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Life has an incredible way of bending and twisting in the most delightful ways sometimes. We feel so blessed for the opportunities this career as wedding photographers has surprised us with. We set out to travel and to photograph people celebrating promising themselves to one another, and this wedding was just that. We couldn’t be more fulfilled or more grateful.

But, let’s start at the beginning. When I first moved to Portland, I joined an adult kickball team. It was as ridiculous as it sounds and a really fun way to kick around a few hours on sunny Sunday afternoons. Teamed up with strangers that would become friends, running in circles in hopes of winning a free pitcher of beer for after the game, I met a French girl named Léa.

Matthew would come to games, but he didn’t play on the team. For such an active guy, I can only assume his deep-seated memory of breaking his collar bone playing kickball as a kid is what kept him off the field. He preferred, instead, to hang out taking photographs and enjoy the show. I’d then post the photos on Facebook sometimes and this became a nice way to keep in touch with my team mates.

Fast forward a few years, and I get an e-mail from Léa. She’s engaged has been seeing some of our So Many Moments wedding photography on Facebook. She says perhaps THE most amazing thing possible: that during our kickball season Matt took a portrait of her that had been a favorite of hers since. Is that not the biggest compliment a portrait photographer could ever receive?! Then, she says the NEXT MOST AMAZING THING. She wants us to be her wedding photographers, the thing is, the wedding is in France. *jaw dropped* Yes. Yes, yes, yes Léa. YES!

This story is about to take a turn for the even more incredible. She’s getting married in Normandy, at a family member’s home, and it turns out to be less then an hour’s drive from my own brother’s home. This means two things for Matthew and I. Not only do we have a wonderful place to stay, but also that we can leave Amelie safe and sound with our family while we work at the wedding.

When I meet Ben, he’s soft spoken but confident. They both smile near constantly and clearly have a connection that goes beyond the giddy romance of a fresh relationships and into something deeper, more reasonable. When they share their relationship started as a rock climbing friendship, that makes sense to me. They feel solid like a rock and that makes me feel so happy for Léa.

We meet again in France and even on the day of the wedding, putting together my gear, I still can’t believe I am there and that this is real life. Léa’s dress is perfect on her, the family is so warm and welcoming, despite the language barrier, and everyone is clearly ready to have a great time.

Despite being 100+ weddings deep in a variety of cultures and traditions, the wedding was still quite different from anything we’ve ever photographed stateside. After the most charming backyard ceremony, we all walk over to a reception hall across a park from the house. Champagne begins flowing and the most amazing appetizers start arriving. The food at this wedding was incredible. We lost count of the number of courses, but the food had not stopped coming when we finally left past midnight.

But the generous portions of foie gras wasn’t the only difference, it was the party itself. The DJ has this crowd doing things that I’m sure would need waivers signed and liability releases for here. People were literally sliding across the floor, fighting over chairs for games. There were wigs and microphones and so much silliness, but it was all in the name of just good old fashion FUN. Everyone was having a great time and it gives me pause to realize how over-protected and sue-happy our way of life has dulled some of our parties here.

As we had already traveled across the world, we decided to plan a huge trip centered around this wedding. Our daughter was still under 2, and thus free to fly, so we took the opportunity to visit loads of family and friends across Europe. We kept a personal travel journal document our trip from glamping near the beaches of Spain to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland; if you’re curious to see more of that, it’s here.

We couldn’t be happier for Léa and Ben, and I couldn’t be more glad I signed up for that kickball team. Life is so dynamic. To many years of happiness ahead!

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Rachael and Jonathan had the most stellar view of Mt.Hood for their Oregon summer wedding in Canby, OR. Oak View Acres is officially one of my new favorite venues and this couple was the perfect fit for it! I got to know Rachael and Jonathan over their adorable Portland city date engagement shoot last Fall. This stylish couple had the most wonderful energy and the warmest smiles. They were so genuinely excited for their day and stress-free. Their families were welcoming (and hilarious), which made the party a blast! Matthew and I left this wedding just so grateful that we get to do what we do: observe, connect with people, and take their portraits on one of the most special days of their lives. It’s not only an honor, it’s a lot of fun too!

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Heather and Josh : Arizona Wedding

July 24th, 2014 Permalink

Destination wedding in Arizona

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Heather and Josh tied the knot on a bright, clear Arizona day surrounded by family and friends whom traveled from all around to join them as they made their partnership official. You get the sense that these two were just made for one another, a match waiting to meet. And we were so thrilled at the opportunity to travel down to new turf to document their celebrations! We had photographed the Heather’s sister’s wedding a few years prior on the Oregon coast and were so tickled that their family thought of us again!  We enjoyed the change of scenery and took the chance to visit Sedona too after the big day before flying home. All in all, a wonderful trip with wonderful people with a wonderful future ahead of them! We wish them nothing but the absolute best!

Heather + Josh : Rehearsal Dinner in Arizona

June 29th, 2014 Permalink

wild west rehearsal dinner for a destination wedding in AZ

I know I say this all the time, but So Many Moments really does have the VERY best clients! Meet Heather and Josh. They brought us down to Arizona for their nuptials! We met up with them on a hot night (as in high of 112 that day! Did you know humans could even exist in such heat?!) in the desert for a wild west rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. The venue was incredible, with what felt like thousands of neck ties hanging from the ceiling and even a live rattlesnake inside! Lots of water, cowboy hats and handkerchiefs for guests made for a rootin’ tootin’ good time. Photos from the big wedding day celebration day up next!

 

Jason + Zhen Zhen : Miami Wedding

April 22nd, 2014 Permalink

Miami Wedding Photography at the Cooper Estate by husband and wife team So Many Moments, based in Portland, OR

In the 5th grade, I went to my friend Justin’s birthday party. He lived on a canal, and all the kids at the party went swimming. All the kids, except Jason and I. We had found a piano and were having too much fun playing music to bother with swim suits. All the kids that went swimming got ill from something in the water and Jason and I were the only two kids at school not sick. This was the beginning of a friendship that has stood the test of time.

Jason and Zhen Zhen have had a beautiful relationship for many years, so while it was no surprise when they announced they would be getting married, we were still thrilled for them to tie the knot. The Cooper Estate in Miami set the stage for a gorgeous wedding day. Jason is very tech-driven, so it was neat to see how he used an app to share wedding details with guests and used a collection of iPads for the seating chart. Zhen Zhen and her bridesmaids were just perfection; all put together so thoughtfully and looked so glamorous. But, the best part was this wedding was FUN. As old friends reunited on the dance floor, it was clear everyone was having a great time. Back at the hotel, the party did not stop. Matthew and I were talked into putting down the cameras and joined them and their friends for a celebratory late night beer on the pool deck.

Every wedding is such an unique expression of a couple’s commitment to one another, and that’s what makes it so much fun to document. Having some history with Jason and ZZ made it really special for us to be a part of their big day and we are so honored they chose us to photograph it.

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Photography : So Many Moments

Venue (including food + flowers) : The Cooper Estate

2013 Holiday Portrait Mini Session

November 18th, 2013 Permalink

Dress your best and snuggle in close with your loved one, or bring the kids along too, for an unique holiday portrait session! This whimsical styled shoot, inspired by a snow globe, is a fresh alternative to sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall. We’ve built a little set (using marshmallows, aluminum foil, and a […]

holiday portrait

Dress your best and snuggle in close with your loved one, or bring the kids along too, for an unique holiday portrait session! This whimsical styled shoot, inspired by a snow globe, is a fresh alternative to sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall. We’ve built a little set (using marshmallows, aluminum foil, and a lot of imagination), to ensure you’ve got the most magical holiday photo card on the mantle this year!

WHEN : Sunday, December 1st

WHERE: Milagros.  5433 NW 30th Ave. Portland, OR 97211

WHAT: Included with your mini photo session is a beautiful set of 25 large 5×7″ Holiday cards with envelopes as well as a web-sized digital copy of the image, perfect for sharing online!

COST: The cost for the photo session is $199. Additional sets of photo cards, metal ornaments, and custom address stamps also available for purchase at your session.

Limited availability! To book your mini session, contact Samantha immediately at SoManyMoments@gmail.com or ChildlikeWildlifePhoto@gmail.com. For more info, please check the FAQ section on the Childlike Wildlife website. (Childlike Wildlife is the family portrait wing to So Many Moments wedding photography)

Amber + Ryan : An Intimate Portland Wedding

October 21st, 2013 Permalink

The Nines, the Pumpkin Patch, and Cathedral Park in St.Johns

Amber and Ryan redefined the term “intimate wedding” for me. Even after photographing 100+ weddings, some of them decidedly “casual”, I had never seen anything quite like this.
They truly made this day their own, centered around their love and commitment to one another and absolutely nothing else.

The afternoon began with getting ready in the swanky Nines hotel downtown and even this they did together. Ryan enjoyed some time with his brothers while a close friend did Amber’s make-up in the bathroom. When it was time to get dressed, they did so together. Because this day, for them, was about being together.

Once they were all ready to go, the magic truly began because there was absolutely no plan. When I’d asked Amber where she wanted to do the actual ceremony she replied “When it feels right, we’ll just stop to have our moment. We will say what we would like to say to one another and exchange our rings.” And even with the weather bouncing back and forth from downpour to sunshine, while so much seemed up in the air and left to chance, Amber and Ryan seemed confident that it would all be just perfect, and so it was.

Knowing we had a bit of time, we took the opportunity to go a bit out of Portland’s city center to Sauvie Island. We all love the Pumpkin Patch, who doesn’t, and with the season being what it is, it just fell into our laps as a wonderful fit. When we arrived, it was confirmed that our choice had been a brilliant one as there wasn’t anyone else there except the most wonderful and accommodating staff. They even brought out boots for Amber and her officiant, and dear friend, Robin to wear! We had a blast climbing the hay pyramid, getting a sneak preview of the pumpkins, and enjoying the last of the sunflowers before it was off to wherever the world would take us next.

On the way back to the city, the bridge at Cathedral Park was the destination of choice. The moment they knew would come had arrived and they stood ready to marry one another. The whole experience felt surreal and so perfect, I’m sure for them, but also for me. There was no parade down an aisle, there weren’t any flowers, there was barely even a plan, but there was so much love in the air it was palpable.

Amber and Ryan did this for them. They made a choice to do what made sense to them, and what resulted was one of the most beautiful, genuine, amazing, and touching weddings I’ve ever been to in my life. This couple is so filled with love and dedication to one another. I’m so honored to have been asked to not only document this day for them but to be a witness too! It’s a wedding I will never forget and I couldn’t be more happy for them and proud of them for going against the grain and being true to themselves. Congratulations again, you little lovebirds you!

Photography : So Many Moments

Hotel : The Nines

Photo Shoot Location : The Pumpkin Patch, Sauvie Island

Although Joe and Matt have been together for many years, and domestic partners for the past 5, now that DOMA has been over-ruled in Washington state, they decided to “make honest men of each other” by crossing the border and tying the knot: Legally. I was honored when they chose me to capture their intimate ceremony followed by a “Champagne and Cake” reception, what a wonderful way to spend a Thursday evening! They dressed in top hats, like true gentlemen, and spoke excitedly about their honeymoon trip to Disneyworld. My favorite detail was their “And They Lived Happily Ever After” cake, featuring two Prince Charmings, holding hands. I started the 2013 wedding season with a lesbian wedding in Orlando, FL and ended it with these charming chaps, headed to Orlando, FL. Full circle. What a wonderful year!

Photography: So Many Moments

Venue: Marshall House, Vancouver WA

 

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