Hey there! Welcome to my blog—Make yourself comfy and look around! As an Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park, San Juan Islands, Seattle, Whidbey Island, and destination wedding photographer, I want to be a resource for you as you put together your own wedding day. Browse around, have a look, and let me know your questions! I'm so happy you're here, and I hope you want to get in touch so we can chat about your wedding day.
Yesterday I posted the first portion of a gorgeous, sun-drenched Lake Crescent wedding at Naturebridge at Olympic National Park. As a Lake Crescent wedding photographer, I’m so honored to have been able to capture Nick and Caty’s wedding day! The couple said vows to one another on the lakeshore just inches from the water after Caty walked down the aisle to the accompaniment of a traditional bagpiper! Caty and Nick also included a unity ceremony variation that I’d never seen before — a ceremonial knot tying! I imagine the finished knot will be a treasured heirloom for the couple throughout their marriage. After the ceremony, the reception was held on the lawn in front of Rosemary Cottage. An incredible dinner of salmon, wild rice, and salad provided by the venue and local beer from Port Townsend Brewing followed by some of the most energetic dancing I’ve ever seen in Rosemary’s dance hall! Caty and Nick joined me for a final stroll along the lakeshore just as the sun dipped below the mountains, resulting in one of my favorite portraits of 2018 and possibly, of all time.
Caty took the time to write down some thoughts about the planning process of her wedding day. Enjoy some advice from a real-life NatureBridge bride!
We met when I (Caty) had become interested in learning how to fly fish. We met (via my dad), we fished, had a great time, then I moved to Portland. We parted ways but every once in a while would text each other, about fishing, the outdoors, how we were. Through one of those texts we found out we had the exact same birthday, it was so crazy (I am about an hour older). I invited him to come up to Portland to celebrate our birthdays together. To my surprise, he followed through and came to Portland and we had a wonderful time with friends. After that trip, I was insisting we were just friends and again we parted ways. A lot happened in those five months, and then one day I got a text about a raspberry pastry that he had in Portland and would really like another one. We did the same dance; I invited him to Portland, he flew to Portland, we went on a camping trip to the Oregon coast. We went back and forth dating long distance for two years, racked up a lot of miles and hotel points, many adventures, in amazing places. I moved to Seattle, he followed a year later, and the rest is history. He and I still look at each other and are amazed that we found each other, connected, and fell in love.
I (Caty) wore a large [tulle] skit with a sequin top [from BHLDN] because, WHY NOT?!? haha. I grew up loving to twirl and would request dresses that would, and everyone knew it. It was always my first question when it came to dresses, I did not wear many but when I did, it had that one requirement. I went with a “non traditional” color and dress because I wanted it to fit me and my personality as well as the venue (which fit us as a couple, more about that in the venue question). Along with my sequins and [tulle], I had two handkerchiefs stuffed in my Spanx (another “must” for my wedding outfit). One handkerchief from my grandma Foye and one from my grandma Dobner, both gifted to me from my aunts on my wedding day. They (my Gma’s) were not able to join in the wedding festivities in person but they were there (I had sunshine in June on the Olympic Peninsula ;)) I loved every part of my outfit that day and I was so comfortable! Before I get it cleaned, because no I have not done that yet, I will probably put it on and maybe vacuum the house in it or answer the door for trick-or-treaters in it.
Nick wore everything that he picked out! He had a blast making the decisions and I fully supported that. He picked an outfit that suited him and his personality, even though he always says he’s a “country boy”. Bow tie is a must for him, it is all he wears for special occasions. He says it is because its cleaner, he doesn’t want to spill sauce on a regular tie. He was comfortable all day and could cut loose on the dance floor with all his “moves”.
When Nick and I first set out to plan the big day it was pretty daunting mentally and financially. We were taking care of it all since that is his and my personalities. We just took it project by project, piece by piece. Since I am a designer and he is very handy and creative himself we took on all the decorations, logistics, and planned everything the way we wanted our day and party to go. That also included not wanting to add to the waste that can sometimes and most times be a wedding. All items involved in the wedding had to be reused, recycled, free, or donate-able. We also made sure where ever possible to use LOCAL!!! With those requirements we had to get creative, it is good we had a year plus to organize, hunt and gather. All decorations were found items, either from nature, donate piles, family members going through their houses, recycled or free. Nick made all the yard games (to be used again), directional signs (donated to NatureBridge, they actually took a-lot of our decorations!), all our center pieces came from items that I had used in window displays that were no longer needed, trees from my parents yard and other found objects. Our theme was natural and eclectic with hints of timeless (basically Nick and my’s personal style). I love flowers and natural foliage and have them in my house always, but that was one thing that I had talked with Nick about at the beginning that could be cut. I wanted to make sure we stuck to the budget and if those had to go then that was it. We were getting married in a beautiful venue with natural beauty all around, it would be fine. Needless to say that did not stick, Nick thought if anyone should have flowers at her wedding it should be me and I agreed with him. Enter April Lemly [of Kamama Flowers], she was amazing and made all the flower dreams come true. I gave her my style (natural, local, in-season, eclectic) she ran with that and knocked it out of the park. Truthfully every vendor we worked with made our day seamless and perfect, everything we wanted and more.
Why did we choose NatureBridge at Olympic? Well actually it sort of just happened. After getting engaged Nick and I came up with what we both wanted as our wedding. A weekend long celebration of our love and all love. A weekend that included nature, accommodations, activities and everyone hanging out and spending time together. If that wasn’t possible it was going to be city hall or Vegas. Kind of an all or nothing kind of gig. I started looking at venues and then had a heart attack at the cost. NatureBridge was actually one of the very first places I found but I skipped over it (for a couple days). After seeing other options, NatureBridge was THE option, we could afford it with everything that was included and the place, I mean Lake Crescent, wow. I called the next day and we were driving to the peninsula that weekend. The moment we got there I knew, Nick looked at me and said “Caty we need to walk around first.” Ha. He knew I knew. The venue was perfect, everything we could have imagined and more. The Olympic peninsula is a very special place. We also enjoyed that although the actual transaction of the venue was a “for profit”, it made us WANT to give them the money even more since they are a non-profit and every cent is for the education of kids and the National Park Service.
I have always wanted to get married outside and I always wanted one of my friends, family or someone we knew perform the marriage. One thing I could never get my head around from all my family weddings, was that there are all these photos of the ceremony with a priest, minister etc that people typically couldn’t remember the name of. So when we set out to get married we wanted someone who was influential in both our lives, enter Derek. He was there when Nick and I first started dating and knew that Nick was my person before I did. I would like to say that is probably one of the reasons why I was so comfortable and at ease when we were standing up there in front of everyone. To be honest, I really only remember Nick and I during the ceremony. Our vows, the tying of the knots, saying “I do” and then the most perfect dip kiss ever (haha we didn’t even practice that, it was au-natural).
One word: amazing! Now to go into detail. Like Nick and I discussed at the beginning of the wedding planning process we had three main things that we were spending the majority of the budget on; venue, photographer, booze. There is no point in having this amazing experience and then not documenting it, so we both decided we needed to go with the best for the job. Now enter Adrien. After booking the venue the photographer was next (well we got the beer next but only because we stayed in Port Townsend and went to Port Townsend Brewing and found out they would deliver to the venue). I started searching and found your website and blog. Scrolled through the weddings and loved the personality that you captured through each of them, all different. You were our first choice and after [we met in person, it was a] done deal. All the communication during the process was exceptional, we never had any questions you did not have the answer to. The wedding day was even better, you made us both feel so relaxed and told us exactly what to do and captured moments that I had forgotten about until I saw them again these last couple weeks. You listened to what we wanted and then also gave suggestions or just made it happen! You made it so that we did not have to think about one more thing that day, you got the photos and neither of us had to concern ourselves with making sure it happened. You thought of everything, made us feel comfortable, captured every moment (the tender and the silly) and more. Thank you!
DO YOU! If you do not know what you want figure that out first, or hire a professional that can help. This is YOUR day and it will go by so fast, so why not enjoy it? Also, don’t sweat the small stuff. “Perfection” is all relative. Our wedding day was perfect, obviously there were some things that happened but again, it’s all relative. We got married, had a blast of a party, and celebrated love. We made it a point to keep that at the forefront. Truthfully looking back, I wouldn’t do anything differently on that wedding weekend. Well I might have bought one more case of that Rosè, so good, so affordable. 🙂
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If you’re getting married at NatureBridge on Lake Crescent and want gorgeous, luminous, emotional images to document your wedding day, send me a note! I’d love to chat about photographing your NatureBridge wedding!