Gorgeous at Gonzaga: Mandy + Josh

Jul 31, 2008 | Weddings

Last weekend, I travelled cross-state to Spokane for one of my most eagerly anticipated weddings of the year, with Mandy and Josh.  They went to school at Gonzaga University in Spokane, and were excited to show off this very special place to all of their family and friends.

I started the day at the magnificent Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane where they were all getting ready.  I covered the girls while my amazing second shooter Michelle Ellis photographed the guys.

The girls got together on the huge bed for the first of the day’s many toasting sessions.  I love Mandy’s vintage-style dress – it was the perfect anchor for her beautiful European vintage theme.

I borrowed the donut holes they were munching on for a couple of fun ring sots.

Michelle had sent a copy of the day’s paper in with amazing coordinator Lindsay Flagan of Polished, so I had to sneak a couple of date-based ring photos in too:

Mandy was all smiles as she began to get into her dress:

While Mandy was standing at the window looking perfect, Josh and his best man were prepping their ties:

And smiles quickly turned into watery eyes for Mandy as she took a couple of moments to think about the day ahead:

After an hour or so, Michelle and I raced across town to Gonzaga campus to set up for the formals.  Mandy had chosen this fantastic stairway at College Hall for the photos.  I love the old stone, and the wrought iron in the beautiful archway.

Mandy’s mom doing what she does best – being utterly fabulous.  I think Michelle might have had a teeny tiny crush on her.  They were both hilarious and kept me fully entertained all day!

The girls arriving for round one of the formals.  Lindsay and Mandy devised a very intricate – and surprisingly successful – series of rounds for the formals, so that we could complete the majority of group photos before the ceremony, but without Mandy and Josh having to see each other.

Mandy’s dad:

The guys were so much fun to work with …

I’m going to get myself some kind of a shoe fetish reputation if I’m not careful!

Josh and his brother and sister:

What a handsome – and happy – chap!

The ceremony was held at St Aloysius Church on campus.  It must be the most spectacular church I’ve ever photographed.

Michelle caught this wonderful moment just before Mandy and her dad walked down the aisle:

The priest was great – very down to earth and entertaining.

A full Catholic mass and the freedom to roam the balconies made for some great photographs.  I love having this kind of time and freedom to play with.

Mandy and Josh told me later how much they enjoyed watching their friends and family come forward to receive blessings and take communion.

At the end of the service we took a few group photos from the back balcony.  I am so relieved this worked out – the lighting was … scary!

After grabbing a few detail shots in the Globe Room during cocktail hour, I headed back to College Hall for some final wedding party shots.

Then Mandy and Josh took me on a little tour of campus for the first round of their couple portraits.

I love it when Mother Nature lends a hand and the wind gusts at just the right moment …

How about a little mid-wedding trash the dress fun?

We returned to the Golbe Room for the end of cocktail hour and I spent some time taking candids.

After dinner there was a slideshow, and then some very emotional toasts.

Such a beautiful cake!

I love the place markers:

After the main reception events had finished, I took Mandy and Josh outside for a few last photos, this time barefoot (well, Mandy was at least) …

Then it was back inside for a ton of photoboothing fun – thanks to Michelle for capturing some of these fantastic images!

Thank you to everyone who made this day so beautiful and fun, and huge congratulations to Josh and Mandy!

© 2008 Kate McElwee Photography


  1. It’s so amazing to see someone’s work after the fact.

    You are truly one amazing kick-ass photographer.

    It was a pleasure to work with you.

    And yes, I LOVED Mandy’s Mom, she was so sassy and real. Her mother daughter dance rocked!(:

  2. Well, I would expect nothing less, but these pictures are fantastic! You outdid yourself, Kate. I especially love the picture Michelle took right before Mandy walked down the aisle and the black and white of Josh grabbing her for a kiss. Very well done, both of you!

  3. WOW!! Kate, those pictures are amazing!

  4. These are great! Everything looks even more beautiful than your planning photos from the knot. 🙂 Congratulations Mandy and Josh!

  5. Wow this is such a fantastic wedding Kate!!!! I think my favorite is the one of them kissing in the arched window with the trees behind them. Hard to choose though, they are all fabulous!

  6. WOW…just wow…

    Kate you are an incredible photographer, it was great to finally meet you after hearing Mandy rave about your aweseome-ness for months. Jordan (my hubbs) and I will definitely be giving you a call.

    Thank you for being THE perfect wedding photographer for two of the most beautiful people I know, you made everything so easy and fun for Mandy and Josh as well as the rest of us involved. You captured the day the way that it felt…amazing.

    Mandy and Josh, I know you’ll cherish these pics forever and that Kate will be a part of your lives from here on out. Congrats to you two…so much fun to be had!

    GO ZAGS! 🙂

  7. Mandy and Josh: Congratulations on your special day. The pics look absolutely beautiful. And Mandy, you were a gorgeous bride! I’m so happy for you two. I hope you have a long and happy marriage filled with love. Take care.

  8. Here it is 10 days after the wedding and I am just now finding out about these photos. Kate & Michelle you take my breath away. You are more than talented, you are truly inspired artists. Your presence that day was calming, creative and magical. Thank you for this glimpse into Amanda and Josh’s perfect wedding day. I thank you also for your compliments and so… back at you babes…….. I stand in awe of your stamina and beautiful smiles:) I promise you will be in our future frivolities. Paula Y.

  9. You are amazing. These pictures have taken so many people’s breath away! We are so pleased with how well you captured “us” in our special place. You have been an absolute pleasure to work with…our family and friends all loved you!

    Love the one on the fire escape – genius! And the very last one is really special to us, too with the steeples in the background (I’m so glad you ran in to get your other lens!)…but they are all GREAT. Thanks again, can’t wait to see the rest!

  10. Bravo Kate! Truly, the most outstanding wedding pictures I’ve ever seen! You really captured the grandeur of the setting, the emotion of the event, and the fun of it all. Many thanks to you and Michelle for giving us a chance to enjoy it again.



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