Vendor Highlight: Opal 28

Vendor Highlight: Opal 28

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. 

Why You Should Always Test Run Your Wedding Makeup


Kelli Thomsen is a Fine Art Eco Beauty Makeup Artist based here in Portland, Oregon. We connected at the late end of last year and quickly scheduled opportunities to work together. Kelli has studied from some of the most talented industry leaders and uses her skills to create simply and classic looks that highlight the natural beauty of her clients. One of the biggest questions we hear in the wedding community is "Should I do a test run of my makeup and hair?" and the answer is an absolute yes! Kelli is here to tell us why and educate us on the importance of a trial session.

1 - It allows you to let your natural beauty shine

'One of the most valuable things a professional makeup artist brings to the table, besides her arsenal of luxury skin prep and makeup products, is her ability to take the brides natural look and bring out a more polished version.'

2 - You get to work with them before the wedding

'During a trial run, you will have the time to connect with the artist and see the way they work; do they have good natural light, is there a comfortable makeup chair, are the products they use clean, are they being sanitary? Brides also want to choose an artist that leave them with a touch-up kit for lips, helps them put on jewelry, assists with the veil, and all the important extras.

Without this prior connection and ability to communicate needs and see what the artist brings to the table artistry wise, there is no way of knowing how wedding day beauty will take shape. This can create nerves and anxiety that weren't expected and also can leave little time for adjustments the day of. When the trial is set prior, there is a schedule set, so expectations can be met. This creates a very calm and therapeutic beauty space before the ceremony and/or reception.'


3 - Not every bride is the same

'Without a test run, many things can happen on a wedding day that are unforeseen. A common misconception is that makeup artist’s create the same look from bride to bride. A true professional will get to know the skin type, understand sensitivities, know what the bride’s day to day look is, as well as understands what attributes the bride loves about a certain look. This means there is no correct bridal makeup method or cookie cutter option that will work for everyone. It is crucial to have a trial run for this very reason – because there is only one YOU and there is a makeup artist that is meant to help YOU to look your most beautiful!'

4 - You can learn a lot from it, such as:

+ Your skin type and what products to use leading up to the wedding day
+ Your face shapes, eye shapes, and what placement of products is best for your own unique beauty
+ Recommendations on products and tools for daily use, before & after the BIG day
+ Skin Treatments & Eye Treatments that are wonderful for pre-wedding beauty
+ Professional advice on how to schedule the timeline for beauty on the wedding day
+ Recommendations on application of makeup to look good in natural light and flash photography lighting
+ Best-in-class products for touch-ups throughout the wedding day and evening
+ Recommendations for hair styles to work with the makeup look

For more information on what goes on in a trial session, or to connect with Kelli, contact her at!


Columbia Gorge Shoot Featured on 100 Layer Cake!

Columbia Gorge Shoot Featured on 100 Layer Cake!

The title says it all! I have another shoot featured on one of my favorite wedding blogs, 100 Layer Cake, and I'm definitely doing a happy dance! This shoot took place earlier this year at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, completely designed and inspired by the amazingly talented Samantha Struck. She took my suggestions and ideas and transformed them into a dreamy masterpiece.

KC + Joe: Portland Urban Wedding & Morning Gorge Day After

KC + Joe: Portland Urban Wedding & Morning Gorge Day After
"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.

Cannon Beach Ethereal Bridal Session: Featured on Dear Gray

On the third anniversary of my business, what is better way to celebrate than this? Last October I was privileged to join some of the most talented film & digital photographers in the United States for a workshop hosted by the renowned Jeremy Chou here in my great state of Oregon. We were taught by the leading members in our industry on creating meaningful and beautiful images with film & digital mediums. In January my images from the Lewis & Clark shoot were featured on JoyWed. Today, the second part is featured on one of my favorite wedding blogs, Dear Gray. 

Learning to shoot in the rain was one of my biggest challenges, and up until that day, biggest roadblocks as a photographer. It wasn't easy being exposed to the rain when I was loading and reloading film, or when I was trying to keep the equipment dry in between shots without an assistant. It was an experience I was surprisingly not prepared for as an Oregonian, but also incredibly thankful for as a photographer. 

The Jeremy Chou Workshop made an incredible impact on my life and gave me the necessary skills to be an even better hybrid wedding photographer, specifically in the Northwest. This shoot took place at the legendary Cannon Beach in front of Haystack Rock. I call this gallery the "Siren of the Sea" because of how gorgeous and ethereal our model portrayed this bride. You can catch some of these images and more on Dear Gray by clicking the button below! 

Advice from Jim + Pam, Remember the Invisible Photo Album Too

Advice from Jim + Pam, Remember the Invisible Photo Album Too

Possibly the most famous television couple in today's pop culture are The Office love birds Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley. Their goofy and compassionate love was memorable, laughable, and still meaningful through out their whole love journey. They capture their audience through their relatable tales and honest advice and remain to be an icon to best friends everywhere. But their most important piece of advice had to do with their wedding day.

Three Reasons to Have an Outdoor Wedding in Oregon this Summer

In Oregon, having an outdoor wedding can feel like an iffy situation. The majority of the summer is beautiful, warm, and dry, perfect conditions for a wedding! However, you might still feel unsettled and choose an indoor space instead. Although there are a variety of beautiful spaces you can find inside, I have three reasons why choosing to have an outdoor ceremony will give you more opportunities for beautiful wedding photos and help create your perfect wedding. 

1 - They're More Scenic 

No matter if your idea of scenic is a lush green field, a view of Mount Hood, or an overlook of on of Oregon's luxury vineyards, outdoor venues can provide you with many options to create a stunning backdrop behind your I Do's. There will be many photo opportunities with family, friends, and your wedding party to create gorgeous formal photos that will be hung on your mantels for years to come. 

2 - More space for Guests to Roam

By default, most outdoor venues are more spacious, lending your guests more opportunities to roam and socialize. While we are taking formals of the family during cocktail hour, your guests will take a walk through the field, find shelter underneath a tree, or play any lawn games you might have set up for them. One of the anxieties of wedding planning is keeping the guests entertained. When the weather is beautiful, and there is space to wander, your guests will be delighted to soak in the sun while sipping on wine.


3 - Gorgeous Light & Timeless Imagery

Film craves good light. The majority of professional film stocks prefer sunshine and open skies over the indoors. That's not to say it's impossible to capture moments on film indoors, but it is significantly easier outside. Your details will look brighter, and your images will seem timeless through the color and capture on film. During sunset, you will have one last quick moment for photos. The way the sun will hit your dress and kiss your cheek will far beat any photos you can take together. This moment alone will pay its weight in gold. 



So now, you ask what happens if it rains during my wedding? The majority of venues already have a spare indoor space you can use for dining and most often use this space as a backup for bad weather. Some venues have tents prepared, and you always will have an option to rent them on your own if bad weather is approaching. If the rain is light, like it often is in the summer, offering guests slick black umbrellas or asking them to bring their own will create a beautiful and classic look to your otherwise rained out wedding day. 


Due to the popularity of outdoor venues, they often book out 8-12 months in advance. If you don't want to commit to a longer engagement, try seeking venues outside the typical Portland radius, or ask a planner or photographer if they have any recommendations.