The Wallflower Photography Blog


Portrait of bride and groom in the park next to the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma, Washington, by Wallflower Photography

Kate and Adam’s wedding at the historic Slavonian Hall in Tacoma’s Old Town fell on an unseasonably sunny day in early June. (If you’ve lived in the Seattle-Tacoma area long enough, you know the de facto start of summer is July 5th, and days like this one are just teasers. So, lucky us!)

As they were all dressed and ready to go at my start time, we hopped in the car — me in shotgun, where I spotted Kate and Adam in the rear view mirror — and headed across the tracks to Chinese Reconciliation Park.

Candid photo of bride and groom reflected in a car's rear view mirror, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Chinese Reconciliation Park is among the newest of Tacoma’s ever-growing list of attractions. Even though the park isn’t fully built yet, it has several great architectural elements that make a visit worthwhile. Here we start at the glossy red Fuzhou Ting (a Chinese version of the Japanese Pagoda), where Adam climbed aboard one of the big concrete lion statues. Then we’re on the String of Pearls Bridge, standing at the edge of the Grotto of the Tides, and beside a rather random blank wall with a cool top.

Portrait of groom posing on a stone lion statue in Tacoma's Chinese Reconciliation Park, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Two portraits of bride and groom at the Fuzhou Ting in Tacoma's Chinese Reconciliation Park, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Portrait of bride and groom posing on the String of Pearls Bridge in Tacoma's Chinese Reconciliation Park, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Portrait of bride and groom posing on the edge of the Grotto of the Tides in Tacoma's Chinese Reconciliation Park, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Portrait of bride and groom posing by a wall in Tacoma's Chinese Reconciliation Park, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Back at the Slovanian Hall, we met family in the park next door for family portraits, and then it was time for the ceremony to start. Despite being only a mile from Wallflower HQ, this was the first time I’d ever been inside. As Kate warned me in advance, it isn’t the most beautiful space, but it does have some nice features, particularly those polished hardwood floors and ceiling beams, and the huge mirror on the left wall above the cake. Dressed up with colorful table settings, filled with people and photographed correctly, I think it looks pretty nice!

Photo of Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Fisheye photo of wedding ceremony at Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of wedding ceremony at Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, with bride and groom reflected in the hardwood floors, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of wedding cake, with wedding ceremony reflected in the window above it, at Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Tangent Alert! We occasionally hear from couples who are getting married at beautiful, expensive venues, but who have set aside ridiculously small budgets for their photography. It’s fun to think that your wedding venue is so beautiful, anyone can get good photos there, but it’s so not true. Those couples are taking a big chance that they’ll end up like the British couple in this recent story, who rented a “posh” venue, then gambled by going cheap with their wedding photography, spending £750 (about $1200 USD, barely 5% of their wedding budget) on a two-photographer (fauxtographer?) team:

Are these Britain’s worst wedding pictures? Newlyweds devastated as photographers fail to get couple in frame and took blurry shots.

But just like how a bad photographer can make a beautiful venue look bad, a good photographer can make an ordinary venue look good! I’d like to think I did that, at least. I appreciate that Kate and Adam placed such a high value on their photography that they dedicated a sizable portion of their wedding budget toward it. Think they’ll ever regret investing that money?

After their ceremony, Kate and Adam ducked into a downstairs room to sign their marriage license and catch their breaths, then rejoined their guests in the ballroom. The kids definitely enjoyed having a run of the place!

Photo of bride and groom walking down the stairs after their wedding ceremony at Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Candid photo of wedding guests having fun during cocktail hour at a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of young girls dancing in a ring during cocktail hour at a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Fisheye photo of wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Detail photo of table centerpiece and arrangements for wedding at Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

The little brown boxes with green tops held guest favors: personalized blue shot glasses.

Detail photo of wedding favor box, and of shot glass inside, for wedding at Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

That giant mirror was a big help in photographing the cutting of the cake!

Candid photo of bride and groom cutting their wedding cake during their wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Then Kate and Adam hit the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. Oddly, this always seems to be a kid-magnet activity, but Kate and Adam were cool enough to include the scamps. At first, I shot the dance in window light and wide angles. Then I flipped on the telephoto lens to zoom in on their faces for the rest of the dance. Since they were in front of bright windows, I bounced flash off the white ceiling to light them gently and effectively for most of the time, but also turned off the flash to get a cool silhouette.

Wide-angle photo of bride and groom's first dance during their wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Two photos of bride and groom's first dance during their wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of bride and groom's first dance during their wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Silhouette photo of bride and groom's first dance during their wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Here’s a fun series of Kate’s strong-arm-low-ceiling bouquet toss. One of the kids snatched that bouquet off the ground and took off running, getting chased all around the room before Kate swept her up for a hug and photo.

Photo of bride about to toss her bouquet during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of bride tossing her bouquet during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of bride's bouquet crashing to the floor during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of young girl running after grabbing bride's bouquet from the floor during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of bride holding young girl who caught her bouquet off the floor during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Then there was nothing left to do but dance! Kate changed into a white dress with better mobility and ventilation, and hit the dance floor.

Candid photo of guests dancing during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Candid photo of groom dancing exuberantly during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Candid photo of bride and groom dancing wildly during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of bride and friends dancing during a wedding reception in the Slavonian Hall in Tacoma's Old Town, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Congrats Kate and Adam! Check back next week to see a few photos of their fingerprint tree — a fun alternative to the standard guestbook.

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