Beautiful People You Love To Hate
Beautiful People You Love To Hate

 

Tyson and Bree are those people you love to hate. The super gorgeous, hipster-looking, amazingly haired, coffee snobbish, perfect together couple. The trouble is… If you ever meet them in real life, you’ll fall in love with them in about 10 seconds. Bree is so approachable and sweet and Tyson is like a throwback to the gentlemen of yesteryear. I love them so much that all I want is for their wedding to hurry up and get here so I can photograph them some more.

 

I mean, they can do anything. Tyson is all like dorky-flirty with Bree in this image.

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Then 4 seconds later I say, look this direction and it’s like I’m suddenly shooting for Abercrombie. (or whereever the beautiful people buy clothes nowadays.)

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And I LOVE their story….

Tyson and Bree met while attending UNT. Bree was walking around campus with a giant black portfolio art book thing and Tyson took notice of her pretty soon. Well, technically he noticed Luca first. Luca was Bree’s cocker spaniel. True story: Tyson said he may have liked her dog more than Bree at first.

Bree, noticing what an amazing dude Tyson was, soon made a super cool flip book to ask him out. Tyson told me that he was “always crazy intrigued by her” and once he found out she was interested in him, he took the lead. That was back in 2010 so today I think he may like Bree MORE than Luca, but I don’t know. Luca didn’t join us for the shoot.

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After stomping around the Bishop Arts District, Bree mentioned she wanted to go take some with “the big white bridge.” So we Googled that bad boy, went over, and took a few. But honestly, I knew we could do better.

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So we risked life and limb, and played chicken with a few cars, and ended up with a better view.  :)

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PS. The pretty white bridge is dirty if you look real close.
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Thanks you guys for being that super gorgeous, hipster-looking, amazingly haired, coffee snobbish, perfect together couple that I love to love.

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Amanda & Steve | The Mug Machine
Amanda & Steve | The Mug Machine

Amanda & Steve had a killer wedding.  It was what every wedding should be.  (A party.)  What better way to party than with The Mug Machine?

Here are a few of my favorites.dallas-wedding-photo-booth-01 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-02 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-03 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-04 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-05 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-06 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-07 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-08 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-09 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-10 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-11 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-12 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-13 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-14 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-15 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-16 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-17 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-18 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-19 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-20 dallas-wedding-photo-booth-21

Hey there bride who has already booked me for her wedding. You totally want to add this to your wedding coverage right?  Call me and we’ll make it happen. :)

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USA vs England | The Wedding
USA vs England | The Wedding

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Amanda and Steve may be my most favorite couple ever. In the history of couples. Ever. Because I love them so much. With my heart. Seriously. My favorite part of their wedding was seeing just how deep and rich so many of their friendships are. So, so many people came to support them and it really was a full day. OK, enough of that… on to the images.

 

Let’s kick off the day by getting ready at the Hyatt Regency next to Reunion Tower. Yes, please.
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Early on I realized socks would play a key role in this day.

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Spoiler Alert: Steve is not an American.

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These little peppers are a family tradition on Steve’s side.  His mother and sister spent part of the morning getting them ready for the big day.

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On to the Old Red Museum located right in the heart of downtown Dallas.
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HUGE shout out to Lottie and her team at Grit + Gold who made the whole day look AMAZING.  (You should book them.)

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Very, very “formal” photos of the guys.

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Sometimes my brides are excited to get married.

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USA! USA! USA!

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These two had such a perfect First Look.  They spent about 15 minutes talking/laughing/tearing up and exchanging gifts.

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Steve gave Amanda a cool framed photo of Texas. Amanda was happy, but curious about the gift…

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Then he busted out a little card that contained ANOTHER gift!!!!

It’s a painting that she saw once and loved. So he purchased it for their home and had the artist sign it. (Major bonus points.)

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More “formal” photos.

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Socks!

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How great are these two?

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Their ceremony was performed by a friend of Steve’s who had this perfect British accent.  It made the whole thing feel like a Jane Austen novel.  He also did a killer job on their vows.  He referenced Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy, Lady & the Tramp, and Marge & Homer Simpson.

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As I was shooting the image on the left, I realized that if I moved a bit to the right, I could turn Steve into a Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pet.  Mission Accomplished!

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Ceremony done.  More picture goodness!

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Before the reception Amanda surprised Steve with a video of recorded messages from friends and family “back home” that could not make it across the pond for the ceremony.  (Major bonus points.)

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What happened next may be the greatest speech I have ever experienced at a wedding. It’s impossible for me to describe, but I’ll see what I can do.

You remember that guy form A Knight’s Tale, who would go around introducing Heath Ledger before each joust? Yelling and screaming and holding the crowd in the palm of his hand?

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Well, Steve’s best man did that for TEN SOLID MINUTES!  Telling tale after tale of the myth and legend that is Steve Harrison.  It was a riot and something I’ll never forget.

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Much dancing and merriment was had.

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Right before their exit Amanda & Steve did one of my favorite wedding things.  They cleared the room and had a last dance all alone.  Those ALWAYS work.  (You should try it.)

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The Mug Machine was also there.  (In full force.)  I’ll be posting some of those in a few days.

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My Favorite Part Of A Wedding Day: Family Photos
My Favorite Part Of A Wedding Day: Family Photos

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The day you get married is really unlike any other day of your marriage. It’s packed full of moment after moment after moment of memories. There are huge swings of emotion and sometimes the most unexpected thing will end up being the highlight of your day. I’m often asked “What’s your favorite part of a wedding?” The reality is, I don’t have just one answer for that. It really depends from wedding to wedding. I can say, that having shot over 400 weddings, a few trends have emerged and I’ve seen some patterns bubble up that I always look forward to documenting and being present for. I’ll be writing about one of these per month and I thought I would kick it off with one you might not expect.

My favorite moment of a wedding day is…. Family Photos!

That’s right, baby. I LOVE family formals. (I even wrote about how to have great formals a few years ago.) These are your people. This is your tribe. These images are so full of history and depth it’s impossible to not love them. This is your chance to laugh and cry with those who have known you the longest. It’s the time all your people look their best and these photos are the ones that will be put in frames and looked at for years and years to come. These are the images that end up on the kitchen counter, in the hallway, and above the fireplace. The thing is, sometimes in all of our planning and prepping for the day, they get overlooked. They become an item in your 76-Things-To-Do-On-Your-Wedding-Day-Checklist.

[ ] 4:30 Bridesmaid Photos
[ ] 4:45 Family Photos
[ ] 5:00 Reception

Just realize that that little block of your wedding day is one that many couples are not present for. I mean, they are there. They show up. They smile, pose, and hug. But, really, they are looking towards the next moment. The reception, the ceremony, the alcohol at the reception. :) They are not fully present and aware of how special these moments can be.

Need proof? Take a look.
This is typically what you think of when you hear family photos.  Bride with parents.  Check. :)

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But, you’ll quickly realize there is so much more happening.

 

1st family photo where all the kids are married.

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That super tender moment you have with your dad.

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A mother who has raised 4 boys into grown men.

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Sometimes things get a bit more fun.
Example: A photo of what this family typically looks like. ;)

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Siblings are the best!

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Sometimes the photos are not even about you.
That moment when a grandkid spits up on your grandparents.

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I LOVE to pull the bride or grooms brother/sister and their family aside.  It typically takes about 30 seconds and BAM!  They get a new photo to hang on their wall.

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How about one of your parents. Who NEVER get dressed up. Who NEVER get photographed. Here they are, looking good and in love.

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Or how about that picture with your grandparents who have been married 57 years and you have not even been married 57 minutes?

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Let’s fast forward to 2020.

 

Six years from now when you go home for Christmas and you have a three your old little girl, she will be at PaPa & NaNa’s house looking at the tree. She will stare at all the gifts under it and then she’ll notice a photo hanging on the wall of her mom in a white dress. She will look at it for a while, then she will ask her NaNa about the photo. And then your mother will tell her all about how beautiful her mother was on her wedding and how wonderful the day was.

 

And THAT moment, in the future, will be magic. And it will all be possible because you took a few moments on your wedding day to be photographed with the people who love you the most.

 

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Belize 2014 | The Photos
Belize 2014 | The Photos

Warning: If you don’t like Belize, my kid, or lots of photos, this post is not for you.  If you only want to see things that might be on Etsy, Pinterest, or Style Me Pretty, then just scroll for a while and you’ll get there. :)

Our trip kicked off with Eli trying to convince me on the way to the airport that he could get small enough to fit into my suitcase.

1. He could.
2. I still didn’t try to.  I think the TSA frowns on that.

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We landed in Belize and got to do those cool stairs off the plane thing.  I always feel like I’m important when I get to do that.  The truth is, it just means I’m in a janky airport.

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This was the church/school we stayed at for the week.

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This was the gecko that greeted me when I went to the bathroom to wash my hands.

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We spent the first night going over our plans for the week and inflating 20+ basketballs.

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Bright and early the next morning, we started mixing concrete and doing construction work.  This is Cameron.  Cameron is a sophomore in high school.  He is a haas.  He is my hero.

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Meet Crystal & Zach.  They have been married about 2 months and instead of spending their money on a honeymoon, they came to Belize to build a basketball court and teach kids about Jesus.  They are my heroes.

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Once we arrived in Belize, we found out there is a concrete shortage in the city, so we would not be able to finish the court.  We went ahead and put up a goal anyway in the back just to have something to use for the week.  It was heavy.  Rather than try and lift it, I stood off to the side and took photos of those men lifting it.

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At nights, our team would play a charades game of sorts where they told Jo the movie and he would act it out.  I’m not sure what movie this is.  His hands are up in the air… My guess would be Leap of Faith but that’s probably not it.

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These next two photos/moments might be my favorites from the trip.

It was our first full work/VBS/basketball camp day.  We had already finished the work portion and were having lunch around 1:00, when Cassi & Colton received the news that their great-grandmother had passed away.  They were super close to her and it really shook them up.  They spent about an hour or so crying / talking / grieving together.  When it came time for us to head to do the VBS/basketball part of the day, they joined back up with our team.  No one forced them or made them join in.  They just did.  I looked over and saw Colton leading a group of about 15 boys in the story of when Jesus calmed the storm.  I broke down crying at how perfect this image was.  Colton might have been the only person those boys would have sat and listened to that day, and he could have easily stayed back in the room.  Yet here he was.  Teaching them about a man who did something so many years ago and also just minutes ago in his life.  Those boys had no idea the pain Colton had just been dealt, they just know he was there loving them.

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This is Cassi (right). she played college basketball and was in charge of setting up all our drills, stations, and groups for the week.  She also had every right to be in her room grieving about her great-grandmother.  She could have chosen to be alone.  She could have chosen to hide.  Instead she chose to do what she came to do.  She came to love kids and teach kids.  So here she is; two hours after learning of her loss, full of life and joy and being re-energized by serving others.

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If there is one thing that made those little kids from Belize happy, it’s crushing us in soccer.

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On one of our outings, we passed through an Old Order Mennonite community.  It was like traveling through time.

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Mennonite Home Depot

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Once you hit the pink, yellow, and orange laundry, it means you are out of the Mennonite community.
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Almost everywhere we went, Jo felt like he should be in front of the group.  Which is interesting, because he is the youngest and typically had zero idea where we were going.
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Sometimes I see signs that make me laugh and I take of a photo of them like a 7th grade boy would.

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We climbed this Mayan ruin.  It was steep.
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This one was less steep.  I was still tired at the top.

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It does not matter if you are in Haiti, Belize, or America, kids are super cute.  Take a look.

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Once we realized the court was not going to get finished, we headed to a hardware store in town to get supplies to build some soccer goals.  The owner of the store got excited about the project and offered to donate these super sturdy goals when the court is complete.  That was a huge deal.

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I also met this girl who is getting married next year.  She wants me to be her wedding photographer.  I did not have a business card to give her.

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This is my friend Beckie.  Her thing is going around the world holding tiny humans.  She is good at her thing.  She is my hero.

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This toe belongs to Abby.  She probably broke it playing soccer the second day on our trip.  She still loved on kids and never complained all week long.  Abby is my hero.

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Our last day was a beach/play day.  We headed out to a little island.

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Remember my friend Beckie who likes to hold tiny humans?  She apparently also likes to sit in the back of the boat and get pelted by the waves. :)

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This is Jo’s victory cheer when he had a hamburger after a week of less than his favorite food.

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Our trip leader Irv.  He spends his days holding hands with his wife while walking along the coast and… being held in Spongebob’s arms.
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Our group went snorkeling… more details to come….
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Hashtag island life.

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So Beckie, the tiny human holding one, did not want to snorkel, but wanted to conquer her fear of it.  So she tried it anyway.  She jumped in and swam around for about 45 minutes.  All the while clutching her father’s hand with a death grip.

Jo, also did not want to snorkel, but we decided to try it anyway… after about 10 minutes, he still didn’t want to and it was clear that the situation was not going to improve.  This is us swimming back to the boat.

These two photos are what parenting is about.  It’s about knowing your kid and knowing when to push them and holding on to them and encouraging them to keep pushing through.  It’s also about knowing when to bail on an idea.  Knowing when something is just “not for us” and being willing to back out.

This will look different for every family and each kid during various stages of life. But the sooner we figure it out, the easier our job becomes.

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A little while later the boat drove us to this spot and they said… “We are gonna toss out food and sharks and sting rays are going to come.  You can swim with them if you want.”

Yes, please.
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Remember Cassi?  Last year she gave Jo the nickname J-Money.  It’s how he introduces himself to people on mission trips.  All I can do is shake my head.  Thank you for that Cassi.  Thank you.

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My favorite part of heading home is counting down the minutes till we are greeted at the airport by my people.  I always miss my people.

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Part of the reasons I love taking Jo on these trips is to show him how much bigger the world is.

That the world is not just Playstations, Lego sets, and Tolkin books.
That the world is full of beauty and hurt.
That there is sadness and joy in unexpected places.
That the world is bigger than the next Marvel movie.

The thing is… every trip Jo has been on, he has turned around and shown me how much bigger he is.

That he has a heart that can love a stranger.
That he can do work I assumed he was too small for.
That he is bigger than Playstations, Lego sets, and Tolkin books.

Every time we’ve gone somewhere together, I leave thinking I’ll be so proud of what we do, but I always return more proud of who he is becoming than anything else.

I can’t wait to go back.

I can’t wait to take him with me.  He is my hero.

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