Kevin + Sandi

I called Sandi early on the morning of our session to see if she'd still like to meet for pictures. It was raining and stormy and so, so cold, and to top it all off we were both driving a few hours each way to meet at Beazell Memorial Forest outside Corvallis for the shoot. As is often the case when planning around Mother Nature, neither of us had any way of knowing if the weather would truly cooperate. But a girl after my own, determined heart, Sandi said she'd like to make their afternoon session work. I couldn't have planned the day better if I tried. We arrived at the park and it seemed as though the skies parted just for Kevin and Sandi. The evening was absolutely gorgeous and these two were stunning as they sat against the backdrop of an early 20th century wood barn. Sandi + Kevin, thank you so much for inviting me along on this amazing ride that is your wedding. I had a blast taking your pictures and cannot wait for your June wedding. Thank you for being beyond kind and giddy and so fun to work with. You make my job a breeze and I couldn't be more thankful to get to be your photographer!

Ben + Brooke at Abernethy

Ben and Brooke are just one of those couples I cannot say enough good things about. From the beginning they've welcomed me like family and treated me like nothing short of a friend. I felt beyond blessed to get to not only photograph their day, but to get to watch them say I Do in front of their closest family and friends at Portland's Abernethy Center last month. If you let me, I'd stay here for an hour talking about just how wonderful these two are, but since I'd like you to actually see their gorgeous wedding at some point, I'll leave you with a piece from The Velveteen Rabbit that Brooke's mother read during the ceremony. I think it sums up how perfectly real Ben + Brooke's make one another. "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

Oh Brooke, I will forever be incredibly envious of your absolutely stunning, and insanely classy, ring.

Photographer :: Michelle Cross Assistant :: Linnea Paulina Hair + Make UP :: Nicole Wagner of Powder Inc. Venue :: Abernethy Coordinator :: Shauna Karver at j29 Events

Ben + Brooke at Cathedral Park

You may remember Ben + Brooke from their gorgeous engagement session on Mt. Hood this summer. Brooke, a girl after my own heart, wanted to make sure she had enough quality time for pictures of her and her hubby and opted for a portrait session a few days before her wedding. We met at Portland's Cathedral Park and from the moment I drove across the St. John's Bridge I knew the day would be absolutely perfect. The leaves seemed to explode with color and in a rare moment of sunshine the air was surprisingly warm. Getting to watch as Ben + Brooke saw one another for the first time was a touching moment I won't soon forget, and selfishly I was thrilled to get to have these two all to myself for a few hours of capturing their gorgeous smiles and infectious laughs. Stay tuned for their equally-as-stunning wedding at Abernethy in Lake Oswego coming soon!

I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Nicole Wagner of Powder Inc. for her incredible talent. She's a genius with hair + make-up and worked her magic to make Brooke's most naturally gorgeous self shine through.