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We had such a wonderful day with Alice+David at their Bell Harbor Wedding. I had the pleasure of second shooting with Brian David Casey for this gorgeous day.

The day began early with Alice and her bridesmaids getting ready for the big day. Alice had the cutest “Team Bride” knee socks, an accessory I hadn’t seen before. What a cute idea. Alice clearly had a vision for her wedding day and everything tied together beautifully. Even the bridesmaid’s satin robes fit the whole theme – soft rosy pink.

Once all of the ladies were ready, Alice got dressed in one of three amazing dresses she wore throughout the day. The first dress was a gorgeous red lace fitted gown with gold trimmings. It was truly stunning. David arrived and the two had their 1st First Look. David was also wearing a red traditional Chinese jacket and the two were so adorable seeing each other for the first time that day.

Everyone traveled from there to David’s parents’ home nearby for a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony. This was my first tea ceremony and I was so touched by how sweet it was. I love traditions. The respect given by the bride and groom to their family and the kindness, generosity and lovely advice brought a tear to my eye more than once.

Alice and David then changed into their wedding attire, a stunning tulle mermaid style wedding dress and David into a navy blue Tuxedo and had their 2nd First Look.

Off we all went for tons and tons of bridal portraits and bridal party photos at Kubota Garden and the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. I love that Alice and David planned for so much time in their wedding day for portraits and to spend time with their bridal party.

Their wedding ceremony was held in the Harbor Room at Bell Harbor – decorated beautifully with the soft pink and white flowers, crystals and draping along with gold chivari chairs for that extra little sparkle. After cocktail hour, the guests were invited back into the Harbor Room for a grand Wedding Reception. Dinner, toasts, cake cutting and dancing rounded out the rest of the evening.

Alice+David had the best First Dance together, a choreographed dance routine they had been practicing for months. Unfortunately there was a music malfunction near the end of their dance and they weren’t able to finish. Never fear though, they started over from the beginning and it was even better the second time. I still have their first dance stuck in my head, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Taolo. Great song!

Thank you to Brian David Casey for having me along to second shoot Alice+David’s wedding. It was a wonderful day.

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I have had the serious pleasure of photographing this family three times now over the past few years. Not only is Tracey the nicest person, kind and gentle, but her kids are charming, hilarious and so so fun!

We got together for their Bellevue Family Photography session at the Mercer Slough Park and the light was gorgeous! It took a little bit of a hike to get to the great spots along the trail and ultimately get to the bridge. Along the way we stopped to get photos of the family, their insanely cute dog, Tucker and photos of each of the kids. I think my favorites were late in the session when the kids were feeling a little restless and they let their guard down and I captured some of their real expressions and silliness. I love that! And I adore those photos probably more than any of the rest.

What is a true blessing about being a photographer is getting to see a family grow and change through the years. To create a bond with the parents and the kids. That’s what it’s all about.

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mini sessions 2016 fall theme

Announcing the theme for 2016 Mini Sessions. Fall Coziness. 

This year’s set will include bales of hay, blankets, pumpkins, fresh apples in baskets and lots of fall flowers.

Watch the blog, Facebook or Instagram for more details!

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dream wedding guests planning advice

dream wedding planning guests advice

Welcome Back to Part 10 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding. Over the course of these months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of your life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles:

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.


Your wedding day is YOUR WEDDING DAY. 100% I wholeheartedly agree with this. But, you already know that these statements always come with the proverbial “but.” Your wedding guests have come to share the day with you and deserve a bit of thought. Maybe they’ve traveled from a great distance to see you. They’ve probably bought you a gift. They love you or they wouldn’t be there. A great way to make sure you have a wonderful day is to ensure that those around you also have a great time. Being worried that your weddings guests are bored or actually seeing your wedding guests be bored can be really stressful. And we don’t want that. Stress=bummertown.

I’ve seen too many weddings where guests are standing around for a long time during cocktail hour or sitting around for a long time after dinner with nothing going on. I’ve seen guests bored out of their minds. You know what happens when guests are bored out of their minds? They leave. Super bummertown.

So how do you avoid this? The number one way you can avoid having your wedding guests get bored and leave is to keep things moving. Your timeline and the way you plan out your wedding day will have a lot to do with this. I am going to discuss timeline planning in the next section of this 12 part series and have some great tips for planning a wedding day timeline so be sure to come back for that.

Cocktail Hour:

In my humble opinion, a cocktail hour that is even one minute longer than an hour is too long for your wedding guests. You can avoid this easily: Have a First Look before the ceremony. Then, in addition to being able to do formal portraits and wedding party photos, you could also get the family photos out of the way before the ceremony. Talk about a stress reducer. Then that is all done, out of the way and after the ceremony, you know what you get to do? Enjoy the rest of the day or evening. And your guests won’t be standing around bored to tears.

I definitely still recommend having a few minutes alone after the ceremony with your newly betrothed and then head to your wedding reception.


Consider how long dinner service will take – realistically. Are you having a plated dinner? If you are, the question you need to ask is how many servers will be available so there isn’t a huge lag time between when the first and last guests are served. That means from the time you are served salad to the time your distant cousin, Marvin, is served his salad. More than 10 minutes difference for any one course is unacceptable and a recipe for wedding guest boredom. If it’s a buffet, how many people can go through the buffet at the same time? Is it one line? Two? Four? If you are having a large wedding, make sure there are multiple buffet stations.

Sidebar story: So I was at a wedding with 300 guests (I know big wedding – I don’t even know 300 people). There was one buffet table for food. ONE! From the time the first person went through the buffet line to the time the last person went through the buffet line (for the first time) was 1 hour and 45 minutes! 105 minutes. 1.75 hours. So, let me paint you a picture, some guests sat for an hour and 45 minutes, with nothing to do, while other people were eating. And once the first people ate, they sat for over an hour with nothing to do while the rest of the guests went through the buffet. (They also ran out of food by the time the last people went through but that’s a different story altogether.) The moral of the story is think about this and be respectful to your wedding guests.

Give Your Guests Something To Do:

There are tons of great ideas to entertain your guests while they are at cocktail hour or waiting for dinner service. I’ve seen classic games on the tables, fun mad libs about the bride and groom that the guests can do, cards asking for advice from guests to the bride and groom, a special performer (not like a clown – scary, I’m thinking musician). This would be a perfect place to go to the ever-powerful Pinterest and get some great ideas that will fit the style of your wedding. You may have to invest just a little more but your wedding guests really will thank you and when they’re having fun, it’s easier for you to also have fun.

A Good DJ or MC:

We’ve all been to that wedding with the annoyingly cheesy DJ – making inappropriate jokes and embarrassing the bride and groom. However, a good DJ or MC can really make a wedding reception fun and keep the reception moving along in your guests eyes. I don’t believe things have to go in a certain order but there is a flow that sort of makes sense and you can tweak it to fit what you want: Entrance, dinner, toasts, cake cutting, first dance, parent dances.


Yikes. This is a tough one for me to write. As someone who has heard A LOT of wedding toasts, it’s my least favorite part of the wedding day. I know your brother means well when he makes fun of the time you fell out of the tree and broke your arm and something hilarious happened, but for the 90% of guests at your wedding that don’t know that story, they don’t care. There I said it. They don’t care. It feels so good to get that off my chest! Seriously, you have no idea!

To keep a reception moving and interesting for your wedding guests, 3-4 toasts is the most you should have. And for Pete sakes, ask those toasting you to keep it under 5 minutes. The toasts at a recent wedding I attended took an hour and 20 minutes. One toast was 30 minutes. Dude, that’s too long. The guests were yawning. It was awkward. Enough said.

So this episode of 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding actually wasn’t about you, not really at all. And it sort of feels like a lecture. But I’m sort of OK with that. It’s important to consider others when you plan your wedding. Because in the end, knowing that your wedding guests are having a good time, not bored to tears and don’t just up and leave will help you have a great day.

And that’s ultimately what this series is all about.

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It was such an honor to be a part of the lovely Snohomish wedding of Jessica and Sean. I photographed this wedding for my dear friend Joanna Monger of Joanna Monger Photography as the day of Jess and Sean’s wedding was Joanna’s actual due date of her 3rd child, Sophia. Their wedding was held at Jessica’s parents’ home, where Jessica had grown up way out in the depths of Snohomish. It was a beautiful, peaceful setting and it seemed so perfect for Jess and Sean.

All week we had watched the weather, hoping it would not rain despite the forecast. On the day of the wedding, we watched the radar and the hour by hour and the minute by minute weather forecasts and for a bit it really looked like the weather would cooperate for their wedding day. But finally, an hour before the wedding, all plans had to be changed. Luckily Jess and Sean had planned ahead and had a huge beautiful white tent setup on the property for the reception. In true Jess and Sean fashion, they rolled with all of the ups and downs of the day and everyone kept such a positive attitude and the show went on.

Jess and Sean said their vows to each other in a private moment away from their guests, family and friends. I though it was so touching that it meant so much to them to want that moment alone, away from it all to truly be together in that moment.

We gathered umbrellas and the wedding party processed through the lawn in the pouring rain to the ceremony under the tent. It was truly awesome to see how everyone worked together and made this day the best they could.

After their touching wedding ceremony, dinner and some wonderful speeches, Jess and Sean took to the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife in a specially choreographed dance they had learned for their wedding. The dancing kicked off after dancing with their parents and went on into the night.

I could not have done this wedding without the help of my wonderful friend and second photographer, Tara Brown.

Thank you to Jessica and Sean for having me as their alternate photographer and for Joanna Monger for trusting me to take over this wedding for her.

Best wishes to you Jess & Sean!

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This family session – which really was just these adorable twins, JD and Jessica – is a current favorite for me. I had never photographed at Discovery Park before and actually don’t have much experience with even going there. Just a field trip in high school – and that was a looooooooong time ago.

I love it when parents really seriously take the advice I give them on clothing selection. Michelle did exactly that and came with alternative clothes for each of the kids. We came up with the perfect combination right there in the parking lot 🙂 Without matching at all, these two coordinated perfectly. And for the setting, you cannot ask for more as a photographer.

Discovery Park is a bit difficult to get to – well not the park itself, but the lighthouse and beach. The parking is a LONG way away so I’m so grateful Randy was able to drive us out to the lighthouse and drop us off. Saved us a lot of walking!

We took full advantage of the light house, Puget Sound backdrop, driftwood and beach to get these beautiful portraits of the twins and finished up the session in a field with flowers and tall grasses. Jessica even had a ladybug land on her. I mean come on! How perfect is that?

Thank you to this gorgeous family and to the super fun kids who made my evening a delight.

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  • jaimefSeptember 1, 2016 - 8:39 am

    These are adorable! ReplyCancel

Little tiny sneak peek from this fun Bellevue Family Session at Mercer Slough. Can’t wait to show them all of their images!


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I had the true pleasure of photographing Jen and Kyle’s Trinity Tree Farm Wedding in Issaquah, Washington a couple of months ago. This wedding marked my first associate photography booking for 2016 for Joanna Monger Photography.

What is an associate photographer you ask? Most local Seattle Wedding Photographers are sole proprietors or work as say a husband & wife duo. They shoot the weddings they book themselves. An associate photographer is someone who shoots a wedding for another photography company and is the primary photographer for the day. A contractor if you will.

From the beginning, Jen’s beautiful smile lit up the day. This girl has the best smile and you can’t help but be happy around her. Kyle on the other hand never stopped smiling…oh wait that’s the same! The two of them were so happy all day it was infectious.

Just look at Kyle’s face when he saw Jen as she walked down the aisle. What a moment. (They chose to not do a first look before their ceremony.) And from that second on, they never took their eyes off each other.

After their ceremony and a cocktail hour for the guests while we did bride and groom portraits, Jen and Kyle entered their reception in grand fashion, followed by a wonderful dinner with BBQ.

The evening rounded out with touching toasts from their bridal party and families, lovely dances with each other and their parents and cake cutting. Then the party kicked off and it was dance central. Jen, Kyle and their family and friends hit the dance floor and the party never stopped.

At the end of the reception, the DJ played their first dance song one more time and asked all of their guests to gather around them in a group hug, to embrace this new married couple with their love and celebration. It was quite touching and I found myself tearing up at what that means and what I can imagine it felt like to be them at that moment. Then off they dashed through a sea of sparklers.

Special thanks go out to my 2nd photographer for the day, Brian David Casey, and to Joanna Monger for trusting me to photograph this wedding for you.

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Olyvia and Justin were married in the most perfect ceremony in the middle of the forest for their Kitsap Memorial State Park Wedding. Their ceremony space was set up out in the middle of the woods at the park in a clearing. Flower petals and branches placed in a circle created their ceremony and their friends and family gathered around the circle while they wed. I can’t imagine anything else more perfect for them.

The processional was led by Olyvia’s cousin playing the bagpipes, followed by Olyiva and her father and step-father walking her along the path to meet Justin. When they met, Justin embraced Olyvia in a way that melted my heart and you could palpably feel the love between them.

After the ceremony, their guests made their way through the forest back to the Log Hall at Kitsap Memorial State Park to the reception. The building was decked out with beautiful twinkling lights hanging from the ceiling, beautiful flowers on the tables arranged in birdcages, along with individual sapling trees as a gift to the guests from Olyiva and Justin. The guests enjoyed dinner and drinks looking over Hood Canal.

Olyvia and Justin had a sweet first dance with each other, followed by Olyvia dancing with her father, Fred, and her step-father, Mike. One of the sweetest parts of the evening was a surprise mother-daughter dance with Olyvia and her mother, Gina.  After cake cutting and toasts, Olyvia, Justin and their guests danced the night away.

I absolutely loved this wedding. It was casual but classy, rustic but polished and Olyvia and Justin are such wonderful people. I wish them a lifetime of happiness.

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Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Venue: Kitsap Memorial State Park – Poulsbo, Washington
DJ: DJ George

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  • RikkiJuly 6, 2016 - 9:05 am

    Beautiful job as always!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Joanna MongerJuly 6, 2016 - 10:39 am

    These are fabulous Cheryl What a beautiful setting for a wedding!ReplyCancel

What a treat! I had the pleasure of photographing the Bar Mitzvah of Barak recently in Seattle at the Temple de Hirsch Sinai temple.

Temple de Hirsch Sinai is a GORGEOUS building, inside and out. It’s a place that is comforting and warm. They have the greatest architecture inside with a giant star on the ceiling and these amazing stained glass windows all around.

All of Barak’s friends and family were present for his Bar Mitzvah, coming from as far as Michigan for this huge moment in his life. I was really touched by the Bar Mitzvah ceremony and how eloquently Barak handled all of the different prayers and readings. After the service all of the guests enjoyed a beautiful luncheon at the Temple.

The real party started later that evening at the Westin in Bellevue! It was an evening of merriment with dancing, games, break dancers to entertain, tons of food, a giant custom cake in the shape of an Air Jordan shoe, candy bar and beautiful decorations everywhere. As always, the Hora is my favorite part and all of Barak’s family, including him, took turns being lifted and celebrated.

The Reibman family is one of the nicest families I’ve ever worked with. They are so kind and loving. Their children are charming, friendly and delightful.

This was such a fun event, I can’t wait to photograph more Seattle Bar Mitzvah!

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Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Venue: Temple de Hirsch Sinai, Seattle
Venue: Westin Bellevue
Videography: Best Made Videos
Coordinator: Cristi Duea
Cake: Mike’s Amazing Cakes

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