The Wallflower Photography Blog


Traditional portrait of bride and groom in a small landscaped area in the shade near the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Finally, after 10 years of waiting, we got to photograph a wedding in Seattle’s Space Needle a few months ago. And then, for the icing on the cake, we got to shoot bride and groom portraits around the Experience Music Project, another long-time wish!

… but first things first. Laura started the day at CoCo & Co. Hair Salon, where Jenna was getting ready.

Candid photo of bride getting her makeup applied at CoCo and Co salon in Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Candid photo through the window from outside of bride getting her makeup applied at CoCo and Co salon in Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Two photos of bride, a detail shot of her dress being laced up and a candid photo wearing the dress at CoCo and Co salon in Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Candid photo of bride getting into a car as her father holds her dress, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

I love how, in the last photo, Jenna’s dad looks like a bodyguard helping a VIP client into a waiting car. As for me, I headed to the SeaTac Holiday Inn, where Corbin and his groomsmen were getting ready. Corbin’s sweet boutonniere sported a white rose and “White Moto” Fender guitar pick.

Detail photo of groom's boutonniere, made of a white rose and pearl Fender guitar pick, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Candid photo of groom and groomsmen getting ready at the SeaTac Holiday Inn, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

This guy is their wedding officiant:

Candid photo of the wedding officiant, a friend of the bride and groom, wearing a funny hat while getting ready at the SeaTac Holiday Inn, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

The SeaTac Holiday Inn has a very liberal pets policy, allowing dogs under 30 pounds for only $20 extra per night, and enabling Corbin to have his canine pal on hand during his preparations. Here, a ring bearer gets cuddly with Hendrix. Alas, the Space Needle was not so permissive, and Hendrix wasn’t able to attend their wedding. (As I’m sure you already know, we’re nationally known experts in photographing dogs in weddings!)

Candid photo of ring bearer cuddling with the groom's dog while getting ready at the SeaTac Holiday Inn, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

This last photo is one of those where Jenna emailed us a few days before the wedding to request it after seeing “a picture on Pinterest where the guy is sticking his hand out and jokingly showing the groomsmen his ring, and they are all overly awed by it with their expressions and body language” and I thought it would be a totally dorky photo — which it is, but I like it anyway.

Posed, humorous photo of groomsmen admiring the groom's wedding ring after getting ready at the SeaTac Holiday Inn, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Weddings at the Space Needle take place in the SkyLine level, 100 feet off the ground. The SkyLine level actually isn’t original to the Space Needle — it was added 20 years later, in 1982. It has a vaguely triangular layout, with Jenna and Corbin’s wedding ceremony in the Lake Union room; their dinner, toasts and cupcakes in the Puget Sound room; and dancing back in the Lake Union room, long after all the ceremony chairs were removed.

Jenna and her wedding party waited in the Seattle room as guests took their seats for the wedding ceremony, then walked down a short hallway and up the aisle.

Candid photo of bride and her father walking down a short hallway to her wedding ceremony in the Lake Union Room in the SkyLine level of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Candid photo of bride and her father at the head of the aisle as he gives her away during a wedding ceremony in the Lake Union Room in the SkyLine level of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

The challenge with these big-window venues is lighting and exposure, because it’s much darker indoors than out! The three basic options are to expose for the views and have near-silhouettes of everything indoors; expose for indoors and let the windows blow out to white, losing the view; or use flash to brighten the room, bringing indoors and window views closer to equal exposure.

The third option was further complicated by the fact that the SkyLine level has rather low ceilings, making it hard to fill the room with light and necessitating more of a “mellow spotlight” approach, as you’ll see in the next photo. I turned off the flash for the second photo below, intentionally letting the windows blow out (and in fact, perfecting the blowout by hand).

Candid photo of a wedding ceremony in the Lake Union Room in the SkyLine level of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Fisheye photo of wedding ceremony in the Lake Union Room in the SkyLine level of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Sometimes the best portraits happen in an impromptu manner, instead of during the actual portrait session. That was definitely the case with the next photo, shot a few minutes after the ceremony ended, while Jenna was waiting for the elevator to whisk her and guests up to the Observation Deck. She spotted the camera on her, smiled, and there we go.

Impromptu portrait of bride just after her wedding ceremony in the Lake Union Room in the SkyLine level of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Family portraits were planned for outside on the Observation Deck, 520 feet up in the air. Only the deck isn’t particularly deep, so for the bigger groups I was pressed up against the back wall with a wide-angle lens to get everyone in it. This next photo is of the biggest family group, just so you can see the practical limits of group size on the deck. We took some nice portraits of Jenna and Corbin there, too.

Family portrait outside on the observation deck of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Bride and groom portrait outside on the observation deck of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

In lieu of trinket-y or box-o-chocolate style wedding favors, Jenna and Corbin made a donation to the Humane Society, as this sign announced. Visible out the window is the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit, which was just wrapping up construction before its grand opening a few weeks later. Now there’s another wedding venue to add to my wish list!

Detail photo of Humane Society donations sign, with the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit visible outside the window in the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

The tall white sculptures of the Pacific Science Center and the blue waters of Puget Sound formed a lovely backdrop to the head dinner table. After a delicious meal by the in-house catering staff, everyone laughed and cried during a series of toasts.

Photo of wedding party eating dinner in front of huge windows in the Puget Sound room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of a friend giving a toast during a wedding reception in the Puget Sound room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Here are two photos of Jenna’s twin nephews enjoying the view and playing under her many layers of fabric.

Candid photo of twin boys looking out the window at the Pacific Science Center in downtown Seattle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of twin ring bearer boys hiding under the bride's dress, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Jubilee Cupcakes of Puyallup (near where Jenna and Corbin live) provided the wedding cakes — I enjoyed the peanut butter and banana “Elvis.” If you want to witness the messy fate of one of those cupcakes, check out the Focal Point: Wedding Cake Smashes post from a few months ago.

Photo of table full of cupcakes in front of windows in the Puget Sound room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Detail photo of cupcakes on table in front of windows in the Puget Sound room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

The Lake Union room has a granite dance floor where Jenna and Corbin’s first dance as a married couple took place. Here we have a relatively straightforward shot showing off that big view, followed by a natural-light (unflashed) photo of Jenna looking particularly happy.

Photo of a bride and groom's first dance during a wedding reception in the Lake Union room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Digitally aged photo of bride's happy expression during her first dance with her groom during a wedding reception in the Lake Union room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Later, all the wedding guests joined hands to form a giant ring around Jenna and Corbin, which they soon collapsed to form a tight cluster of family and friends.

Photo of all wedding guests forming a huge circle around the bride and groom, on the dance floor of the Lake Union room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of all wedding guests collapsing a huge circle formed around the bride and groom, on the dance floor of the Lake Union room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of all wedding guests in a tight circle around the kissing bride and groom, on the dance floor of the Lake Union room in the SkyLine level of the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

We still had a good hour left after it was time to leave the Space Needle to spend on wedding party portraits at various attractions in the immediate vicinity. We started with a big group photo of all wedding guests on a wide staircase out in front of the ticket booth. A good staircase is a great way to pull off this kind of shot, as I discussed last year in Focal Point: All-Guests Photos.

Portrait of all wedding guests on a set of stairs outside the Seattle Space Needle, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

We also took a full wedding party portrait there, including this one with a fisheye lens to capture the entire Space Needle, a difficult feat from right at its base!

Vertical fisheye portrait of the wedding party on a set of stairs outside the Seattle Space Needle towering above them, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Then we took the wedding party off to the Experience Music Project next door for more portraits. Knowing how visually intense the EMP’s colorful, curvy metal walls are, I’ve wanted to do this for years, but had been out of luck until Jenna and Corbin came along. You’re going to have to come back here to the Wallflower Blog in a few days to see highlights from that post-wedding portrait shoot, though! UPDATE: Here they are!

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