Seattle, Washington-based photographer Jonas Seaman was very excited to share with us couple Angela and Diego’s intimate backyard wedding (at the bride’s family beach house on Lake Leelanau, Michigan) because, as he puts it, “from a photographer’s perspective they were truly the perfect clients. They trusted us to do our jobs, and allowed us access to some incredibly personal moments.”
He says the day also brought its challenges, “from sometimes harsh and dappled light to a language barrier with many of the family members and guests,” but that is par for the course, isn’t it? Nonetheless, the resulting images are still gorgeous, touching and convey a true sense of family love.
Bride-to-be Angela initially emailed Jonas explaining the deal: “Diego is from Ecuador (where we currently live) and so the wedding will be the first time the extended families meet. We’re going for a completely bicultural and bilingual event. Our biggest challenge is that half our guests speak just English and half speak just Spanish. There are a handful of people (including me and Diego) that speak both. It’s so important for us for it to be inclusive so we want as many things as possible to be bilingual. That means more than just translating an English wedding. He and I speak both English and Spanish to each other, all the time, some times at the same time, and we want the wedding to reflect our relationship.” She went on to say, “Photography is a priority for us, because, well, we gotta capture the above-mentioned madness.”
The day before the wedding, Jonas went location-scouting with Angela’s mother and cousin looking for the perfect spot for portraits to be done at sunset. They drove through some of the surrounding area pointing at barns that they thought might be cool.
“I was a little worried about trespassing, but Angela’s mom was not concerned,” the photographer says. “‘Everyone is very laid back here,’ she’d say while we traveled up other people’s driveways to jump out and take test shots. We did get some strange looks from one couple driving into their property as we were driving out. We spotted this great red house and dilapidated barn up on a hill off one of the main roads. We drove up a long dirt road to get there and I was relieved to see that the property had been abandoned. The next night during the reception, we grabbed Angela and Diego and, racing with the setting sun, got them over to the house and barn for portraits. It ended up being an ideal spot away from the chaos of family and friends for some quiet moments of intimacy. It proved to be a perfect ending to the day.”
The photographer explains that the wedding couple’s obvious love for photographs spilled over into their creative handling of the seating arrangement for the reception. “They found an old picture frame which they hung from a tree and to the frame they strung up little square Instagram-like photos of their friends and family. On the back of each photo was a number, and handwritten on a sign atop the frame in both Spanish and English was, ‘Look for your photo to find your table number.’”
Jonas knew in advance that the whole event was DIY, and bride Angela had communicated that along with photography as a priority, there was the food. “Food is huge for us, like it is for lots of people,” she told him. “We’re not professional DIY people, but it’s going to be a group effort just because budget-wise, it has to be. My maid of honor is making our cake, for example. My aunts are making a million quiches for the morning after brunch.” She actually bribed the photo team (which included second shooter Mary Ellen Williamson) with food in her initial communications saying, “We promise you will eat great if you shoot our wedding!”
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lenses: Canon 24mm f/1.4L, 35mm f/1.4L, 45mm Tilt-Shift, 50mm f/1.2L, 135mm f/1.4L