Boy, this wedding was nothing short of beautiful inside and out. Liz reached out to me only two months before their wedding and said she loved the romantic soft feel of my photos (so kind, right?!) She said her and her fiance Julio loved hiking, sunsets and coffee. What more could she say?! I quickly said yes and we planned our engagement session surrounded by mountains and water in what better place than the Columbia River Gorge! Government Cove is often quite popular for engagement sessions, anniversary sessions, family sessions, and beyond. I actually noticed this hidden island off I-84 countless times on my drive to and from Boise, Idaho when visiting family and I knew I needed to find a way to get there. Government Cove Island is full of fields, mountain views, river vistas, and often spring flower fields throughout the year. This was the first time they had ever had their photos taken and were a little nervous which is the case for most of my newly engaged couples. Instead of shooting my camera up right away, I take my time getting to know each individual, sharing a little bit about myself, connecting on the latest episode of our favorite tv shows (mine currently being Love is Blind and This is Us). Once we find our first photo location, I explain to them how I work so that not only do they get amazing engagement photos at the end of it all, but they also have a blast doing it! Before you know it, the sun sets on the horizon and we are all smiles. You can check out their Government Cove engagement session from June 2021 here.
Fast forward to September and her wedding at Bridal Veil Lakes! Liz and I meet up over coffee at Good Coffee in Troutdale, Oregon to go over all the final wedding checklist and timeline of her day. September is usually the peak of my summer wedding season but for some reason I am especially excited for this one. Liz and her bridesmaids got ready at Skamania Lodge, just thirty minutes away from Bridal Veil Lakes on the Washington side of the Gorge. Having only two bridesmaids, this morning was slow, intimate, and perfect. When I arrived, I noticed a HUGE bouquet of red roses on the bed. I asked Liz, "Are those from Julio?!" and she blushed :) (Future grooms, take note!!!) After praying over the bride to be, we headed to the venue just in time for the wedding to start.
One of the best things about Bridal Veil Lakes is what a hidden gem it is. It is right off the Historic Columbia River Highway not far from Latourell Falls (you can check out a bridal session I did there here) and Vista House but following a dirt road back, the venue opens up into a beautiful open field with a luscious pond full of overgrown cat tails and lily pads. The ceremony was set up on the other side of the pond so you have the most beautiful view of the lake while your guests are able to stay mostly shaded from the hot summer sun. You can see a map of the pond here. One of my favorite parts about the wedding was after they said 'I do', they got into a canoe the venue offered and paddled their way back to the other side of the pond where the reception was for their grand entrance (talk about The Notebook vibes!). Their reception was full of little notes of both their cultures from the Mexican taco bar dinner, incredible Russian wedding desserts, Kvass (a traditional Russian rye-like beer), and an authentic, handmade charro outfit that Julio changed into later in the evening! I absolutely love these elements that are included to honor their upbringing and the culture that defines who they are as they come together in marriage as one.
The rest of the evening was short and sweet as everyone mingled and celebrated. We snuck off to take the most gorgeous sunset bridals which you'll see near the end of this blog. Also I couldn't get over how beautiful her pastel wedding bouquet was!!! Liz and Julio's love is quiet but deep as it surpasses words that can't measure up. I am so thankful for the opportunity to meet this sweet couple and witness their day as they chose each other forever.
Wedding Dress & Shoes: BHLDN
Coffee Cart: Intentional Espresso