John & Lizzie – A Pacific Northwest Wedding | Lake Crescent Lodge, Washington
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When 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.
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.
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
Band: Blue Wave Band