My First Destination Wedding in Portland, Oregon!
It finally happened.. I shot my very first destination wedding in Portland, Oregon with my beautiful couple, Morgan and Ryan! When I first started shooting weddings, my goal was to eventually travel and shoot weddings, both of which I absolutely LOVE doing. Fortunately, I was able to do so with such an amazing couple. Check out how the wedding day went 🙂
Preparing for my First Destination Wedding…
When Morgan and Ryan mentioned that their wedding was going to be out of state, I was so excited to hear. Since we all live in the bay area, they first had contacted me only for engagement photos, but after delivery they wanted me to shoot their wedding in Portland, Oregon. I was so EXCITED. The big question was, how would I haul all of my wedding equipment to Portland?! When I do weddings in the bay area, I usually have a carload of equipment, yikes! I had to think and plan hard about how I can bring minimal gear but still perform my best. For my cameras, I stuck to two lenses and two cameras in my Peak Design 30L backpack. In my bag I also fit: 15 inch laptop, hard drive, chargers, and a mouse. The lens I stuck with were a semi-wide 35mm and a nice portrait lens, 85mm. These were a perfect combo! The 35 was nice for all-around shooting and the 85 was great for the bridal portraits! Now what about my off-camera/lighting set-up? For local weddings, I would usually set up heavy light stands in case someone were to accidentally bump them, they would be sturdy. I had to find another solution…After viewing many Youtube videos, I found a small, lightweight light stand that fit perfectly in my check-in luggage. During the wedding day, I was moving around A LOT with the party. I’d go from the hotel, to the make-up artist, to the wedding venue, and finally the reception venue! This lightweight stand made it EASY to travel. Since I did check-in one luggage, I ended up bringing some stuff for detailed photos including a vinyl mat, ribbon, etc. Overall, the destination wedding had taught me how I was able to pack minimally but give it my all! I still come back to this set up for local weddings as well.
Getting Ready at the Hilton Canopy + Blossom & Beauty
Getting ready took place at the Hilton Canopy in the Pearl District and also Blossom & Beauty! Whenever I do weddings, the very first thing I do is detail photos. This includes the rings, invitations, dress etc. On the morning of Morgan and Ryan’s wedding, I set up my vinyl mat in my room in a spot that was nicely lit. This saved me a lot of time! Additionally, I picked up some excess flowers from a local florist during my morning walk. Shoutout to Old Town Florist for helping me out!
These little florals added a nice touch to the photos. After shooting the detailed photos, I moved onto the guys getting ready. Since they kept it really small, this was easy-peasy! Ryan and his two groomsmen popped a bottle of his favorite champagne and also opened his card from Morgan. After shooting Ryan and the groomsmen, I then took an Uber to Blossom & Beauty where Morgan and her party were getting ready.
Blossom & Beauty is a cute little spot that specializes in hair and make-up for any special occasion! The HMUA was Noelle, a PDX local who was super talented at her craft. During the ladies getting ready, it was a time of both intimacy and laughter. Morgan, being from the Midwest, mentioned that it was her first time seeing her mom getting makeup done professionally and had a moment. You can also see how proud Morgan’s mom was seeing her getting ready for the big day! After both the bride and groom got ready, we made our way to the ceremony venue.
The Wedding Ceremony at Hoyt Arboretum
The ceremony took place at the beautiful Hoyt Arboretum located in Portland’s Washington Park. The two locations we used were the redwood deck and the wedding meadow. The redwood deck was used for Morgan’s family shots before the ceremony and also for the post-ceremony celebration/first dance. The wedding meadow was where the primary ceremony took place.
During the ceremony the lighting was perfect! There were light clouds diffusing the sunlight, creating a soft, warm light source. The limited number of guests made this wedding very intimate. In addition to the couple’s immediate family, Morgan and Ryan’s closest friends had flown in as well! The primary music source was also a close friend of Morgan and Ryan! It was a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful location. Following the ceremony, we had taken family altar photos in front of the tree at the wedding meadow. While I finished up just Morgan and Ryan’s photos at the “altar”, the wedding party had walked down to the redwood deck to prepare the champagne for the first-dance.
The redwood deck was beautiful. This was one of the most intimate first dances I had shot by far! All the close friends and family gathered around the newlyweds while their friend sang their song accompanied by his guitar. Following the first dance, I took the couple around and shot some bridal portraits with them. The shots came out very PNW with its beautiful nature! After briefly celebrating on the redwood deck, it was time to head over to the Noble Rot for dinner!
The Wedding Reception at the Noble Rot
Morgan and Ryan had their wedding reception/dinner at the Noble Rot located in downtown Portland. The restaurant was so unique because it featured a rooftop garden which they use for some of their dishes. The food and drinks were so good! The menu was put together and made specially for Morgan and Ryan. Additionally, the restaurant had also let us use the garden for golden hour photos! After I had taken golden hour photos, the sun was down and it was time to set up my off camera flash. Using the Manfrotto with a speedlight was my main light source and had created dramatic pictures, shown in the cheers/toast photos! Following the dinner, it was time to return to the hotel. But the party wasn’t over just yet! Our main transportation throughout the day was provided by Shanghai Portland, A KARAOKE party bus, yes KARAOKE! Everyone in the bus was singing old rock hits from Blink 182, The Killers, and so much more! Being on that bus, I felt like I wasn’t even working, everyone was so cool and it was just a reminder of how much I love shooting weddings.