the glorious PNW

Oh, Seattle. How I love, love, love you.  I visited once before--in December, when it was cold, rainy and dark 98% of the trip--so it was a different experience entirely to visit in the summer. And we were blessed with SUCH perfect weather. Breezy and cool, getting warmer in the afternoon, some overcast mornings. Hardly any rain. I could definitely live in this place...at least in the summertime! One of my best college friends, Tessa, and I traveled to the west coast to photograph another dear friend's wedding. Katelin and her husband John tied the knot on tiny Bainbridge Island, surrounded by friends and family from near and far. Katelin grew up in Indiana (we went to Ball State together) while John grew up on Bainbridge. Sooo many people traveled in for the weekend's festivities and it was so cool to be able to be part of it all.

Katelin and John have the coolest apartment in Queen Anne. It looks like something out of a West Elm catalog and they have amazing views of the Space Needle.

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On Thursday, we celebrated Katelin's bachelorette by hiking Little Si (Katelin is quite the adventurer.) Some of us (ahem, me) were wheezing by the time we hit the top but the views were so worth it.

On Thursday night, Matt arrived! Our anniversary was Saturday so it was so very fun to be together exploring Seattle for our anniversary and also celebrating Katelin and John. Friday was spent exploring Seattle as a fivesome: me, Matt, Tessa, Kaitlyn and her husband, Joe.

We of course had to visit Pike's Place Market. I'd gone before on my previous trip, but it was still so fun to wander through all the different stalls. My favorite was the flower section!

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After a quick catnap in the afternoon, we headed to Fremont to meet up with my older brother, who lives in Seattle, and see the fireworks. We had beers at the Fremont Brewery then Joe (my brother) took us up to see the Fremont Troll. We also found this super weird statue of Lenin. Joe says someone always paints the blood on his hands. So strange.

We staked out a spot under the Fremont Bridge to watch the fireworks over Lake Union. So fun! I love the 4th of July so much.

Saturday morning Matt and I went on a little breakfast date to celebrate our anniversary. We had a delicious meal at Bacco cafe (lox bagel for me, french toast for him) and then wandered around Pike's and the waterfront. I'm so grateful we were able to carve out a little us time during the whirlwind weekend! Cheers to being on year 2 of this crazy marriage ride :)

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Then it was time to catch the ferry to Bainbridge Island! We drove Katelin and John's car onto the boat--so weird!! It was a beautiful ferry trip across Puget Sound. Arriving to Bainbridge felt like arriving to summer camp. Bainbridge Island is what my dreams are made up. I want to live there forever.

We explored the island a bit; so so beautiful there.

Then it was off to John's parents for the rehearsal dinner! They hosted the dinner in the backyard of their cottage right by the water. It was seriously something out of Kinfolk magazine. I'll remember it forever.

Sunday dawned BRIGHT and EARLY. John and Katelin had an 11 a.m. brunch wedding, so we were up and shooting by 6:30. Katelin was so, so beautiful. I'm busy culling images from their perfect day so these phone snapshots will have to do for now ;) It was perfect.

After the wedding ended and Katelin and John headed for the ferry, a big group of us ended up at Point White pier overlooking the Sound. Some of John's groomsmen and Katelin's bridesmaids and a bunch of us friends, old and new, from college and elsewhere, all sat on the pier drinking beer, eating ice cream and laughing. John's best man was moving to California the very next day to start a new job. We were all flying back to our respective homes; Indiana, New York, D.C. A few people jumped off the pier into the freezing cold Sound. It was one of those moments where you want to freeze time and remember how carefree you felt for the rest of your life.

We caught the ferry back to Seattle and Matt and I went for one last adventure together. We found our way to Golden Gardens, sat on the beach and watched the sunset and hung out with my brother again for a few. Such a chill night and a perfect end to an amazing vacation.

PNW, you are SO, so beautiful. We'll be back soon!

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PS, I made it all the way home with a wedding bouquet in my backpack :) this little bit of the wedding is bringing me so much joy!!

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XO, Valerie