Wedding Ring

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.


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!


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.

Jess + Jeff Portraits - Sarah Gonia Photography (196 of 271).JPG

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.

Danny + Marcos Details (59 of 84).JPG

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…, … 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!

Ashley + Codey Reception - Sarah Gonia Photography (28 of 272).jpg




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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



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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.



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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



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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. 



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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



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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



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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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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


    • 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


    • 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


    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


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


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












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

    8 Reasons You Should Plan a Bridal Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

    A bridal session is where just you, or you and your love and your photographer schedule a day after your wedding to get back in your wedding getup and have a fun and romantic portrait session at whatever amazing destination your little hearts desire. Beautiful photos of just you two to celebrate your new lives together.

    Why should you do a bridal session?? Here are a few good reasons to consider...

    8. There is a special destination that is important to you both that you want to have photos taken at

    Do you have a certain destination that holds a special place in your heart? Is where you met or had your first date precious to you? Or maybe it's where he (or she, let's be real it's 2017!) proposed? Wherever that one special spot is it's time to solidify those memories with a fun and romantic bridal session. You'll end up with beautiful portraits of you and your love looking your best with the added bonus of all the pleasant memories that will come flooding back every time you look and are reminded of the memories you shared there. What better way to document the story of your love!

    7. There is an EPIC location that you need beautiful images at to decorate your house

    The snowy peaks of Mt. Rainier, the blue waters of Diablo Lake, A lighthouse on Friday Harbor...the jagged cliffs of Ireland, clear blue water and the sandy beaches of Hawaii. Can you picture the romantic images of you too embracing in one of these scenes? The wind blowing through your hair and your dress swaying as you walk hand and hand with your love. Can't imagine it? Let me help you CREATE it. Where is YOUR epic location? ....and when do we leave? :)

    6. Gift

    We all have that one friend, or family member, that had modest nuptials but still dreams of a perfect white wedding. Although the events of that day can't be modified, an amazing new memory can be added. Give the gift of a memorable and adventurous bridal session. A simple but elegant dress, slacks and a button up shirt, a tie and a floral bouquet - the list is minimal to create these one of a kind experiences that will last a lifetime.

    5. Anniversary celebration

    Are you celebrating your very first wedding anniversary? How about your tenth? 50th?? What better way to renew your love for each other than a stunning bridal session at that one location you keep meaning to visit.... break out your wedding dress or find a beautiful dress that suits your current style and start planning your anniversary bridal session!

    Published in Bellissima Bridal Issue No. 30 (October 2017)

    4. You ran out of time to get enough on your actual wedding day

    Wedding days are always busy and packed full of stuff that needs to get done. Many times makeup and hair can run over, people get held up and arrive late etc. For whatever the reason, if your big day was crunched for time and you didn't get as many portraits as you wanted than a bridal session is a great idea for you!

    3. You weren't happy with the ones from your wedding day

    Did rain spoil your big day? That doesn't happen in the PNW. No, never!! HAHA. But if it does and you didn't get those dreamy outdoor portraits you picture hanging above your mantle than consider a bridal session.

    2. You didn't get a big "official" wedding

    Did you say 'I do' at the courthouse or have a small backyard wedding and didn't get those epic portraits you've always dreamed about? This is the PERFECT reason to schedule a bridal session! You get a sweet, decently priced ceremony and a once in a lifetime experience with a bridal portrait adventure. 

    1. You want to spend more time with your friends and family on your wedding day

    I offer this reason because it happened to me. Friends and family came from all over the world to watch us say 'I do' and then immediately after we rushed off for photos. Then there were speeches, cake, dancing and by then people were starting to head home. I felt like I missed out on time with friends and family that I hardly get to see. If I got to do it all over again, I would break tradition and plan a bridal session! After the ceremony I'd attend cocktail hour and catch up with all my people!!

    Besides, lets be real. The exhaustion level on a wedding day is real so take some stress out of it! If your wedding runs late and you don't get enough bridal images, if you want to spend more time with your family on your big day or if you simply want your bridal images to be somewhere amazing... whatever your reason a bridal session is definitely a new tradition worth considering.




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

    BabeSeattle: Styled Halloween Themed Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

    Here are a few of my favorite images from a fun Halloween themed styled wedding I did withsome super fun and talented photographers! Feels good to let loose and be creative.

    What are your Halloween plans??

    Got an idea for a fun or creative styled wedding?? Message me!!

    Models: Kari Rae, Andy Rodriguez, Chalayia Fuller

    Hair + Makeup: Urbanista Weddings
    Florals: Busara Floral
    Rentals: Balancing Balloons
    Invitation Suite: Ink+Sable
    Desserts: Scarlet Nantes

    Coordinators: Beginning and End Photography, Jackie Rose Photography




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    Kelly + Robert Historic Bigelow House Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

    This day was so amazing, I don't even know where to start!

    Kelly and Robert eloped at Robert's family's homestead in downtown Olympia, The Bigelow House. The Bigelow House, also known as Daniel R. Bigelow House or The Bigelow House Museum is run by a non-profit focused on preserving history and they have done JUST THAT with all the renovations they have completed. The Bigelow House is the oldest residence in Olympia and even neater yet, one of the oldest structures in the PNW. The amount of history that has been preserved in this house absolutely took my breathe away. Even Robert, the great Grandson of Daniel and Ann Elizabeth Bigelow, was speechless as he moved throughout the house. Most of the rooms looked just like he remembered as a child and as we toured the house he told story after story of his families legacy and his childhood memories. By the end of the day I felt as I was a part of the history of this great house as well.

    The beautiful bride, Kelly, selected a champagne dress that had a vintage feel and seemed to fit the venue, and the day, SO perfectly. Kelly topped off her look with a gorgeous Victorian necklace and earrings, a delicate and simple bouquet of dried wildflowers and her heart on her sleeve. I could feel how important this day, the history of the house, and her groom were to her. Another detail that stands out in my mind is a tiny picture of Robert's Great-Grandfather fastened to the base of Kelly's wedding bouquet. His presence was important in so many ways and most importantly because Kelly + Robert chose the day of their union with purpose. June 18th, 1854 was Robert's great-grandfather and great-grandmother's wedding anniversary! What a great way to honor family with 163 years of history mixed in there!

    Kelly + Robert, I am beyond honored to have been there to capture your big day. The history that surrounds you and your family is enchanting and the thought that went into the details of your elopement is heartfelt. This day will forever remain in my mind and in my heart. Congrats you two!

    A bazillian thanks to my awesome second shooter, Samantha Ek of Picturesque Art Photography.

    Kelly + Robert's pictures tell the story of their big day, and so much more, so I'll quit yammering and let them tell it....

    Bigelow House Museum Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer
    Bigelow House Museum Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer


    Kelly + Robert's wedding is featured on the fabulous wedding site, Borrowed & Blue. Check it out!



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