Briana Morrison | Portland Wedding Photographer » Photography for Adventurers and Creatives

5 Tips from a Recent Bride


I got married last month!!!

On March 5th, 2016 my man and I said ” I do!” after nearly eight and a half years together. Part of me can’t believe it actually happened… We planned our wedding in just a few short months and the day flew by faster than any other day I’ve experienced. I really wish I could go back and relive it all again.

As a wedding photographer I’ve been to my fair share of weddings, picking up tips and tricks along the way. Now I have a brand new perspective. I’ve seen wedding days through the eyes of a flower girl, junior bridesmaid (and daughter of the bride), bridesmaid, photographer, and now, as the bride. Planning and experiencing my own wedding day has given me a whole new perspective on weddings. Here are a few of the things I learned:


Cassandra Blyth doing the makeup of photographer bride, Briana Morrison. Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer+

A groom puts a ring on his bride+

A bride and groom at Sou+

Make It Yours

When it came time to plan our wedding it was really important to both Andrew and I that our day reflect us as a couple. In fact, the whole concept of whether or not our day truly was a wedding came into question. In the end, we decided it was half wedding, half elopement.

We chose to get married on the beautiful Pacific Northwest coast in early March. A brave decision considering we wanted both photographs and the ceremony to take place outside. We got ready together, said our vows over a crystal, wore leather boots instead of fancy shoes, and made sure that every person who participated in our day was close to us. Our photographer is one of my best friends and our officiant is her husband, my makeup artist is my good friend and gym partner, and my hair was done by two best friends, instantly bringing up memories of long nights of giggles with these same two girls in high school.

For the reception we gathered for snacks and drinks in the lodge then made our way to mine and Andrew’s favorite local restaurant for dinner. After dinner everyone went their own ways, some enjoying the sauna, some heading straight to bed, and the coolest of the group stayed up late playing Exploding Kittens and listening to old- timey records. 😉

A groom in tweed poses for a portrait. Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer+

Photographer Briana Morrison as a bride in white and orange. Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer+

Bride and groom pose for portraits on their wedding day on the Washington coast. The wedding of Briana Morrison, a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer.+Nothing Is Perfect

Our day was loosely planned. Get up at 9am and get something to eat, start hair and makeup at 10am, head out for photos at 1pm, get hitched between 2 and 3pm, then dinner at 6pm. Easy as pie, right?

I always tell my couples to plan some buffer time into their day. You never know what will come up… I am SO glad we did this.

While I was busy getting ready with my ladies my poor husband was having some pretty nasty stomach pains. In addition, I forgot my beautiful silk sash and bouquet ribbon at home (2.5 hours away!) and my best ladies had to go searching through a florist shop for replacement ribbon. Thankfully Andrew’s sickness started to abate as soon as he had a little food in him and something to keep him occupied. He got ready with a little help from his brother and I while I decided to forgo the ribbon for my dress and bouquet all together.

Though everything turned out fine, these two little events set us back one whole hour.

A bride and groom pose for photographs in front of an old door. Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer+

A bride and groom pose in front of an old nautical sign. Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer+

A bride and groom in front of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Washington. Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer+

Prioritize Your Budget

Andrew and I didn’t have much money to spend on our wedding and we really wanted to get the most out of what little money we did have.

We chose to have our wedding at the beginning of March because it’s still cold and wet out, definitely not peak wedding season in the Pacific Northwest. This allowed us to save on lodging for our guests as well as make a large dinner reservation instead of booking out a restaurant or hiring a caterer for our reception.

Photography was a high priority for us and we dedicated a chunk of our budget accordingly. We chose our photographer to suit our personalities and tastes, an added bonus that she’s one of our favorite people. In the end, we knew that the photographs would preserve our memories and we didn’t want to forget any of it!

We chose not to decorate a damn thing.

We skipped traditional cake and dances.

I made my own bouquet and Andrew’s boutonnière to match.

I kept my wedding attire costs down by ordering an “alternative” wedding dress, purchasing some boots I found on sale at a Clarks store in the mall, and wearing my own lingerie.

Andrew didn’t keep his wedding attire costs down… but damn did he look good!

The officiant Milan Rosan leads the bride, groom, and guests to the ceremony site. Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer+

Wedding guests look on during a ceremony in the woods. The wedding of Briana Morrison, a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer+

Guests look on during a wedding ceremony in the woods.+

People Matter

The one thing I would have done differently on our wedding day is ask for more photographs of our family and friends.

This was the one day that all of our favorite people were in the same place at the same time and I could never have too many photographs of that. As the bride, I was busy getting ready, having my photos taken, getting hitched, and making sure to say hello to everyone. I didn’t get to see what everyone was doing while I was away from them and I really wish we would have had more time together.

There are a few ways we could have made more photos and/or family time happen:

  • We could have hired a 2nd shooter. Though our wedding was very small, a 2nd shooter would have been able to capture bunches of friends and family candids while our main photographer was busy following us around.
  • We could have asked for more photos. I didn’t even think to do this until it was too late! Thinking back, I would have loved an individual portrait of every person at our wedding. There were only 32 people and though this isn’t the most fun job for a photographer, if it’s planned it into the day it would make a great addition to the wedding album.
  • We would have made our wedding a weekend long experience! This is my favorite of all the options, though it kind of throws budget out the window. Had we planned our wedding to be more of a weekend long event we would have had more time to spend with our people and we would have had a lot more opportunities to photograph everyone together.

A bride stands alone on a wet beach. The wedding of Briana Morrison, a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer.+

Bride and groom play on the beach in the rain. The wedding of Briana Morrison, a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer+

A bride and groom snuggle on a wet beach. The wedding of Briana Morrison, a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer+

A bride and groom run on the beach in the rain. Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer+

Plan An Escape

Even a little one.

Weddings are a lot of work and very tiring for everyone involved. After our wedding day Andrew and I had planned a couple extra days off from work but didn’t take the time to go on a honeymoon or even a mini- moon. I really wish we had! After planning, executing, traveling, and catering to the needs of our guests we were pretty drained. It would have been amazing to take a couple of days away from home to be with my new husband.

Someday we plan to go on another grand adventure overseas, a delayed honeymoon somewhere exotic… and warm… with lots of tasty food.

Bride and groom on their wedding day. The wedding of Briana Morrison, a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer.+

Location: Sou’Wester Lodge in Seaview, Washington
Reception: Pickled Fish
Photographer: Shannon Rosan
Officiant: Milan Rosan
MUA: Cassandra Blyth
Bridal Attire: BHLDNXtabay
Groom’s Attire: JCrew & The Haberdashery

  • April 12, 2016 - 1:51 pm

    Jade Sheldon - YOU GUYS. The two of you look absolutely stunning. When I was reading through this I kept thinking in my head Yes! Yes! Yes! Cory & I had a very similar approach to our wedding day. I’m just so happy for you two!ReplyCancel

  • April 12, 2016 - 2:16 pm

    Christina - You look so beautiful and happy! I simply adore your images!ReplyCancel

  • April 12, 2016 - 9:10 pm

    Monique - Oh goodness this reminds me of my day so much except it was a sunny October day in a quirky little Colorado town lol. You two looked amazing!! Great tips and congratulations <3ReplyCancel

  • April 13, 2016 - 1:06 am

    Isabelle - Congratulations!!!!!! Wow, beautiful storytelling and the portraits on that beach are insane! Love your advice as well.ReplyCancel

  • April 13, 2016 - 9:55 am

    Melissa Harbaugh - Congrats! You guys look so happy! I love the simplicity of the wedding—it’s so perfect for you two! I LOVE the photo of you guys spinning on the beach. That one need to be printed HUGE and put on your wall 🙂ReplyCancel

  • April 13, 2016 - 10:33 am

    Pam - Gorgeous wedding! Photography is well worth the $, and a pretty venue saves much decorating costs. Looks like all your tips panned out beautifully- and I definitely agree with trying to plan in extra time. I have an all too long story about that.

    Ultimately I wish other brides could come to know that all the things you stress about leading up to the moment don’t really matter, all of that evaporated the second I saw Roy. There is far too much pressure to achieve perfection for that day, but the reality is as long as you’re standing next to the right person you have wedding perfection all locked up.ReplyCancel

  • April 13, 2016 - 11:48 am

    Marcela - Bria, you are one GORGEOUS bride! I love the intimacy of your whole day and you can just feel how personal it was for you all. lovelovelove.ReplyCancel

  • April 13, 2016 - 4:31 pm

    Jentry Dryden - People matter! One of my favorite points in your post. All are excellent points, though – it’s great that you have this experience to share!ReplyCancel

  • April 28, 2016 - 6:27 am

    Shaina DeCiryan - “I didn’t decorate a damn thing”, I love this! I think it’s so beautiful just to make it a grand adventure.. this is exactly the sort of wedding I love to cover, because we have room to explore, freedom to go where we want without feeling like we’re leaving all their hard work decorating behind and when it comes to a forest, a garden, a seaside.. they are all beautiful as they are. Wonderful post!ReplyCancel

  • May 11, 2016 - 3:18 pm

    Amber Melody | The Beautiful Lens - Hi Briana,

    It’s my first time to your site via your Design Aglow post! I’m an Australian photographer and blogger.

    I just wanted to share my congratulations :))) and tell you what a great post this is – so wonderful to hear a photographer bride’s perspective of a wedding. And you were glowing.

    Looking forward to reading more.

    Amber. xReplyCancel

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