Engagement in the Sand Dunes

Arizona Wedding Photographer goes to Glamis, California

HELLO beautiful sunshine and sand dunes!!!! I’m obsessed with how these photos turned out. Firstly, because they are of my bestie Hailey. She is also a wedding photographer in Arizona and we were roommates for 3 years!! Secondly, because I’ve been dreaming about shooting here for a long time but it hadn’t happened yet, stokedddd to shoot here!! Hailey asked me to shoot her engagement session because she had booked her dream photographer from California for their elopement. It was the best gift I could have given her and one I’m so happy we both have these memories to look back on.

Glamis or Imperial Sand Dunes located in South East California, very close to the Mexican boarder. It is a place of beauty and lots of vehicles so you have to be careful when shooting!! Always look over your back just incase a buggy or jeep is coming over a hill but doesn’t see you. I cannot rave enough about the sunlight and sand dunes feel here. IT was magical to say the least. It felt like we were in the middle of Egypt trucking through the desert.

Hailey and Mike met years ago at the Edge of the World while she was photographing for this festival. Little did they know 3 years later they would run into each other again online and become each others person. I remember the day she came home from that first date with Mike. She was GLOWING. She said they just hiked in the woods and talked and it was easy. It was everything you could want in a relationship. As do all couples have ups and downs but Hailey and Mike have sustained the up’s and downs. They live in a 5th wheel that they completely redid and looks amazing (you can see it on instagram).

All in all, it’s a beautiful place to get married or have engagement photos done. Also, camping and having fun in the sand dunes is a second best 🙂

Kelly + Jake

Mammoth Lakes Intimate Wedding

WHERE do I even start with this beautiful 20 person intimate mountain lake wedding day? Do I start where Jake and Kelly met in college at a dance party and instantly fell for each other? Or do I start when they moved to Bend and created a life together and decided to get married? Or do I start at their vows, which were poetry and made everyone cry? It all was intentional and purposeful. I’m honored to not only be their photographer but also their friend.

Kelly has a superpower of love and kindness. You will not meet a more in touch, grateful, inspiring human on this planet. She pulls you into her grace and bliss of life. You are enamored by her awe and wonder of this life. 

Jake is so vastly compassionate and intentional you will feel like the only person in the room when you are talking. He can hold the longest eye contact, so don’t you try to win at a staring contest! He is intelligent, open hearted, and warm. 

They wanted a small wedding up in the mountains. Each decision made from the food to the air b+b, to the flowers, and arbor at their ceremony was picked with intention. They loved every process of planning this wedding because they were SO EXCITED to get married. After 7 years of dating and engagement, it was time to invite people into their deep love. They decided on Convict Lake in Mammoth Lakes after a family trip a year earlier. They knew this would be the spot they would become one. It was truly breathtaking. 

Jake started reciting this vows with a poem he wrote her the first year they were dating. As soon as he started speaking she started mouthing the words because she had memorized it after all these years of him repeating it to her. Kelly’s vows were heart wrenching, explaining how much love she has for him and how alive she feels in his presence. I stood there with the wind blowing my hair all around, camera in hand, soaking it all in. The mountains stood tall behind them and I cried a bit.

I realized this is why I love photographing weddings. Not because the beautiful details or the likes on instagram, but because I get to be apart of this deep love that is helping to heal the world. Jake and Kelly, by being open for all to drink deeply of possibility of beautiful love, are truly helping to heal the broken world. It’s all apart of being human and I cannot imagine not photographing weddings for this reason alone. 

Immediately after they kissed, Jake and Kelly danced down the aisle while their friends jumped up and started dancing with them. Many hugs and tears were given throughout family photos. As the sun started to set, the three of us romped around the lake enjoying the majesty of the nature together. We came back to the Air B+B to a long table set up on the deck filled with lace, flowers, and a dinner setting. It was a relaxing reception where we laughed and ate good food. The night ended with hours and hours of dancing all together. Goofy playful dancing. 

Demi + Austin // Santa Barbara, CA

Demi + Austin

Santa Barbra // Sept 2 2017

The warm summer breeze rolls in on the morning of September the second. You would think there should be a cool ocean breeze considering we were in Santa Barbara but oh no it was warm that day. Close to 95 degrees most of the day, Demi and Austin said I do beneath a beautiful large tree at Godric Grove looking over the rolling hills of California. It was a dream of a day. Full of whimsy and wonder. California brings joy to me every time I visit, especially when visiting Santa Barbara. You have mountains AND ocean all in one place. No wonder Demi and Austin decided to get married at the very place they met and fell in love.

They attended Westmont College right there in SB years earlier. He fell in love with her day one of freshmen year. They were inseparable since. He cares for her the way you do your most precious jewel, you never let it out of your sight. Austin is gentle and kind and very intelligent. Demi is as sweet as they come, with tenderness and understanding in her eyes. They are those type of people you ALWAYS want to be like. I cannot imagine what a fight looks like between them, it’s probably the nicest of fights.

Demi got ready at one of her bridesmaids parents houses in town. The whole morning was joyous and calm. Can you even get over her BHLDN dress? Cause I couldn’t ALL day. It was everything I’ve always wanted in a wedding dress. Each detail of their day was thought through and cared for. Not to mention their reception was one of the best I’ve been too. Those California people know how to party all night long!! Between the photobooth, the wonderful mexican food, the perfectly selected songs by the DJ, and the slow sunset over the valley, it was a dream I’m convinced!

Vendors:

Venue: Elings Park // Catering: Omni Catering // Florals: Alexis Ireland Florals // DJ: AMS Entertainment // Cake: Enjoy Cupcakes // Hair and Make Up: Blushing Beauty // Photobooth: The PhotoBus // Videographers: Wedlit Cameras // Event Rentals: Party Pleasers // Wedding Planner: Courtney Wolfshordl // Invitations: Minted // Wedding Dress: BHLDN // Rings: Simone and Sons // Bridesmaids Dresses: Showmeyourmumu

Alexis + Donnie // Santa Barbara, CA

Alexis + Donny

Santa Barbara, California

“ 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 while  studying 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.