Lauren and Sunny had a wonderful winter wedding at Swiftwater Cellars in Cle Elum, WA. Swiftwater Cellars is a warm, cozy place to be, in a beautiful setting, on a winter day. A few of my favorite shots from their wedding day photography may be found below. One of the fun shots we did right before the ceremony was to have the bride and groom stand in the doorways of their dressing rooms surrounded by their wedding party, but so that they could not see each other. They wanted the first time they saw each other to be at the wedding ceremony.
Author Archives: Jesse Cunningham
Chia-Chen and Joseph had a beautiful backyard wedding ceremony hosted by Joseph’s family in Thorp, WA. Joseph’s father strategically directed guests to the wedding site and parking with his collection of old VW buses. The couple gathered friends and family from near and far to attend their wedding ceremony and reception on the banks of the Yakima River, shaded by large cottonwood trees. I enjoyed Chia-Chen and Joseph’s gentle personalities and their playfulness with one another. They had fun being goofy together but were also serious about their ceremony and commitment to one another. A small, intimate ceremony was followed by a casual reception. At the end of the reception, guests showered the newlyweds with rice as they sent them off on their honeymoon.
The forecast for Kimberly and Kellen’s wedding day called for 100% chance of rain showers. Kimberly and Kellen had already had a sunny tropical wedding in St. Croix but still wanted to have a ceremony for their friends and family who couldn’t join them. Both Kimberly and Kellen had grown up spending time in the summers at Lake Wenatchee so the Brown Family Homestead seemed like a natural location to celebrate the joining of their two families. The wedding day was very casual, due to the fact that it was a small, intimate group, it was Kimberly and Kellen’s second wedding, and the were very relaxed. Getting ready was more casual than most weddings, with Kellen helping to lace up Kimberly’s dress. Despite heavy rain showers earlier in the day, the rain let up enough to allow an outdoor ceremony and to give us time for family and bridal portraits. The bride and her bridesmaids rode to the ceremony site in her father’s Model A Ford and the guys drove in with a 1967 Camaro. It was a brief but emotional ceremony; the bride and groom didn’t realize how emotional they would feel when repeating their vows for their friends and family. One of the highlights of the evening was being able to sneak off with the bride and groom to a private beach at a family cabin on the shore of Lake Wenatchee to take some beautiful portraits of them sharing a special moment together.
Labor Day weekend felt like the beginning of fall; the air was crisp and cool and the skies were clear. The weekend also marked the beginning of Nichole and Brad’s married life together. They celebrated by gathering their family and close friends at Mountain Springs Lodge in the Leavenworth community of Plain. As a wedding photographer, I have the privilege of observing and documenting one the biggest events in peoples’ lives. Every couple is different and, even in the short but intense time period that I spend with them, I can see the unique ways in which they complement one another. At their rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, Nichole stood up and thanked everyone for coming and made a speech about how she felt like Brad was a perfect complement, the missing piece in her life. In spending time with these two, I couldn’t agree more; they really do seem to be the perfect match for one another.
It was beautiful summer day for Bridget and Max’s wedding at Brown Family Homestead near Lake Wenatchee in Leavenworth, WA. After capturing some getting ready photos of the bride in the log cabin homestead and the groom in the “whiskey room” outbuilding, we headed down to a beach on the shore of Lake Wenatchee for some “first look” photos. Bridget and Max were able to enjoy some quiet time together at the lakeside before the events of their wedding day. Their ceremony was held in a grassy field on the hill above the buildings of the old homestead with views of the nearby mountains. A winding path flanked by wildflowers gives a beautiful entry for the bridal party to the ceremony site. Max’s grandfather, John, officiated the ceremony and the wedding party and guests were composed primarily of family members. It was my first wedding at the Brown Family Homestead and it was a joy for me as a photographer to explore a new venue and find great new locations for beautiful outdoor portraits. Wildflower fields, old barns, the log homestead, and an old car all provided scenic backdrops for bride and groom portraits and family photos. One of our family photos in front of the ceremony arch was interrupted by a hummingbird landing on a guest’s foot. Several guests remarked they had seen it flying around and interacting during the ceremony too. Perhaps this is a good omen for Bridget and Max’s marriage.
The reception included a barbeque dinner, with friends and family relaxing under the shade of the tent or on the surrounding lawn. The first dances were an emotional event as Bridget danced first with Max but then second with her grandfather. The face of her grandfather lit up when they danced together and there were many teary eyes in the crowd. At the end of their dance Bridget’s grandmother came to dance with her husband (they were celebrating their 62nd anniversary!). Bridget’s parents joined in, and then her aunt and uncle, and one by one couples from both families joined the dance. There is a lot of love and emotion that happens at weddings, in addition to the emotions of the bride and groom, and I always feel privileged and humbled to be able to witness and document these special family moments.
The first time I met Lynn and Paul we met for coffee and discussed their wedding plans. They had previously been to a wedding at Springwood Ranch in the Kittitas Valley and knew it was where they wanted to have their wedding. The location was a perfect place for them to have a relaxed wedding with their family and friends in a beautiful outdoor setting. Lynn and Paul were drawn to my wedding photography style of capturing couples as part of their surroundings. Our mutual love of the outdoors and cycling made it easy to connect. After our meeting, while Lynn went to talk with one of the musicians for their ceremony, Paul joined me for a mountain bike ride on one of my favorite local trails.
The biking theme continued into their wedding day with bike chain cufflinks, bikes as cake ornaments and a clever use of an old set of bike rims to hold the table assignment cards. There were also stories of biking and shared adventures during the toasts.
The wedding day started with Lynn and her bridesmaids getting ready at a cabin at Suncadia Resort while Paul and the groomsmen went on a bike ride before donning their suits. The girls all wore colorful flowered robes while they did hair and makeup and rehearsed their toasts. The entire wedding party moved on to Springwood Ranch where Lynn and Paul had their “first look” under the shade of a majestic cottonwood tree near the ceremony site, followed by family photos and wedding party portraits, including some silliness in the covered wagons.
The ceremony was held on the lawn in the late afternoon sun and was officiated by Lynn’s brother Mark. One of my favorite shots of the ceremony was seeing the flower girl and ring bearer peeking through the arch at Lynn and Paul while they exchanged rings. Following the ceremony, the newlywed couple went straight into their first dance as they entered the reception hall. Dinner and more dancing took place in the timber frame barn that provided a great rustic ambiance for their wedding. The reception had a nice split between indoor and outdoor activities, with guests also enjoying the beautiful evening by socializing on the lawn and playing lawn games, such as corn hole and miniature golf. As the sun sank low in the sky, I went with the bride and groom on a short sunset walk to make use of the beautiful evening light to take some portraits of just the two of them. A beautiful sunset ended a perfect early summer day.
Chris and Beth had their wedding ceremony and reception at Cascade Garden in Yakima. The weather forecast was for temperatures in the high 90s. Fortunately, Cascade Garden provides a refreshing oasis on a hot day. The grounds offer beautiful landscaping, unique structures (including an air-conditioned lodge) and plenty of shade trees to keep guests cool. As a photographer, I was inspired by all of the amazing detail work that is found in the gardens. The options for taking beautiful wedding portraits are limited only by the creativity of the photographer. One of my favorite shots of the day was peeking through a intricate wood door into a garden building where Beth and Chris were having a nice moment together after their “first look” and before the wedding ceremony. I was also struck by the color and symmetry of the hops field across the street that made for a fun sunset outing later in the evening for one last portrait.
The love that Beth and Chris have for one another was evident from the first time I met them, hearing them talk about how they met and just seeing the way they look at each other and interact. The guests had ample opportunities to witness this love on their wedding day too, however, as a photographer I often see little moments throughout the day that not everyone else does. A few that stand out to me are the handwritten letter (with a Kit Kat treat) that Chris delivered to Beth while she was getting ready and the unrestrained looks of joy and excitement on their faces when they saw each other for the first time before the ceremony. While every wedding is unique for me to observe and document, I also have to add that the odds are quite strong that I will never again have a bride who is an identical triplet!
I knew right from the beginning that this would be a special day. Sabrina and Charles asked me to be the photographer for their wedding at the beautiful Mountain Springs Lodge in Plain, WA; a perfect location for their simple yet elegant wedding. They planned to have family and a few close friends join them for a weekend of celebration. Sabrina and Charles took a laid-back approach that allowed people to spend time together without the usual stress of a lot of structured activities. It was refreshing for me as a photographer to not feel rushed by a tight schedule, and inspiring to see everyone simply enjoying their time together. The love that Sabrina and Charles shared, both with each other and with their families, was contagious and the mood of the event felt more like a family reunion than the joining of two families. Distilling a full day into a paragraph and a handful of photos is never easy for me but some events stick out in my mind: Sabrina seeing her father as he showed up to walk down the aisle, walking the winding grassy path to the ceremony site, Sabrina’s grandfather restoring a 1969 El Camino (that has been in their family since it was new) and surprising her by showing up with it at the wedding. In a day filled with emotion, there was one event that really stood out to me. During the father and daughter dance, Sabrina’s father had the DJ read a narrative he had prepared. While we always know that the wedding day is an emotional one for parents as well as the bride and groom, we don’t always explicitly hear the parents’ thoughts. As a parent myself, I was immediately moved by the opening words, “I remember the first time I held you…” As the narrative continued, I noted not only the moment that the bride and her father were having, but also the smiles on the faces of Charles and his father as they stood together watching and sharing the same moment.
When you plan a winter wedding in the mountains, you expect that there will be snow. I immediately began thinking about possible locations for dramatic, snowy photos when Britney and Gerath asked me to be the photographer for their winter wedding at Swiftwater Cellars at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, WA.. As the wedding day approached and I monitored the weather reports, it became clear it was not going to be a “white wedding.” However, one of the things I love about working at Swiftwater Cellars is that there are a lot of great interior and architectural features that can be used as photography backdrops. We did a “first look” on the patio, which probably would not be possible in the summer, when people are congregating there. Friends and family were even able to secretly watch the first look from the dining room inside without being obtrusive. Another great winter seasonal find was a small grass island on the adjacent golf course that had been created by a sand trap on one side and a small temporary frozen pond on the other side. Some of my favorite unique details at Britney and Gerath’s wedding were the superhero theme– the guys all had a set of superhero cufflinks and the cake topper had Gerath ripping his shirt off to show a Batman suit– and the thumbprint sign-in tree. I had a great time working with Britney and Gerath and wish them the best as they begin the next chapter in their lives together.
I was thrilled when Ksenia and Taylor contacted me to photograph their wedding at Pine River Ranch in Leavenworth. Pine River Ranch is located near Lake Wenatchee, with views of Nason Ridge and access to Nason Creek. The rustic barn is a wonderful reception location and the well-kept gardens and grounds provide endless opportunities for beautiful outdoor portrait photography. The story of their wedding starts like a bad joke… what do you get when an Irish man and a Russian woman get married? Actually, it is just the story of two amazing people joining themselves and their families together in marriage. I had the pleasure of meeting Ksenia and Taylor last fall, shooting their engagement session and then spending their wedding day with them. Their warmth, smiles and genuine love for one another is evident and inspiring. They planned a beautiful outdoor ceremony followed by a reception in the barn with family and friends.
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