Sedona in the spring is magical! It’s coming back to life with colorful green trees and cactus blooming every once in a while. Bella + Johnny met in Flagstaff but are in love with the Sedona red rock setting. It was a must for their engagement session!
They met years ago while both working at a local salad/sandwich shop. They hit it off. He says she is truly his best friend. They do everything together! She is the sweetest human with a hint of spunk and drive. He is gentle and constant- not moving while things get hard. Together they make a beautiful match that will stand the test of times.
Imagine this: a hot salt breeze whips through your hair as you walk cobble streets lined with taco stands and giant dream catchers hung for sale. The colors are bright, vivid, and bold. Your friends run up to you with a cold beer in one hand and their swim suit in another. Life seems slower here. Your closest family and friends are all staying in multiple houses close by with only your two feet or a rented golf cart to get you into town. The jungle sways with sweaty leaves and the ocean roars as it crashes against the rocks ushering in a sunset from afar. The food, the smells, the sounds, and the people are all tell you to slow down, laugh, and drink a margarita or… four.
That may be the very reason Shea and Melissa decided to take have a destination wedding in the small hip surf town of Sayulita, Mexico. I mean who wouldn’t want all their favorite people in one place, eating delicious mexican food, and swimming in the Pacific Ocean??
Melissa is very very creative, spunky, generous, and wild.
Shea is very very funny, inviting, genuine, and intentional.
They met years and year ago while going to school in San Deigo, California. They met one night going out with friends and the rest is well…history! From grad school all over the country to their new home in Phoenix, Arizona, these two have a friendship and partnership that has been tested and tried. Each time they come up even stronger then before.
From the gem colored florals, to the geometric details, and the bridesmaids polka dotted dresses this wedding was not lacking in the creative elements. The venue…WOW…Don Dedros Palapa had all the right feels. Cliff ocean views, lush green lawn, and a palapa for dinner! This space set the scene for an ideal experience in Mexico. Every detail was done with excellence thanks to the amazing wedding coordinator, Somer. Each vendor at this wedding I need to add, was amazing. They help to create a beautiful atmosphere for a good freaking party!! I can’t even talk about the food or I might go jump on a plane back down and not come back (i’m not kidding). I think it takes a certain type of couple to have a destination wedding. They must be ok with a lack of control, chill about the end goal, and be mostly excited for friends and family to come from afar. Shea and Melissa made this wedding about their people. The people who have supported them, carried them, loved on them. Let’t just say they have an amazing support system around their new marriage.
Their wedding weekend was also a over a Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos. The whole town came out to celebrate with flags of color, candles, and pictures of loved ones day came before. Melissa, having Mexican roots, was able to celebrate this holiday along side of her wedding day. They even had a whole table honoring the deceased at the wedding with photos and candles. It was a beautiful additive to the wedding celebration.
I cannot express to you HOW FREAKING amazing and beautiful this wedding was. I could try…but I think the photographs help tell the story better. So go ahead look for yourself and imagine yourself there with the breeze whipping your hair and a margarita in your hand.
AHHH there are not many words to describe the beauty that was created through Taryn and Ryan during our engagement session. Their chemistry is electrifying. From the wind, to the sun, to the cozy coffee snuggles they shared while watching the sunset at the overlook on 89A…it was all too much!!! These two are contagiously joyful to be around. I cannot wait to photograph their beautiful backyard Flagstaff wedding next year in October!
“ I will give you this, my love, and I will not bargain or barter any longer. I will love you, as sure as He has loved me. I will discover what I can discover and though you remain a mystery, save God’s own knowledge, what I disclose of you I will keep in the warmest chamber of my heart, the very chamber where God has stowed Himself in me. And I will do this to my death, and to death it may bring me.
I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will stop expecting your love, demanding you love, trading for your love, gaming for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again. I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this altar of dying and dying again.
God risked Himself on me. I will risk myself on you. And together, we will learn to love, and perhaps then, and only then, understand this gravity that drew Him, unto us.” – Donald Miller: Blue Like Jazz
The beauty of life that can be created between two people is astonishing to me. It’s what we have fought wars over for generations, created tribes around, giving of ourselves endlessly till what is left is pure and good. Love is the force is unlike anything else this earth has seen. It doesn’t make sense, it messes with our heads but pulls us in like a warm blanket does. The love for a child is what makes this world spin isn’t it? The strength a parent has for their child is as if they could pick up the world and move it if need be. It’s courageous, beautiful, and wild.
My sweet dear friend Alexis will be having a little baby girl at the end of August. I met her whilestudying abroad in Italy three years ago. Although, it seem like just yesterday we were taking an evening walk after a late carb heavy dinner on the via del popolo talking about everything under the sun from heartbreak, family, and the future. Who would have known years later I would be able to photograph this very important stage in her life of becoming a mother. Just recently was I able to meet Donny and see the love he has for his two girls. It’s fitting I found this quote by my favorite author, Donald Miller. It’s in the middle of the book that he takes a break and this whole chapter is a short play he wrote. I remember reading this play and weeping by the end recognizing the struggle of love. Yet, the love between two people can be the strongest force in the world if we let it.
Have you ever watched About Time? If you have not… what are you doing with your life? If you have, you get a star and, you will know exactly what I am talking about. You know that feeling you get after you watch that movie? The warm excited feeling about life? That feeling that marriage is all that it’s cracked up to be, it’s beautiful and messy and full of arguments and love making. That feeling that this world isn’t all going to hell, there is hope. There is are real love stories that become timeless and instills that desire to have one. That is the feeling I got during Craig and Gabrielle’s wedding. It wasn’t their beautiful floral arrangements or the Sedona Red Rocks in the background or her stunning dress. It was the way he looked at her as if she was the only one in the room. The way he danced with her and kissed her with tenderness. I could feel their friendship rooted on understanding and sacrifice for each other. I didn’t see individuals that day, I saw a web of intricately designed moments and memories and hard conversations and good conversations, selflessness, honesty, and desire that made up this couple. I don’t often feel THIS much at a wedding, mind you I am an intense feeler…to the degree I cry during the vows or first dance, but this wedding something deeper caught me off guard and I could hear the About Time theme song playing in my head as I photographed all day.
( I REPEAT— if you have not seen that movie, please go watch it. Curl up with your love or a friend and enjoy the beauty of film and life).
There isn’t much more to say because I hope the photos evoke the same type of timeless love and hope I had during the day.
HELLO beautiful people and beautiful sunset this session was!!! Do you see those red rocks?! They were showing off that night we explored the creek and enjoyed the sunset. Jessica grew up in Arizona, born and raised but decided to go south for college. Tanner is homegrown southern man from South Carolina! While visiting family out here Jessica really wanted some photos of them two in Sedona for their house. Little did she know Tanner had a surprise at the end. Jessica is this cute, petite, gorgeous woman that has kindness in her eyes. Tanner is like your older brother who wants to watch out for you and would help anyone when they need it. Their love is sweet and what they have between them is this kind of friendship we all dream of.
Now even though Jessica had no idea the proposal was going to happen, she planned a sunset couples session. Tanner didn’t even tell me it was going to happen! We all laughed a lot while we got to know each other and took a walk down to the creek. We were racing back up to the top to grab the last bit of light before then sun went down when Tanner gets down on one knee! He got nervous when I said “oh no! Gotta hurry because we are loosing light fast”. She was SO SHOCKED, said YES, and did a little happy dance. It’s one of those moments you won’t forget. No matter how many proposals I see, they never get old, they are all beautiful and intimate, and I feel honored I get to be there at that moment.