I’m a wedding & elopement photographer for laid back couples that value the idea of being married more than just having a party. They want photos that show their true selves and represent their love of nature, and prefer to be more natural than overly posed.
I met with Tracy & Brandon at Townsend’s Tea in downtown Bend in February to discuss their wedding at the High Desert Museum Homestead in the late spring. They are a super laid back couple and Brandon shared with me that he’s a fan of the band Phish too (not nearly the super fan that I am, but I digress…)! We hit it off really well and I’m so happy they chose me to photograph their wedding. I love the museum, I actually used to work there, and I was super excited to photograph a wedding at the High Desert Museum Homestead exhibit, as I love the history behind the homesteaders! Plus the rustic cabin really makes a great alter for your ceremony!
The day started off with Tracy and the girls getting ready in the larger classroom and Brandon and the guys in the smaller classroom. Tracy also let me know that day that she was 15 weeks along, expecting their first child. They were so full of joy and excited for this new chapter in their lives. The couple even announced their pregnancy with a little gift guest book that Brandon proudly showed Gwen, as she was photographing him getting ready.
It was time to whisk the couple out for their first look behind the museum to the tall pine trees that blanket the property. I wanted to be sure they had privacy from their families, friends and the museum visitors, as it was open to the public until their ceremony. Tracy and Brandon read notes to each other after their first look, while I stayed in the background with my long lens, allowing them to savor their time together without me posing or directing.
After the first look, we gathered the wedding party and headed back out to the same spot. These two had quite the entourage of fun people to walk down the aisle with them and stand by their sides in love and support.
Before the late afternoon ceremony out at the High Desert Museum Homestead, we wrangled the family to the front entrance of the museum for the family formal photos. Our goal was to get all the formal photos of the wedding party and family done prior to the ceremony so that everyone could enjoy cocktail hour!
We squeezed in a few romantic couple’s portraits inside the museum with the exhibits before it was time to head to the ceremony location. Brandon and Tracy wanted to be sure to get some photos with the temporary rock climbing exhibit, which featured an old VW bus set up with nostalgic camping gear. It was the cutest and definitely something that fit these two so well!
I just love the rustic Miller Family Ranch homestead exhibit at the High Desert Museum. It’s one of the ceremony location choices for your wedding, and it was my first time photographing a ceremony at this particular location at the museum. Wooden benches and chairs were set out in front of the porch of the homesteaders cabin adorned with colorful ribbons, which served as a beautiful alter for Tracy and Brandon. The wedding party and families made their way out to the ceremony location before the guests arrived to relax and get ready. I snapped a few more detail photographs while everyone relaxed and then it was time to get ready for the ceremony. Their amazing wedding planner, Magadalyn Hasse, with Bend Weddings and Events, made sure to stage everyone inside the horse stables, so that arriving guests wouldn’t see them before the ceremony. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny spring day. Absolutely perfect for their outdoor ceremony at the High Desert Museum homestead!
While guests enjoyed a cocktail hour with acoustic music from Bend’s Moon Mountain Ramblers, we took advantage of the pretty light and museum grounds for some portraits before Tracy and Brandon joined their guests in the Birds of Prey exhibit.
The Schnitzer Entrance Hall is a beautiful space for the main reception. Guests dined on BBQ from Country Catering, sipped on tasty beverages, ate desserts from Sparrow Bakery and danced the night away to the sweet sound’s of Bend’s own bluegrass band, The Moon Mountain Ramblers!
After guests dined, it was time for the toasts. Heartfelt words from Tracy’s father, Brandon’s mother, a few friends and Brandon’s brothers brought laughter and tears. The couple shared their first dance, followed by Tracy dancing with her father and Brandon dancing with his mother. Then it was time to boogie down to the live bluegrass band!
Tracy and Brandon, I had such a wonderful time getting to know you both and I wish you a lifetime of love, friendship and happiness!
Thanks to these amazing vendors who helped create the perfect day:
Venue: The High Desert Museum
Coordinator: Bend Weddings and Events
Hair: Shag Salon
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages): Everybloom’n Thing
Table flowers/centerpieces: Bend Floral Artistry
Music: Moon Mountain Ramblers
Food: Country Catering
Desserts: Sparrow Bakery
Second Photographer: Gwen Shoemaker
Main Photographer: Erica Swantek Photography
I’m Erica, a wedding and elopement photographer for sentimental, free-spirited and natural couples that love celebrating outdoors! I am now booking for 2020 weddings and would love to get you on my calendar. Drop me a message and let’s talk!