smith tower, seattle wedding- jennifer & terry

There are those people in the world that you feel an instant click. People who you know you have something to learn from. Jennifer is one of those for me. She told me that the first time she saw our photos she knew we were the photographers for her. When she first called there was no messing around or “feeling things out”. It was straight forward, “I love what you do and do have our date open, if so how do I reserve you?” The next phone call I learned about the recent death of her mother and best friend and how devastating the year had been so far. She told me that in her mom’s last days she was snuggled up under one of those giant cheesy photo blankets with an image of her herself and her grand children printed on it. It was the last silly gift Jennifer gave her. She explained how they went the “European” route by having kids first and a wedding second. I learned a lot. And I thought a lot about what it must feel like to lose your best friend and your mom, something I always fear.

On the day of the wedding I discovered that having kids before a wedding makes for much more love, fun and silliness. Watching their ceremony it was clear that the simple act of sharing and vowing in front of their children, family and friends made their family feel complete. During the toasts I realized that most toasts I hear are focused on advice for a future family. But toasts for newlywed parents are very different because friends get to praise the couple for what they have already accomplished in parenthood. They get to tell them what they are doing right and encourage them to continue the work. All parents should have a party and a round of toasts when their kids hit age four.

The biggest lesson I learned from Jennifer was at the end of the night, I was standing on a chair focusing my camera on her out on the dance floor when Prince came on. With the familiar tempo the dance party kicked into high gear. Watching her laugh I realized that a person can lose one of the closest people in their life and six months later be happy enough to dance their heart out to Purple Rain.

From Jennifer about the wedding- “Even though we had been together for years and have two kids together, we were surprised by how different it felt to actually stand in front of everyone we love and get married. It was incredibly moving and powerful. We knew it was special, but didn’t really grasp the magnitude of it all until afterward. One of the happiest days we’ve had! We didn’t reference any wedding magazines or websites. We wanted our wedding to feel like us and not influenced by other weddings that may look lovely, but not have meaning to us. We planned our wedding like we would plan a party at our house. We used a bakery that we go to all the time with our family. It’s in our neighborhood and is special to us because it’s part of our community and life. I made our centerpieces using ebay finds, old books, cards and toy arrows. We wanted to use our centerpieces to tie in the other elements of our wedding…invite, cake topper, belt buckles for gifts for our guests. I loved creating our centerpieces. They felt like something we’d just have in our home. We do now…and so do some of our friends. They are fun reminders of the day! I loved working with Nisha at Fluerish on the flowers. I had read “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and was blown away. After losing my mom last year, it was important to me to have moss in my bouquet, which in Victorian times symbolized maternal love. It meant so much to me because of my mom and because I am a mom now also. I also wished for dogwood, which stands for love undiminished by adversity. We chose things we love and included friends as much as possible. It made the whole thing easy to plan and it all came together in a way that was truly special.”

Wedding Details:

Venue: The Smith Tower // Catering: Skillet Street Food  // Cake: Bakery Nouveau // Floral Design: Nisha at Fluerish// DJ: Sean Toomey // Bride’s Dress:  Juan Carlos Obando // Bride’s Shoes: Alexander McQueen, Ebay Score! // Groom’s Apparel: Hugo Boss suit and Alexander McQueen tie.