Fun Coeur d’Alene Wedding Chapel Spring Wedding
(Coeur d’Alene, Idaho)
Katie & Chad – 05/21/16
Venue & Wedding Details:
The Coeur d’Alene Wedding Chapel has stood as a proud sentinel at the corner of Wallace and 7th in the “Garden District” of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for over 100 years. This majestic white brick church and adjoining garden are skirted on all sides by lush greenery and vibrantly colored blooms; a stark contrast to the blanket of grey rain clouds enveloping the city on this cold May day.
We enter the garden gate and are immediately greeted by the tranquil gurgling of a water feature on the outdoor patio, followed by the happy bustling of preparations being made inside the tulle-laden reception hall beyond. We wound our way through the historic chapel and found our beaming bride in an interior room smiling from ear to ear as she looked at herself in the full-length mirror. Katie’s golden blonde hair swept up in curls at the nape of her neck just above her hands as she nervously adjusted the jeweled necklace at her throat. The smile she wore at that moment lit her face the entire day, a testament to the vivacious and lighthearted spirit of this bride.
Moments after our arrival the groom and his entourage of family and groomsmen filled the opposite end of the building with deep laughter and palpable excitement. Metal clanked against itself and the steady cadence of crutches approached. We hurried to divert our dashing groom, Chad, away from his waiting bride until we were able to prepare the couple’s first-look encounter.
When we found him Chad stood proud in his dressing room, laughing and joking with his friends and soon-to-be son. Other than the cane ever-present by his side and the brace forcing his pant leg to wrap tautly around his leg, no one would have even suspected that he had suffered a traumatic injury to his leg just two weeks earlier.
It was clear that Chad would let nothing stop him from marrying his bride and creating a family with her from this day forward.
Even though we knew Chad was a trooper, we wanted to be mindful of his comfort throughout the day. The Coeur d’Alene Wedding Chapel’s garden and grounds offered us several picturesque areas to photograph the couple and their wedding party without putting undue strain on our groom. We began the day’s adventure with the “First-Look” location.
Chad and Katie wanted to exchange notes they had lovingly hand-written each other prior to seeing one another on their wedding day; a beautiful, private sentiment. We led Chad to a quiet room away from the rest of the group and had him stand with his back against an open hallway door. We brought Katie through the hall to the other side of the door. Back to back, the couple reached tentatively around the door and gently held each others hand before exchanging notes. They opened the notes in silence, each wiping away joyful tears as they read. Soon enough the tears turned to laughter and Katie shyly crept around the door to see her man. The first-look is often the most heart-felt and emotionally evocative moment of the day for us … this day was no exception.
We let the couple talk and adore the sight of one another for as long as we could before excited family started spilling into the room. As much as everyone wanted to start the festivities early, we knew there was still much to do before the “I Do’s”. A break in the rain gave us good reason to round-up the handsomely dressed wedding party and head outside for group pictures.
Instead of trying to hide Chad’s injury, the couple encouraged us to incorporate it into the images of the day: We playfully used crutches to create a saber arch over the couple while the wedding party threw out their best jazz hands and theatrical poses; Chad made Katie giggle in a candid moment while balancing in a child-like swinging pose at the front entrance of the chapel; The groom and his court sat in the garden feigning sophistication while showing off colorful socks (and Chad’s brace); and Chad’s use of his cane while dancing at the reception was truly a sight to be had!
As the rain picked up again and guests began to trickle in, we returned to the inner rooms of the chapel for privacy and some one-on-one time with the bride and groom. We chose to photograph in the groom’s dressing room because of the unique stained-glass windows along one wall and the rich woodwork throughout.
The shadows played on the faces and bodies of the couple, offering dramatic lighting and sultry composition. We wanted to offer a timeless look at this couple’s love and affection for one another without reminding the viewer of Chad’s compromised state.
Sure, it was fun to capture images which poked fun at the unfortunate timing of the injury, but this is a stunning couple and they deserve to be photographed well also.
During the ceremony the couple exchanged personal vows of love, loyalty, and deep commitment to build each other up in Godly faith. Not a dry eye remained after Chad knelt down and gently spoke directly to Katie’s son. He vowed to not only honor his bride, but stand as a loving and nurturing father to the boy forever more.
As should be expected, this amazing couple is loved and supported by some pretty outstanding family and friends. The wedding reception was filled with joy, laughter, scrumptious food, sweet homemade treats, and sooo much lively dancing! Speeches made drew a picture of two wonderful people who had been living fulfilling lives separately, yet waiting for partners who appreciated the deep bounty they had to offer. Clearly, their faith and strong personal character would lend themselves well to building a lasting bond between these two gentile souls.
We snuck away from the celebration while the party was in full dance mode. The clouds had parted, and stars shone brightly in the crispy, night sky. The passing of the rain and the exhilarating warmth which radiated from inside us made us appreciate the tepid evening air.
As we drove away and I replayed the day’s events in my mind, I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NLT) “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” I believe Chad and Katie take the truth in this statement to heart … Not just in their acceptance of larger life events (such as past heartaches), but also the grace with which they handle smaller annoyances (like a broken leg on their wedding day). We honor their humble spirits and wish them a lifetime of joy together!
Highlight of the Day:
Jeremiah and I have an infinite soft spot for blended families. Watching Katie’s heart fill with love for her groom as he poured his love out to his new son was just the kind of thing that makes our hearts brim with hope. Parenting is difficult, and step-parenting exponentially more so. However, with the right heart toward the children involved, there can be so much healing and closeness that comes from the creation of a new family unit.
Voice Behind the Lens:
Indoor wedding and reception venues offer year-round convenience, romantic backdrops, and cozy nooks … where they challenge photographers is in color, light, and space. Jeremiah knows the ins-and-outs of photographing at the Coeur d’Alene Wedding Chapel better than any other venue; he has photographed more weddings in this particular venue than any other in his career. In fact, the first wedding he photographed was at this exact location! Here are a few points he is mindful of while photographing here.
The wedding chapel offers natural lighting which originates from intricate stained-glass windows lining the outer walls. While the ambient light is warm and comforting, the light that shows up in pictures is more orange than is appealing; Jeremiah must adjust the temperature of the images to offset. While some color temperature can be adjusted during editing, he also knows to make critical adjustments during the shoot.
Dark composition can create captivation, moody images, but it can also make the subjects dull and poorly defined. Jeremiah uses natural light whenever possible. However, he supplements the available natural light with bounce flash and off-camera flash. The bounce flash ‘bounces’ light off of the ceiling or adjacent light surface to minimize the appearance of “crazy shadow people” behind his subjects while lending more light to the overall space. Off-camera flash helps us add definition to specific details in the image.
While lighting can be manipulated, Jeremiah must work within the limitations of space in any indoor venue. This proves challenging when Jeremiah photographs large-group shots during the festivities of the reception. Many would-be subjects naturally turn away from a camera creating disjointed group images. Jeremiah gives subtle direction to his subjects to maximize available space (and light).