garrett + brytni • destination wedding • playa del carmen, mexico

I am convinced there isn't a more beautiful landscape than the turquoise-blue water of the Riviera Maya. It's stunningly beautiful. Add all your closest family and friends, and it becomes quite magical. Shawn and I got to be a part of Garrett and Brytni's wedding celebration- and I can't tell you how honored we felt to be there- to witness the joy and laughter and gorgeous scenery firsthand.

I'll look back on this day and think of all the laughter we got to photograph. This crew was so laid-back and just straight up happy to be in paradise. There were great food and drinks, some hilarious scripture translation, scantily-clad onlookers to the ceremony, and mad dance skills. Garrett and Brytni- thank you so much for having us along- and congratulations!

jacob + julie • engagement • lubbock, tx

These two are getting married in less than a month- and photographing them on a beautiful, unusually mild West Texas day was all I needed to remember the excitement and anticipation of being so, so close to that big day. I've known Jacob since college- and loved getting to meet his bride, Julie. These two laughed so much (and so well) together- it's easy to see why they are tying the knot. It won't be too long before you're seeing them as a bride + groom- but until then- enjoy their engagement session images!

kaydence • newborn • lubbock, tx

This is a story I am incredibly grateful to write this morning. It's about my friends, Shane and Leah. We first met when they started coming to our Life Group (these people are literally our support "life" group- they have prayed us through so many seasons!). They told us they were waiting to adopt a baby- due to a back condition, Leah would not be able to have biological children. Seeing as Shawn and I had just started our adoption process, I was immediately connected with them- no matter the different circumstances- adoption is a unique journey, and one I am certainly glad I don't have to do alone! I knew that God had placed them in our lives for a very specific reason.

Almost two years passed- with no news. Then, one day, Leah said she met a birth mother who wanted to have Shane and Leah adopt her baby. We were all elated! The baby was a girl- which is what Shane and Leah had been praying for. They knew they wanted to have a baby girl and name her Kaydence. 

Side note: Adoption is tough for a person who likes control (like myself). There is so much that you just cannot control. Timing, circumstances, paperwork, governments- all of these things depend so little on you and your abilities (despite my best efforts, haha), but still have such an effect on your journey. So, little things like the ability to select gender, age, even name- those are what you hold onto in times where it feels like the wait will never end. 

Months passed, and Leah attended doctor's visits and shared life with the birth mother. A few weeks before the due date, though- everything screeched to a halt. The birth mother had decided to keep the baby.

This is the hard part. Though it is good for a child to be with their biological parent, we were crushed for Shane and Leah. I felt the same feelings for them I'd had when mourning a miscarriage- losing something you never really had. Such an empty feeling. To top off the pain, Leah had just had a hysterectomy in an effort to help relieve her back pain more effectively over the long term.

Our hearts were broken for them, and they grieved. After a while, Leah told us that they had decided to open up their gender preferences to boy or girl- though admittedly it was something they were still wrestling with. Their hearts still wanted a girl, but they also wanted to be obedient to whatever child God might have for them.

Then- out of nowhere it seemed- they were contacted by their agency. A birth mother was interested in them- and she was due in 3 weeks! They did say, however, that the baby was a boy. Trusting God, Shane and Leah met with the birth mother, who immediately selected them as the parents of her child. They attended every doctor visit she had left- and soon, they found themselves in a hospital room, awaiting the birth of their baby boy! 

Back in Lubbock still sat a nursery full of girl things- "Kaydence" was still written on the wall. There had been no time to transition the room before the birth! So they'd packed the few boy things they had before leaving.

They wouldn't need those few things, though. Low and behold, when the baby was born, it was a baby GIRL! I still cry thinking about how incredible and evident God's promises must have been to them at that moment. God had given them the baby girl they'd prayed for for so long. Birth and adoption are truly miracles. 

So, it was my honor and blessing to get to photograph these three. There hearts were ready...the room was ready...and God brought baby Kaydence at the perfect time. 

trey + jamie • wedding • irving, tx

One of the things I love best about the DFW area is that though the metroplex is basically one giant blob of smaller cities, each city still retains it's own personality and charm. Trey and Jamie were married at First Baptist Church Irving, TX- and I was surprised to see the old main street and quaint buildings. This wedding really had a small-town feel- the reception venue was literally right down the street- and I think that really added to the intimate feel of the day. 

I loved photographing these two getting married. Trey definitely had some nerves before their first look, and Jamie- true to herself, laughed and enjoyed it all. They both cited seeing each other for the first time as their favorite moment. Thanks so much for having us, you two, and congratulations!

julian • 1 year old

Last time I got to photograph baby Julian he was in-utero :). It is really amazing to realize how much happens in that first year of life- this little boy is one of the happiest, most content little fellows I have ever met. He loves being with his parents, and though he gave me plenty of smiles, I also loved his curious/concerned face. Thanks for a great session, Jeff & Nanci- you have one sweet little boy!

rob + marci • wedding at spirit ranch • lubbock, tx

Rob + Marci had one of the most beautiful ceremonies I have had the pleasure of photographing. It was perfectly timed with the sunset, and as the Texas heat cooled down, these two said their vows and then got to celebrate the start of a lifetime together! Thinking back on this wedding, I don't think I'll forget the images of Rob looking at Marci- even when she didn't happen to be looking back- he just gazed at her with a huge smile. The excitement in both of their faces was palatable. 

Not only was this ceremony beautiful, but every other aspect as well- including the details and the fabulous people we got to work with. Marci told me she took a calligraphy class- and did all of the hand lettering you'll see. Such a great idea! 

At the reception, the Maid and Matron of Honors did a personalized rap to the theme from "Fresh Prince of Bel Air"- and it made for the most wonderful start to the party. There were many more great moments- but I'll just let the photos speak for themselves. Congrats, Rob and Marci!

cameron + alanna • rockwall wedding chapel

Cameron and Alanna were married last month at a perfect little wedding venue in Rockwall, Texas- the Rockwall Wedding Chapel. This building is almost 100 years old and is situated in a quaint neighborhood that really lent itself to the elegance of their day. There were so many things I loved photographing on this day- the navy and light pink color scheme, Cameron's infectious laugh and Alanna's classic beauty. It was wonderful to see them surrounded by many family and friends who had traveled many miles to get there. Enjoy these images! 

david + kay • engagement • lubbock, tx

David and Kay are true Renaissance people. I'm not sure they would say this about themselves, but I will. :) They love music, stories, history...and are romantics at heart (not to mention they both have professional careers). I so appreciated that they trusted me despite any nerves they had about their engagement shoot. They've been together for 10 years- and there is something so easy and wonderful about photographing a couple who has a long history of standing together. It's a settled satisfaction- a level of comfort that is so enjoyable to capture. I loved photographing these two- thanks for trusting me, you guys!

how to be a GREAT bridesmaid

This is a post that has been stirring in my mind for the past 8 years- seriously- since I started a full-time career as a wedding photographer. I have photographed over 120 weddings in those 8 years, which means I've worked with 120 brides (many of whom were also bridesmaids in one of those other 119)!

Standing right beside those 120 brides were the (somewhere around 480?) women whom they selected as bridesmaids- typically very important friends or family members of the bride. 

Being a bridesmaid is a real honor. You get to be up front and close to someone's wedding day. You have insight on the bride's feelings, the details, and the dynamics that not many do. I feel the same way about wedding photography- no other wedding vendor is going to have quite as intimate of a look into a couple's lives as I will on their wedding day. When I am reminded of that I realize what a responsibility I have- and it makes me want to work that much harder. 

I think most women want to be someone's bridesmaid- to feel chosen and special- but what I've realized over the years is that though it is a position of honor, it is also one of service. I have to be honest- I've also been a bridesmaid/maid of honor a few times myself- some of these suggestions are the result of things I wish I'd done better. However, most of them are the result of the many kind and thoughtful women I've had the pleasure of watching put these very things in action. So, here are my suggestions on how to be a GREAT bridesmaid:

1. Don't fuss. 

Yes, it is your job to be helpful to the bride. Please find her earrings for her or help her tie her sash. But please, don't fuss about things that are not important. There is a heightened air of stress that happens on a wedding day- a point at which if something is not finished, it's not going to ever be finished. If every wrinkle is not perfectly steamed out of the wedding dress before time to put it on, please don't fuss. Just help the bride get into her dress. I promise that no one will see that one tiny wrinkle once she is walking down the aisle. 

By the same token, please don't fuss about yourself. It is your job to make sure your dress is steamed, altered, etc. before the wedding day. If you want to paint your nails, please do it before the wedding day. If your dress is wrinkly, or you don't like your hair, please remember- it is HER day. Your smile and great attitude will go a lot farther than a perfectly pressed dress or an amazing updo.

Moral here: You do the bride more favor by majoring on the majors on her wedding day. Don't add to the stress by attempting to fret over every "imperfection".

2. Communicate with the bride ahead of time.

The best way you can accomplish #1 is to communicate with the bride ahead of time. Ask her what things are most important to her (i.e. what's worth worrying about). Ask her how you can best be of help on the wedding day. It's really more your job to be considerate of the bride and her feelings than to interject with your opinion on her wedding day (unless asked). So, know how she feels about stuff.

3. Steal the bride's phone.

This tip comes from my friend and fellow wedding photographer, AlexM. Seriously. Steal her phone. There are always at least 2 people who text at the worst possible time things like, "Where is the chapel again?" or "What time do we need to be there?". These are legitimate questions but ones the bride does not have the time (or sometimes mental capacity) to answer. Help her out and be personal assistant for the day.

4. Be early and respect the day-of timeline.

Your punctuality is just one more way to love the bride and groom. She and her vendors (like myself) have gone to a lot of effort to put together a timeline that will allow for the beautiful day she planned. Even if you think it's a little silly to get there 3 hours ahead of time, THERE IS A REASON. Be there and be on time. Do what you can to stay on schedule, and to help everyone else stay on schedule. 

5. Anticipate needs. 

Be aware of what's going on around you (if you've done a good job taking care of your own needs ahead of time, this won't be difficult). Offer to find someone/something that is missing (there is always something). Dry off the bouquets before portraits. Pick up the bride's train as she walks. Simple acts go a long way.

6. Plan childcare. 

I have seen many mommies with young kids do the bridesmaid thing (and I also did it a couple of times). Even if you are Super Mom, you cannot take care of your small kids the whole day. Have someone there to hold/dress/get kids from place-to-place for you. If you need to feed a baby, do your best to work with the timeline of the day (I know it can be tough!).

7. Smile and find the positives. 

Emotions are high. Even if it's raining, the bride and groom will still be married. Even if you lose the ring right before the ceremony, they'll still be married. Even if another bridesmaid spills nail polish on the bride's train 15 minutes before the ceremony (yes, that really did happen- refer to #1), the bride and groom will still be married at the end of the day. Choose to be a positive, helpful resource.

8. Be present at the reception.

Your duties are not over after the ceremony. The bride will still need help transferring things, bustling, and there has to be someone clapping and celebrating for them as they enter the reception. Don't run and hide in a corner. Check in with the bride and DANCE. Even if you feel like an idiot. You've already survived standing through the ceremony in heels- you deserve to dance!

9. Toast with grace and intentionality. 

I have heard some fabulous wedding toasts, and some terrible ones. If you THINK you MAY have to give a toast at the reception, please try to think about it for a little bit and maybe at least write something down. :) This should be obvious- but needs to be said- do not imbibe so much beforehand that it makes it difficult to give your speech. The BEST speeches I have heard have never been because they had the funniest old story- they were the best because they were written with the bride and groom's BEST qualities and BEST future in mind. They are complimentary of the bride and groom, and forgetful of their faults. 

That's it for now! Any other tips you guys can think of?

todd + heather • wedding • texas tech club

Todd + Heather had the most beautiful wedding day. After several days of rain, the weather brightened up as if for this special occasion- and there really was an air of excitement throughout the events of the day. Todd and Heather were clearly aware of God's perfect timing for them both, and were so eager to start this new journey. I so loved getting to capture the whole sacred, wonderful celebration!

Ceremony: First Baptist Church, Lubbock

Reception: Texas Tech Club

Coordination: Jill Leven of Eat, Drink and Be Marry

Makeup: Brenda Becknell

Hair: Kara Howell, Roxi's Hair Studio

Groom + Groomsmen: Men's Wearhouse

Wedding Gown: Ines de Santo, Neiman Marcus

Ceremony Music: Classical Strings

Stationery: Little White Invite

Limo: Limousines of Lubbock

Band: Harlan Hodges Jazz Trio

Cakes: Marla Felton

Floral: College Flowers