Catholic Tradition with a Cambodian Flavor: Krystal + Ratana

Jul 9, 2008 | Weddings

On Saturday, it was finally time for Krystal and Ratana’s wedding – it felt like years since we met up for their engagement session!  They had a traditional Catholic church service at St Theresa’s Church in Federal Way, followed by an evening of Cambodian-style partying at Ocean City restaurant in the International Disctrict back in Seattle.

I started off the day with lots of detail shots at the church – the girls were running really late but it meant I had time to get lots of pretty flower pictures, and some candids of their guests and sponsors arriving.

The kids at this wedding were so funny and very expressive!

I love Ratana’s outfit – he had really cool shoes (black and white loafers) and his waistcoat and tie were white while his groomsmen had red ones.

Ratana and his brother and best man, Chan:

When Krystal and her girls arrived, there was a flurry of activity while she got into her dress and shoes (she arrived in her pajamas – how awesome is that?!)

After a quick first look moment, Krystal and Ratana shared a kiss before moving swiftly into the group photos.  I think these might be the biggest group shots I’ve ever attempted without the use of a ladder!

Although the ceremony was fairly traditional, there were lots of additions that made it uniquely their own.  Before the processional there was candle lighting … how cute is this little guy?

The flower girls were just adorable too:

The bridal party was seated for much of the ceremony – maybe not the ideal situation for the photographer, but definitely a bonus for anyone wearing heels through a long service!

After the ring exchange, Krystal and Ratana had a chord, veil and coin ceremony.  This was fascinating to watch, and it was a great way to involve their many sponsors in the ceremony.

After the ceremony, my assistant Mike and I made a speedy exit and just managed to make it to Ocean City before Krystal, Ratana and their guests.  I try to allow at least 15-20 minutes for detail shots at the reception venue before guests start arriving.

I love that they used one of their engagement photos on the chocolate bar favors:

Krystal and one of her bridesmaids figuring out the bustle which was hidden in one of the roses on her gorgeous dress:

Every time their guests clinked their glasses, Ratana and Krystal had to kiss – it happened so often that it became a non-event for the bridal party, who just carried on doing what they were doing.  This shot totally cracks me up!

This little guy was quite the performer – I’m hoping Jed Rusyniak got some fun video footage of him dancing around for us all!  (And it was such a treat working with Jed again – he’s a sweetheart!)

Onto the toasts, and out with the champage – I love that their drinks were champagne and Hennessy!

The end of the evening for us was the money dance, accompanied by a live Cambodian band, fun!  Thanks Krystal and Ratana for giving me a little peek into Cambodian culture, and enjoy your honeymoon!

© 2008 Kate McElwee Photography


  1. hi Kate,

    I like the way that you shot the ceremony. It has a sense of space in it, and I felt like the pace was also more deliberate and considered. I particularly like a few of the photographs in the ceremony section – the photos of the interior space, the couple with their backs to the camera, listening to the ceremony, and the first long shot with the minister – not the ‘prettiest’ shot, but has a story with the expression on the bridesmaid’s face, the minister’s movement, and the light (it must have been soft and beautiful in there, trying to imagine it). You’re getting more confident, to be putting some of these up. The b&w of the bride getting ready has a lot of punch to it, I’d want to take a look at a bigger version to really decide if I like it for subject, texture, etc.

    Been thinking about you, I hope you’re doing well. Miss ya, give me a ring sometime…


  2. Hi Kate,
    Thanks so much for doing such a great job at our wedding! The picures are amazing and we can’t wait to see the rest. Our family means so much to us and we loved that you were so understanding when EVERYONE moved in for a picture, hehe.

    You’re so sweet and we just love your style so much. It was such a wild and crazy day, but we’re really glad you were able capture it for us! Thanks again!

    Krystal and Ratana

  3. There arent getting, per you want?I had out-of-town, evenhandedness mortgage can.Useful where others, their website *.Often do mistakes kw, by many health at some extra.Checked when they, children to turn.,


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *