I Don’t Care About Your Beautiful Wedding
I Don’t Care About Your Beautiful Wedding

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Can I let you in on a little secret?  I’m not impressed or excited by how pretty your wedding is.

It’s true.  I mean, sometimes it’s cool and all, and I may even pretend to care, but that’s not really what I love about photographing weddings.

And the reality is, even though you may not realize it, you might not care about the pretty by the end of the day.

Now, before you freak out, stay calm and look at the photos below.  I take pictures of all the beautiful.

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See, I told you I could do it.  I told you I could take pretty pictures of pretty things.

But like I said, the pretty is not what I’m there for.  I’m there for the random, the obscure, the genuine moments that bubble up throughout the day.  Those are my favorites.  And part of me knows that the further away from your wedding day you get, the more you will love and laugh and want to look back on those moments as well.

Like that moment when I walk into the brides room and she’s doing this. :)

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Or the moment that you realize that you only wrote your groom a short card, and he gave you two hand written pages of commitment on your wedding day.

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That moment when you point at the one bridesmaid who is wearing leggings.

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The little details.  Like the fact that even though your sock won’t show, it still matches your colors.

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That moment when one of your flower girls calls you out for getting married in tennis shoes.

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That moment when your brother-in-law photo bombs your formals.

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That moment when your brother walks into your room, and everyone squeals with delight, and your sister stands in the background while the two of you hug.

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Speaking of sisters… only they love you enough to rub in your deodorant.

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That moment when your mom wants to both film your wedding and pray for you all at once.

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That moment when your flower girl decides that she is done holding that basket you handed her and would rather balance it on her head.

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That moment when you can’t get the unity candle lit and your groomsmen are hacking you as you struggle through it while the whole world watches and waits forever.

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That moment you forget you are a bride and just decide to act like a normal person and lick part of the cake that got on your hand.

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Or maybe my favorite moment of the night.  That moment when your flower girl head up collecting money for your honeymoon and ended up with over 300 dollars in cash and would not give it back.  And it literally took you and the groom’s sister ripping it out of her hands as she was carried away crying.

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So yeah, make your wedding pretty if you want.

Make it beautiful.
I suppose someone cares.

Just not me.

Because what I loved most was while Lacey & Cory were struggling through that unity candle, and his guys were teasing him and poking fun at his failures,
Lacey kept smiling.

While it seemed like it took for-ev-er to get it figured out (it really only took 53 seconds),
Cory stayed cool.

When their perfect plan of a perfect unity candle flopped in their face,
they figured it out.

That is my favorite part of their day.  And if they can keep smiling, keep their cool, and work together, the rest of their marriage will be more beautiful than their wedding.

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Flowers, First Looks, & Flower Girls
Flowers, First Looks, & Flower Girls

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Today’s post will be a bit different.  I just wanted to focus on 3 aspects of Amanda & Bob super fun Castle on the Lake wedding: the flowers, the First Look, and the flower girls.

First up, the flowers.  Anytime I pull up to a wedding and see the La Tee Da mobile, I know I don’t have to worry.  The pretty will be there for sure, but even more importantly, there will be no added pressure or stress on the bride.  Barbara and her team show up on time, with no issues, and always make the place more amazing than even the bride could imagine.

Here is what Amanda had to say about the florals: “I was so excited to see the flowers that I kept peeking out the window while we were getting ready because I knew they were going to be absolutely gorgeous!”

You hear that?  A bride was so excited about her flowers that she put off getting ready for her wedding so she could look at the flowers for her wedding.  Way to go La Tee Da!

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I also LOVE being there when a bride gets to see her bouquet for the first time.
La Tee Da even has a section on their site devoted to this moment at every wedding.  So fun.

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You know I always enjoy a First Look.

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Amanda & Bob spent their’s laughing and tearing up over the day.  Such a great moment of calm and reconnecting before the chaos that can be a wedding day.

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Bob was super nervous up until this point.  So seeing and getting to talk to Amanda, really helped settle him down a bit. And, little did he realize it, after a few minutes he started to sooth her spirits and was so, so tender with her.

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I told you La Tee Da was good at their job.

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You were promised flower girls, and flower girls you shall have!

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Yes, please!

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Every lady has a nice handbag.

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Seriously.  This is a real live human tiny girl who looks just timeless.

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Thank you guys for such a chill and wonderful wedding day.  I promise I took more than just photos of your flowers, you two, and your flower girls. ;)

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How to Stay Married 5,000 Days
How to Stay Married 5,000 Days

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I’m sure we have all done the thing where we view our photo list in a big giant grid of thumbnails. It’s kinda fun to look back and see the blur that was the past few months or years. But we know that the never ending view of tiny thumbnails are not the important moments or photos. Those have their own album. Their own special gallery. That’s where we keep the BIG moments.

It’s ironic how we so often look for big moments to mark our progress in life and in marriage. Anniversaries are how we count our commitment to a relationship. It’s like they become this giant event that must be declared.

ATTENTION EVERYONE TODAY IS OUR ANNIVERSARY. WE ARE STILL MARRIED AND IN LOVE.

But, at the same time, the longer you are married, the more we realize that you don’t suddenly go from year 1 to year 2 to year 3. There are millions of tiny moments that fill up between those years.

Today Danielle and I have been married 5,000 days.

That’s kinda great. But honestly, I doubt TODAY will actually be any more special than yesterday or tomorrow. The thing is, we don’t really know when the “special” days will come. But, looking back, it’s easy for me to remember moments that did stand out. Days that bubble up to the surface when viewed with a little bit of perspective and history behind them.

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Day 1: Kinda obvious.

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Day 264: This was taken when our firstborn Joseph was less than a week old.  Little did I realize then just how much time Danielle would spend holding and loving on babies over the next 4,800 days.

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Day 653: We spent about 1 week in the hospital with Joseph.  I think it was the first truly hard thing we went through in our marriage.  Learning to trust, learning to stay calm and not let the moment overwhelm you, and learning to lean on each other even more when a season of life become hard.

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Day 1,103: I love this photo.  I’m not sure how many seagulls have carried off and eaten a human but Danielle was convinced that they were a very real threat.  Even so, she braved the birds and the beach and lived to tell of it.

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Day 1,273: I kept getting frustrated because Sara would not look at the camera.  To say we got into a fight over it might be a stretch… but it also might not. :)   Danielle assured me that it would be fine regardless of what Sara was doing.  I disagreed.  I eventually just photoshopped another shot of her looking towards the camera to make a “good” family photo.  Years later as I look back on that shoot, this is my favorite image.

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Day 1,457: Remember that time my office flooded and we ripped up carpet and soaked up water and were so broke we tried to put back down the wet carpet and hoped that it didn’t smell, but it did?
Those were good times.

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Day 1,833:  Little by little Danielle has come to understand my love for technology and things that go blinky blink.  So, even though she didn’t camp out with me for that first iPhone… She did let me do it.
(Even though that meant she was at home with two kids and 8 months pregnant with our third.)

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Day 2,229: Danielle and I always look back on Luke as being when we really started to get the hang of parenting.  Maybe it’s because “third time’s the charm” or something, but by the time this kiddo got here we had learned how to not sweat the small stuff and Danielle had learned how to make a killer birthday cake.

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Day 2,500:  It’s funny how things work out.  Just out of curiosity I decided to check back and see what the half way point of our little journey was.  When I did the math, day 2,500 was the day I photographed Danielle’s college roommate’s wedding.  It’s one of like 3 weddings I’ve shot that Danielle and the kids have attended and having Sara & Yan be a part of our timeline is extra fun.

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Day 2,629:  We had just started homeschooling the kids and I still remember how scary that idea was at times.  I’ve seen her reading and helping these kids learn to read countless times over the years and looking back on this moment fills me with so much pride in what she has taught our kids.  The little guy who was learning to read a Curious George book right there just wrote a 34 page short story of his own last month. (Just for fun.)

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Day 2,864:  As great as she is at teaching our kids, she’s even better at playing and connecting with them.  This is one of my all time favorites.

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Day 2,968:  Somewhere someone decided that minivans are not cool.  I disagree.  They have doors that open when you push a button, kids can get in and out without help, and they hold a whole basketball team.  Anyway, the day we sold this van was bittersweet.  She had served us well, but her time was done.  Before we sold her, we took one last family photo.

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Day 3,144: Our last kiddo had just turned 1 a few days before this photo.  Danielle held Eli every chance she had.  We knew were were entering a new season of life but leaving this one was also hard.

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Day 3,225: I’m always amazed at what Danielle will let the kids do to her.

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Day 3,261: We had wanted a fence for a while and finally saved up enough cash to build one…. but not enough to pay someone to build it.  :)

So, board by board, Danielle walked them over to where I was nailing them up.  AND, since she knows I’m a words of affirmation guy, she even wrote me little encouraging notes on some of them.

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Day 3,654: On our 10 year anniversary we went back out to Elmwood Gardens and had some cookies and told the kids about the time their Mom and Dad were married.  We talked about how marriage is hard, but even when it’s hard, we are committed to it and to each other.  They kinda looked at us like what are you talking about and asked if they could have another cookie.

(Fun Fact: Every year on our anniversary we dress back up in our wedding close and have a vow renewal ceremony at home.)

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Day 3,892:  This is the day that we learned that if your daughter falls on her two front teeth, they might break off.
This is the day we learned that staying calm helps.
Even if you are freaking out on the inside.

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Day 3,963: Remember how we homeschool?  Well, when we started I think we had like 1 kid…. Today Danielle is teaching 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st grade.

THAT’S INSANE!!!

This little photo was after her first year teaching all 4 of the kiddos.  (Looking back on it I realize maybe I should have printed out an award for her.)

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Day 4,507: We decided that it was time to move.  We had outgrown our house and were ready for something a bit bigger.
We packed it all up, and put our house on the market.

Thought this process we realized something, we didn’t need a bigger house.  We didn’t want another house.  We needed to find contentment where we were.

Little by little we did that.  Together.

And then… we moved back into our house. :)

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Day 4,632: Every now and then you get one of those perfect days.  Days where school gets canceled and it snows in Texas, days filled with uncles and friends and laughter and kids on sleds.  You soak up those days, you remember those days, because you never know how many you have.

1 week after this day, Danielle’s brother and his friend were in a car wreck.  Her brother survived but our sweet friend Pasha did not.  This hit us hard and our family went through a dark season.  A season of mourning and sadness, a season of questions unanswered.  But little by little we came through it.  Together.  And we came out on the other side stronger.  Again, we realized that when the hard times comes.  Lean into each other.

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Day 4,842:  Remember that time that Mickey Mouse said “I would like you to be the family of the day and help me open the Magic Kingdom”?  Because you should.  Because it was one of the best days ever.

The best thing about these days is that they were not planed for back when we were married.

They are little markers along the way that remind us that marriage is about growth.

Marriage is about changing and continuing to love each other.

Marriage is not just about those big epic moments.

Your love story is not only written when you are dancing together in the rain, it’s written every day.

Little by little, one snapshot at a time.

The reality is there is no trick to staying married 5,000 days.  You choose to stay married one day at a time.

One diaper at a time.

One lightsaber

snow cone

basketball practice

house repair

spilled goldfish

fight on the way to church

at a time.

It’s in the common, the mundane, the beautiful holiness that is the everyday.

And, as much as I’ve loved these 5,000 days, I can’t wait of the next ones.

I’m already looking forward to November 7, 2029.  When I can look into my brides eyes and say I’ve loved being married to you ten thousand days.

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1 Million Friends
1 Million Friends

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I’ve been shooting weddings for 10 years now. One of the things that you quickly realize is that the day flies by. Most couples are bounced from person to person and moment to moment without even realizing it. That was not the case with Brooke & Justin. These two were so present on their day. It seemed like every time I turned around they were having a genuine conversation with someone new. I LOVED seeing their support group celebrate their day with them and I loved even more how much Justin and Brooke soaked up every second of it.

True story: I NEVER get tired of photographing weddings at the Villa di Felicita. This place is amazing. They make my job easier and your day so much more amazing.

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CS Cutting Company out of Longview did some magic on hair & make up.
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A bit of First Look goodness.
(I also love when couples exchange little gifts during this time.)

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La Bella Blooms crushed it with the flowers. Ashley and her team are super nice. You should totally get in touch with them if you want pretty pretty at your wedding.
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These fools had a bridal party of 30 people. I’m not sure what is more amazing, that I was able to get a photo of all of them at once before the kids melted down, or that Brooke & Justin had meaningful interactions with each of them. ;)

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By the time we got back around to the guys, this little man was done. He wanted no part of the photos, but I was able to snag one of him as he bolted for an exit.

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Designs by D’Anne. Keeping brides happy and wedding photographers chubby for many many years. Yummy.

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(Also, if you like words on walls, floors, and other places, Tyler Uplights and CMB DJs are you jam.)

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Hey remember that little dude. Guess what? Once he got a sucker, he was good to go.

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Justin and Brooke both work for the SMU football program. He coaches and she recruits, so of course they had the film crew for the team film their wedding.

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You know what else is fun at weddings? The Mug Machine!

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Thank you for trusting me with your wedding. You two were such a joy to be around and anytime you want to get all of your friends together and dressed up again give me a call, I’ll be there.

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top 10 2015 | the winners!
top 10 2015 | the winners!

Hey hey, the people have spoken and here are the winners for this years contests.

Engagement: Natelee & Josh. There is something super timeless and perfect about a couple hugging while the dude makes his girl giggle.

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Rings: Melanie & Aaron used these drinks during their ceremony. I’m glad their ring photo was able to include them as well.
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Brides: Liz braved the stupid hot afternoon June heat for her bridal session. It was worth it. (Right Liz?)
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Random: I LOVE this shot of the bride’s sisters and mom documenting their day.
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Mug Machine: Hair makes the best prop.
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Wedding: Breelyn & Tyson had the most perfect outdoor wedding ever. It’s only fair that their perfect outdoor photo win.
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Each year it’s so hard for me to narrow down the categories and pick only 10 photos per section. This year I’m giving you a little peek behind the curtain at some of my other favorites that were not able to make the cut in wedding related categories.

Lots and lots of eye candy below. Enjoy.

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Thanks to everyone who voted and a HUGE thanks to all my 2015 couples. You guys are super generous to allow me into your lives on these intimate days. You are the best.

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