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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Your Wedding Has Two Weddings
Your Wedding Has Two Weddings

Can I tell you a secret about your wedding?  On your wedding day, there will actually be two weddings taking place.  The one you planned for, and the one you may not even notice.

The one you plan for will be easy to spot.  It’s the one that looks like a real live Pinterest board.  Perfection will be everywhere you look.

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Time after time, it will feel like you are in a movie and you won’t believe that it’s actually real life.  I mean seriously… did you notice that field just above?

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As great as the wedding you planned is, sometimes there is even more fun and life to be had in the wedding you may not notice.

Like…. How adorable the little flower girls are as they wait while watching shows with matching headphones.

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How your groom and his aunt photo bomb your formal photos.

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That little moment of reflection as you film a message to your husband to be.

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How about that time your dad trips while walking you down the aisle, catches himself, and then you share a giggle over it.

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It only lasts 5 seconds, but when the minister tells you to turn and look at all the friends and family you have, soak it up.

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If it feels like everyone is watching you…. it’s because they are.  Every little girl is kinda dreaming she was you.

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And some little boys are trying to figure out what every older girl wants.

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Of course you want a photo with your sorority sisters.  You never figured your dad would want to jump in too though.  Right?

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Soak up every strange and awkward dance move your new husband has.  (And make sure it gets captured on film.)

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Rent the best getaway car you can.  But if it does not crank, don’t sweat it.  You’ve got plenty of muscle standing by.

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Plan your day, enjoy your day, just don’t miss the day happening behind the scenes.  You never know when lightning might strike.

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(You see what I did there?)

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Gwen & Vernon | 50 Years of Marriage
Gwen & Vernon | 50 Years of Marriage

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Sometime last year I came up with the idea of photographing couples who have been married 50+ years. I always love anniversary dances at weddings and feel like those are the couples we should be celebrating. It’s like 300 people come to cheer you on when you get married, but for some reason, the longer you are married, the less people celebrate or cheer for it.

(PS: If you know of a couple who has been married for 50 or more years, get in touch, I’ll take their photos.)

I don’t know if I could have picked a better couple to kick off this little series.

Vernon and Gwen were married January 16, 1965. That’s about 50 years and 4 days ago. ;) They were so so sweet and kind. Their relationship has such a security to it. One is not trying to outdo the other. As they tell a story they take turns handing off parts of the conversation to each other like olympians passing a baton. One of the first things that came up was the topic of movies and this was their exchange.

Gwen: “I love Cary Grant. How can you be so funny and look so good?”

(3 second pause.)

Vernon: “There’s only a few of us.”

I was hooked.

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As I photographed them they told stories about their journey and what it means to share a life with someone. I felt my marriage getting stronger just by listening to them talk about theirs. I loved watching them flirt like a pair of newly-weds. I loved the little looks she gave him when he was about to cross a line. I loved that Vernon’s office has a photo of the Mona Lisa next to a photo of John Wayne.

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At first my plan was to just do a few photos of them, but after about 30 seconds of hanging out with them, I knew I had to film them answering a few questions about marriage and life.

It’s not a LOL Instagram cat.
It’s not a dog riding a skateboard on Youtube.
It’s not even a super funny 21 random facts you didn’t know BuzzFeed list.

It’s just 2 people who have been married 50 years telling you what it takes to make that happen.

They may also give opinions on wedding budgets and saying yes to the dress. ;)

So, if you have 5 minutes to spare, you should watch this video.

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