Assistant + Bride + Groom + A Little Wind

There is always a money shot at a wedding. I talk about it all the time. I love when photos come across my computer from a wedding. A true photographer will be able to take the natural elements and make them work in their favor. Shelley was working with me on December 19th and the photographer, Melanie Applegate, asked her to arrange the bride’s veil. With a little help of the wind, an insanely talented photographer and quick assistant, this amazing photo enters into the favorite photos of the year.

Making a celebration of life personal + memorable

Navigating relatives through the personal details of celebrating the life of a lost love one, is comforting. It is a level of emotion that does take its toll that not even a ride on the peloton can get rid of. On some level, there is a rush in my creative mind (that typically comes out for weddings) that laser focuses on ensuring the life of the deceased is celebrated and remembered. There have been four amazing souls who left this earth entirely way too soon, but I have to believe there is one heck of a party going on where they all are. I will think of them often and will continue to provide prayers to each of their loved ones who are navigating through their new normal.

Because of the funerals I have been a part of recently, I thought I would focus on the five tips I feel are important to do. 

1. Memory Cards: I find that just signing a guest book is not enough. When guests arrive at a celebration of life, they tend to feel better when they have something to do. Print up custom cards with quotes from the deceased and ask the guests to write a special memory to the family. This is so much more meaningful than just having someone sign their name. 

2. Obituary: Put extreme care into the obituary. Let this be a time for the guests to really know the details of the person they are celebrating. The obituary should encapsulate the life of the deceased. If cost is a factor, print up your own programs with the information. 

3. Programs: They should be considered more of a keepsake. Have the order of the ceremony, but add the obituary, a photo, or perhaps a favorite reading. Again, a keep sake. 

4. Music: Make the music relevant to the deceased. I can appreciate that if you are in a church you will have music limitations, however if you are not limited, play the music that the deceased liked to listen to. I know for sure I will expect to have The Eagles and Rick Springfield played at my funeral. 

5. Photos: Make sure you have all kinds of photos. Photos of the deceased with not only their loved ones but friends. I personally like to order the 8×8 canvas photos at or any other cheap canvas printing companies online. You do not need a frame as they stand on their own and they are always on sale (yes, cheaper than buying a frame). You then have the option to give those photos to guests who have come. 

6. Personal Items: Bring things to display that embodied the deceased or ask guests to wear something specific (sports jersey, favorite color, cowboy boots etc). It is ok to not wear black to a wedding. 

The goal of this event is to honor the deceased and you can do this in so many ways that will make this event truly memorable.


Kelsea + Emery Celebrate their 2nd Platinum-versary

Happy 2nd Platinum-versary to Kelsea Janak + Emery Hiebert!
What I will remember most about Kelsea and Emery’s wedding is water:) From the very being part of planning, Kelsea wanted to be married by water. The final location was Galveston, Texas.  The night before the rehearsal dinner, there was flooding in Galveston. The ceremony lawn was under water along with the streets. It was incredible. Jesus took the wheel:) The ground was wet the day of the wedding (covered by a rug), and chairs were strategically placed.  During the ceremony, we needed water so the could wash each others feet (biblical reference). Following the ceremony was a quick trip to the ocean for photos and yes, the wedding gown went in the water. It was truly romantic and some of my most favorite photo sessions!  

Carlina + Just celebrate their 4th Platinum-versary!

Happy 4th Platinum-versary to Carlina Villalanti + Justin Smith on October 29,2016!

What I remember most about Carlina + Justin’s wedding is the incredible Italian family that represented. They did not disappoint with love, passion and fun. The Hotel Van Zandt was never the same after this group left. The happiness was infectious, the ceremony was respectful and the party was epic. Of course the event was topped off with Taco Bell Tacos + Raising Cains Chicken — and that was devoured at midnight.  Carlina and Justin live in Austin with their two boys, Brady and Brock.