ericamay photography blog: thought studio.

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October Wedding: Jamie and Tyson (Manhattan, KS) October 13, 2009

When Jamie first contacted me about being her wedding photographer, she knew that she wanted someone who loved weddings. She wanted her photographer to be excited right along with them throughout the process. I tend to be a very girly girl who loves weddings anyway, but it was impossible to not be super excited for Jamie and Tyson’s big day. Jamie lights up a room — always, but especially in a wedding gown. I knew that Jamie would be absolutely glowing on the day she got to marry Tyson, and I was right.

So I was excited — very excited — when I arrived and felt the energy in the room where Jamie was getting ready. The ladies were all gathered in the library of the church (First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan). Since Jamie is a teacher, I loved that she was surrounded by books while she was getting ready. :) Here’s one of my new favorite shots ever of a bride getting ready:

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Jamie and Tyson decided to see each other before the ceremony, which was amazing. We were able to get so many portraits done beforehand and still have time for them to relax and enjoy their day. Here’s the handsome groom waiting to see his bride:

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And Jamie, coming around the corner to meet her groom!

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And they meet!! :)

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We went outside, despite the FREEZING weather. Jamie and Tyson were so brave to head out in the 36 degree weather on their wedding day — you just never know what to expect with Kansas weather! I’m so glad they were up for it, though, because I love the shots we captured outside.

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I loved the lacy wedding dress Jamie picked out. She looked stunning.

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Aren’t these two just so cute??

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Jeff went with me, and he took this one:

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Since we had some time, we did a few more bridal portraits in the church next to some stained glass windows that Jamie really likes. I LOVE this one of her — it’s so soft and beautiful.

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Jeff doesn’t normally take the bridal portraits with me, but he grabbed a few of Jamie, and I’m thinking he’ll need to start taking more bridal portraits. :) I love these next two — both taken by Jeff.

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Jeff also took these super cool ring shots:

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Before the ceremony began, Jamie and the ladies prayed together.

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And then it was time to get married! :) Here are some of my favorite ceremony shots:

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Jeff was in the balcony, and he took these:

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For their send-off from the church, guests threw wheat from Jamie’s family’s farm — how cool is that? I loved that idea, and it looked cool (although I think I had some wheat stuck in my hair for the rest of the night… ha ha). Wheat from the same family farm was also thrown at Jamie’s older sister’s wedding last year. (Thanks to the mother of the bride for giving me the details!).

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Jeff’s shot:

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In between the ceremony and reception, the wedding party headed to the K-State campus for some photos in front of Anderson Hall (Jamie and Tyson’s last name!).

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It was pretty chilly, so the ladies huddled together. :) They are all so beautiful!

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And a few more of the newlyweds!

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They had a vintage K-State bus to take them around! Jeff took this one:

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Their reception was so much fun. It was at the Manhattan Country Club (yep, I got to be there twice in one weekend!), and it’s an amazing reception location. I loved shooting there, and they had an awesome staff. Jamie and Tyson entered the reception in a tunnel made by their wedding party!

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Their first dance, which kicked off the reception festivities:

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Tyson and Jamie during the toasts:

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The DJ had them play a newlywed type of game, where they had to answer questions about “who would be the most likely to…” by holding up one shoe or the other. :) The guests thought it was hilarious (and it was).

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The cake cutting was also exciting. :) And no, they didn’t hold anything back — it was all in good fun, of course.

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Jamie’s lovely sisters:

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And one more during the garter toss:

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Jamie and Tyson, congratulations to you both!! :) It was an absolutely joy to be a part of your big day. I hope your life together is filled with more and more fun times!

Friends and family, click here to sign the online guestbook. You’ll receive an e-mail when all of the photos are online and available to view!


Manhattan Kansas Wedding: Amy and Brian October 12, 2009

I love fall. And I love weddings. So you better believe I love fall weddings. :) Amy and Brian got married this past weekend in Manhattan, Kansas, and it was a great fall day — right before the weather turned so cold! They got married in the evening at Seven Dolors Catholic Church with a reception at the Manhattan Country Club.

We started off with Amy getting ready at the church — the details in her dress were amazing.

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Amy and Brian chose to see each other before the wedding for the photos, and we had their first meeting outside on the church steps, which was surrounded by beautiful trees with changing leaves. These are from their first few moments together:

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I loved the golden tree, so we did a few of Amy’s bridal portraits in front of it, too. The backlit sun was just lovely… and so was the bride!

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The wedding party went outside for fun and relaxed portraits, too. This is on the side of the church:

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We walked to downtown Manhattan (just a few blocks) for more photos with Amy and Brian. I could’ve spent all day taking portraits… but they had to get married. ;)

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I love the next two that Jeff took:

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Brian’s family owns Danenberg Jewelers in downtown Manhattan, and that’s where he proposed to Amy. Of course, we had to get some photos in front of the store on their big day!

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These next three detail shots are by Jeff — ring shots (of course — the groom is a jeweler!) and the gorgeous church:

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Jeff also grabbed this one right before Amy walked down the aisle:

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The ceremony was in the evening, since the wedding was on a Friday, and it was really romantic — lit by candles, with the focus on the altar of the church. 

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Jeff’s ceremony shots:

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And their grand exit (the first is mine, the second is Jeff’s):

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I like this shot of the car window as they were pulling away — the people in the reflection are Brian’s sisters and grandparents. :)

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When we arrived at the Manhattan Country Club, which sits up on a tall hill, Amy and Brian gave me a few more minutes for portraits!

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The reception was very elegant, and had a really laid back and classy feel. Here are a few of the details:

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I love to watch the bride and groom during events like slideshows of their love story — the reactions are always great. Here’s one of Amy:

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Instead of a bouquet and garter toss, Amy and Brian chose to dedicate it to their grandparents, who have been an example of lasting love and marriage for both of them. It was really special. Afterwards, they had a special dance for them — here are Brian’s grandparents dancing:

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The flower girl was Amy’s niece and she was so adorable, especially gliding around the dance floor like a princess. :)

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Amy and her dad during the father-daughter dance:

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And I’ll leave you with a shot from Amy and Brian’s first dance:

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Congratulations, you two! I hope you’re enjoying your honeymoon in Hawaii! :) Best wishes for a joy-filled marriage.

Friends and family, click here to sign the guestbook for the online photo gallery. You’ll receive an e-mail when the photos are all ready to be viewed online!


Topeka Wedding: Michael and Sara October 5, 2009

The day was filled with tradition. And family. And love.

It was everything you expect a wedding to be, when a couple unites as one and their closest family and friends celebrate right along with them.

For Michael and Sara, that was a big crowd. And it was amazing. :)

I’m going to get all sentimental talking about how sweet these two are, and how fun their families are, and how beautiful their wedding was… so I’m going to cut it short and just show the photos. I’m working quickly to get these up before the couple leaves for their honeymoon in the morning. :) Let’s just say that Jeff and I had an awesome time sharing the day with Michael, Sara, and their hundreds of guests!

The ceremony at Holy Name Catholic Church in Topeka, Kansas, was beautiful. The morning light was streaming through the stained glass, and I knew it was going to be a great day.

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Jeff’s shot:

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Sara walked down the aisle with both of her parents, and she was just beaming.

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And Michael was, too. They didn’t see each other before the ceremony, so this was his first time seeing his bride — Jeff captured this one:

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The ceremony was lovely, and filled with traditions from their culture. I loved it.

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The beautiful (and packed) church:

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Here, Michael and Sara are presented with the arras — 13 coins that represent Jesus and the disciples and symbolize the sharing of riches between the bride and groom. They also signify hope for future prosperity and their promise to take care of one another. 

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Here are the arras up close:

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Another tradition is that of the manquerna. It is shaped like a figure eight, the symbol of infinity. The bride and groom’s mothers place the manquerna to symbolize the lifelong bond between husband and wife.

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Some more of my favorite ceremony shots:

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The next few are Jeff’s ceremony shots. I love Sara’s sweet expressions in these!

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My view of their first kiss as husband and wife:

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Jeff’s shot:

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And mine — I love this moment!

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Michael and Sara had two portions of their reception — the first was a dinner reception in the afternoon, followed by a break, and then everyone returned for a night filled with music and dancing. At the dinner, guests were served delicious homemade (seriously, all of it!) Mexican food, all prepared by their families!

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After the first portion of the reception festivities, we had Michael and Sara all to ourselves for their portraits together, which were taken around the reception site (Agricultural Hall in Topeka). The weather was great, the fall colors were just emerging, and the couple was carefree — the only thing left to do was celebrate!

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Here’s one of Jeff’s:

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And my shot of the lovely Sara!

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I couldn’t decide which of the next two I liked better, so you get to see them both. :)

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Jeff also captured some pretty awesome shots of their rings! Here are two of my favorites he took:

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After that, it was time to party. :) The couple hired both a live band and a DJ, who were both amazing. The band — Grupo Picante — kept everyone salsa-ing all night. And the DJs didn’t use iPods… oh no, they had turn tables and mixed music with them all night. It was awesome.

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This one goes out to Josh, who I know is reading this right now. :)

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This is Jeff’s, and I wish it were my shot. :) I love the motion of the dancing, and how beautiful Sara looks.

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And I’ll leave you with one of my favorite reception shots — bride and groom surrounded by their wedding party (or, a small portion of the wedding party!). :)

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Michael and Sara, congratulations to you both. Jeff and I are so thrilled for you and excited to be a part of your engagement, wedding, and marriage. Enjoy Chicago!

For family and friends who would like to see all of the images (and there will be a LOT to see!), click here to sign in to the online gallery. You’ll receive an e-mail when all of the photos are available to view.


Also, one last shout-out to Whitney, who came along to assist with this wedding. Whitney, thanks for being a part of the day — I can’t wait to see where your photography endeavors take you. :)


Kansas City Wedding: Emily and Josh August 4, 2009

One of the things I love most about having a photography business is the opportunities I have to meet really amazing people from all over the place! I have the best time getting to know people — and sometimes it requires doing that from a distance! Emily and Josh both live in the Washington, D.C. area, but were planning a Kansas City wedding (it’s her hometown), so I got to know them from a distance… and really got to know them on their big day! :)

The day’s events took place at St. Patrick’s in Kansas City, Kansas. We started off with Emily doing the finishing touches…



Jeff’s detail shot:


Since they had several hours between their ceremony and reception, Emily and Josh opted to not see each other until the wedding ceremony. Their timeline was great, and still allowed for a great amount of time for portraits in between. So, Josh’s first look at his bride was during her walk down the aisle.

But first, Jeff caught a few shots of the moments right before the processional — I love these of the bride waiting for her turn down the aisle!



Josh walked his mom down the aisle:


And then Emily’s dad walked with her to meet her groom:



I loved this ceremony. The church provided a great backdrop for their traditional Catholic ceremony, and I love the shots we captured of their emotion, the whole scene, and the general excitement of the ceremony.





The next three images are Jeff’s view of the ceremony:




More of my favorites:



One more of Jeff’s ceremony shots:


Emily hugging her dad towards the end of the service:


Husband and wife! :)


The wedding party jumped in a limo and we all headed to Wyandotte County Park and Lake for outdoor portraits. The day could not have been more beautiful.






The ladies:


The guys:


I loved this white fence that wrapped around the golf course area. We waited for a nice fluffy cloud to move over the harsh, bright shining sun in the early afternoon, and it obliged. :)



Some more of my favorite bride/groom portraits… Emily has a great smile that just lights up her whole face!






The wedding party:


The guys wanted to play on some of the playground equipment for their photos… of course, I said yes.


Emily was not to be outdone, however. She climbed onto the jungle gym in tall heels. :)


So joyful!


Emily and Josh wanted a few more fun/casual photos on the playground…


…and so did the groomsmen… :)


The rings!



Emily’s bridal bouquet:


The reception was held at the church in its community center. They had great personal touches, bright colors and a fun atmosphere for their reception. The centerpieces were all painted by Emily’s 5th – 7th grade students:


I love the toasting time at receptions. It’s always great for fun reactions — I love how joyful they are, in response to the maid of honor’s toast:


The bouquet toss…


And the garter toss (seriously, can you feel the fun in these??)… :)


Their first dance as husband and wife! The first one is sort of fitting, because Emily and Josh met during their college years at Notre Dame — it just so happens that the church’s school’s mascot is also the Irish (maybe not the Fighting Irish, but it’s still fun!). :)



Jeff captured this one. It’s so romantic.


And one more of mine:


There are a lot of great shots from throughout their day — I loved how much emotion and excitement everyone had all day! It was definitely a joy to be a part of this special wedding. Family and friends of Emily and Josh, stay tuned for the entire gallery which should be posted online sometime next week!

Congratulations, Emily and Josh! Enjoy life as newlyweds!


Kansas Wedding: Alayna and Chris, Circle S Ranch July 1, 2009

Act I

It’s a classic story of boy meets girl. Boy sees girl, girl sees boy… they fall in love. On the set of The Sound of Music. They’re young — in high school — but they know that their love can stand the test of time, high school graduations, distance, and college life. And they’re right.

Act II

It’s a classic story of boy marries girl. In a beautiful church in a small town in Kansas. They’re still young — but older, wiser — and they know that their love will continue to stand the test of time. And they’re right.

Chris and Alayna were married this past weekend, and it was a joy to capture their wedding day memories. Their wedding day began at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church in the small town of Perry, Kansas. The gorgeous church on an extremely beautiful day:

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Photos from their “first look” moment at the church:

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Their ceremony was really sweet. Chris’ dad even gave a message to the bride and groom, and Alayna surprised everyone by singing (wonderfully) during the communion. I had no idea that she had a voice like that… it was lovely. I love this photo of Alayna’s dad looking at her as they walk down the aisle:

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Sneaking a glance at each other during the service:

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The vows:

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Husband and wife! Yay!

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The rings (again, with my new 105mm 2.8 macro lens) — isn’t Alayna’s ring gorgeous?

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Their reception was at the absolutely gorgeous Circle S Ranch near Lawrence, Kansas. It’s the third time I’ve been to the ranch, and every time I’m reminded of how awesome it is for wedding photography (and weddings in general). Their staff is great (oh, did I mention Alayna is part of their staff??), the facilites are gorgeous, and the food is all prepared there — and it is beyond delicious. All I’m saying is… if you want a country or outdoor location for your wedding in Kansas, Circle S is a must-see. :)

Okay, anyway… so we started at the ranch with portraits while the guests were enjoying appetizers, before the party started!

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So romantic!

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Okay, one more swing shot… I love these!

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The wedding party (taken in front of the wedding area for outdoor weddings… it’s breathtaking)!

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In the future, you’ll be seeing/hearing more about more awesome photographers that are joining the ericamay team. I’m super excited to share with you the first images to appear on the blog by Kasie, who will be making more appearances at summer and fall weddings this year! :) Get excited, because she’s awesome!

Kasie’s portrait:


This was my view:

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And this one is mine…

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…while Kasie captured this gorgeous shot:


The reception was beautiful — full of great people and great details. They had set up lounge areas both outside and inside, and it was really nice for guests to spread out. They also had games, bubbles, and special snacks just for the kids — and there were a lot of super cute kids at this wedding!

One of the outdoor areas (this is Kasie’s shot):


Chris showing off his wedding ring! Yeah! :)


I love this! She was tearing up the dance floor!


One of the cutest babies. Ever.


Chris and Alayna did a “sparkler dance” right after sunset — all of their guests stood in a circle under a covered patio with sparklers while the couple danced! It made for great photos.


And then, the smoke filled the air… which still made for great photos. :)


And then, the smoke filled part of the indoor reception hall, which made for even better photos! I love what the smoke did to highlight the streams of the light from the DJ’s booth!


When the reception was in full swing, a small rain shower moved through — it didn’t ruin any of the plans, thankfully, and it left behind a beautiful gift for the bride and groom just before sunset:


Alayna and Chris, thank you for asking me to photograph your special day. Many blessings to you both as you start Act III — marriage!! :)


Wedding in Augusta Kansas: Katie and Aaron June 17, 2009

Katie and Aaron got married the weekend before I left for HOBY, so they’re just now getting to see the full blog post of their wedding photos! Thanks for being so patient! :) Their wedding was very personalized, with lots of cute details. I’m going to keep the words to a minimum and just show you the photos!

The lovely bride getting ready:



Aaron waiting to see his bride:



A few cool black and whites in the church at the altar:



Katie’s dad walked her down the aisle:




A family prayer:


Katie read Aaron a letter, as a surprise, that she had written when she was only 16 to her future husband. It was really sweet, very heartfelt, and made for quite a few teary-eyed wedding guests. :)



The grand exit!



In between the ceremony and reception, we stopped at a little park for more bride and groom portraits:





Katie and Aaron are both avid runners, so they laced up their running shoes for a few photos, too. :)


Their reception was at Corbin Farms, in a really neat huge barn — the natural light from one side of the barn was great… and the LIVE BAND was amazing! Seriously, if you are considering a live band in the Wichita area, contact me for a referral. I can’t remember their name right now, but they were seriously awesome and played a lot of great songs — both contemporary and classics. I loved it.





The details were really cute. My best friend Kasie created their cake topper — to look just like the bride and groom, made of clay! How cool is this?! If you want a really personalized, super fun cake topper that you could actually keep and display… let me know and I’ll connect you with Kasie (who also helped me shoot this wedding — thanks, Kasie!!). I love the detail in the cake topper — from the Chuck Taylors to the beading on the bride’s dress. So cool.


Katie and Aaron also had a make-your-own-trail-mix bar for their guests as favors. They tied it all in with a running theme — two trails combining into one. It was really neat!



And a few fun dancing/party shots!




I love the way they’re looking at each other in this toasting photo:


Katie and Aaron, thanks for asking me to photograph your special day. It was such a joy! The entire online gallery is coming soon! :)


Backyard Wedding Ceremony in Wichita: Allyson and Rafe – Part 3, The Ceremony June 4, 2009

We’re on to part three of Allyson and Rafe’s wedding photos! This post is all about their ceremony. I love wedding ceremonies. It’s my favorite part of every wedding day — after all, it’s the reason we’re there! I love the vows, the rings, the heartfelt words and emotional glances. I’m moved to tears more often than not. I’m a girly girl, and I live for things like this. :)

Here was the setting for their ceremony in the backyard (Jeff took this one):


They key to getting a flower girl down the aisle? Candy. :)


The other flower girl (Jeff’s):


Jeff also grabbed this moment of Allyson and her dad right before he walked her down the aisle. I can’t get enough of photos like this…


And, one more of Jeff’s awesome shots:


Meanwhile, I was capturing these shots:




It was an emotional ceremony for everyone. I love when two people commit their lives to each other. Allyson and Rafe’s ceremony was so sweet. The pastor, German, talked about loving like Jesus demonstrates and how He taught us to love unconditionally — it was an awesome message.



The next two are Jeff’s. I love how the first sets the scene and captures the awesome glow from the setting sun.



My perspective:






Husband and wife! I love this moment!


I also love the moments right after the ceremony, and watching reactions of family members and friends.



One more post to go — the reception! :) That will be a fun post, I can guarantee that! Coming soon (I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying!). :)