Ben & Ellen got married at Portland’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church, possibly the cutest Catholic church I’ve ever seen! Here’s some sneak peeks of their ceremony. Photos of their reception at Melody Ballroom to come soon!
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Mai Duong is a Portland wedding photographer, also based in the San Francisco, Northern California area. She is available for weddings in the United States and Europe. MaiCamera Photography focuses on photographic storytelling by capturing natural moments. For booking inquires or more information about wedding photography in the Portland area and beyond, please contact Mai.
Sunny Day, Purple Flowers, and Elegant Palace. Those were the three dream components that William and Tran wanted for their pre-wedding shoot. They dreamed up a portrait session of bright sunny beaches, guitar serenades, fun dates, purple flowers, and romantic evening palaces. Amazingly enough, we got them all. We drove away from rainy Portland, exited the forest, and found a sunny Cannon Beach waiting for us! Along the drive back, we stopped at field covered with purple flowers, and ended at the Sentinel Hotel (formerly known as the Governor Hotel), who were really, really generous and kind to let us come shoot in their empty reception halls.
Pete, Niamh, and I had the awesome plan of using one of the mornings or evenings during a climbing trip in Red Rocks to do their engagement session. After one day of climbing at Red Rocks I thought to myself… that engagement session was not going to happen. To bring them so close to awesome climbing, and not let them climb? That’d be impossible.
So this is how we spent their engagement photo session:
I’d say that was time well spent 🙂
Giant trees, a view of Mt. Hood, and an upbeat couple, what more could I ask for? A couple years ago, for Aemi and Daniel’s engagement session, we visited Mt. Tabor park. We went all over the place, I couldn’t get enough of it. The sky was clear and offered us a fantastic view of Mt. Hood, allowing me to take one of my favorite engagement photos, even 2 years later.
Photographing and assisting for other photographers is one of my favorite methods of learning. All the workshops, books, and online resources don’t compare to working along side your peers. Every photographer has their own methods, their own style, and their own personalities. In 2012, I second shot/assisted for several different photographers, and I found myself not learning things about photography, but learning things about myself.
The biggest lessons I learned:
1. I am enthusiastic.
It may sound weird that I figured out my personality while assisting other photographers, but it’s true. I realized I couldn’t be calm and sarcastic (and twice-my size). It just didn’t work. I’m small, hyper, and easily excited. But, I can aspire to create as amazing photographs as others.
2. It’s okay that I’m enthusiastic.
While working with another photographer, he told me his exuberance and volume (think booming voice) were a few of his strengths. I thought to myself… ding ding ding! Enthusiasm is a strength, and I’ve learned to embrace it.
Nate showed me that it’s okay to be enthusiastic.
3. I love to know my couples.
As a second photographer, you don’t communicate with the bride and groom beforehand, which means you don’t get to know them. This aspect of second shooting has often been the most difficult for me. While traveling to a wedding, a photographer shared some background of the couple whose wedding we were photographing. I soaked it all in.
4. I am detail oriented.
Some photographers have all the information, such as schedule, wedding details, and family photo list. I thrive on those lists. Other photographers don’t need the details and let the day unfold. They even perform the family photos without a list. Amazing.
A game I play is to try and get different angles for the photographer. Here, Stephen was down below on the other side of the couple.
5. Everyone shoots differently.
I love to use artificial light. Whenever there is an opportunity to observe photographers using flash, I study them up. And so far? Everyone has different gear and different methods. When it comes to how people move, where people stand, what angles they like, everyone is different. There’s no need to try and do something exactly like someone else. Do what makes sense to you.
Nate asked me to shoot wide here, so I did. Sometimes I get asked to shoot nothing but telephoto, sometimes wide, it all depends on what the photographer wants.
To the photographers who I assisted in 2012, thank you for letting me study you.
Chris of Becerra Photography
Craig of Mitchelldyer Photography
Dy of D. Leng Photography
Heather of Espana Photography
Nate of License to Still
Stephen of Remembrance Photography
Tara of Tara Francis Photography
Golden hour, rock blessing ceremony, enthusiastic newlyweds. What an awesome way to celebrate a wedding, with a beautiful fall day. Hannah and Seth were married at McMenamin’s Edgefield. It was the last beautiful fall weekend, while the grapes were still unharvested, and before the downpour took away the autumn leaves. I’m so glad we were able to get plenty of portraits all over the property. We scheduled some time for a first look prior to the ceremony, as well as a bonus portrait session during the “golden hour.”
The ceremony was so fantastic! Hannah and Seth were married in the ballroom by the Rev. Steve Sharp (of A Beautiful Ceremony NW)
In addition to the fantastic words by the officiant (that Rev. Steve Sharp is good), Hannah and Seth also chose to do a Blessing Stone Ceremony and speak their own vows.
After the ceremony, there was a break as the room switched over, so we snagged that free time to get some portraits of the bride and groom around the property. I must say this, newlyweds are the best, and these two were spectacularly awesome.
Sometimes, things just click. For example, Hannah and Seth’s wedding colors were brown and orange, and so much around us was glowing orange (the leaves, the sunset, the candles). McMenamin’s Edgefield seemed to have decorated their entire property just for the couple.
I have to add, the toasts were pretty fantastic. Childhood dreams of adoption from the bride’s twin sister, hilarious stories of the Groom’s adventures, all awesome.
At the end of the wedding, the bride’s father came up to me and told me I was the most energetic photographer he’d ever seen. Hooray! Although, I think it helps having an awesome and enthusiastic crowd!
Amy and Ben had an outdoor wedding on the amazing property of Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard. Their ceremony was sweet and full of laughs, my favorite kind! There were all sorts of sounds to be heard during the ceremony. The bride’s father played guitar during their communion and marriage license signing. There were hilarious moments as turkeys and chickens wandered towards the bride and groom, squawking and crowing. The friends and family all came together and offered so much help for the bride and groom. The food was a deelish potluck, and I loved, LOVED, the potato salad. Loved it. It was all I ate.
Amy and Ben opted to do a first look! They first saw each other in the aisles of the hop yards. Amy and I were both so glad that Rogue Farms hadn’t harvested all the hops yet! They left a sweet patch unharvested (just for us, I like to think!). I loved the privacy it gave them (allowing me to hide behind hops and let them be).
Wedding Crashers! There were some pretty rowdy turkeys at this wedding.
The bride and groom took communion during the ceremony.
During the communion and the marriage license signing, the bride’s father performed “I Loved Her First”, and I still get chills when I see the photos and hear his amazing voice.
SURPRISE! It’sa Mario!
Mario got the princess!!
After the lunch, while guests mingled and played lawn games (or, well, hung out in the shade with some Rogue beers), the newlywed couple and I went around the property to take some portraits.
While it’s hard to beat a first look in the hopyards, photos in a hazelnut orchard are pretty fantastic and a dream come true for me (fact: I love photos in orchards. It was my #1 goal for 2012 to take as many photos as people would let me in orchards).
Amy’s always asking Ben to pinky swear, so we took a different kind of ring shot to remember that 🙂
Loved. Her. Dress.
At the end of the wedding, they exited to bubbles!!
A gorgeous day, family all around you, and bubbles! Great way to end a wedding.
AND…. I have to give a second shout out to Aunt Tresa’s delicious potato salad!! Yum, yum, yum!
Chris and Susan had an amazing wedding at the River Ridge Ranch in Springville, CA. As the bride’s sister humorously pointed out during her speech, the Ranch is a gorgeous, eco-friendly property to which we all flew and drove hours to attend the wedding. 🙂 Family and longtime friends came from all over (including Bridesmaid/Sister of the Bride who brought her family all the way from Italy!) to attend, and the couple used as many opportunities to include them in their wedding. Children were all invited for a children’s parade at the beginning of the ceremony, while also given the gift of RED converse shoes! Friends were included to perform readings, and the Bride’s childhood friend performed violin. It was a whole weekend event at the Ranch with many activities planned for the guests who made it out.
Susan did an amazing job scouring Etsy shops for wedding decorations. Everything was given great thought to being eco conscious and personal. Pebbles that reminded the Bride of summer holidays at Plymouth Beach with her family were used as buttons and adorned the crane garlands. Songs were carefully selected, as well as readings for the ceremony. Susan’s earring and bracelet were gifts from her sisters.
In honor of the groom’s partial Japanese and Mexican heritage, Susan incorporated two elements: the Mexican Wedding Lasso, and lest we forget, the biggest theme being Cranes. During their bicoastal engagement the bride decided to fold 1000 origami cranes, a task called Sembazuru. Legend states that if you fold 1000 cranes, you are granted one wish. In ancient Japan, a bride-to-be would perform Sembazuru to have a long and prosperous marriage. Susan folded 1001, an extra for good luck! But, she didn’t stop there. Each of her bridesmaids were given necklaces with little crane pendants. The children’s parade kicked off the ceremony with each child hanging an origami crane at the altar. Crane stamps adorned much of their stationary. Paper crane garlands hung around the reception space and at the altar.
The wedding was fun, and the family and friends were fantastic. The food was good (thanks to Castillo BBQ and Catering), kids ran around freely, and as the sun went down, everyone gathered around the huge fire pit for warmth, smores, and good conversation. It was a great wedding.
I loved the origami crane stamps!
The bride’s dress, as well as the bridesmaids’ dresses, the mother of the bride’s tunic, and wedding party’s ties were all made by Yvonne Chu of Kimera Design, while the wedding party’s vests were made by Audrey King of FrenchKnotWeddings.
Mexican Wedding Lasso
It was hard to see their through the wedding lasso for the ring exchange!
The bride surprised the groom with a special outfit change…
and a matching tie!
Confession, macarons are one of my favorite desserts to have while visiting my family in France.
1000 cranes, proper Sembazuru style, from NineVoltHeart
Pink origami crane garland in honor of those affected by breast cancer
Vases designed by the Groom’s cousin filled with cranes, tortoises, pine, bamboo, and cherry tree blossoms
Origami cranes and roses on sticks from Meiorigami
Crane garlands made from pages of Tolkein’s The Hobbit from SmilesFromMe
Colored marshmallows from HaveItConfections!
Renee and Hector were married at the Augustina Lutheran Church in Portland, OR. In honor of her mother’s heritage, the bride chose to incorporate some Native American Wedding traditions: sage smudging and the blanket ceremony.
Sage smudge wands were walked throughout the church. The purpose of the burning sage was to cleanse the church as well as everyone present. As the smoke rose, it took with it any negative energies.
You know I love organs!
Renee and Hector presented their parents with a gift of a vase and a blanket.
Wedding Blanket Ceremony
The bride and groom were wrapped together under one beautiful blanket to symbolize their union.
It was actually pretty hot inside the church, so to stand tight together wrapped in a think blanket was warming things up even more. They had a good laugh about it 🙂
In addition to the Native American ceremony, they recited vows and exchanged rings.
Now, I know this post was about their ceremony, but I have to add two more of my favorites 🙂
After the wedding, they headed to McMenamins Crystal Ballroom for their reception, which included a Mariachi Band!
Lastly, a portrait of the beautiful bride!