Becky + Stu's Ocean Shores Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Getting married on a Washington beach in October when it will surely rain?? Sure, let’s do this!

The grey, cloud-filled skies formed the perfect stormy yet serene backdrop for Becky + Stu’s Ocean Shores nuptials. Cold and wind aside I loved every minute! I did however decide that I need an umbrella hat since I can’t carry an umbrella and both cameras at the same time!! That’s probably super nerdy but it’s totally going on my Christmas list!

Becky + Stu are a super laid-back, fun couple and I seriously spent the entire day smiling and laughing. Becky has this raw and authentic smile that just reveals what a genuine person she is. You can’t help but smile back, no matter you mood. Stu is witty and laughs with his whole being. It is easy to see why these two are drawn to each other and such a perfect match! Side note, Becky + Stu work with Oysters, check out the handmade Oyster cake topper, so unique!

After the ceremony the wedding party popped a few bottles of Champagne and toasted to the lovers! Soaked from head to toe we all headed back to the Inn to change clothes and then kick off cocktail hour. The Reception was held in a room in the Inn and was decorated in a beach theme with blue lights lighting up the walls, driftwood decorations and pictures of their travels on each table. Becky + Stu handmade candles, coated in sand as their wedding guest gifts! So thoughtful and different!

This was one of the most unique and fun weddings of my 2018 season and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. Such a lovely couple, so many smiles and a fabulous, moody beach ceremony!

Congrats Becky + Stu!

Ocean Shores, I can’t wait to see you again!


Venue: Shilo Inns Ocean Shores

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XOXO,

Sarah

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Wedding Traditions: Take them or leave them? | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Most wedding traditions date back to different eras and honestly, most people don’t know how or why they started. As times have changed and we as people have evolved many of these traditions have hung around and are greatly outdated. Whether you are a traditional person or not I encourage you to explore your options. Research the history behind wedding traditions and make your decisions based on that and what is best for you and your fiance NOT solely because it’s tradition. Some traditions are important and some are outdated, be bold and creative and maybe you’ll be the one to start the next epic wedding tradition. I think we are quite due for some fresh ones!

White dress - White wedding dresses became a thing in 1840 when Queen Victoria chose an ivory dress for her wedding day. Since then white wedding dresses have become tradition and are chosen for the majority of weddings. White also symbolizes purity and innocence which for many decades was expected from brides.

  • Alternative Idea: Colorful dresses - Who says you can’t get married in red? Queen Victoria? White wedding dresses are beautiful but for those who love to push the envelope and don’t see the need for archaic traditions then find a dress that suits YOUR style and not Queen Victoria’s.

Veil covering bride’s face - There are several reasons why brides started wearing a veil to cover their faces while walking down the aisle. The first is as a sign of ownership. The father was to lower the veil over her face and the new husband would lift it when the bride became “his.” The other origin to this tradition was to keep the brides face covered until after the nuptials so that the groom couldn’t change his mind if he found her unattractive.

  • Alternative Idea: No veil! Opt for flowers in your hair, a cool head piece or a tiara, ‘cause why the heck not! It’s your day, be a princess.

Diamond Ring - According to the American Gem Society diamond rings date back to Roman times when wives wore rings attached to small keys that showed ownership by their husbands.

  • Alternative Idea: Choose a colored gem instead of a diamond. How about your birthstone? Or your favorite color? My personal favorite is moonstone, I’ve worn a moonstone pendant for over a decade! I keep telling my husband I want to sell my diamond ring and get a non-traditional one cause I love this idea so much!

Large wedding party - Large wedding parties can be fun, but being in a wedding party can also put a financial burden on your closest friends. Some may even be nervous or embarrassed about walking or standing up in front of large crowds. Many times brides and grooms end up with large wedding parties because they have so many close friends and don’t want to hurt feelings by not including them. This can quickly get out of hand and end in HUGE wedding parties. Do you feel like you are in this situation?? See solution below!

  • Alternative Idea: Designate your set of closest friends and involve them in planning, getting ready, bachelor/ bachelorette party etc just like you normally would but instead of having them buy dresses and suits they’ll never wear again have them dress how they like and sit comfortably in rows close to the alter. You closest friends are still involved and there to support you sans the pressure of purchasing unnecessary items and standing up in front of a crowd. Personally I love this idea! I photographed a few weddings this past year that chose this route and it was low-key and fun. One couple called this set of friends their “dudes” which I thought was great!

First Look at the ceremony - Traditionally, a groom gets to see his bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle to marry him. The idea of your groom welling up with emotion when he sees you is definitely appealing but lets visit how this tradition started. Many years ago when marriages were still commonly arranged the groom wasn’t allowed to see the bride before she walked down the aisle in fear that he would find her unattractive and back out of the marriage.

  • Alternative Idea: Do a first look! A first look happens before the ceremony. You and your love are all dressed up and ready to get married. Yet before you go walking down the aisle you get to see each other for the first time in a private little setting. We will arrange a quiet area for you to turn and see each other for the first time and capture those first emotional moments. Then we sneak away and give you a moment to breathe and just be together. BONUS: If you do a first look we can do most if not all of your posed family / wedding party portraits before the ceremony, leaving more time to spend with your guests!

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  • Alternative Idea: Forego the first look and get ready together! This leads to a more relaxed and fun morning and you get to spend every minute of your special day with your love. This is a growing trend the last few years and I’m digging it!

Newlyweds showered with rice - Rice is said to symbolize rain which is supposed to bring prosperity, fertility and good fortune…. but it’s also bad for birds. Below are a few ideas to symbolize good fortune in a bit more earth friendly way…. of course if you are getting married in Washington it’s likely to rain on your wedding day anyway, and nothing beats the real deal! HAHA.

  • Alternative Idea: Toss Bar - Set up a fun little table and let your guest create their own bags of items to throw. Eco friendly confetti, leaves, flower petals, flowers and herbs are just some ideas to add to your toss bar.

  • Alternate Idea: Leaf confetti, it’s just what it sounds! Use a hole punch to make confetti out of leaves. It’s biodegradable!

Bouquet Toss - The tradition to toss the bouquet and garter started when the bride and groom were trying to leave to go to the bridal chambers. They would toss them and it would distract the crowd enough for them to leave. This evolved into whoever caught them was supposed to be the next to be married.

  • Alternative Idea: Skip ditching your guests who some have flown across the country to see you and hang out!! People get married on their own terms today not to mention some guests may find it awkward to stand up declaring their singleness in front of the entire wedding.

Taking the husband’s name - This one began in medieval England when women were said to “become one” with their husbands upon marriage. This is another tradition that started when wives were considered property of their husbands.

  • Alternative Idea: Keep your name….. why not, it’s 2019. If you own your own business or are well established under your maiden name, there is no reason to switch your name.

  • Alternative Idea: For those anti-traditioners (I’m pretty sure I just made that word up) why not take the bride’s last name??? Never thought of it?? Hey, it’s an option.

  • Alternative Idea: Hyphenate! If you both want to keep your names but want the same last name then why not hyphenate them. I have some friends that are now the Scibelli-Jones family and before them I hadn’t considered this but I love the idea.

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XOXO,

Sarah

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Serena + Javi's Center for Urban Horticulture Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Serena + Javier tied the knot at the Center for Urban Horticulture on a smokey day last August. The Center for Urban Horticulture is definitely one of my most favorite Seattle wedding venues so I was stoked that this was one of two weddings I had there last year! There is a beautiful ceremony location down in Marilou Goodfellow Grove, which is where Serena + Javi chose to do their ceremony, but there is also a beautiful greenhouse room to be used if it’s raining. This is also a great location for a reception and dancing (see reception photos below.) There is a decent sized room for reception seating as well. I love all these things but the thing I love the most is the garden and all the unique flowers and plants that are around the venue. They are all so unique and well laid out, they make for beautiful detail photos as well as backgrounds for portraits. The combination of colors and textures were very well put together. Another perk to this venue is that Yesler Swamp is directly next door and is a cute, somewhat private location to do a first look and some bride and groom portraits. It adds great variety to the wedding gallery and is only a short walk away.

Serena + Javi chose different shades of purple for the bridesmaids dresses and beautiful tones of red, orange and green for their flowers. I must say that this is one of the most stunning bouquets I have ever seen! The colors and textures chosen where so perfect and matched Serena’s red shoes. The ambiance of the whole day was warmer than normal due to the sun shining down through all the smoke and it was just perfect with the warm tones of the florals.

Overall the wedding was so beautiful and fun! So many smiling faces and happy memories made. Congrats Serena + Javi!

Venue: Center for Urban Horticulture

Day of Coordinator: Katrina Allen of Love Blooms Wedding and Event Design

Florist: Laurel's Floral Decor

Caterer: Bay Laurel Catering

Hair/Make-up: KLS Makeup Artistry

Rentals: Grand Event Rentals

Music: Irwin Shung

Second Shooter: Malory Larson Photography

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Preparing For Your Engagement (Couples) Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Congratulations on your engagement! This is a special time in your life and should be documented. So, before you get too far into wedding planning, take a few moments to start planning your engagement session. Engagement photos are a great way to announce your big news, plus they will be some of your top viewed photos of the year! They deserve a little planning but the fun we’ll have and the amazing photos you’ll get are totally worth it! These will be images you’ll treasure forever. Plus it also gives you a chance to work with us prior to your wedding day so you can get a feel of how we work and it takes a lot of unnecessary stress out of the wedding shots!

Below let’s talk about some of the things you’ll need to consider while planning your engagement session but remember the most important advice is that this should be fun and relaxed! It’s not worth stressing over, save that for the wedding deets!

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  1. Wardrobe

  • Pick out two or three outfits for your session, this will give you some variety in your photos. If you are having a hard time choosing you can always bring an extra outfit or two or get our input on what would photograph the best.

  • Choose soft, muted, neutral colors like whites, browns, sage green, grey, blush or black. Avoid neon colors, crazy or tight patterns or lots of competing colors because they will draw attention away from you and your love. You two are the focus of the photos and we want to avoid competition and instead focus on the intimate and fun moments between you.

  • Select clothing that is comfortable, if you aren’t comfortable then it will show in the photos. That being said, avoid clothes that are too tight and may show underwear lines or unwanted bulges. On the other end of the spectrum, avoid clothes that are baggy or over-sized. They can make you look boxy and add bulk to your shape. Finding proper fitting clothes that you are comfortable in and fit your body style is essential!

  • Consider buying a dress or skirt for your session. You’ll look and feel great in your new outfit and a hand selected dress to match the location you choose can’t be beat. Long flowing skirts photograph well and are really fun in action-based shots!

  • Coordinate—but don’t match. Think coordinating color palettes, but not matchy/matchy. Too much contrast (i.e. you in white, him in black) can overwhelm a picture or be cheesy. Also avoid both wearing patterns as they again may draw viewers eyes away from your moments.

2. Look your best!

  • These photos will be family heirlooms. They’ll be sent off on save-the dates, parents and grandparents will display them and eventually children and grandchildren will look back at them. It’s important to look and feel your best! Although many women are comfortable doing their makeup I suggest hiring a professional to do your hair and makeup because they know how makeup photographs so they can contour to bring out your best features. They also can put together the perfect palette to match your selected outfits and location.

  • Utilize your hair and makeup trials with your wedding vendors. This is a great way to get the most out of those trials and not pay for additional services. Need hair and makeup artists? Check out our Sound South Wedding Vendor Guide.

  • Get your ring cleaned, let that thing sparkle!

See more of Krissy + Mitch’s Lake Cushman Adventure Session - Coming Soon

See more of Krissy + Mitch’s Lake Cushman Adventure Session - Coming Soon

3. Where should we have our photos taken?

  • Are you at home in the city? Adventurers?? Are you drawn to the mountain or water? Is there a location that is significant to you and your fiance? Ask yourself these questions and it will help you find an engagement session location. You two will be the main focus of the photos but having a serene or special backdrop makes for fabulous photos and epic memories from that day.

  • Looking for areas nearby the Olympia area? Look HERE for some idea.

  • Seeking wind in your hair and adventure to feed your soul? Say no more, I’m already sold. For ideas on adventurous locations click HERE.

See more of Emily + Mario’s Gold Creek Pond Engagement Session - Coming Soon

See more of Emily + Mario’s Gold Creek Pond Engagement Session - Coming Soon

5. What time should we plan on begin taking our photos?

  • About 2 hours before sunset is the best time since the light is prettiest. So, for example, if sunset is at 7\8:30pm, we'll usually plan to start around 6:30pm.

  • Two hours or so after sunrise is also a good option for certain locations. The morning light is cool and pretty, there are less people out and about and depending on the season there is a good chance of some pretty fog!

See more of Silu + Aristotle’s Seattle Engagement Session - Coming Soon

See more of Silu + Aristotle’s Seattle Engagement Session - Coming Soon

6. Creativity + trusting your photographer

  • We are very experienced in posing couples and will use our creativity to bring out the best in you! Chat with us before the session and let us know if there are any specific poses that interest you, otherwise sit back, have fun and trust us to capture all the special moments.

See more of Naya + Betka’s downtown Seattle Couples Session - Coming Soon

7. Keep the mood light.

  • Relax! If you are uncomfortable it will show in the photos! Relax and BREATHE!

  • Have fun! Above all, this is the most important. This is an exciting time for you as a couple and we want to capture your personalities and the love that you share.

8. Can we bring pets?

  • Of course! Bring your fur babies and we’ll grab some photos of you and them. I do recommend bringing a friend to help with them while we are shooting the photos without them though. If that isn’t an option bring a long leash so we can tie them to a tree while we are shooting.

See more of Krissy, Mitch + Lily’s Lake Cushman adventure sesion - Coming Soon

See more of Krissy, Mitch + Lily’s Lake Cushman adventure sesion - Coming Soon

9. Think props

  • Is there something special that has lots of significance in your relationship? It could be a blanket, a piece of jewelry, a vintage car or a motorcycle. The more unique to your relationship, the better! Look HERE for more prop ideas.

  • If you choose to bring props, limit it to two or three. We want your awesome props to enhance the photos and add personality, but not take away attention from you two.
     

10. Be on time

  • This is REALLY important! What you may not realize is that photographers are 100% dependent on the sun and specifically plan their sessions for the most flattering and beautiful light. If you show up late you will lose time off your session due to lack of light

  • . There are always things that happen that are out of our control, like traffic and accidents but by planning your route and a backup route ahead of time and leaving early you can minimize the risk of showing up late and losing camera time.

  • Being late is stressful and we want you happy and relaxed!

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Ashley + Codey's Trinity Tree Farm Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Ashley + Codey tied the knot on a beautiful but typical Pacific Northwest fall day in September. Although there was the occasional sprinkle, the rain held off during the ceremony and during all the pictures! Thank you Mother Nature, we appreciate you!

The day started off pretty relaxed as Ashley and Codey each got ready with their closest friends and family. Fun toasts, wedding party presents and lots of laughter were highlights that morning, along with a game or two of pool, of course. I’m fairly certain that Codey didn’t stop smiling all day! Ashley is stunning to begin with but also Sorrida Salon did such an amazing job on her hair and make-up that I walked right by her! Ashley, you are gorgeous and looked like you belonged in a high-end bridal magazine!

Let’s take a moment to talk about the venue too, The Lodge at Trinity Tree Farm. What a GORGEOUS venue!!! I loved that it was clean, modern, well-lit, and convenient. The layout is great and there are excellent spots for formal photos on site as well. One of my favorite parts of the venue is that it is a Christmas tree farm…… so trees! The perfectly aligned rows of trees and the quaint gravel driveway that winds through the trees are excellent for beautiful bride and groom photos (and my OCD). Let’s be real with such a gorgeous couple and such an amazing location I could have spent hours exploring and taking pictures of them in the trees! A Pacific Northwest wedding photographer’s dream! Getting Married at Trinity Tree Farm?? Hiiiiiire me, pleeeease and let’s go play in the trees!

Wedding Planner / Day of Coordinator: Colleen Stanton

Florist: Down to Earth Flowers

Cake/Desserts: Mike’s Amazing Cakes

DJ/Band: DJ Daron

Hair + Makeup: Sorrida Salon

Wedding Dress: Made With Love (Stevie)

Wedding Party's Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu

Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Jewelry/Rings: Robbins Brothers’

Suits + Ties: The Black Tux (Hugo Boss)

Catering: The Tall Chef

Venue: Trinity Tree Farm

Second Shooter: Alexis Rae Photography

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Adventure Portrait Sessions: What They Are and Why You NEED One! | Olympia Wedding Photographer

What is an adventure portrait Session?

An adventure portrait session is a great way to capture images of you and your babe while exploring the great Pacific Northwest. An adventure session throws traditional portrait locations to the wind in exchange for ones that are a bit more wild, natural and epic. They tend to be way more fun… and maybe a bit muddier!

Who is an adventure portrait session for?

Nature lovers, free-spirits and the adventurous at heart. If a bit of a drive or a hike doesn’t scare you then an adventure portrait session is for you! While adventure session are perfect for lovers and elopements, they are also great for senior sessions, bridal sessions and boudoir. So hike up your skirt and let’s go!

How much does an adventure session cost?

Price depends on the location you select as well as time needed for the adventure, see pricing HERE.

Things to consider when planning an adventure portrait session.

  • Time - How long will it take to drive to your desired location? If there is a hike, how long will it take?

  • Location - What sort of background appeals to you? Woods, mountains, water? All of them?? Maybe there is a place that has special memories for you?

  • When to schedule - This depends on your location…. places like Mt. Rainier close when there is snow but others like Gold Creek Pond are amazing in the winter! Also consider fall as a great time to book due to the auburn foliage, it’s pretty magical! Winter session can be foggy, snowy and majestic but there is a higher chance of rain…be prepared to shoot in the rain or reschedule.

  • Clothing - Select two or three outfits that don’t clash with the scenery. After all the view is why we are there! Think simple patterns, solid colors and fun hats. Bring or wear sensible shoes. Bring towels and a change of clothes in case you get wet.

  • Props - Best to keep it basic out in the wilderness but a cute little picnic, a bottle of champagne or a cozy blanket can all be great additions to your session.

  • Snacks- Exploring is hard work and we may build up an appetite! Bring plenty of food and water for our adventure.

Where are some great locations to do an adventure portrait session?

The possibilities are endless!

Below are just a few localish locations for an adventure portrait session. If you have another idea I'd love to go explore with you! I'm open to non-local adventure too, message me and let's start exploring!

Ask about session discounts on my bucket list/favorite locations!

  • Ruby Beach

  • Rattlesnake Ledge

  • Cannon Beach

  • Leavenworth

Mt. Rainier

See more of Mt. Rainier


Lake Cushman

See More Lake Cushman


Rattlesnake Lake

See more of Rattlesnake Lake


Franklin Falls

See more of Franklin Falls


Gold Creek Pond


Deception Pass

See more of Deception Pass


Cannon Beach

See more of Cannon Beach


Manchester State Park


See more of Manchester State Park

Vantage

See more of Vantage, WA

Group Senior Shoot

For portrait location ideas closer to Olympia check out 10 Great Portrait Locations Near Olympia

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Veronica + Joseph Tumwater Engagement Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Kenzi's Vintage Glam Bridal Portraits | Olympia Wedding Photographer

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Lindsay + Nick's Salish Lodge Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Venue: Salish Lodge

Make-up: Allison Peck

Hair: Emma Williams of Sweet Lips Hair

Wedding Dress: Casablanca from Weddings With Joy

Groom's Suit: Nordstrom

Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie

Jewelry: Ken Walker Jewelers, Stella & Dot

Bridal Shoes: Nina

Officiant: Miguel Standerry

Wedding Coordinator: Michelle Murphy

Florist: Elle’s Floral Ingenuity

Entertainment: The Nines!

Second Shooter: Entwined Portraits

 

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Megan's Ft. Steilacoom Maternity Session | Tacoma Maternity Photographer

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagramand check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Kate + Taylor's Discovery Park Engagement | Seattle Wedding Photographer

Kate + Taylor are getting married, which is totally rad because they are such a good match for each other! Even in the limited time we spent together during our initial meeting (which actually was about two hours cause we were having so much fun chatting and eating delicious pizza!) and for their engagement session I could see how well their personalities complimented each others. They are also both sassy and sweet, kind, patient, fun and light-hearted. They are constantly joking back and forth with each other and their positive attitudes kept the mood cheery and me smiling.

Along for the adventure with this sweet couple was their very content fur baby, Flynn. Flynn has an amazing story that lead to him being adopted by Kate + Taylor and brought back to the United States. He is one lucky pup and I’m pretty sure he knows it! Flynn was super easy to work with, a great listener and check out his smile! Someone is excited his humans are getting married!

We got the perfect day with the perfect weather for their Discovery Park Engagement session. Not too hot, not too cold and the perfect sun streaming through the trees. I am stoked for the warm colors of PNW fall, but I’m most definitely going to miss that beautiful summer sun. Don’t go yet, I’m not ready…

Kate + Taylor….. these two are most definitely ‘made for each other’ and I’m super stoked that I get to be the one to document their love story and capture all the little moments that they will cherish for eternity. I’m am counting down the days until their September 2019 wedding at Fireseed Catering on Whidbey Island! With their farm to table policy, beautiful gardens and stunning view it’s going to be an amazing and unique experience.

Makeup: Bethany Yackel Beauty

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful