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Intimate Backyard Wedding Elopement During COVID-19 | Gig Harbor, Washington

Brynn & Beau

From the Big Wedding to the Backyard

I was so excited to be the Portland destination wedding photographer that Brynn and Beau choose for their backyard wedding elopement in Gig Harbor, WA.

Brynn and Beau had big plans for a ceremony and reception surrounded by all the people they loved. But the pandemic hit, and as we all know, everything changed. Well maybe not everything, because these two weren't going to let that stop them from saying "I Do"! They pushed the big party to 2021 and made plans for an intimate destination elopement at her parents home in Gig Harbor, WA.

These two met the old-fashioned way, at a bar. Brynn likes to get out and dance and that night it was blues. Beau was in the Navy and living in San Diego but was in town for his sister’s wedding and a friend took him out, he didn’t know what he was in for. Not just for the dancing but also that he would be meeting his future wife. Surprisingly they had a strange string of acquaintances between them, they had lots of opportunity for the universe to bring them together. When Beau's contract with the Navy was up, he found himself moving back to Portland.

The home of Brynn's parents has a beautiful view of the harbor and made a perfect backdrop for their small intimate wedding. They were surrounded by flowers gathered from the farms market, dahlia farm and even a friend's garden. Brynn's brother, Cameron, played guitar as she walked down the isle with her Dad. Cameron's long time girlfriend, Jess, stood warmly to greet them and preform the ceremony.

I love the different traditions they incorporated into their wedding ceremony.

They started with a Handfasting. According to "The Art of Handfasting" by Glenda Procter on The Celebrate Directory, "...the typical modern handfasting ceremony is derived from the Celtic tradition, predating Christianity. It is a historical term for the word wedding and as couples in Celtic England could not wander down the high street to buy a gold ring, they used handfasting as their marriage ceremony."

I have seen Handfasting done a number of ways, but I really enjoyed the way Brynn and Beau incorporated their families. After the officiant tied the couple together, each parent came up to bind the couple together as well.

Next the couple did a wine ceremony, or as I learned on Engaged & Ready, a ‘cup of love’ as it is sometimes. This is an ritual I have seen completed in different ways, Brynn and Beau blended two glasses and then shared drinks from one cup. Read "Everything you Need to Know About the Wine Ceremony" by Natasha Johnson, to learn other variations for this tradition.

Next was the ring exchange, an American classic, and one that made these two beam lovingly at each other.

Brynn's family is Jewish, and in honoring their wedding tradition, Beau would "break the glass". According to "Breaking The Glass – Jewish Wedding Traditions Explained" by Karen on Smashing the Glass, while the interpretations range on why this is done, the tradition includes a glass, usually wrapped up in a cloth or napkin, that is placed on the floor in front of the groom to smash with his foot. Everyone then shouts ‘Mazal Tov’!

And then, last but not least, they sealed things with a kiss.

After the ceremony, we headed out for a photography adventure. One advantage to having a small wedding is taking off for some unique wedding day images. Our first stop would also be the couples B&B for the night, The Waterfront Inn. They have a deck out front for their guests that over looks the harbor and we took full advantage of this scenic location.

Next it was off to a secret spot Brynn's Dad tipped us off to where we could get a view of the Mount Rainier, it made another great location for their wedding day photos. I love how Brynn and Beau brought their own ideas and wants for their wedding day photography. I love when my clients get invested and involved, their images become creative expressions of their relationship and when they walk past them hanging on the wall, they not only love the image, but the feeling they get remember the moments in which we all worked to create it.

After the wedding Brynn was kind enough to share about her experience with me as her wedding photographer by leaving a review on The Knot, this is what she said:

"She is phenomenal! Not only do we LOVE our wedding photos, but she made the entire process so wonderful! She honestly made taking pictures so fun. My now-husband is very uncomfortable taking photos, and he loved it! He said it was one of his favorite parts of our wedding day, and I agreed! She is so fun, and and not only blessed us with lifetime memories of our wedding day, but made memories in the process too! We loved her as our photographer, and we absolutely recommend her, hands-down. Every part of the process was easy, fun, and better than even imagined! And we have so many beautiful photos from our perfect day--how could anyone ask for anything more?!"

They are still planning a big party when COVID allows at the Abernethy Center in Oregon City, OR.


Destination City - Gig Harbor, WA

Venue - Bride's Parents Home

Bride's Engagement ring- Family Heirloom

Bride & Groom's Wedding Bands - Jared at Bridgeport Village

Bride's Dress and Accessories - Brides for a Cause

Groom's Suite: Men's Wearhouse

Invitation - Homemade with materials from Paper Source

Officiant - Family Member

Decor - DIY, Homemade

Accommodations - The Waterfront Inn

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1 Comment

Jun 15, 2021

What a beautiful couple and such great pictures!

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