Kally and Kishan Step Into Marriage
Kally and Kishan Step Into Marriage

You may not be ready for this post.  It’s like a billion photos long.  (Now is a great time to stop and get a snack before we get started.)

OK, I warned you.

First off, I walk in and see Von Criswell upgrading Kally’s face.  I adore Von and she always knocks it out of the park.  The day is off to a great start. (Every bride should book Von.)

Kally’s father was in perfect father-of-the-bride mode all day.  Sit around and wait to be asked to do something.

Kally was a STUNNING bride.

Wait, I think this was the photo I was meaning to post.  Ignore that last one.

Kally was a STUNNING bride.

Kally giving her parents handkerchiefs when they saw her for the first time was a well thought out plan.

It’s like Stone Oak Ranch and La Tee Da Flowers were made for each other.

This little man was a rock star all day.

Like I said, La Tee Da was on FIRE. (I guess Kally liked her bouquet.)

First Look time.  (I guess Kishan liked his bride.)

Little man going for the nose pick during portraits while his dad rushes in to deny.

Why yes, they do both belong in a magazine. I’m glad you noticed that.

Ceremony time.

From the moment I started their engagement session last September, I noticed that Kishan constantly looks at Kally with a sense of awe and respect; this really came through on their wedding day.

Kishan & Kally decided to have both a Hindu & American wedding ceremony.

Little man looking at me like, “They told me I just had to walk the rings down.  Why are you still photographing me, bro?”


They then preformed the Saptapadi (Sanskrit for seven steps/feet) where they made these commitments.

1. Let us provide for our household, stay in good health and carry out our duties and responsibilities to each other, our families and our tradition.
2. Let us develop our mental and spiritual powers.
3. Let us increase our wealth and comfort by righteous and proper means.
4. Let us acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love, respect and trust.
5. Let us be blessed with contended family of strong, virtuous and heroic children.
6. Let us be blessed with long lives.
7. Let us remain true companions, committed only to each other.

Of course they planted a tree with soil from their own homes.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the moment right after a couple becomes one.

I also think photographing a married couple with their grandparents is such a HUGE moment in every wedding.

This may be my favorite moment from the day.

I mean, if you HAVE to have a first dance, you might as well make it a good one.

This dance with her father was EVERYTHING.  Him crying, her crying, Kishan holding her mom while they both watched.

Back to the nose.

Speaking of nose.

Kally has a GIANT laugh that fills the room.  I’m glad I caught a few of them on camera.

This is my new best friend, North.  He and his wife own Northmark Films out of Dallas.  Even though he looks confused and caught off guard in this photo, he really is pretty great at his job.  Well, I say that, but I actually think he is sub-par at best.  His wife Olivia however is a BALLER and she does AMAZING work.  You should absolutely have them film your wedding. (Or at the very least have Olivia come out.)

The evening was pretty chill.

My favorite thing about Kally was how inclusive she was on her day.  Constantly noticing and making time for everyone around her:  grandparents, nieces, college friends, high school friends. Kally is so full of life, and she made sure that everyone who honored them by coming, felt a bit of that joy and thankfulness.

You can’t plan moments like these.  They just happen organically.  And they are wonderful.

That time at your wedding reception when you are really getting into the dancing.  Like really, really getting into it.  And you look over and realize your mom is watching.  And everyone kinda laughs at the awkward moment, and then your mom shouts out,
“SHE LEARNED ALL THOSE MOVES FROM ME!”

Every single wedding should end with you and all your friends singing “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Then you should have one last dance alone.

Then you should leave with sparklers and get dipped on your way out.

Back to this photo…

Every now and then while shooting, you KNOW you’ve got a golden photo.  This was one of those moments.
I loved everything about this moment.

I love that they are relaxed with a drink in hand.
I love that Kishan is being a gentleman and holding the 58lb bouquet.
I love that you can see the henna on Kally’s ankle as her dress is hiked up.
I love the laughter they are sharing.
I love the cowboy boots Kishan is sporting.

But most of all, I love that they are on a path together. Already taking steps together.

Just 30 minutes prior, they made a commitment, a vow. The last part of that vow was to “remain true companions, committed only to each other.”

This is how you stay true companions.
This is how you stay committed only to each other.

By doing the journey together.  Side by side.

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Anna Caroline, Scott, and Wally
Anna Caroline, Scott, and Wally

Anna Caroline & Scott met while in college.  He was a working at Pine Cove (Crash & Burn) and a mutual friend made sure they both went on a spring break trip together.  Soon after that, they started dating while they were finishing up school. They spent so much time studying in coffee shops that the Strada Cafe seemed like the perfect place to start their session. (Shout out to Strada for being super nice and accommodating and letting us shoot there.)

Scott said the thing he likes most about Anna Caroline is how laid back and chill she is.  How she just goes with the flow and is so transparent.  I saw that right away and I loved seeing the two of them interact. My Bride also possesses these traits, and trust me, they are great traits to have in someone you plan to share your life with.

I always try to get a photo of my couples just walking and chilling.  Getting a nice clean background can sometimes be a problem.  At first glance that red car is ruining the photo.  That shows how little you know.  The red car is actually MAKING the photo better.

Meet Wally.

Wally is the car Scott has had the past few years.  They have been through a lot together.

One time Scott hit a deer.  When he went back to check on it, it had gone back into the woods.  Totally to run back to it’s family to live a long and happy life.  (Definitely not to die cold and alone.)

One time one of the hubcaps fell off.  So Scott pulled the other three off because he wanted Wally to look symmetrical.

They have gone on trips, adventures and best of all, Wally is how Scott would go from Fayetteville to Little Rock every weekend to visit Anna Caroline. (3 hours one way.)

Yes, the windows still go up and down.  (Although the buttons sometimes fall down into the door.)


I think it took both of them by surprise when I insisted that we feature Wally in their photos. But to me, he is central to who they are.  He is a part of their story.  I loved working him into the session.


You know what else Anna Caroline likes besides Scott?  PLANTS!
Breedlove Nursery & Landscape was super generous for allowing us to crash their place.

These two fit together so perfectly.  I think it’s Scott’s magical hair.  I wanted to run my fingers through it, but I felt that might be inappropriate.  Maybe I’ll work up the nerve to ask about it on their wedding day.  (Totally normal right?)

Anna Caroline told me her favorite thing about Scott is how thoughtful and considerate he is.  How he is always thinking of others and looking for a way to meet their needs.  This jumped out at me right away as every time we were going somewhere, he would rush around to open the door for her.  He kept checking on me to see if I needed help with any of my camera gear and had enough room in the back of Wally.  (Riding in Wally was a joy and may have been the highlight of my day.)

Seriously though, this girl is nuts about flowers and such.  I can’t wait to see what La Tee Da Flowers does for her day.

I can’t tell you how much I loved hanging out with you two.  I loved your personalities and sense of humor.  I love that Scott drives a car that looks like it should be on fire, and I love that you, Anna Caroline, are ok with it. I love it because you two already seem to value the things that are worth valuing.  People.  Relationships. Community. Experiences.

What’s funny to me is that you two spent time thinking and planning what to wear and where we would go take photos, but didn’t once even consider Wally as part of the day.  Instantly I knew though that he would MAKE the session.  Because in 2067 when you have been married for half a decade and have piles of grandkids running around your house hunting eggs on Easter, one of them may ask about your story and how you fell in love.  I don’t know all the details you’ll tell ,and all the stories that you’ll remember, but I bet you’ll talk about how generous Scott was even as a young man. And I know Scott will tell of your gentle spirit and how attracted he was to it.

And I wonder if just maybe, you’ll pull down a picture off your shelf where the two of you are sitting in front of a beat up red car. And you’ll talk about how Scott drove for hours every weekend in a car that didn’t look like it could go 10 minutes, just to win your heart.

And right then in that moment, your kids will smile because they’ve heard the tales for years. And your grandkids’ eyes will be filled with wonder at how magical your story is and how a little car named Wally played a big part in it.

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11 years of Snake Attack
11 years of Snake Attack

Snake Attack Day is upon us once more. It’s the time of year when we pull our loved ones in and hug them even tighter and remember just how precious life is. How danger lurks round every corner.

11 years ago while sitting at my desk working I heard Danielle let out a blood curdling scream.  Being someone who likes to document events I grabbed my camera and headed her way.  The following video is the result.

So now each year we celebrate our victory over the slithery beast.  We partake in gummy worms and crushed oreos to remind us of how close we came to defeat.  We tell tells of battles won against the serpents of yesteryear.  We share theses stories to remind the young that one day their time will come.  They will have a family and house of their own to defend.  And just when all hope seams lost they will think back on April 5,  2006 and remember how their father conquered the carnivorous reptile and protected his legacy and linage.

Happy Snake Attack Day everyone.

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Hannah & Rob
Hannah & Rob

Hannah & Rob had the most chill wedding day at Nantucket in Longview, TX.  So much of the day was put together by these two and their insane group of friends.  It truly felt like a wedding day straight out of a movie.

I walked in to Hannah giggling as one of her bridesmaids did her makeup.  Hannah’s brother is in the United States Army and could not make it.  His wife was kept company all day with a life-sized cut out.  Because of course they had a life-size cut out.

“If you walk around to the back of a house and hide behind the bushes while a girl is getting ready for the day, eventually, she will see you, laugh, and you will capture a magical photograph.” – AlexM

Hannah used her grandmother’s old jewelry box to hold the rings.
(More like her grandmother’s vintage, magical mystery-case of wonder, beauty, and joy.)

Baller Mother of the Bride.

Hannah gave Rob a sweet note and a flask.

Hannah’s mom was just a delight.  She was so present throughout the day.  I loved capturing her reactions.

Of course I’ll take the timeless photo of you putting on your earrings.
Just be aware that the timeless moment of you putting on deodorant will also be documented.

First Look goodness.

I looked down for a minute as I was swapping lenses and then Rob is suddenly checking twitter or something.  “What a douchebag,” I think to myself…. Oh wait… never mind, he’s totally reading Hannah a super sweet note he wrote for her about their day. (That was a close one.)

Remember that flask… Hannah is one of those brides who thinks of everything.
Including: “I might want a drink mid-way through my wedding day.”

These two were way too comfortable on this swing.  I made her stop before she fell off.

Hannah spent most of her wedding day smiling and giggling.  Being kissed by her husband also helped.

Her bridesmaids put this together.  True story.

When you look down during the bridesmaids portraits and see this…. You know the reception is going to be legit.

Family portrait time!

Right before the ceremony I look up to see Hannah’s grandfather doing this.  Eventually someone brought an umbrella out, but boy do I love this moment.

Of course the official opened with 2 minutes of Princess Bride styled, “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.”

Why just walk into the reception when you can dance your way in?

This moment was everything.  It was when Hannah and her grandfather teared up about her grandmother not being there.  Hannah told him that she had attached a necklace of her’s to the bouquet that she carried all day. Which was sitting on the table in front of them.
All the feels.

I adore toasts.  I love when people say the things we often feel, but rarely tell each other.  This one was a doozy.  If you are wondering why it goes from evening to night time in these photos it’s because they had that much great stuff to say about them.

And then her brother called in from his super top secret location and talked about how much he loved Hannah and what an honorable man Rob was and how he could not be happier for the two of them.
Game over.

“Can we just cut the cake?  We don’t want to do that thing where we feed each other?” she said.
Of course you can!  It’s your wedding, do whatever you want to do.

Every sparkler exit should feel like the Battle of Helm’s Deep.

My favorite 10 Mug Machine images from the night.

Old man using them as as x-ray goggles. :)

This is what happens when your brother-in-law films your wedding.

Of COURSE Rob tore a hole in the crack of his pants.

Spit take.

Thank you for your service.

You guys had the perfect day.  Thank you for sharing it with me and trusting it to me.

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Vendor Love: Villa di Felicita
Vendor Love: Villa di Felicita

One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with other delightful wedding peeps.  Rather than hog them all to myself, I thought I would introduce you to a few of them. Give them a chance to tell a part of their story and why they do what they do.  I could not think of a better way to kick off this series than with the Villa di Felicita located just outside of Tyler, TX. (7891 Hwy 110 North Tyler, TX 75704) You should stop reading this and call and book them for your wedding now! 903-597-0002.

OK, now that you’ve done that, why not learn a bit more about them. :)

How did you get started and long have you guys been in business?

This is kind of a long story but I will give you the short version… My dad’s previous company sold, and he retired early in life. He’s a workaholic and wasn’t quite ready to retire. My mom and I had always enjoyed helping friends and family with their weddings, and my mom got the idea to build a wedding venue after going to a friend’s wedding in Dripping Springs, TX. We knew it was something Tyler needed, and there was no other wedding venues in Tyler at the time. We found the land, and started the building process in the beginning of 2005. We officially had our first event in April of 2006. This April will be 11 years in the business!

What’s your favorite part about hosting weddings every weekend?

I personally love to see how they all come together! I love the flower arrangements, dress colors, the amazing cakes, and just how they are all decorated. It’s such a long process for a bride to plan their big day, and I feel very lucky to get to see the final product of all their hard work! It’s just a great feeling when you see them smile when they walk in, and see how it all came together! I also love to be part of such a happy day in people’s lives! It’s very rewarding!

 

OK, let’s get some of the details knocked out. Tell me about your spaces, places, and all the options brides can pick from.
Villa di Felicita translates to “mansion of happiness” in Italian. We are the only Italian inspired venue in East Texas. We have a very large reception room that was designed to resemble an outdoor Italian Piazza. We gave it this feel by having fiber optic stars in the 20 ft ceilings to make you feel like you are sitting under the night sky!

 

We can accommodate about 350 in the reception room. We have 2 ceremony locations, but most known for our outdoor garden area. Tall cypress trees, manicured gardens, stunning backdrop views and a 120 foot stone-stamped aisle leading to the ceremony pergola arches is the best way to describe our outdoor ceremony location. We also have a nice indoor ceremony chapel that is a perfect setting for those who do not want to get married outside, or if inclement weather takes place.

Our venue sits on 50 private and picturesque acres. We made some changes to how we operate in 2016 and have had great success with it. We currently operate as a site rental only venue. This means we charge a flat fee (no mater how many guests you have) and include amenities such as tables, chairs, linens, set and clean up, etc. We allow outside catering and alcohol. Clients are given a preferred vendor list, and a welcome packet full of information from us, that makes their planning experience much easier for them! They are able to bring in what they want and we help them along the way.

 

What Disney princess is the most likely to choose your place for her wedding?
I think Cinderella would love to get married here. I feel like every bride feels like Cinderella on her wedding day – getting to go to the ball all dressed up and feeling beautiful. Then finally getting to marry her Prince Charming! Plus we also have some furry friends like rabbits and sweet birds who love to live in our gardens, so I think she would love that feature!

What’s your favorite “feature” about your venue?
My favorite feature about the Villa are our large cypress tress that surround the grounds. Every time I drive up, I am reminded of the beauty of this place by those large amazing trees! They just really give you the feel that you are in the Italian country. I feel it is a big part of what makes our venue unique and magical.

 

Tell me one story that stands out from the hundreds of weddings you guys have hosted.
We had a military wedding and my mom wanted to give those who had served a shot from the bar to say “thank you”. This became kind of a tradition for awhile when we had military weddings here. At one specific wedding, after giving them a shot, my mom told one of the young men, “Thank you for your service, and I know that shot isn’t much, but it’s just something I like to do to say thank you.” The young man looked at her with a tear rolling down his cheek and said, “Ma’am, it’s not what you did. It’s the recognition of saying “thank you” that means the most!” That night, my mom knew she wanted to do something and began working on a project to give back to those who served in our community. We started a 4013c non-profit fundraiser called Country for our Country and hosted that event for 4 years here at Villa di Felicita. That event helped so many veterans who came back and wanted to get back into civilian life and go to collage. It truly was created because of that young man at that wedding, and the impact he had on my mom. It gets us choked up every time we think about it or talk about it.

 

 

What is one piece of advice you would give a couple regardless of where they get married?
To be happy! Marriage and love isn’t always easy. You have to both work at it to be happy. Planning a wedding is hard. But in the end, when you finally get to be together on the wedding day and enjoy all your loved ones together, it makes it all worth it. Stay connected. And communication is huge in a strong relationship!

Anything else you wanna say?
We love Alex M and his amazing pictures that he takes at the Villa!! He truly captures weddings and couples with his heart and passion!

 

And, in case you guys are not convinced that this place is legit.  This wedding happened at the Villa di Felicita.

So yeah…. Go book your wedding. www.villadifelicita.com

Wanna see more Villa di Felicita goodness?
Here is every post ever on my site with images from their venue.
Here are a couple of my favorite weddings I’ve done there.
Lauren & BrentErin & Brett

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