A View From The Top — Schweitzer Mountain Idaho Wedding

When I have the opportunity to melt into the background and document a group truly being themselves, it’s what keeps me going through busy wedding seasons year after year.

Callie and Dave’s mountain top wedding at Schweitzer Resort allowed me to do just that. This couple and I hit it off during our consultation, came up with an awesome game plan a few months before their wedding over a big breakfast at Michael D’s in Coeur d’Alene, and when I met their family and friends at the rehearsal dinner, it all fell into place.

This Huntington Beach, Calif. couple decided to have their closest friends and family venture up to North Idaho to enjoy a weekend of relaxing in the environment which Dave called home for a number of years.

“It wasn’t so much the day, but the entire weekend that was the best part,” Callie explained. “Since the vast majority of our guests were traveling for our wedding and staying at the resort the whole weekend, we thought it would be fun to plan group activities on both Friday and Saturday nights. By the time our Sunday wedding rolled around, our diverse group of family and friends had already become familiar with one another and formed friendships of their own. This made our wedding day so much better because the ‘getting to know each other’ phase for our guests was out of the way, and it truly was a relaxed, friendly and familiar atmosphere, which is exactly what we wanted.”

Schweitzer Mountain was selected because of three big reasons:

  1. The spectacular mountaintop ceremony site was so unique and so fitting for them
  2. They really liked that their guests could all stay right there at the resort
  3. The couple was very happy with their early interactions with the event staff and felt that they would take care of them (which they did)

With a gorgeous backdrop and perfect weather, guests were greeted to a vast landscape of the mountains and lakes from the top of Schweitzer Mountain. The combination of view and weather enabled us to work a shot at the end of the ceremony that captured everyone who attended the event, as well as the eye candy that surrounded them.

“The weather was perfect and the view from the mountaintop was stunning,” Callie said. “(Jerome) captured not only us, but the smiling faces of every person that witnessed us be married. We love that we have a shot that celebrates every person who made the trip to be there with us.”

Ensuring their guest were taken care of (especially during the cocktail hour and before dinner) Callie and Dave created a fun Mad Libs game for them to play at their seats, which definitely brought a lot of laughs.

There were so many great moments throughout the day. Capturing Callie and her grandfather rehearsing their special dance in a corner of the lodge by themselves. Watching Dave having some makeup done on his eye after having an unfortunate accident with a dresser. The precious moment when Dave kissed Callie’s hand during the ceremony. Not to mention all the laughs, happy tears, kind words, and I can’t forget about the fun and wild dance session at the reception.

At the end of the night, as Dave’s new brother-in-law carried him out of the reception piggy-back style, and everyone began to migrate to their rooms and after party, people were high-fiving each other, giving hugs and amazed at the day they just experienced.

 

The best part of working with me for Callie and Dave:

“We loved that Jerome was so personable and really took the time to get to know not only us, but our families as well. It was impressive how many of our guests were on a first name basis with Jerome! He quickly and easily fit in with our group and at many times was more like a friend than a photographer. It felt natural to have him be a part of our wedding weekend, which really was one of the best things about working with Jerome.”

Callie and Dan’s wedding planning tips:

  • When planning, break the tasks into smaller, more palatable goals, and focus on completing one goal before moving onto the next.
  • Don’t assume all the planning yourself. Work as a team with your fiancé. It will make everything more manageable, and as long as you know and are true to your overall vision, it will all come together perfectly in the end.
  • We both agree that if we had to do it over, we would not spend so much time worrying about trying to cater to every single person’s requests or “great ideas”. It just cost us more time and stress, and in the end, everyone who mattered was there, and everyone had a great time regardless of any minor circumstances.

 

VENDORS

Venue & Catering – Schweitzer Mountain Resort

DJ – DJ Gellis

Florist – Nieman’s Floral

Cake – Dave’s Sweet Cakes

Hair & Make-up – Lindsey D Hair Design

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An Intimate Spokane Backyard Wedding

I’ve been documenting quite a few smaller weddings. Where 150 to 250 guests was the norm, about three or four times a year I’m hanging out with a group of 50 to 75 people. But when Jill and Doug contacted me, they had a whole other idea of a small wedding.

Their wedding on the South Hill at Jill’s parent’s home ended up with a dozen people (including myself and the officiant). Now that’s seating chart that’s easy to figure out.

Jill and Doug wanted to keep it simple — vows, pictures, dinner, relax. Like I said .. simple. But with that simplicity also came a time for celebration with only the people they are closest to. And since they all fit around a table under bistro lights dining on a great multi-course meal from Luna in Spokane, the conversation ranged from their travels, youth, appreciation for one another, and what they see in the future for Jill, Doug and Doug’s son Jake.

Small weddings aren’t for everyone. But I think Jill and Doug set the bar to how to do a small, backyard wedding.

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Focus On Family

It’s great when two families come together and it’s a perfect fit.

For Lynze, Dan and his two kiddos Kyler and Monroe, they found their stride early on and have created an approach that helped ensure their new family was a success.

I got to witness first hand during a portrait session how this new family was becoming one, and how the kids held equal footing as Lynze and Dan’s relationship.

During their High Country Orchard wedding in Green Bluff, this new family was the focus. From Dan walking down the aisle with his children, to how they all gathered together to light a unity candle during the ceremony, this was a celebration of family.

As with any wedding, these things don’t magically happen. There’s a lot of work involved.

Being an extreme planner, every wedding detail was thought out and planned by Lynze. She even made itineraries for every member of her family, telling them what to do, when to be where, and whatever else she could think of for them.

But when picking her wedding venue, a premonition about family traditions dictated her choice.

“Originally we wanted a barn to be married in. It has no significance to us or our life style, so it didn’t seem like the obvious choice,” Lynze said about her venue criteria. “However, when we were searching for our venue, we realized thats we could cut down our Christmas tree at our location and pick apples, which are both family traditions. So it seemed perfect, that we would continue to visit the location of our wedding every year.”

Now that she had a perfect venue, and all the details planned out, the only thing left was to experience the hectic wedding day. But the thing that most surprised Lynze was how calm she was.

“I hardly even cried!! I thought I would be a wreck and I just felt so happy, at peace, at ease.”

A big part of that sense of peace probably came from Lynze’s ability to simply “let go” and realizing, “Letting go and reminding myself that it is just one day and that it will be perfect and gorgeous in its own way, kept me grounded.”

 

Lynze’s top three moments of her wedding day:

  1. Our first look. It was exactly as I wanted it to be. It was quiet, personal, romantic, and full of so much love.
  2. Our vows, but especially Dan making a joke as he started. “Lynze. I think you are great,” and then he folds up his vows!!! HA! I was dying!!!
  3. Leaving the venue. It was beautiful to see people we loved all gathered and cheering us on. I burst into tears! I could not believe it was over!!!

The best part of working with me for Lynze and Dan:

“You understood who we are as people and as a couple and as a family. You were firm about what you knew would work best, because you are the expert, but always took into consideration our desires. You are HILARIOUS and we love Marie!!! Best Assistant Ever! We loved opening our private world to you and knowing we could trust you. Your style is beyond words. We feel like the pictures of our wedding will be the best thing we walk away with.”

Lynze’s wedding planning tips:

  • I would have worried less about pleasing everyone…. Its hard not to care about the people you love but the day is not about them or accommodating them!
  • Before you book or plan a single thing, envision what you want it to be. Write that down and anytime you feel like you are getting caught up in the trends of the moment or what other people are saying, go back to your game plan!
  • Also, don’t overshare what the plans are. The more you share, the more people will pick at your ideas.
  • Lastly, but most importantly, plan and book your honeymoon FIRST. By the time you plan it, you are so deep into the wedding planning that you don’t want to spend anymore money or think long and hard about other plans. I know it sounds backwards but I swear, plan it first and pay it off. Any gifts you receive or honeymoon presents will only enhance your time together!!!

 

VENDORS

Venue:  High Country Orchard

Hair and Make Up:  Embellish Salon

Florist:  Rose and Blossom

Catering:  Feast Catering

Cake:  Lake City Cakes

 

2 Responses to “Focus On Family”

  1. Agape Events

    Loved working with Dan and Lynze, wishing you the VERY best!! To Jerome: you are so talented…every time I see your images I’m reminded of your gift. Amazing.

    • Jerome

      Thanks for the kind words Diana. It’s always a pleasure working with you and seeing your extreme organization skills at work.

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