can’t go in until the garden is closed to the public so most weddings have a fairly late start and a very tight set-up time for the vendors. Luckily, the vendors are used to it and any of the professional photographers who have worked there know what they will be working around. With Katie and Thomas, we spent a little time outside the wall for some of our extended portrait session… this one is one of my very favorite images from that afternoon. By the time we went into the garden for the more iconic settings, this one had settled into my brain with it’s easy elegance.

I am a local professional and I am at your service. ;0)

Lions in the Garden


Sweet fortune and good luck will surely follow Katie and Thomas in their marriage… that is the gift of the lions.

Last Saturday, there was a large and festive wedding at Lan Su Chinese Garden… there were Taiko Drummers at the entrance to welcome the guests and a little before sunset, the Lion Dancers snaked into the lush greenery of the garden to perform for the happy couple. It was a first for me and it was wonderful! I saw small children looking fascinated and worried while the older folks were smiling at this ghost from their pasts… all of this to the loud drums and cymbals… you can look at photographs of it but I think it’s best experienced close up, in person. In a perfect world, everyone would see each other’s traditions… seems like it would make for a better understanding. ;0)

Thank you to Portland Lee’s Association for this great performance!