The Perfect Storm: Alexa + Brian

Aug 29, 2008 | Weddings

Last Sunday was not the perfect day for a wedding – cold, dark, gray … and very, very wet.  But sometimes the worst weather brings out the best in people, and looking back on Alexa and Brian’s wedding, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  It was romantic, intimate and passionate, and the bright, warm atmosphere made us forget the dreary conditions outside.

I started my day out in Suquamish at the Clearwater Casino Hotel in a gorgeous suite with Alexa, her bridesmaids and mom.  I spent the first hour or two photographing them getting ready and chatting, and it was so refreshing to see how Alexa was completely unaffected by the weather.

I loved the door to the bedroom – it was the perfect spot for some fun with lights …

I hope Alexa doesn’t kill me for posting this one of her mom feeding her nuggets of cheese – it was such a cute moment!

Brian’s stepmom joined us, and helped Alexa with her earrings:

Once Alexa was fully dressed, we hid her away in the bedroom and let the guys in.

Brian looked so handsome, if a little nervous … this was just moments before the first look.

The weather was still not cooperating … so we decided to take the formal shots in the suite.  Thanks to my army of helpers for moving everything out of the way in the dining area!

After group photos, I headed straight to Kiana Lodge to grab some detail shots and to find some good rainy-day locations for the couple portraits.

I am in love with Kiana Lodge!  The grounds are gorgeous, bursting with bright colored flowers, and the inside spaces are rustic yet elegant.  The atrium space has wonderful skylights which made my job that little bit easier!

A detail shot of their beautiful huppa, made by one of their good friends:

We spent a little time wandering around taking couples portraits before the ceremony began …

The weather may have been dull, but Brian and Alexa were radiant.

Time for a few more detail shots … they had a very pretty candy buffet in their wedding colors, and an amazingly beautiful cake.

This is the back lawn where outdoor weddings take place:

The ceremony began with the ketubah signing.  I love this part of the day – everyone is excited and happy, and the atmosphere is so intimate.

Rabbi Will, who I worked with previously at Kelsey and Charles’ wedding, is just wonderful:

The gorgeous huppah in all its glory:

A sea of brightly colored yamulkes:

The flower girl was delightful, and I love the expression of the lady on the left of the frame – perfect!

During cocktail hour, I wandered around taking candids, detail shots and a few more group shots.

The girls propping up the bar:

During dinner I popped outside to get some decent light for the ring shots.  Once I was done, I turned around and spotted this lovely couple taking a moment together:

Toasts started just as night began to fall.  I love the space at night with the twinkling lights and the bright blue sky visible through the sky lights.

After toasts, we all headed over to the main lodge.  I love the space, but you couldn’t ask for a trickier spot to light – it is very dark, with insanely low ceilings, and dark wood on every surface – no bouncing light here!  So I did the only thing I could and had Mike set up a few speedlights around the room (thank you Mike!).  And you know what?  I love the effect.

Soon after the first dances, they started the hora … it was awesome.  Mike and I were literally falling over ourselves with glee!

Don’t they all look so crazy happy here?  I love it!

Thank you all for an amazing event – I am still glowing thinking about it almost a week later.  Oh, and because some things are worth repeating …  here’s my favorite moose again:

© 2008 Kate McElwee Photography


  1. Kate!!!!!! We’re in awe! You truly captured how we felt about the day. Thank you– we feel so lucky to have found you.
    Love, Alexa & Brian

  2. this whole series is amazing kate – i love what you did with the lights. you rock.

  3. Awesome! That was such a fun wedding, so much love and happiness in the room. These photos really show that! Great work, as always 🙂

  4. evening shots. spectacular! amazing light. awesome (said like a brit) job.. xoo jen

  5. Wow! Gorgeous pics Alexa! I only hope my big day is captured so beautifully.

  6. From the groomsman – Amazing work. Can you go back in time now and be our wedding photographer?

  7. I feel like I want to send you guys a thank you note, this was the best wedding we have ever been too. It was so pretty and you took such good care of us. So thank you and thank you for sharing your special day with us, it was beautiful! Love Tami and David
    PS you should use the black and white picture with the moose for your christmas picture, that will beat ours by miles.
    PSS I don’t have your address can you please send it to me and not David or I will never have it.

  8. These are gorgeous, Kate. They actually remind me of my own wedding day, with the rain and the warm wood of the lodge. I have to admit that when I scrolled down and came to the basket of yarmulkes following the shot of the ladies, I thought they were bra pads!!! It clicked after a moment, but it was a good laugh. The way the brain associates, I guess.

  9. Kate,
    You really did capture everything the evening had to offer. You gave Alexa & Brian some great memories to look back upon. It was great to see you guys!!

  10. Kate ~ We are so glad that Alexa and Brian found you ~ these “teasers” are absolutely the best pictures we have every seen and they capture how special the day was for our kids and their guests. You took a wet and dreary day and made it sparkle with love and joy. It takes someone very talented to capture everything you did in every picture. Thank you so very, very much.

  11. Kate,
    I am alexa’s aunt lisa – CAL for short (crazy aunt lisa). Wanted you to know that you did an unbelievable awesome job with the photography! Thanks for making their day memorable FOREVER!



  1. Anderson Photographix Blog - Seattle, Washington - [...] has posted her “teaser” photos from that one on her blog, which you should definitely take a peek at.…

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