Why did Sara shave her head?
Why did Sara shave her head?

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The story of Sara’s recent haircut actually starts back when she was 7. When I would take the boys outside for their haircuts, I would often ask Sara if she wanted me to buzz her’s as well. She never really went for it. (Surprise)

From time to time through the years, I would bring it up and ask her if she would shave her head for 100 bucks. Again, no. How about 500? Nope.

Fast forward to earlier this month, when it hit me. I knew what magic carrot I could dangle in front of her. Back in 2013, Sara saved up her money to go on a cruise and LOVED it. She’s been wanting to go back ever since. :)

“Sara, I’ll make you a deal: If you shave your head, I’ll take you on a cruise.”

Her eyes lit up. I had her.

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She spent the next few days thinking about it. Should she do it? Would she like it? Would she regret it? Would people think she was a boy? She made a list of pros and cons which included items like “faster showers”.

We also encouraged her to talk to other people and get their advice.

After doing all this, she was pretty set on moving forward. But still was not 100%.

The last time Danielle and I talked to her the conversation went something like this:

Danielle: So what are you thinking?
Sara: I really, really want to do it but every time I think about what other people will say, I get nervous.
Danielle: (Silence)
Sara: But that’s not really a good reason not to do something. Is it?

What Sara didn’t not know is that right then and there I would have taken her on that cruise.

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You see, the point was not for her to cut her hair. The point was for her to be willing to try something different. Something unconventional. Something that might make her feel left out. Think back to when you were in 11 years old. 5th grade. When all you wanted to do was NOT stand out. Danielle and I wanted to push her towards her strengths.

I know Sara is strong. I know she is fearless. I know she is a leader.

But I also know those muscles need to be stretched. They need to be worked.

I wanted her to learn at this younger age that she decides who she is. And start living it out now. It’s only hair. She is still herself.

She is not defined by a haircut.

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Sara will spend the next 10 years learning and discovering who she is, but that journey should be built on the foundation of confidence in herself and her identity.

The sooner she learns and grasps that, the better off she will be.

It’s a concept we all need to learn.

You are not defined by a haircut.
You are not defined by how pretty your wedding is.
You are not defined by a job.
You are not defined by how well your kids behave.
You are not defined by your GPA.
You are not defined by how many likes you get. (Follow me on Instagram here.)
You are not defined by how big your house is.
You are not defined by if your newborn sleeps through the night.
You are not defined by a ring.

You have value and worth regardless of what your circumstances or what others may say about you.

This idea is one that I need to be reminded of daily. And it’s a truth that Danielle and I want Sara to lock onto as early in life as possible. Even if that means I need to take her on a cruise.

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Perfect Wedding
Perfect Wedding

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Cassi and Justin had the perfect wedding day. True story.  OK, OK, it probably was not perfect.  After all, you can’t really have a perfect day.  Or can you?

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This was the path that led to the ceremony site.  Not bad at all.

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Cassi’s grandmother CRUSHED the decor.  She made most of the stuff and bought the rest.  It was like a custom made Canton just for her wedding day.

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Living and thinking globally plays a big part in both of their lives.  (I actually met Cassi on a trip to Haiti.)  This was my favorite decoration.

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It never stops being a huge honor when I get to capture the moment a father sees his daughter as a bride for the first time.

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I LOVED Justin bending his knees in anticipation during their First Look.

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Little people being adorable.

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I don’t know or understand this face.  But I felt it was my responsibility to share it.

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I mean seriously.  Look at these two.  Simply flawless.

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When Cassi’s mother turned around to watch her come down the aisle I heard her keep repeating “It’s perfect.  It’s perfect.”

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I’ll be honest with you.  There are no perfect weddings.  There may be perfect moments, but that’s about all we can wish for.  And right then.  That moment, with the sunlight, and her daughter and her husband and her daughter’s husband to be.  That was perfect.

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People break up. Divorce happens. I do always love though when a couple getting married actively fights against divorce from the moment they become man and wife.

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Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can’t Lose.

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Maybe I was wrong about the perfect.

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As Justin’s sister was hugging him she said “Someone finally took you!”

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As I go over and get in to take a photo of the bridesmaids they all shrieked in terror: “NO, DOUBLE CHIN!!!”

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Ah yes, that time honored tradition of YouTubing how to bustle a dress.

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At every wedding there is always that one couple where you can tell the lady wants to be on the dance floor more than the guy.

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The toasts were epic and super kind, the dances were also just right.  We were settling in for the prefect reception….

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But then this crazy storm blew in with about an hour and half left in the evening and we had to do a mock exit to avoid the rain and destruction heading our way.  So we were left with two options… End early, or move to the metal building.

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So into the big ugly metal building we went.

I told you there were no perfect weddings.

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This building didn’t have any decorations.

This building didn’t feel like a personalized Canton.

This building was full of old junky equipment that we had to move out of the way to make dusty dance floor.

I asked Cassi as we were walking into the building how she was doing.

She looked at me and said, “I’m not worried about it.”

Wait? What?

We just moved from fairytale magical outside dream wedding location with setting sun and unicorns grazing in the background into a big white dirty building and this bride says to me
“I’m not worried about it.”

Then something interesting happened.  No one missed a beat.  Within 10 minutes everyone was back in party mode.

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You know how you become a bride who is not fazed by a little drama on her wedding day?  You watch your mom not get fazed by things while you are going up.  And guess what?  Your mom probably watched her mom take on life with that same mindset.

Which brings us to the Anniversary Dance…

Like most great love stories, Cassi and Justin’s does not start with them, but by watching their parents and grandparents live out their marriage.
In 10 plus years of photographing weddings, I’ve never seen the anniversary dance end with with a dip and kiss. Of course Cassi’s grandparents with 49 years of marriage finished with that move.

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Their night ended just like they had planned it all along, surround by friends and family.  Celebrating the commitment these two had made.  A commitment they don’t intend to break, regardless of the storms that come their way.  A commitment to shrug at life’s obstacles and face them head on with a determination that says “I’m not worried about it.”

If that’s not a perfect way to start a marriage.  I don’t know what is.

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You know how sometimes at the end of a movie they have these little outtakes that don’t really go with the story but are just for fun.  Especially if you know all the inside jokes?  Here you go.

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Erin & Aaron
Erin & Aaron

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I first photographed Erin back in December of 2008.  She was a guest at Lauren & Brent’s wedding and has been creeping my work ever since.

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I was so, so thrilled for her when she got engaged last year, and I LOVE the man she married.  (You can see their super fun Dallas engagement session here.)

Once you are done with those, continue on down and enjoy the glorious goodness that was their wedding day.

It’s always great to work at the SPRINGS Event Venues.  Their location in Poetry Springs was perfect.

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Erica Ransom ( #hairbyericaransom ) from the deNovo Salon worked her magic on Erin’s hair.

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Erin truly was a beautiful bride. Stunning.

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One of my most favorite things from the day was how much Eric’s father made sure to include his other daughter, Lauren.  He was constantly affirming her, giving her hugs, and just generally being an amazing dad.

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Why yes, we would like a magical First Look.  Thank you.

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Aaron just kept repeating the words “I don’t even know what to say.” Erin didn’t worry about saying anything. She just kept tearing up.

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They both included the phrase “teamwork makes the dreamwork” in their notes to each other.  I had not heard it before, but man is that ever true.

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How about a nice slow clap for The Southern Table and the amazing florals they put together.

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You know how at every wedding there are those people that hang around the family photo time, even though they are not related to you; only because they hope to be asked into a photo?  Lauren & Brent are those people.  Gross.

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I LOVED when her mom pulled her grandmother over so she could get a great view of Erin coming down the aisle.

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I also love when Aaron went straight Gladiator “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!” right after they kissed.

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Just because.

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Erin and all her little Aggie friends sang their friendship song together.

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Erin and all her little Aggie architecture friends built a building together.

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Hey look.  More people who would not be married were it not for me.

Give it up for Jennifer & Ryan and once again, let’s here it for Lauren & Brent.

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Erin had so, so many friend at her wedding.  You know why?  Because she is a friend.  She’s such a friend that when you bite it trying to catch her flowers, she’ll get down on the ground with you.

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Excitement?  Fear? Trepidation?  Not sure what that expression is…
Maybe I can Photoshop a smile onto his face.

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Of COURSE they did that thing I love where they are the only two people left dancing.

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Thank you guys for trusting me with your day.  It was an honor to be there.

And, to the unknown single lady who  was at this wedding and will be creeping on my work for the coming years…
I look forward to photographing your 2024 wedding.

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A Beer Bladder Love Story
A Beer Bladder Love Story

It would be impossible for me to love Leah and Jordan more.  They are super kind, chill, and way way too easy to photograph.  And for their location they decided on Great Raft Brewing in Shreveport.  What’s not to love?

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These two met during their urology residency. (I think that’s how you say it.  I’m not book smart like these two.)

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Jordan also dabbles in photography, and I indulged him by letting him talk about his camera and lenses.  I thought it would be poor form to bring up my extensive knowledge of urology so I kept that on the down low.
(Didn’t want to embarrass him in front of his lady.)

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Jordan was so eager to tell me about how they met in school and hit it off right away.  And how after a couple of years, Leah invited him over for some fried deer steak.

The rest as they say… is beer.  Lots and lots of beer.

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You’ll be seeing more of these two soon because later this month they are getting married at Lake Tyler Petroleum Club.  (Can’t wait!)

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Sarah
Sarah

Sarah crushed her bridal session at Cedar Croft Plantation in Louisiana.  I can’t wait for their wedding.

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I think if I had access to this barn I would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner here every day.

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