Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kelly and Lee {Saphire Estate Wedding}

I loved everything about this wedding, but more so, I loved everything about this couple. Kelly and Lee's late autumn wedding was golden and glittery and full of family and love and laughter--essentially, everything that warms my heart and makes me grateful for this beautiful work that I do. As you can see when you roll out the images below, the day was breathtaking, all warm hues and textures, earth tones and natural light, vintage touches and handmade details--the stuff that makes me tick! I photographed Kelly's sister Alison's wedding a few years ago, so I am lucky to already be acquainted with this wonderful, kind-hearted family of beautiful blondes--four lovely golden-haired sisters, to be exact! So I met Kelly five years ago, when she joined her sister at her initial meeting. She is the littlest of the four sisters, and I was struck immediately by her honey-sweet personality and ever-present smile--so needless to say, I was absolutely delighted when she wrote to me a year and a half ago saying, "it's my turn!" Simply put, Kelly is pure sunshine. With her sparkly blue eyes that are always smiling, and golden head of hair that is so often tossed back in laughter, you can't help but be happy in her presence. She is the color of summer and sunshine, and with her ever-present welcoming smile, it is impossible to be in her presence and not feel the sweetness that surrounds her. And Lee. Humble and good-natured, Lee has a quiet presence when you first meet him. But his love for Kelly, and his pride and joy in making her his wife were so sweetly clear to me. I am always jonesing to do more portraits, but with so many formal photos to take, and racing against the light, I try not to ask too much of my couples and exhaust them with a million portraits...So one of my favorite moments of the day was after I had subjected Lee to a whole slew of sweet and kissy-cuddly "romance novel cover" portraits before the ceremony. Though he humored me the whole time, I could tell it wasn't his most "comfortable" experience (especially with some heckling by his hilarious, jolly group of jokester groomsmen), so after the ceremony I hastily asked if they wanted any more portraits, assuming they wouldn't. He conferred with Kelly for a moment about whether they should make use of the brief and lovely sunset over the lake for a few more shots, and to my surprise and pleasure, Lee said he would like to head to the water, that there was only once chance for this, and it was important to him. I can't explain it, but in that instant, I felt his sentimentality, and his love for his bride--this strong, burly, war veteran, firefighter tough guy, wanting to get the most out of his wedding warmed my heart! {continued below}.  
There were too many other meaningful touches and sweet moments to recount, but I will try to name a few. One of my favorite details was Kelly's gorgeous vintage fur stole that had been her great Aunt's. What made it all the more perfect, was when I went to photograph it, I saw that the label inside read, in delicate brown lettering, "Autumn haze." I discovered this when photographing it on it's vintage wooden hanger, in a tree, against a filtered autumn sky--the perfect branding for the gorgeous fall day! Kelly's other touches complimented the feel of the day as well: the vintage flair in her feathered caged veil headpiece, the sexy "hint of leopard" at the toes of her Kate Spades, the amber necklace that complimented her golden hair and sun-kissed skin, the delicate lace bodice of her gown...As for the moments that struck me, it was the laughter in the salon, the way Kelly's sister welcomed all the ladies into her home to get ready, the love surrounding Kelly as she stepped into her dress, the tenderness and calm of Kelly's mother, as she "saved the day" by literally sewing Kelly into her dress (malfunctioning clasp at "go-time" was definitely the most intense moment of the day!), the look on Lee's face as Kelly walked toward him for their first look, the sentiment on Lee's face when his brother delivered his toast, the twinkle in the blue eyes of Kelly's adorable nephews, all spiffed up in their tuxes (precious!), and of course, the light in Kelly's hair as she snuggled against her fella, and threw her head back in wonderful, genuine laughter. They exchanged vows just before sunset in the garden outside the Saphire Estate, and after watching the sun descend over the lake, they headed back up the hill for the party to start! And it was no small party; this is a family that is not shy on the dance floor, something I remembered from Alison's wedding. Not only were the sisters, wedding party, cousins, family members and friends out there stirring things up, Kelly's mom did not leave the dance floor (she is the best of all worlds: kind, nurturing, hilarious, and LOTS of fun), and the bride and groom themselves held up their "stars of the day" status by heating things up all night too. Of course, all of this made my job extra fun! It was one of those receptions that flew by for me in an instant because I was enjoying the crowd so much, and I adored the couple so. And now to you two, Kelly and Lee...I can't thank you enough for your patience in waiting for this collection, and I plan to make it up to you, first by the sheer gorgeousness of you in the photos that follow, glimmering and golden in low autumn light. You certainly made my job easy! You created a beautiful day in every way, and I was so lucky to have the honor of capturing it.  
For some reason, the slideshow isn't showing up. Go here for more sweetness from their day!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

This year's Valentine slideshow is coming to you a day late and from afar, but it was lovingly made on February 14th! I am writing this from Central America, already past midnight and thus having just missed Valentines Day. We have been traveling for the last thirty-six hours, and though I have been compiling this slideshow for a few days, finding a trusty internet connection that supports a massive upload has been tricky (luckily I have a techy rockstar husband who somehow connected us remotely to my desktop at home). But as I curl up here in the dark, in the middle of the night in a hotel room that overlooks the Gulf of Panama and the first foriegn city to which I ever traveled alone (nineteen years ago), listening to the sounds of my three best-loved ones breathing, and recount the past year in photographs, I couldn't be more content with my frenzied, fast-paced, ordinary-but-enchantingly-so life. Even as I try to heed the promise to myself to cut back in the coming year, I am reminded, looking over these photographs, how very fortunate I am to do this job, and to have preserved these sweet and fleeting moments.

I'm gonna wash the dust off my soul I'm gonna listen to some rock n' roll No cares, come what may I'm making a beautiful day
I'm gonna drive my car into the sea swim out far cause I believe that the waves will wash the gray away I'm making a beautiful day
Oooh ooohh my my I'm learning to fly Hey hey what's that you're saying Lets not forget we're alive
When we all come together this song will play We'll sing it's a beautiful day And it's gonna be my beautiful day
--Joshua Radin