Catherine Abegg » wedding & portrait photographer from seattle, wa... specializing in lifestyle, travel, and film photography.

gus & ria’s wedding // orcas island, wa

I guess the only way to introduce this wedding would be, “Welcome to the Funnest Wedding EVER!”


And not only the funnest, as you can see (and yes, I’m totally okay using the word “funnest”), but the chillest wedding too! Gus & Ria hired me to photograph their wedding about two weeks before the wedding was to take place, saying that at first they didn’t think they needed a photographer, but then realized that all the love & hard work that they had put into this day deserved to be properly documented. They had described their wedding to me–rustic, DIY, outdoorsy–and had also told me about the few surprises that they had up their sleeve, but it wasn’t until we arrived at their wedding did I fully grasp what it was they were up to.

There wedding was in fact DIY, but they hired the ranks of all their friends to help get the job done… many, if not all, of their guests were on designated committees, from who was in charge of the various meals, who manned the decorations at both the ceremony & the reception & all the places in between, all the way down to who was in charge of makeup & hair. It was a village effort, and spirits ran high all weekend as everyone went about the business of creating the funnest wedding ever.

My favorite parts of this wedding are many, starting with just these few… the fact that Ria brought three outfits & chose which one she’d wear just minutes before heading out for photos, and chose the crop top… hello!; the obvious playfulness between Gus & Ria, and the perfect partnership that they formed, even steering a canoe in perfect unison together; the way that guests lounged around, during the ceremony, during the reception, and well into the night; and I was shocked by & in awe of the insane dance party that happened in that little cabin by the lake! Who knew that engineers & such could be so wild! And I loved having Michael there with me that day, and when we had a little down time, one of the guests said to me, “Oh, I just saw your husband head down to the lake with his paddleboard!” It means the world to me for him to witness how absolutely wonderful my job can be, and he still holds this wedding as the standard to which all weddings should live up to. That night we were drunk & giddy around the campfire with everyone, and when there was talk of everyone going skinny-dipping in the lake that night, Michael & I were the first in the lake… and then ended up being the only ones anyway.

Many months later when we had dinner at Gus & Ria’s and when we were reminiscing about their wedding, they said that they’d heard around the campfire that Michael & I had gone skinny-dipping, and that that was one of their funniest memories of the wedding. And I’ve gotta say that I’m pretty happy about that… to have met a couple whose love of life begins with & revolves around friends, family, and a deep appreciation for being naked under the light of the moon.

Congratulations to Gus & Ria, who not only planned a wedding while pregnant, had an incredibly fun wedding with a two month old baby, but who are now pregnant & soon to be expecting a second child into their wonderful home! You guys are an inspiration to Michael & me, and we feel so lucky that you decided to hire a photographer after all.

And thanks to Offbeat Bride for featuring this wedding on their blog… a wedding that one of their readers deemed their most “favorite wedding on Offbeat Bride, EVER!” Take a look, and leave some love, here.


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  • January 3, 2016 - 1:09 am

    Emma G - What an AMAZING wedding. If I wasn’t already married, this is how I’d love to redo it! And what a beautiful person you are!ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2017 - 12:06 pm

    Sonja - Oh Catherine! I absolutely love this wedding! The photos made me cry, and your write-up at the end made me cry again. What a beautiful couple, with so much love and life around them- this is truly what full hearts look like! I always love your work, but this wedding is extraordinary! It makes me want to get married again and again! xoReplyCancel

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