North Vancouver & Squamish, British Columbia, Canada - Destination Photographer - Adventure Photography - Wanderlust

A Tribute To My Dad – Destination: North Vancouver & Squamish, British Columbia, Canada – My 40th Birthday Adventure

This blog post is dedicated to the memory of my Dad, James Wirtanen, who passed away eleven years ago today. He fueled my wanderlust soul, always did, and always will. He had a desire and passion to see the world, and he wanted the same for his daughter. I miss him every day: my sunshine, my mountain man, my daddy.

June 16, 2001
June 16, 2001

About a year ago, my best friend Marc started planning a trip to Canada. He reached out and asked me if I wanted to go on another adventure with him, as our last one was four years prior to Seattle & Mount Rainer, Washington. Of course I said yes! I reminded him that September was not only my birthday month, but my 40th birthday, so he planned this adventure around my birthday. And it was the best birthday ever!!

I flew out from Cleveland, Ohio to Vancouver on September 5th, and Marc flew out from Norfolk, Virginia. We met at the baggage claim, grabbed the rental car, and off we went. After checking in to the Holiday Inn and Suites North Vancouver, which I highly recommend, we hopped back in the rental and found the nearest park to explore. Sadly, I don’t even think I go the name of that place, but it was a beautiful spot for birding in North Vancouver, with paths through the woods surrounded by a gorgeous lake.

Thursday was set to be the best day ever, as it was my 40th birthday! What better way to ring in 40 than zip lining at the top of the mountains?! We started by taking in some views at Cleveland Park (ironic since Cleveland is where I am from). We then headed up the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain, where we zip lined for two hours. Talk about a view!! The last two zip lines were absolutely breathtaking, with views of snow capped mountains and downtown Vancouver!! Did I mention this adventure included a round trip ride on the ski lift, where we made a new friend from Australia? Happy 40th to me!!! #thisis40

Grouse Mountain Zip Line Crew #thisis40
Grouse Mountain Zip Line Crew #thisis40

Talk about an amazing Friday.  We grabbed some Tim Hortons, which we did every day while in Canada, because Timmy’s is AMAZING. We headed to Capilano for our next adventure, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This place was worth every penny of the entrance fee!!! As most thing I experienced in Canada, the photos do not do it justice. It wasn’t just the suspension bridge, but also the cliff walk, and walking in the tree tops on the mini bridges. My best friend may have had a little too much fun trying to bounce the bridge around the other tourist, but all in good fun.

We ventured up to Cypress Provincial Park, for some more amazing views, some birding, and a cool view of one of the sites from the 2010 Winter Olympics. I found so much peace on this day, after a couple of days of thrilling activity. It is busy season right now for a Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer, so it was so nice to just breath in all of the beauty and take photographs just for myself. Taking nature photos is where it all started for me, so it was nice to get back to where it all began. Another favorite stop this day was to Horseshoe Bay, home to British Columbia’s ferry boats. I had some poutine (look it up, it’s amazing), some delicious fish-n-chips, all while watching the clouds roll in and out of the bay over the mountains.

We tried so hard to get up to Whistler, a small mountain town and home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, but a huge bicycle race got in our way. It all worked out though, we found an amazing waterfall along our detour, and accidentally snuck in to the actual mountain site of the Olympics. It was like the apocalypse up there! You could not hear a sound. Broken down parking lots, crumbled cement walls,  and nothing but breathtaking views. So peaceful. I wish I could remember the name of the town we had lunch in on the way back, it had the best lunch view I have ever had overlooking the mountains in Squamish.

Our last full day in Canada was pretty epic. Rain tried to ruin our plans, but by winging it, we found the most fun. We visited the gorgeous Shannon Falls, and while winging it again with a hike through the woods, we ended up in the parking lot of the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. We thought, why not? It had been raining off and on, which for us was perfect, it meant less tourist. We took a ride up the mountain, with views of glacier lakes and mountain tops, all the way in to the clouds above. And I am being serious, we were in the clouds! When we got off the gondola ride, we really had no idea of the beauty around us, as the clouds had rolled in so thick, and then we saw the suspension bridge. Talk about something so amazing!! After crossing our second suspension bridge of our trip, we walked around a corner and the clouds opened up to views of snow capped mountains in front of us. I swear, we found heaven at the top of that mountain, or as close as we could get to it.

Adventure is out there. Life is short. Take the trips. See the world. Plan a destination wedding or elopement, and take me with you!! I am proud to say that I am an adventurous photographer, and I find peace in the mountains, and I will zip line with you and walk over crazy high bridges in the clouds! My soul needed this trip. I only get to see my best friend a few times a year, but we always make an adventure out of it. And this one was epic!! Time to plan the next one!!

North Vancouver & Squamish, British Columbia, Canada - Destination Photographer - Adventure Photography - Wanderlust
North Vancouver & Squamish, British Columbia, Canada – Destination Photographer – Adventure Photography – Wanderlust

Vancouver 2018 -One

Vancouver 2018 -One

Vancouver 2018 -One

Vancouver 2018 -One

Vancouver 2018 -Two

Lindsay Dawn Photography: Destination & Elopement Photographer, Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer, NE Ohio Portrait Photography, Traveling Photographer, Wanderlust Soul

Stacy & David - Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer -Elopement

Stacy & David’s Intimate Sunset Wedding – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

I first met Stacy & David in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, for the engagement session they had won. I had a contest on my Facebook business page, asking couples to tell me their proposal stories, and this lucky couple won! I knew from the moment that I met them, I would love them! They are so sweet, hilarious, and just generally fun to be around. It also helped that we share a love for tattoos. During their session, they told me about the backyard/elopement style wedding they had planned on a Tuesday in August. I loved hearing how they planned the timing of the ceremony. They sat on their porch one day, and waited for the most perfect sunset light, and that is when they knew the exact time they wanted to be married! Not long after putting up sneak peeks of their engagement session, Stacy reached out about how they had to have as their wedding photographer, and I am so glad they did!!

When I drove the hour south to get to their families property in West Farmington, it was storming bad. I was so worried! But, as I got closer, the skies opened up and even a rainbow appeared as I was pulling down the driveway! Did I mention I got to ride on the back of a 4-wheeler at this wedding? YES!! I had to check out the beautiful ceremony site before the wedding, and that was the quickest way there! The ceremony was set along side a beautiful pond, and just under a gorgeous willow tree. Now, remember how I told you about those earlier storms? They gave us the most amazing sunset skies!!

Just before the ceremony, Stacy’s mom talked about how different life was just a year prior. You see, a little over a year ago, they all lost just about everything in a house fire. Lighting struck their porch, and burned the house almost completely down. So, to see this amazing couple and family rise from the ashes and build a new life together, and plan the most beautiful wedding, well it is inspiring. Good hearted, down to earth, amazing people.

Now it was time for the wedding! Stacy’s dad drove her over in style, in his restored old Jeep(it is so cool!!). A friend sang and played the guitar. The weather was perfect, and even gave us enough time before dark to get some amazing images of the couple. An amazing elopement feel from this wedding evening. After the ceremony, everyone gathered back at the house(rebuilt since the fire), for some hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and cake. I wish I could say that I photographed their reception as well, but they had that about a month later and I was already booked with another wedding. SO grateful to have met this amazing couple, and capture their beautiful wedding day for them!!

Stacy & David - Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer -Elopement
Stacy & David – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer -Elopement

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Lindsay Dawn Photography

Florist: A.H. Christiansons Floral Design Studio

Michelle & Matt -Northeast Ohio & Western Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer

Back in March, I had the honor of capturing Matt and Michelle’s gorgeous wedding ceremony inside the beautiful First Presbyterian Church in Sharon, PA. Both of their beautiful children were in the wedding party, their son even helping his little sister with her flower girl duties. The cutest!! And check out the fun bubble exit from the church! After the ceremony, and after family and bridal party photos, the couple and I moved on to the gorgeous Buhl Park.  This park has it all, from a gorgeous mansion to even a small lake. Perfect spot for Western PA wedding photos! The reception was just over the border in to Northeast Ohio, at Tiffany’s Banquet Center . Michelle and Matt had a delicious buffet for their guest, and even the most amazing cookie spread. I mean it, check out all of the choices of homemade cookies and treats for their friends and family..and me! DJ Mark Lawrence kept the party going all night, including some amazing dance moves from the couple’s own children and bridal party! And how amazing did Michelle look in her gorgeous gown from Bling Bridal Boutique?!

The newlyweds received their wedding gallery this week, and now I get to share their day with you! I am a Northeast Ohio wedding photographer, but as you can see I am also a destination wedding photographer. So if you are planning a wedding in Western Pennsylvania, Yosemite, Fiji, or anywhere in the world, I would love to chat! I have my passport ready!

Northeast Ohio & Western Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer
Northeast Ohio & Western Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer

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Lindsay Dawn Photography

 

Jessica & Aaron - Quail Hollow Country Club - Northeast Ohio wedding Photographer

Jessica & Aaron – Quail Hollow Country Club Wedding – My First Online Feature -Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

Thanks to an amazing platform, called Two Bright Lights, today I am able to say that I am officially published online for the first time. What a dream!!! Two Bright Lights is an amazing platform for photographers to get their work seen by editors and published online and in print. I met one of the owners of Two Bright Lights, Meghan Stolar Brown, while on an AKP Retreat in Destin, Florida. Meghan was an amazing teacher about how to get published, what the editors want to see, and what to photograph to get published. Since meeting Meghan, and following the tips she gave me, I have received notice that I have another ten publications coming up this year! That is amazing! My goal now, when I walk in to every wedding day, is to get that gorgeous Northeast Ohio or destination wedding published, not just for myself and my business, but for my amazing clients and other vendors from that day.

Yesterday, Aisle Memories, published Jessica & Aaron’s beautiful wedding from last summer. Aisle Memories is, according to it’s founders Liana & Jamie : “…a wedding blog about everything related to weddings and beyond with inspiration, ideas, insight, planning tips and tricks, showcasing gorgeous real weddings, and venue tours, and community forums. Everything comes from the perspective of a recent bride who is also a wedding coordinator and planner.”

Jessica & Aaron are the sweetest of couples. Parents to three little ones, they planned their Northeast Ohio wedding from all the way down in Columbus, Ohio, along with help from Aaron’s brother in-law Matthew. Matthew and I had worked together in the past, and I was so happy when he reached out to me about being their wedding photographer. The couple got ready, separately, at the gorgeous Steele Mansion Inn in Painesville, Ohio. Here I was able to capture beautiful bridal portraits of Jessica, and some of Aaron and their twin boys. Their wedding ceremony & intimate reception dinner were at Quail Hollow Country Club in Concord, Ohio. The ceremony was held right on the golf course, with dinner and cake in the country club following the formal photos.

Check out my first online feature below! You will be able to see how amazing Jessica looked in her Allure Bridals gown!

Click below:

Jessica & Aaron – Quail Hollow Country Club Wedding

 

Aaron & Jessica - Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer - Quail Hollow Country Club Wedding
Aaron & Jessica – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer – Quail Hollow Country Club Wedding

Lindsay Dawn Photography

Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

First look, traditional, or something unique? Ideas for your wedding, from other weddings! – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

In today’s day and age, there is something new brides and grooms have to decide upon for their wedding day..Will they do a first look? For those who have no idea what I am talking about, a first look is somewhat of a new thing, so don’t worry. A first look on a wedding day is a moment, usually set up by your photographer before the ceremony, where the groom sees the bride for the first time (or groom/groom or bride/bride, but you get the picture). It is a private moment (at least it should be) between the couple, with the photographer there to capture the reactions and emotion.

There are many pros of doing a first look, versus going for more of the traditional approach of the groom seeing his bride for the first time coming down the ails, and no cons honestly. From a photographers stand point, a first look is a dream! It makes for a smooth wedding day, with plenty of time for photos even before the ceremony, so we are not as rushed between the ceremony and the reception. Take Chelsea & Ben, for example. This couple planned it out to perfection! They did a first look in the same spot that Ben had proposed, how romantic is that?! We then were able to get some great shots of just the two of them, along the way to the ceremony & reception site. They had their immediate family and bridal party ready for photos before the ceremony even happened. So, after the ceremony, they were able to go right in to the reception and party the night away!

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What is another great thing about a first look? It calms the nerves! For those who have anxiety, or get nervous in front of a lot of people, seeing the love of their life privately before they say I DO can be such a relief on the big day. And, there are many ways to plan out the first look as well. If you don’t mind some people watching, you can do it like Kim & Jerry did, in the lobby of the hotel they got ready at. Afterwards, we were able to get all of their bridal party photos and ones of just the couple. So, after the ceremony, we only had the family portraits to get done before the reception.

Kim&Jerry

Want an alternative solution, where you still have the traditional look of coming down the aisle but still get to be in the presence of your love before the ceremony? You can follow in the footsteps of Carly & Jeffrey! These two had written personal vows to each other, but wanted to read them privately together and save the traditional vows for the ceremony, but also not see each other. So, I scoured the church basement and found a spot that they could be together, but not see each other. What an emotional, and beautiful moment it was. They even brought their photographer to tears.

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You could also be like Natalie & Jeff! These two met in private, even without me, before the ceremony. No first look photos, but just a private moment alone. Jeff then walked his own bride down the aisle at Gervasi Vineyard.

Natalie&Jeff

If you don’t think a first look is for you, and you want the traditional way of you two seeing each other while coming down the aisle, do it! No one way is the right way. It is YOUR wedding day, do it how you want to do it. But, now you know there are plenty of options. Wondering what we did on our wedding day? My husband is more traditional, and he wanted to see me first when I was walking down the aisle. And I would not change a thing! Here are some more traditional weddings below, and the groom seeing his bride for the first time.

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Lindsay Dawn Photography

Liz & Matt’s Northeast Ohio Engagement Session – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

I have know Liz & Matt for a lot of years, having worked together long before they were even a couple. We all met while working at the Redhawk Grille, and still work together. Matt was even featured in The News Herald when they wrote an article about the Redhawk Grille. I had the pleasure of watching these two fall in love, from the first beer after work, through the sunflower field proposal, and now while they plan their wedding. I could not be more honored and excited to be their wedding photographer!

Engagement Session - Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer
Liz & Matt’s Northeast Ohio Engagement Session – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

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Liz&MattEngagement

Liz&MattEngagement

We had been planning their engagement session for months. Liz did an incredible job choosing and coordinating their outfits! We met at South River Vineyard for the first half of their session, Liz’s mom even bringing their fur baby Benji. Because, what’s an engagement session without your doggie?! South River Vineyard is a beautiful Northeast Ohio winery, with acres of sprawling vineyards, the premises even being remodeled from an old church. An amazing spot for year round events, family get togethers, dates, and even photo opportunities…and of course, delicious wine.

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Liz&MattEngagement

Liz&MattEngagement

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After exploring the winery, we ventured a few miles north to Geneva on the Lake, and just in time for sunset. Lake Erie rarely disappoints with a beautiful sunset. Can you tell it was only 32 degrees along the Lake? You wouldn’t know it by all that gorgeous warm sunset light! I love shooting in Geneva on the Lake, especially during the off season when we have the streets to ourselves. There are so many amazing photo opportunities, from the Lake, to the ferris wheel at Old Firehouse Winery (even when the seats are missing), to the famous Eddie’s Grill (best burgers and fries in Geneva on the Lake), and all of the colorful spots in between. Liz & Matt complimented it all.

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Liz&MattEngagement

Liz&MattEngagement

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Liz & Matt’s wedding is October 21, 2018 at The Grand Barn at the Mohicans . I am so excited about this venue, it will suite their woodsy wedding theme just perfectly. I love working along side Liz at Redhawk Grille , and being able to hear all the planning and details along the way is so much fun, just this week I learned of their wedding hashtag #LaydenInLove. I know their wedding is going to one of my favorites this year, and I can’t wait to see these two tie the knot!!

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Lindsay Dawn Photography

 

Cleveland Engagement Session – Sarah & Matthew – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

Last weekend, I had an engagement session in downtown Cleveland, with the most amazing couple. Sarah & Matthew were such a pleasure to be around, we had so much fun exploring the city and finding things and places that we did not even knew existed. We started at a very popular spot, East 4th Street, which is a booming part of the city’s nightlife.

 

Cleveland Engagement - Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer
Cleveland Engagement Session – Sarah & Matthew – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

Downtown

How adorable is this Northeast Ohio couple?! I am SO excited to be there wedding photographer as well! They are getting married December 23, 2018 at the gorgeous Windows on the River in Cleveland’s historic First Energy Powerhouse building. Can you even imagine how beautiful their wedding is going to be?! I can’t wait to take their wedding images at this dream venue!!

Downtown

Downtown

We wandered away from East 4th Street, and headed to Cleveland Public Square, which if you haven’t visited, you should!! There are so many great spots for photos, along with so many spots to visit and enjoy the day. Did you know that there is even a Taco Bell Cantina, where they serve margaritas? Yes, please! It is located just down from the House of Blues, which is another awesome Cleveland hot spot.

Downtown

On our way to the Free Stamp (those not from Cleveland, it is a giant rubber stamp statue, and it is pretty cool), we discovered a part of the city that none of us even knew existed. This huge open space, close to Lake Erie and the Browns stadium. Like Matt said, it didn’t even look like Cleveland, it was so cool!!

Downtown

How did this beautiful couple meet? They met at a coffee shop in college, just a simple meeting and look at them now. Matt proposed while they were visiting his family in Pittsboro, North Carolina for the holidays. On Christmas Eve, Matt took Sarah out to a nice restaurant for dinner, and after took her to see some beautiful twinkle lights and get some photos together. That is when he popped the question, and how fitting that their wedding will be just two days before Christmas this year!

Downtown

Now, I bet you can see and understand why I am so excited for Sarah & Matt’s Cleveland wedding this year! Not that I want to fast forward through summer, but seriously, it is going to be an epic wedding.