Dennis + Christina / Classy AF Winery Wedding by Jessica Lawson

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I first met Christina three years ago for senior portraits. Her mom came along which is isn’t super unusual, but it seemed like they did everything together ... They were both fantastic. Truly kind, truly excited. I had started freelancing full time a few months before, but even more so, I had just started driving after I broke my arm almost two months before. So I was very excited to be shooting. But Christina was so enjoyable to get to know. We laughed about stupid things about our college. We came up with some great ideas for poses. We walked all over downtown and then finished with sunset magic back on campus. Her mom shared with me while Christina was changing outfits that she was adopted and that her dad had passed away a number of years ago. These two, were genuinely best of friends. Over the next three years, I got to photograph these two hugging, smiling, laughing, and loving each other quite a bit. And this Dodd family became the first family that chose to let me into their lives continually (not just for one shoot). And at Christina’s wedding I realized this is what I want to offer people— a lifelong friend + photographer. Granted this family is so special to me. The way they have cheered for me back as I cheered for them. Christina said on her wedding day, “if you didn’t shoot our wedding you would of been invited” and my heart soared. Photographers get to come into your lives for a moment, take pretty pictures, and hope you hire them for their next mini session day. Friends root for you. They let you into their lives too. And I’m going to give myself permission to be more of myself and let more and more folks into my life. Because Christina and Teri and Dennis showed me how wonderful and easy it can be. These are incredible people. They love hard. And I want to be more like them. By the way a little bit about Dennis … he comes off as a tough guy. He is a great cop. A strong dad. But you see him become so gentle and sweet with Christina.
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So there were a few moments I wanted to share with y’all where my heart soared and my eyes leaked a bit.

Terri mouthing “I love you” to her daughter before they walk down the aisle.
His reaction to seeing his bride for the first time was like a little kid on Christmas. It was SO beautiful to witness. There was a point where he might of started tearing up and Christina pointed it out and he literally ran away for a moment 😂 and I might of bawled. I LOVE these two.
Lastly, during their last dance of the night. I have never seen either of them look so elated. They were filled with joy and love. It was beautiful. These are special people. Please enjoy their wedding.

TIPS FOR BRIDES + GROOMS

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First Look Tips
If you want special people at the most intimate moment of the day, please please talk to photographer ahead of time. There were wild shadows in this situation and we NEEDED the bridesmaids and family to be backed up. Not to exclude them, but so Tam’s shadow doesn’t end up on the dress! Do your wedding day how you want to! But tell your vendor team! We can help execute it better. 

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Pro-tip. Tell your photographer what your colors are when you’re thinking about picking them. You may check the color a million times, but you don’t know how our editing will make them work. Let us be involved! I personally LOVE helping with the whole planning process.

Eric + Marissa / Urban Farm Anaheim Wedding by Jessica Lawson

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One of the proudest accomplishments of our wedding year for 2018, which I’m sure as you note the date we are a smidge behind, was this wedding for Eric + Marissa. They only hired us for 3 hours. This was all in 3 hours. And the reason this was such a success and worth bragging about on our side of the camera is because Eric + Marissa were unapologetically themselves, and you can see it. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves …

It’s honestly incredible to me the caliber of photographs we all walked away with because of the external personalities of the couple and the philosophy we hold as wedding friends/photographers/artists. As a wedding photographer you have to be able to bring out the best in people, encourage them to be themselves, and then CHEER for those selves. Cheer for their silly limes in their mouths. Cheer for the groom’s idea to use his motorcycle. Cheer for the bride’s request to document the blending of three families, not just two. Cheer for the quirks of the couple that make them unique from any other couple you’ve photographed that year. And choose to love them and celebrate them whether they are dear friends, or acquaintances.

Please enjoy your wedding day.

I’m flabbergasted how special some of these images are. To any future brides and grooms, please enjoy your wedding day. Part of how you do that is mentally prep to enjoy it. You CHOOSE to accept how things happen. You CHOOSE to enjoy the people around you. You CHOOSE to enjoy your new spouse. AND you CHOOSE to enjoy yourself. Take a moment or two on your wedding day to yourself. Take a walk. Spend time with the Lord for you Christians. Or if you’re more extroverted like me, choose some quality time with less people. Have the quiet moment so you can be present and enjoy the big moments.

Cheers to Eric + Marissa for being one of the best examples of being yourselves.
LOVE YOU!

Matt + Karly / Sunrise Sedona Intimate Wedding by Jessica Lawson

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Happy Black Friday friends!

It is a wonderful time of year to reflect and dwell on how we have been blessed and are so grateful for the people and things we have … then we eat a lot of food then go buy more things to be thankful for. Haha. I jest.

I woke up at 4:15am to meet up with my mom-in-law and new sister-in-law and we crushed Black Friday. So now I’m blogging before lunch and a nap. I hope your Thanksgiving were filling but also fulfilling. If you were left feeling a little emotionally or spiritually empty, can I encourage you to spend time talking to God today and sharing with Him what you are thankful for. Try to name 30, 40, if not 50 people or things. It is such a beautiful remedy to bring joy into our hearts.

Anywho, here is about this wedding that I’m really thankful for. This is Matt + Karly’s intimate wedding at Bell Rock in Sedona at sunrise.

What’s particularly neat about this couple is that Karly and I went to elementary school together. Her now husband Matt and herself meet in Arizona at college, started their lives together near where Cam and I live, and back in the spring found themselves planning this shindig.

Cameron and I adore these intimate weddings. We love traditional weddings too, but there is something about the setting, the people being surrounded by nature, not the other way around, that really inspired us. We had the best time driving around Sedona after the sunrise ceremony and exploring Oak Creek and getting coffee.

Karly was a swimmer from elementary through college ( I believe ). And I thought it was so fitting that she wore Rainbow Sandals and wound up going in the water in her wedding dress. It was beautiful, it was so her. And it was so sweet to see her and her husband enjoying nature so much on their wedding day. After our few hours together, they went back to a reception at their AirBnb, and we went back to Phoenix. This was one of the most relaxed and enjoyable wedding experiences we have ever had as photographers.

If you’re interested in an intimate wedding ceremony, and value nature showing off, please hit us up. We would love to help plan out your day like we did with Karly + Matt.

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FOR (ALMOST) ENGAGED COUPLES

The difference between an elopement and an intimate wedding to many professionals is about how many people are invited, not necessarily how much time is given to planning.

This wedding, though it was planned quickly is technically an intimate wedding, because of how many people were there.
Now if it was just them and less than 5 people, I would say it was an elopement. You could spend two years planning an elopement. And you could gather friends and get married tomorrow.