Bonjour! My name is Melissa and I'm a wedding and portrait photographer in the Pacific Northwest. This blog is where I want to tell you the beautiful stories of my clients, share their weddings, and give you a behind the scenes peek of this crazy business that I love. Grab a glass of champagne, snuggle up, and get lost in love stories... xoxo
02. About Us
My husband and I arrived to the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland after 16 hours of airplane rides, trams, trains, and an adventurous car ride of 4 Americans driving in the UK for the first time on one track roads (google it. It’s terrifying.). Two of my best friends who live in Spokane, WA, Crystal and Mika, had met us in Edinburgh Scotland to ride the train up the country together (oh, you know, just a small rendezvous in Europe, pish-posh.) We were exhausted, filthy, and elated to be there. We arrived to Loch Ness just in time to see the sun fade behind the stormy clouds, and break back through and spill out across the lake. It glowed and sparkled and made tears well up in my eyes out of the pure wonder that I was even witnessing this moment. I can’t even begin to tell you the feelings in my heart when our car tires hit the gravel driveway and there came my best friend running out of the house. My best friend who I hadn’t seen in 2 years from living worlds apart. My best friend who I met on the back of the bus in middle school and bonded while singing our favorite show tunes together (yep. I was THAT kid.). My best friend who has been there for me for the last 20 years, years of awkward ballet classes together, sleepovers, broken hearts, babies, and laughing until we pee our pants. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what it was like to hug her. Years of only seeing her through a computer screen and now we could scream and jump up and down together. She proceeded to give us a tour of the lodge we were staying in for the next week and I felt like I had to pinch myself repeatedly that this was even happening. It was an incredible introduction to one of the most beautiful countries in the world and one of the most beautiful weeks of my life.
One of biggest hopes you could want for your best friend is for her to be happy. Leslie left America many years ago to pursue her master’s degree in Scotland. She went by herself, blazing her own trail, knowing this was her opportunity to see the world. Not only did she conquer the world, her master’s degree, but she then received her PhD and met a brilliant English man along the way. I remember her telling me about him during one of our many long Skype chats. They met online and while she really wasn’t necessarily looking for a serious relationship, after their first meeting, the rest was history. He was her match. It was meant to be. Raised worlds apart, and yet somehow the universe brought them together one fateful night in a pub, and all of a sudden, a new future was born. They came to visit and I’m pretty sure there was a year’s worth of breath exhaled as it become clear to me that my best friend had met the love of her life.
It was an incredible wedding week. Nights of eating under chandeliers in the kitchen, playing croquet on the front lawn, hiking, board games, and laughing so much my face hurt. Leslie is one of those amazing creatures who you are fairly certain she is good at EVERYTHING. She is a visionary and created a stunning wedding. Months spent of conceptualizing, storyboarding, collecting and creating decorations. She has lived a life of creating themed parties, costumes, and floral arrangements. We have spent decades together staying up late helping with weddings, making bouquets into the wee hours of the morning, delirious and happy. This girl threw me a honey-bee themed 16th birthday party and also created the bouquets for my own wedding 9 years ago (and believe me, no one saw the duck tape holding it together under the pretty ribbon). She’s incredible. And when she told me her plans for her and Nick’s wedding day, it was perfect. Combining Nick’s love for astronomy, and her love of timeless romance. To be married on a cliff overlooking Loch Ness, bringing family together from all over the world, ending the day with candlelit dinner and of course, a disco. She created everything. From her wedding dress, to the bouquet, candleholders, bow tie, invitations, and the incredible flower crown in her hair. And she had some pretty awesome family and friends to help- among them who contributed was our best friends Crystal, an interior designer and Mika, an extremely talented baker who just opened her own bake shop in Spokane. Everyone at the house pitched in to create the food, set the table, supply the wine, and make the cakes. It was truly a family affair.
It was midnight before the wedding, and Leslie was still sewing her dress. We quietly sat in her room together trying to help the best we could, while none of us outside of Leslie, Crystal, and her Mom knew anything about making a stitch. Here we were again, best friends, sitting together in the wee morning hours of a wedding day, this time in Scotland. It felt normal. Leslie eventually shooed us out of her room so that we could sleep, and before we knew it, the sun rose and her wedding was here. I roamed around taking photos of details, while Leslie and Crystal sat in the pantry area making the flower arrangements, and Mika in the kitchen decorating the cake. Family and friends set the table, polishing the glassware, placing the name cards, and making canapés. When time came, I was able to sit with Les as she did her own hair and makeup, her nerves as calm as the lake that morning. She was radiant and I felt my throat choke up on several occasions from the complete gratitude I felt being there with her, on the one most beautiful days of her life. I will never forget Nick’s face as he saw his bride for the first time. She descended the grand staircase and turned the corner to meet him on the landing. He was beaming, and I truly believe THAT smile on his face was one for the history books. After taking the time for portraits, Leslie and Nick were joined by friends and family and were married on that iconic spot overlooking Loch Ness. It was perfect. The wind softly blew as they joined hands, faces beaming, as they tied the knot. And once it was official, family and friends slowly shuffled back to the lodge and left Leslie and Nick there, standing in that iconic spot together. They joined hands, pressed their foreheads together, and just breathed as the sheer realization that they were finally married washed over them. Tears quietly fell as the wind blew threw Leslie’s dress in a moment so beautiful, I almost didn’t want to ruin it with the click of my shutter.
The night continued as we sat together in the dining room by candlelight, wine pouring freely, and laughter abundant. Nick’s Mom prepared the loveliest dinner for everyone, and it was hard to wipe the smile off my face. I sat there and listened to the Scottish, Irish, English, American, and Southern American accents all at one dining room table, and it was clear to everyone in that room that Leslie and Nick are LOVED. From one end of the earth to the other.
I don’t know what to say to you, my best friend, about your wedding day. Accept that I cherish it. And while my heart hurts not knowing the next time I will get to hug you, I know you are in good hands. The best hands. Thank you Nick for being the love of her life and making her not only happy, but complete. I love you both.
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