Piazza in the Village Elegant Wedding | Pearson & Taylor

Smiles. 

All the smiles! 

From the start of the day, when I arrived at the hotel room with Taylor and all of her sweetest bridesmaids getting ready, chatting, laughing, there were endless smiles. Taylor had to be one of the most lovely, organized, fun brides I've ever worked with! And a perk to that was all of her friends and family were just the same! 

It made photographing the Randel wedding such a dream. It started with the people and how genuinely sweet and fun they were, and then it got even better when you saw the reception decor, detailed invitation suite, bridal bouquet and other absolutely love details of their wedding day. 

But on their wedding day there were plenty reasons to smile. 

While Taylor toasted with her bridesmaids, she smiled.

When Taylor's mother buttoned her wedding dress, she turned to her and smiled. 

When Taylor's father saw his baby girl in her dress for the first time, he smiled. 

While Pearson saw his beautiful bride walking down the aisle, he smiled. 

While Taylor and Pearson walked down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. Randel, they both smiled. 

When Taylor walked into the reception hall to see the purple up-lighting, florals that will make your jaw drop and the awe that come of the combination of the two, she smiled. 

And while every guest cheered them on as they threw rose petals, we all smiled. 

And what beautiful smiles they were! Pearson and Taylor make such a beautiful couple together, and it was truly such a delight to celebrate alongside them!

What's fun to me is that some may say smiles are few and far between for Pearson, so after knowing this about his personality and seeing pictures of him celebrating with his wife, friends and family on their wedding day, it makes ME smile! He couldn't stop! It's like his smile grew bigger and bigger as the night unfolded.

What a joyous, perfect day that these two have to forever remember!

 

LDP Basic Camera Workshop | Dallas, TX

I hear it all too often, "I have a nice camera, but I don't know how to use it! What lens do I need?"

Or, "what camera should I buy?!"

These two questions almost stump me when someone casually asks them, because, if I'm being honest, it could take hours and hours to answer!! It seems as though when you ask one question about photography, you've opened a can of worms, and it's never-ending! 

Thus, cue the confetti, because I'm hoping to answer these questions of yours in a workshop I'll be hosting in our home! The journey of photography is truly never ending, which makes it so exciting. 

Not only did it help us pay bills in college, it has now turned into my full-time career. I'm able to document my family's (little Lukey's) life because of it, and I can document products for vendors I meet (florals, cutting boards, stationery, etc.). Truly, the possibilities to make creative income or bless others are endless with a camera in your hand. 

..which is why I've been working behind the scenes to create a workshop specifically for the moms who want to learn how to use their cameras, the photographer who is wanting to master their camera faster than watching youtube videos and going through trial and error or the business owner who wants to have the skill to photograph their trade. 

We are bringing BACK workshops to LDP, because the interest is great, and I have MISSED teaching! We hosted 3 workshops when we lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico--one full day covering "everything photography" and another specific to wedding photography. This workshop will be geared toward learning how to use your camera and what to look for and think about when you're using it. 

Lindsay Davenport Photography Workshop 

If you know you're interested, you can nab a seat and the early bird rate first! 

  • The workshop price is regularly $199, but the early bird rate of $129 is lasting through the end of July. 
  • The workshop is capping off at 12 photographers attending to create a more intimate experience.
  • The workshop will take place at the Davenport residence where Jordan and I will be able to break apart and help you 1-1 after the teaching. 
  • It would be helpful to bring a DSLR camera and laptop, but we will have a couple extra cameras to pass around if you need.
  • We'll begin at 6:00 and end at 9:00 PM. If there are any questions past 9:00, we welcome you to stay until you feel confident! 
  • You'll be added to a private FB group where you can continue asking questions, getting to know one another and encouraging one another while you're at it. 

You'll learn: 

  1. The ins and outs of your camera--what does that button do?!
  2. How to shoot in manual
  3. How to learn how to meter and use light when photographing
  4. The difference in lenses and what's best for you
  5. Life hacks: what you don't know you need to be looking for
  6. How to handle your files when uploading and saving
  7. How to feel confident creating meaningful, beautiful and purposeful images to save and use

Not sure if this is for you?? Feel free to reach out and ask! We're happy to answer any questions you may have and hope this may be the perfect fit for many of you! 

Marriage Mondays | Walking Through Infertility and Adoption

I'm completely grateful that our cousins Jacob Davenport and Camille Davenport are sharing their inspiring, difficult, joyful and hope-filled infertility and adoption process on today's #ldpmarriagemondays post. It is real, encouraging and full of so much hope. We love our Piper and couldn't imagine any sweeter of a little baby in their arms! She is perfect in every way, and so is their story. It was the most humbling, honorable event photographing the moment Jake and Camille met Piper. I hope you're encouraged today and consider tagging a friend or sharing this post with them privately, if you need. This is a community, and it's meant to encourage and make others feel heard, encouraged and filled with hope. We love this precious family and their honest, inspiring words so much!

The style of this blog is a little different with it's interview style--Camille and Jacob answer some of the questions jointly and others individually to give two perspectives. It's truly incredible to hear their journey, and I hope and know that it can help bless anyone who reads!

I know you and Jacob have a really encouraging, difficult and joyful story. I've looked up to you two so much these past couple years and am truly so giddy about your growing family. Can you share what your journey has looked like the past couple years from your initial desire to start a family, your unexpected news and your journey to meeting and loving Piper?

Jacob and I were friends for several years in college and started dating our senior year. Five years ago we got married and started off with a couple of fur babies! A few years later we decided to start trying to have kids. We were so excited and hopeful that we would start trying, quickly find out that we were pregnant, and then accordingly space out our future kids in our own desired timing. Turns out the Lord had a completely different plan for us. We had talked about always wanting to adopt before we were married but assumed that it would be after having a few biological kids first. After almost a year of trying, we got the devastating news that we would most likely not be able to have biological children. We were shocked, sad and completely at a loss.  It was after two long years of defeating doctors appointments that would lead us to an adoption agency orientation followed by SO much paperwork and a grueling wait that would ultimately lead us to adopting and bringing our precious Piper home on April 11th of this year. The moment we held her we knew exactly why we had the story we did- because the Lord always knew that she would be our beautiful daughter. He had our complete best in mind. So much greater and sweeter than we could have ever imagined.

How did you and Jacob process the news similarly and differently that you may not be able to have biological children? What were your initial reactions or feelings during this time? 

C: Both of our initial reactions were extreme sadness. I would compare infertility to mourning a loss. I had this natural and good desire to have a sweet family and to look at our baby and see Jacob’s cute features or personality traits. It was hard because most people didn’t really understand that so I also felt a lot of loneliness. Like a lot of couples I am the more emotional one and Jacob is the extreme opposite- logical . This definitely came out in how we grieved. I constantly felt the weight of what we were going through- I felt the loss on a daily basis, constantly reminded when someone would ask us when we were starting our family, or when I got another baby shower invite in the mail or saw another pregnancy announcement. It was hard. So hard. And I think it was hard for Jacob in such different ways- especially to see me feel the weight of it constantly. Ultimately we had to allow each other to be broken and a mess in our own way.

It was a blessing to really feel like we were on the same page as far not feeling called to do infertility treatments. Even though our chances with that were very low, we both walked out of this one doctors appointment and had this complete peace that we would go in a different direction to start our family. And even though that was hard it was very unifying.

J:  I have always been a very level headed and even keeled person.  When we first started going to doctors appointments and finding out it may be difficult to have kids, I kept telling Camille that there would be a way.  I figured that the doctors would figure out the problem and we would just fix it.  I thought that I would be able to come up with a solution to our problem like I had done so many times in the past. I remember sitting in the car after the doctors appointment where we found out it would be nearly impossible for us to have kids and just breaking down.  Never in a million years did I think this would happen to us.  I don’t think I have ever felt more despair and heart break than I did that day.  The pain was excruciating and this time there was nothing I could do to fix the problem.  As we began to mourn we did so in very different ways.  For reasons I couldn't explain I would go days and sometimes weeks without it seeming to affect me and then something would happen that would remind me of it all.  Seeing a friends kid who looks just like him or having another friend get to take their wife to the hospital for their delivery.  It would hit me all at once.  It seemed like the pain of it all would build up over the days and weeks I hadn't been thinking about it and hit me in that moment.  Camille seemed to hold the wait of it constantly.  Every hour of every day she was reminded of the loss of infertility.  I did my best to be there for her but sometimes it was difficult for me to live in that reality every day.  Iwould forget about the pain and loss that she was feeling and therefore would forget what she was feeling every day.  

When the inevitably hard times come in marriage, I think it can be a struggle for couples to understand, relate and stay on the "same team", so to speak. How would you say you two worked to stay close in a season of struggle? 

You know someone so much more deeply when you experience pain and loss with them. We will always look back on this season and remember how much we fell flat on our faces at times and how much we grew- albeit grew in a “wow this is stinking hard and sucks and painful” kind of way. We prayed together more than we ever had in our 5 years of marriage-mostly in the times we were falling flat on our faces. There were times that I wanted Jacob to process and mourn similarly to me, and there were times he just wanted me to be ok and I couldn't be ok. Going through this together really pushed us to be intentional with one another. One thing that we started doing that we still continue to do today were weekly questions. We do them every Sunday- over coffee in the morning, on an evening walk, or just before bed. Just 5 simple questions that we borrowed from someone else that helped us touch base and intentionally share with one another, often times leading into more intentionally rich conversations. We love these simple questions. 

What does the week ahead look like for you?

How did you feel loved this past week?

How can I love and encourage you this week?

How would you feel best pursued in intimacy this week?

How can I pray for you this week?

It was such a simple way to touch base and remind one another of our different, opposite needs especially when we were in such a hard season.

Even though going through infertility and that long adoption process was hard, our marriage grew in sweet and tender ways that have us looking back now on this time with a lot of thankfulness. I love looking back at some of the answers and prayer requests from our weekly questions that we had during this time and seeing how far we have come and how far the Lord has brought us. We can now {almost} laugh about how our “week ahead” once looked like another dreaded semen analysis or an 8 hour adoption home study, and how some prayer requests were answered so differently than we asked (continued negative doctors appointments even though we prayed for positive news) or so much greater than what we asked for (all of our adoption expenses completely taken care of!). It’s just clear how the Lord was over it all. We still love doing these questions every week.

Learning what each other needed was also helpful. Jacob knew when to whisk me away from the table of girls talking about their birth story again and knew I may have a hard week when our adoption profile was shown but we weren't chosen. I knew that Jacob would be ok and positive and strong until he wasn’t and then I had to allow him that time to be sad.

What was most helpful to you during this season of dealing with infertility and waiting for Piper? 

C: It was so helpful to have community surround us and specifically a community that was going through or had gone through the same thing as us. I went through Shiloh at Watermark- a ministry for women experiencing infertility or miscarriage. It was so comforting and helpful to know that I wasn't alone. I wasn't the only one that cried when they got a baby shower invitation in the mail or was continually frustrated with all the doctors appointments or had a spouse that handled emotions differently than them. Those girls were and still are a sweet community. They were a tangible example of “mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those that rejoice.”Jacob and I also met with several couples, strangers at the time -that had gone through infertility treatments, adopted or both. Those were such helpful life-giving meetings that we gained a lot of wisdom through. We didn't have any friends or family that had gone through the adoption process or infertility, so this was such a blessing for us. It’s ultimately how we heard about and chose our adoption agency. We have gotten to meet with some other couples since to share our story and experience and are so happy to do that with anyone! Seriously Lindsay can give you my number! You aren't alone!  

I felt like you two did an excellent job of trying new things and exploring new places throughout your adoption process.  How did you two find joy within your journey to adoption? 

Before we started the adoption process and shortly after we had found out our devastating news we took a little last minute weekend trip to Austin. We were tired and worn down. This was a much needed getaway to process and grieve and talk about our options and then also, just have fun together. A couple that we had met with had given us a book on adoption that we started reading on this trip, and it was on the trip that we decided to officially start the adoption process! Our spontaneous weekend in Austin will always be so special to us.

One other thing that was really helpful in staying close during a hard season and long wait was having fun and celebrating together. We really made an effort to celebrate EVERYTHING! It wasn’t that we were trying to cover the sadness or forget the pain- but that we had so many other things to be thankful for and find joy in- another wedding anniversary, another step completed in the adoption process and whatever else we could think of! Some of our most epic trips and date nights happened in this 2 year season!

What encouragement and advice would you each share with a couple who is walking through a similar journey as what you two have walked through? 

C: You’ve got this! It’s hard. Allow yourself to be broken and a mess. You don't have to handle everything perfectly and have it all together. And neither does your spouse- give your spouse grace upon grace during the hard times. Fight to be on the same page but know you won’t always be. Know that you aren’t alone. A lot of people won’t understand or will say insensitive things but find your people to walk through this with you! And then call me if you want to get coffee!

J:  It is okay and normal to feel extreme sadness, frustration and anger during this season of life.  The world is a broken place because of the fall and unfortunately our bodies suffer the consequences of living in this broken world.  Do not try to pretend everything is okay and know that there is a time to mourn.  But know that God is also a good God who is making all things new.  He delights in bringing light and joy out of dark and painful situations.  Infertility was the most difficult, painful thing we have ever been through and yet I would not change it.  God was more present and real to us in the 2 years of waiting for our baby girl than He had ever been.  If we had not gone through this season we surely would have avoided a lot of pain and sadness but we would have also missed out on the most joyful and amazing blessings He was so gracious to give us.  Sometimes the pain is worth the joy and even necessary to experience a deeper joy God is bringing us into. 

What have you learned over the course of the past 2 years in hindsight?

C: The Lord has our absolute best in mind. Their is beauty from the ashes. He can take the brokenness of the world and do really beautiful things. Their is loss in infertility and their is loss in adoption. And their only one person who can make things whole and point us to what’s to come.

J: Pain in our life can make the joyful times that much sweeter.  I don't think we would have been nearly as grateful if we had never struggled with the loss of infertility. We woke up 5 times last night to feed or soothe Piper and felt like we were the luckiest people in the world. Children are absolutely a gift from the Lord that He graciously gives us and we see that more clearly now that Piper is home.  God’s plan is often more difficult and certainly looks different than the plans we have for ourselves but His plan is so much sweeter.    

Clearly, a beautiful baby girl named Piper was in the plans for your family, and now that she is in your arms and as cute as can be, describe the feelings that have made up your past couple months: 

C: Wow. The moment that girl walked in the room and was placed in our arms was the craziest, sweetest thing that has ever happened in our lives. I think our faces in the pictures say it all. We knew adoption was going to be crazy wonderful and beautiful and that the Lord has always known each member of our family- but wow, he blew our minds. We still can’t believe we get to raise and parent Piper.

J: She is mine.  The entire time we waited in the adoption process we had this fear that when we brought home our baby she might not actually feel like she is our daughter.  But that thought has never entered our minds since the moment we met her.  The joy of knowing that God always intended for Piper to be ours is the most comforting thing.

Red Hawk Golf Course Wedding | Justin & Alyssa

Talk about joyful.

I get emotional on wedding days after knowing couples for a year, so to photograph Justin and Alyssa’s wedding day who I’ve known as a couple for years was just incredible.

And incredibly emotional!

Talk about all the feels, y’all! 

But it wasn’t just me.

Alyssa and Justin led the way with their tears of joy multiple times during their wedding day, and these sweet moments were coupled with many moments of a beaming ear-to-ear smiles. Like, when I picture my beautiful friend Alyssa on her wedding day, I picture her holding Justin’s hand with a wide open smile, just as joyful and confident as I’ve ever seen her.  Ever.

And just like the best man Logan mentioned in his toast, he doesn’t worry about Justin and Alyssa’s marriage, because they both center their relationship and lives on Christ who leads them. I’m sure everyone watching Alyssa and Justin say their handwritten vows, sharing in communion during their ceremony and dancing under the starry night New Mexico sky could clearly see the confidence, love and joy that exuberated from both of their beings and smiles.

I’ve known Alyssa since we were in kindergarten, grew up jogging with her throughout high school and lived next door to her in college. I remember when she first met Justin, when she knew he was the one, and when she decided to make a big move to Texas to be closer to her love. Watching the two of them pursue one another wholeheartedly, learn to be engaged together and thoroughly enjoy their wedding day together just warms my little heart.

My friend couldn’t be happier next to Justin. And Justin seriously has such a gem in sweet Alyssa. She’s the total package—she’s as sweet as she is beautiful; as smart as she is gentle and as intentional as she is adventurous. Seeing Justin’s reaction to Alyssa walking down the aisle and her calm, confident gait to her fiancé as her dad escorted: priceless.

It was as if nobody was there in front of that desert New Mexico sunset but the two of them.

They danced under the starry night sky with twinkle lights and music playing--the full moon rising above the Organ Mountains behind them.  I mean—who can say they have wedding portraits with a full moon rising over the Organs?! How epic, y’all! I’m so giddy inside that THEY got to have this special feat!

Oh, how I love them so and feel so honored to have been a bridesmaid while photographing their wedding day! I have my parents, Jordan and Brittany to thank for watching Luke, second/third shooting, helping me in all the little ways and making this dual role possible!

Mr. and Mrs. Black, we can’t wait to do life with you!!!

Marriage Mondays | Dallas Date Night Musts

New to Dallas? Old to Dallas? I have a feeling this post is just for you! Hilary and Xavier are sharing some creative date night ideas for your next night out or day with your babe. I personally cannot WAIT to take these suggestions for future dates in Dallas! Hilary and Xavier Cinque are the owners of Shay and Olive Photography and the Lumen Room, a natural light studio. I've followed their Instagram and insta stories long enough to know that they are in the know. I've always loved seeing the new places they're exploring and creative foods they're trying. I'm honored that they are sharing some of their brilliant ideas with us all today, and I hope to see some of you all out on White Rock soon! 

I cannot wait to kayak over to the Arboretum to listen to a concert one Thursday night--so brilliant! 

Dating and marriage! 2 mutually exclusive things...or so it may seem. Going out as a married couple is quite possibly the second most important course of action to maintain a healthy relationship, right behind open and active communication. We believe this because dating is the reason you fell in love with your spouse and it's how you continually fall in love over and over again. We're approaching 3 years of marriage in October, but we've been dating since December of 2006. Yes, we are a cliche high school sweethearts story that's a bit trite, so we'll leave out the flowery details of our 11 year relationship and get right to the point: KEEP DATING! 

We are Dallasites wholeheartedly, born and raised here. We've traveled all over but nothing is ever quite like home. Our city is full of wonderful activities and restaurants, so narrowing our list of best date ideas in Dallas was exceptionally difficult. We hope that you give these a try or that they inspire you and your spouse to keep the flame hot by going out and taking full advantage of what our city has to offer.

1) Kayak/SUP at White Rock Lake:
White Rock Paddle Co rents out paddle boards and kayaks by the hour on White Rock Lake! This is one of our go-to dates in the summer, especially on Thursday nights when you can paddle over to the Arboretum and listen to their lawn concerts from your kayak/board! 

2) Take a cheese class at Scardello:

Scardello's cheese class makes for a perfect date! Every week Scardello hosts a variety of classes at their Oak Lawn location.  You can choose classes that focus on particular regions, types of cheese, etc. or you can start with their Cheese 101 class! Each class comes with a spread of cheeses to taste along with a wine pairing for the class. 

3) Snuggle up for a movie at Landmark Inwood Theater.

This theater has been around since the 40's and it has so much character! Be sure to see a movie that is playing in the "screening lounge" where they've removed all of the theater seats and replaced them with oversized couches and beanbags. Get there early to snag a good couch! After the movie go for a nightcap at the Inwood Lounge upstairs.

4) Bowl a game at Bowlounge:

A game at Bowlounge in the Design District isn't your basic bowling experience! Bowlounge is such a fun spot complete with surprisingly great food, vintage decor, retro video games, weird music videos, and more.

5) Map out a "food crawl" at Trinity Groves.

Trinity Groves has SO many great restaurants in one strip so why pick one?! We like to hop from restaurant to restaurant and share a bite to eat at each place. An order of croquettes at Casa Rubia is a must in our book!

6) Splurge on a staycation at The Joule.

If you're looking for a romantic "getaway" The Joule has it all. The restaurants (CBD Provisions, Mirador, and Americano) are all fantastic! The spa is also wonderful-- If you book a couple's massage be sure to arrive early so you can enjoy the vitality pool and the eucalyptus steam rooms. Make time to visit the rooftop pool, flip through art books at The Taschen Library, and grab a late-night drink at Midnight Rambler, and stop for morning coffee and a rosemary loaf at Weekend.

7) Bike White Rock Lake and enjoy pizza at Cane Rosso

Riding around the lake is the perfect activity to enjoy the warm weather with scenic views. A leisurely ride around the lake is a little less than an hour if you don't count the time spent looking at gorgeous homes or the lake itself.  After a lap, ride down Garland Road for 1/4 mile and pull right into Cane Rosso to enjoy one of Dallas' best pizza spots. The restaurant boasts one of Lakewood's best patios as well.

Arbor Hills Anniversary Session | Morgan & Trevor

Oh how I LOVE anniversary sessions!!! 

Once you begin scrolling, you'll see why! 

Trevor and Morgan were friends of several past clients of mine, and I hope to meet more of their circle, because they're the BEST! I've loved getting to know every one of them and have enjoyed having them in front of my camera so so much. 

Morgan had such a fun vision for her anniversary session, which made for some lovely photos! 

These two make a stunning pair, and I hope to meet more beautiful, fun-loving couples like them and their friends in the future! 

Plus, their PUP!! So precious!! 

Thistle Springs Gold and Blush Wedding | Riley & Brooke

As we pulled up to Thistle Springs, we saw a crew of loved ones smoking delicious BBQ, the aroma from the smoker blowing in the wind and carrying to every person's nose who was there or arriving.

What an epic arrival. Our senses were bombarded with this deliciousness, and the breeze was delivering cooler drifts of summer air!

The clouds parted frequently for the sun to shine through, but the evenness of light from the clouds covering the sun happened periodically, as well. When I walked into the barn where the reception was to be held, I was greeted with florals--florals, greenery and joyful faces galore. I immediately met all of the parents of the bride and groom to find that every one of them was as genuine and joyful as the one before. Next, I walked upstairs to the second floor to be greeted by another joyful sound: the bass of the music that the girls were getting ready to. You guys, it was the BEST vibe! Partially because everyone was so giddy and partially because I was loving their music choice, as well! I think all of this combined just set the tone for what a joyous occasion that was about to unfold.  

While it rained the morning of and had the possibilities of being uncomfortably hot outside, it simply was not. Brooke walked down the aisle with her daddy, wiping a tear from her eye and looking at her fiance who stood in front of the loveliest floral arch. I'm not sure there was a a dry eye at the ceremony that overlooked the sunset reflecting on the glistening pond. It was a scenic view. A scenic view with the most heartfelt vows and joyful couple exchanging rings in front of all of their friends and family. 

I couldn't help but just celebrate all day with Brooke and Riley. From the sweet wedding party and parents to the swoon-worthy florals and calligraphy details which were on point, it was an easy day to be along for the ride while photographing. Brooke has to get the award for most relaxed bride ever, and getting to know her throughout these past several months was truly a treat. Riley sure asked a genuine, gorgeous and talented girl to be his wife. Many of the details throughout their wedding day were not only special because they were present, but they were special because Brooke made them, created them or wrote them. Their fingerprints were everywhere, and this made the day even more lovely.

What a stunning bride and groom these two made, and what joy they displayed as husband and wife!!

I personally think "celebration" doesn't do the reception justice, because what went down in that reception barn was more than a celebration--it was over-the-top, and I know that Brooke and Riley will forever be able to look back and remember it as so. 

What a beautiful day to become Mr. and Mrs. Donovan!!

 

Marriage Mondays | One Regret: A Tip to All Brides on Their Wedding Day & Beyond

Yes.

A million times yes to this post. Do I wish I had done this? Yes. I had the same plan as Elie: try so hard to be "present" on my wedding day, because everyone says how quickly it goes by. So why didn't I write my feeling and memories down!? Elie, a sweet friend of mine and lead proposal planner for The Yes Girls, shares a simple piece of advice to brides-to-be or anyone who wants to save memories and relive them in a way other than in pictures. 

Brilliant. 

One Regret: A Tip to All Brides on Their Wedding Day & Beyond

My wildest dreams could not have compared to my wedding day. Sure the flowers looked great, sure the lighting was spectacular, but the pure joy that was bursting out of my heart (and that was apparent in the eyes of all my favorite people in the world who celebrated with us) was just indescribable. People always told me to try and soak in every minute of our wedding day. I heard the same thing every bride does, “it goes by so fast so just enjoy it”. And I took that advice very seriously! I was super aware of each passing minute; I was calm and I was really being intentional about living the moment to it’s fullest.

And it worked! I sat sipping coffee with my mom two days later glowing and beaming about how proud I felt to remember so much of it so clearly! I was not the normal bride who would forget their wedding day – praise God! But as the days and weeks and months have past, it has slowly slipped away. Here I sit a little over a year into our marriage and I can confidently say that I hardly remember the wedding day at all.  So this is where my tip comes in: write it down!

On our honeymoon, we spent seven days laying on the beach or at the pool just relaxing and sunbathing. We listened to music and we people watched. But I wish we had taken some of that cabana time to journal. Aaron (my husband) could have written down some of his memories from the morning with his guys. I could have written an entire novel of memories, and who was there, all of it! But now it’s too late, and our wedding memories are few and far between (thank God for pictures & videos – am I right?!).

As we continue into the next phases of marriage, I do want to start journaling together. The days that seem mundane and to run together, will be just memories once we have kids and enter into new seasons. Our time right now, just the two of us in a cramped apartment with minimal responsibilities, will come to a close. Our marriage is so fresh and so exciting and I want to capture this sweet time in a journal to look back on! And heck, maybe our kids will want to read them one day too (lets be serious, probably only true if we have girls). There will always be memories (both good and bad) at every stage of our marriage and it’s my mission to do a better job of capturing those memories!

With all that said, here is your little tip to take home: make a regular date out of it! It can be a yearly thing where you sit down on your anniversary and reflect on the best memories from that year. Or it can be more regular than that! Either way, enjoy some quality alone-time with your love one and journal. It will totally be worth it :) 

Arlington Hall Bridals | Jenna

So many adjectives, feelings, stories come to mind as I'm trying to begin typing this blog post about my new sister-in-law Jenna.

To say I'm excited she's a Davenport and that I'll continue to grow closer with her these next decades of our lives is such an understatement.

What a joy this sweet girl is to me and MANY! I think the number of friends and family celebrating with her this past Saturday, near and far, can say something about her character and friendship.

But goodness, I just adore her. And look up to her. And respect her ideas, thoughts, motives. And think she's the most beautiful, easygoing bride ever. 

It was an honor getting to stand next to her and celebrate alongside her on her wedding day as a bridesmaid. While Elisabeth Carol Photography and When It Clicks photographed and videoed their wedding, I had the pleasure of getting to photograph Jenna's bridals before the actual wedding day, and to me that was so, so sweet. This may be my most favorite bridal session to date, because of how simply stunning Jenna is and how incredibly excited I was that she was becoming my sister. 

Hayden couldn't have chosen a more beautiful soul, inside and out, to marry, and Jordan and I love them both. So much. 

If I had the confidence to talk at their rehearsal dinner I would've said something along the lines of how I won't ever be able to understand the love a brother or sister has toward their sibling and the emotions they feel on a wedding day, but I think I came close this past weekend. Being an only child, I watch siblings become emotional on wedding days and try to understand what that feeling might be like. I met Hayden when he was in high school about 8 years ago, and I truly feel like I was able to watch him "grow up", so to say. I got to watch him meet, pursue and fall in love with Jenna, and I couldn't be more proud of the two of them! Hayden has truly grown into a man that both Jordan and I admire and respect his work ethic and willingness to serve. These two are truly a dynamic Davenport duo ;-) #thedavenportduo 

And hey, now they get us as neighbors!!! ;-) 

But really, Jordan and I can't wait do do life with these two, and Luke is excited to have an auntie and uncle just down the road! 

Jenna, I love you sister and think (and know) you had the most beautiful wedding. EVER! 

Marriage Mondays | Better Together: Why Couples Need Community

Today we have Meagan and Sam Smith sharing on how community changed their marriage. I first met this couple a couple years ago when they were the models for my promo video, and I've thought they were the sweetest ever since. When I heard that Meagan worked for the marriage ministry team at Watermark Church, I knew I wanted her heart and wisdom sharing with us on my Marriage Mondays blog. I'm so grateful that she did, and I hope you enjoy! 

Better Together: Why Couples Need Community

Community can mean many different things to different people. The word alone can make introverts run for the hills, or make extroverts feel “all the feels” at the prospect of new friends. But no matter your outlook, and no matter your situation, community is an essential component of a healthy marriage.

But before I get into why into why community is so important in your marriage, let me tell you a story about how my husband Sam and I realized that doing this marriage thing without others around us just wasn’t going to work….

I remember it so clearly. We hadn’t been married one month and we were having the same argument for what felt like the hundredth time. I went for a walk to clear my head, but not before I escalated and said some not-so-kind things to my new groom. Let’s just say that we were not experiencing healthy conflict. On that walk, I remember wishing I had someone to talk to, someone that knew the both of us equally who could step in and help us work through this continuous argument…truthfully I was hoping someone could step in and convince Sam how he was wrong and affirm me that I was right (I know, I know…shake my head at my selfish self!).

After 7 months of really enjoying marriage, but just stuck in the same selfish sin patterns, we got into a newly-married community group at our church. We had no idea what was in store for us when we first stepped into that room with four other couples, or how much better our marriage was about to become….and better it became.  Why was there such drastic change? Because God’s Word tells us that isolation is a dangerous place to be, yet that’s exactly where Sam and I were -- living in isolation. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

When you start to go deep with other folks, it’s just a matter of time until true transparency and authenticity begin taking place. Once you get the messy stuff out, there is really only one way to go, and that’s up. Sam and I soon had people speaking into our conflict, but with an unbiased and Biblical perspective. People were meeting us each right where we were at, really living out what it means in Colossians 12 to “bear with one another.”

So why is community essential for a strong, Biblical marriage?

1)    Community gives you perspective. Because we are fleshy (sinners, selfish, etc), we often think our way is the best way and have trouble seeing our spouse’s point of view, therefore conflict arises. Our community group has become a place where we bring our conflict. They listen to each of us, help us make sure we are owning our own part (drawing the circle around ourselves), and point us to Biblical truth. Often in doing this we realize how selfish and wrong we were. The things we learn in this time of conflict help us manage conflict in the future, making our marriage one of more grace and more forgiveness.

2)    Community makes you a better you. That thing you are struggling with? You bring it to the group. Not loving your spouse well? Tell someone in your group that you need help. As you confess your struggles to one another, true accountability begins to take place. It’s an amazing feeling being able to confess things to friends, knowing they will love you and meet you right where you are at, but also walk with you through your challenges as you overcome them.

3)    Community celebrates with you and mourns with you. Romans 12 tell us to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Community makes this verse come to life. That promotion you just got at work? Your circle will celebrate with you. One couple in our group is about to move into their first home after saving and searching for a while and we are celebrating big with them! Another girl in our group lost her grandpa last year. You better believe we were at that funeral to celebrate the life of someone who we never knew, but someone that we knew deeply, who loved that person very much.

4)    Community lives life with you. As you process big decisions, like buying a new car, moving to a new house, having kids, changing jobs, etc. community asks the hard questions. They help make sure your heart is in the right place and offer wisdom to make sure you are doing the right thing.

5)    Community is fun. Coming into marriage, he will have his guy friends, and she will have her girl friends, but your first community group will most likely be your first set of married friends as a married couple and there is nothing sweeter. Getting away together for some weekend trips, spontaneous movie nights, dinners and game nights at each other’s homes, are a few things that our community puts in to practice as often as we can.

There is a reason why my church uses the phrase, “Better Together” as their viewpoint for community groups. We need people in our lives to encourage and lift us up, also to challenge us to grow. Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

Now don’t get me wrong…community is messy. Naturally we will hurt others, and not always mesh with everyone. But that’s the beauty of it. Different people, saying, “Hey, we are different in a lot of ways, but we both love the same God and believe the same thing and I’m committed to walking through this season of life with ya with whatever comes.” That’s the beauty of community and that’s the beauty of the Gospel.

Not in a community group? I highly encourage you to get plugged in with one! Not married yet but wanting to start your marriage on a good, Biblical foundation? Take a premarital class like Merge at Watermark that can help prepare you for things you will most definitely encounter as you become one, while also giving you an introduction to what it looks like to live life in a community with other believers. You won’t be sorry! :)

Re|Engage at Watermark