Bent Tree Bible & Hyatt Regency North Dallas Wedding | Wesley & Angela

Dusty rose with an overdose of joy? 

When I envision the Nilsson wedding, I see beautiful pops of a dusty rose color pallete and joy on everybody's face. 

Complete and utter joy. 

As you start to scroll, you will quickly understand exactly what I remember to be Wesley and Angela's wedding day--perfect, if you ask me. Or them! ;-)

I mean, I don't know how many times I've said this OR had other people TELL ME this, but what a beautiful couple--their smiles--you can't beat. Both of them--they scream JOY; they scream LOVE; they scream PURE. What a power couple. 

As you know, I tend to feel strongly about all of my couples, especially after their wedding days. For me, it's such a sweet and intimate experience that I get to be a part of that, I leave their exit feeling like I'm waving good-bye to my bestie. And it was this and more with Angela and Wesley, because they were unique in a way. For most couples, my communication exchange is between the bride and myself via email. However, with Angela and Wesley's season of life, he was able to help with much of the wedding planning, meaning he handled a lot of the communication with the vendors. This meant, I felt like I really got to know both of them even better than most, and it truly made the day feel like I was photographing my two close friends who I've watched fall in love and commit themselves to the Lord. 

Y'all, it was a sweet, sweet day. 

My stomach dropped when Wesley's jaw did. When he saw Angela, the whole world stopped. His reaction(s) were priceless, and Angela--YES, girl, YES. Absolutely jaw-droppingly stunning. This bride--inside and out, she is beautiful! So fun, so spunky, so lovely. 

While all the beautiful details and all the joyful moments were plentiful throughout June 9th, a favorite of mine would have to be the "first look" between Angela and her father. It's absolutely a favorite and absolutely a sweet one. 

Because they ARE to me--my sweet friends are now Dr. and Mrs. Wesley Nilsson, and I'm beyond excited for them to begin their journey in Connecticut as he pursues his medical career and Angela continues to pursues her teaching career. They truly have an adventure ahead of them, and I'm eager to watch it unfold!! Hugs to Nilssons!! 

Bella Woods Fairytale Wedding | Taryn & Kirby

Oh my, my, my. 

I literally just sighed out loud before I started typing this, because I partly don't know where to even begin with these two. 

So I'll just start with: I love them. They are perfect for one another. I love their love. 

I am just beyond ecstatic for Kirby and Taryn that they have the most fairytale of a wedding to remember themselves becoming one. Literally, as I just scrolled through their images, my heart strings just tugged. It was BEAUTIFUL. And I don't want to use that word lightly, because as you can see, it was truly breathtaking, just magical. 

The the theme of a fairytale is significant, because Kirby proposed to Taryn at a castle, because he knew her love for all things fairytale and magical--this theme carried throughout their engagement and wedding, and WOW. Clearly, she was the most beautiful princess Kirby could have ever imagined walking down the aisle to him, escorted by her Daddy. And Kirby's reaction said that and more. It was so precious that I immediately felt the water-works coming--AH! My stomach is literally in happy knots right now as I'm remembering! 

One of my favorite parts of wedding days: FEELING all the happy FEELS. 

And then you look at Taryn with her Daddy, and she's just as emotional--priceless! They both absolutely knew how precious this day was, how precious this commitment is and how precious their friends and family were to join in on the celebration. 

I obviously DIED during ALL of their portraits, because they were STUNNING--the location, the light, the people, the color palette--recipe for loveliness. 

I'm so grateful I was able to celebrate with these two--just so grateful. 

Kirby and Taryn, I wish you the absolute best! It's such a joy seeing your joy and excitement in marriage! I think I'm able to feel a little extra with you two, because it reminds me of when Jordan and I married after we graduated, 5 years ago--we even have the same anniversary weekend--EEP! Sweet times are ahead of you two! Soak it all up!! :-) 

Willowood Ranch Summer Wedding | James & Katie

Wow. 

You're going to quickly see exactly what I mean! After Katie's lovely bridal session, I knew her wedding day was going to be just that--wow. 

I think when we arrived to the venue to find rolling, natural hills with a chapel that's oh-so-swoon-worthy, our hearts became giddy. Katie and James will forever remember one of the best days of their lives at this beautiful place! How sweet of a pill is that to swallow?! 

But in addition to it being so lovely, their wedding day was as smooth as can be--the planners had every detail in order, the florals absolutely did not disappoint, and the ease of the day continued to leave an unforgettable feeling for the couple to remember. 

Katie and James chose to do a "first look", which enabled us to capture oh-so-many portraits of the two of them. His reaction to seeing his bride was as sweet as pie, and I loved that they were then able to spend the rest of their wedding day--together. The hills and beautiful country light that kissed them just made my heart jump out of its chest--this couple is perfect for one another!

From the time Katie and I visited on the phone until the joy-filled exit with sparklers under the Texas night sky, I knew the love they share was and is special. The she talks so proudly of him, and the way he lights up when he's with her--perfection. 

It was an honor to celebrate and capture these precious memories alongside them on their wedding day, and I wish them the absolute best!

White Rock Lake Bridal Session | Katie

This may have been my first bridal session at White Rock Lake, but it certainly won’t be my last! Katie made me fall in love with this location in a new lens!

The light throughout was lovely, but as it neared the horizon, it gave us the most beautiful golden hues that kissed Katie perfectly!

Not to mention, can we JUST with Katie’s dress?! The detail around the waist was so elegant and simple. And she was a bride who smiled so confidently in front of the camera like, “I am a proud bride”.  She smiled as if she knew she’d made the best decision. And by the way she has talked about James from the time we discussed her wedding plans over the phone until today, she is so proud of him and enamored by him.

I’d say that’s a recipe for a beautiful bridal session: a confident, beautiful bride, a lovely dress and a sun-kissed location—yes please!

Katie, your bridals were a sweet preview of a beautiful wedding, and I can’t wait to share your special day with everyone on the blog tomorrow! You’re lovely!

Hilton Dallas Rockwall Lakefront Summer Wedding | Kristen & Skyler

I think we need to take a moment of silence for Kristen's dress...

EEEP! All the heart eyes! What a jaw-dropper! The detail on that beautiful thing is almost too much for my heart or camera! 

Which I adored. 

Kristen looked beyond stunning in her wedding dress, and Skyler's face absolutely proved that when he saw her for the first time as she walked down the aisle to him. 

Skyler and Kristen celebrated their nuptials at the Hilton Dallas Rockwall Lakefront over Memorial Day weekend, and it's safe to say that celebrating, they did! The entire day felt like a smooth, upbeat celebration of this sweet couple, and with many friends and family present to join in, it made for such a fun event! 

This was seen throughout the day with loved ones helping, loved ones toasting and loved ones dancing. During the reception, Kristen and Skyler surprised their wedding party with a "dance craze" where the wedding party and a few select others (who turned out to be their parents!!) participated in a dance-off, where the DJ played 30-seconds of a song which coordinated with the number they chose. Needless to say, this was a hit, and the parents BROUGHT IT. 

I thought it was beyond fun how obvious it was that they were excited for this joyous occasion and absolutely all-about participating in the dance-off! 

One of my favorite moments from a photographer's standpoint from the Scott's wedding was when I was able to spend a few minutes at sunset by the lake with this sweet couple. The temperature had eased, the lighting was soft, and the waves on the lake were relaxing. The best part was having this beautiful couple as the subject with all of this! They're so perfect together! 

I wish these two the absolute best and hope they remember their day as the celebration it was!! 

Arbor Hills Engagement Session | Angela & Wesley

Cue the confetti! This beautiful pair is getting married THIS Saturday! 

And y'all, as you can tell, they can't take a bad picture!! As I was blogging their session, I was just thinking...I love ALL of these!! Angela is just incredibly beautiful as she is sweet, and her laughing smile, soft smile and every smile in between is just stunning. Wesley has sure found himself a gem in her, and I do believe he knows it! 

They have been such a fun couple to get to know and photograph, and I have to believe that Saturday is going to be that and more: so much fun, so much love and so much joy. 

Angela and Wesley, I can't wait to celebrate with you!! 

Vancouver & Victoria, BC Canada

This might seem like somewhat a memoir to read, so scroll if you like and use the text as reference! I want this to be able to remember a pretty special 5th year anniversary trip for us! We celebrated Jordan's 28th birthday while there and honestly just had a blast. I think it kind of took us coming home, watching the drone footage we got and pictures we took to realize just how special it was. We're beyond grateful to the people who made this possible (Mimi, Papa, Aunties and uncle who watched Luke!)!! 

To begin, here's a little footage of our trip to Vancouver and Victoria, BC! We stayed at the Fairmont in Vancouver, rented a car to drive to Whistler, shopped, biked Stanley Park explored the Market and adventured as much of the Glass City as we could! This is where a lot of the beautiful footage comes from but definitely not all! The last 3 days of our trip we took a seaplane to Victoria and stayed at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort where we hiked, fished, explored downtown and the Parliament building and took a ferry ride. [more details of our travels below!]

Jordan and I had too much fun putting this video together, and the song is one we listened to in the car with the windows down while we had ocean scenic views to our left and mountainous views to our right. When we listened to the lyrics, we both agreed it had to be the soundtrack to a potential video recap. 

Our first day in Vancouver  

We flew into Vancouver from Seattle and were quite exhausted. The adrenaline was so high that it really didn't put a damper on our travels though! We made it to Vancouver around noontime and met one of the kindest people on the plan who offered to drive us into downtown where we were staying at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Seriously, I think I should have gotten this man's autograph, because after hearing how many houses he has around the world, he seems to have done pretty well for himself! 

So we started off rather adventurous by accepting his offer and tour into our hotel. As soon as we were there, Jordan napped and I got a massage at the spa (HEYO). We had plans for High Tea at  PM which we had heard was a MUST DO at our hotel (from a lot of people). This is kind of a funny story...many of you may think we're crazy. BUT I had gotten the vibe that "high tea" was this casual thing that hotels offered...like put tea and cupcakes out for you to sample or something. So I thought that's what we were doing! We arrived at 3 PM, were asked what kind of tea we wanted and then shortly after, we were brought several different sandwiches, scones and little desserts. Seemed pretty fancy, pretty neat. In our minds, we're like...this is complimentary of the hotel, yeah? Welllll.... go ahead and shake your heads at us (lololol). $150 later....... 

OOPS. Shows what we know...that was an expensive surprise to begin our "nice anniversary dinner night". We walked around downtown after that, shopped, and attempted to walk off our deliciously expensive High Tea (which...was worth it, btw!) and then had our anny dinner at the hotel that night. 

Our second day was probably MY FAVORITE (and Jordan's too) of the trip. We rented a car for the day and drove to Whistler. Ah. AMAZE. Can't say enough good things! And we were SO lucky, because it was a sunny day--clear skies so we could enjoy the ocean views on the left and mountainous view on the right. The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is about 1.5 hours, and we stopped at SO MANY parks, lakes, overlooks, etc. on the way there AND back, that who knows how long it actually took us!? We took the Sea to Sky Highway and 1) stopped a a mystery lake 2) Shannon Falls (waterfall), 3) Alice Lake 4) town of Squamish 5) Whistler Village 6) went down the Olympic turn off and saw two BEARS!!! 7) Brandywine Falls (waterfall) where we met a couple who told us to go back 10 miles to see the train wreck 8) saw the historic train wreck (took a suspension bridge to it) 8) stopped at Brittania Beach (my most favorite drone footage with sea crashing into mountains/highway). I might have missed some of our stops, but these were all so amazing! We spent the whole day enjoying all the views with our camera and drone out. Whistler was BEAUTIFUL, but the gondola was closed for us to take, as well as most of the summer activities.

Our third day there, we had breakfast at our hotel (these were alll amaaaaaaaaaazing; such a treat) and met up with our tour we'd booked on Viator.com. Hey, tourists--that's us! We toured downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park (amaazing wooded park right next to downtown), went to an actually pretty intense (scary) suspension bridge called Capilano Suspension Bridge, went to the market and Gastown. That night, we rented bikes and biked (halfway) around Stanley Park (which is always my favorite way to tour a new city). We ended the night by finding an Italian restaurant to split a pasta dish in a fun area near downtown called Gastown. 

Our fourth day there was the day we TOOK A SEAPLANE from Vancouver to Victoria. It was Jordan's birthday, and I honestly never got anxious! Ask me how...I do NOT KNOW. I think I saw it as a tour over Canada, because it was BEAUTIFUL. Like, the Lord and his creation is just awe-inspiring. Seeing the mix of ocean and mountains with boats and such a different culture than what I'm used to was just so neat for me. Meanwhile, Jordan is geeking out at being so close to the pilot in the 12-passenger seaplane that he can see the altitude and speed of the plane. Guys, like, the copilot seat literally had a PASSENGER sitting in it who got directions from the pilot on what not to touch and do while in flight. SO SAFE! Bahaha. But really, this was definitely highlight. 

See Vancouver pics...Victoria recap and pictures at the bottom!! 

Victoria, BC

We stayed at the Westin Bear Mountain Inn and Resort the last 3 days of our trip, and we absolutely loved it. However, I didn't quite realize that it was a good 30 minute drive from downtown to the resort, and I didn't quite realize that we wouldn't be in the relax-y resort-y feel. Guys, we were like GO, GO, GO/what can we see?! 

With that being said, we SHOULD HAVE rented a car the time we landed from the sea plane, because it would've saved us expensive taxi and shuttle rides. And honestly, this was the one downer of our trip (and it wasn't huge), BUT we discovered that the main car rentals in Victoria won't rent a car to you if you don't have a credit card (which we don't). In the US, a debit/credit card will work, but not in Victoria! It TOTALLY worked for us when we rented a car in Vancouver, so this was a slap in the face! 

We argued a second. Jordan was calm, figured everything out. Meanwhile, I cried, maybe pouted, as we waited for the bus to take us up the mountain to the resort. Looking back, it's really kind of funny. And we probably saw the prettiest pink crepe myrtles (is that what they are) while we were waiting at one of the bus stops--I calmed down myself and realized it's all about your perspective. Something beautiful came out of something I felt so upset about. 

And then we made it back home and had a better game plan for the next day--a little more planning involved, but it worked, and we made it to our fishing trip and up the mountain to another waterfall location we heard about! 

Aside from this drama, Victoria was BEAUTIFUL! 

We'd say that it felt like it had a slower pace compared to Vancouver, which was a fun difference to feel. You can't find an unfriendly person around, and all the flowers everywhere are really incredible.

Our first day in Victoria  

We flew in by sea plane (HBD Jordan!), took a taxi to the resort, ate lunch and set forth on a hike that was right next to our resort--SO BEAUTIFUL. It was just the right amount of burn and cardio to the summit with an amazing overlook of the mountains, city and sea. We got some amazing drone footage here! 

Our second day there, we shuttled into town and explored all day. We toured the Parliament building--WHICH IS GORGEOUS, and got Starbucks (someone in the airport told me a Breve vanilla chai was amazing & it WAS) while we strolled around, figuring out what to do next. We saw cute little taxi boats that were taking people places, so we bought a ticket to tour the habor and take us to Fisherman's Warf where we at at food boats (like food trucks but BOATS), looked at boats and just relaxed. We taxi-ed back to the main harbor, strolled some shops and wrapped up our stay downtown by enjoying a nice happy hour overlooking the sea and boats riiiiiight before we went back to the car rental place to find out we actually couldn't rent the car we had reserved. HA! 

Our last day there, we went fishing and came home with a nice-sized 20" ish salmon! I tried my hardest not to throw up so that Jordan could catch at least one fish, and Jordan tried his hardest to catch at least one fish before I threw up. Hehe. We succeeded! I sat still with my eyes closed for a good 3-4 hours and Jordan carried on conversation with our guide (womp womp). There would be more pictures from the boat if it hadn't been so unfortunate for me! But it was totally worth it--again, HBD Jordan! We ended our fishing day by exploring Goldstream Provential Park near our resort that had a really beautiful waterfall that you had to get to by walking under a highway--little sketch but SO WORTH IT. Again, some awesome drone footage!

An Answered Prayer | Happy Graduation Rhonda!

Warning: this is going to get sappy quick. :) Last fall, I was running in a million different directions. I was trying so hard to be intentional as a new mom, soaking up all the sweet baby everything, running a thriving business during its busy season, launching a new online course and trying to juggle all the duties as a "stay at home mom".  I felt a pull between loving my role as a mom yet loving my role as a photographer and didn’t quite know how to admit it or do it.  I would love my 1-on-1 time with Luke and then feel guilty when I'd be upset with him for not napping unexpectedly.  I had my own convictions as to what I wanted for him and what I wanted for my business as far as intentionality and interaction goes--everyone does; we're all just moms who love our babies and feel all the feels that come with it. I thought I could so call "balance" everything and get my editing done when he napped or slept, but I was really just kidding myself and cheating him of the interaction I thought he deserved.

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It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom in October that I knew something had to change. My mother-in-law was taking me to the airport so that I could fly home for a couple days during the middle of the week to see my parents. I had weddings on the weekends, so this was my restful time at home that I was looking forward to. I was wearing Luke in my Ergo, carrying a diaper bag, backpack and rolling bag when I got to the counter and they asked for my license.

Choice word”.

I knew at that moment I had no idea where it was. Flustered, I looked, and couldn’t find it. I tried to tell myself to say calm so that I could focus, but I pulled it together and just accepted that there was no way I could make the flight back home. I had no idea where my wallet was. Opportunity passed. But it gets worse. I held in my tears until I made it home, plopped my backpack on the countertop and my stomach sank as I looked at the front compartment of it.

I had a feeling. I opened it, and you guessed it...there was my wallet. I had my license THE ENTIRE FREAKING TIME. “I am a CRAZY PERSON!”. Jordan was working that day, but I called him WEEPING alligator tears like he'd never seen or heard before. It was in that moment, it was clear to us that something had to change.

I told Jordan "I just wish there was like a UTD speech grad student down (I used to be an SLP) the street who'd be able to watch him for a few hours or something while I edited?!" I knew in my heart I wanted to feel like I could be mommy 100% yet still love on my sweet couples 100%. This is where I get emotional. And this is where I had to make a heart check: what is it that I feel is my purpose right now? Guys, this answer is different for EVERYONE. And that was hard for me to swallow, if I'm being honest. 

A short while later, cue Rhonda. She DMs me on instagram asking a simple question about The Capture Course. I (creepily) saw where her bio said she was a UTD SLP grad student, so I immediately asked, "do you babysit?!". Prayer literally answered. YES! And she and her roommate Elizabeth happen to be the sweetest things on earth (and friends with a past bride of mine Vivian who is ALSO the sweetest thing!). She (and Rhonda) started helping me here and there and come springtime, Rhonda ended up helping me with a set 8-10 hours a week.

Prior this, I was basically coo-coo crazy. I struggled real badly figuring how out to take on the role of a "working mom" yet a "stay at home mom", because that's what it felt like. Confusion, guilt, exhaustion, you name it. I felt it.

Hiring Rhonda to love on my baby instead of worrying if he's going to nap or not and instead of spending double the time getting work done because I was halfway working/halfway playing--was the best thing I could have done for my baby, for my sanity, for my business and for my marriage. This is where the tears come as I think back to where I was last fall and where I feel like I am now.  Excuse the cliche, but I feel like I've "found myself". Well, am continuing to.. ;-) I heard someone the other day say that the 20s are like puberty for adults. I had to laugh, because a lot of days, I'm like--YES!!

But for, now I'm able to look ahead at my calendar and know when my editing gets done during the week, so that I can be 100% mommy and 100% working on those set times. Being 100% PRESENT is what I value. Busy and multitasking can stay at bay. I know when I get to work out, have "me" time and most important and funly (made up that word), I know when I get to play wholeheartedly with Luke and without any weight of wondering when I'm going to get X, Y, Z done.

 A groove, I guess you could say.

So if you're a babysitter, nanny, Sunday school/MDO teacher, grandmother, mother-in-law or something of the like, YOU are SO valuable, helpful, loved and needed. You can make families thrive, marriages grow and babies happy. I don't think you're told this enough. And incase you never realized, then here you go! 

And to all the mamas who understand the same complex I named above, it’s worth it to ask for help or figure out how to find what works for YOU (even if it's a couple hours a week) by visiting with your hubby, your family or even your friends who may swap watching kiddos with you. You’ll know when you’ve found it, and I really hope that you do. 

Emily Ley says this in her book Grace, Not Perfection:

"Pursuing your passions, serving others, doing a job you love, earning an income for your family, taking time away from your children to volunteer or learn or teach or, heck, get your hair done--these are all good things. When you contribute and let good things flow into your well, you're not taking away from your kids. In fact, you're filling up with that good, sweet water so you can pour into them later. " 

Amen. 

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We said “good-bye” to Rhonda this week, and when the tears flooded over my eyes, I realized just how grateful I was for her and for the season I’m in now. I don’t know if I understood it fully until that moment that I told her "bye", but I wanted her and all the helpers out there to know it: we love you! You move mountains for us when we know our littles are entertained and happy! 

Rhonda, you’re a rockstar, and you’re going to be the sweetest Speech Language Pathologist out there! Happy graduation day, my dear!

And to all the mamas out there, Happy Mother's Day! May you feel so, so loved, rested and all the sweetest cuddles. I am 100% maximizing my "present" time with my boy. 

PS: Let it be known that my mother-in-law who lives near us is BEYOND helpful! She usually watches Luke for all of my weddings or sessions if Jordan is working! BUT that's already a LOT, so Mary is a true rockstar, as well! And Luke ADORES her! I love that they have this sweet time together!

MOPAC Event Center Bright & Romantic Wedding | Andy & Hailey

Oh HELLO bright, beautiful and FUN! 

Andy and Hailey's wedding day couldn't have me more excited--for SO many reasons! 

As I was driving to Fort Worth in the rainy weather (which was predicted for all day long), I was mentally preparing for minimal portraits, creative planning for portrait location options and making sure I had all the necessary props for RAIN. I envisioned some pretty amazing portraits with umbrellas and knew it would be AMAZING regardless! I just knew it!  

WELL. Really, you guys, I'm getting so full of adrenaline as I type this, because I'm just so pleased and AMAZED at how the timeline of the day played out!! Eep!

We not only got all the necessary wedding party, husband and wife, and family portraits outside in natural light, but we even got MORE portraits than I am normally able to capture on a wedding day! As the forecast showed the rain headed our way, it didn't seem to bother anybody or put a damper on the smooth, relaxed and fun feel of their wedding day. Everything just fit together so naturally and easily!

I think it has much to do with Hailey and Andy's personality--you can't BE with them and not have fun. They're just the best--their personalities are so compatible, and I'm convinced they will have a BLAST anywhere they're together. Thankfully, we got to all join in on that! ;-) 

Plus, can we just take a moment for ALL THE LOVELY colors!? And details! Bah! Another surge of adrenaline is hitting. The Stills' wedding day was just over-the-top gorgeous and a photographer's dream to shoot! Hailey's father even walked her down the aisle and officiated the wedding with his notes for the ceremony in her Nana's bible--these special details--I live for them!  

As the rain moved our direction (immediately after ALL the portraits were completed--hallelujah!!) and began to pour, decisions had to be made. And with the poise and confidence from the bride and groom, it was decided that the cocktail hour would begin the celebration inside, the rain would pass (and it did--quickly!), the ceremony would follow (let's make it official!) and the reception would start afterward (can you say, "dance PARTY"!?). It all fit together so seamlessly and beautifully as the vendor team made adjustments, the bridal party continued celebrating and the guests mingled with their cocktails. 

Not to mention, a few guests helped brush the water away from the ceremony site so that it could begin quicker than planned! It was a team effort that came together flawlessly, and it ended with a beautiful event space being celebrated with the loveliest decor, the most joyful bunch and a sparkler exit that had everybody smiling. 

I hope you enjoy the obvious love, connection and fun that this couple shares together and just truly take in the awe of their wedding day--the florals still have me weak at the knees! :-) 

Hailey and Andy, it was a TREAT! Love you guys! 

PS: any bridal party who's game to pop champagne and celebrate with balloon letters (AYY) is my kind of party! ;-)