Brooke's Mountainous Anchorage Bridal Session | Alaska + PNW Wedding Photographer

Last May I was able to spend a few weeks in the homeland, beautiful Alaska. It had been several years since I'd been home so it was long over due. My husband and three kids and I flew home to Fairbanks, Alaska for my best friend's daughter's graduation. After a few days in Fairbanks, visiting friends and family, we took the beautiful 6 hour drive to Anchorage (which seems a lot longer than 6 hours with two toddlers and a baby.) The majority of my family still resides in Anchorage so we were all excited to play with cousins and explore the glaciers and mountains. We had a busy schedule with play dates and visits but I just HAD to shoot while I was home.

Rachel of Capture Alaska Photography and I had been chatting for a few months about setting up an adventurous bridal shoot while I was home and these were the results!! Rachel is an amazingly talented photographer and she is perceptive, sweet and loads of fun. She had known Brooke for quite some time and picked her to model for us, it was the perfect choice because the three of us worked so well together and we had a blast during this shoot! 

Brooke is so natural and real, she was such a pleasure to work with. My favorite thing about Brooke, besides her FABULOUS hair, is that laugh of hers! When she laughs, she laughs with her whole being and it's contagious. Smart, ambitious, talented - I just can't say enough good things about Brooke. What an amazing woman you are, Brooke! Also, CONGRATS on being crowned Miss Alaska USA 2018! May this year bring you everything your heart desires and may you find some amazing and positive ways to impact this world.

Model: Brooke Johnson, Miss Alaska USA 2018

Floral Bouquet: Rachel of Capture Alaska Photography

Location: Right outside of good ole A-town

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

Danny + Marcos' Port Gamble Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Danny + Marcos got married in the quaint little town of Port Gamble. The getting ready houses, church, park for photos and reception area are all situated within a few minutes walk from each other which was so convenient! Right in the middle of all the venues is downtown Port Gamble. With a variety of coffee shops, restaurants and little gift stores it's the perfect place to explore in between wedding events. The best part is the scenery! The Pavilion, park and guest houses are all right on Gamble bay, near the entrance of the hood canal. Nothing is better than a view of the water and the smell of the ocean!

I photographed Danny + Marcos' engagement session in July and right away I could see how special of a couple they are. Smart, funny, kind and 120% committed to each other! My favorite part of spending time with Danny + Marcos was the big smiles that appeared on their faces when they looked at each other. You know that big grin that you can't hide when you find someone that causes butterflies in your stomach at the mere thought of them? That smile you get when someone turns your world upside down and sideways in the best way possible? Ya, that grin! These two share a pretty special connection!

There is nothing better than finding that one other soul that you can conquer anything with!

Congrats Mr. + Mr Cuellar! Here's to many years of happiness, love and endless smiles!

Church: St. Paul's Church (Port Gamble Weddings + Events)

Reception Venue: Hood Canal Vista Pavillion (Port Gamble Weddings + Events)

Flowers/Day of Coordinator: Flora Blume Design

Rings: Sholdt Design

Officiant: Ryan Meeks - Eastlake Community Church

Donuts: TopPot Doughnuts

Caterer: Lora's LeGarmache Catering

Tux's: The Black Tux

Groomsmaids Dresses: Nordstrom Wedding Boutique

DJ: Gordon Sound

Personalized Cutting Board: Lee Six Laser + Design

Second Shooter: Meghann Prouse // Photographer

See Danny + Marcos' Pioneer Square Engagement Session HERE.

Lizzie + Teron's Snowy Winter Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

First blog of 2018, friends! Here's to 2017, I hope it was a positive and memorable year!

When it comes to a December wedding or elopement, the combination of rich dark green trees and soft white snow infiltrates the dreams of every pacific northwest wedding photographer. Lizzie + Teron's big day was just that! A dream transformed into reality.

The weather was pretty standard for a Washington winter. Rain, fog and cold! But it made for some epic scenery. Even a 'little' rain didn't stop us from having a great time and capturing some amazing photos!

Lizzie + Teron, you both are so sweet and it was such a pleasure to work with you! I love how you both set aside the unpleasant elements (brrrrrrrr) in order to make some amazing and adventurous portraits.

A HUGE shout out to the amazing vendors that helped make this experience amazing. Your contributions were all flawless and it was so easy working with you all! High-five!

Brides, if you are still looking for vendors for your 2018/2019 wedding contact these ladies! They are all top notch and I highly recommend them for their quality of customer service and beautiful work!

Hair + Make-up: Bethany Yackel Beauty

Floral Bouquet and Crown: A Moment in Time Floral Design

Cake: Turquoise Pink Sweets

Dinnerware/decor: Balancing Balloons

There are many epic locations around the world (that some day I'd love to shoot weddings at) but it's sessions like this that makes me realize how lucky I am to be a wedding photographer in the pacific northwest. I love the raw beauty that the scenery provides us here in Washington. That raw beauty combined with a good love story to capture is definitely my jam! I'm looking forward to all the adventure that 2018 brings!!

If you've got a story to tell and a hunger for adventure, message me and let's make your dreams into reality.

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

Samara's Bridal Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

In October Samara married the love of her life, Chris, in a fairytale worthy wedding. While her newly wedded bliss was still fresh she came to see me for an elegant and stunning bridal session. Her long, fitted dress with a top layer of lace fit her just perfectly! Let's not forget my very favorite detail, flowing down from her shoulders to the floor was a cape of elegant lace. Such a perfect touch to this amazing dress. I had not seen a cape on a wedding dress before and it was the most surprise! I didn't know it was even a thing but I really hope it becomes one! 

Dress: Barbara's Barbara's Bridal Boutique + Alterations

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

Amber + Sam Say 'I do' at Stocker Farms | Snohomish Wedding Photographer

Stocker Farms is a quaint little farm venue in Snohomish, Washington. A big, and beautifully redone, red barn acts as an indoor area for ceremony or reception location. For summer weddings there is an outdoor ceremony location with a beautiful archway and real wood pews. A beautiful setting to say "I do." For wedding portraits there are fields of corn, a variety of flowers, the barn, an old water tower, a wall of tall dark green trees and more! The setting sun peeking around the water tower and through the trees adds a bit of magic to your wedding day. My favorite park of the venue is the entertainment section. There is basketball and yard games and a giant bag style trampoline to jump on. I love capturing emotion, especially happiness, so watching Amber + Sam's wedding guests laugh and smile as they played in the yard was definitely a highlight!

Amber + Sam, lovingly referred to as Samber, are fun and sweet! Such a light-hearted and genuine couple. Their love for each other and their sweet little family is worn on their sleeves. I could FEEL the love that they have for their kids and family and it just made their wedding day even more special. As a wedding photographer, I try to capture the most raw and real emotions so I just love when couples are so genuine!

Thank you to Amber + Sam for trusting me to capture your wedding! I'm honored to have been a part of your big day and I hope these memories bring you joy and smiles every time you look at them.

Make-up: Kasi Doyle

Hair: Krysta Betenbough

Hair Clip: Nicole Carter of Regalia Designs

Florist: Amber Baker (Yes, this amazing bride is an artist and made all these stunning flowers!)

Dress: David's Bridal

Venue: Stocker Farms

Second Shooter: One Thousand Words

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

South Sound Wedding Resource Guide - Preferred Vendor List

As a Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer I get to work with wedding vendors from all over the sound sound. I enjoy meeting all these people and watching them unite and use their skills to make wedding day's come together in the most special and amazing ways. Below are some of the vendors that I have had the pleasure of getting to know during weddings that I've photographed, each did an exceptional job or had something amazing to offer. Please keep in mind that many of the below vendors are wiling to travel..the others may be worth the drive!

There are many other wonderful wedding vendors in the area and I recommend choosing ones that match your style, budget and location. If you do not see one that works for you below but would still like help find vendors please feel free to contact me and I will gladly help you find vendors to meet your needs.

A big part of who I am, and my business principals, is supporting small businesses. If this is important to you as well please let me know and I can assist you in finding small but amazing vendors!


Cake

Scarlet Nantes

Seattle/Kirkland, WA - Creative and delicious, a treat for both the eyes and taste buds. Scarlet Nantes specializes in Cake, Macron's and Meringue that will compell you to sneak back in line for seconds and thirds.

Beautiful cake by Sugar Rush Cupcakes

Sugar Rush Cupcakes

  • Tacoma, WA - Delightfully tasty! I was impressed with the unique flavors and their cakes and cupcakes are beautifully decorated! YUM!

Wagner's Bakery

  • Olympia, WA - I'm hungry just typing about Wagner's Bakery..... I love them! My wedding cake came from here. They are a bit spendy but worth the extra dough...get it....ha. Ok, fine - back to my review :) Wagner's not only makes spectacular, and delicious wedding cakes but also a variety of other desserts to impress your guests. Get a yummy wedding cake AND think outside the (wedding cake) box and stock your dessert table with a variety of top notch desserts.

Delicately Sweet Confections

  • Seattle, WA - Super beautiful, elegant and uniquely styled cakes but BEWARE they taste just as good as they look, which I didn't think was possible!

Catering

RibEye Ramblin Jacks

  • Napavine, WA - Not only is the food amazing but the staff is even more amazing. One of the weddings at the venue started to leak during the wedding and water spilled into the reception area as guests were eating. Rambling Jacks staff, without blinking an eye went above and beyond their catering duties and cleaned up the mess. I was SO impressed with their dedication, service and pleasant attitudes. 

Calligraphy

Custom handwritten invitations and Calligraphy by Ink + Sable

Custom handwritten invitations and Calligraphy by Ink + Sable

Ink + Sable

  • Seattle, WA - Add a custom touch to you invites, place cards, menus or thank you notes with some elegant calligraphy from Ink + Sable. See Invitations for more info.

DJ

DJ Pooji

  • Olympia, WA - Pooji is a very experienced wedding DJ and has a fun and lively style. Hate the silence when music cuts out in between songs? Me too! Don't need to worry about that happening with DJ Pooji, he is on top of it and so easy to work with. A five star rating is well earned by DJ Pooji!

Decorations/Gifts (Custom)

Lee Six Laser & Design

  • Olympia, WA - Lee Six Laser & Design does custom engraving on a variety of gifts and decorations. They are innovative, creative and some of the sweetest people around. If you are looking for custom decorations for wedding or gift for your bridal party, fiance or family then CHECK THEM OUT!!
Ring box by Lee Six Laser & Design

Ring box by Lee Six Laser & Design

Skinfully Simple

Olympia, WA - Stock up on amazing and natural skin product for your bridesmaids gifts, wedding favors or Emergency Wedding Kit! Skinfully simple is ran by two local mama's and their products leave your skin feeling soft and refreshed. From sugar scrub to chapstick and more, check out their site for a full product listing.


Dresses

New Beginnings Bridal Studio

  • Puyallup, WA - New Beginning Bridal Salon boasts a variety of unique and STUNNING wedding dresses with a wide variety of sizes, styles and prices. Don't "Say yes to the dress" without stopping in here first!!

Adorned in Grace

  • Tacoma, WA - Adorned in Grace is such a unique vendor because they have a mission to end human trafficking. Find a beautiful dress and help a good cause. If you'd like to donate a dress email Chris at chris@adornedingrace.org.

Gorgeous wedding dress by New Beginnings Bridal Studio


Fireworks and Sparklers

Boomtown Fireworks, LLC

  • Seabeck, WA - Great vendor for all your 1.4 firecrackers and Sparklers. They are unable to ship.

Halo Fireworks

  • Seabeck, WA- If you want an amazing firework show at your event then check them out. Cory is the main "Pyro" and is an expert in putting on an amazing, and safe, firework display.

Flowers

A Moment in Time Floral Design

  • Yelm, WA - Heidi, of A Moment in Time Floral Design, is sweet and innovative. She is easy to work with and does not fail to deliver epic and creative wedding florals. 
Elopement published in Bellissima Bridal Magazine Issue No. 30

Elopement published in Bellissima Bridal Magazine Issue No. 30

Blooma Flora

  • Yelm, WA - Blooma Flora is a small local business, which I love to support! On top of that they have an extraordinary eye when it comes to putting together floral arrangement. Check them out!.

Busara Flora

  • Bellevue, WA - Simply stunning! From classy to unique to big and bold Busara Flora with nail your dream bridal bouquet and take your breathe away.

Floral Noir

Bouquet and floral crown by Floral Noir

Bouquet and floral crown by Floral Noir

  • Redmond, WA- Shannon Hagen of Floral Noir is my go-to florist. Her bouquets are unique and stunning - she has a knack for putting together just the right colors and textures to make magic. Call her, you won't regret it - she is absolutely wonderful!

JNJ Floral

  • Enumclaw, WA - Jessica of JNJ floral is such a sweet and talented florist. She is easy to work with and has a lovely, near whimsical floral vision that is perfect for special ocassions.

Hair + Make-up

Allison Peck

Make-up by Allison Peck

Make-up by Allison Peck

  • Lacey, WA - Allison is based in Lacey but travels throughout Lewis, Pierce, Thurston and King Counties. She is not only an experienced MUA, she is also furthering her education by going to school to obtain a Master Esthetician License. Go Allison!! If you love bold and beautiful makeup, Allison is your girl!

A Prima Salon

Hair and Make-up done by Christine Carbone of A Prima Salon

  • Gig Harbor, WA - Christine Carbone of A Prima Salon is a very talented and experienced Make-up Artist. She has a history of working with big names and once you see her work you'll know why!!

A Second Look - Makeup by Amanda

  • Tacoma, WA - Amanda is through and very detail orientated. Her work is beautiful and flawless!

BeautyBy: Alisa Clark

  • Tacoma, WA - Alisa is professional and easy to work with. So convenient to have on site hair and make-up!

Bethany Yackel Beauty

  • Lynnwood, WA - Bethany does an amazing job and is super sweet and easy to work with. She strives to give each bride a custom and gorgeous look that enhances their features and brings out their natural beauty.
Bridal Make-up by Bethany Yackel Beauty

Bridal Make-up by Bethany Yackel Beauty

Bridal Esthetics By Katie

  • Bellevue, WA - Katie Horton of Bridal Esthetics By Katie is a great option if you are near Bellevue. Look her up!

Fusion Salon

  • Lakewood, WA -Brook Ferber has an eye for for simple yet stunning looks.

Glam to Go

Nicole + Stephanie of Glam to Go working their magic

  • Napavine, WA but they travel! - This gorgeous duo is a one stop shop for you beauty needs. Nicole is an expert at bringing out your best features with the application of make-up and Stephanie is a ninja at taming even the most unruly of locks. Both women are experienced and very easy to work with. You will be looking your very best and happily entertained when working with these two! They also come to you on your wedding day, can't get easier than that!!

Seattle Bride Hair

  • Seattle, WA - Dawn of Seattle Bride Hair does an amazing job on hair AND make-up! She travels not only over Western Washington but to any destination!! She is very popular in the area so book early!

Urbanista Wedding

  • Seattle, WA - Simple and elegant. Urbanista wedding does and amazing job at providing custom and stunning bridal looks.

Yoana Lizabeth Clark

  • Seattle, WA - Yoana is super sweet and does amazing work.

Invitations (and other paper product)

Ink + Sable

  • Seattle, WA - Custom, hand written menus, invitations and other wedding paper products. Ink + Sable specializes in some super elegant calligraphy. 

Sandpaper

  • Olympia, WA - Tina is the owner and designer of Sandpaper and such a pleasure to work with. She was great at communicating ideas and executed our vision perfectly. We ordered invitations, menus, monogrammed programs, a custom sign, table numbers and name tags and they brought all the decorations and venue together so well! Tina is super flexible and does a huge variety of paper products. Check her out!
Invitations, Menus and Place Cards by Sandpaper

Invitations, Menus and Place Cards by Sandpaper


Limo Service

Access Limos

  • Tacoma, WA + the entire Sound Sound Area through Seattle - I've worked with Paris since 2008 and have never been disappointed. They are a small local company therefore customer service is their top priority, not to mention he's the most prompt person I've met! If you want to feel like royalty and not stress about driving or getting to your destination on time then Access Limos is just the business for you.

Rentals

Balancing Balloons

  • Seattle, WA - Creative, unique and innovative. Give your wedding an extra special touch with rentals from Balancing Balloons.

Puget Sound Farm Tables

  • Bonney Lake, WA - The days of matching table linens are OUT!! No need to worry about them when you can rent BEAUTIFUL, sturdy, hand built farm tables! Once you see how amazing these are you'll say goodbye to tablecloths for sure - plus hey, that's one less expense! Here's where it gets even MORE exciting... they have more than just fab tables.... they also have decorations, goblets, vintage dishes, cake stands, serving utensils and more....I can't even list it all. A unique twist about them is they also have tables specifically for dessert, hand made beer bars aaaaaaaaaaaaaand s'mores bars!!! Maybe it's just me but no wedding is complete without s'mores, amiright?! Clint and Ashley are so easy to work with and they have so many awesome rentals, check them out!! Did I mention they have a calligrapher..... can you say one stop shop!

A bride showcases her dress at Albee's Garden Parties

  • Olympia, WA - Albee's Garden Parties is an absolute hidden treasure! A bride, and a photographers DREAM! Beautiful fields, tree coverage, a charming indoor area, an orchard, full kitchen and cute little greenhouse area are just a few of the amenities available. The layout is amazing, landscaping is impeccable and unique and the details are rustic and lovely. Five stars for sure!

Country N Lace

  • Toledo, WA - I don't even know where to start on this stunning venue! There are multiple location including a country house, woods and barn to choose for your ceremony - all are amazing. There are fields of horses and a row of beautiful sunflowers. Michelle + Luke, the owners are seriously amazing and Michelle has some serious wedding planning skills! She guides the day's events and keeps everything on track and makes it look effortless! One of the best things about this venue is the decorations.... Michelle has a stock pile of vintage and handmade decorationsto choose from that will surely meet your needs. My first wedding here I wanted to spend all day photographing the decorations because they are so fantastic! There is even a photo booth area with props! Every detail has been thought out and mastered at Country N Lace. If you want easy and beautiful then Country N Lace could be for you!

Evergreen Valley Lavender Farm

  • Olympia, WA - Yes they do wedding .... walking down the aisle surrounded in vibrant purple flowers is unique and a huge win!! Make sure you book early though the flowers are in bloom mid June through mid August.

A bride and groom walk into their new life together at Country N Lace in Toledo, Washington

Huber's Gasthaus

  • Olympia, WA- This little Venue has hosted many a wedding - including my own!! When you walk in the building there is a water fountain and an excellent area to set up a guest book table. There is also a kitchen, dance floor and bathrooms on the bottom floor. Upstairs there is a landing and some rooms for getting ready. To the side of the building is a great place to set up an outdoor wedding reception with a dance floor and bar area. They also have covered seating available. Out back, on an amazing white gazebo is where I said "I do." There is some beautiful shade and a great area to set up chairs for the ceremony. There is even a playground next door for the kiddos and a field to set up lawn games.

Port Gamble Weddings & Events

  • Port Gamble, WA- Port Gamble is a quaint little town with an old fashion charm. It sits right on the water and offers a good variety for wedding images and cute town for your wedding guests to explore. The church, the reception pavillion and the little downtown businesses are all in walking distance.

Rein fire Ranch

  • Ravensdale, WA - This venue has it all. Beautiful barns, grassy fields, horses.... and more! Rich and his staff are well organized and easy to work with. 

Stocker Farms

  • Snohomish, WA - A big red barn, vintage farm equipment and some beautiful fields. The outdoor ceremony location is beautiful and they have outdoor covered seating too. There are also games and a huge trampoline to keep your guests entertained.

Tacoma Courthouse / Courthouse Square

  • Tacoma, WA - A beautiful and decent sized room with good lighting. It is elegant and vintage. There is a separate room for the bride to get ready and a kitchen space for the caterers. The halls and steps of the courthouse are great for photos and being downtown Tacoma is convenient for some beautiful urban portraits. The 11th st bridge is in walking distance!!

The Golf Club at Newcastle

The Golf Club at Newcastle

The Golf Club at Newcastle

  • Newcastle, WA - This venue is not only beautiful and elegant but it is huge so it can accommodate even large weddings. Don't forget to step out on their balcony and take in the breathtaking scenery.

Thornwood Castle

  • Tacoma, WA - Get married in a real castle? ABSOLUTELY! The garden area at this venue is absolutely stunning and a perfect location for a ceremony or wedding portraits. There is also a dock that has killer sunsets and a beautiful view! Inside the castle is very remarkable as well. The inside is laden with dark wood that is carved with awe-inspiring details. Upstairs there are rooms to spend the night, as well as get ready for your big day. Each room has so much character and make for beautiful getting ready pictures. There is also a large balcony perfect for a memorable bouquet toss! The stairs going down to the ceremony location are truly luxurious and make for a fairy tale entrance for the bride. There is a large room for the ceremony that also doubles as a dance floor and in the back there is a perfect area for the reception including a covered patio. This venue has it all and if you're looking for a unique location full of character to tell the story of your love then look no further.

The Vault

  • Tenino, WA - This venue has a full kitchen, a large room for getting ready and a very large room for the ceremony and reception. This venue is great if you are having a small or informal wedding. If you get married on the weekend in the summer there is a local market going on next door.
     

Videographer

Griffin Studios

  • Check out Brooke Griffin's fun and amazing style!

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

Hillary + Eric's Downtown Tacoma Engagement Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

For Hillary and Eric's downtown Tacoma engagement session we wandered around, talking of their adventures and laughing endlessly. This sweet couple was so much fun!

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

Kendra + Thor's Backyard Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Kendra + Thor said 'I do'!

I first met Kendra + Thor earlier in the year when they interviewed me as their wedding photographer and in just a short period of time I could see what a great couple they were! Not only are they both very nice people but they are so real! They knew exactly what they wanted for their wedding, and it was mostly based on people that were important to them being present and creating an environment to host the love and support they all have for each other.

Kendra + Thor chose to do a 'first look' before their ceremony and it worked out perfectly! We were able to get great photos of them first seeing each other all spiffied up and finish all the wedding party and family portraits before the ceremony. This allowed them to spend more quality time with their guests during the reception!

Kendra grew up on a rustic little farm just outside of Olympia, WA and her neighbors have the BEST barn (see below.) She grew up loving this barn so it made perfect sense to take portraits at it! Such great memories from her childhood that we were able to incorporate into her wedding day. As a PNW wedding photographer I couldn't ask for a better setting!

It rained on and off throughout the whole day but overall, the wedding was so amazing!! We didn't let the persistent drizzle affect their day one bit! It was a TRUE, and perfect, Washington wedding!

A little shout-out to all the amazing vendors that came together this September day to help Kendra + Thor with their wedding. Your amazing contributions are documented below and will forever be apart of Kendra + Thor's wedding day!

Make-up: Lisa Marie at Lonestar Salon

Hair: Devyn at Lonestar Salon

Florist: Greenwood Floral Design + Events

Dress: Country Bridal

Venue: Kendra's Family Farm

Catering: Kim & Mike Showalter

Thanks to my second shooter Picturesque Art Photography!

See Kendra + Thor's Ft. Steilacoom Park Engagement photos HERE.

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

Wedding Planning Timeline | Wedding Resource | Olympia Wedding Photographer

So you're getting married! Congrats. Wedding planning can feel overwhelming but good wedding planning is necessary to make your big day run smoothly.

There is so much to do! How do you know all the steps if you've never planned a wedding before?? First step... get a solid wedding planning guide and a wedding checklist. Second step, BREATHE! A planning guide can't do the work for you but it can help you stay organized. Step three, get to work planning your dream wedding!

Attached is a guide to give you an idea of the steps required to plan a wedding, as well as the recommended timeline for each. You can download your PDF copy HERE.

Also get your free Wedding Essentials Checklist HERE.

Happy planning!

2017-11-10_0002.jpg

9-24 Months Before Wedding

  • Get engaged
  • Insure engagement ring
  • Create or buy a wedding folder or binder
  • Pick a date
  • Determine your budget
  • Choose best people
  • Choose your wedding party
  • Finalize wedding theme/colors/style
  • List family traditions to include
  • Start a guest list
  • Hire a planner (not necessary but super helpful!)
  • Research Vendors - Venue, Photographer, Videographer, Cake, Caterer, Florist, Hair and Makeup, Limo Service. (Looking for vendors? See Preferred Vendors List HERE)
  • Book Officiant or designate someone special to officiate your wedding
  • Tour potential venues (Keep in mind that popular venues fill up quickly. You may have to plan further out if you have your heart set on a very popular one.)
  • Interview potential Photographers and Videographers
  • Book Ceremony Venue
  • Book Reception Venue (if different)
  • Book Photographer
  • Submit engagement announcement to newspaper
  • Take a break from all the work and celebrate your love! Throw an engagement party!

8 Months Before Wedding

  • Book entertainment (DJ, Band etc)
  • Interview more vendors (Caterer, Florist, Hair and Makeup, Limo Service)
  • Choose a dress (Make it fun, bring your bridal party and some champagne and make a day of it)
  • Reserve lodging for your out of town guests (Find hotel/cottages/B&B’s near your reception location)
  • Register for wedding gifts (Pick 2-3 places to register and have fun with it!)
  • Launch a wedding website for your friends and family to follow and get info (you can post your registries here, post important information, and display your engagement photos and SO much more. Check out Zola, Appy Couple, Wix, Squarespace)
  • Send Save-the-date cards

6 Months Before Wedding

  • Take engagement photos
  • Purchase Invitations (Hire a calligrapher, make them yourself or order online)
  • Start planning honeymoon
  • Select bridesmaids dresses
  • Book any further necessities for the big day (lights, porta potties, seating etc)
  • Book a Florist (Need ides for in season flowers during your wedding? Check out the SLOW Flowers Movement.
  • Book Transportation
  • Start putting together a day-of timeline (your wedding coordinator and photographer can help you with this!)

4-5 Months Before Wedding

  • Schedule rehearsal
  • Book rehearsal dinner venue
  • Finalize and send wedding invitations (include RSVP)
  • Order cake
  • Your Maid of Honor should start planning your bridal shower!
  • Dress fitting #1
  • Buy wedding shoes and accessories
  • Book hair and makeup artist(s)
  • Write out a tentative playlist, you can keep adding ideas over the next few months.
  • Book Honeymoon (Don’t forget to book a house sitter/dog sitter/ baby sitter)

3 Months Before Wedding

  • Finalize food and drink menus
  • Order favors
  • List who is making toasts
  • Ponder readings and vows
  • Buy your undergarments
  • Order menus
  • Order wedding programs
  • Shop for wedding bands (you’ll need time to order, size and engrave)
  • Finalize decoration details (floral arrangements, centerpieces etc)
  • Finalize events schedule
  • Send schedule to your vendors
  • Bridal Shower
  • Shop for a wedding gift for your groom
  • Book a bridal boudoir … leave time to have the photos returned and order products for your honey (surprise him with an amazing and sexy wedding gift)

2 Months Before Wedding

  • Touch base with all your vendors
  • Do a trial run for hair and makeup
  • Meet with your photographer to walk through your expectations
  • Finalize playlist with DJ (if you’re unsure how to start such a task than try creating ‘must play’ and ‘do not play’ lists)
  • Submit wedding announcement to newspaper
  • Order or make your decorations (throw a party for your bridal party and put them all together. A little pizza, wine and lots of laughter is the way to go)
  • Reserve Tuxedo
  • Book wedding night accommodations
  • Order a guest book
  • Arrange for a pet/baby sitter for the day and night of if needed
  • Purchase a reception dress if you plan to change out of your wedding dress

1 Months Before Wedding

  • Party time! Relax and enjoy your bachelorette party!
  • Gather RSVP’s, call those you haven’t heard from
  • Finalize guest list
  • Get your marriage license
  • Send out rehearsal dinner invites
  • Dress fitting #2 (You can also schedule one the week before you wedding just in case and then cancel if not needed)
  • Provide tentative head count to caterer
  • Stock the bar
  • Make final payments to vendors
  • Provide address to transportation vendor and all vendors that will be on-site on the big day
  • Assign seating for your guests
  • Create or purchase seating cards
  • Purchase bridesmaids gifts
  • Finalize Vows
  • Designate one person to gather family for family portraits
  • Have your hair cut and dyed
  • Pack your Emergency Bridal Kit
  • Prep thank you cards for guests you know are attending (hey, you can do it while you relax and watch TV at night and it’s less to do after!)
  • Find something new, something old, something borrowed and something blue

1 Week Before Wedding

  • Delegate small wedding tasks
  • Send timeline to friends, family, vendors and important people
  • Pick up your dress (final fitting too if you scheduled that)
  • Check in with vendors
  • Ensure photographer has family list for shot list
  • Set aside checks for vendors (final payments and tips)
  • Get a manicure/pedicure and facial/spa treatment
  • Get a massage! RELAX, all the planning will be over soon and you’ll be enjoying the fruits of all your labor
  • Provide final guest list/ head count to the caterer and venue staff
  • Break in your wedding shoes (to avoid blisters on your wedding day!!)
  • Pack for your wedding night (include water and snacks)
  • Pack for your honeymoon
  • Get the rings cleaned
  • Rehearsal and Rehearsal dinner

Wedding Day

  • Delegate small wedding tasks
  • Distribute wedding timeline
  • Get ready
  • RELAX! …. And enjoy your day
  • Get married!

After the Wedding

  • Honeymoon of course!!!
  • Send thank you notes to guests and vendors
  • Clean and store your wedding dress and veil
  • Preserve Bouquet
  • Return tux
  • Return any rentals
  • Name change paperwork
  • New driver’s license with your new name
  • Update your name with all bills, clubs, work etc
  • Change insurance policies to include spouse
  • Look over registries to make sure you received everything
  • Enjoy life as a married couple!

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

Wedding Essentials Checklist | Wedding Resource | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Hello! Congrats on your engagement! Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life but it's going to take some planning to get there. After all, if you've never planned a wedding how do you know everything you'll need to do?? This is a simple checklist to keep track of the tasks that need to be completed before your big day. So don't let it scare you! Take charge, start planning and have fun with it!

Browse below then download you PDF copy HERE.

Wedding Essentials Checklist

Engagement

  • Insure ring
  • Set wedding date
  • Throw an engagement party
  • Get engagement photos done

Apparel

  • Wedding dress
  • Dress bag
  • Alterations
  • Wedding Shoes
  • Backup flats
  • Veil/tiara/headpiece
  • Garter
  • Reception dress
  • Reception Shoes
  • Undergarments (bra, corset, slip, nylons, panties)
  • Getting ready robe for bride or Button up shirt (So you don’t mess up your hair)
  • Earrings
  • Necklace
  • Hair accessories
  • Something old
  • Something new
  • Something borrowed
  • Something blue
  • Departure outfit
  • Groom's Tuxedo
  • Tie
  • Tie clip
  • Cufflinks
  • Vest
  • Suspenders
  • Belt
  • Shoes
  • Watch
  • Getting Ready Robes
  • Bridesmaids dresses
  • Flower girls dresses
  • Ring Bearer tuxedos
  • Groomsmen tuxedos
  • Groomsmen shoes

Rehearsal Dinner

  • Venue
  • Caterer
  • Bartender
  • Liquor/beer/wine
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Decorations
  • Music
  • Parking
  • Dishes/glassware/silverware
  • Linens
  • Food
  • Servers
  • Signature drink

Getting Ready

Find a Makeup Artist

Ceremony

  • Officiant
  • Marriage paperwork (bring on day of)
  • Alter/aisle decorations
  • Guest book + pen
  • Pillow or ring box for ring bearer
  • Basket for flower girls petals
  • Aisle runner
  • Ushers
  • Transportation to reception if at different location
  • DJ
  • Playlist

Find a Venue

Reception

  • Venue
  • Table decorations
  • Venue decorations
  • Sign
  • Cake table decorations
  • Guest book table decorations
  • Card box
  • Guest book + pen
  • Photobooth
  • Caterer/food
  • Signature drink
  • Dishes, glasses, silverware
  • Toasting glasses
  • Napkins
  • Table Clothes
  • Menu
  • Cake
  • Cake Knife
  • Plates and silverware for cake
  • Musician or DJ
  • Playlist
  • Bar Tender
  • Liquor/beer/wine
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Appetizers for cocktail hour
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Parking
  • Bubbles/rice/sparklers
  • Transportations
  • Designated person to round up family for family portraits

Find a DJ

    Rings

    • Wedding band
    • Groom’s ring
    • Engraving
    • Sizing
    • Insurance
    • Pre-wedding cleaning

    Flowers

    • Bridal bouquet
    • Floral headpiece
    • Toss bouquet
    • Wedding party bouquets
    • Groom boutonniere
    • Groomsmen’s boutonnieres
    • Mother of the bride corsage
    • Mother of the groom corsage
    • Father of the bride boutonniere
    • Father of the groom boutonniere
    • Grandparent’s corsages/boutonnieres
    • Special guests corsages/boutonnieres
    • Petals for flower girls
    • Table center pieces
    • Arch decorations
    • Flowers for cake
    • Decorations for aisle

    Find a florist

    Stationary

    • Announcements
    • Save-the-dates
    • Invitations
    • Envelopes
    • Stamps
    • RSVP cards
    • Address Labels
    • Maps/direction cards
    • Registry cards
    • Wedding programs
    • Calligrapher
    • Newspaper announcement
    • Thank you cards
    • Rehearsal dinner invitations
    • Bachelor/Bachelorette party invitations

    Find a Calligrapher

    Gifts & Favors

    • Thank your or reminder token for your guests to take home. Handmade or store bought (optional)
    • Gift for groom from bride
    • Gift for bride from groom
    • Bridal party gifts
    • Groomsmen’s gifts
    • Flower girl gift
    • Ring bearer gift

    Find Gifts

    Photography/Videography

    Discuss below details and expectations with your photographer

    • Engagement portraits
    • Bridal Boudoir portraits - Set up a bridal boudoir party with your bridesmaids. Super fun day and you can get an album for a wedding gift for your fiance
    • Getting ready
    • First look - Decide if you want to stick with tradition or do a first look. Ask your photographer if you aren’t sure
    • Bridal portraits - List several important shots
    • Family portraits - Who is important and specific group shots if you have a preference
    • Ceremony portraits
    • Reception photos
    • Bridal Session
    • Albums, canvases + prints - Think wedding thank you gifts, wall art and heirloom albums

    Discuss wedding day details and expectations with videographer

    Find the Perfect Photographer

    Honeymoon

    • Plane tickets
    • Hotel
    • Rental Car
    • Entertainment
    • Lingerie
    • Appropriate clothing

    Miscellaneous

    • Apply for marriage certificate
    • Wedding planner
    • Hotel for out of town guests
    • Printed copies of wedding day timeline

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    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

    Emergency Wedding Kit Checklist | Wedding Resource | Olympia Wedding Photographer

    Calling all brides and bridesmaids! 

    Wedding days are a mix of beauty and chaos. The day where all the hard work and planning comes together for a memorable and glorious event! 

    Back to the chaos part....with the events of the day relying on so many little details to come together correctly, it is really important to cover your bases to ensure it will all run smoothly. An emergency wedding kit will do just that. Instead of stressing last minute about forgotten or lost items, breathe easy and save the day! 

    As a wedding photographer I've seen these kits come in handy time after time, in fact I carry some of these items with me to every wedding. I recommend packing your kit one month before the wedding so you aren't worrying about it last minute. Many of the below items you may have already siting around your house!

    If you think of an item you don't see on the list, CONTACT ME and let me know!

    See list below and download your PDF Emergency Wedding Kit Checklist HERE

    Olympia Wedding Photographer

    Emergency Wedding Kit Checklist

    • Tissues
    • Boutonniere pins
    • Safety pins
    • Sewing Kit
    • Crochet hook (for buttoning up dresses with ease)
    • Scissors
    • Baby Wipes
    • Eyelash glue
    • Mascara
    • Blotting paper
    • Clear Nail Polish
    • Nail File
    • Nail Clipper
    • Tweezers
    • Razor
    • Chapstick
    • Mirror
    • Mints/Gum
    • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
    • Floss
    • Mouthwash
    • Tylenol
    • Tums
    • Decongestant
    • Benedryl
    • Cough Drops
    • First aid kid
    • Band aid/Moleskin
    • Bobby pins
    • Hair Tie
    • Hairspray
    • Hairbrush
    • Q-Tips
    • Lotion
    • Sunscreen
    • Extra earring backs
    • Deodorant (spray so you can share)
    • Baby Powder
    • Eye drops
    • Tampons
    • Pads
    • Phone charger
    • Batteries
    • Lint Roller
    • Stain remover pen
    • Granola Bar/Dried Fruit/Nuts
    • Energy drink
    • Water
    • Mini Bottles
    • Post-It Notes
    • Pen
    • Sharpie
    • Ziplock bags
    • Double stick tape
    • Duct tape
    • Super glue
    • Cash (think vending machine or tips for staff)
    • Portable radio/MP3 player
    • Lighter
    • Flip flops
    • Trash bags
    • Straws
    • Washcloth
    • White chalk
    • Swiss Army Knife
    • Bottle Opener
    • Static cling spray
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Umbrella
    • Emergency Phone Numbers
    • Bug repellant
    • Extension Cord

     

    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

    Danny + Marcos' Pioneer Square Engagement | Seattle Wedding Photographer

    I can't believe Danny + Marcos' wedding is only TWO days away! So exciting! 

    Danny + Marcos chose to do their engagement session at Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle because they have had many adventures in and around the area. They were preparing to move to the Midwest so why not capture some memories of a familiar and happy place!

    Danny + Marcos were referred to me by a mutual friend,  Rebecca (thanks girl!) and I'm so glad they were! Individually they are both amazing humans; smart, funny, kind, successful, humble. Together they are magic! One thing that I love about photographing couples is being able to see, hear and feel the connection they have and Danny + Marcos did NOT disappoint! 

    The way they looked at each other...as if no one else existed...

    The little gestures of love as they emotionally checked in with the other...

    The happiness that radiated from them as they talked about their upcoming nuptials and thought about spending the rest of their lives together... 

    I live to tell love stories through my photography and they have quite a wonderful tale to tell. I can't wait to join them on their big day and capture all the little moments that will make their wedding both amazing and memorable. Danny + Marcos, there will be many adventures in your future. May the love you share be the grandest of them all.

    I'll end here with a few of my favorite quotes about love...

     “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

    “In a sea of people, my eyes will always search for you.” — Unknown

    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