Photography Blog

Crystal Madsen Photography

Valentine’s Day Wedding

& Weddings.

Friday February 14, 2014 brought us the most elegant Valentine’s Day wedding at The Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA. Rachel made it a point to sprinkle elegance over every little detail of her wedding day. From the red rubies sprinkled atop the tables to the hand-made alter dazzled in frosted winter-branches and wicker hearts, each detail was put in place with precise care. Even the wedding cake, provided by Marsell’s, had the perfect hint of lavender in the frosting and glammed with rhinestoned lace. Perfection.
Following the traditional Valentine’s Day color scheme of reds and purples for a wedding at The Davenport Hotel was brilliant. The rich purple of the bridesmaids dresses made the vibrant reds in their bouquets pop to life. Not to mention the red umbrellas that Rachel gifted to her maids just that morning! One of my favorite images is of Rachel and her bridesmaids running across the streets of downtown Spokane sporting their red umbrellas in front of the Bing Crosby Theater. These ladies knew how to have fun, so classic!
While the bride was beyond stunning in her form-fitting elegant gown, and her maids only added to the spectacular scene…one cannot forget the groom. While snapping a few portraits of Tim in the Elizabethan Ballroom in The Davenport Hotel, I remember asking him, “Which brand of suit are we modeling here?” We seriously could have been in the middle of a fashion shoot with these two.
Their day went by perfectly. The ceremony and reception was held in the Marie Antoinette Ballroom which provides for the most grand setting for a wedding in Spokane. The food was immaculate, live music was provided by the award-winning band 6 Foot Swing, and comedy relief was provided by the bride’s father during his entertaining toast which consisted of a hammer and plunger…you had to be there.
Please take a scroll through their images and relive their day with them!Davenport Hotel Wedding Details Red Valentines Day Wedding Details Spokane Wedding Photographer Details Davenport-Wedding-Spokane001 Valentine's-Day-Wedding002 Valentine's-Day-Wedding003 Valentine's-Day-Wedding008 Valentine's-Day-Wedding004 Valentine's-Day-Wedding005 Valentine's-Day-Wedding006 Valentine's-Day-Wedding007 Valentine's-Day-Wedding009 Valentine's-Day-Wedding010 Valentine's-Day-Wedding012 Valentine's-Day-Wedding011 Candid Wedding Photo Davenport Wedding 1st Look Valentine's Day Wedding Davenport-Wedding-Spokane005 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane004 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane002 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane003 Beautiful Wedding Photography Davenport-Wedding-Spokane006 Valentine's Day Wedding Davenport Hotel Wedding Black and white candid wedding photo Unique Black and White Wedding Photo Urban Wedding Photo Black and White Romantic Wedding Photos Unique Wedding Photos Valentine's Day Wedding Spokane Wedding Photography Davenport-Wedding-Spokane009 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane010 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane011 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane012 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane013 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane014 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane015 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane022 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane023 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane024 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane025 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane016 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane017 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane018 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane020 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane019 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane021 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane028 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane027 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane026 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane029 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane007 Davenport-Wedding-Spokane008
Venue: The Davenport Hotel
Florist: The Davenport Hotel
Dress: David’s Bridal
Makeup: Jamie Couey
Band: 6 Foot Swing

See Rachel and Tim’s Spokane downtown engagement session here!

Wedding Pricing

Beautiful Fall Spokane Wedding

& Weddings.

[schema type="organization" orgtype="LocalBusiness" url="" name="Crystal Madsen" description="Crystal Madsen is an award winning Spokane wedding photographer. " street="114 West Pacific Ave #209" city="Spokane" state="WA" postalcode="99201" country="US" email="" phone="509-499-1090" ]The beautiful fall Spokane weather did not disappoint for this simple, romantic, and sweet wedding for Katie and Ben.
They picked a perfect day in September and the best location for the two of them to celebrate their love for one another with their closest friends and families by their sides.  There are always a multitude of variations in a fall Spokane wedding, but with these two they went with the softer side of fall, with rich, yet soothing colors that truly represented their love for one another.  Everything about their day went so smoothly, it was simply perfect to capture them and the comfort they felt as the day went on.
Katie and Ben chose the Convention Center to get married at, and the venue did not disappoint.  With the beautiful, lush fall flowers in the park, the bright and airy roof top decor, and the unique spaces we captured some breathe-taking photographs.  I think on of the best aspects of their wedding was all of the subtle details they had, that were true to their personalities.  I mean they even had balloons thrown after they were pronounced husband and wife!  It was unique, fun and very playful, I hadn’t seen that before, and it was very fun to shoot.
As always I have so much fun photographing weddings and working with great couple’s like Katie and Ben!  I wish the two of them the best in their marriage.

© Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer © Spokane Wedding Photographer

Venue: Convention Center
Hair: Miranda Stark
Cake: Sweet Frostings
Flowers: Special Touch 
Dress: David’s Bridal 

114 W Pacific #209
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Romantic Spokane Winter Engagement

& Engagement Sessions.

Romance is what we all want when we get engaged and this lovely couple, Alex and Ben, definitely shared their romance and love with me as I was able to photograph them recently.  We headed up to family property in the Qualchan area of Spokane, and were able to truly capture the romantic Spokane air that surrounds them during their shoot.  From the formal military attire to the fun loving hunting swag, these two are head of heels for each other and I truly enjoyed photographing them all over this stunning property.
We were able to utilize the gorgeous home, the breathtaking yard, and have fun with multiple wardrobes during their session.  They made it a lot of fun, using props and finding those perfect spots at the family home.  It is couple’s like them that make my job so much fun.  This wedding is going to be top notch and one of a kind for sure, I can’t wait.

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114 W Pacific #209
Spokane, WA 99201

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Spokane Snowy Engagement

& Engagement Sessions.

Sometimes when a couple comes to me they have already had their engagement photographs taken.  When I met Katie and Ben they were one of those couples that had already captured those memories, but the great part was they were willing to do it again.  As I always say to my couple’s, the engagement session is the time for us to get used to each other and for you to get used to the camera.  It is that time to practice posing, so the day of your wedding you aren’t feeling uncomfortable.  With all of that being said, I am so glad Katie and Ben were willing to part take in a second round of snowy engagement photos, because it was a lot of fun.
We headed to the snow covered Manito park on Spokane’s south hill, and we were able to get some great shots.  These two stayed warm in each other’s arms as they laughed together among the snow and stomped through the few inches of beautiful snow.  Snowy engagement sessions like this are so much fun for me because the scenery is so bright and full of detail.
I know that their intimate wedding will be just as sweet and full of romance, and I can’t wait to be there to capture it all.

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114 W Pacific #209
Spokane, WA 99201
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Spokane Country Engagement

& Engagement Sessions.

I met Kate at the January 2014 Bridal Festival.  A friend of hers came to me first and then she came back with Kate for a consultation right then and there.  I knew right away that Kate would be a great fit for me to work with and I had to book her.  Her passion and excitement of getting married to the man of her dreams was easy to see and I wanted to be apart of capturing those memories.  As we spoke and asked each other questions, I learned that Kate is a true country girl.  Now how could this not be fun?!
We decided to take Kate and her fiancé Drew’s love of the country and incorporate it into their engagement session here in Spokane.  We headed out to Mirabeau Park in the Spokane Valley to walk the early spring ground and capture some amazing country engagement photos.  The weather was perfect and the sun was sitting exactly where we wanted it to capture those dramatic and romantic portraits of these two.
I’m looking forward to their wedding to see all of the fun and creative portraits we will be able to capture.

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Makeup by Gloss

114 W Pacific #209
Spokane, WA 99201

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Troop Homecoming

& Family Sessions, Featured Shoots.

I’ve received the request before to capture a troop homecoming in Spokane, but I’ve always been too busy with weddings, high school seniors, and my own family. So when I received a call from a fellow wedding industry vendor (Theresa Worley with T. Worley & Co.) in early February asking if I was available…I was ecstatic to find I WAS! The air national guard was expecting troops from their 141st refueling wing to return home from a deployment in Afghanistan.
With my own husband in the military, I know all too well how emotional it is to welcome Daddy home after living without him for months. To help local families capture their smiles, tears, relief, love, longing, desperation and simple excitement is beyond rewarding.
Once the bus arrived at the airport full of the troops’ family and friends, we all anxiously waited at the baggage claim. Not only was there family, friends, and fellow troops but an inspiring group of veterans who make an appearance to each troop homecoming that they receive word on. They showed up carrying dozens of American flags to make a decorated and patriotic aisle for our troops to make their grand entrance. It was the perfect touch to the ceremony. Other perfect touches were the homemade signs made by small children as well as a beautiful furry friend who was obviously elated to be reunited with its owner.
I knew leading up to this troop homecoming that I was going to have difficulties keeping my eyes dry behind the camera. As soon as the applause errupted, my tears began forming. Watching little girls run with their arms spread wide to encircle their daddies’ knees, little boys to be swept up into their hero’s arms, and wives to be pulled into a long embrace was one of the most touching moments I have ever had the chance to capture. One image I will never forget is the one of the little girls’ arms around their daddy’s neck. They literally did not let him out of their reach the entire time in the airport.
Thank you to the returning troops, to the veterans who show their respect and support, to the families, and to Theresa for asking me to join her. I will be making these troop homecomings a habit as much as possible!Spokane Troop Homecoming american patriotism military troop homecoming American military troops troops homecoming troop homecoming troop homecoming welcome home patriotism Troop Homecoming Homecoming Feb 10 2014_034 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_039 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_041 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_044 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_045 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_047 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_049 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_051 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_057 Homecoming Feb 10 2014_060


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My First Wedding GIF

& Weddings.

You’ve probably seen a GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) or two circulating around the web. Recenty we’ve seen them hit the wedding industry. At first I was hesistant and not really interested, but my last kiss elevator shot inspired me to create my first Wedding GIF and I think it turned out pretty cool! I will try to continue to incorporate a wedding GIF to each wedding from here on out if the opportunity rises. Let’s just hope social media begins to support the files for easier sharing!Davenport Wedding GIFTim & Rachel’s wedding is not yet ready for the blog, but you can see their downtown engagment session here!

3 Reasons Why Photography Should Be At The Top Of Your Wedding Budget

& Tools of the Trade, Weddings.

If you haven’t done so already, you soon will be sitting down with your fiance to discuss your wedding budget. You will list everything you can think of from the venue and the dress to the food and the music. You will most likely list these items according to price as well as importance. While I agree that EVERY detail is important in your wedding, I believe it is MORE important to capture the details of your wedding day. The #1 regret I hear from currently married couples is that they did not invest enough into their wedding photography, and I PROMISE this isn’t because I am a wedding photographer. It happens all too often that a couple looks back at their wedding budget decisions and wish they had allotted more money toward high-quality photos.

Here are my top 3 reasons why wedding photography should be at the top of your budget:

1. Memories Fade….Pictures Don’t

You will work tirelessly at planning your picture-perfect day. You may even sit down at the kitchen table at 1:00 AM to tie ribbons onto the 150+ party favors, cut the perfect sized confetti, or designing your program. The decision process regarding food, bridal party attire, and flowers will definitely add some stress. But your day will come. It will come faster than you think, and it will pass faster than you can imagine. So fast that you won’t remember much about how the favors were perfectly lined up, how proud and beautiful your mom looked in her sequined dress, or how the confetti fell perfectly around the two of you as you said your goodbyes to your guests.
After the food has been eaten, the tuxes taken back to the store, and flowers have wilted, all you are left with are your memories. Memories that are scattered in result of a busy and exhilarating day full of emotion.
A high-quality wedding photographer will help you beautifully capture these details and moments to cherish forever. Over time, our memories fade…especially scattered memories. A proven photographer will photograph details and events that took place that you weren’t even aware, or can no longer can remember. These treasures are truly priceless.Wedding Budget

2. A Wedding Photographer IS Your Planner and Coordinator

Experienced wedding photographers have attended hundreds of weddings and have opinions, views, ideas and timelines that they know work or don’t work. A seasoned photographer will make it mandatory that you have a final meeting the week of the wedding to discuss and plan the final wedding day timeline and agenda. They need to know where everyone will be, where they will be, and when events will take place. In order to utilize each minute given to provide the most beautiful wedding photos, the photographer will help coordinate and organize your day.
Leading and directing a bridal party of 18 or a family of 60 takes proven skill and experience. It takes a person who can issue orders while still being friendly, humorous and patient. If your photographer cannot do this, important photos will be missed…guaranteed.Wedding Budget

3. You Get What You Pay For

Along with most everything else in our world, the size of your investment reflects the quality you receive. With so many photographers to choose from, it’s easy to be attracted to the lower priced photographer. You have to keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

When referring to base wedding photography packages (not off-season or additional discounts), if you’re looking to spend:

  • Less than $1,000, you can expect your photographer to be running their business part-time and have less than a year of wedding experience. Their gear most likely is not top-of-the-line, and there’s a great chance that they will not have back-up gear in case of failure. IF product is included in their package, it will only be the disc of images. The quality of images reflect their confidence, knowledge and experience toward photography. Their retouching and editing skills (if any) are typically not top-notch.
  • Less than $2,000, you can expect your photographer to be fairly new to shooting weddings full-time OR offer a limited number of hours on your day. Product is minimal and the engagement session will not be included. They will achieve a good number of great shots, but may disappoint in the overall number of quality images. They’re not one of the best (demanded) photographers in your area, so may not have a ton of knowledge or hold relationships with your other vendors or venue, which comes invaluable when it comes to communication and flow of your day.
  • $2,500 or more you’re dealing with the experienced professionals. Wedding photography is their full-time job and their livelihood. This means that they live and breathe wedding photography. They go the extra mile to make sure you are more than satisfied with every aspect of their service and product. Most photographers provide the engagement session, all-day wedding coverage as well as retouched images for both. They are using top-of-the-line gear, bring top-of-the line back-up equipment, and know how to use it all with expertise. Their editing skills are impressive, their creativity is admirable, and their professionalism is unmatched. You will be amazed at the number of superb images that will be delivered, and surprised at the shots they captured that you were unaware of. The photographer will be popular within your community and will hold great relationships with your vendors and venue.
  • wedding budge

My goal with this information is to convince you that wedding photography is important; important enough to be at the top of your wedding budget. If you need to cut expenses, don’t cut them from your wedding photography. It’s a tried and true fact that you will regret it. Find the photographer that you love and find a way to make them yours. They will help you beautifully capture your day exactly how you want it.


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Don’t Forget This on Your Wedding Day

& Tools of the Trade, Weddings.

So in thinking about weddings and continually going through the wedding photographs from this past season, there are specific moments that continue to pop into my head.  These would be the “Oh no, did I bring…?”, “Where is my…?” or “Was I suppose to…?” moments.  Those are the moments that you don’t want to have on your wedding day.  You want to be relaxed and reassured that you have everything to make your day flawless and that everyone, especially the two of you have the time of your life.  In thinking about these questions and concerns that pop up the day of the wedding, I thought what better way to help out future brides and grooms than make a list for you to go over, just as that quadruple check.

1.  The Legal Documentation

This is probably on top of the list in importance following the exchanging of vows.  Without the signing of the legal marriage certificate that day you are missing that final, yet so important piece, making it legal.Legal Documentation

2. Making and distributing itineraries

Wow, this one is a big deal.  Making sure everyone is where they need to be and in the know, is very important.  This task can be taken care of in that last couple weeks before your big day as you are meeting with your photographer, florist, venue coordinator, DJ, and the other vendors involved in your wedding day.  You will wan to send a copy to everyone and to your bridal party, so everyone is where they should be on time, because that is definitely one thing you don’t need to worry about, someone missing in action.

3. Transportation throughout the day

This is something I have noticed can be easily forgotten.  If you have multiple locations for your ceremony, reception, or just for photos, you need to make sure you know who is getting you to each location.  This can be as easy as asking a bridesmaid or groomsman to drive, or getting a vehicle arranged from the hotel you are staying at.Beautiful Castle Wedding

4. In charge of food/snacks for the days preparation events

Eating is often a forgotten idea as the day is just moving from one thing to another, and there is always great food at the end of the day, but to make it to the end of the day, even the ceremony, you need to eat.  This is a great task that can be handed off to a mother or father.  Some venues do offer food, if you are their the entire day, but it is always safe to have a plan so everyone in your bridal party has something in their stomach, so everyone can make it down the isle.  Fall Color Weddings

5.  Who is going to have the rings

As the tradition goes, the best man is in charge of handing the rings over during the ceremony, but who is going to have the rings before walking down the isle?  What I advice is giving them to a bridesmaid during the pre-ceremony events, handing them off to your photographer for those beautiful detail shots, and then off to the best man.  This is an important one, because you don’t want to have the panic before you take those first steps toward the isle.
Rings on Stone

6. Payment for Vendors

Each vendor is different in their payment plan for their wedding services, as some ask for full payment two weeks before, one week, two days, and some the day-of.  For those that ask for the balance to be complete the day-of, be sure to remember your check book or credit card, so there isn’t any frustration or added angst that you owe a vendor.Spokane Photographers

7. Who is in charge of gathering gifts

As we all know, when you get married, you get a lot of gifts.  But, if you leave before everyone else for the day, what is going to happen to all of the gifts that people so generously brought for you?  You aren’t in charge of that.  This job should be delegated off to someone in the bridal party or a family member that lives in town that can take the gifts to your home the next day or hold onto all of them until you return from your honeymoon.

8. Who is going to help clean up

You had enough stress getting to the big day and all of the little details, don’t stress over having to clean up after the reception too.  A great feature that a lot of venues have to offer is their staff will do the clean up and tear down of your ceremony and reception.  If this feature isn’t added into your venue, just ask your bridal party and family or friends that are willing to help you out so you are able to relax after your special day.  Just remember it doesn’t hurt to ask about this detail.

9. Overnight bag

Don’t forget that bag if you aren’t going home.  Dedicate this task of keeping track of your bag to your maid-of-honor and your best man.  You of course need to pack your bag, but you don’t need to try to find it as you are leaving your reception.

10.  What Are You Doing Post Reception

You might have a lot of family in from out of town, so you may want to do a post wedding reception gathering that is more intimate at a nice hotel or you may just want to head to bed and continue the celebration with you family and friends the next day.Spokane Weddings

11.  What Are You Doing the Day After

There are many options for the day after you say your ‘I Do’s’.  We all think about the big day, but the day after can easily fall by the wayside.  You have a few options and if you have a plan you are able to really enjoy being newlyweds and go about the next couple days stress free.  Some ideas are; you can head out on a plane for your honeymoon, have a present party/brunch with the close family and friends, or just enjoy a relaxing day with your new wife or husband.

12. Emergency sewing kit

This is that small, but more often than you might think, an important item that has saved many of wedding days.  Make sure someone has an emergency sewing kit for that pesky dress that keeps falling down, or that zipper that just won’t zip correctly.  Having a kit in a bag, is much better than having a bridesmaid stress over her dress dropping.

I hope this little list of 12 important (but sometimes forgotten) items helps you in your planning and organizing of your wedding day.  Keep it stress-free, and delegate to the people that are involved in your day and ask questions of your vendors.

114 W Pacific #209
Spokane, WA 99201


Loving Portland Wedding

& Weddings.

This DIY same sex wedding is close to my heart, as I am friends the two lovely brides, Suzanne and Mallory.   The basis of their relationship is their love for one another and since Suzanne and Mallory’s love ignited they have been together ever since.  Their love for one another is genuine, fun, sweet and full of laughter, and we were able to capture all of that during their beautiful wedding day.
Their wedding took place at The Lake House at Blue Lake in Portland, Oregon in August of 2013 and these two ladies did it all! They made the flowers out of paper months before and brought in their own details and personal touches to the ceremony.  They added a uniqueness and personalization that I hadn’t seen in a ceremony before.  Rather than a unity  candle or sand, they wanted their entire family to be a part of their special day. One at a time during the ceremony each person took a locket and locked it on the metal tree symbolizing their support. This was the most difficult moment I had experienced yet in my career. Trying to keep my eyes dry and capture the beautiful ceremony ahead of me was trying. Later in the reception, the keys to the locks where thrown into the lake, as a representation of never turning back and being in this together.
The support from everyone was seen and felt the entire day as emotions ran high, tears of joy were shed, hugs were their hand shakes, and the love for these two women was everywhere.  The amount of support and love that was felt that day continued to blow me away as there was never a question about these two getting married.
Of course the Oregon rain came during formal photos, causing some stress, but they persevered and we were able to enjoy the beautiful ceremony under the massive trees on the bank of the lake.  I can’t even explain how happy I am for the two of them and how honored I was to be there as a guest and their photographer.  We were able to reminisce about our college days, keeping the day light, while still focusing on what was most important, which was them.
I am so incredibly happy for Suzanne and Mallory in this new step in their love and relationship.  Congrats, I love you both!

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114 W Pacific #209
Spokane, WA 99201

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