Chloe & Tyler’s Epic Wedding
Chloe & Tyler’s Epic Wedding

It may be possible to have a better wedding day than Chloe & Tyler had.  I’ve just never seen it done before.

Let’s start off with giving shout outs…

First off, Lake Tyler Petroleum Club.  Always on their game. HUGE shout out to A Touch of Nature, I always love working with them.

Designs by D’Anne.  Keeping me 15lbs overweight for the past 15 years.

Because she is awesome, Chloe had a shrine set up for a bridesmaid who was not able to fly in.

MOTG & MOTB were both rockin’ their robes.

Chloe hated this spray thing.  Therefore I must blog it.

Tyler arriving in his getaway car.  (That his Grandmother let him borrow.)

This group is made up of brothers, brother-in-laws, and seminary friends.  So naturally they took the whole photo process very seriously.

First Look magic.

Good grooms always ask to see the back of the dress.

Chloe gave Tyler two sweet gifts. A watch that he had been wanting. (I think, I was kinda far away but was for sure eavesdropping.) And a journal she had been keeping for the past few years.  I loved seeing the delight on Tyler’s face as she shared little passages and excerpts from it.

Disclaimer: This is totally a photo I shot from the hip as I was carrying gear to get ready for their family photos.

My only goal in life from this point forward as a parent is to have Sara’s brothers love her enough to hold her hand on her wedding day.

Family is super, super important to both of them.  Chloe had her grandmothers each put on special pieces of jewelry.

Seriously, I can not say enough wonderful things about these families.

Tyler has a younger brother and sister. Chloe has a younger brother.  Whenever those people get married, I demand to be there. OK, glad we got that worked out.

So the other two times we did sessions, Chloe brought her own snacks.  She loves candy and seriously has a thing for gummy bears.  However, through all the chaos, she did not pack any for her wedding day. And was super sad when I asked her where the snacks were on her wedding day.

This was the look on her face when I surprised her with a little plate of gummy bears that I had brought for them.

Good news: if the wedding photography business ever goes away, I think I can make it selling stock photos of gummy bears and wedding rings.

Maybe it’s because we have 3 of our own, but I’m a sucker for momma’s and their boys on a wedding day.

Let’s take a little break right here.  This moment.  The moment when the bride comes down the aisle.  From a wedding planning perspective, this magical dream like instance has 1 million decisions that led up to it. Too many times event planners and coordinators are viewed as the people who help you pick out linens.  While that is true, every now and then you are lucky enough to find a planner who helps you think through every detail of your day.  Things don’t magically “fall into place” on your day.  Someone puts them in their place.

Taryn and her staff at Event & Company do the heavy lifting, and the easy lifting, and the lifting you didn’t even know needed to be done.  Book them.  Seriously, every dollar you give them is 100 less decisions you have to think through and make.  Money well spent.

Midway through her vows, Chloe decided she wanted a sip of water.  Because it’s her day and she can do whatever she wants.

Every time I photograph these two, they are snacking on something.

They both were hoping to have an outdoor wedding, but the heat was a bit more than they had planned for. (Of course it was stupid hot in October. Sigh.)  Anyway, Tyler surprised her with an impromptu outdoor dance and gift right after the ceremony.

Again, I didn’t catch all the details, but I think this was the first engagement ring he gave her that broke.  He had it made into a necklace.  “I was hoping that’s what was in the box,” she squealed as she opened it.

Chloe’s brother sang while she danced with her father. Because I told you, the whole family is awesome.

I do love a bride who watches her husband dance with his mother.

As I listened to their friends go on and on about how incredible they are, one thread ran through all the speeches: their generosity.
Generosity of time and actions.
Generosity of advice.
Generosity of gifts.
And above all, generosity of love.  Their ability to give you exactly what you need.  Whether it’s a compliment, or wisdom in a tough situation.  Maybe the perfect gift, or the right conversation.  They are constantly looking for ways to serve and give of themselves.

The anniversary dance was won by Mr. & Mrs. Clause.

Again, the theme of “family” was how we ended the day.  They wanted to make sure they saw everyone and hugged them before the getaway.  Just next level intentionality on their part.  I loved it.

The best part was that the family hugging led to Chloe tearing up as they walked through the bubbles.  Suddenly, “I’m not crying you’re crying” became the theme of the exit.

One these stories is a lie:
Chloe was still tearing up as she got to the car.
Tyler was like, “Dude, you have been totally awesome.  Please, come with us on our honeymoon, we would love to hang out with you even more.”

Yes, the Mug Machine was there.  Yes, I brought 3 giant sized bags of gummy bears to rain down from the heavens.

I love that Chloe was able to surprise Tyler with a journal.
A gift that said, this is my journey, and I’m forever glad you are now a part of it.

I doubly love that Tyler was able to surprise Chloe with a dance.
The gift of an unexpected moment in a day, that had been planned for over a year.

And their generosity towards me over these past months was what led me to make sure I had 4lbs of gummy bears for their day.
So that she could snack on them.
So that friends could throw them.
And so that I could stick a bag in their getaway car for them to find as they drove down the road.

Right after we did those photos in the Mug Machine Chloe said, “This is the happiest moment of my life.”

The generosity and love you guys pour out on others is what made that moment possible.

Thank you.


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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…



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.


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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