November 11, 2011.
Possibly the coolest-looking wedding date ever. I couldn’t believe it when I flipped the calendar to November last year and I had no wedding to photograph on Friday the 11th! Then, with eight days to go, I got a call from a nice guy with a thick European accent. By the next day, the contract was signed, and a mere week later I was in the Seattle Sheraton, meeting Ayelet and Frode a few hours before their wedding!
Since this was my first time at the Sheraton, I arrived plenty early to search for potential photo ops in the lobby. Then I headed to the Cirrus Ballroom on the 35th floor, where I found an amazing sunset outside its wall of windows. Reflections of the ballroom’s lights — those huge crystal chandeliers being the most prominent — add an unusual element to the views. The third photo is my favorite, where, under purple clouds, a ferry cruises across Elliot Bay, cutting through fog set afire by the setting sun.
I rendezvoused with Ayelet and Frode in the Cirrus Ballroom a few hours before the ceremony for portraits. I love how Frode’s parents double-teamed him to get his collar and tie just right, just before we got started. As you’ll see soon, that’s a Tetris-themed tie around his neck! A game-themed tie was a sign of things to come …
Shooting against a glass backdrop is very tricky work, requiring either a complex lighting setup or none at all. I took the latter approach, using only the room’s lights and slow shutter speeds to capture the next two photos of Ayelet and Frode, plus the one at the top, in front of the Seattle cityscape at night.
Then we headed down to the lobby, where I executed the ambitious plans I had sketched out earlier. The Seattle Sheraton’s expansive lobby has all sorts of interesting art and architecture to play with, inside and out!
This wedding represented the blending of Frode’s Norwegian heritage with Ayelet’s Israeli ancestry, which was recognized with the breaking of a glass. I learned later from Melissa Fant, the Sheraton’s terrific wedding coordinator, that Ayelet and Frode had planned on keeping the ceremony largely culture-neutral … but at the last minute they asked her for a glass so they could include this age-old Jewish wedding tradition.
After everyone sat down to eat, I made use of that bird’s-eye view of downtown Seattle at night for a unique backdrop to a detail photo of Ayelet’s bouquet.
Then, in lieu of the traditional wedding reception events, Ayelet and Frode brought out games! The girls’ team destroyed the guys’ team in Cranium (as always, right?), while Jenga was the game of choice at a different table.
Then came the game I had been looking forward to photographing most: Rock Band! Friends and family got the instruments warmed up, then Ayelet and Frode took to the stage.
Congrats Ayelet and Frode!