John & Lizzie – A Pacific Northwest Wedding

John & Lizzie – A Pacific Northwest Wedding | Lake Crescent Lodge, Washington

Bride and Groom on a Canoe on Lake Crescent Lake

I can say with certainty that shooting a wedding for people you love is the best kind of job.

John and I work together at Outdoor Research. After proposing to Lizzie, he told me I was their wedding photographer. I shot my last wedding a year ago – it’s something I’ve started to distance myself from. It’s not because I don’t love a beautiful wedding – I do. But shooting weddings takes most weekends, is a very long day of shooting and even longer days of editing. So, I’d sort of resigned myself to shooting for friends or family once in a while. But having someone tell you that you are their wedding photographer, is a huge compliment.

As the in-house photographer for OR, I am continually setting up photoshoots, using co-workers as models and venturing into the great outdoors to photograph gear. John has been one of my most-used subjects, and has even be called “the face of OR.” So, he was no stranger to my lens and I no stranger to directing him. But I can say with certainty, that this was my favorite shoot to date.

Lake Crescent LodgeLake Crescent Lodge CabinsLake Crescent LodgeBride getting makeup doneBride and makeupWedding shoes Wedding jewelry & linensWedding dressBride getting readyBride getting readyBride putting on shoesBride and sisterBride and sisterGarter beltsPutting on wedding dressBride and sisterBride

I see John almost every day. We work five feet from one another. But I’d only spent time with Lizzie a handful of times – a few work events, my Fourth of July party and our pre-wedding meetings. But none of those engagements prepared me for what a doll she is – she is a peach, a gem among ladies. A day that is often the most stressful, she handled with grace and ease. I never saw her stressed, even when the rain threatened to move the ceremony inside a tent.

The love she and John have for one another is contagious and tear-jerking. Looking through these photos brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. It’s a love we should all strive for.

Groom putting on a tieGroom looking into mirrorGroom and brother fixing tieGroom drinking whiskeyWhiskeyGroom's watchGroom helping brotherGroom looking at reflectionGroom and boutonnière Groom at window

I’ve never photographed a wedding with a first look before. I think I’ve always thought that seeing each other from across the aisle was the most romantic of options. But John and Lizzie’s wedding may have swayed me. I walked into the woods surrounding Lake Crescent Lodge in search of the perfect spot. I didn’t want her dress to get too dirty; I wanted a cathedral of trees; I wanted romance in the woods. Easy, right?

Turns out, at Lake Crescent Lodge, it is.

Groom waiting in the woods for first lookBride leaving to find the groomBride approaching the groomGroom waiting for the brideBride approaching the groomBride and groom first lookGroom looking at Bride's DressBride tearing up at first lookBride and groom huggingBride and groom in the woodsBride and groom smilingBride laughingBride and groom first lookBride and groom in trees

I didn’t want to get Lizzie’s dress dirty. But I did want to get some awesome photos. And this beauty of a bride did not let me down. I had these two climbing down embankments, walking through ferns and crossing over bridges – they were up for it all.

Bride and groom portraitBride laughingBride and groom walkingBride and groom in fernsBride and groom in fernsbride and groom on bridgebride and groom on bridgeBride with bouquetBride in the forestGroom in forestGroom's tuxBride and groom climbing down embankmentBride and groom climbing down embankmentBride and groom along riverBride and groom along riverBride and groom along riverBride and groom climbing up embankmentBride and groom climbing up embankment

Not only had I never done a first look at a wedding, I’d also never shot the portraits prior to the ceremony. It was such a breath of fresh air.

Father and daughter walking through the woodsFather and daughter walking through the woodsFather and the brideMother and the brideSister and the brideBride and familyBride's familyGroom and parentsGroom and brother

The night before the wedding, it was raining hard. The kind of rain that fogs up the mountains and leaves the trees raining for hours once it’s stopped. I worried about the bridal party’s hair, about potential photos inside a tent, etc. But somehow, the meteorologists got it wrong. what was supposed to be a completely rainy day, cleared just in time for the ceremony.

CeremonyWedding archWedding arch flowersFlower basketMother and father of the brideBrother and sister of the bride and groomFather walking bride down the aisleGroom and father of the bride huggingWedding altar Bride and groom at altarBride reading vowsFather of the brideGroom tearing upBride reading vowsGroom reading vowsbride and groom at the altarBride and groom lighting the unity candleBride and groom at altarBride and groom holding handsBride and groom exchanging ringsBride and groom first kissBride celebratingBride and groom walking down aisleBride and groom leaving ceremonyWhen I first arrived at Lake Crescent Lodge, I was struck by its beauty. It sits right on a lake (obviously), and it’s surrounded by the lush forest of the Olympic National Park. Walking up to the lodge, I saw canoes. Right then and there, I knew we had to get the bride and groom in one. I didn’t give them much of a choice, handing over the safety waivers while saying, “Trust me this is a great idea.” Like I said, they are excellent sports and gave me no push back.

I thought this would be a special moment for them after the ceremony – out on the water with some wine, the wind pushing their boat forward and the quiet of the mountains surrounding them.

Bride in canoeBride and groom in canoeBride and groom in canoeBride and groom in canoeGroom in canoeBride and groom in canoeBride and groom in canoeBride's hand touching the waterBride and groom in canoeBride and groom on the dockBride and groom on the dockBride and groom on the dockBride and groom on the dockBride and groom on the dockBride and groom in front of Lake Crescent Lodge

By some miracle, the rain held off until the reception. The lake was rain free, the ceremony was rain free, and I was one happy photographer. The wedding tent was full of so much love. Like me, Lizzie comes from a big Italian family. It was reminiscent of home for me, seeing so much love and laughter come together to celebrate two people.

Bride and groom walking to receptionBride and groom walking to receptionRings on top of signRings on top of signReception bar signGuest bookTable top Head table signWedding cakeBride and groom entering receptionBride and groom entering receptionBride and groom in reception tentBride with her favorite kidsKids at receptionBride's familyBride's familyBride smiling Bride and groom sitting for dinnerBride and groom at dinnerBride and groom sitting at dinnerSister of the brideSister of the bride giving her toastSister of the bride giving her toastBrother of the groom giving his toastBrother of the groom giving his toastFather of the groom toastingFather of the groom toastingFather of the groom toastingFather of the groom toastingBetter together signFirst danceFirst danceFirst danceFirst danceFather daughter danceFather daughter danceFather daughter danceMother son danceMother son danceDrummerFriends smilingBride cheersingcutting the cakecutting the cakeGrandparents in anniversary danceSisters dancingBride dancingBride and groom dancing

I am so happy to have been a part of Lizzie and John’s most special day. Weddings always leave me feeling full of love and warmth, but even more so when it’s people you love in a place you love. Congratulations you two. I can’t wait to see where your marriage and love take you.


Location: Lake Crescent Lodge

Flowers : Annie’s Flower Farm

Cake: Olivia’s Wildflower Cakes

Band: Blue Wave Band

Author: Elise Giordano

Elise is a photographer living on Vashon Island in the beautiful Evergreen State. When Seattle became too much, she set her sights on island life and never looked back. Today, she is trying to find ways to slow down through cooking, gardening and exploring.

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  • Elise,
    It was a real pleasure to meet you at Lizzie’s and John’s wedding. You did a great job in the photography and capturing the joy and love in each picture. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the shots. Thank you for sharing your time and talent in creating a collection of memories for everyone to enjoy!

    • Thank you so much, Pam! It was such a joy to meet you, too. This was such an amazing wedding to photograph!

  • Hi Elise,

    The photographs of John & Lizzie’s wedding are so beautiful! I really enjoyed meeting you.

    This is the time of year when the flower farm is dormant and the seeds are all ordered and I am able to update my website and Instagram. Lizzie has given me permission to use the photos and of course I will give you credit for them. Can you send me a link/password so I can download some photos to use?

    On Instagram, I like to tell the whole story of the wedding when I can. @anniesflowerfarm

    Just so you know…I am happy to travel off the peninsula for weddings if my calendar permits it. If someone else talks you into doing their wedding photography, feel free to share my information with them!

    Thanks again,