An Idaho Wedding Retreat

Carol and Erik have a deep respect for nature and know how to find balance in their life by escaping to the outdoors whenever possible.

When we sat down for our consultation, we immediately connected through our love for backpacking, mountain biking, and enjoying getting off the grid. When these two told me how their wedding plans followed this idea, I was hooked.

These two chose Camp Four Echoes (near Worley, Idaho) for the following reasons:

  1. They were able to make our wedding a full weekend at one place which helped allow their family and friends to get to know each other more and start to become one connected community through their marriage.
  2. They were searching for a setting that would help lend to people relaxing and having fun. Camp Four Echoes being on a lake and in the woods gave people perspective of living in the Inland Northwest with the trail and boat access to get out and paddle around the water or hike nearby. Plus, their guests could also sleep on site (which was a must) and make a retreat weekend out of it.
  3. They could have bonfires and there was no curfew on noise.
  4. The ceremony site above the lake suited their vision and the lodge was a perfect place to hold our dinner and reception with dancing outside on the deck.

With so many areas to take on in the wedding planning, this couple focused a lot on the dinner & reception.

“There are just so many details to think of and consider during that time (i.e. how the room will be set up, table settings, type of dinner, bar, lighting, decorations, music, seating chart, gifts, desserts, toasts),” Carol shared.

But with all those details, there was only one area that caused stress — the reception seating.

“I stressed over the way the tables were going to be set up for dinner. I grouped people for dinner based on who they knew so some tables were 5 people and others were up to 13. There were barely any even numbered tables, we were working with the chairs and tables the venue had and I actually wasn’t even sure if there were going to be enough, or that the table cloths would fit, or that it would all work out since I didn’t draw this up before setting it up on the evening before.

“I didn’t stress on the other things because in the grand scheme of it all they really didn’t matter. They remember if they had a good time, if the company was good, the ceremony was meaningful and if the food and dancing were fun. So, that’s what we focused on. We also had many friends and family that began to help out in the last 24 hours to pull all of the details together. It was quite amazing. Just asking certain people to do things that we knew they’d enjoy worked so well! Friends set up and decorated the ceremony site (however they wanted), another friend made us chalkboard signs, my godmother made the place settings with wildflowers, someone else took charge of the seating details and ironing the guys clothes, another friend made the guestbook station, my mom drove me to get ready, a bridesmaid ended up doing my hair. We trusted the loved ones in our life to follow though and help make the day special, and they came through more than we could have even imagined. It made our celebration even more meaningful to us because of this special collaboration!”

With a solid team of helpers, a great venue, and perfect weather, it all seemed to fly by once the reception started. Carol and Erik weren’t able to visit with everyone and that’s one thing they would’ve done differently. The other would’ve been to start dancing earlier since they felt too many people left before the dancing really got going.

Throughout the day we had time to take a moment or two and enjoy the scenery, and find those amazing landscapes that would provide for great backdrops with the portrait images. And with the planning we had in place beforehand, it was easy to maintain that laid-back feel.

“You helped us stay present and we knew you had everything under control — or at least you gave off that vibe. You helped us set our timeline and stay on task for the entire timing of the day,” Carol explained. “You’re direct and confident and easy going. You put us (and others) at ease and you felt like one of our friends at our wedding. We liked being around you, but also at times didn’t even notice you were there. You know when to sit back and knew when to get involved. We feel like we made a new friend. :)”

Carol & Erik’s wedding planning tips:

  • Divide up the tasks of who will do what
  • Think about what your goal is, not what your theme is
  • Wear clothes (dress/suit) that make you feel comfortable
  • The photographer is quite an important investment because the day goes so quickly. It’s going to be great to have the journalistic images Jerome took to capture the feeling and vibe of our day for the rest of our lives.


Venue — Camp Four Echoes
Hair & Make-up — Done by the bride
Flowers — Beau K
Catering — Feast Catering
Pies — Batch Bakeshop
Rings — Ron Holtz for the wedding bands and Pounders for the engagement ring
DJ — David Skaggs with Audio Affiliated

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Settling Into The Coeur d’Alene Lifestyle

Lynze and Dan recently relocated from L.A. to the Inland Northwest where they’ve settled down with Dan’s two children (Kyler aka K-Dawg and Monroe aka MoMo). This couple is also putting the final preparations on their August wedding in Greenbluff.

The big direction for this engagement shoot was to show how this family in the making is meshing and enjoying their new surroundings. While this family enjoying their surroundings was key, the emotion that took over the shoot was a bonus on this shoot.

“Sooooo much emotion came out of me,” explained Lynze. “It was hard to keep it together. I was constantly thinking about how lucky we are and how much love we share, it was very special.”

Before the session even started, Lynze and Dan both teared up after I pitched an idea of how to start the session at their home.

“Jerome understood who we are as a family and as a result, he felt like family. For us, the best part of the session was realizing Jerome was one of us. It hit both Dan and I when we were standing in our backyard, staring at our unfinished tree fort. Dan was in the middle of building a tree for Kyler (10) and Monroe (8), when Jerome came to our session. He said, “It represents where you are. You are laying the foundation of your love, your life, just like the foundation of this tree fort.” We both teared up! That set the tone for our shoot. Such a heartfelt and organic comment lended itself to the most relaxed shoot.”

After a few hours of venturing around downtown Coeur d’Alene, it was time to end the session and head home. Besides a good selection of images being captured, Lynze and Dan were also able to realize that they took the best path for their session by not trying to force a feel or theme to their portraits.

“Our suggestion would be to make the session your own, whatever that means. The session doesn’t need to be anything but what you want. The wedding day itself starts to take on a life of its own and you spend so much time making sure everything and everyone is accounted for. We would suggest using the engagement session to take a moment for just the two of you, or in our case the four of us. On the wedding day there is so much noise and distraction but at the engagement session, it’s just the two of you and there is something uniquely beautiful about that.”

After this session, I can’t wait for the wedding day to get here.

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Love & A V-Dubb

Hilary and Deven live for the journey of life.

If there’s a cliff, they’ll climb it. If they want to venture out and hit the open road, they’ll buy a Volkswagen bus for their journeys. It’s what makes them unique and provides a strong foundation for solid relationship.

When we first met, I could tell Deven wasn’t too keen on engagement pictures. He knew they had to be done, but like most guys (myself included) he wasn’t ready for an afternoon of “Hey, look over here. Smile. Turn. Smile. Again.” Luckily for him, that’s not my approach.

In our planning, we figured spots that highlighted their adventurous side, but gave them opportunities to relax and goof off a bit.

Shooting this session was a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time hiking around some of their favorite parks and places that were special to them. I even got to hang of the side of a cliff or two which is always fun — unless your wife is assisting and freaks out a bit.

At the end of our afternoon together, we were able to get some great scenic shots, solid moments, mixed in their dog and their trusty VW Bus, and enjoy a small campfire too.

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