This year, Opal28 was given an Oregon Bride Award for Best Intimate Venue in Portland. If you've ever visited this small and cute nook near East Burnside Street, you will agree that the award was appropriate and well deserved. The team is hard working, fast responding, and clearly love the environment they've created for themselves and their clients. It's truly special to witness people doing what they love with a full heart and open mind. The ladies at Opal28 are just that.
One of the most exciting, and most difficult, parts of planning a wedding, is choosing your dress. Brides will spend months searching boutique to boutique for the right dress to match her style and her budget. I am fortunate to live in Oregon, where we never experience a drought of gorgeously designed dresses. We have some of the biggest names in the industry within our city limits, as well as some of the most beautifully curated bridal boutiques. One of my favorites is Ania Bridal, in NW Portland. Stepping into their shop is an experience, an experience I don't want you to miss!
"In marriage, we are most looking forward to having each other and being a family."
In the gorgeous summer afternoon light, Karl Cristie and Joe vowed to continue loving, traveling, and supporting each other. They promised that no day is perfect without each other by their side, and that wherever they go, their pups will follow. From the struggles of long distance, their love for each other paid off. And the reward was marriage. They won their hardest battle; only adventure is left to come.
I'm often asked what I have in mind for my own wedding day. "You see a lot of weddings, and probably know exactly what you want, right?" The truth is, I really don't know! Sure, there are some things I'd love to make sure I include, but I don't really have an actual plan. Where would I get married? Would it be small or big? What time of the year would it be? Who would I hire to be MY photographer?
Tomorrow is wedding no. two of my 2017 season, and I can hardly believe it! Reflecting on my 2016 season, I learned a lot about who I want to be as a wedding photographer, as well as a creative entrepreneur. Attending Jeremy Chou's Portland workshop back in October taught me a lot about film photography, and perfecting my film to digital workflow. I studied a lot over my winter break, and have headed into my new season fully prepared for the amazingness that this season is full of.
Six weeks before my client's wedding, I make it a priority to send them an email to review and finalize all of our plans. At the four week mark, many brides are often overwhelmed by finishing tasks, and find themselves frantically asking for help. I've found that the Six week checkpoint is the perfect time to write all finishing tasks, so that when you reach that one-month-until mark, you've completed the majority of your projects and will get to enjoy the last two weeks without having to worry about last minute details.
Waking up on the day of a wedding is a lot like waking up for a big road trip. Is everything packed? Are the batteries charged? Do we have snacks on snack? How many water bottles should we bring?
I am one week away from my first 2017 Wedding and I am anticipating this season more than I have any season before this. Last winter, I took a lot of time to focus on my goals, my work, and my methods, and myself. Let's face it, I needed a refresh, and I needed to be re-inspired. Thank goodness for Hawaii!
This year, I'm ready to show up and create unforgettable images for my clients. But this starts well before the ceremony even begins! It starts at home the night before the wedding.
I prepare for a wedding by making sure to charge all my batteries, from my cameras and light meter, to my iPhone and laptop. I want to make sure when I show up, I have two full days of battery life, in case anything happens. I print off any printable materials I might need, such as timelines, family photo lists, and shot lists for personal reference. I add each paper to my bag, and to Jem's bag, and have two backups in the car for any emergency, or other vendor's reference.
Next, I make sure my lenses have been wiped down and checked for quality. I attach a 50mm lens to each of our cameras, and close it off with a lens cap. These are set down in our gear pile next to our gear bags. Next, I pack up the lighting equipment (used mainly for indoor receptions and low light situations), add new batteries, and stack it in a neat pile next to my cameras. Once the gear has been set, I take the last few hours of the afternoon to rest and recharge for the busy day ahead. I will make a full dinner, and check in with my couple to send them big hugs in advance.
The morning of the wedding, Jem and I like to take our time so we aren't stressed out prior to our work day. We eat a big breakfast, take a walk outside, and triple check everything we need is packed up and ready to be loaded in the car. Depending on the wedding location and time, we will usually head towards the wedding location around lunchtime and eat nearby. This ensures we aren't late or stuck in any accidents or traffic! On the way to the venue, we will usually stop off for coffee or tea at a cafe to get our last dose of caffeine of the day.
About 30 minutes before our scheduled start time, we arrive early to check our gear, say hello to the couple and the vendors, as well as take out last walk around the venue (sans gear), to do our final map of where we would like to take photos of for the day. This is incredibly helpful in case of any unforeseeable mishap, including the weather!
That's basically it! The most important thing to us when prepping for a wedding day, besides making sure gear is in check, is making sure we are showing up happy and inspired! The worst way to arrive at a wedding, is grouchy, unsure, or nervous. We do our best to get everything in order the night before so we can use our free time to enjoy the anticipation of the amazing work we get to do.