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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15
15

I get paid to take wedding photos. The wedding day is where it’s at. Your dress, the cake, flowers, flowers everywhere. All of it points to that day. And I get it. Weddings are important. Your wedding day is a big deal. But can I be honest for a minute? My favorite weddings, my favorite couples, are the ones that understand that the wedding day is the beginning of the journey, not the destination.

Today my Bride and I have been married 15 years. We knew we didn’t have a fat clue what marriage was about when we got married, but man, looking back on it now. We really did NOT have a fat clue was marriage is about. :) For us, so much of staying married has been about navigating the changing seasons of life. So take a little trip with me if you will… and let’s see what the past 15 years has thrown at us. (To all you newlyweds out there, this could be you by the year 2032.)

2002: Finally. After 4 years of begging and trickery and shenanigans, I tricked Danielle in to marrying me.


2003: This moment perfectly captures what this year was about.
So many things:
1. We have a kid. (What up, Joseph?)
2. That is our $10 dollar Christmas tree that he pulled down on himself. (We could not afford the $25 one. We still own that tree.)
3. VCR!!

2004: This is when we officially became a family.  When we were photographed on a beach in khakis and white.

2005: Another kid. True story.  I was FURIOUS that Sara would not look at the camera.  I ended up photoshopping her face to make the picture good.  Ever since then, this has been our favorite photo from that day.

2006: Snake Attack Day.  We bonded as a family and it was the beginning of so many inside jokes that continue to this day.

2007: Well it’s been 2 years, so here comes another baby. (Hi, Luke.)

2008: This is when the things started to get easier for us. (How could more kids make life easier?)  Well it started with Danielle and I both learning to trust each other more and lean into each other’s strengths.  Little by little, we had been figuring out how to parent and be married and run a business.  These are the days of costumes and laughter and kids putting their shoes on the wrong feet.

2009: Introducing Eli (Left) Like clockwork. (Hello, vasectomy.)

2010: We finally started to travel a bit and see the states.  Our trip out to Atlanta was one of our favorite vacations ever.  Little by little we were building a family history and it was pretty great.

2011: When you have a house full of humans, life is not always tidy and full of vacations.  Sometimes it’s just day after day after day of endless people, talking and needing and crying and watching tv, while the couch cushions come off. With changes of clothes on the floor, and promotional wedding products leaning against the wall. (You really should go check out Angela & Spencer’s wedding.)

2012: 10 years. (Just getting started.)

2013: Our favorite thing about having a pile of kids is they have friends and that leads to more kids.  Having 10-13 kids over on any given day is not uncommon, and those days fill our hearts.  They are exhausting and draining. But even now as some of those kids are driving and working and “growing up”, we already miss the lightsaber battles and nerf gun fights, the water balloon contests, and messy games that we’ve had over the years.


2014: Enough is enough. Our house was a great starter house, but we needed more space. (1,500 sq ft. fills up fast.) Time to pack up and move. So we did. We packed it all up and put our house on the market and started looking. We found all kinds of houses. Big houses with pools. Bigger houses with creeks. Medium houses with upstairs and downstairs. Houses with a bedroom for each kid. The possibilities were endless. And through it all we learned something. We didn’t need a bigger house. We liked only having 10 years left on our note. We moved back into our house and have never looked back. (Best decision we have ever made, and I’ll gladly talk your ear off about it if you are interested.)

2015: We were chosen as Family of the Day at the Magic Kingdom.  Mickey asked up to help him open the park. (I may hold this day in higher regard than our wedding day.)

2016: My favorite part of our kids is watching them grow up.  Seeing their personalities evolve and their opinions form.  We have loved getting to show them how beautiful and sad and messy and hopeful the world is at times.  Trips to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, stories of refugees on YouTube, art galleries in Washington D.C.  Stretching their little minds has been the best part of parenting.

2017: Through all that chaos and life that you’ve just seen, think about this… Danielle has been homeschooling our kids.  Year after year after year after year after year after year with NO END IN SIGHT.  Seriously.  She’s got another TEN years to go before she is finished.  (And that’s assuming the 2009 procedure worked.)  Just like I’ve loved seeing my kids grow and stretch, my most favorite thing of all has been seeing my Bride grow and stretch over the years.

Weight, that sounds bad. Oh no… I mean… Anyway, you get the idea.

There is no way in the world back in 2002 I could have known who she was going to be today.

She gives when I think there is nothing in her left to give.
She teaches in a way that makes them curious to learn more.
She dreams big and pulls us all along for the ride.
She loves with a full heart that knows no limits.

I’m honored that she calls me her’s.
I’m amazed that she still chooses me.
I can’t imagine a better partner for this journey of marriage that we are on together.

Till death do us part.

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my favorite part of a wedding day: bouquet toss
my favorite part of a wedding day: bouquet toss

OK. It’s time again for that killer blog series: My Favorite Part of A Wedding.

Today’s topic: Bouquet Toss

Ah, yes. That moment in every wedding, where single ladies either get way too excited about it or vomit at the shear thought of it.

Quick history lesson:
Tossing the bouquet is a tradition that stems from England. Women used to try to rip pieces of the bride’s dress and flowers in order to obtain some of her good luck. To escape from the crowd, the bride would toss her bouquet and run away.

First of all, this sounds AMAZING! More like this please.

Somehow, the toss has evolved into this thing that now guarantees that the lucky lady who catches it will be the next one married. Because you know… magic.

So even though it’s a bit corny, I do love this little moment when your girlfriends get a chance to go all Hunger Games during your reception.

I love when there are literally dozens of competitors.

I love when they stretch their arms like NFL wide receivers.

I love when the girl that does NOT catch it is more excited than the girl that does.

I love when the girl you think is going to catch it does not.

I love the taunting that is often performed by the victor.

I love when the girls trip over themselves trying to catch it.

I love it most of all, when a girl falls to the floor, and a bride is willing to meet her down there for their photo together.

I also love when a lady has so much swag and confidence, that she knows she can jump, hold her red solo cup in one hand, and snag the bouquet with the other.

But seriously. Here is the key that I have found after shooting hundreds of weddings: some people love it, some people don’t. But you know your girls better than most. If you think they will enjoy it, then by all means, go for it. If you know they hate the idea… punt it. Sure it’s your wedding, but these are your closest friends. The goal isn’t to embarrass or shame them because they haven’t found someone to file taxes with jointly.

And, sure it’s a glorious moment for the winning lady, but it’s not like catching your flowers actually empowers the girl with the ability to become the next one married.

Or does it?

Because you enjoyed this, I know you’ll want to see more in this series. Click here for more words and pretty pictures.

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Charity Water | Mini Sessions
Charity Water | Mini Sessions

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The past 5 years our family has gone on mission/humanitarian trips overseas. The thing with going to these places is that you always go intending to help someone and the reality is that you come back changed. Little by little, year by year, OUR hearts have changed. They have grown more and more open towards others and specifically towards those less fortunate.

One of the things we decided to do this year was not spend money heading “over there” but instead look for ways to help right from where we are. We’ve found ways to serve, give, and grow our hearts without having to take a plane ride. One of the ways we are doing that this year is by partnering with Charity Water.

Charity Water is an AMAZING organization that just celebrated 10 years. Every single dollar you give goes towards clean water. Not one penny goes towards payroll, paying rent, maintaining a website, or donuts for their break room.

To understand just how important water is watch either of these videos.

If you have 2 minutes, watch this one.

If you have 20 minutes and a box of kleenex watch this one.

So today is my birthday and I am turning 39. And here is what I’m asking you to do:

I’m asking you to give.

It’s that simple. I’m asking you to give a one time donation of 39 bucks. (That’s like buying two Blu-rays.)

39 bucks gives someone clean drinking water for 1 year.

39 bucks give a woman her dignity back.

39 bucks gives a young boy a chance to go to school.

39 bucks gives a young girl her future.

All of these things and so much more happen when people have access to clean water.

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It literally takes less than a minute to go online and give.

I’m convinced every single person reading this has 39 bucks they can spare.

Maybe you wait another month on that grill you’ve been eyeing.

Maybe you don’t buy those “essential” oils.

Maybe you don’t go out to eat this week.

Maybe you dip into that wedding account.
(Trust me, you can’t buy anything wedding related for 39 bucks, you ain’t gonna miss it.)

Maybe you are a college kid and your parents gave you a credit card.
Use that bad boy without even asking!!!! (I’m looking at you Beckie.)

I’m daring you to give.

I’m daring you to change a life.

I’m daring you to do the one thing this week you can look back on and be absolutely sure it was the best thing you could have done with 39 bucks.

Go give. I dare you. https://donate.charitywater.org/alexm/best-birthday-ever

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Oh yeah… about those mini sessions…

Anyone who donates $150 bucks or more gets a mini session. You can’t beat that.
(Once you donate, send me a copy of your receipt and you’ll be signed up.)
Donate here: https://donate.charitywater.org/alexm/best-birthday-ever

You get amazing photos of you and your people…

5 people get clean water because you decided to get your picture taken.

Mini Session locations & dates:
Austin: October 8th
Dallas: October 15th
Tyler: October 16th

One more thing…
My beautiful bride has a birthday coming up 2 days from now. All of you people who are always telling me how amazing and how wonderful she is… this is your chance to let her know that… by donating 74 dollars.

Nothing would fill her heart more to see this campaign reach our goal of $5,000 bucks.

Give 39 bucks. Change a life. It’s that simple.

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Less People Will Not Ruin Your Wedding Day
Less People Will Not Ruin Your Wedding Day

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It’s always an honor when I’m asked to document someone’s wedding day.  But for some reason, when there are only 10-12 people attending… it turns into a super honor.  That’s how I felt all day long at Leah & Jordan’s Lake Tyler Petroleum Club wedding.

I LOVE this next photo.  It may be my favorite of the day.

What if you could only have 12 people sit and watch you get married?
Could you do it?
Would you want to?

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There are so many misconceptions about what having a small wedding or ceremony might mean for your day.  Leah & Jordan proved that if you decide to have a small ceremony…. you can still have just as much fun. :)

You can still get your toe nail painted as your something blue.

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You can still get photos laughing with your bridesmaids.

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You can still have La Tee Da Flowers CRUSH your bouquet & arrangements.

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You can still have your grandfather perform the ceremony with his super old manuscript.

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You can still get yummy and delicious cakes from Designs by D’Anne.

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You still get to walk down the aisle.

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You can still have your grandmother tell your grandfather “Take a picture! Take a picture!”

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You can still have a pretty great ceremony that ends with man & wife.

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You can still take photos of the two of you looking gorgeous.

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You can still have awkward photos of you saying “I once caught a fish this big.”

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You can still get a killer ring shot on the book your grandfather has used to perform wedding ceremonies for over 50 years.

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Leah & Jordan didn’t choose a smaller ceremony because they didn’t have any friends.
(They just finished med school and residency. They actually have like a billion friends.)

They didn’t choose a smaller ceremony because they don’t like people.

They didn’t choose a smaller ceremony because they could not afford a bigger one.
(Remember, they are doctors.  Wait… They just FINISHED med school.  So yeah… never mind.  Still broke.)

They chose it because it was a good fit for them.

That is the takeaway.  Plan your wedding how YOU want your day to go.  If you want 500 people to watch you get married.  Fine.  Invite 800 guests.
IF you want 12, then invite 12.

Weddings have become a circus, and I don’t think they were ever intended to be that.

So my advice to you guys is this… The next time you get in an argument over a planning detail.  Don’t ask yourself “Do we really need 12 elephants or will 6 be enough?”

That’s not the question.  The question is…

Do we want any elephants at all?

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