Taggart Lake Wedding With Japanese Traditions

Katrisha and James love story is one from a Hallmark film! Meeting in law school, enduring a long distance relationship, exciting trips to new places and a Christmas engagement?! This couple was so ready to be married and chose to have a Taggart Lake wedding with their closest friends and family, while incorporating rich Japanese traditions.

Katrisha & James

Katrisha and James met as they were both attending law school in Texas. Like most law students, they were both very focused on their studies and as a result they weren’t really friends until the end of their degree. Right before gradation Katrisha and some friends invited James to go out for drinks and dinner. They ended up connecting at dinner, which resulted in a long distance relationship that lasted four years.

Katrisha and James were planning a ski trip, where Katrisha thought James would propose. However, James twin brother had just proposed to Katrisha’s best friend from law school. So she felt that he wouldn’t propose so soon after. Then their ski trip was cancelled and she thought that he for sure wouldn’t propose until after the holidays.

black and white image of bride and groom walking on a trail in the Grand Tetons with the forest behind them as they hold hands and smile in their wedding attire near Taggart Lake

As they were home for the holidays, James and Katrisha decided to make ornaments for one another. Katrisha made two gingerbread people wearing masks, and James created an ornament that looked just like Katrisha’s dog. Then, James told her there was one last gift in the tree. He handed her a red ribbon and she followed it all the way around the tree, which led to an engagement ring! And the following dialogue was in true lawyer fashion:

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Is this seriously happening right now?”

He shook his head and said, “well, will you?”

“Will I what?” Katrisha countered.

“Do I have to say?”


“Will you marry me?”

Why A Taggart Lake Wedding?

James is a true outdoorsman who loves to fish and hunt, and one of his favorite places to visit is The Grand Tetons during the summer and fall. As they dated Katrisha became more outdoorsy and began to really enjoy relaxing in the outdoors on their trips together. Because of their fond memories spent in The Grand Tetons, they thought it would be the perfect place to be married!

Originally the couple thought that they would want to have a grand adventure with an epic hike to the location they would get married. But, decided to have an easier hike so that they could include their family and friends. A Taggert Lake Wedding was perfect for this because of the short 3 mile round trip which was a very easy hike.

James & Katrisha’s Taggart Lake Wedding

The morning was clear and fresh the day of their wedding, so the lighting was just lovely for their big day! We all met at the head of the trail to begin hiking to Taggart Lake. On the way Katrisha, James and I snuck though a line of trees into a meadow. They both got changed into their wedding attire, and had a first look and private vow reading. These moments were so authentic and sweet. It was wonderful for them to have this time with just the two of them, and I am so glad that I was able to capture it all!

Afterwards, we decided to have Katrisha’s dad come into the meadow for a first look. He gave the best reaction and was incredibly sweet! Getting to witness such love and excitement, as well as capturing it as a Grand Teton wedding photographer made my heart swell! First looks with dads are definitely one of my new favorite things!

Wedding Ceremony & Japanese Traditions

Their wedding was very small and intimate, which was perfect for Katrisha and James! Both of their parents came, as well as their siblings, their significant others and children. With such a small party there were many tender moments and beautiful ways they were each included.

Katrisha was raised in Japan and her family had just recently moved to the USA. To stay connected to her heritage, they incorporated a piece of tradition and ritual called “san-san-kudo”. The ritual is preformed during the wedding ceremony by the bride and groom, as well as their parents. Each person takes 3 sips of sake from three different cups. The first 3 symbolize the three couples. The second set of 3 represents the three human flaws, being hatred, passion and ignorance. The last sips represent deliverance from those three flaws. “Ku” is 9 in Japanese, and is lucky in the culture. (Source of this information).

After their Taggart Lake wedding ceremony, they had a bento box picnic lunch! Each family received a picnic blanket with their last names embroidered with the bento boxes. This was probably one of the most unique and sentimental wedding favors that I have ever seen! I love how personalized it was, as well as how useful.

sake tray for Japanese wedding tradition for bride and groom in the Grand Tetons for their Taggart Lake wedding

Taggart Lake Wedding Photos

To finish off their wedding day we hiked around the lake and took wedding photos! Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera, and that is okay! My job as a Grand Teton wedding photographer is to capture your love story the way that you feel it. With James and Katrisha we had lots of candid moments during their bridal session. This helped them feel more relaxed and natural and resulted in gorgeous wedding photos!

On way we did this was by having a first dance. We turned on music on my phone and placed it in James pocket, so that they could both hear the music playing as I stepped back and took pictures! The music distracted them from the camera and prompted them to have a romantic dance. Embracing moments like these in the Grand Tetons is what makes your wedding photos one of a kind and beautiful.

After more photos, and a bit more hiking to the head of the trail, Katrisha and James were off as newly weds! They were going to spend a few days in the national park honeymooning, so they went back to their cabin to begin the adventure! And I was off to edit their gallery.

I love capture love stories in The Grand Tetons. My couples usually have some sort of tie connected to the national park. And getting to know your stories there bring me so much joy! If you are wanting to visit Jackson Hole or The Grand Tetons for your wedding day, reach out! I would love to give you an insider’s look to all the best spots!

stunning image of Taggart Lake wedding taken by Grand Teton wedding photographer with bride and groom in the distance on a small rock in the lake and the Tetons reflecting into the water

Taggart Lake wedding ceremony with bride smiling over her shoulder as she holds her grooms hands and the officiant marries the couple

bride and groom back packs with just married signs on them on a hiking trail in the Tetons

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