Wedding Day Details

Jessica + Michael's Cabin Creek Lodge Wedding | Washington Wedding Photographer

Jessica + Michael said their “I do’s” at a quaint little lodge in Easton, WA called Cabin Creek Lodge. Some of the amazing features of this venue are multiple sleeping areas, a large game room, a wrap around porch big enough for an outdoor reception, an indoor reception area, a professional kitchen, an outdoor bar area, a fire pit, and a spectacular woodsy ceremony location. It is also situated on a little creek which is a beautiful location for bride and groom portraits or just to wander and explore. This venue really has it all and is woodsy and secluded enough for an intimate wedding but located fairly close to Seattle. Proximity and easy access from SEATAC airport is ideal for those guests flying in from out of state or country… which leads us back to the multiple sleeping areas so that guests can have a room indoors or even throw up a tent outside. No need to block out hotel rooms for your wedding guests when they can stay right at the venue. I’d say that is pretty handy and a huge plus to this venue.

It truly was an honor to capture this sweet couple’s wedding day. The father of the bride is a photographer as well and could have photographed the wedding himself but Jessica wanted him to be present for her big day and not busy taking pictures the whole time. I thought that was really sweet and it was obvious when they did their first look and throughout the day how much these two love each other.

My favorite part of Jessica + Michael’s wedding (besides the groom’s tears when he saw his gorgeous bride walking down the aisle) is when Michael read a letter that Jessica had written him not long after they met. Michael was deployed to Afghanistan and the two were corresponding by letter and fueling their romantic relationship. Michael, knowing that some day he was going to marry this girl, saved and unopened letter that Jessica had written him just for this occasion. He carefully opened the letter and read it’s contents to the crowd, resulting in tears, laughter and a touch of blushing from the bride. Seriously impressed by this sweet gesture! Congratulations Jessica + Michael! You two are so amazing together!

Venue: Cabin Creek Lodge

Florist: Auburn Flower Farm

Cake: Regina Barale

Caterer: Jim Hunter + Associates

HMUA: Mckenzie Galanti

Officiant: Jessica’s Grandfather

Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero / Rebecca Ingram

Wedding Party Dresses: The Wedding Bell

Jewelry/Rings: John Sampieri

Suits/Ties: The Wedding Bell

Check out Jessica + Michael’s engagement session HERE!

 

XOXO,

Sarah

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35 Ideas to Make Your Wedding Day Unique | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Customize your day, make it fun! Here are some ideas to make your wedding day unique!


1. Pay homage to the important details of your relationship… state you met, restaurant from your first date, favorite activity to do together etc by decorating your reception or cocktail hour space with details of these places.

2. Avoid some of the pre-ceremony jitters by getting ready together. Laugh and spend the morning with your love, then help each other get dressed. More fun, less stress.

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3. Go paperless! Send out electronic invites or use embroidered hankies or cloth for napkins, menus and invites.

4. Choose a colorful dress and have your bridesmaids wear white.

5. Select mixed gender bridal parties. Man of Honor and Groomsmaid have a nice ring to them!

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6. Opt for a non-traditional bouquet. Feather, greens, pine cones and dried flowers are all beautiful and unique. See some ideas for epic and non-traditional bouquets HERE.

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7. Instead of the traditional unity ceremony with sand or candles build or buy a clock and start the time on it during your ceremony. This idea is different and you can display the clock in your home.

8. Don’t let mom feel left out! Have both your parents walk you down the aisle. You can also have someone very special like Grandma or your bestie do this!

9. Skip the bridal party introductions and go right to dinner! This gives you more time with your guests and everyone is ready to eat by then anyway.

10. Instead of a head table for the wedding party, set up round or square tables in the middle of your guests. Head tables put the wedding party on display while they eat!

11. Decorate your tables with small custom items rather than large floral arrangements. Tall vases block views of the other side of the table and limit conversation between table mates.

12. Instead of having everyone line up for posed family photos, schedule 20 or so minutes to socialize with them. Laugh, tell stories, hug, pray… and have your photographer capture these interactions without the pressure of posed photos.

13. During cocktail hour support local businesses and show off your city by setting up tasting stations with local cuisine. Seafood if you live near the water, appetizers with fresh veggies if you live in farm country etc.

14. Toss out the idea of doing a garter and bouquet toss and replace them with a fun game that includes all your guests, instead of just the single ones.

15. Who says the flower girl has to be a young girl? Anyone can be a flower girl, so designate your granny, bestie or even your college roomie!

16. Set up a confetti bar and let your guests custom make little bags of confetti to throw. Dried or fresh flowers, flower petals, herbs, leaves, leaf confetti are just some ideas of what to include. Think biodegradable for easy cleanup!

17. Guest books usually end up in a box in storage, never to be seen again. Instead of a traditional book choose a more useful item like a wall hanging, picture or wooden puzzle to be signed.

18. Instead of offering your guests small trinkets for coming to your wedding, make a donation to your favorite charity in their name.

19. Create a scavenger hunt of items that can be found at the wedding. This allows your guests to interact more on your big day and have some fun!

20. Send a map and a list of “must do’s” for your city to your guests that are coming from out of town. This extra step will make your guests feel welcome and help them see your city.

21. Custom wine bottle labels are a great way to add a unique touch to your big day and the bottles can be saved as souvenirs by guests.

22. Have your best friends or parents create a trivia quiz about you two. This can be light and fun and get guests laughing.

23. Create a circular ceremony location with curved rows of chairs that go nearly all around except for a path to get to and from the center.. This way guests can view the ceremony better and you will be surrounded by your loved ones, literally. LOL.

24. Instead of a traditional cake or cupcakes, have a ice cream or sno-cone bar for guests to indulge in.

25. Another idea for dessert is to have a “family recipes” theme and serve desserts that are important and familiar to you. Display the story and importance of each dish and set out copies of the recipes for your guests.

26. Write a sweet message to groom on the bottom of his dress shoe. This will be a cute little surprise for him when he is getting ready!

27. Skip the buffet and go for a family style meal. It’s more personable an intimate.

28. Stack piles of cheese, olives, crackers, jam and other finger foods on large wood slabs as a unique way to display your hors d'oeuvres rather than on separate plates.

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29. Instead of tossing your bouquet to a crowd of single women call on one woman that has made a positive impact on your life and celebrate her with a few words and giving her your bouquet.

30. Serve featured cocktails! Each of you can choose your favorite drink and those will be featured as the special cocktails of the night.

31. Make each of your guests feel special with a DIY flower bar. Provide flowers, pins, ribbons and basic instructions to make corsages and boutonniere and let your guests make their own custom pieces to wear.

32 Set up a table full of items to entertain your smallest of guests. Games, puzzles, bubbles, coloring sheets and kid-friendly snacks are all ideas you can stock your kids table with.

33. People love options! A fully stocked champagne, bloody mary or sangria bar can be an amazing and fun addition to your wedding! For champagne you can include berries, flavored syrups and cotton candy. For bloody mary’s stock it with olives, celery, A1, shrimp, pickled beans and hot sauce. For sangria you can have cut fruit such as apples, oranges or limes.

34. Surprise your guests with and end of night food truck. Offer a few of your favorite foods to fill their belly’s and soak up any of the… uh..um, … liquid … sloshing around in their stomachs.

35. On a smaller scale, as the night is winding down offer a ‘midnight snack’ to your guests. Cookies and milk or hot cocoa are great ideas!

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

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

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

Jade's Bridal Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

XOXO,

Sarah

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

Jess + Jeff's Woodland Park Zoo Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Dress: Lillian West via I Do Bridal

Bride's Shoes: Steve Madden

Bouquet: Eco Flowers

Suit: Calvin Klein via Men's Warehouse

Church: Luther Memorial - Lutheran Church ELCA

Reception: Woodland Park Zoo

Catering/desserts: Lancer Catering

Second Shooter: Tammy Dalquist Photography

XOXO,

Sarah

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

Travia's Ft. Steilacoom Bridal Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Oh briiiiiiiiiiiiides! I know I post lots of these bridal sessions, but I just LOVE doing them! Such a great way to get some beautiful images of yourself and by doing your session on a day other than your wedding day you'll be more relaxed and it won't be taking away time you could be spending with your guests.

 

 

“Work on being in love with the person in the mirror who has been through so much but is till standing.”

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” – Anna Taylor

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

“Don’t ever allow yourself to forget how incredibly special you are, even for a single second. Without you, the world would not be as magnificent. Let yourself remember to love again, starting with you loving you.”

“You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.” “Demonstrate love by giving it, unconditionally, to yourself. And as you do, you will attract others into your life who will love you without conditions.

Bouquet by A Moment in Time Floral Design

Check out more beautiful bridal sessions below!! Also if you are in need of hair, makeup or florals for your bridal session click 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

Terrianna's Bridal Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

A little bit of beautiful, and rare, Washington winter sun, a breathetaking bride and the perfect bouquet really go a long way!

Epic floral masterpiece by A Moment in Time Floral Design

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

Nicole + Timothy's Pt. Defiance Rose Garden Wedding | Tacoma Wedding Photographer

Nicole + Timothy said 'I do' among all the flowers in the Pt. Defiance Rose Garden in Tacoma, Washington. 

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.

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