Taylor proposed to Rachel early this year. During his proposal he gave her a card. It said “Because she said yes.” Back up just a little bit to 100 days earlier. Taylor began creating cards he gave to Rachel every day for 100 days; on each card he typed a reason he loved her. On day 100 he gave her the card that said “Because she said yes.” After the proposal, Taylor’s mom, Nicole, asked “How did you time it perfectly to be 100 cards?” and Taylor’s reply was “It was the first one I typed.” (Cue the tissues.)
Rachel+Taylor were married on Saturday at Taylor’s family’s Big Lake lakefront residence in Mount Vernon, Washington. What a gorgeous place for a wedding. It was perfect. Everything came together flawlessly with the help of all of their family and friends.
Rachel+Taylor chose to have a First Look and see each other before their wedding ceremony. This First Look was amazing. One quick look at each other and they embraced so tightly for a long time. Just held each other like they never wanted to let go. It was really very touching.
After their touching ceremony overlooking the lake, we snuck away for a few portraits, signed their marriage license and they were greeted by their guests with a applause and cheers. Lunch was served, followed by their first dance on the lawn, some shenanigans with the cake cutting (let’s just say Rachel won) and beautiful toasts.
As Rachel+Taylor left the wedding, they were surrounded by their family and friends who lined up in a tunnel to send them off. In the cutest move of the day, Rachel popped her head up through the sunroof to wave good-bye as they drove away.
Rachel+Taylor, I wish with all of my heart that you have a wonderful life together. Much love to you!
Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Second Photographer: Ashley Berryessa
Venue: Private Residence on Big Lake, Mount Vernon
Hair+Makeup: Escape Salon
Wedding Coordination: Nova Kelley
Florist: Haggen Supermarket
Dress: David’s Bridal
Rentals: Total Rental
Bakery: Borracchini’s Bakery
When I first met Kamiya+Tania early this year, I immediately knew I wanted so badly to photograph their wedding. They are the sweetest, most caring, beautiful people and I really felt like I “clicked” with them. They asked if I had ever photographed a same-sex wedding, which I hadn’t but I was dying to. I was on cloud 9 when I got the call from them to book me.
This is a wedding I’ve been waiting for all summer. These gorgeous, amazing women celebrating their love, an iconic Seattle location at Georgetown Ballroom, one of my great friends, Tara Brown, as my second shooter. It was like all of the stars aligned for this amazing day.
On the day of Kamiya+Tania’s wedding, the skies opened up and it poured like I hadn’t seen in a long time (especially during the summer here in Seattle). There was lightning and thunder. It was a stormy mess outside. But it didn’t phase them. We rolled on with the day and let the rain do its thing.
Kamiya+Tania’s ceremony was officiated by Julie Cooper. It was warm and real and funny and really fit Kamiya+Tania to a T. After Jumping the Broom, an African-American tradition, they had their first kiss and a rousing round of applause. Their night rounded out with a delicious dinner, toasts, cake and a fantastic party with dancing (thanks to DJ Marc Sense). The rain finally cleared late into the evening, just in time for guests to enjoy the gorgeous back patio and late-night treats from the hot dog cart.
I am so honored to have been there on your wedding, Kamiya+Tania. I adore you both and wish you the most happiness ever.
Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Second Photographer: Tara Brown
Hotel: Alexis Hotel
Venue: Georgetown Ballroom
Wedding Coordinator: Yuisa Medina
Officiant: Julie Cooper
Cake/Desserts: The Sweet Side
DJ: DJ Marc Sense
Hair & Makeup: Tanya Hair and Makeup
Dress: Happy Bride / Designer: Casablanca
Suits/Tuxes: Benita’s Bridal Formal Tuxedo
I first met Sammi+Mike in April, months after they booked me to photograph their wedding. What a pleasant surprise. This truly sweet couple were married last weekend in Woodinville at Mike’s parents’ home. I couldn’t have hand-picked kinder, more authentic, real people myself.
Sammi+Mike chose to have a First Look before their wedding ceremony and we found the perfect little place down a trail by the creek in the Anderson’s back yard. It was a private nook in the forest for them to have a special moment just to themselves before the rest of the day’s events. Sammi looked so gorgeous with her hair and makeup done by Hanna Mazur.
Sammi’s Grandfather, Ed Womack, officiated their wedding ceremony, which made it so much more personal, warm and sentimental. Ed is just about the sweetest grandfather – I might ask him to be mine. Just after the ceremony, the rain finally came. We’d been watching it all day, hoping the skies would stay clear. In the end it only sprinkled for five or so minutes and we were very happy.
After a scrumptious dinner catered by Twelve Baskets Catering, toasts by Sammi’s maid of honor, Nancy, and Mike’s best man, Sunil, Sammi+Mike took to the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. The night rounded out with lawn games and an after party at the fire pit, complete with cozy sofas, soft warm blankets and s’mores!
Sammi+Mike, thank you for having me be a part of your wedding day. You are a beautiful couple and your wedding was truly lovely. Best to you.
Sammi wore Mike’s Grandmother’s pearls on her wedding day. They were stunning.
Sammi’s hair and makeup was done by none other than the amazing Hanna Mazur.
Sammi+Mike had a beautiful private First Look in the woods behind the Anderson Residence.
This bridal party was a dream to work with.
Everyone was talking about how amazing this cake by Kelly Trace was.
The after party was held at the Anderson Family’s fire pit, complete with comfy couches, cozy blankets and s’mores!
Last pic of the night – always with the newlyweds.
Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Planner: Carol Anderson (Groom’s Mother)
Hair+Makeup: Hanna Mazur, Hair & Makeup
Catering: Twelve Baskets Catering
DJ: Sound City Players
Cake: Kelly Trace
Officiant: Ed Womack (Bride’s Grandfather)
There were more than a couple moments at Amy+Oren’s Axis Pioneer Square wedding in Seattle this past weekend that brought a tear to my eye. I can’t help it sometimes. Their wedding day was simply lovely and I loved being a part of it.
One evening seven years ago, her friends encouraged a reluctant Amy to go out. It was that night she met Oren at The Little Red Hen in Seattle. The very same day Oren had accepted a job in San Francisco. The rest is history. The day of their wedding was actually the 7th anniversary of their very first date.
Amy, her Mother and Bridesmaids got ready for the big day at the Alexis Hotel in their super cool EMP room. I like to call it the Rock’n Roll Room. The lovely Hanna Mazur did all of their hair and makeup and the ladies looked stunning. Once Amy was all ready we took her to meet her groom. After the First Look, the entire wedding party walked down to Occidental Square near the wedding and reception venue, Axis, for photos. And stopped along the way to play ping pong in The Square. What is a wedding day if you don’t play ping pong in a public square.
Before the wedding ceremony, Amy+Oren signed their Ketubah, a traditional Jewish marriage contract in a separate ceremony with family (first time I cried). At their marriage ceremony, their family read the Shevah Brachot, The Seven Blessings, read by Amy’s Parents, Sister, and Oren’s Parents, Sisters and family (second time I cried). And they were announced to be husband and wife. The final time I cried during the day was as the family was processing from the ceremony, Oren’s parents were hugging each other so tightly, with so much emotion, it actually took my breath away. Erica, from Two Birds Events, and I both burst into tears.
The night rounded out with a delicious dinner by Ravishing Radish and dancing with music from Bamboo Beats.
Amy+Oren, thank you for inviting me into your special day. I’m honored beyond words.
much love and happiness to you both – Cheryl xoxo
Amy, her Mother and Bridesmaids got ready at the Alexis Hotel in Seattle. Their gorgeous hair and makeup were done by none other than the amazingly talented Hanna Mazur.
In addition to her beautiful diamond engagement ring, Amy also wore her Grandmother’s ring on her wedding day.
Oren waiting for his bride for their First Look.
Amy+ Oren in their first portraits.
Along the way to Axis the wedding party stopped in Occidental Square and Amy+Oren played a little ping pong – because what else do you do on your wedding day?
I simply die over these portraits.
The bridal bouquet and all of the floral arrangements for the day were created by July Floral and they were gorgeous with their rich jewel tones.
Amy+Oren signed a Ketubah, a traditional Jewish marriage contract.
The traditional Jewish wedding ceremony was truly lovely, with an heirloom Huppah from Oren’s family and poles hand crafted by Amy and her father.
The wedding cake by The Sweet Side featured a hand sculpted likeness of Amy+Oren’s cute dog, Frankie.
One of my favorite parts of the day – the Horah.
Cute pic with Amy+Oren.
Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Event Planning: Two Birds Events (amazing!)
Ceremony+Reception Venue: Axis Pioneer Square
Hotel: Alexis Hotel
Floral Design: July Floral
Catering: Ravishing Radish
DJ: Bamboo Beats
Rentals: Prop Gallery
Photo Booth: Two Birds Events
Cake+Dessert Bar: The Sweet Side
Live Music: Kesselgarden Klezmer Duo
Hair+Makeup: Hanna Mazur, Makeup Artist
Second Photographer/Videographer: Anna Gordon
Richelle+Robert’s Seattle Yacht Club wedding was filled with Family and Fun. They wed on the lawn overlooking Portage Bay and the beautiful boats – those that were not out celebrating Seafair. Richelle+Robert met through online dating and their first date turned ending up being 8 hours! A couple of years later they said their own personally-written vows in front of their family, friends and their children that meant so much.
Robert’s father has been a member of the Seattle Yacht Club for over 60 years and it is a gorgeous venue. But to add to the beauty, the floral design by DeLaurenti Florist, done by Robert himself, made the day feel incredibly special. In soft pinks, creams and purples, the bouquets, arrangements and even adorable floral crowns for Richelle’s daughters.
Richelle+Robert, I wish you the happiest of marriages and a long, beautiful life together. I am so honored to be a part of your wedding.
lots of love to you both, Cheryl
Robert presented Richelle with a special gift of a gorgeous diamond bracelet on the morning of their wedding. Richelle wore it all day long and smiled every time she looked at it.
Richelle and her two beautiful daughters wearing their lovely floral crowns from DeLaurenti Florist.
Richelle+Robert wrote their own vows that were personal and very special.
Can you even get over this cute flower girl, plopped down in front of the bridesmaids for most of the ceremony.
One of the things I love so much about Richelle+Robert is their fun, playful spirits.
Richelle’s daughter, Emily gave an emotional toast well beyond her 18 years.
Richelle+Robert and their guests moved the party into the ballroom at the Seattle Yacht Club to dance to the music provided by DJ Ken Quarels.
Who can resist a pic with the bride+groom? Not me.
Photographer: Cheryl Ford Photography
Venue+Catering: Seattle Yacht Club
Cake+Cupcakes: Jenn’s Sweetcakes
Officiant+DJ: Ken Quarels
Floral: DeLaurenti Florist
Gown: Alfred Angelo
Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse
Invitations: Perfect Press
Hair: Joya Nguyen
One of the best parts about running your own business is that, for the most part, you work whenever you want. One of the worst parts of running your own business is that you end up working all the time. You don’t have any set hours. You work a lot on the weekends and then during the week you just keep working. Sort of feels like you are just working all day every day. So this summer as things are starting to get pretty crazy with my schedule, I am planning my time off – usually a full day – most weeks until things calm down . . . think October. I’ll also have days where I clown around some or meet a friend for coffee or go shopping. But I always end up working too. I have gone through and planned my time off throughout the summer. Some weeks I just can’t do it and some weeks I can. But those days off I am going to treasure.
This past week I spent my full day off going for a beautiful hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge with my friend Tara Brown. And then going for a gigantic breakfast at one of my favorite places in North Bend, Tweed’s. The rest of the day I had a pedicure and did a bit of shopping. My only issue was my very sore and hurting knees from that hike. I am not conditioned for that kind of exercise for sure! I have to schedule this time off or I won’t take it.
+Hike up Rattlesnake Ledge (see above).
+A weekend up at Camano Island with friends. Full of relaxation, laughs, wine, fishing, and good food!
+Meeting new photography friends and getting super excited to second shoot next weekend out in North Bend right at the foot of Mt. Si. Can’t wait!
+Movies with the girls. At Cinebarre. With wine. And Fried Pickles!
+My closet is so clean!
+Hurting knees from hike up Rattlesnake Ledge (see above).
+It hurts me to say it but I saw the movie Aloha with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams last weekend and it might just be the worst moving I’ve seen in the theater in years. Definitely wasn’t my jam.
+During my de-cluttering (see below), I feel like there is a lot of out place in my house or left to deal with during another phase. Things feel a little cluttery right now, unfortunately.
+The amount of time I spent looking for my own little slice of heaven on Camano Island after spending another wonderful weekend at a friend’s place.
+The amount of clothes and books I got rid of during the first 2 phases of my de-cluttering. If you haven’t already, check out the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. And start your own tidying up.
+I am so grateful for this gorgeous, amazing area I live in where there are mountains and trees for miles and miles.
+Breakfast food. It makes me so happy. Hashbrowns in particular. And eggs. And bacon.
+The soothing sound of Annie’s snoring throughout the day as she sleeps right by my desk. P.S. Annie is a beagle.
+Speaking of Annie, our neighbor called us the other morning saying she saw Annie running up our hill. I didn’t hear the message until 2 hours later. We panicked! Annie is a runner and if she had a 2-hour lead, we’d never see her again. But she was in our backyard sniffing around. I’m grateful for neighbors who care enough to call us even when it wasn’t even our dog.
I have favorite parts of weddings. I love the first kiss, a first look, the father-daughter dances. Those are all special small moments that I can capture on my camera. But the one thing about weddings that I think I find most enriching for me is the ceremony. While I’m quietly stalking around getting different angles and big shots of the ceremony space and the mother of the bride dabbing away her tears, I am listening. I listen to wedding ceremonies intently. I hear what is being said and I take so much away from that part of a wedding day. Some wedding ceremonies are light and fun, some are serious and solemn and it doesn’t matter which type of ceremony is it, I always, always come away with something.
The last wedding I was at, I was second shooting for the lovely Cassie Pepper. The ceremony was officiated by the groom’s cousin and much of it was light and fun. And then she read this super sweet poem that I spent about 3 hours looking for on the internet the next day. I’m not a poetry girl by nature and a lot of times when a poem is read I start to hear the parents and teachers from Charlie Brown. But this was so sweet and simple and such a lovely picture of the future for a newly married couple.
The Future – by Emma Salmon
In my future I see you and me,
And a house and garden filled with trees.
I see dinner parties surrounded by friends,
And a vegetable patch we love to tend.
I see cosy nights in front of the fire,
And a four-poster bed for when we tire.
I see our kitchen which will be the heart of the home,
And a Victorian bath brimming with foam.
I see muddy wellies by the front door,
And the kids eating cookies and asking for more.
I see nights in the garden camping under the stars,
And shelves full of mismatching local jam jars.
I see family picnics outside with the dog,
And a little blue shed containing the logs.
I see us sat by the window watching the snow,
And reading the papers and learning to grow.
I see pictures of family in quirky frames,
And letters on the kids’ doors spelling out their names.
I see laughter, pain, kisses and tears,
And helping each other to confront our fears.
I see you as my friend and also my lover,
Your confidant and your children’s mother.
I see a wonderful future for you and I,
And it’s cloaked in love until we die.
As many people know, I am a TOTAL sap at wedding ceremonies and this poem had me wiping away tears while I continued shooting and hoping my focusing system wouldn’t turn it’s back on me.
Save the Date cards are a fantastic way to announce your wedding to your family and friends. They can be particularly useful if you’re having a lot of guests coming in from out of town or if you’re having a destination wedding. Best to give your family and friends notice about potential travel arrangements they may need to make.
You can just send out a card without a photo but many people choose to use photos from an engagement session for their Save the Date cards. For my business, I choose to include Engagement Sessions with all of my wedding packages. It’s the best way for me to really get to know you, for you to really get to know me, for you to get comfortable being in front of the camera and know what to expect on your wedding day. And you’ll get beautiful photos from your session. Win-win!
If your wedding photographer doesn’t include engagement sessions in their wedding packages, ask if they offer them. You can expect a standard engagement session with a variety of images to cost a few hundred dollars. It really is worth the investment.
If you’re planning to send out Save the Date cards for your upcoming wedding, it’s best to start planning as early as you can. Save the Date cards should be sent out 6-9 months in advance of your wedding, or even a bit earlier if you’re having a destination wedding. Your guests appreciate knowing with plenty of lead time so they can plan their vacations or travel to attend your wedding.
Here are 3 tips for getting the best photos for your Save the Date cards
1. Location, Location, Location
What should we wear and where should we have it are the two most common questions I get about engagement sessions. I’m happy to suggest some pretty places for an engagement session but I’d prefer if my clients pick a location that’s special to them. Don’t be afraid to bring more of you as a couple to the session.
Was your first date a day hike and then that’s where he proposed? Perfect spot for an engagement session! Do you love baseball? How about a baseball field? I’ve seen sessions where couples have arranged to come into a major league baseball park when it’s empty for their session. What a cool idea. Do you love boating or sailing? Plan your session on a sailboat. I’d love to go on a sailboat. Get creative.
Don’t be afraid to do something or be somewhere you love. When you share this part of you on your Save the Date cards, you tell your family and friends more about you as a couple.
2. Top Tips
Engagement sessions don’t have to be boring or nerve-wracking. Here are a few ways to ensure success at your engagement session and get the best photos:
- Be Yourself – If you are a goofy person, be goofy. If you are a serious or conservative person, own it. Be who you are. If you’re soft and romantic, work it. When you are being yourself, you will be more at ease.
- Relax – A lot of people are nervous in front of the camera. It’s normal. If you’re particularly nervous, go have a cocktail before your session to help with the jitters. (Notice I said A cocktail – don’t have 6 cocktails.) Take a few deep breaths or go for a walk beforehand. It’ll be easier for you to relax.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Show Affection – This is a Be Yourself thing. Don’t hold back from snuggling, hugging, holding hands or kissing during your session. Is it awkward at first to be kissing in front of a camera? A little I guess, but you can do this!
- Have Your Hair and Makeup Professionally Done – Ladies, want to know the number one way you can feel more confident and sexy during your engagement session? Have your hair and makeup professionally done beforehand. You’ll feel glamorous and special and most importantly confident. And when you feel confident and beautiful, your photos will show that.
3. Save the Date Designs – The Chicken or the Egg
What comes first? Seeing your engagement session photos and then finding a perfect design that fits a photo you love. Or finding a cool design that you love and taking a picture to fit in that design?
I don’t know that either one is 100% correct. I think it’s sort of a combo-burrito. It doesn’t hurt to look at Save the Date designs and have a couple in mind that you really like. Share them with your photographer in case there is a special type of photo they will need to capture. But I caution you to not pick a Save the Date design that shows a photo in it and then ask the photographer to recreate that photo. It’s hard to do for so many reasons.
Maybe you selected a photograph where the couple is walking down a tree-lined path in the woods with gorgeous sun flare behind them. But you want your session at the beach where there are no paths or trees and you’re in the Pacific Northwest where I am and you wind up on an overcast day. Getting inspired by images is great. But you will never be in the same exact spot in the exact same light and the exact same time of day with the exact same weather as that ideal photo was taken.
Here are some examples to show how it can be helpful to share with your photographer what kind of designs you are liking and having the best opportunity to get the right photos:
If you love, say, the following design and you have your heart set on something like it (a full photo with large print covering most of the photo, your photographer may need to know so that they can make sure to take photos that aren’t super bright with a lot of white in the sky or ground or the words would become unreadable.
For this card, you need some fairly wide photos where the you’re smaller in the image so that you fill up each band in the design. If you only have photos up close of your faces, you would not be able to use this type of card.
This is a perfect example of a heart-shaped card that requires a special type of photo. Notice in the first example, the choices are to either lower the couple’s faces into the shape of the card which will end up with the words directly in front of their faces. But in the second example, the couple is over to the left side of the image and the words are able to be pushed to the right. By the way this heart card is ADORABLE!
This final example demonstrates that same concept. That not all photos are perfect for all designs. In the first example, the words run across the woman’s face. I don’t particularly like that. But in the second example, the couple’s faces are a bit higher in the frame with space for the words at the bottom.
So with all of that in mind, I’d recommend looking at designs before the session, sharing those ideas with your photographer and then work together to create something beautiful and unique to you.
By the way, one of my favorite sites for cards, invitations and overall cuteness is Paperless Post (all of the examples above are designs from Save the Date section of their site). I love how easy and quick it is to design a card that you can either send electronically or as a actual paper card through the U.S. Mail. Their designs are modern and fresh and you can customize almost everything about your card – including the color of the envelope and the liner inside the envelope (my favorite). Paperless Post has Wedding Invitations, thank you cards, birthday invitations and stationery, among other items and a great option for Save the Dates.
Pop over there and check it out.