Kelly and Trace in Washington DC

December 19, 2014,

What an adventure!
Kelly and Trace flew me and my amazing second shooter, Oxana, to Washington DC to make some beautiful photos of their wedding. When they booked me, they took advantage of the free session that was promotion for booking that month!

They decided to use their session for photos of their rehearsal dinner after party at the Pentagon City Ice Skating Rink. The Pentagon City Ice Skating Rink is like all the rinks Alaskan’s think doesn’t actually exist except in cheesy Christmas movies. But there it was… including an outdoor fireplace and big guys playing the tuba for no apparent reason other than to get a little bit of change.  (Yes, they really do that)  It was pretty neat.

Check out the adorable slide show!



The next morning, we woke up at the bleary eyed time of 3am to meet the couple in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City in order to shoot as many photos as possible before the monuments were cluttered with tourists.

When Kelly came down the staircase she was an absolute vision.



Kelley and Trace are from Alaska… and just like the rest of us, they love all things Kaladi Brothers.  For the un-indoctrinated and under-caffeinated amongst us, let me help you out.  Kaladi Brothers (n): The makers of the world’s best coffee. In many parts of Alaska the term “Kaladi’s” is interchangeable with the word “coffee” and usually preceded with the words “I need some”.


It was a nice touch to have a special shipment of  Kaladi’s coffee shipped down to Washington DC, brewed and ready for our early morning adventure.  I was thankful for the warmth and extra kick myself!

^^Every Alaskan man knows the way to a woman’s heart, haha.


Trace is a sneaky guy.  Apparently before he and Kelly were engaged, Kelly always wore her grandmother’s ring despite the fact that it was missing some of the diamonds.   One day, sly Mr. Trace asked if he could have the ring fixed for Kelly as a gift.  After it was fixed, he returned it to her down on one knee.


We all loaded up in the bus to head to the monuments.

Sure it was 4am… no sense in not jamming out to the fun music the whole way there!


It was PITCH BLACK while we were outside shooting.  And COOLD.   Anyone who tells you that people down in the states have it easy with their winters… don’t believe them. It was freezing!

I was thankful That Trace and Kelly were able to withstand it as long as they did.



So many beautiful places to play… but we ended up using the columns of the Lincoln Memorial for a majority of our shoot.  Quick was the order of the day.:)


All the beautiful bridesmaids out there just about froze! We still managed to get some gorgeous photos despite their discomfort.


As the sun began to rise, there was a pop of color coming out behind the Washington Monument. Such a romantic setting!

By then, Kelly was in a need of a warm up.  She hopped in the bus to go pick up her father for a surprise.

As we made our way to the Vietnam Wall which is just over the hill from the Lincoln Memorial, I just had to pause and enjoy the gorgeous sunrise.  It was breathtaking.

You can see that the US Capitol behind the monument and to the left is covered in scaffolding. Other notables are the Smithsonian Castle to the right of the monument and in the foreground just past the reflecting pond is the World War II Memorial.

The city was just beginning to wake up. We spotted this fun little runners club in their festive Christmas clothes.

The Vietnam Wall was decorated with wreaths with a red bow.  And in the corner of a wall was a Christmas Tree covered in handmade ornaments from all over the world.   Many had hand written letters of gratitude to the many soldiers that gave their lives.

Trace takes a few moments to contemplate.

When Kelly arrived back, she brought her father, a Vietnam Veteran, to his very first visit to the wall as a surprise.

His raw emotion as he remembered his brothers  was very touching.

It was just after sunrise and my very favorite memory of the day. Everyone else hopped on the bus to ride to the War Memorial where the wedding was to be held.  I decided to run ahead and beat them there to get photos of them  arriving.

I literally had the entire Washington Mall all to myself to be thankful and savor the great sacrifices of those that made our great nation what it is today.


The War Memorial was just gorgeous as the sun peeked out above the trees.


These two… the flower girl and ring bearer nearly stole the show.


Married! Mr. & Mrs. Stevens!

I think they are a bit happy!



And then we were off to the Reception at the Ritz.


Oxana and I enjoyed a few moments of silliness in the elevator on the way to the reception.

When we arrived at the brunch reception, Trace and Kelly were understandably snuggled up by the fire with cups of… you guessed it… Kaladi’s.

The Ritz had prepared a beautiful wedding brunch.  Pastries, fruit, breakfast meats, chef made omelets and all the essentials were there for our dining pleasure.


So many great moments at the reception.

The little ring bearer told me: “I need to take the very best pictures, so I am just going to follow you around and do what you do!”.  Oh my goodness so cute!

Trace and Kelly,

Thanks so much for including us in your beautiful Washington DC wedding.


Click HERE to see the rest of the photos from your beautiful day!


Zagyva {the wedding}

Chris & Katie


When I met up with Chris at his Eagle River home I just had to smile. This was one happy guy!  Most brides are the ones that I watch because they are so excited and exuberant for their wedding day. But for this wedding, Chris was the one I watched. He was ecstatic to marry his “soulmate” Katie.




Oh my! This ring bearer stole the show from the minute I met him. He is Chris’ nephew… and full of personality!

But Chris is not to be outshone… What a handsome guy!


Chris and I went on over to the B & B where his family were staying to do some family photos… and this happened.  He had a custom made bracelet for each of his three sisters and the gift simply overwhelmed each of them.  What a special moment with tears all around.

We left Chris to help his last minute wedding preparations and then drove across town to Katie’s childhood home.  She was just finishing up her prep.


I wish you could meet Katie. If you know her, you know what I am thinking about. She is about the sweetest person on the planet.  (Except my grandmothers… and then only maybe.)   All of her bridal photos were taken at her childhood home in Eagle River, Alaska:


I think at this point we can all agree, Chris is one lucky guy!

I am trying to think of how to describe her…

She is the vibrant girl next door with lots of joy… but she cares about everybody so deeply. I like her a lot.

I think the guests were feeling the excitement! The wedding was moments away from starting.  The ring bearer and flower girl peeked out the window to see the limo containing the bride, waiting outside.

And then it was time!  Chris’ expression as he watched his beautiful bride wavered between confident… to stoic… to overcome with the emotion of the moment.  Goodness… he almost made ME cry.  A couple of times!  (And you know I go to weddings quite a bit!)

But once he had her in arms length… there was nothing but joy.

While the guests enjoyed a scrumptious pizza reception, we snuck away in the limo to make some pretty photos in the pitch dark Alaskan autumn.

Good thing they had their love to keep them warm!

When we got back to the reception, it was time to cut the cake!

I love the fountain!  Classic!


When they went to cut the cake, the flower girl got a little too close. Some frosting fell on her head!  It was hilarious!


The first dance was so sweet…

Chris surprised Katie with a recording of a song he had written and sung himself… It was actually really beautiful and sweet!

Katie and Chris, we were so delighted to spend your lovely wedding day with you! It was such a simple and sweet day filled with so much deep love.

Mitchell & Alicia


Mitchell & Alicia

What a gorgeous day!

As we approached the wedding and looked at the forecast of rain and more rain, Alicia was getting worried since her ceremony was outdoors with no tent.  I told her what I tell every bride: Rain makes your photos so much better!! It is so true… I just love a bit of moisture to make the colors just pop!  And raindrops on your flowers are a total bonus!  I love it that you can see a bit of my reflection in the drops.


Alicia sells gorgeous crystals at the Alaska State Fair, so it was perfect that she put them in her backdrop.. crystals looking like raindrops!

Mitchell was one happy groom as he prepared to meet his lady on their wedding day.

Looking good, Mitchell!


All those little wedding details were being cared for by friends and family.

Meanwhile Alicia’s mom was helping her get ready in one of the Lodge’s spacious suites.


What FUN shoes!

Those gorgeous crystals everywhere!

Alicia is such a beautiful person… so when you add the artistry of Mia at Alaska Makeup Team she just glows!

I love how she had the braid… such a fun touch!

That rain could never keep away her happiness!

Just lovely!

This guy is too cute!

The first glimpse is always a favorite moment.

I know I have said it before… but isn’t Alaska the PERFECT backdrop for photos??

And then it was time for the ceremony.  There were last minute jitters as they read through the special vows they had written for each other.

Alicia’s dad kissed her on her hand as he gave her away.   Soooo sweet!


And just about then, a big rainbow came out!


We wandered our way back to the beautiful reception. Alicia had these fun little honey bears with a crystal for each guest…. A sweet day indeed!

The guest book was a custom picture to hang in their home.

The colors were purple and orange, so pumpkins were the perfect addition!  The Majestic Valley Lodge’s rustic logs perfectly coordinated!

Toasts were sweet and heartfelt, with moments if hilarity mixed in.

Somehow we fit ALL of the guests on these stairs for a big group photo!

The cupcake stand was simple yet elegant!


And the cupcake papers made fun little crowns for the guests to enjoy!


One of the fun things about weddings is enjoying people that live a long ways off.  Alicia’s grandmother traveled to this wedding so it was a treat to have photos made with her.

The rings have such character! I love how each one is unique!


The bubbles were put to good use during the first dance!

Mitch’s mom and her best friend sang some  hilarious bluegrass songs that they had written. These ladies have a great sense of humor!

As the sun was setting, we snuck outside to take advantage!

I only really have the opportunity to take sunset photos during the fall and spring… so it was a treat to shoot these with the combo of mountains and beautiful color in the sky.

Thank goodness for the rain earlier in the day… It allowed us to light these lanterns without worry!

It was a gorgeous ending.

What a magical setting!


Friends and Family   >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>CLICK HERE<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< to enjoy more photos from Mitch and Alicia’s beautiful wedding day.


Brenna & Zach

Crow Creek Mine; Girdwood AK

It’s fairly unusual to have such stunning sunshine in September… but Brenna and Zach were just that lucky! Most of their guests were from out of state and it was chilly enough for them as it was.  We Alaskans were celebrating, let me tell ya!

Hundreds of tiny details make up a wedding… And Brenna put her heart and soul into planning this one.  So much beauty!


Buttoning all of those little loops takes some time!  Brenna’s  Maid of Honor was happy to help.

On her wrist, Brenna wore a tiny little bag that held a New Testament that had been passed down through the generations… perfect for this gorgeous ring shot!

…and the letter “P” for Petrusa on the antique typewriter! So much fun!


Amazing! She is just stunning!

The rustic background compliments Brenna’s elegance perfectly!

Crow Creek’s gorgeous trees are the perfect setting for photos!

Oh goodness.. this flower girl isn’t just cute… she is striking with those shining blue eyes.  And the tiny cowboy boots… I could swoon!


And then it was time for the ceremony on the upper field.

The little flower girl started with a sweet little walk… but then in her excitement burst into a run!


Awww… she is just so cute!



I saw that! They sneaked a kiss during ceremony… <3


Zach brushes away one of Brenna’s tears of happiness.


The torches kept the bugs away, but they were also really neat! I love the shape of this flame and smoke.

One of the moms made these fun fishing poles with salmon shaped fishes for the guests to hold up and create an archway for Zach and Brenna to exit the ceremony through.

So much joy!




Each placemat was hand made with sweet little stamps… and the antler frames with the loving poems just set the tables off nicely.


Mr & Mrs Petrusa!


Instead of a traditional photo booth.. they had a “shoot your own” silly photo booth. Super fun for guests!

As you can see, Lauren from iDO events did a fantastic job as the day of wedding coordinator.  But then again, that is nothing new for her!


Since almost every guest came from afar for the wedding, Jenna had a string to show their journey.

To commemorate each guest’s journey to the Great Land, Brenna and Zach gave out these neat Alaska shaped Christmas ornaments.

First dance:

Check out this gorgeous cake!



Ok, so I have been to many many weddings with Alaska Dream Catoring… and… normally I avoid cake and other treats… But the head chef talked me into trying these custard filled chocolate eggs and HOLY COW… so absolutely delicious.  Even yummier than they look!

Zach’s mama cried happy tears through the first dance… this lady is one of the sweetest women I have ever met.


Oh my goodness.. This little guy just LOVED the dancing!:)


As darkness began to fall, the lights of the sky tent lit up the night…

There was some important decorating going on… They put up signs saying things like “Spawn till you die” and “Chum’s forever” and other cute things… All attached by magnets.   Someone spent a lot of time preparing those things!

Good job!

It was quite the fun day…
Special thanks to Brenna and Zach for sharing your fun with us!
There are many more stunning photos in this wedding..
To see the rest of the photos
And here are some fun behind the scenes photos for you:
Shannon our amazing second shooter for the day looks pretty great in a goatee, haha!:)
Lorell from I Do Events set up this gorgeous reception! She is amazing!
And here is a photo of Shannon and I actually taken by the bride!  I handed over my camera and she did a great job!  (Yes, we are total nerds)

Mallory {The Wedding}

Kaycie & Tyler Mallory

Oh my goodness! We had SO MUCH FUN at this wedding… and that perfectly describes Kaycie and Tyler’s relationship and personalities! SO MUCH FUN!


We met up with Kaycie at Fox Hollow Chalet and she was already set and ready for her big day!



Her simple pearls perfectly accentuated her classy and fun look:


Tyler was led to Kaycie for the first look by two bridesmaids…

It was really a sweet moment.



There were so many playful moments!


And then these little hopping flower girls came out…


Aren’t they just the cutest little princesses?


And this… makes me smile:

Kaycie was not to be outdone… she is the master at silly faces:

And the baby looks at us like : “These guys are ALL crazy!” Haha!:)




Family photos:

Just down the road, the ceremony was to be held at Crosspoint Church.  Kaycie and her mom spent a few moments together… with tears and hugs. Snuggled up and processing the deep sweetness of the moment.

As they waited for ceremony, these guys… know how to be fun!



Ceremony time!

You can really see the love in her eyes!

Mr & Mrs Mallory!

The reception at Fox Hollow started with giggles as the wedding party came in a different door than expected!

Each centerpiece included a wedding photo from family and friends of the bride, fresh flowers and these super fun yarn balls that Kaycie and her crew made! I love the personal touch!

Kaycie and Tyler wrote each other notes and sealed them in this box to open on their 10th anniversary! I got a hold of the box and combined it with the rings for some fun photos.:)

First Dance!

I don’t know why, but it always seems like the father daughter dance just gets to me every time! Maybe it is because I have my own daughters growing up before my eyes and I am anticipating this moment of my own… This father daughter dance was certainly no exception.  Such a sweet moment.


This reception was EXTRA fun! These guys can really dance!  Greg Porter from Greg Porter Entertainment was absolutely Hilarious!



Tyler’s little nephew is adorable with that perfectly round bald little head. So cute!  And the suit!!! Oh my.


These perfect little cupcakes were a hit…

… especially with the flower girl!


The groom and groomsmen had a surprise for Kaycie…

It was a whole song and dance routine with the culmination of Tyler removing Kaycie’s garter.

Conga line!


Friends and family: >>>>>>>>>>>CLICK HERE <<<<<<<<<<<< to enjoy the rest of the photos!




And here is a little “the making of” photo for you to enjoy!:)(Yep, that is me!)


Ambience Photography is booking now for the 2015 and 2016 wedding season! Many dates book more than a year in advance, so contact Heather for availability at (907)357-3458 or email at