Lauren + Jay Seal the Deal

Saturday, May 19, dawned beautiful and bright, clouds dotted over the skyline and sunshine weighing down on the mountains and valley of the Salt Lake Valley here in Utah. It was a special day in that it was not only the date of the Royal Wedding of Harry & Meghan (The Duke and Duchess of Sussex), but it was the date of the wedding of two people who love Jesus very much. 

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It's not every day in Utah that I get to photograph and experience a protestant Christian wedding, so when I first met with Lauren and Jay for their consultation and learned that they were Christians attending a church plant in SLC no less, I was ecstatic. Finding like minded people in an area less than 3% Christian is like striking gold, and it was so nice to be able to speak openly about fears and hopes for our future as church planters here in Utah. Lauren and Jay both glowed with not only a love for each other, but a passion to share the gospel of Christ with those attending their wedding. It was just another mission field for them. 

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When Lauren arrived, Jay sent over a precious gift of beautiful earrings and a matching necklace with a sweet note detailing his affection for her since one of their first dates. Lauren graciously smiled reading the note and giggled to her bridesmaids about it in wonder and awe. Then it was time to get dressed. Lauren's mother helped her into her delicate lace wedding dress, perfect for her small frame and petite structure and she was the picture of beauty. Everyone was amazed at how incredibly gorgeous she looked especially once the veil was on! 

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Jay also seemed to glow surrounded by his groomsmen who joked with one another, but in the end surrounded each other with arms and prayers. It was heartwarming to see men so clearly loving one another and proud for Jay to have this day finally arrive. 

Lauren and Jay opted out of a first look, and instead chose a 'first touch' for photos but all the while keeping their eyes or backs to one another. Jay was adament he wanted to see Lauren for the first time as she walked down the aisle, and I was happy to accomodate them. I knew he would have a great reaction!

Finally, it was time for the ceremony. Louland Falls, the venue chosen by Lauren and Jay for their big day, is set up on a mountainside overlooking parts of the valley and it is just gorgeous. Blue skies, warm sun, and smiling faces shown as people took their seats, and the wedding procession began. 

Can we talk about this handsome groom's reaction for a moment? There are so many things that go into making a wedding memorable and beautiful, and a crying groom the moment he sees his beautiful bride is definitely one. Jay's happy tears were such a picture of Christ's love for his Church, the bridegroom and bride finally joined together. And Lauren was radiant, all grace and poise, as she walked the aisle to finally hold Jay's hands in hers. 

The ceremony was insanely sweet, detailing first date moments, how they knew they were meant for one another, and the way that God was so sovereign over their relationship from the bio's on their tinder profiles, to the way they chose their venue and vendors for the wedding. 

With formalities over, Lauren and Jay led the wedding party and guests to the outdoor seating area for a blessing over the food. Guests took little time to get in line for the delicious catering and dinner provided, while the bride and groom sat secluded with family for a meal themselves. 

Once they'd finished eating, I stole the newlyweds away for a few isolated photo opportunities and Louland Falls did not disappoint. Waterfalls, red rocks, gurgling streams, and twinkle lights provided a backdrop of a photographer's dream, and the humble couple were so sweet and willing to climb step after step on the trail in heels and dress shoes so that we could snap these memories permanently into existence. 

As we headed back down to the reception area, guests greeted the pair as they came into view and it was officially time for toasts. Heartfelt congratulations, wise advice, walks down memory lane, and tears were shed by the Father of the Bride, Best Man, and Maid of Honor and guests happily toasted to their love and good health. 

Cake and dancing were next! Jay pulled his bride close for a prayer and slow dance to Reckless Love by Cory Asbury, a tearjerking song about the reckless love of God, how he pursues us even in the midst of our sin. It was such a beautiful moment, these two people joined together by the grace of God, realizing their brokenness and inability to do anything without Him. Eventually, Lauren and Jay broke off to dance with father and mother and guests watched with smiles on their faces as they all danced together. 

But the party was just starting. Once the formal dancing ended, guests were invited onto the floor to dance together and it didn't take long for everyone to let loose and have a great time!

Eventually, all good things must come to an end, but this is just the start of Lauren and Jay's love story. I pray that you guys continue to look to God and His Word as an example of how to love one another, teaching and preaching the gospel to one another each day so that you can and will rise up from the valleys that will come. Congratulations you two! "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame." -Song of Solomon 8:6

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Mariah + Gary Get Hitched!

Mariah and Gary became temple sealed on Friday, January 12, 2018 at the Payson Temple in Payson, UT. If you've never been to the Payson Temple, it's worth checking out. Though the sun hid behind the clouds and the air was chilly, the temple strikes a formative pose almost piercing through those clouds. 

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Soon, family and friends began to gather and talk as they waited patiently for the Bride and Groom to exit. I tried to sneak a few inconspicuous shots of them before they noticed, but they almost always noticed and we got some laughs out of it anyway. 

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Finally, Mariah and Gary exited the temple for friends and family to swarm around them with kisses, hugs, and the occassional tear. Everyone was elated, and the familial atmosphere didn't change once we began family portraits in front of the temple. 

Mariah and her bridesmaids were exceptionally beautiful, the cloudy lighting casting an even glow about all of them. Even the groomsmen were in chipper spirits, laughing and acting goofy. (I really love it when groomsmen don't take themselves too seriously, it makes everything more fun!)

Once family portraits were finished, family members left to get the Luncheon together, so I grabbed Mariah and Gary to go take a few portraits of them alone before they had to leave as well. They definitely didn't disappoint. 

Once family portraits were finished, family members left to get the Luncheon together, so I grabbed Mariah and Gary to go take a few portraits of them alone before they had to leave as well. They definitely didn't disappoint. 

I didn't see them again until the reception later that night but from the moment I arrived until the time I left, everyone was having the BEST time. Wedding parties who know how to party and actually celebrate always make the best weddings! Not to mention, the decorations were unbelievably gorgeous!

From first dance as man and wife, to dancing with friends and family members, to cutting their cake, Mariah and Gary never slowed down, but they also never stopped looking at each other or holding hands. 

Eventually the evening wound down and it was time for the garter and bouquet toss! One of my favorite wedding traditions and this one didn't disappoint. I think we had some happy catchers!

Right up until the final moment, Mariah and Gary had the best time not only with each other, but with the countless friends and family who showed up to honor and celebrate with them on their big day. The receiving line was so long in the beginning that the schedule got completely thrown off, but what a blessing to have so many people come to see your debut!

I had the best time with these guys and I'm so honored they chose me to photograph the most important day of their lives. Congratulations Mariah and Gary! Enjoy the honeymoon!

Trisity + Tim Say 'I Do'

When I first met Trisity one afternoon at a Starbucks for coffee and to discuss wedding details, I immediately felt giddy with excitement for her. She exuded this energy of amorous joy that can only be attributed to people who are truly in love. I was so excited when she and Tim decided to hire me as their wedding photographer because not only are they great looking people, but even though I hadn't met Tim until the wedding day, I just knew these two were soulmates. You could see it written all over Trisity's face every time she said her fiance's name. 

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The day of their wedding, I arrived at The Falls Event Center to see Trisity and her bridesmaids hanging out together in the Bridal room while Trisity finished getting her makeup done. Trisity was beyond gorgeous even in tights and a robe, and I immediately felt welcomed into their group of girls which says a lot about their character. We joked a bit to break the ice and a few sarcastic comments later, it was like we'd known each other all along.  

The groom and his groomsmen were no different, Tim being beyond inviting and truly a gentleman the entire evening. His groomsmen were hilarious together and it was so obvious these guys loved one another and had clearly been through a lot together as friends. 

Tim had elected not to see Trisity before she walked down the aisle, so there was this air of excitement to their ceremony that not every bride can claim. I was so glad though, because the look on his face, the tears that seemed to suddenly spring to his eyes when his beautiful bride was ushered out, the way his smile never seemed to leave his face the entire time spoke volumes. It was truly like he couldn't believe his luck, and I mean seriously... she was a smoke show y'all. 

After the ceremony, the bridal party shouted and high fived and we were ready for some portraits! We left the event center and walked to the mall across from us to find a fun back drop and I think everyone had fun being watched by onlookers at the mall. I seriously love being part of a wedding full of people who know how to have a good time, and these guys legit know how to have a good time. We laughed the entire time taking portraits! 

Now it was time for a few toasts! The Bride's mother and father, the Best Man, the bride's brother, the Maid of Honor, a letter from the Groom's father, all had the most inspiring and tear jerking testimonials about the couple and I swear there wasn't a dry eye in the place after it all. We even gathered everyone together for a huge group portrait at the end of it all and I saw my life flash before my eyes as I climbed on a table to take that particular photo, LOL. 

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With everything serious out of the way, it was party time. Trisity and Tim first took to the dance floor for their first dance, then with their father and mother.

They eventually filtered around the room, hugging necks, shaking hands, speaking and loving on guests who had come to witness their union, while DJ Little Bro manned the music station. It wasn't long before the couple and their entire bridal party were out in the middle of the dance floor so they could showcase their awesome dance skills, haha. 

Originally, both Trisity and Tim wanted to leave by 9:45, but when ten til that time came, they just weren't ready to stop having fun with all of their family and friends. So I suggested a 'fake leave' to capture their sparkler exit and boy did they not disappoint. 

I am so honored I was chosen to capture this magical and FUN day for these two people who obviously adore one another so much. I love my job so much because I get to capture real live love stories and Trisity and Tim's story is definitely one for the books! Congratulations "y'all", and best wishes!

Tracy & Dale's Intimate Elopement

In my line of work, you'd think every wedding you witness would showcase two people who are soulmates, but that's just not the case. It's rare, but when you see it for yourself, you know that these two people were meant for one another. This is exactly what drew me in to Tracy & Dale's story. Their elopement at Log Haven Restaurant in Mill Creek is literally what dream weddings are made of: intimate, moody, and downright gorgeous. 

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Saturday dawned cloudy as part of a weekend long moody spell throughout the Salt Lake Valley and the beautiful Wasatch Mountains lining the east side of the valley. You'd think I'd be afraid of rain or snow, but I actually love shooting in overcast conditions because the lighting is just superb.

I arrived at the Log Haven Restaurant eager and ready to start shooting, but I was not prepared for how extraordinarily beautiful the entire location was! Twinkling lights lined the log cabin-esque building, and solemn evergreens guarded the sides and backdrop. We were on a mountain after all, and the ampitheatre for the ceremony, to the meadow with its own waterfall, to the the countless romantic secluded spots that dotted the entire location made my detailed heart flutter. 

Tracy was hidden away in a room, having her gown laced up as I walked in, but she didn't appear nervous at all, just ready for the time to come when she could call Dale her husband. 

Even Dale, with his father, brothers, and other family members seemed so relaxed as they discussed the drive from St. George for some of their family to attend. If Dale appeared restless at all, it was only because he was truly ready to see his bride walk down the aisle. 

After a few detail shots, Dale and I left to find the perfect spot for a 'first look' moment between him and Tracy. The perfect spot practically screamed at me when I saw it: an ivy covered trellis. Dale patiently allowed me the few groom portraits I needed, but soon it was time to bring in the main event. 

Tracy's gown was covered in delicate lace making climbing concrete stairs a tad difficult, but wow was she gorgeous! Dale was so antsy waiting to turn to see her, the suspense rising with each click of my camera. Finally, it was time for him to turn around. Y'all, I've never seen a groom react like this before and it just made my heart swell. 

Tracy was so glad we decided on a first look because it takes some of the pressure off of the ceremony, and allowed them to see and speak with one another privately before everyone else gathered around them. Even their boys (two each) watched with smiles plastered across their faces and the youngest came up to Tracy afterward and said, "You look so pretty mama!" 

The ceremony was short and sweet, with hand written vows and testimonies from family in the crowd. It was certainly no less a tear jerker though and I was glad for the biting wind to blame my watery eyes!

After the ceremony was finished, we gathered for some family portraits, while Dale's boys exclaimed to Tracy, "Now you're our mom for real!" The smiles on all of their faces were so pure and genuine, it was so obvious that not only did they love one another, but that others loved them fiercely as well. 

It was cold out, so everyone quickly huddled back inside to drink hot chocolate by the fire and warm up before lunch was served. Books lined the backdrop of both tables, and waiters quickly and quietly served salad and bread before the main course. Tracy and Dale glowed as they visited with family and friends, and the children (secluded at their own table) were all so well behaved and fun. I even caught two of the boys toasting their hot chocolate like regular adults. 

Eventually, after heartfelt toasts and a few tears and laughs, Tracy and Dale made their way to the dance floor to cut the cake and share their first dance together. 

With every other detail finished, I wanted to make sure we got a few bride and groom portraits before I left. Tracy and Dale followed me out to the meadow where waterfalls, streams, and a pond awaited our arrival. Ducks swam and scavanged nearby as I posed my couple. I didn't have to pose much, because they seemed to be in their own world, laughing and enjoying one another's company. This kind of love story is rare, folks. It's a love story that heals heartache and provided redemption and grace for the past. It's a love story that blends a family together as if it were this way all along. 

Congratulations you guys! I wish you all the best in your new adventure together!

Nikki + Jesse Get Hitched!

It's not every day you see a real life fairy tale wedding, and it's even more rare to be asked to photograph one. Nikki and Jesse's love story isn't traditional and it isn't without its fair share of heartache and disappointment before they met, but it sure is extraordinary how two people can come together despite their pasts, and join not only their lives, but their children's lives together into one amazing family. 

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Sunday, October 1st dawned sunny and soulful. Mississippi October's are something special. Somewhere between stifling humidity and gorgeous golden sunrises and sunsets, those autumns bring back so many memories and I was so excited to be able to travel back to my home state to photograph this amazing union.

Despite the heat of the day, warm sunlight filtered through the windows between lace curtains and stained glass at the venue (a friend's home which is beyond gorgeous in every way possible!) Nikki wore a custom wedding gown by Woo Couture that literally made my jaw drop. 

Is this bride gorgeous or what?! I swear I couldn't take a bad photo of this girl. 

And Jesse was dapper as always, calm and collected in his suit, keeping the kids corralled and reading over his vows for the ceremony. He's one of those guys who can make you feel like you've known him for a long time. Super cool, but also comfortable to be around. I knew Nikki made the right choice!

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Their kids, two each, were just as beautiful and handsome as their parents and we only had to take a few snaps each which is practically unheard of for kids!

Finally, it was time for the ceremony. Jesse and the boys walked down front, waiting patiently for the Layla and Levi to walk the aisle, then of course his beautiful bride. They glowed seeing one another in this new light. 

The ceremony was short and sweet, but no less touching. They each read their own vows to one another and even opted out of the traditional candle lighting for something a bit different that could be done with their kids too. 

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Finally! Man and wife!

Afterward, we went straight into family portraits and some bride and groom shots. I love how easy going this couple is. They laughed with their children and we even brought in some mimosas for the bride and groom portraits! 

Gathered together with their closest friends and family members, it was clear to see that not only did they love one another, there were so many other people who loved them as well. But watching them watch one another amidst all the people, and seeing that big grin on Nikki's face were truly the highlights of the entire day. 

I wish you guys a lifetime of happiness in your marriage, and I hope when you look back on these photos you can relive this unbelievable day for years and years to come. Cheers!

Baby Thorin Debuts!

I have been lucky enough to become friends and build that friendship with one of the sweetest souls on the planet and she's just had a baby! My husband and I were in Chad and Sabrina's wedding, they were in ours, and we've been to countless birthday parties, double dates, and cheese dip runs with one another so it was a no brainer that I had to do some lifestyle portraits for my sweet friend Sabrina and her newest baby Thorin when he was born! 

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How cute is this sweet baby boy? Dark hair, skin, and eyes make this handsome little man a spitting image of his daddy. 

They are both so sweet together. I loved seeing Chad in his new role as baby daddy ;) because he's such a man's man, but with this little boy he's just as gentle as ever. 

And did I mention that Sabrina looks like an absolute goddess and even though Thorin is only a few weeks old and cluster feeding every hour on the hour, she looked just as fresh faced and beautiful as ever. Who looks like this when they've just had a baby?? Not me!

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Seriously, could she get anymore gorgeous? 

Even when Thorin wanted to eat constantly, both Chad and Sabrina looked so sweet and perfect together. 

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I just love that sweet little baby hair. 

And we can't forget one of the most important people in Thorin's life at the moment: his big sister Starlee. I feel like it was just yesterday I was at Starlee's 3rd birthday party, but she's not three anymore, she's practically grown and it makes me sad!

She's basically a little woman now! And she's so good with her baby brother as well. I can't wait to see them as partners in crime when Thorin gets a bit bigger! 

I am so excited to see how this sweet family grows and loves together and I'm so proud of the kind, intelligent, and beautiful (inside and out!) mother Sabrina has become. Congratulations to you and Chad on your newest addition, and I wish all the best for you guys. Enjoy your beautiful new home and growing family!

Jennifer & Alex's Big Day!

Thursday, September 21st, was supposed to be a gloomy, rainy day. All weather outlets forecast it days ahead of time, but though that morning dawned cloudy and sad, soon the clouds gave way to beautiful sunshine down in Provo, Utah for Jennifer and Alex's big day! The Provo City Center Temple was just gorg!

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I waited patiently for the temple sealing ceremony to finish and it wasn't long before friends and family began to gather around the fountain with me. Soon, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Abeyta were about to debut as man and wife!

We got faked out a few times as family members or other guests filed out of the temple doors ha! But eventually we got to see our beautiful bride and her new husband exit with smiling faces!

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Aren't the two lovebirds cute? I love seeing newlyweds and the sweet glow they have around them. It really translates into beautiful photos which makes my job so much easier!

After the exit, I gathered all the family and friends to walk around to the opposite side of the temple which sat in glorious shade. It was a chilly September day, but that harsh Utah sun takes no prisoners and it wasn't long before I had my sweater tied around my waist for the afternoon. 

If you've never visited the Provo Temple, do yourself a favor. It's one of those buildings that doesn't look that impressive until you're right up on it and then its just amazing how big it looms over everything. It's also an incredible backdrop for beautiful family portraits!

The entire family was friendly and welcoming to me, and we made record time with these portraits since everyone, including all the small children, were so well behaved and listened to my directions so well. We killed it!

Even the wedding party was great to work with, both bridesmaids and groomsmen alike. They were all equally hilarious and we made the best of being hot, tired, and hangry when no one had eaten lunch and it was past 2 pm!

Amazing right? They deserve high fives all around for being the perfect wedding party to work with. 

Jennifer and Alex were both starving, but they still managed to give me a few minutes for their bride and groom portraits and man, they didn't disappoint! 

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Isn't she lovely? 

Seriously. Too. Cute. 

That wrapped up our time that afternoon, so I sent them off to get some food in their bellies and I would meet up with the whole crew at their reception later on. 

The reception was being held at Le Jardin in Sandy, Utah and wow is all I can say. Talk about a perfect venue. Vines and beautiful greenery cascaded from the ceiling and surrounded archways, twinkling Christmas lights lit up romantic alleyways and gazebos, and flowers and succulent plants popped up at every corner giving the entire venue a feeling of beauty, love, warmth, and romance. 

The entire space was just unbelievably gorgeous. Alex and Jennifer didn't look half bad under those twinkling lights either!

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See what I mean? Am I right or am I right? 

I am so glad I was able to capture the big day for these two, they were so sweet together and their families were so welcoming that I knew I had to make this special for them with amazing photographs so they could remember it for years to come. 

Congratulations you two! I wish you all the happiness in your many years together as husband and wife!

Lien + Zack Tie the Knot

Saturday, August 26 dawned a little gloomy for Utah's super scorcher of a summer, and I worried a bit about Lien's decision to do an outdoor wedding. But it wasn't long before blue skies and the bright sun took over for the rest of the day! 

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My second shooter and I met with Lien and several of her bridesmaids at a bridemaid's home in Herriman to take photos of her getting ready, as well as some detail shots. When I showed up, she was dressed a lovely silk and lace robe, her beautiful dark hair adorned with one of Lacy Lauren's Bella Via Designs headpieces and her make up was perfection. She seemed calm for just a few hours before showtime and she was super accommodating showing me where everything was so that I could get the best shots possible!

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Weren't the rings gorg? 

I almost died seeing her beautiful long train on her gown and she absolutely glowed next to these high windows!

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After she was dressed we headed to Daybreak to do some first look photos with her and her groom, Zack who was waiting patiently for us with his best man. Isn't he cute waiting to see his beautiful bride?

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Lien and Zack have been together for quite awhile and even have two precious little one's who helped make their big day complete. 

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When we were done, we headed to our venue at the bride's Uncle's home in Riverton. The ceremony was set up outside facing the gorgeous Wasatch Mountains with the setting sun behind us. It was amazing, y'all. Their ceremony was light and fun but also super heartfelt. You could tell they enjoyed being together and making this whole marriage thing official. 

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Afterwards, Lien and Zack were adamant about not spending much time taking posed shots so that they could connect with their friends and family who came to see them tie the knot, but the bridesmaids and groomsmen wanted to make sure the honored couple got poses of them, ha!

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 Beer was provided along with a super cute lemonade and Arnold Palmer stand, while a buffet of Asian style cuisine was served on the balcony above. 

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Before leaving, I took a few more shots of Lien and Zack together with their kids and they seemed so warm toward one another, smiling and giggling with one another, the stress of the day's events finally fading away with the sunset. 

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Congrats you guys!

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