Van Valen Photography
in your backyard, or around the world


Colleen & Justin Say I Do

Colleen & Justin on the Eastbank Esplanade, Portland, Oregon

Colleen & Justin on the Eastbank Esplanade, Portland, Oregon

On the morning of July 28th, I excitedly visited the farmers’ market in downtown Vancouver, WA, and bought a large box of dahlias and greenery. Months earlier I’d convinced my friend, and client, Colleen, that she shouldn’t skip flowers. I told her I was going to make her a small bouquet, and if it was terrible, I wouldn’t take any credit.

I took my camera gear and went to Hotel Eastlund in NE Portland, where Colleen, her maid of honor Kyle, and her future step daughter, Marissa, were getting ready in a beautiful, sunlit suite. It was a hot July day, but the wedding wasn’t until early evening and the worst of the heat had broken the day before, lucky for us all.

We spent the morning laughing, talking lipstick and weddings and life, me with flowers everywhere, and the ladies getting their hair and makeup done. When the bouquets were finished and the ladies were lightly done-up I donned my photographer hat and got to work.

While we had fun at the hotel, the groom, Justin, and his three sons got ready at their home, and at the agreed upon time they arrived at the lobby of the hotel. My second-shooter, Michael, took the guys for some photos until it was time for Colleen and Justin to share their first look. It was funny, sweet, and wonderful - the way it should be.

We all made our way to Plaza Del Toro where they had planned a cocktail hour so they could spend time with their friends and family before saying their vows. It was a celebration from start to finish! My husband, ordained to perform weddings (doubly qualified as a lawyer, and also happens to be captain of the bowling team the four of us have together), was their officiant. I’m always proud of his thoughtful, entertaining, and warm ceremonies.

We laughed and cheered when a train barreled by during the ceremony, we celebrated when they shared their first kiss. The dancing began, the dj had real 45s, and the food and drinks continued to be served and passed around. Guests signed the motorcycle helmets in lieu of a guest book (yes, Colleen and Justin each own and ride Harleys), and snapped happy selfies.

As the sun sank in the sky I stole away with Colleen and Justin for a quiet stroll on the Eastbank Esplanade. It was a nice break from the loud party, some time for the two of them to reflect on what they had said in their vows, and a chance for me to make photos away from onlookers. We weren’t gone for long, but the photos are some of our favorites.

As we made our way back to the party, we were met by the four kiddos, and all rejoined the festivities, which lasted late into the night. And what a night it was for us all. Congratulations again, Colleen & Justin!

Officiant, the happy couple, and the photographer. Friends, couples, and bowling team extraordinaire!

Officiant, the happy couple, and the photographer. Friends, couples, and bowling team extraordinaire!

Hair: Carrie B. Hair of Fringe Salon
Make Up: Tara Bland of Neverbland Beauty
DJ: Ian Armstrong, Portland OR
Event Space/Catering: Plaza Del Toro
Bride’s Dress: BHLDN
Additional Thanks to Hotel Eastlund