I often hear people talk about how much weddings have changed even over the last 50 years, with much more elaborate decor and food and parties, but I love that today's weddings bring a greater appreciation for fading arts that were once commonplace. The slow process of building a hand tied bouquet or meticulously crafting delicate desserts gets lost in the name of utility and instant gratification. While y'all know that I adore the moments that happen in real weddings, the pure artistry displayed this Brides of Austin inspiration shoots made me happy too!
I know that love languages are usually split into categories like words of affirmation, acts of service, and quality time, but I'm pretty sure that one of my love languages is finding small world connections. You can then understand why I'm a huge fan of Ashley and Alex- I photographed the wedding of one of Ashley's bridesmaids and the wedding of Alex's step sister. Throw in the fact that I'm a huge fan of their dog, Chip, they got married at Mercury Hall, one of my favorite venues, and just how happily content they are together, and it's not surprising that their day checked all the boxes of my wedding photography love languages.
You know that feeling when something finally makes sense and you just get it? I had a moment like that while shooting Dustin & Taylor's wedding. I'd been trying to get a great wedding day double exposure for a while, but each time the photos failed to live up to my vision. Then while Taylor got dressed, I got the perfect overlay of flowers onto her silhouette. Forgive the pun, but it just clicked, in the same that Taylor and Dustin click together. You see them together and know that nothing else would make sense. It only took me a year to blog, but better late than never, right?
I'm not normally much of a crier. But I tell you what, people being nice to each other at weddings gets me every time! Whether it's the vows, the speeches, or even the sweet words spoken to calm nerves just before the ceremony, I'm always reminded of the power of publicly honoring and loving one another. Sarah & Matthew are the rare kind of people who do that anyways, which gave every kind word and thoughtful detail that much more impact, because they live their lives with such sincerity anyways. P.S. I could write paragraphs more about how I love them and their wedding, but for brevity's sake, just keep an eye out for the mini tissue boxes for happy tears. I could have used 5 of them while editing their photos!
"You are my succulent and I will always be the dirt for you to grow in," Anthony told Andrea during their handwritten vows, alluding to his knowledge of Andrea's love of succulents and quirky declarations of love. But more than just being sweet, it is so true that marriage means making a place for the other person to grow and flourish. It means choosing humility and having the ability to laugh at yourself and with each other (and sometimes at each other), which Anthony and Andrea have no problem doing. Enjoy their joyful day, killer style, and stunningly stormy skies!
Each time I shoot a wedding, I feel like a detective, searching for clues that will help me tell a couple's story. Those little hints show up in the surprises that the bride plans for her dad, the songs that a grandmother sings during the ceremony, the Juan in a Million tacos served for dinner, and of course, the words spoken during toasts. Wedding toasts are often cast as cliches or a chance to tell embarrassing stories, but in my experience, they give a rare opportunity for people to publicly express their love for their family & friends. During Dilia & Matthew's reception, their siblings spoke of Dilia's kindness and generosity and Matthew's ability to squeeze every bit of life out of each moment. I have no doubt that those words resonated with all of the guests who have known the bride and groom for years, but it didn't take much detective work for me to notice the same things on their wedding day.
"Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” – Don McCullin
Most people give speeches with words to communicate their love, joy, and pride on a wedding day, but Michael shared photographs of his daughter. Audible gasps echoed around the room as each new photograph came up on the screen. When the people you photograph are the people you have loved, the force of that love in indelibly imbedded in those photographs. It helps that Michael is a talented and renowned photographer, but in that moment, he was just a proud dad showing his love in the best way he knew how. Having known Owen since our brothers started playing soccer together more than a decade ago, I find it only fitting that these two adventurous and well loved people got married outside on a misty day with stretches of wild land behind them and almost 20 dear friends beside them, not to mention the hundreds of family and friends there in support.
I used to be terrified to do anything new or foreign because I knew that I wouldn't be good at it right away. But at some point, I learned that things can be fun without being perfect! Enter my foray into making music videos. First was my video for Free The Honey, and now a video of my dad's original song, "Ain't Dead Yet" with the Hot Texas Swing Band. It's so fun to create in a new way, making beauty out of movement and light and music.
I tell every couple I meet with that they should do whatever they want for their wedding and not fall prey to the hype that can steal attention away from the most important thing about a wedding: marriage. With Rachel and Casey, that advice wasn't really necessary. It didn't take long to realize that they already live their lives that way, pursuing what brings them joy, which is how we ended up with a couple of friends at Chapel Dulcinea in Driftwood for a super intimate and completely secret elopement. If you love good design, tiny weddings, or Harry Potter proposals, check out their excellent website announcing their elopement!
At most weddings, I know the bride and groom, and maybe their parents, but largely show up without any knowledge of the community that surrounds the birth of their marriage. I enjoy gleaning bits of information about the couple through the interactions with their friends and family, but the years of going to church with Kelsey & Myle's wedding gave me the sweet experience of knowing the people who prayed at their wedding, played music, and danced into the night. Each photo holds such special meaning knowing the significance they will have to not only the bride & groom, but their families and friends, who are also my dear friends! Not to mention the fact that even a freezing cold Wednesday in January can be the perfect day for a magical wedding.
Having just finished their first dance as husband and wife, complete with the romantic dip at the end, Ashley requested the microphone and looked out at all the people gathered around her and Ryan. She then explained that since her father had passed away years ago, in place of a father-daughter dance, she wanted to dedicate a dance to her mom. Ashley spoke of the strength and dedication her mom had shown while raising her three daughters and then of the song, Rise, by Andra Day, that she'd heard at ACL just a few weeks before. As they danced and the music swelled, I don't think that anyone even tried to hold back tears, myself included. I looked over at Ryan, as he stood arm in arm with his family and couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of love. It's so much bigger than a wedding, yet so few times in life allow us the space to pay tribute to that love in the way it deserves, and for that, I'll always thankful for weddings.
Every wedding unites two people with different childhood experiences, family traditions, and hometowns. In Katie & Marco's case, that includes two continents, two languages, and two cultures. I loved walking around during cocktail hour hearing the mix of Spanish & English as Bolivians and Minnesotans became one family in the beautiful hill country of Texas
While taking photos, Sarah joked that being in customer service, she is great at fake smiling. Thankfully, she didn't need to use the fake smile when Jordan was around; both of their smiles were 100% real when they looked at each other. Here's to real smiles and giant balloons that say cheers!
In my 5 years of being a wedding photographer, I've learned that everyone expresses their love differently. At the risk of sounding super creepy, I've been delighted to discover those unique ways that couples demonstrate their love for one another. I equally adore my quietly sweet clients and vivaciously affectionate ones. But I tell you what, I'm pretty pumped to share these ridiculously fun photos of Kevin & Ashelyn being their joyful, exuberant selves. They are pure magic together. The location was pretty magical too, and after seeing the light stream over the mountains at the Ingalls Creek Enrichment Center, I almost didn't come back to Texas!
For 11 months and a few days, I anxiously awaited July 23rd, 2016 because it would mark my first mountain wedding that (hopefully) wouldn't involve torrential rain and 3 inches of sleet. Each email from Ali involved some exciting detail (Ceremony in front of Tomichi Dome! Working horse ranch! Reception in a 100 year old barn! Hot Springs!) that made me more and more anxious for July to arrive. It didn't hurt that my oldest childhood friend would be playing music during the ceremony, either. But all my expectations for an adventurous wedding at the gorgeous Waunita Hot Springs Ranch didn't prepare me for the sweetest part of the wedding- Ali & Hunter's devotion to each other. Their love shone so brightly that we wouldn't have needed to be in an amazing location for the wedding to be captivating!
If you head west from Austin, pass through Dripping Springs and go all the way to Fredericksburg and then keep going west, you'll end up in Kerville. But if you drive a little further, you'll pass through the little town of Hunt and then find yourself in the deep, true Texas Hill Country. You'll also find yourself at Mo Ranch, a camp along the towering banks of the Guadalupe. After the long drive, arriving at Mo Ranch for Audrey & Mitch's weekend of wedding festivities felt like an escape from reality: beautiful views, canoes, water slides, and little to no cell service. But while it might have felt that way for the guests and myself, Audrey & Mitch already live a life that is adventure and travel. They don't need to escape because exploring interesting places with the people they love is normal. Maybe we should all aspire to make our weekends (and weekdays!) so vibrant that wedding weekends can be a continuation of a life we love already.
Being a proud nerd, I'm not ashamed to declare my love for science fiction & fantasy novels, so I couldn't have been happier when the best man's speech at Emily & Zak's wedding involved parallel universes. He pointed out that every decision we make means another decision we forego, one of the biggest being marriage. Emily & Zak decided to bind their lives together at the Chapel Dulcinea on a day that should have rained, but didn't, and then partied the night away with friends and family at the Palm Door amid twinkling lights. That decision to become husband and wife sets them down a path together for the rest of their lives and eliminates a million other paths. But as Kellan pointed out, the fear of not know what you're missing pales in comparison to the joy of choosing a path with the one you love.
P.S. That stunner of a cake is courtesy of the amazing Coco Paloma.
I could insert an inspiring quote about how important it is to marry your best friend or be with someone who makes you smile, but all you really need to know about Jessie & Jason's wedding comes from something Jessie said. Halfway through laughing our way through couple's photos (and right before a bird pooped on me), she looked at Jason and said, "well, life will never be boring with you!" And that's how they begun the great adventure of marriage together. That and a honeymoon in a treehouse on an island. I think their smiles will say everything else!
Faythe & Mike embraced everything bright and cheerful about their spring wedding, most visible in the abundant vibrant colors, but also so apparent in their attitudes. To me, spring always represents the hope that comes along with a new season. The whole time that Faythe & Mike were sharing their personalized vows, I couldn't stop thinking about how a wedding is the sign of a new season in the life of a couple and a new family. I overheard Faythe's dad joking that walking his daughter down the aisle was an easy task, but giving her away was a different matter entirely. We always talk about the joyful moments of a wedding, but don't always acknowledge that, as with any transition, it's ok to feel the bittersweetness of another season ending. Happily, that little bit of sadness doesn't take away from the overwhelming joy of a brand new marriage and years of experience loving each other.
I think if you asked Sarah & Patrick what their perfect day would be, it would probably involve camping, Tacodeli, and hanging out all day with their favorite people in a riverside park on a gorgeous Austin spring day. And shouldn't your wedding basically involve all your favorite things? So that's how on a sunny spring morning, we all ended up on the banks of the Colorado River at Emma Long Park eating tacos, playing lawn games, and cheering on Sarah & Patrick's brand new marriage. The wedding was infused with their passions and personality, with recycling reminders and tents and Patrick's colorful art. If you ever need encouragement to just do whatever the heck you want for your wedding, just come back and look at these photos!