Mountain View Elopement | Enumclaw, WA

Elopements are amazing. There are few distractions from other people, no giant party to plan and you usually can choose a stellar location to swap nuptials with the one person who matters the most. If this sounds right up your alley, keep scrolling for some inspiration from this mountain goddess themed elopement.

Located at the Mountain View Manor in Enumclaw, WA with a gorgeous view of Mount Rainier, the couple had a simple sweetheart table, a stunning floral garland bouquet and touches of greenery everywhere. Ana and Joseph kept each other warm by snuggling close, toasting with hot cocoa and surrounded by the neighboring cows.

Venue: Mountain View Manor 
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography
Photography Assistant: Hannah 
Hair/MU: Wild Hearted Beauty
Florals: Couture Blossoms 
Design/decor: Magical Moments Design Rentals 
Rentals: Farmhouse and Frillz 
Invitation suite: Love Fern Design
Real Model Couple: Ana and Joseph 
Planning/coordination: Wild Hearted Beauty and Janelle Elaine
Coordination Platform: Honeybook

Abbey + Jacob | Durham Museum Wedding, Omaha

Abbey and Jacob attended the same high-school for a couple years, but surprisingly didn’t actually meet during their time there. A couple years later in 2013, Abbey was invited to go rollerskating with some friends and this is when she met Jacob. Jacob fell for Abbey immediately and confidently told her that very evening that he was going to marry her someday! She laughed it off at the time, not knowing how beautifully right he was.

“We truly feel like God matched us and figured out a way for us to meet and gave us previous experiences that allowed us to truly and fully know and cherish the love that we had between us.”

They chose the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE as their wedding venue, an old train station that's been converted into a gorgeous museum (complete with a soda shop for guests to get an ice cream sundae)! Lots of happy tears surrounded the two as they laughed, danced, cried and promised to grow old together.

“I am most excited to be able to grow alongside of someone who is truly the most wonderful person I've ever had to pleasure of knowing. That being married should never be looked at as this "trap" but more so the amazing choice to spend your life with your person. I'm so beyond grateful that I was able to find my person so young.” - Abbey 

Lovebirds, I hope you’re having the happiest honeymoon. Cheers to a long and joy filled marriage to you!

Vendors:
Venue: Durham Museum
Florals: Blooms Floral
DJ: Rob Taylor DJ
Hair and Makeup Artist: S&S Hair and Makeup
Bridesmaid Dresses: Revelry Dresses
Rentals: AAA Rental
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography
2nd Photographer: Heidi Hoffman

Karen + Ethan | PNW Backyard Wedding

Karen and Ethan are married! If you know them, you know how exciting this is! Karen was one of my first friends in WA so I’ve gotten to know her and Ethan pretty well over the past couple years. And what I know, is that these two are oh so wonderful together. I’ve witnessed first hand how much they respect and adore each other, build each other up and genuinely have fun together.

Karen is also a photographer so being asked to shoot their wedding was a pretty big deal for me and I was so honored to capture some beautiful moments of their love story for them. What I loved the most about their day was how true it was to them. The food, music and decor on point! They DIY’d a lot with the help of friends and family. From bartender serving some of their favorite drinks (lavender lemonade or margarita anyone?) to their raw hand-written vows (of course I was in the top 80% of you who teared up during their ceremony), they had touches that were totally in line with their complementary personalities sprinkled all over the backyard.

“We wanted every single decision to be intentional. This big day was a long time coming and so we didn’t want to do anything just because it was tradition to do so. We wanted to support our friends in the biz as well as show off the many talents of our friends and family. The whole day blew us away with how wonderful everything came together. It was a true celebration of all our villages coming together!!!” (Karen and Ethan)

I hope you two are having the best time honeymooning with all of the pasta, gelato and vino in Italy; Congratulazioni!

Vendors:
Dress: A&Be
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bhldn
Tables & Benches: Seattle Farm Tables
Bartending: Pat Mori
Band: Lindstrom & Co.
Planning: Everly Wedding
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography
Second-Shooter: Briana Tresko
+++ Shoutout to all of Karen and Ethan’s family and friends who came together with your special talents and love to help make their day perfect; like decorating, lending space, building a bar, designing the florals, officiating and witnessing, baking pies, playing music, providing flowers, making bouts and bouquets, hand-lettering signs, setting up/taking down and so much more.

Amanda + Alex | Rustic Elegant MI Wedding

Amanda and Alex tied the knot this August in Ludington, MI on a gorgeous little farm in the countryside. With bouquets of lavender and eucalyptus decorating the hand-made tables, the bride and groom designed most of their special day themselves. Their adorable and very proud pup Finley even joined them for a few photos (because the day just wouldn't be the same without completing their little fam, of course) at the beach. 

 "Our vision for the wedding day was to have it be rustic but elegant. No burlap or hay bails would be found just because it’s a “barn” wedding. We wanted something classic that we could look back on and not think “what were we thinking.” Hence why we had a ton of greenery! You can’t go wrong with greenery. Also, most of our day was built around things we personally made which made it that much more intimate. From the arbor we got married under, to the head tables we ate at, and many things in between (our table numbers, signs throughout the wedding, centerpieces, etc.). Even the bridesmaids and I made their bouquets based on my vision for them. It was a lot of fun!" - Amanda

Amanda says "my favorite part about the wedding day was getting ready for OUR day. All the anticipation in the morning was amazing. It was so great getting hair and makeup done with my bridesmaids while sipping coffee and just knowing that this whole day is dedicated to Alex and I and our love! I couldn’t wait for the first look, ceremony, and reception, but that time waiting for it and all the butterflies that were in my stomach was definitely my favorite part."

Alex’s favorite part was similar. He told Amanda the suspense waiting for the first look was what he loved and then getting to go on the bus with all of their closest friends right after was great. That time was stress free and solely meant for having fun.

Being especially close with her grandpa, Amanda also shared a first look with him and gifted him a custom embroidered hanky. It was the sweetest moment.

Amanda and Alex, congrats again you two! The love and adoration you share is the sweetest and am feeling pretty honored to be the one to have captured it for you. 

And finally, a shout out to the amazing vendors:
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography
Second Shooter: Selycia
Venue: Trillium Creek Rustic Barn
Dress: Renee Austin Wedding
Tuxes: Cadillac Tuxedo
Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal
Hair and Makeup: Salon 22 & Spa
Coordination: All Occasions Event & Floral
Bridal Bouquet: All Occasions Event & Floral
Cake: Cust'yummm Cakes
China: M&M Wedding China
Videographer: Life On Earth Productions
DJ: Bargain DJ Entertainment
Officiant: Mick Shriver
 

Trish + Dane | Upper MI Destination Wedding

When Trish and Dane asked me to photograph their love story, from engagement photos in Seattle to their nuptials in Upper Michigan, I was elated! As soon as I met them together, I could see how much they genuinely enjoyed having fun and spending time with each other. The love and respect they share is completely obvious, as you'll see the tenderness and butt-grabbin' affection in their photos. I spent very little time posing these two and a whole lotta time just documenting them together. I love them because as soon as they're near each other, they pull in close and aren't PDA shy; they sure didn't need to be reminded to kiss and love up on each other and that's pretty cool to see raw love like that.

Trish and Dane traveled across the country (literally road-tripped from Seattle to Upper MI) for their intimate rustic wedding in a cabin along the Rapid River. Initially, an outdoor celebration was planned, but mother nature wasn't on board. It straight up poured for hours that morning so we kept the fun inside and managed to sneak out in short bursts for photos as the rain slowly chilled out throughout the day. 

Ready for the love story? Keep scrolling! As always, leave some love in the comments for our newlyweds! xo

Everything is always a little more fun when a dog from the neighboring park decides to come charging over for a visit. The half laugh of entertainment meets the half frightened laugh of please don't jump your muddy paws on our wedding attire. Good thing he was cute.

Vendor Shoutout:
Hair and Makeup: Attitudes Luxury Spa and Salon
Dress: David's Bridal
Tux: Jos. A Banks
Florist: Delta Floral
DJ/Officiant: Double Trouble Entertainment
Venue: Rapid River Lodge
Catering: Steinhaus
Cakes: Suzy D's Gourmet Sweets
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography assisted by Emma Tembruell

Jenessa + Mike | Upper MI Backyard Wedding

While in MI, I had the sweet honors of photographing one of my dear cousin's weddings at my family's cabin. Jenessa traveled up from FL with her fiancee Mike (and kiddos) for a short and sweet celebration in one of her favorite places over the past 20+ years --- the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Jenessa and I have had so many amazing memories together in the U.P. from toddlers on up and she was so excited to show Michael why it was so special to her.

If you're looking for a wedding filled with tons of decorations and details, this is not it. Jenessa and Mike chose to keep their focus on their love and marriage and that's exactly how it was. The day was hot and the sun was intense, but nobody minded. Jenessa's grandpa traveled up from FL to officiate their wedding, making the ceremony even more memorable for the happy couple. With a relaxed and calming view of the water, they exchanged vows in front of family (from all over the USA). We then headed to the nearby beach for a few more photos along beautiful Lake Superior and did our best to ignore the pesky flies. 

Congratulations you two newlyweds! Welcome to the married club!

Do I Really Need to Hire a Professional Photographer?

"Do I really need to hire a professional photographer? They're just snapping pictures, how different can it be from hiring my friends daughter who has a camera?"

Hiring a professional to take your photos is crazy important when it comes to big milestones. Even for non events (update your profile pic anyone?), the difference between a pro and a beginner photographer is huge. Now, please know I'm not bashing beginner photographers here. I, along with every other photographer in the world was once a rookie. We all start somewhere. My hope is simply to show you the difference between a beginner and a professional photographer (via my own personal experiences) and let you decide how you want to invest your money into photography on your own, especially when it comes to important occasions.

 The very first wedding I shot on my own in 2011 on the left to one of my more recent weddings.

The very first wedding I shot on my own in 2011 on the left to one of my more recent weddings.

 There I am at my first wedding with the sweetest bride.

There I am at my first wedding with the sweetest bride.

When I first started out in wedding photography, I was lucky enough to start as an assistant photographer to a local wedding photog, exclusively second-shooting all of her weddings. With only two weddings under my belt, I was asked to photograph my first wedding that first summer; I was nervously excited. I knew I wasn't a pro yet and clearly communicated this to my client. She completely understood, said she trusted my skills and I accepted two hundred bucks as payment. I got all the important shots that day and the bride loved her photos, kindly referring me every chance she got. My photos weren't bad, but I had a huge learning curve ahead of me to get me from where I was then to the work you see from me today. I am SO grateful to my first clients for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to photograph such special days for them without lots of experience.

I've spent so many hours, weeks, months of my life pouring into education, practice and honing my skill since then. Listen, I know I will always have more to learn, but I'm certain of my value as a professional photographer (and price of my work) where I'm at today. While I was able to capture the wedding day as best as I knew seven years ago, I wasn't able to offer my clients the skill, security and style I can deliver today. I get asked all the time how I get my photos to look like they do, what software I use to edit, what kind of camera I have and the honest truth is the combination of those things aren't going to make you a professional or not. Only experience can do that.

The difference between a beginner photographer and a seasoned professional doesn't just boil down to simply the price you pay. When you hire a pro, you're paying for high-quality photos that can only come from years of expertise and education. You're paying for a business that is licensed, insured and able to protect itself (and you). You're paying for experienced guidance on your wedding day that can't come from someone without experience. You're paying for a photographer who can work in any sort of lighting and who is trained in making you look your best. You're paying for a service that requires skill beyond the expensive tools and gear used. This is only the tip of the iceberg my friends. 

Since photography is my language, let me show you some THEN and NOW photos from my first wedding in 2011 to now. 

So, when you start to compare photographers for your wedding day, keep in mind that while you can get a steal of a deal and decent photos from a new photographer, the level of service you'll get from a professional cannot be beat. Just like you wouldn't go to a hospital for surgery and opt for the med student to perform it for a cheaper deal because you know they don't have professional skills it takes, you cannot expect professional quality service from a photographer just starting out. 

Do what you feel is best for you and your budget, but I encourage you to manage your expectations so you know what you're getting and you end up with photos you LOVE. In the end, that's all that matters.
 

LeAnn + Kostas | Astoria, OR Wedding

LeAnn was traveling in Greece when she first laid eyes on Konstantinos. Little did she know that the tour guide showing her around his home would be the man she would spend forever with. Flash forward a few years and over 6,000 miles traveled, Kostas and LeAnn exchanged vows in front of family and friends on her side of the globe.

They got ready at the Cannery Pier Hotel, praying for the rain to clear out. The skies actually brightened up right up until the moment they met for their first look and then dumped down! Luckily it only lasted until we hurried back inside (classic PNW). These two handled it like champs though and we headed up to the Astoria Column and battled the wind for a few more portraits of the couple.

As is the custom in Greece, Kosta's mother gave LeAnn her own gold ring to wear at the wedding. She looked gorgeous and Kostas couldn't help but keep smiling at her. Keep scrolling to see more of their love story and all of the beautiful details along the way.

They exchanged vows in the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Astoria, Oregon and then celebrated over dinner and desserts with their guests. Just wait until you see their stunning cake!

Congrats Newlyweds! Wishing you a marriage filled with many more beautiful memories together!

Vendors:
Wedding Planning, Decorations & Catering: Joy Matson, Penrose Estates B&B
Day of Coordination: Katie Matson
Hair and Makeup: Whitney Matson
Florals: Scarlet Matson, Penrose Estates B&B
Dress Shop and Designer: Bridal Exclusives by Allure
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography
Second Shooter: Bernadette Severson

Liz + Josh | Robinswood House Wedding

Liz and Josh left behind the Arizona heat for a destination wedding in the Pacific Northwest. When they told me they were having a backyard style wedding at the Robinswood House with their closest friends and family, I knew we'd hit it off! The grounds at the venue boasts natural florals, plants and greenery surrounding the main cabin, making you feel like you're in your own private space. Paper lanterns decorated the trees and rich blue table cloths brought a pop of color to the lush green grass. Liz added her own rustic DIY touches around the property. Their guests traveled from all over to celebrate the start of their marriage. 

Liz's niece did her makeup and two of her best friends styled her hair. 

The couple opted for the traditional route, with the first time seeing each other as Elizabeth's parents walked her down the aisle to Josh. Having her father marry them was so special and so important to them both. After her father prayed blessings over the couple, he flipped a coin (with each side representing Liz and Josh's favorite rival teams) to determine who went first with their vows. The beautiful bride won that one!

It was an open air reception, dining under the setting sun and dancing the night away under the starry sky.

Venue: Robinswood House
Florals: Floratherapie
Caterer: Act 3 Catering
DJ: Puget Sound
Wedding Dress Retailer: Ivory Row Bridal

Anna + Daniel | Catholic-Chinese Seattle Wedding

Anna and Daniel are married!

Celebrating the merging of two different cultures and religions (Chinese and Catholic), Anna and Daniel exchanged vows in downtown Seattle in front of both english and non-english speaking guests who all understood the universal language of love.

They had a traditional mass at Christ our Hope Catholic Church, formerly the New Washington Hotel, a space filled with light and elegance.

Post ceremony, we had a quick window for a few photos of the bride and groom before the grand entrance to their Chinese Tea Party and reception at China Harbor in Seattle.

Anna and Daniel kneeled before their parents and served them tea, a ritual in traditional Chinese marriage ceremony to show respect and gratitude. Their parents then handed them little red envelopes with gifts of money/jewelry/etc. The look of pride and joy on their parents faces was the sweetest thing to witness.

After the newlywed's reception entrance, they kneeled before their parents and served them tea, a ritual in traditional Chinese marriage ceremony to show respect and gratitude. Their parents then handed them little red envelopes with gifts of money/jewelry/etc, concluding the tea ceremony.

Then the drums and gong sounded and in ran two colorful lions, putting on a lively show as they danced their way around the room. The rest of the night was filled with multiple courses of lavish foods, cake, congratulatory toasting and lots of dancing. Oh and bubbles. There were lots of bubbles!

Cheers to you Anna and Daniel! Best wishes for a long and happy marriage together!

Ceremony: Christ Our Hope Catholic Church
Reception: China Harbor
Dress: Brides for a Cause
Florals: Pike Place Market