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…

Almost…

BOOM!

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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Anna Caroline & Scott
Anna Caroline & Scott

I’ve been looking forward to Anna Caroline & Scott’s wedding since the day I did their engagement session.  These two have such a grasp on the things that you should value in a marriage and in relationships, that I could not wait to see their families that raised them.

Of course Lake Tyler Petroleum Club was looking on point. (As it always does.)

If you like pretty wedding things, this next section is for you.

Anna Caroline gettin’ all dolled up.

Sisters are the best.

I loved how Anna Caroline was always welcoming and bringing people into her moments.  Her friends were just as happy as she was that day because she is a person who shares in their joy on their days.  So perfect.

Pre-game snack.

This is how I found the guys.

World renowned and award-winning photographer, Matthew Hogan, attended this wedding as a guest.  He also arrived like UNCOMFORTABLY early, so I demanded the “we are the first guest to arrive at your wedding” photo.

My favorite is getting photos of mothers and their daughters on a wedding day.  I love taking a photo that I know will be in a frame for the next 25 years. (No pressure Kim.)

Sometimes you gotta let the ring bearer dictate what the photo is going to look like.

I mean seriously… come on.

Nope, not an alternate set of bridesmaids… These would be Scott’s sisters.  Because OF COURSE HE HAS FIVE SISTER!!!!!!

Human wall protecting bride from view of guests.

 

The madness right after a ceremony is always so much fun.

Yep, I saw it, and photographed it. #nephew

Like I said, sisters are the best.

Guess who was giving out posing suggestions again.

This would be a great time to say La Tee Da Flowers always brings their A-game.

I think a couple who just got married, eating a meal totally alone together, may just be my favorite thing in the whole wide world.

#manbunforthewin

Her father almost fell tripping on her dress.  Anna Caroline’s face says it all.

Scott’s father looking on while he danced with his mother was pretty swell.

CMB DJs kept the party going all night long. If you are getting married and need music.  You need them.

Hey look, it’s that photographer on the left side of the photo. Totally aware of where he is in the frame.  He is a pro.

Of course the Mug Machine was there.  Here are some of my favorites.

Thank you two for letting me into your lives the past few months.  You were so kind and generous, and it was an honor to capture your day.

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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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