Kayla & David | year one
Kayla & David | year one

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Kayla & David were married at St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church last August.  (With a killer reception at Centaur Arabian Farms in Flint, TX.)  So now that they are total pros at being husband and wife I thought it would be fun to hear form them on what their first year of marriage was like.

1. What do you miss most about the single life?
What I miss most about single life is being able to sprawl out in bed.. That being said, we just bought a king mattress last week…haha.

2. Give us your best cheapo/fun married date idea.
Cheapo fun married date idea: garage saleing and thrift store exploring is one of our favorite pastimes, David is the bargainer and I am the treasure hunter. We always have a good time and laugh with odd things we see at garage sales.

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3. What have you liked most about your first year being married?
The looks on peoples faces when they find out I’m married.. Their reaction is mostly..”aren’t you like 12?!” Haha! It happens, I’ll be really smokin’ when I’m 60 and look 45 ;) but my most favorite part of our first year of marriage is the companionship that you feel with your person. Nothing beats the feeling of someone who has chosen and is still choosing to be yours everyday.

4.What’s been the hardest part about being married?
I would say the hardest part about being married right now is making future decisions such as when should we have kids?, should we buy a house?, should we rent?, where should we go?, which insurance plan is best for us?, what is a mortgage?  (Okay I asked that one)… What we’ve learned so far is don’t try to go it all alone, our parents have been our biggest supports and counselors. We don’t have all the answers and probably never will, but we are up to the adventure of figuring it out!

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5. What have you fought about most and why?
What we fight most about with me is my phone habit. (Guilty).. What we fight most about with David is the he refuses to use the towel rack in our bathroom and will hang his used towel over the bathroom door so the door isn’t able to be shut, and I am not the tallest so it is difficult for me to get it down so I am able to close the bathroom door, also he is a nail picker..eww.

6.  What was the biggest thing you were nervous about? How has it turned out?
The biggest thing I was nervous about was the expectancy to be a “good wife” to cook dinner, have the house spotless, be dressed and picture perfect everyday for my husband and being able to maintain that. The reality is that I am not perfect and David realizes that he also realizes he is not perfect and this isn’t the Stepford Wives. I do however attempt to do these things for him because of course as his wife his happiness is extremely important to me, but also in turn he does things for me and helps around the house and cooks dinner and still calls me beautiful when I could pass for a gremlin. Letting go of that stereotype for me and figuring out what works best for us has really helped our relationship.

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7. What do you wish someone had told you before you were married?
Your wedding will not turn out the way you imagined, things will go wrong: there will be a gathering at the church before your wedding and the floors will be covered is smashed brownies and you’ll walk out to see your dad and uncle on their hands and knees scrubbing the floor, you will get lost on the way to your own reception with no cell phone service, plan on not eating at the reception, your first dance song will get deleted off your iPod, and the forks you got personalized for the big day will go missing, but you can also count on the moments you never imagined happening such as: spontaneous bride and groom karaoke with the band to Don’t Stop Believing, you can count on a spontaneous break-dance dance off with your bridesmaid, husband, and usher so intense the usher will rip his pants (right in the crack..), and you also count on the band playing Miley Cyrus and all the guest on the dance floor surrounding you with a cup in the air and a smile on their face and singing at the top of their lungs, you can count on incredible photo booth pictures because your friends are awesomely weird like that.  oh and so is your photographer ;)) you can count on your bridesmaids and groomsman and family to go above and beyond their call to make your day one to remember, and most importantly you can count on going home with your newly wed spouse to start your life.

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Thank you two for opening up to us.  Kayla you were super sweet to share your struggles.

And David…. come on man, use a towel rack, we are not animals.

PS. If you can’t get enough of these two, check out their super fun hot air balloon engagement session.

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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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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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My Favorite Part Of A Wedding Day: Family Photos
My Favorite Part Of A Wedding Day: Family Photos

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The day you get married is really unlike any other day of your marriage. It’s packed full of moment after moment after moment of memories. There are huge swings of emotion and sometimes the most unexpected thing will end up being the highlight of your day. I’m often asked “What’s your favorite part of a wedding?” The reality is, I don’t have just one answer for that. It really depends from wedding to wedding. I can say, that having shot over 400 weddings, a few trends have emerged and I’ve seen some patterns bubble up that I always look forward to documenting and being present for. I’ll be writing about one of these per month and I thought I would kick it off with one you might not expect.

My favorite moment of a wedding day is…. Family Photos!

That’s right, baby. I LOVE family formals. (I even wrote about how to have great formals a few years ago.) These are your people. This is your tribe. These images are so full of history and depth it’s impossible to not love them. This is your chance to laugh and cry with those who have known you the longest. It’s the time all your people look their best and these photos are the ones that will be put in frames and looked at for years and years to come. These are the images that end up on the kitchen counter, in the hallway, and above the fireplace. The thing is, sometimes in all of our planning and prepping for the day, they get overlooked. They become an item in your 76-Things-To-Do-On-Your-Wedding-Day-Checklist.

[ ] 4:30 Bridesmaid Photos
[ ] 4:45 Family Photos
[ ] 5:00 Reception

Just realize that that little block of your wedding day is one that many couples are not present for. I mean, they are there. They show up. They smile, pose, and hug. But, really, they are looking towards the next moment. The reception, the ceremony, the alcohol at the reception. :) They are not fully present and aware of how special these moments can be.

Need proof? Take a look.
This is typically what you think of when you hear family photos.  Bride with parents.  Check. :)

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But, you’ll quickly realize there is so much more happening.

 

1st family photo where all the kids are married.

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That super tender moment you have with your dad.

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A mother who has raised 4 boys into grown men.

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Sometimes things get a bit more fun.
Example: A photo of what this family typically looks like. ;)

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Siblings are the best!

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Sometimes the photos are not even about you.
That moment when a grandkid spits up on your grandparents.

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I LOVE to pull the bride or grooms brother/sister and their family aside.  It typically takes about 30 seconds and BAM!  They get a new photo to hang on their wall.

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How about one of your parents. Who NEVER get dressed up. Who NEVER get photographed. Here they are, looking good and in love.

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Or how about that picture with your grandparents who have been married 57 years and you have not even been married 57 minutes?

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Let’s fast forward to 2020.

 

Six years from now when you go home for Christmas and you have a three your old little girl, she will be at PaPa & NaNa’s house looking at the tree. She will stare at all the gifts under it and then she’ll notice a photo hanging on the wall of her mom in a white dress. She will look at it for a while, then she will ask her NaNa about the photo. And then your mother will tell her all about how beautiful her mother was on her wedding and how wonderful the day was.

 

And THAT moment, in the future, will be magic. And it will all be possible because you took a few moments on your wedding day to be photographed with the people who love you the most.

 

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Ashley & Blake | 365 Days of Marriage!!!
Ashley & Blake | 365 Days of Marriage!!!

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Weddings are great.  Sure.  I like them.  Let me tell you a secret though.  Even more than I like being there when a couple starts their life together…. I love creeping on them as they journey together those first few years.  That’s when it starts to get really good.  That’s when they start to realize that had no idea how much they could love each other.  They had no idea how fun it would be.  They had no idea how hard it would be.  Ashley & Blake were married a little over  year ago and they were kind enough to pull back the curtain and fill us in on what their first year together has been like.

What do you miss most about the single life?

The freedom to do whatever YOU want.

What was the the thing you stressed out most about in planning your wedding that now you look back on and laugh about?

We kind of put a lot of effort into figuring out which Bible verses we wanted read during the ceremony and who would read them, but then our pastor completely skipped that part.

Give us your best cheapo/fun married date idea.

Well, we LOVE ice cream. So to make us feel okay with it, we’ll go on a hike, grab some lunch, go check out the local succulent/gardening shops, and then discover one of the many amazing ice cream places of Los Angeles. And then spend 40 minutes trying to find the best free movie online. P.S. It’s LA, so cheap is relative.

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What have you liked most about your first year being married?

A: Being in the same city/apartment as Blake. (2.5 years long distance before)

B: Practical jokes are way easier to do when she lives with me and not 1,500 miles away.

What’s been the hardest part about being married?

A: Realizing how selfish we both are.

B: Samesies. Marriage isn’t about MY wants and needs. You have to be willing to serve your spouse on a daily basis.

What surprised you the most? (Either good or bad.)

A: Blake leaves used paper towels everywhere he goes. Bedroom, Bathroom, Living Room, Dining Room…. Literally everywhere.

B: Apparently women don’t poop rose petals. But seriously, you think you have figured her out and everything’s going great — then BLAMMO — back to the drawing board.

 

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What have you fought about most and why?

Trying to find time for guy-time/girl-time while still making quality time for each other – especially since Blake has really long work hours during the week.

Do you have any advice for couples about to take the plunge?

A: Marry someone you have complete trust in and can really open up to when you have something you want to talk about. It’s very difficult to make yourself vulnerable enough to speak your heart even when you do trust that person. Also, be honest and genuine, while still loving, when you talk about the hard things.

B: You HAVE to discuss the important issues in life before tying the knot: religion, family/kids, money, politics, moral issues, etc. It’s terrible to see married people get a divorce over issues that should have been discussed while dating or engaged. Also, remember that love is not just a feeling, it’s a daily decision.

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