It’s always difficult for me to write these blog intros and I want to blame in on the fact that I feel so much for each couple and at each wedding that part of me thinks nothing I could write would possibly do it justice. But something I can say so very easily about Carolina and Paul is that they make me smile. I see them and I smile. I think of their wedding and I smile. I look at these photos and I JUST SMILE, DANNGIT. I like them, I like them even more together and all of this combined makes me smile-like-a-fool-happy.
Carolina was so calm and even-keeled when I arrived at the Adolphus Hotel for her prep but the second we made our way over to the Carlisle Room for their first look and she saw Paul it was happy-tear-central the rest of the day. I love when my brides and grooms give themselves permission to feel deeply on their wedding day. And besides, if you’re not gonna give into it on the day you say, “I do, to you, forever and ever, I promise” then what day are you really?? Feel deeply, dear ones. It’s certainly the day for it.
venue – The Carlisle Room
day of coordination + floral – Celebrate Dallas
hair + makeup – Stephanie Nelson Makeup & Hair
The Allison-and-Johnny story starts further back then I’m going to be able to start this post. But somewhere along the way a guy saw past the new girl in town’s tough exterior and saw, instead, the very best part of her. And then somewhere along the way they fell in love and then they got engaged and then they planned the most wonderful wedding. A wedding day like the people they are — remarkably genuine, completely surrounded and supported by the ones they hold most dear, and beautiful.
But I also can’t start this post the morning of the wedding because festivities actually began the week before as all of their nearest and dearest trickled into Bend to celebrate this marriage.
I had actually second shot a wedding in California with Allison one week before her’s and Johnny’s. Allison is an incredible photographer and, being the hard-working and confident person she is, had been booked for three weddings the weekend before her own. Before booking the third (in another state) she called me to ask if it was crazy to book it. I told her yes (obviously), but that if anyone could do that and make it look easy, it was her. So she did, and you know what? She made it look easy. That put us flying into Bend Monday night, where Johnny was waiting to greet his jet-setting fiancé one last time.
Monday // reuniting in Bend
Tuesday // welcome to Bend brunch
Because when some of your favorite people are in your town you take them to one of your favorite breakfast spots.
Sunset on Pilot Butte (+ Juniper’s first birthday)
My husband, James, and daughter, Juniper, had flown into Bend on Monday also because I wasn’t about to miss spending my baby girl’s first birthday together. Allison, the deeply thoughtful friend that she is, surprised us with a cupcake and sparkler candle for Juniper’s birthday as the sun was setting.
Wednesday // Tumalo Falls
More friends, more family, more waterfall.
(Proud wife shout out for James Zamora Painting)
Friday // hiking Tumalo Mountain
We stood at the bottom, shivering in the freezing cold misting rain, wondering if it was a good idea to try to make this hike. But if there’s one thing both Allison and Johnny are not, it’s easily deterred. I love this about them. So up we went.
Saturday // Welcome picnic
One day out, it’s getting real real, let’s eat hot dogs!
rehearsal + dinner
Their wedding was always set to be at Dillon Falls, where Johnny proposed, but originally the ceremony was planned to take place in the open meadow until a frog rehabilitation effort booted them out. So technically this was the second choice ceremony site but I honestly couldn’t imagine any spot more perfect.
Sunday // weddin’ day
No lie, I was crying before I even got in the car to drive over for prep photography. The way these friends of mine love each other so fiercely and so wholly — man, it moves me. This was the best day.
floral: Hart Floral
bridal make-up + hair: Lauren Apel
bridal crown: Mignonne Handmade
reception venue: Spoken Moto
ice cream truck: Addy Macs
During my own wedding week, my wedding coordinator (aka my maid of honor’s awesome mom), kept reminding me not to use the word “perfect” when talking about the wedding day because I kept looking around and saying, “EVERYTHING IS PERFECT!” and she didn’t want me to get my hopes set on nothing going wrong the day of. I completely understand where she was coming from and while there are a few things I would adjust looking back (for example, eating more of the wedding food/getting a solo photo with my mom and with my dad/being more present in general) it felt pretty close to perfect while I was living it. All that to say, I try to steer clear of describing weddings as perfect because of what dear MaryLynne Hodson taught me. After all, the perfection of the day itself isn’t nearly as important as the fact that two separate people are becoming one new family.
BUT THEN CAME EMMA AND COLLIN’S WEDDING DAY.
And you know what? I think their day was an exception to the rule. I watched as they soaked up every little moment with their closest friends and family. I was there when Emma teared up when she walked into the room where she would don her wedding dress. When Collin couldn’t stop laughing with his groomsmen. And then when he couldn’t stop tearing up when his bride walked down the aisle. When they so beautifully integrated each of their family members into their wedding ceremony (that one of Emma’s brothers officiated). Even when things “went wrong” and music played when it wasn’t supposed to during the ceremony they just laughed and danced until it stopped! When the Texas-in-June weather felt 80-something degrees, just unimaginably perfect. When the sunset was more golden than I’ve seen before. When the fireworks went off during their exit and COMPLETELY SURPRISED Emma.
Oh man, you guys. For what it’s worth, it certainly felt perfect to me.
Storytelling days — those are my favorite. The ones that tell a real narrative, the ones with deep feelings and, yes, the ones when things don’t go perfectly according to plan but it’s always alright because DANGIT, YOU GET MARRIED ANYWAY.
Rachel and Dan’s Barr Mansion wedding was one of those days. They had planned for a beautiful outdoor ceremony but starting that morning the rain came pouring. The rain did not act like it cared even a little bit about their beautiful outdoor ceremony plans — so rude. But that wasn’t about to keep Rachel and Dan from enjoying their Austin wedding day.
Come ceremony time, guests were ushered in under umbrellas, rain drop marks on their wedding clothes, into the reception space where the floral archway had been moved indoors. This space would just have to make due.
Until the rain stopped.
Everyone was looking out windows to confirm again and again that indeed that was sunshine they were seeing. Then came the scramble — Reassemble the archway outside! Wipe down those chairs! Everyone make your way back out to the garden because this here was meant to be an outside wedding!!
Rachel and her father walked down the aisle to the tune of “Here Comes the Sun” (a choice made well before the forecast would prove how unbelievably appropriate a song that would be in that moment) and Dan’s beaming smile was without doubt giving the sun a run for it’s money. Afterwards they dined slowly, sharing conversation, food and hugs with all their treasured guests.
Yes, storytelling days are my favorite.
Thank you so much, Rachel and Dan, for entrusting me with your wedding day.
And thank you also to my little bro and second shooter on this day, Jacob. Not only did he do some strong storytelling with his images, but he also did most of the driving to and from Austin that day. You da real MVP.