From the moment that I arrived at Matt and Jessica’s house (off of inner SE Division in Portland, Oregon) for their first wedding consultation, I knew that I wanted them to book me, and that it was going to be an awesome wedding!
For those of you who don’t know Portland, the inner-city part of SE Division is a hub of trendy, Portland shops and activity. If you’ve seen the show “Portlandia”, that vibe pretty much sums up this part of the city. You have “famous” Portland restaurants like Salt and Straw, Blue Star Donuts, and Pok Pok. Powell’s City of Books on Hawthorne is not a far walk. The area of full of people walking and shopping. Bowls on sidewalks for dogs. Bikes (and bike racks) everywhere. It’s part of old-Portland with bungalow-style homes built in the 1920s. Pretty much it’s amazing. And gorgeous. And I love it!
I was referred to Matt and Jessica by a friend, a former wedding photographer who knew that I’d be a good fit for the couple and their celebration. And I’m so thankful that she passed my name along! As I met the couple, and spoke with them more, I just got more and more excited!
Matt had lived in their house for many years, where he raised his two daughters, and they wanted to celebrate at home. Their plan was to have a small ceremony at Laurelhurst Park, and then come back to the house for a big, backyard party. And by big, I mean BIG… they expected at least 300 people over the course of their 8-hour reception! They planned to have food carts to feed everyone, and, instead of a traditional cake, they wanted to have a potluck-style cookie buffet. It all sounded absolutely perfect, and I could not wait!
A few months later, when the day finally arrived, I drove into town super early to find a parking spot, grab a warm beverage, and walk over to Laurelhurst Park to get ready for the morning ceremony.
Side note on Laurelhurst… I talked a lot about how excited I was for the reception, but the ceremony site meant a lot to me as well. When I was a child, my grandma and grandpa lived in a house not far from Laurelhurst. My grandfather would take us on walks around the park with his dog, and occasionally we’d take bamboo sticks from their backyard, tie some string on the end, and go to “fishing” in the pond. My grandfather passed when I was 13, and I will forever associate him with that duck pond. It was a little surreal to be there 20+ years later, doing something that I love in the same spot where I spent so many happy times as a child.
Anyway… back to the wedding itself.
I thought that I was ready for everything that the day would bring… but then the bride and groom showed up, on their bikes, and I knew that it was going to be even better than I’d thought!
The ceremony was small with only close friends and family. One of the groom’s daughter spoke about the couple, the other daughter played a piece on her saxophone. The bride’s sister also made a speech, and a friend played his violin. Vows were exchanged. Laughter was had. Jessica took a moment to speak directly to her new daughters. The pronouncement was made, the couple kissed, and then it was time to celebrate!
One of Matt’s daughters made and decorated a four-tier wedding cake for the park ceremony. I heard that she spent DAYS working on it, and it was beautiful and delicious! (PS wedding cake is a definite perk of my job!). Cake was accompanied by champagne and socializing for an hour or so, until it was time for portraits, clean up, and heading back to the house to get prepared for the reception.
While the couple finished setting up their home for the reception, I took a quick lunch break before heading back to the house. When I arrived, I was surprised and excited to see that the couple had worked with the city to shut down the street in front of their home. Korean BBQ (care of Kim Jong Grillin) was being prepared, and I was told that Tamale Boy and Pinolo Gelato would be joining them soon!
Slowly, friends and family started arriving. Some via foot, many via bike. The couple and set up bike racks in their front yard to assist with “parking”.
As the backyard and driveway were filling up with guests, Inside the house, the cookie table was filling with so many different types of cookies and small-bite desserts!
The rest of my time there was spent documenting people laughing, visiting, eating, drinking… enjoying themselves on a gorgeous Portland day! I had a great time, and am sure that the party continued long after I left!
**If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in the Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR metro areas (or, really, anywhere… I love a good vacation and adventure!) reach out! Let’s grab coffee and chat about the plans for your day and if we’re a good fit for your photography needs!