I've been talking about doing this post for years... and I think the time has finally come. Yahyah!
So, any chance you all remember Kelley? I've shot her before. A lot before, actually.
But last year I did a shoot with her and her husband. She got back into her wedding dress and we had some fun (ps. I LOVE those kinds of shoots. The end.)
Kelley and I go way back. She was my highschool Literature teacher, so for four years I spent every Friday with her. During those four years she started dating Josh, got engaged to Josh, married Josh, got pregnant with her first kid and had her first kid. It was kind of insane.
Also during those years, I started photography. The first wedding I ever "booked myself" was for Casey. And Kelley was in Casey's wedding in April 2007.
Sooooo, if you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook you might have seen that I have some "big girl news" to announce. If not, you maybe didn't see that.
So, I have some big girl news to announce :D
Today is my 21st birthday, and the day started with homemade cinnamon rolls, mimosa's and a darling, visionary friend named Sylvie.
It also included new shoes, pasta+wine with Janet, cuddles with Baby Audrey...
... and a little seat-dance about rice cakes (Janet's daughter LOVES rice cakes. Like, LOVES them.)
And it also included signing the lease for my new apartment.
Yes, I have the key. I have a truck. I move in tomorrow.
(Ps. Pretend I don't look like Mr. Incredible in that pic? Sweet. Thanks
There's a baby checking out my new space! Ow ow!
But seriously, this is one of the most scary, exciting and surprising things I've ever done in my whole life. I knew this year was going to look different since my whole family moved away to Florida, but I really had no idea at what speeds things would "change."
Short story of how it came together:
My whole family has lived in a lovely and large country home for the last 6 years. My studio is above the garage and I have my own entrance, bedroom and bathroom (essentially an apartment) separate from the rest of the house. Our plan was to find a family who could rent "the house" and let me keep "my apartment."
My parents needed to be in Florida by August 1, and as of this Monday (August 16) we had no renters. Since my family had to pack up and leave so quickly (thank you Business Executives in Big Business Man chairs for that) my parents really didn't have a chance to make the house "rent-able." We have stuff in our basement, lots of little house projects and some serious house projects to work on. I figured it would take at least until September for someone to even consider coming to the place.
Slowly my brother and I worked on getting stuff done, but I really haven't done much. (It turns out that taking care of a house is a LOT OF WORK. Who knew?) Well, on Monday two families came to see the place. The second family said within 10 minutes that they wanted to move in. To the whole space - including "my studio." The following Thursday. What did they have to do to move forward?
The next 48 hours were a whirlwind of leases, checks, house-hunting for me, applying for apartments, packing, painting, cleaning, regular photographer working and leading my first "ladies meeting" for church. (On a side-note, I know I have some very patient people who have hired me... Thank you for being oh-so-patient. I hate excuses, but I'm not gonna lie... I've felt a little in over my head the last few weeks. The speed of the change caught me off-guard, but I'm learning! haha I'm getting it together! You all rock.)
But it's settling down. I move tomorrow, and wow, I feel so old. I was planning on staying in that house for a while, but God "knows the way I take." And I'm so excited because it's pushing me out of my comfort zone, and I really think I'm going to have so much fun.
So please come over and say hi! Or stop in for dinner! Or lunch! And I'll show you my new cute white little home :D
Please? Your forever? ben harper - forever
The heat on Heather + Moises's wedding day was outrageous.
I'm not one to complain about sunshine and heat - I adore it! But man, highs of 106, rampant humidity and stale air, well, it was just a'blazin, ya'll. (Hi cowgirl Kristen? Welcome?)
Everyone did their best to stay cool, and Heather went above and beyond to make sure people were not uncomfortable. Electric fans, paper fans, bottles of water, ice... she had it all ready.
And that's the cool thing about Heather, she focuses on other people. She cares about them. All day long she was checking in on me, her family, her son... and was happy as tortoise. (Cause those are happy little critters, right?! haha)
She wasn't at all "diva bride" who needed the princess treatment. She loved everyone so well. I super respect that. And everyone, in turn, just beamed for her. Oh, how excited they all were!!!
When she had her moments of "me-time" she happily told me her love story.
She re-counted the childish days of old where they "hated" each other. And when the became friends, and when the went to movies together.
She told me about his sense of humor (their "guest book" were Mad Libs personalized for them ;) Very cute and very them) and how much fun they have together.
She explained how wonderful a friend he was. How wonderful all her friends were. She couldn't stop telling me about them.
She told me about their incredible, romantic, perfect proposal in a carriage. Moises had The Wedding March play and he told her how he wanted to see her coming down an aisle, moments away from marrying him, and hear that song.
He told her he loved her. He told he he wanted to be with her forever. And though only 19, Heather knew this was the man she wanted to be with for her whole life.
Heather also told me how plans were changed when she found out she was having a baby. Their son, beautiful little Rowan, was a surprise but oh, how they love him.
With all that in my mind, I stood next to Moises and listened to The Wedding March play. I watched Heather and her father enter the doorway, and begin walking down the aisle. After years and years of friendship, devotion and patience, this was the moment.
And the moment couldn't have been more beautiful.
Such a happy family :D
And the happy husband and wife :D
While we photographed the very important people, guests had a delightful cocktail hour. I was super enjoying it :D
The whole wedding party was so gracious and kind as we shot in the sun. I know it was hard and hot, but they were so happy and truly a blessing to Heather. Good work, friends :D
And now we come to these two. Oh boy.
"If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee."
Or, if ever two were radiantly happy, then these?
They were so happy. I wish I could have bottled up the happy and sent out little packages of it to friends on sad days. Or managed to steal the noise - the laughing, the dress swoosh-ing, the lip puckering, the "quoting a movie so making this voice" accents, the crunch of the hard summer grass - and mix it into a paint that could splash onto walls with the color of evening. Their happiness made me want to create singing paint. Yeah, it was REALLY happy.
I love your beautiful friendship.
Sometimes, I think, people forget to be best friends.
Thank you for being best friends.
After our fun shoot, the party was just begging to get started.
I adored the milk glass vases, the bright pops of red and the elegenat Tiffany blue against the summer-y white chairs. It was a dreamy reception :D
How wouldn't want to get married here?!
As the sun set, Moises and Heather danced. Together. This is just the start of so many dances are a married couple
Thank you for having me at the beginning of your story.
I loved being a part of it, and I am so excited for your future :D
"To be married,
will be an awfully
big adventure." peter pan
Everyone says it, but I have to be honest and say, few really do it. "We want to make our wedding personal. We want it to be different. 'Us.'" Noah and Courtney did it. Their wedding was almost more "them" then they are.
Let's start with Courtney's bridal shoes (complete with metal skull tied to the laces.)
Courtney is so fun-loving, so adventurous, so thrilled about life.
She's never been a girly-girl who loves tutu's and ponies.
Oh no, she is all about exploring, playing and being outside as much as possible.
I love that God has made her that way, I love that she sees life different. It's so refreshing!
It reminds me of Ecclesiastes 5:
"Everyone to whom God has given wealth and possessions
and power to enjoy them... rejoice!"
Courtney has power to enjoy. She is so blessed, and God has given her such a wonderful life, and instead of being "stuck-up-y" about it, she enjoys it. She wants to discover more. She wants to explore. She enjoys the intrigue of life!
She also loves people. Her bridal party included her mom, her sisters, her friends, her new sister-in-laws and kids she baby-sat. It's so provoking to see how many lives she has loved on.
And they were all so happy for her :D
And this is most definitley COURTNEY'S wedding. From the tie-up-lace-sleeve to the black nail polish.
And the running through fields with children? Sure, why not. It's your wedding!
In this bridal party, Courtney is the third of my brides :D Still super happy for you Casey + Elise!
Everyone else had their own personal chucks. It was pretty cute.
So, who exactly marries a fun-loving, crazy girl?
Who is quite a fun-loving, crazy guy.
Who also has many friends of many ages.
And very distinct taste :D
But who also loves God, loves life... and, well, loves his Courtney. He's a "all-in" kind of guy - he jokes hard, adventures hard and love God's truth hard. And he has just fallen quite in love with Courtney :D
We finished pictures just time for the beautiful ceremony to begin. Isn't this location just PERfect for these two?
They love Lord of the Rings, Peter Pan, Shakespeare... and those things were incorpated into the decor. I love the quotes they used on the programs:
"I do love nothing in the world as well as you."
"To be married will be an awfully big adventure."
"The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad."
The ceremony was, of course, perfected for Noah and Courtney.
The bridal entered to music from Peter Pan movies, and Courtney walked down the aisle to an instrumental piece Noah wrote (and let's just say there weren't a whole lot of airy violin or delicate piano parts...) and it was VERY special.
Also, as each person walked down the aisle, all the guests cheered and clapped and whistled.
It was so loud and celebratory!
And then super romantic :D Noah couldn't take his eyes off her, or his teeth of his lip.
(notice the pastor in chucks too...)
Hey! Guess what?
I think they are quite in love :D
Worship was just beautiful as voices raised outside, surrounded by trees, kissed by sun, with so many family and friends.
And like *that* they are married!! Of course they sprinted/skipped out...
... and made a mad dash to the end ;)
They are cute. I like them.
We started what became one of the easiest shoots of my life.
I pretty much didn't have to tell these guys to do anything.
They were just beaming and goofing around - just being themselves, which was perfect.
Oooo, ooo... look at her pulling her fierce! Nice!
At one point I was trying to pose them for a shot.
Then Courtney found one of those long grasses that has a bud at the end.
So they started a grass-shooting-war.
And I was like "Yeaaaah, I'm gonna shut up and let them play, because this is too fun."
Noah decided to lose his jacket (for more agility, probably) so they gave the litte Tree Man a coat.
But there was a casualty. One of Noah's cufflinks went missing, so they crew looked (I don't think they ever found it :-/)
But the little loveheads and I continued on with pictures.
They just got cuter and cuter (and more "them") as the night went on.
Once we finished, the reception began! And probably my favorite first dance EVER took place.
Sweet, happy, lovely little first dance...
... that turned into disaster. Noah spun Courtney and her shoe got caught on the cake tablecloth and the whole cake fell!!!!
The guests gasped in shock!
Only to find out that it was a planned-prank ;)
Not too bad for taking such a big fall, huh?!
But I loved seeing how happy they were when everyone laughed.
They had these joyous "yes!!! we got them!!!" faces and it was so fun. I love that they pranked their guests.
I must say, they are going to have such a fun, happy life together.
And I am SO happy for you two :D
God knew what He was doing when He made you for each other, and I loved getting to photograph your big, adventurous day!