And the Winner Is….

… all7timmons! The prize is this scenic photo by Kami, beautifully framed.  Thanks to everyone who participated!  It made the giveaway a lot of fun!



Interview and Give-Away with Photographer Kamirin Couch

I’m very excited to be sharing this interview with my friend and photographer Kamirin Couch of Crooked Stream Photography. She is a professional photographer who has done several lovely photo shoots for us!


Tell us a bit more about yourself. In three sentences—who is Crooked Stream Photography?IMG_0156-1Photo by Kathrina Bisceglia (All other photos by Crooked Stream)

I love life, and have had a deep appreciation for the beauty of life ever since I was very young. I loved capturing once in a lifetime moments in every way I could, and I soon discovered that a camera was one of my favorite instruments to use for recording life. That’s how it all began!

What is your background in photography?


When I was 11, I would take pictures of every beautiful thing I came across with a point-and-shoot camera, when I was 15 I photographed my first wedding with a Canon 20D, and today I’m still that same girl- taking pictures of every beautiful thing I come across- except I’ve gained a lot of experience from it and a Canon 5D mkII.


What is your favorite aspect of shooting a wedding?IMG_1116-1

The emotion! Wedding photography is set apart in a really unique way by this factor. There’s something deep about an emotion-filled photograph, and with weddings, it seems like everywhere I turn there are deep moments to capture. I love seeing families re-unite, the twinkle in the bride’s eyes, the laughter, the groom watching his bride walk down the isle, and the teamwork and fun times with everyone there… I love being a part of it all… And when I realize that I am holding the tool that will be recording these once in a lifetime moments, it’s the most amazing, thrilling, and scary thought in the whole world. It’s once-in-a-lifetime, it’s priceless and I love it!

About how many weddings do you photograph a year? How does your profession integrate with your life?


A few years ago I started shooting more and more weddings, and then realized it started to become too much: it encroached upon life in general, and started to become the “old grind” and the “art” part of it began to slip away, when I wanted to keep that element intact more than anything! So, I’ve cut back to only shooting a few weddings a year. It’s not any “less” work-it’s just more concentrated work; so I can focus more on the few jobs I do have, produce quality above quantity, and have a little extra free time for other important things in life.


What tips do you have for brides planning their wedding day? Should the photos be before or after the wedding? What kind of shots does the bride need to plan out?IMG_8748

One of the most important things to plan is TIME for photos. Just because you schedule a lot of time for pictures doesn’t mean you will be standing in front of the camera for 4 hours, but what you’re factoring in: is that Uncle Tom might arrive 2 hours late (it’s happened), or groomsmen will have to go fetch forgotten ties (that’s happened too), or the fact that herding groups of people just takes time. Think of it as a nice “insurance” to have as a buffer time for unexpected occurrences. It really cuts back on stress… Which brings me to the second question-doing photos before the ceremony seems to cut back on stress as well. I’ve done photos before and after the ceremony, and “before” always seems to yield the best results. First of all, you have everyone freshly ready, looking their best and not yet lost in the crowd of guests. Second, I’ve noticed the bride and groom relax so much more (it shows in the photos) when they’ve been able to see each other before the ceremony. Thirdly, doing photos before the ceremony makes it so the VIP’s are free to mingle after the ceremony and you don’t have to take them away from the guests. As far as planning shots, your photographer should provide you with a “shot list” that you can customize (by adding to or taking away). If there’s a shot that’s really important to you, be sure to write it down so it doesn’t get forgotten. Lastly, talk with your photographer about a photo schedule (add more time to it than you expect to use) and before the wedding day tell/email your wedding party and family where the photographer expects them to be and at what time, and you should have the show on the road! Enjoy it!!!

In addition to weddings, what else do you photograph?

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My natural bent is definitely people- I love portraiture, telling stories with photos, and working with people: families, seniors, babies, engagements- all stages of life. Although, recently, I’ve done some construction photography and promo shoots for businesses, and I enjoyed those jobs as well.

How can people book you for a photo shoot?

Now for some fun stuff:

1: Do you prefer movies or books – or neither?IMG_8442

Books. I love paper!!! I rarely sit down long enough to finish a book (or movie), but if I do, you will usually find a “how-to” book in my hand.


2: If you could pick, what three places in the world would you visit?

Scotland, all 3 times. Ok, ok… I would choose Ireland and England after Scotland.

3: What is your favorite sport?

Does tubing behind a skiff (in Alaska) in a lifeboat count? It was so much fun! I don’t think I’ve ever screamed as loudly as I did then. Friday night Basketball with friends and family is pretty fun too. J

4: Is there another photographer or artist who inspires you?

Yes! I have incredible artists as friends who constantly inspire, encourage and bless me! Chimera Singer is a photographer and friend who I love hiring to shoot weddings with me. Sara Boggs is also an artist and friend who recently introduced me to these AMAZING travel watercolor brushes that every traveling artist should buy:

5: After a long day on the job, what is your favorite way to relax?

I love to eat after a long workday, because I usually don’t eat very much when I’m in work mode. I also love to look at my photos on my laptop (no matter what time it is) because I can’t relax until I do! I also might play my fiddle if no one is asleep. J

It’s been lovely getting to know you better, Kami! And be sure to check out Crooked Stream Photography here!

And now….to enter the giveaway!  The prize will be a framed scenic photograph by Crooked Streams Photography. Comment once for each thing that you complete. Think of each comment as a raffle ticket.  The more comments you have, the more chances of winning!  The drawing will be June 18, 2014.

1. Read this post completely

2. Follow Crooked Stream Photography (or let us know if you already do!)

3. Follow our blog (or let us know if you already do!)

4. Like us on Facebook (or let us know if you already do!)

5. Share about this give-away on your Facebook page, blog, Google+ or other social media. (One comment for each place you share it!)


Wedding Wednesday | Sulamita Church

My wedding season opened with a gorgeous ceremony at the Sulamita Slavic Church. It was a new experience for me to be unable to understand a word of the service except for a single prayer that was said in English! I have seven more ceremonies currently booked for the summer, so check back for more vendor and venue reviews.

I’m super excited about an interview and give-away slated for next Wednesday, so check back then!

IMG_0261 (800x600)The Sulamita church is available to rent for all weddings and special events. The sound man was very nice to work with and the stage lighting was expertly handled. The main advantage to this church is it’s huge size – I would estimate it can seat up to 800, although I wasn’t able to get this number confirmed.

~ Quick Look ~

Location: 20575 NE Sandy Blvd, Fairview, OR 97024

Pros: Can accommodate a large number of guests

Cons: May appear overly large for a small wedding


The #2 Wedding Processional

Here Comes the Bride! Nothing sings these words to the waiting guests like the Bridal Chorus by Wagner. Not to be confused with the Wedding March by Mendelssohn (usually used for a recessional), Bridal Chorus has been used by countless brides over the years to help create a stunning entrance.

Tyler_Katie_0752Bridal Chorus has lost some popularity in recent years due to the it’s association with big church weddings and pipe organs, but it never fails to provide an elegant backdrop to the bridal entrance.

Bridal Chorus comes from Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, and in the opera was actually played after the wedding as the bride was accompanied to the wedding chamber. Although the marriage was doomed to failure in the opera, the words of the song are full of promise and hope for any new couple!  Considered a secular song at the time it was written, it has been discouraged by some churches, so you may want to check with the officiant if you are planning a religious ceremony. However, this is a piece of music that has stood the test of time even if it it isn’t heard as often for a modern ceremony!

Rarely heard, below is a translation of the the German lyrics. May they be true of your marriage!

Faithfully guided, draw near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, the reward of love,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!
Champion of virtue, proceed!
Jewel of youth, proceed!
Flee now the splendour of the wedding feast,
may the delights of the heart be yours!
This sweet-smelling room, decked for love,
now takes you in, away from the splendour.
Faithfully guided, draw now near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you,
Triumphant courage, love so pure,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!
lyrics from Bridal Chorus by Wagner
~ Janna Bisceglia, harpist for Whispering Roses

Romantic Wedding Music


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and many brides are planning the wedding of their dreams complete with red roses and pink hearts and white satin.  Even if your wedding isn’t in February, chances are you are still looking for ways to make it the most romantic day of your life. And what is more romantic than the music you choose?  Music sets the mood and makes the day a special reflection of you as an individual.

So just what is some of the most romantic music every written?  Movies and Broadway provide a host of wonderful pieces with deeply romantic connotations.  All I Ask of You from the Phantom of the Opera is a popular choice for mid-ceremony, such as lighting the unity candle.  For many, the theme from Romeo and Juliet is the most romantic melody of all times, but some find it evokes tragic emotions, so maybe you would like to go for something lighter such as the theme Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (provided you banish the sounds of Mrs. Pott’s voice from your head!).

If your thinking of using a movie theme as your processional, look for something a bit classical.  The theme from A&E’s Pride and Prejudice makes a great processional, as would some of Beethoven’s music used in Immortal Beloved. Folk music offers a lighter selection of romantic music.  Perhaps you would like a singer to perform My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose or Shenandoah.

Sorting through the host of romantic music may seem daunting at first, but an experienced wedding musician will be able to provide suggestions based on his or her current repertoire.  Look for music that excites you, that makes your heart beat a little faster, that makes you cry or laugh or smile or simply remember your wedding as the day that your dreams came true.  Happy wedding plans!

~ Janna Bisceglia, harpist for Whispering Roses


Wedding Wednesday | The #1 Wedding Processional

So what is the number one wedding processional? You guessed it! Pachelbel’s Cannon in D!  My mom walked down the aisle to it…my friend had it played when she birthed her children…it can often be found and relaxation CDs with ocean sounds in the background…and somehow it never looses it’s charm.

This beautiful piece of music just sounds like a wedding ceremony! It isn’t too fast or to slow.  It is sweet and gentle, without being overly dreamy.  Since it is a cannon, it has an 8-chord pattern which repeats throughout the song, making it easy to come to a graceful conclusion as soon as the bride has reached the end of the aisle.

Most often it is used as the processional for the bride, but it can also be used for the bridesmaids, particularly if the bride wants to come in to the second most popular wedding processional (which we’ll talk about next time!). As you listen to it, note your reaction. Are you bored, or drawn in? Do you roll your eyes at the classical sound, or does it make you think of white dresses and flowers? It is all about what starts your emotions rolling!

Does it make a difference to have live musicians play it?  If it repeats so much, surely it could be faded out on an iPod.  

Of course it makes a difference!  Live musicians can add a fanfare at the beginning to let everyone know it is time to stand for the bride. (Something you won’t find on recordings!) Or if it is being performed on the harp, a swirl of dramatic glissandos can announce the bride before the harpist launches into Cannon in D!

Trying to remember what Cannon in D sounds like?  Click below to hear a sample of our arrangement!

Whispering Roses: Canon in D

If you actually want to have this song at your wedding, you might not want to watch the video below by the Piano Guys. It certainly gives the music a fresh twist!

Wedding Wednesday | The Music of a Wedding Ceremony

Here on Wedding Wednesday, I’ve been reviewing venues and services for weddings, but now I want to delve into the part of the wedding that I usually guide – the music!

First, every bride needs to be familiar with the terms for the different parts of the wedding ceremony!  During the first phone consult with a musician, he/she may ask if you have chosen music for the processional and recessional, if you have a style preference for the preludes, and a host of other questions using terms that are only vaguely familiar to a first-time wedding planner!

Walking the aisle (800x534)

Your musician(s) will start with preludes 20-40 minutes prior to the ceremony while your guests are being seated. This ambient sound sets the tone for the wedding.  Generally, you do not need to choose each individual song played, but rather give the musician a genre – like Celtic, classical or romantic movie themes.

The processional is often broken down into three parts.  First is the seating of the mothers. The mothers and grandmothers are formally escorted down the aisle after the last of your guests have been seated. The music usually remains gentle, but should have a “walking tempo”.

Next comes the processional for the bridesmaids. Something more march-like is often used; however, generally it should maintain a formal character – we don’t want the bridesmaids running down the aisle! The officiant and groom usually come from the side and stand at the front  just before the bridesmaids come down, but they can also process down the aisle if desired. (I’m reminded of one wedding where the groom came down in a suit of armor to our arrangement of Forth Eorlings from the Lord of the Rings!)

After the bridesmaids and flower girls have reached the bottom of the aisle, it is time for the entrance of the bride! The musician(s) can play a fanfare, letting everyone know it is time to rise, and then launch into the music you have chosen!  If you prefer a quieter entrance, you can always come into the same piece as your bridesmaids, but why not make an striking entrance on your special day!

It is time for an introspective mid-ceremony piece while you light the unity candle, sign the marriage registry or have any other unity symbol. A soft Celtic air can create the perfect atmosphere for a sacred moment, but this can also be a time to play your favorite romantic movie theme.

The recessional is fast, lively and fun! It comes right after you have been announced as husband and wife.  Everyone cheers and the music starts while you recess down the aisle, followed by the rest of the wedding party.

A few minutes of postludes are often played as your guests are released from their seats. The ceremony is over and the reception begins!

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(Photos by Samuel Ramsey)

Coming soon…what is the most popular wedding processional music of all times?