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!!!



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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Storm Clouds and Smiles in Coeur d’Alene

Being a newspaper photographer, I get to document a lot of fleeting moments in people’s lives. Sometimes there simple images like a middle-school student at an assembly. Or a high schooler battling for a soccer ball on the field or celebrating with her classmates. And every so often, I get to be part of their weddings too.

That’s what happened in this instance. I think I took my first picture of Krysta when she was in eighth grade, and then a few more times during her high school years. And when we started talking about her and Cole’s wedding, things started to click. The name. Her high school sports career. And with a quick search of my archives, I found those images.

Now Krysta calls Dallas home — which makes planning a wedding tricky if you don’t have a good support team in place. And when you live in a place that seems to see more tornados than rain storms, a rainy wedding day isn’t at the top of your list of worries.

As luck would have it, their wedding day started out witha morning full of rain and uncertainty.

“We weren’t expecting the rain to actually help us on the wedding day. From the sky in the pictures, to the rain during the dancing that brought everyone inside to join the party, to the reflection of the sparklers on the ground at the sendoff.”

Krysta and Cole’s wedding ended up with an amazing sunset breaking through the clouds as their friends and family enjoyed the breathtaking views from Elk Point in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho over the Memorial Day weekend.

With Krysta’s mom handling a lot of the big planning in Coeur d’Alene, Krysta and Cole were able to focus on the ceremony details while maintaining their busy schedules in Dallas.

“(We focused on) writing our vows and the flow of the ceremony, because we wanted the ceremony to reflect our feelings towards each other and wanted it to go smoothly and quickly so the party could start,” Krysta explained.

Now I have a few more moments captured from Krysta’s life in front of my camera. I’m sure there’ll be more down the road.



Catering – Ekness Catering

DJ – Traks DJ Service

Florist – Kathy’s Designs

Cake – Stacies Cakes

Tent & Arch Rental – Event Rents 

Transportation – Affordable Limo

Hair – All Tressed Up

Make-up – Shasta Hankins

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