Kayla & David | year one
Kayla & David | year one

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Kayla & David were married at St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church last August.  (With a killer reception at Centaur Arabian Farms in Flint, TX.)  So now that they are total pros at being husband and wife I thought it would be fun to hear form them on what their first year of marriage was like.

1. What do you miss most about the single life?
What I miss most about single life is being able to sprawl out in bed.. That being said, we just bought a king mattress last week…haha.

2. Give us your best cheapo/fun married date idea.
Cheapo fun married date idea: garage saleing and thrift store exploring is one of our favorite pastimes, David is the bargainer and I am the treasure hunter. We always have a good time and laugh with odd things we see at garage sales.

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3. What have you liked most about your first year being married?
The looks on peoples faces when they find out I’m married.. Their reaction is mostly..”aren’t you like 12?!” Haha! It happens, I’ll be really smokin’ when I’m 60 and look 45 ;) but my most favorite part of our first year of marriage is the companionship that you feel with your person. Nothing beats the feeling of someone who has chosen and is still choosing to be yours everyday.

4.What’s been the hardest part about being married?
I would say the hardest part about being married right now is making future decisions such as when should we have kids?, should we buy a house?, should we rent?, where should we go?, which insurance plan is best for us?, what is a mortgage?  (Okay I asked that one)… What we’ve learned so far is don’t try to go it all alone, our parents have been our biggest supports and counselors. We don’t have all the answers and probably never will, but we are up to the adventure of figuring it out!

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5. What have you fought about most and why?
What we fight most about with me is my phone habit. (Guilty).. What we fight most about with David is the he refuses to use the towel rack in our bathroom and will hang his used towel over the bathroom door so the door isn’t able to be shut, and I am not the tallest so it is difficult for me to get it down so I am able to close the bathroom door, also he is a nail picker..eww.

6.  What was the biggest thing you were nervous about? How has it turned out?
The biggest thing I was nervous about was the expectancy to be a “good wife” to cook dinner, have the house spotless, be dressed and picture perfect everyday for my husband and being able to maintain that. The reality is that I am not perfect and David realizes that he also realizes he is not perfect and this isn’t the Stepford Wives. I do however attempt to do these things for him because of course as his wife his happiness is extremely important to me, but also in turn he does things for me and helps around the house and cooks dinner and still calls me beautiful when I could pass for a gremlin. Letting go of that stereotype for me and figuring out what works best for us has really helped our relationship.

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7. What do you wish someone had told you before you were married?
Your wedding will not turn out the way you imagined, things will go wrong: there will be a gathering at the church before your wedding and the floors will be covered is smashed brownies and you’ll walk out to see your dad and uncle on their hands and knees scrubbing the floor, you will get lost on the way to your own reception with no cell phone service, plan on not eating at the reception, your first dance song will get deleted off your iPod, and the forks you got personalized for the big day will go missing, but you can also count on the moments you never imagined happening such as: spontaneous bride and groom karaoke with the band to Don’t Stop Believing, you can count on a spontaneous break-dance dance off with your bridesmaid, husband, and usher so intense the usher will rip his pants (right in the crack..), and you also count on the band playing Miley Cyrus and all the guest on the dance floor surrounding you with a cup in the air and a smile on their face and singing at the top of their lungs, you can count on incredible photo booth pictures because your friends are awesomely weird like that.  oh and so is your photographer ;)) you can count on your bridesmaids and groomsman and family to go above and beyond their call to make your day one to remember, and most importantly you can count on going home with your newly wed spouse to start your life.

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Thank you two for opening up to us.  Kayla you were super sweet to share your struggles.

And David…. come on man, use a towel rack, we are not animals.

PS. If you can’t get enough of these two, check out their super fun hot air balloon engagement session.

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Kallie & Chase | Everything’s Bigger in Texas
Kallie & Chase | Everything’s Bigger in Texas

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Kallie & Chase had an epic, Texas sized wedding at Pecan Springs Ranch in Austin.  If you like cake, or longhorns… you are in for a treat.

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I mean I get it.  It’s your day.  You are excited… but.. “Best Day Ever!”?  You may be setting expectations pretty high for your guests at the sign in table. ;)

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I love a quiet, super sweet First Look with a bit of tearing up.

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Me: “You guys just stand there and act natural.”

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We interrupt this blog post to talk about how much trust goes into hiring a wedding photographer.  I get it.  It’s a big day.  Some might say it’s the “Best Day Ever”.  So when a couple books me to shoot their wedding, there is a HUGE amount of trust involved in me being able to document and tell their story.  That’s why I love it even more when a family contacts me again for their second daughter’s wedding.  I photographed Kallie’s sister, Katie’s, wedding back in 2010.  I love seeing families throughout the years, and the fact that they trust me over and over again is one of the favorite parts of my job.

(In case you are wondering what the record is,  I have a few families tied with 3 weddings.)

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Let’s give it up for Katie & Chance and their super cute little girl.

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And let’s give it up for this little one.  She was a flower girl in Katie’s wedding, and now she is a Jr. Bridesmaid.  I expect to photograph her as a bridesmaid in 2035 and a bride in 2040.

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This is the part of “here comes the bride” where Kallie decided to stop and take off her shoes.

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The unity sand is a perfect depiction of marriage.  It symbolizes that no matter how much planning goes into something… the man can mess it up.

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Let’s all stop and stand to our feet and give a slow clap for The Cake Plate.

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This cake was close to 400lbs.  That’s a lot of cake.

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Kallie and Chase then spent the first 15 minutes of their marriage in the best way possible: handing out ginormous oversized pieces of cake to little children.

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Maybe it was the Best Day Ever.

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sarah & caleb | 365 days of marriage!!!
sarah & caleb | 365 days of marriage!!!

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Sarah & Caleb were married 1 year ago on July 4th.  They were kind enough to drop some knowledge on what being a newly wed couple is like.  Read on if you want to make your first year of marriage a bit less bumpy.

What do you miss most about the single life?
Scheduling things on my own time. Having more options to do things I used to when I was single, work out, have a girls weekend, spend the weekend at my parents, or simply to go shopping for “wants” without feeling I have to consult with another’s schedule or consider our budget.

What’s your best cheapo/ fun date idea?
A campout. Could be after a long hike, or driving to a really cool location and setting up tent for the night or simply having a picnic with the tent set up for shade, we even set our tent up on the front porch in record low temperatures and spent the night out there – and just to live on the wild side it was a weeknight! Wherever you set up camp, make sure to stay long enough to star gaze and having a fire with s’mores is a MUST! This date can be done all year round, but my favorite time is during the fall.

What has been the best thing about your first year of marriage?
The best thing about the first year of marriage has been coming home to my best friend every night. Having that person to share frustrations with, get angry at, bounce ideas off of, share joys and encouraging each other through life’s ups and downs. Being married is just another example of God’s love for us.

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What’s been the hardest part about being married?
The hardest part of being married for me has been a lack of “me time”, so very similar to what I miss most about being single. I lived on my own for 5 years, independent and financially stable. I didn’t need anyone to do anything for me. I could pick up and have a weekend with girlfriends at a bed and breakfast in a fun town, or sleep in until 7:30am (yes, that’s late for me!) Being married, is a give and take, and for all the things my husband and daughter add to my life, I’m happy to give up some of my girls weekends and sleeping late occasionally.

What surprised you the most?
It wasn’t so much that I was surprised by it than it was a huge realization. After a particularly difficult discussion (one of our first since being married) we headed to bed and I recall thinking… “He’s not leaving… I need time to process this conversation…he’s not going home…this is his home… Oh my gosh!” When we’re dating we had the luxury of our own homes. When we had discussed something difficult, there was time and space in between the next time we saw each other… Now that we’re married, it’s a little different. Still learning.

What have you fought about most and why?
Expectations I had about being a wife and mother. I have a wonderful example of what that looks like in my mother. I failed to realize that before she became the awesome mother and wife I witnessed while I was growing up and that I know today, she had to go thorough the first few years of marriage as well- figuring out who she was as a Mrs. and as a mother. I fight with myself about not meeting preconceived expectations which I place upon myself, which in turn effects our communication.

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What was the biggest thing you were nervous about? How has it turned out?
A friend of mine just reminded me of one of the things I was nervous about before getting married: making lunches for my husband during the week and planning the week of meals for our family.  It seems so funny now to think about how worried I was, but I wanted to make sure I was taking care of my family and doing a good job of it by the way of cooking meals which I enjoy and keeping a warm, inviting and clean home. My husband and daughter help out so much and even without me asking them to do it. From doing the dishes, to making the beds, vacuuming, helping me cook, washing, drying and folding the clothes, they make being married and family life easy and enjoyable. I feel so blessed!

Do you have any advice for couples who are about to blend a family?
My husband always went on “Dad and daughter dates” before he and I got married. I encouraged them to continue these dates afterwards as well so that they can have one on one time and further their bond without me in the picture.

I am an educator and have seen many of my children from divorced households and the gambit of relationship dynamics pass through my classroom. Remaining positive and complimentary of the child’s parent(s) is essential. Nothing negative should ever be discussed in front of the child/ children.

I read many books about blended families and even books about the specific role in which you are about to take on. Read books about the your children/ stepchildren and the emotions they could experience. (The five Love Languages of Children is also a great book!)

Lastly, the biological parent needs to be sensitive to their spouce’s, the step-parent’s emotions. It is important for the husband and wife to continue to go on dates. The spouse/ stepparent needs to feel validated and a respected part of the family. This can be very tricky. Communication is key and it also requires the spouse (stepparent) to be sensitive and very understanding.

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Happy 1 year of marriage guys.  Thanks for opening up and giving us a little peek into your life.

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my favorite part of a wedding day: father/daughter dance
my favorite part of a wedding day: father/daughter dance

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So a little while ago, I started this series and I kinda put it on the back burner. But, I’m ready to relaunch it now.
(In case you missed the first one, “Family Photos”, here it is.)

One of the reasons I love shooting weddings so much is because of all the relationships involved. The longer you have known those people, the deeper the interactions with them will be on your wedding day. That’s part of why I am a sucker for the Father-Daughter dance. I know, I know. Typically, the bride and groom sharing their FIRST dance together as husband and wife is supposed to be the headliner. But let me tell you a little secret: that’s not the dance to watch.

A bride & groom’s first dance is just more of what you’ve already seen that day. It’s two people giddy, in love, and just smiling at each other because their happily ever after is just getting started. That’s great. Sunshine, rainbows, unicorns, everybody loves it. But, a good Father-Daughter dance is so much more. It’s 25 years of living and raising a human. There is so much going on just below the surface. I love seeing how they unfold. Sometimes they are full of laughter, and memories, and chatter. Sometimes they are planned out choreography and even though it’s a struggle, you know they had so much fun practicing. And every now and then, you get the full on melt down. Two people just laughing and crying for 3 minutes while they take in what the last quarter of a century was like.

Here are a few of my favorites:


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So next time you go to a wedding, don’t just walk over to the punch bowl when they call for the Bride & her Father to share a “special dance.”

Stop what you are doing.
Soak it in.
Be present.

It’s not just 3 minutes of swaying to “I Loved Her First.”

It’s softball practices, and dance recitals, and driving lessons, and prom dresses, and butterfly kisses, and coke dates, and science projects, and Disney movies, and painted toes, and boyfriend breakups, and fishing trips, and tea parties.
It’s knowing that it will never be like it was.

And starting to be OK with that.

But, it’s also knowing that it will never be like it was.

And getting excited about that.

Oh, one last thing about Father-Daughter dances… sometimes they don’t have to be a dance at all.  Because as dads, all we really want, is one last moment with our little girl.

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The easiest people in the history of the world to photograph. (Breelyn & Tyson)
The easiest people in the history of the world to photograph. (Breelyn & Tyson)

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Sometimes my job is way, way too easy.  Seriously.  All I did was follow these two around all day while they looked amazing, dressed amazing, and acted amazing.

The amazing started at the The Dry Bar in Dallas.

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That monopod you see belongs to Matthew Lee Moore.  Killer videographer based in Colorado.  Check him out.

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We then all headed over to Chapel Creek Manor in Waxahachie.  A gorgeous little venue where Bree & Tyson had perfect weather. (Of course they did.)

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Tyson even looks smooth when he leaves his shoes 1 hour away from the venue.

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First Look magic.  Yes.  Magic.

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I LOVE when guys do the spin around look.

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Slow clap for Platinum Petals.  They knocked it out of the park.

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Tyson & Bree even have perfectly awesome little people at their wedding.

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You may remember from her bridal session that Breelyn wore her mother’s wedding dress.

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Here is what she had to say about the dress.

It’s true that there is something ineffably fascinating, magical almost, about stepping inside a gown that has been worn and loved in the past… Especially by your own Mom.  When I was really young I used to stare at the picture my Mom had hanging in the hallway and dream about the day when I would look as beautiful as her.  When my time came to “dress shop” my mom took me in her room and told me she wanted to show me something.  There’s this old cedar chest that my parents have always kept at the foot of their bed that is filled with hundreds of heirloom from our family. She had jewelry, handkerchiefs, pictures, and newspaper clippings from my Mimi’s day along with her own items already placed in a bag for me to have.  I was in total disbelief that she still had these items considering we didn’t have much of Mimi’s things.

Then she pulled out her own wedding dress.  We both are teary eyed at this point and she said, “You don’t have to wear it – I just wanted you to see it.” – I immediately put the dress on and as she’s zipping me up it fit like a glove.  I walked around her room for a few minutes and looked at my Mom as she was smiling so big at me… I knew it was the one.  I told her right then I didn’t need to look for a dress, I had it.  A wedding dress symbolizes so much about marriage, and I couldn’t imagine anything more special that carrying on the legacy of love that my parents have for each other.  I love my Dad with my whole heart – they have fought for their marriage of 29 years and I admire them so much for that.

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Breath.
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Are we ready?
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How about now?
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Who needs a drink?

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No matter how amazing your day is… someone will always think it’s kinda boring and has gone on too long.

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Brides often give a little giggle when they put a ring on their groom.  It’s like they know.

They won.

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Who doesn’t love to flaunt their wedding ring?

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Every wedding I try and get a shot of the bride looking stunning while the groom is shoving food in his face.

Mission accomplished.

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Your toasts should always include you bending over backwards in full gut wrenching laughter.

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Let’s just say all of the paper lanterns didn’t make it into the sky.  Some may have fallen down in flames and been used to light other lanterns.

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As if their day was not great enough, they also had a killer Mug Machine.  Here are some of my favorites from the booth.

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Breelyn and Tyson. I love you.  Thank You for letting me creep on your day.

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