I had been looking forward to Chloe’s bridal session since I met her at their rad engagement session.

She did not disappoint.

I mean… this was the first photo I took.

Of course she brought bags of candy to munch on.

She would not leave until she got to kick some water around.  #bestbrideever

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How to Marry the Most Interesting Man in the World
How to Marry the Most Interesting Man in the World

Let’s get this right out of the way. Wylde Acres is a newish wedding spot in Longview, TX, and you should absolutely consider them if you are in the area.  AMAZING place, super nice people, and all kinds of locations to photograph.  Pick them.

2.5 hours before the ceremony, Aaron is doing this.  Seriously?  Get ready  man! You are getting married!

“Did you know the bride and the guy who’s marrying the bride are going to sit here?” – Flower girl

The child didn’t even know the word “groom”.  Guys, in case there was any doubt, weddings are kinda a big deal to the girls.

I saw this van when I pulled up and decided it was my favorite wedding related vehicle of all time.

About 2 hours before ceremony time, it started raining a bit.

Then a bit more.

These were taken within minutes of each other: Aaron running around like a mad man saving the day, Brittany getting her toenails painted. :)

I loved catching this moment as Brittney wrote her vows.

Totally stole this shot from Matthew of Ampersand Family.  He makes killer wedding films. And again, you should pay him money to be at your wedding.

I always love when a bit of “trouble” hits on a wedding day. It gives me a glimpse into a couple’s future.  How they will react?  How will they interact with each other? How will their support groups react?  This is what you need folks.  You need friends who will dry off your chairs.

Whose kids will dry off your chairs.

Friends who will dry off your chairs while holding their tiny human.  These are the people you should surround yourself with.

Remember that cool van?  True story. Aaron and his cousin/best friend Maverick bought that van for about 700 bucks and drove it to Alaska back around 2010-ish.  It had been sitting at Racquet & Jog for YEARS, and they bought it, changed the battery, and drove it a million miles. It’s the kind of story they make into a tv show and put it on Netflix.  It’s the kind of story we all wish we had, but so few of us are willing to launch into.  THAT is the kind of guy Aaron is; the kind of guy who buys a van and drives it to Alaska.

1st: Who buys a van for $700?
2nd: Who DRIVES it to ALASKA?
3rd: Of COURSE they slept in it.

A few years ago, Maverick passed away in a plane crash and it obviously rocked everyone’s world.  I loved hearing the stories and laughter this past weekend as they remembered him in the context of the wedding, and the van, and all the small things that came up.

This photo of Maverick’s father, with their van in the background, filled me with joy and tears as I took it.

OK.  That was deep.

Everyone back?

This little man on the right was not having anything to do with me or my camera.

This is the SECOND best cake Calavera Cakery made for the wedding.

Say hello to Hi-dee.

Of course Aaron built this.  Because he is the best man ever in the whole wide world.

Look who finally decided to smile.

You know that awkward moment, when the tiny flower girl does not want to come down the aisle, and everyone just kinda freezes and waits to see how to fix it?  Aaron is the kinda guy who just walks towards her and helps her down the aisle.  Because he’s a gentleman.

I’m a HUGE fan of the “arched back in excitement” before the first kiss.  May I present to you the ever so rare “DOUBLE arched backs of excitement”!

Due to the rain, we were not able to do ANY photos before the ceremony.  But all the beautiful people laughed and smiled and helped us get everything knocked out just before the sun went down.

Great. Another kid who hates me.

Check out the rockstar job that La Bella Blooms did.

This is us heading towards the magic.

Wait for it…

Almost there…



At this poin,t I think they are just trolling me.

I honestly think they took the joke too far.  My feelings were genuinely hurt at this point.

The parent/family dances were one big “I’m not crying, you’re crying” contest.

Again, thinking back on this van, and their trip, and all the laughter-and memories-and tears that must bubble up from time to time, I am so, so thankful we were able to get photos of them with it.

During the toasts the maid of honor shared this story:
“After this first date Brittany told me ‘He has a moped, he lives in an RV, and he’s touched elephants.’”

Seriously, no one is topping that, it was game over for every other potential suitor from that point forward.

A few years back, Aaron “iced” his buddy Mitch (who married them) at his wedding by strapping a bottle to his bride’s leg before the garter toss.  Mitch paid him back at the reception with this little box which they thought was a cake knife.  I love the look of shock and pure delight on Aaron’s face.

I present to you the best cake “in the world”.  Seriously.  It’s a cake.

Of course they are friends with the cake people.  Of course she was his old art teacher.

So I’m wandering around the reception and see this.

I kinda give them the side-eye and without hesitation this dude snapped back, “It’s ok, I’m gay.”  Well played, sir. Well played.

So when I look back on their evening I realized a few things.

One. Obviously I wish I was Aaron. But since that’s not an option, I tried to re-adjust my goals.
I left wanting to be MORE like Aaron.

More willing to go.
More willing to love.
More willing to embrace.
More willing to see the rain and not let it steal my joy.

Because the rain is just the rain. It can’t actually ruin your day.
Pouty kids are gonna do their thing. They can’t stop your wedding.
And death, even death, does not have the last word.

There is still room for laughter, there is still room for dancing, there is still room for joy.

We just have to make it.

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When a hurricane comes for your wedding day.
When a hurricane comes for your wedding day.

I could tell you about how beautiful Kaitlan’s dress was.

I could write about how these were the wedding shoes she had picked out.

I could tell you about her fun and crazy bridesmaids.

I could write about how beautiful all the beautiful people were.

I could write about how gorgeous Stone Oak Ranch was.

I could write about Gabe dying to sneak a peak of Kaitlan before she even made it to the aisle.

I could write about how much I love this moment.

Or how much I love this moment.

But I’d rather talk about the wedding “shoes” Kaitlan ended up wearing.

I’d rather tell you about her spirit NEVER NOT ONCE being heavy as it looked like it might rain all throughout her wedding day.

I’d rather tell you how Kaitlan’s mood was infectious, and her bridesmaids could not help but rejoice with her despite the rain.

I’d rather talk about how it stopped raining just long enough for their ceremony.

How this moment is my favorite both for the look of joy on their faces, and the look of “GET GOING” her sister-in-law gave the ring bearer as it was his turn to exit.

I’d rather tell you about a bride and groom who never once worried about what the rain and mush and wet was doing to their shoes and clothes.

I’d rather tell you about a couple who, despite Hurricane Harvey coming hard for their wedding day, fought back.
They didn’t fight back by changing plans or locations, but by changing their hearts.

Rather than let the day become about the rain, they made sure the day remained about their commitment.

“Even if it’s raining we are getting married outside,” she told me.

“Even if it’s muddy I’m walking down that aisle.”

The best marriages are not the ones that avoid the storms of life.

Every marriage has storms.

The best marriages are the ones that hold to each other during the storms.

The best marriages are the ones that lean into the storms together.

The best marriages are the ones that say bring on the rain,
because the rain will not stop me from being married to that person right there.

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Wedding in the Mountains
Wedding in the Mountains

True story: Anytime a bride starts her day getting ready at the house she grew up in, it’s always my most favorite thing in the world.

One of the best things about wedding days is you never really know what is going to “hit” you, or when certain emotions will just take over.  Everyone had been laughing and talking as the girls got brunch set up, then Alex’s mom asked everyone to circle up to pray.  The minute they had all joined hands, her mom broke down.

Tears of joy.
Tears of sadness.
Tears that said I’m so excited for this moment.
Tears that said I’m so proud of you in this moment.
Tears that said all the things that words never could say.

I love when those moments happen, and it’s always an honor to be there to help families remember them.

Think of all the times and years that Alex spent in that backyard.  Running with friends, playing with her dog, listening to music. A literal lifetime of memories is held there, and now it’s the backdrop for brunch the morning of her wedding.  (I also totally loved her dad just sitting inside the house alone eating a sandwich.)

Beautiful makeup shots are easy.  Makeup shots where your eyeball is all wonky are so much more fun.

Sandia Presbyterian Church was legit.  I loved it.

Rob’s father had a photo like this with HIS dad helping him get ready.  I dig generational things like this.  So great.

Rob’s father did NOT have a photo of him and his groomsmen playing basketball on his wedding day.

Yeah, yeah. I get that they are for hanging the dress, but they are also great gags for fun photos.

It’s always a plus when your groom can have you go from tears to laughter in the same paragraph.

Of COURSE the grandparents were able to watch via FaceTime.

Of course we got a photo with the FaceTiming Grandparents.

Did I mention there were mountains?

Some people are just good at being photographed.

Also, shout out to Sandia Golf Club, because that place is legit.

Alex grew up looking at these mountains and for sure wanted a photo of her in her dress doing that very thing.

When your favorite people in the world say wonderful things about you, it makes my job so, so easy.

The rest of the night was a non-stop dance party.  But after a few hours I looked around and could not find Alex & Rob.

I managed to find her Dad sitting alone and content. But I still could not track them down.

Eventually I found her.  Alone.  IN a room just vegging.  Dress tossed over a chair.  “Do you guys want to do an exit or anything?,” I asked.  “No,” she said. “We just like to leave when no one is paying attention.  It’s like our move at parties, so we are going to do it tonight as well.”

So I snagged a photo of them chilling in a quiet room and walked out.

And some point later that night, when no one was looking, they left quietly to start their life together.  Because sometimes that’s what being married is all about.

It’s about knowing what you want and just moving forward. Maybe some people will like it, surely some people won’t. But if you know it’s what’s best for the two of you, you do it.  Because at the end of the day, you two are the only ones in the marriage.

Thank you guys for trusting me with your day. It was an honor and a joy.

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Tough Guy / Tougher Girl
Tough Guy / Tougher Girl

When this is the 3rd photo you take, you know you are in for an easy day on the job.

Jessi & Seth could not have been more chill and easy to work with. We started shooting at Crossfit Citadel, their old gym location. This is where Seth’s friend first pointed out Jessi to him, and he asked her out on a smoothie date. She said that she doubted it would be an option because she likes to get up there and start her work out at 4:30.

The next day Seth was there at 4:30. :)

Also Seth is an anesthesiologist. So if the meds don’t work, he can always knock you out with one of his massive biceps.

Hey, look. Furry kids.

Seth told me his favorite thing about Jessi is how she “lives very large”. I LOVE that saying. It’s so true. And I noticed it in the little time we hung out together. Her heart is big and you can tell that in the way she talks about her kindergarten students; that she fully commits to everything she does.

When they started dating, Jessi had been planning on moving to Austin. But the longer they dated, the more difficult that move became. She told me that one day when she was at his apartment listening to him play the guitar, because of course he plays the guitar and sings like an angel. Anyway, she started crying at the thought of moving away, and that’s when she realized she never wanted to leave him.

These days, they don’t go to the gym as often, but workout from home instead. Doing serious workout things like jumping rope.

and handstands… (Kinda)

Jessi said the thing that attracted her to Seth was how persistent and committed he is to things. He knew at a young age he wanted to be in the medical field. Once he sets his mind on something, he sticks with it. (Remember that 4:30 work out?)

True story. While we were shooting, Seth saw a spider and was a bit “worried”. This is when I found out that Seth is not a fan of spiders and will sometimes (ALWAYS) call Jessi in to deal with some (EVERY) spider situation that arises. (Who’s the tough guy now?)

I noticed that Seth seems like a neat and tidy kinda guy. And Jessi was very eager to talk about how super OCD he is. “Apparently there is a right way to fold tiny washcloths,” she says.

“I’ve had to let go of a lot of things, and I’m learning to relax a bit,” Seth was eager to chime in.

In that little moment, they voiced what marriage is all about.

Marriage is learning and trying to do things a bit more like your spouse would like them done. While at the same time, your partner is learning and trying to let go of always having things done a certain way. It’s a constant give and take; where you both work to serve each other and find that balance in the middle.

I love that Jessi is willing to learn how to fold tiny wash cloths for Seth.
I love that Seth is willing to let go of how he wants his wash cloths folded.

But most of all, I love that Seth and his pecs and traps and biceps are scared of spiders. And Jessi, the kindergarten teacher, is the one who will protect him for the rest of his life.

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