The happiest day of my life.

Our wedding day felt like a dream. The night before, I could hardly sleep, not from nerves but from pure excitement. It was hard to imagine that the day was really only hours away. That night there was a weather warning, and as I lay in bed with my sister fast asleep next to me, the sound of roaring rain pounding against the windows, haunting wind whistling past the house, and the realization that the storm would not pass by the morning, I felt nothing but peace. It didn’t matter if the skies didn’t let up and the wind would blow us over, I knew that no matter what, I would marry Eric the next day, whether on the ferry boat, or in the car, or at the house, or wherever. Wedding or not, I was going to marry Eric, and that gave me incredible amounts of peace. 

You see, Eric and I had just invited 24 people to come join us in our very planned elopement, which would take place on the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island, Washington. The forecast wasn’t kind when speaking of the winds, and my only fear was that the ferry wouldn’t sail, and that’s all I really wanted, was to get on that boat and marry Eric with our closest friends there. But that night as I lay in bed I realized it didn’t matter anymore. Despite one car accident, everyone had finally arrived and was safe, all tucked away sleeping in their Airbnbs or hotels. Now, all there was left to do was sign the papers and be surrounded by our loved ones.

I don’t know what happened but that morning when I woke up, the wind was (mostly) gone, flowing past us at as it normally would when on the coast. We had rain, we had rainbows, we had sun, we had all-of-the-above-weather, and it was perfect. Eric and I each got ready separately at our own Airbnbs, and then almost everyone met at my Airbnb spot (wait, so where are we meeting? It’s easy to find, just look for the really, really pink house) where people had some breakfast and Eric and I had our first look. No one knew what was happening that day, except that at some point during the day, we were going to get married, and everyone was sleeping on Orcas Island at an adorable little hotel we booked out. My dad was our wedding officiator and I tried to tell him the plan, but after months of secrecy, he told me that I had kept it a surprise this long, and that he didn’t want to know where we were getting married. 

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After hours of getting ready and being nervous and the anticipation of the day, I peaked out the window and saw Eric’s car pull up, and within a few minutes, we did our first look and finally, finally, the day was there and I think we both breathed sighs of relief. We eventually all piled into our cars and drove to the ferry. That part was fun, the driving part. Eric and I drove in his big, red, 15 passenger tour van that has a sticker on the side that reads “boobies” (just keeping things classy), and I couldn’t help but feel overjoyed when looking through the side mirrors and seeing the entourage of cars behind us, our friends and family. The driving part was fun because finally Eric and I could just chat, say things like hey, oh my gosh, we’re getting married, i’m having so much fun, wow this is great, everyone seems so happy too, my dad forgot his dress shoes and is marrying us in black and yellow sneakers, no i think he borrowed one of the guys’ shoes, oh okay good, i can’t wait to get to the ferry, do you think anyone knows yet?, i can’t wait to see their faces, i hope we can find a good spot on the ferry, hey i love you, hey this is great, hey i can’t believe this is happening, did you get any sleep?, how was the bachlore/tte party? WE ARE GETTING MARRIED, okay wait i did tell people, i told all my friends, you told all your friends we’re getting married on the ferry?!, i didn’t tell ANYONE!, i know i couldn’t keep it in, i thought they should know, okay well i still love you, look at all those birds!, and so on and so on and so on… 

Our parents met for the first time while parked at the ferry terminal which seems crazy probably because it is. Thankfully, his mom and I love each other and my parents and Eric love each other, so it was a happy greeting, and before you know it we were all driving onto the ferry with our coffees and pastries we had picked up at the little stand outside of the ferry. Once parked, that was my only apparent “freak out” moment, although I wasn’t freaked out at all, I was just trying to get everyone in order. I had told everyone to bring a plant for a gift exchange we were going to do on the ferry, and that we were going to do family photos on the ferry as well, but that time was limited so we had to hustle. As my parents and bridesmaids and sister slowly got out of their cars, I turned into a drill sargeant, ordering each of them to leave their drinks in the car, and hurry upstairs to find Eric, oh, and don’t forget your plants! I remember each of them looking at me wondering why I was suddenly being so demanding when all day I had been so calm, and it was at that moment where suddenly a light flickered in my friend Brittany’s eye. Wait, are you getting married right now on the ferry?! I smiled, and suddenly everyone hurried upstairs with their plants. It was at that point that my dad began laughing, shocked that this is where the ceremony was taking place. 

And then, and then it just all happened. My dad and I walked out to the deck where everyone was and everyone was already seated and the plants were set up beautifully by everyone to make a little alter and Eric’s bandmate Andrew was playing the guitar and there was Eric standing and we said our vows and I most definitely cried and we looked out the windows and felt the sway of the boat and saw all the tiny islands and put rings on one another and The person with the British Columbia license plates, your car alarm is still going off and it’s been going off this whole time and people laughed and I know our one friend was super embarrassed and my mom and Eric’s mom had to tear a kleenex in half because it was the only one and it was cold but not too cold and the wind was loud but not too loud and he said you may kiss the bride and he kissed me and then we cheered and it was over.

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But it wasn’t really over, it was just the beginning. And that’s what I’m most excited about, to have just started our beginning together, and to know that we have years and years to spend writing our lives together, in sickness and in health, whether rich or poor, until death do us part and through the wedding vows we also wrote one another. 

Afterwards, we got to the island, and we ate and we drank and we danced and we laughed and we hugged and we were so incredibly blessed by having our core people there with us celebrating, supporting us and loving us. I had always thought that I had to have a really big and formal wedding, but it was the exact opposite of that, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Being able to actually talk to every single person there and feel their immediate presence made me feel whole instead of a depleted introvert. This was our wedding day, and not only did it feel like it was a dream, it really was a dream come true. In all its imperfections, too. 

Photographer: Jordan Voth
Video: Caleb Babcock

Venus: Airbnb, Washington State Ferries and Orcas Hotel

Wedding Dress: BHLDN
Wedding Jacket: ModCloth
Eric's entire outfit: J.Crew
Kim's reception dress: J.Crew
Wedding Reception Shoes: Everlane
Robes for the girls: Plum Pretty Sugar
Flower bouquet: I made my own, and then it froze in the fridge overnight and the next morning turned brown, so thank you to the lady at the little flower ship at the Tulalip Resort Casino who whipped up my beautiful bouquet!

The iPhone Wedding - 1 year later

A year ago, today, I had the priviledge of doing the wedding photography for a beautiful couple, Jonathan & Brandi. The day was wonderful, and shortly later I did a blog post sharing some of the images I captured from their wedding. What was so special about this particular wedding for me? I photographed the entire thing with my iPhone. You can view the posting right here.

Equipment used for wedding: Phone 4s, backup iPhone 4, an SLR Mount and my 50mm f1.4, the Glif Plus and an Olloclip (all from Photojojo). Also a regular tripod and my phone charger (not pictured).

It's taken me a year to write this post, but I wanted to write it for two reasons. One, to say thank you to everyone who left me such kind words. Your comments truly made my day, and still do. And two, I wanted to follow up with all the people I seemed to drastically offend. Some of you wished shame upon me, called me a fake, an embarrassement to the photo community, and also called my work insulting, but what bothered me was all of those who insulted the couple and their wedding. 

I originally wrote this posting defending my decisions to the haters, but I rewrote it because when it comes down to it, they either didn't read the original posting and see what it was all about, or they just wanted to troll. I don't need to explain anything. I'm incredibly grateful that I had the chance to work with Jonathan & Brandi on their beautiful day. It was my favorite wedding to be a part of.

What was so cool about this wedding was that the couple *wanted* me to photograph their wedding with an iPhone. In fact, when I told them that I was going to bring my DSLR along anyway, they strictly told me not to even think about bringing my digital camera. It simply wasn't an option for them to be photographed with it. They wanted their photos taken with an iPhone and edited with Instagram. Why? The reason is actually quite beautiful.

Jonathan & Brandi met and fell in love in San Francisco. Their love story was made possible through a city that provides life, love and magic. They wanted San Francisco to be part of their wedding, for the city itself was what brought them together. How did they incorporate San Francisco into their wedding? In a few ways, actually:

- they got married in San Francisco's beautiful City Hall
- they used Uber (a town car service started in SF) to get them from place to place on their wedding day
- the bride wore a dress from Betabrand (a funky clothing store started in SF)
- they had their wedding photos based around Instagram (a photo app started in SF (my favorite photo app!))

If you ask me, their love story and how they incorporated San Francisco into their wedding is pretty damn cute. I have never photographed such a personal wedding before. This wedding was nothing but beautiful, intimate, and filled with so much love. This was not your cookie cutter wedding. This was authentic and exactly what the couple wanted.

One issue with deciding to photograph their wedding with an iPhone was jeopardizing the quality of the photos. Shooting with an iPhone meant that the photos wouldn't be as crisp, editing in Instagram meant that the photos would have a lot more grain to them, and the entire thing in general meant that printing size would also be limited. While quality is incredibly important, so is authenticity. The couple knew that the photos would be smaller, grainier, darker and that they'd only be able to print them so big, but they were fine with that. Their love was and is more important, as is their story and how they met. The other good news is that I have printed many Instagram photos before, and I absolutely love how they turn out. Sure, the photos are a little more grainy, but the emotion is still there. I've seen tons of large prints from Instagrams and they always turn out beautifully. I wouldn't have agreed to photograph their wedding with my iPhone had I not believed they'd come out with great photos, ones they could cherish forever. And okay, bragging rights, I'm quite proud of how all the photos turned out.

To me photography is about the heart and the soul. Photography should be fun! Photography should be about experimenting and capturing real moments.  And so quite frankly, I don't care what kind of camera anyone uses. Use what you have. Please! Don't listen to all the haters, they're usually the ones who are resistent to change, and what is life without change? Shoot your heart out with whatever equipment you have. Your courage to try something new and push boundaries inspires people to think and create in different ways. The world needs more of this.

Thank you again to Jonathan & Brandi for having me photograph your wedding. Your wedding is one I will never forget and is one of my fondest photographic memories. And thanks to Cole Rise for helping take photos with me that day. Couldn't have done it without you.

An iPhone and Instagram only wedding

Last Friday I photographed a wedding for a lovely couple, Jonathan and Brandi.  This wedding was the most unique and fun wedding I've ever photographed.  Why?  Not only was the couple amazing, I photographed the wedding with my iPhone, and iPhone only (by their request).

I've heard of iPhone weddings before, but I've only heard of 1 (maybe 2, according to Google), and so when Jonathan told me he was looking for a photographer to photograph their wedding with only an iPhone, I was esctastic.  While I love my 5D, I'm a huge Instagram user and take more photos with my iPhone than any other camera I have.  It's the camera, er, phone, I always have on me, and it's what has documented some of my best memories.

The wedding took place at San Francisco City Hall, a beautiful old building with the biggest dome I've ever seen. SF City Hall is filled with history; Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were married there, and Harvey Milk was assisinated there.  The building has survived earthquakes and continues to host the marriages of people every day. I'd never photographed a city hall wedding before, and so the entire day felt brand new.  To be completely honest, though, the wedding felt more romantic and intimate than any one I've photographed.  It had that magical, thrilling feeling of a couple who just may elope.  

 I photographed the wedding with my iPhone 4s, along with a backup iPhone 4, an SLR Mount and my 50mm f1.4,  the Glif Plus and an Olloclip (all from Photojojo).  I brought my tripod along for stabilization in what would possibly be a poorly lit City Hall, and I also brought along my phone charger (not pictured).  To my surprise, the light in City Hall was perfect.

And now, the couple and their family.  The couple met and fell in love in San Francisco, and for them, it was only fitting to fill their wedding day with things that make this city so wonderful.  An iPhone only wedding with equipment from Photojojo, Instagram as the editing tool for their pictures, Betabrand to provide the bride's gorgeous cocktail dress, and Uber as their transportation (all companies started in the heart of San Francisco). Here are some of my favorite photos from the day.

  

I'm so thankful to have had this opportunity.  It was an incredible experience photographing a wedding with just my iPhone.  I took a little over 550 photos (mind you, a lot of those were duplicates from having my phone in HDR mode for some of it) and was able to deliver just over 120 photos.  All photos were edited in Instagram, the majority being edited with the Rise filter, a few with Amaro, and 2-3 with Hudson and Valencia. I also used PhotoForge2 for straightening and enhancing a few photos, and VSCO cam for a handful of other photos. 

Thanks so much to Michael O'Neal for referring me for this wedding.  And huge thank you to Cole Rise for helping assist me that day and providing the couple with more beautiful photos.

Mack & Kaitlin's Wedding (preview)

Mack was married to the beautiful Kaitlin a few weeks ago in the Vancouver area.  It was the most beautiful and unique wedding I have ever photographed.  From ice creams cones for dessert to a talent show as their reception (I'm not talking cheesy highschool talent show, but a talent show performed by professional actors, as Mack and Kaitlyn are both professional actors), the wedding was full of surprises and irreplaceable moments.  Since Kaitlin and Mack are both use to being in front of the camera, they made my job as their photographer easy.  Here are a few photos from their wedding:

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