Wednesday, September 30

Top of the World

After getting a rare weekend off, we kicked off the last stretch of the 2009 summer wedding season with Mikaely and Pat. We split up right away to photograph the simultaneous preparations of our bride and groom at Tacoma's top two downtown hotels. Mikaely and the girls prepped at the glass-art-themed Hotel Murano.

Pat and the guys got ready at the Courtyard by Marriott, where they had one of the rooms in the Waddell, a beautifully restored historic building that forms a bookend to the otherwise modern hotel. Then Pat and a friend (with Scott in tow) walked over to the Murano for a first-look date with Mikaely.

We took a few portraits of Mikaely and Pat around the Murano, and were greatly impressed with an impromptu offer from one of the hotel staffers to take us up to the top-floor balcony, which offered sweeping views of a quite-beautiful city from one of its highest points. You can see where the four of us will be heading next — Union Station and Museum of Glass — behind them in the second photo.

This shot cracked us up! It's a banner promoting an exhibit at the Washington State History Museum. The pose is something the girls spontaneously came up with. We took one of them smiling at the camera, too, but this one's more fun!

Both ceremony and reception were held at Union Station, a former railroad station that is now one of our region's most amazing event venues. We've seen many directions the ceremony can face, including on the balcony level (from which this photo won an award), but we think the angle Mikaely and Pat chose is the best!

We've photographed a few weddings at Union Station that had minimal decor. With its soaring domed ceiling, Chihuly art on all four walls and hanging from the dome, and wonderful geometric patterns on the floors, you can skimp on decorations and still have a beautiful wedding. That wasn't the case for this wedding, though!

Under the expert guidance of wedding planner Terese LeMoine of Truly Eventful, the room came alive with orange and green tones from the linens and flower arrangements, and with potted trees from Christian's Trees. Snuffins Catering provided delicious food in a rather unique cross configuration that was effective at getting hungry people through in a hurry.

Union Station does get rather dim at night, and it's no place for amateur photographers (or amateur DJs for that matter, with those crazy acoustics)! But even if the constellation of lightbulbs in the ceiling don't crank out a lot of light, the beauty is still awesome.

Congrats to Mikaely and Pat!

Friday, September 25

Little Cupcake

We were sad to hear a little while back that 2006 wedding clients Christy and Mike were moving out of the area. So imagine our pleasant surprise when we got a call a couple of weeks ago to schedule a portrait session with their just-born daughter! Laura met with them at Mike's parents' house on Gravelly Lake to photograph seven-day-old Gabrielle.

The first thing you'll notice about these photos is that Gabrielle is really cute! And the second thing you'll notice is that her parents have a quirky sense of humor — particularly when it comes to props and poses. Enjoy these favorites of ours from the shoot!

Tuesday, September 22

Natural Beauty in a Golf Course?

For the wedding of Cynthia and Mike (see their engagement portraits at Point Defiance Park), we headed across the Narrows Bridge to McCormick Woods, a golf and country club in Port Orchard. This being our first visit, we were very happy to find a beautiful wedding venue that provided a great deal of natural beauty quite close to the ceremony and reception sites. It was a welcome change of pace from the carefully constructed, meticulously manicured gardens of most golf courses.

We met up with the guys and girls of the wedding party in adjacent rooms of the clubhouse. The guys, blessed with easy self-preparations, mostly hung out, ate, and played poker.

The girls felt the time crunch a bit more, although Cynthia's big sister Kandy still did an excellent job on her hair.

The wedding ceremony was staged in front of a gazebo located a short walk from the clubhouse — for everyone but Cynthia and her dad, who rode a golf cart to the foot of the aisle.

Very close to the ceremony site is a creek bed loaded with boulders, sun-bleached stumps, and Japanese maples — an attractive mix of the native and the cultured that was worth a quick hike to get into a few ceremony shots.

For the wedding party and bride-and-groom portraits, we headed first toward a small hill that provided the perfect pedestal for the newlyweds, and then to the edge of North Lake, a long, skinny, and vibrantly green body of water. The last photo is a family heirloom broach that was the "something borrowed" attached to Cynthia's bouquet.

The reception was held in banquet rooms in the clubhouse with DJ and MC services by Sounds Unlimited. There was a lot of lively dancing, so we've included some of our favorite dance shots of the night.

It was fun to cover Cynthia and Mike's wedding alongside Jeremy Almeda of Endlesslove Productions, who is a most excellent wedding videographer who we are happy to recommend to all our clients.

Congrats to Cynthia and Mike!