August Bliss on Orcas Island: Morgan + Dino

Aug 7, 2008 | Weddings

Last Friday, I travelled up to Orcas Island for Morgan and Dino’s beautiful backyard wedding.  I made a weekend of it, and traveled with fellow wedding photographer and awesome buddy Jenny Jimenez (see here for her photos of our island shenanigans and some very amusing photos of yours truly – my take on our travels will be coming soon).

The wedding took place at the home of some very generous family friends – I have never seen such a beautiful property, let alone had the opportunity to photograph one.  It was just perfect.  The girls got ready at the winter house, an English Cotswolds style stone house with attached guest house, English gardens and little stone walls.  The ceremony was down below, in an orchard next to the sea (where their summer house is located).

Here’s the view from the ceremony location:

The girls were a little late arriving (Morgan was the most wonderfully laid-back bride I’ve ever worked with!) so I spent some time taking photos of the house and gardens, and started on the detail shots.

I love their invitations – I think Dino was responsible for the fab design.

Their favors were salt and pepper people – too cute!

The bedroom in the guest house where Morgan got ready:

One of my favorite things about the wedding was the use of color – Morgan’s amazing dress was hand made by Chrissy Wai-Ching, here in Seattle, and it was stunning.  The colors, the detailing …  it was just gorgeous.

A bracelet from her grandmother:

The staircase in the guest house … wow!

We held the first look moment on the cliff next to the ceremony location.  Doesn’t Dino look cute here?  He was so nervous!

Mo was calm on the outside, but her expression here makes me think she had a little bit of emotional yoyo-ing going on inside:

The ceremony setup of a circle of chairs worked perfectly, and felt so much more intimate than the regular rows.

We did some fairly informal group photos before the ceremony, and I got a few candids in too.  I love that the girls all wore different colored dresses, and most of them were hand made by Wai-Ching.

Mo and her grandfather:

The guys wore traditional Filipino barongs to honor Dino’s culture:

They set up a champagne bar next to the ceremony space.

Mo’s uncle and cousin sang songs by Nick Drake and others as people took their seats …

Dino waiting for Morgan to walk down the aisle, with his mom and dad standing close by.

Mo and her parents walking down the aisle:

The light was amazing throughout the ceremony:

There were a LOT of tears all day.  I love that!

At the end of the ceremony, everyone rushed forward to hug each other.

After a few quick photos at the end of the ceremony, I rushed back up the hill to the winter house to photograph the reception area.  Instead of a board or table, they had attached place markers to the little wooden fence along the side of the backyard:

I love this shot of DJ Jeff Hill from Seattle, it definitely captures his bubbly personality.

During cocktail hour, I took a few minutes with Dino and Morgan for some relaxed portraits in the garden.

The cake was made by one of their friends, and turned out beautifully.  This shot, from above, is my favorite:

Just like at my own wedding, there was a whole roast hog for dinner – but this time the head was left on, eyes and all!  Awesome!

I couldn’t resist a ring detail shot with the pig eyes …

There were lots of very cute and funny kids at the wedding.

The entire day was very emotional – and when the speeches started the tears began to really flow.

Even the little ones got to say a few words:

By this point, Morgan was laughing and crying simultaneously – it was really cute:

So, this was the absolute climax of the day for me – Dino’s brother (above) told the story of one of their early dates.  Morgan drank a little too much and on retiring to Dino’s bed threw up all over it.  Instead of getting up and cleaning the sheets, they threw another sheet over the puke and fell asleep right there, on top of the mess.  They spent the next three weeks sleeping on the couch …

And then it was back to some more emotional anecdotes …

Their first dance song was Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ – perfect.

Grandpa was amazing – we had a little dance together at the end of the night.

It was fun to see my server from Tilth restaurant back here in Seattle enjoying the party (he grew up on Orcas Island with Morgan):

Thank you Morgan and Dino for enabling me to be a part of your incredible day, and to all of your family and friends for the immense hospitality and generosity I experienced.

© 2008 Kate McElwee Photography


  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them Kate!! We had such a good time and it really shows in the pictures. You were so much fun to work with and everyone there had the best things to say about you! I wouldn’t be suprised if you are asked back up there again sometime!

  2. Oh my gosh Kate those pictures are AMAZING! I got re-teary eyed when I looked through them all. Incredible job capturing the beauty and fun of the day! P.s. Great one of me just bawling at the ceremony ha 🙂

  3. Kate – These pictures are amazing! You did an awesome job at capturing how truly incredible, emotional and hilarious that day was!

  4. Your beautiful shots,Kate, tell the whole story of this wonderful occasion! May I make a calendar out of these beautiful pictures!?
    I have 3 more kids lined up…we’ll be in touch!
    Thank you, thank you again!!!

  5. Kate! These are amazing! I knew that they would have to be good because you were so much fun, but these are fantastic! I’ll be sure to let you know if I ever have an event up there! Thanks for the pictures of grandpa too, I will treasure them forever.

  6. Kate – your pictures are beautiful and we will treasure them as reminder of a
    wonderful day in Morgan’s and Dino’s life. Mick thnks you for the dance.
    Granpa Mick and Granma Claire

  7. Kate – your pictures are beautiful and we will treasure them as reminder of a
    wonderful day in Morgan’s and Dino’s life. Mick thanks you for the dance.
    Granpa Mick and Granma Claire

  8. Kate,
    Where do I begin?
    Amazing photos! The colors are so brilliant and alive!
    I wish Jordan would have been a little more cooperative, but the photo that you got with him on my shoulders was the best.
    Be well and god bless.
    Thank you, again, for capturing such a memorable event so eloquesntly.

  9. Wonderful!

    That ring shot is killah!

  10. Kate,

    Your pictures are nothing short of amazing! they capture the beauty of the entire day. Not only that your a joy to work with and I look forward to working with you in the future!

    Thanks again kate, also to Dino & Morgan for allowing me to be a part of their lovely day!

    DJ Jeff Hill

  11. Kate, these pictures are without a doubt the best wedding photos I have ever seen..Perhaps it was because I was here, but I don’t think have captured the beauty and the essence of 2 people in love, and their guests. Congratulations. It was also nice to have a chat with you by the fireplace.

  12. Best. Ring shot. Ever.

  13. Gorgeous photos – captured the beauty of the place and the depth of the people. What a beautiful couple!

  14. beautiful and very thorough job, Kate. Love the detail shots here, they are really gorgeous. The reflected light in some of these photos makes me happy. And nice job with postprocess, not too heavy, consistent. 🙂



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