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Shanya and Clarence’s Wedding: style with a sense of humor (by Scott & Breanna)

One of my very favorite things about the weddings we go to is seeing how couples decide to make them their own. I love how the unique things about each couple and what’s important to them, shows up over and over again at a wedding in both small and big ways. Which is why I was a BIG fan of Shanya and Clarence’s wedding.

From day one they knew they wanted their wedding to reflect their own personal style as well as to be a huge celebration that was tons of fun for everyone!

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Shanya and Clarence had guests from literally all over the world coming, I heard it mentioned that they had someone there from almost all of the 50 states in the US… not to mention from so many other countries. This was like a dream come true for Shanya and Clarence. It’s so hard to have your loved ones scattered out so far… so to have them all under one roof at the same time, is the best kind of mind blow there is.

Out of all the things they were excited for about their wedding, it seemed to me (Breanna) that having all their loved ones together at the same time was the thing that was making them jump up and down in anticipation the most.

That being the case, they were going to party their little hearts out and make this a trip their guests would NEVER forget. So that’s exactly what they did. And a party wouldn’t be a party to Shanya and Clarence if they weren’t able to be their true selves. And in my opinion, their true selves are hilarious!

In fact, it seemed like every person at this wedding had a fantastic sense of humor! Even the person who is typically the most solemn of all, the officiant, was cracking jokes that I even heard people laughing about long after the ceremony ended!

Even their vows of all things, both from the bride and the groom, contained the perfect amount of humor mixed with sentiment that had people laughing with tears in their eyes and huge smiles on their faces the entire time.

Apparently Shanya learned her public speaking skills from the best because her father’s speech that night was also one of the most memorable ones I’ve heard, that had the exact same perfect combination of humor and emotion that Shanya displayed in her vows at the alter.

The thing about the humor that I heard that day was that it wasn’t just people with good timing, or facial expressions, or whatever it is that makes people funny, it was people who were being purely genuine.

The number one thing I saw at Shanya and Clarence’s wedding was people who were real. They weren’t afraid of being vulnerable, messing up in front of people, or wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They were all joyfully connected to one another, and they weren’t afraid to show it.

From that sheer wedding day joy and lack of care about what people thought of them, came the true humor that expressed what was really going on in their heads on the kind of whirlwind and crazy day that a wedding is! It was beautiful and I loved that about this group of people.

Besides the great sense of humor that I witnessed that day, my other favorite way that Shanya and Clarence made this their own was through their unique style. By style I mean STYLE.

Everything from their transportation (Ollie the Trolley for the bridal party and double decker buses for the guests)…

….to the way they honored Clarence’s Filipino and their shared Sri Lankan traditions (the chord and veil ceremony, lighting of the lamp as they entered the reception, and having sponsors for the wedding)…

… to their incredibly detailed and well thought out decor…

… EVERY piece of their wedding reflected their own unique style and showed that this couple REALLY knows how to throw a party.

If you haven’t noticed by now, this wedding had details with a capital D. Every little thing involved in their wedding was there for a reason.

If you’ve ever planned a wedding or an event of any kind, you know that there aren’t magical little wedding elves that go around setting everything up when your back is turned…. well actually there are but we here in the real world call them “wedding planners”. Actually we call them “GOOD wedding planners”, because the kind that really make it happen as good as if magical elves are doing it are hard to find.

Fortunately, Shanya and Clarence were aware of both the significance and the rarity of this magical creature, so they looked high and low (past the gum drop forest and the Lucky Charms Leprechaun) until they found the best planner in the land… Ashley Gain from Ashley Gain Weddings and Events and her incredible, some would say “magical”, team.

You hear rumors that they’re there on the wedding day, but all you actually see are streaks of pink, and the affects of their work. As one thing after another happens flawlessly through out the night, you wonder “how is the happening”?! Someone tells you, “oh, Ashley Gain is here” and that’s when you know that planners as good as her really do exist.

Ashley’s work and Shanya and Clarence’s visions for the greatest party of their lives were so big that they leaked out of the first party and crept into another! In other words, after their grand reception ended (that was fully successful in fulfilling their dreams for an incredible party I might add), the group headed over to another room at the Montelucia Resort and Spa,  to continue on with an after party!

Unfortunately for Scottie and myself, our time was up and we headed home to get some much needed sleep after such an eventful day. But Josh (one of our other photographers), was more than happy to take over and get the chance to be a part of such a memorable wedding!

So I don’t have much info about what actually happened at the after party, but I do know that the pictures speak for themselves and make me wish I had been there to see it myself!

Now I’ve told you more than you ever knew there was to know about Shanya and Clarence’s wedding but I still haven’t told you much about THEM! As you can imagine from all you’ve seen by now, Shanya and Clarence are pretty amazing people!

Not just because they have an absolutely incredible story about how they are both Sri Lankan and randomly found each other and fell in love in New York City (if you ever meet them you have to ask for the long version of that story!), but because they just ARE wonderful people!

And because it seems to me, that them joining together is going to do nothing more than make everything that is beautiful about them, grow even stronger!

I hope you guys stay in touch so that we get to see how the two of you grow and change for the better together! Congratulations, we’re so happy for you!

Click to see the rest of Shanya and Clarence’s Wedding with style and a sense of humor (you can see photos from the rehearsal dinner and photobooth there as well!).

 

Michelle and Derek's Surprise Wedding (by Scott & Breanna)

OK I’ll admit it, the title of this post was a bit misleading. Sorry I tricked you. It just so happened that was the shortest way to word what I was trying to say AND I knew it would make you want to read it.  But I’m glad it worked and that you’re here because you’re going to be so happy you came once you see how incredible Michelle and Derek’s wedding was! These pictures will make up for my swindling, I promise!

The real reason I titled this post like I did is because everyone involved in this wedding was crazy about surprises! Good thing too, because if someone loves surprises and the person they are surprising doesn’t, bad things can happen! Luckily all the surprises at this wedding were very welcomed and only good things came from them!

Of course you had the normal wedding day surprises, like the groom seeing the bride in her dress for the first time during the reveal moment, the bride seeing what all the ideas in her head really look like when they’re all put together, and it’s always a surprise to see just how drunk uncle Benny can get (just kidding, I don’t even know if they have an uncle Benny, but if they do…so sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you)!

But aside from the regular surprises, there were some really special and unique ones as well! For one, no one expected the cake design to actually match the bride’s dress! The cake was INCREDIBLE and it captured the guests’ attention all night! Every time I looked over, there were people standing around it. And it was more than just stunning, the cake was also sentimental too since Michelle’s grandmother’s brooch put the perfect finishing sparkle on it.

The special thoughtful details that were included in this wedding (like the brooch on the cake) were a surprise in general to us all. There were so many adorable things like the black and white lollipop table cards…

…photos of loved ones who had passed on were hanging on Michelle’s bouquet so she could feel like they were there with her…

…and the general beauty of their wedding venue, Inspirador, that tied all the special little details together, shocked and awed us all.

But the guests weren’t the only ones experiencing surprises on this day. The bride received a couple herself… but don’t worry, they were the kinds of surprises that a bride WANTS to get on her wedding day!

One big surprise in general came from her dad. He knew Michelle would be beyond thrilled to have a mariachi band at her wedding so he secretly hired one to come serenade her at dinner! Michelle was floored and moved to tears by her dad’s thoughtful gift.

But her father’s surprises didn’t end there! In his Father of the Bride speech he brought out props, along with a very special gift to help him give a meaningful speech that was complete with wisdom he wanted to pass on to his daughter and her new husband. Another tearful moment courtesy of her dad’s love of surprises and his daughter!

It’s a good thing Michelle was raised by a man who loves surprises because he prepared her for the new man in her life, who loves them just as much as her father does! The surprise that best showcased Derek’s talent for the unexpected was when the groomsmen spontaneously performed an elaborate choreographed dance, that the groom at first pretended to know nothing about, but jumped in like a pro and showed that it was his plan all along.

To give you an idea of how amazing this dance was I’ll tell you that it was done to a Justin Timberlake song, involved roses, and led straight into the garter removal in the slickest way possible. Good job guys, we were thoroughly impressed!

But unknown to Derek, Michelle had a surprise up her sleeve as well! After their very impressive cake was cut, ANOTHER cake was brought out that was just for Derek! This groom’s cake was based on the video game Minecraft. Derek was SO excited about this surprise.

I have to say, that with the amount of surprising going on at this wedding, I don’t think any of it would’ve worked out as well as it did without someone who was very organized, not only knowing all about the surprises, but executing them all while the couple relaxed and enjoyed their day. Lucky for them, Michelle and Derek realized this was the case so they found a wedding planner who was the best of the best and who was fully capable to make their day that was full of the complicated secrets that surprises bring, come off without a hitch.

They hired Shannon Smith from Sassy Soirees, and if their smooth and beautiful wedding day was any indication, I’m sure they’re very happy they did! As always, Shannon winds and unwinds all the complicated details and pieces that have to flow together into one smooth string, and she did it in a way that seemed completely effortless and allowed the couple to just sail through their day as all the beautiful and wonderful pieces of it just “magically”happened all around them.

Good choice guys, because Shannon, you really do blow me away with your mad wedding skillz every time! By the way, Shannon’s husband, Mark, was also the caterer and whoa… all I can say is that Michelle and Derek have incredible decision making skills and know how to choose the best every time!

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As you can see by their very thoughtful and customized back and forth surprising, Derek and Michelle know each other well! I’m sure their marriage will be full of fun, wonderful and unexpected surprises… some planned for one another and some that neither one of them expect!

We absolutely loved working with them, and not just because they gave us an incredible abundance of photography time…

…or because they were so excited about photos that they planned time for some cool and experimental night shots…

…well OK, those things DID make us like them even more! But we loved working with them because as you can see by all their well thought out surprises, they are such incredibly thoughtful people.

They treated us like good friends who just happened to have cameras in our hands (even though we didn’t know them before they hired us), They also took great care of us and made sure we had everything we needed both from them in order for us to do our best, as well just what we needed to be comfortable and happy ourselves on the wedding day!

It was so great to be a part of such a beautiful event that not only was happening between two people who were so obviously perfect for one another, but that was also happening between two people we loved spending time with!

So thank you, Derek and Michelle, for letting the wonderful things that make so many of your friends and family love you so much, spill over onto us. Your day was a wonderful experience for us and the only thing about it that makes us more excited about the pictures we got, is the fact that the two of you will get to spend the rest of your lives together as a result of it! Congratulations!

Click to see more photos from Michelle and Derek’s Surprise Wedding.

 

 

Chris and Abrinna’s Rooftop Wedding (By Josh & Kelley)

Chris and Abrinna’s wedding day is one that was a long time coming.

These two have a romance that started blooming about ten years ago. Yes, I said TEN years!

Being together for pretty much the entirety of their adult lives (and before), you know their wedding day dreams where thoroughly discussed and planned to the max!

When I say max, I mean it! Their wedding was the “tops”, literally! Their ceremony and reception both took place in the penthouse suite of West 6th, one of the tallest buildings in Tempe, Arizona.

The view was nothing short of astounding!

When Josh and I (Kelley) heard they were having a rooftop wedding, we were completely stoked! We love it when brides and grooms find ways to make their weddings their own, and something that stands out from the crowd.

With a view like this, their wedding day was definitely unique!

(Speaking of unique, that wedding dress is one of a kind, because Abrinna made it herself!)

And it only got better as the sun faded away and the city lights came out to play.

After the ceremony, Chris, Abrinna, and all of their friends and family enjoyed strolling around the balcony to take in the view, savored some scrumptious food, and danced the night away amid the twinkling lights of Tempe.

Josh and I are so happy that we got to be a part of this amazing wedding! Congrats Chris and Abrinna, we wish you many more happy decades together!

Click to see more photos from Chris and Abrinna’s rooftop wedding.

Ty’s fire and ice senior session (by Scott & Breanna)

When we first heard the ideas Ty’s family had for his senior session. The first reaction we had was to say, “YESSSSSSS”! We love, love LOVE when people come to us with their own creative ideas for a session that reflect their own stories and experiences perfectly. Especially when those ideas happen to be the kind that look incredibly stunning in photos!

First, we started out getting some normal senior photos that just captured who Ty is at this momentous stage in his life. You know the drill, smiling at the camera…

sitting, standing…

…baseball fields, a freaking amazing car…

…OK so maybe even our beginning photos weren’t so average after all!!

Nothing about this session was average and everything about it was SOOO Ty! We loved it!

As I was saying, we spent some time getting shots of Ty with his car that he loves and was super happy to get some photos of.

Then we moved onto some of the crazier parts that I was telling you about….

Oh, what? There’s FIRE in the background? OK, maybe just sparks, but STILL! Yeah, that’s right! Like I said, Ty’s family gave us some amazing stuff to work with! They own MacDermid Design Ltd. in Phoenix (so of course I know all of you will be going there for all your metal fabrication needs!). The shop has been a huge part of their lives and Ty himself works there, so what better place to get a more than AMAZING background for his senior photos!

Besides the absolute coolness of this session, I think my (Breanna’s) favorite part about this session was that it was more than about Ty at this time of his life, it was about him and his family at this time in their lives! His mom was there to help style Ty, while his dad was there to make sparks fly!

Of course as parents do, they were both there to ooh and awe over him during photo time (of course as teens do, Ty pretended he didn’t hear this).

Just when we thought we could put our cameras away because we didn’t think the session could get any better, Ty told about another idea he had to incorporate his car into some cool night time shots.

Once we started taking these photos, once again the only thing we could say was, “YESSSSSSS”! Of course Scottie also muttered “sick” under his breath after every incredibly cool shot he took (the good kind of sick you know).

(this is what gave me the fire and ice title for this post… we had the warm fire shots and the cool blue HID car headlight shots!).

OK, I know I already said that the family involvement in the session was my favorite part… along with the sparks and car photos… but I lied because I have ANOTHER favorite thing (Scottie always tells me I have too many favorites). My other favorite thing was that Ty’s mom decided several years ago that we would be the photographers for her son’s senior pictures and she’s been waiting for this day ever since.

We did senior pictures for a family friend of theirs, Valeria, and Ty’s mom bookmarked our blog and has been following us ever since, just waiting for the day when her son was ready for his big moment.

She showed Ty our site and he quickly agreed that her instincts were right and he’d like to have us as his senior photographers. I can’t even tell you what it meant to us that they’ve been waiting for this day for so long and that they’ve been excited that whole time to have US be a part of it. OK, so this was probably my favoritest favorite thing about the session.

It’s also probably one of the reasons that we felt so comfortable with Ty and his family that we felt we’d known them for a long time. They’ve been connected to us for years now and even though we didn’t know it, there was just some sense of immediate camaraderie that was established immediately because of it. Soooo cool. It’s just another reminder how honored we are to get to be a part of all the milestone moments in people’s lives. That said, Ty, we are SO happy we got to be the ones to take your senior photos, we hope you love them as much as we do!

Click to see the rest of Ty’s fire and ice senior session here.

 

 

Ashlee and Jason and their elegantly rustic wedding (by Scott & Breanna)

Hometown Elegance. Vintage charm. Ranch beauty. All of these were working titles I had all lined up for this blog about Ashlee and Jason’s wedding. Of course in the end I went ahead and used a sort of made up word (elegantly? is that really a word?) as is my typical stylishish.:-)

As you check out the photos, you’ll instantly see why I had such a hard time nailing down the perfect title… there’s just so many ways to describe the crazy beauty that this wedding had!

(Jason, as he anxiously waits to see his bride for the first time that day during their reveal moment!)

For starters, Ashlee and Jason got married at Tubac Golf Resort and Spa. Unless you remember the last wedding we shot in Tubac, I’m betting you didn’t even know there was such a place as Tubac, AZ. I lived the first 28 years of my life in AZ and didn’t know that existed until a few years ago!

But now that we’ve found out what a great wedding location Tubac is, we’re never looking back. I mean, on what other golf course can you find cattle just roaming around? And where else can you get married in historical buildings (including an incredibly cool chapel) that are rumored to have ghosts in them!? Only in Tubac, AZ of course!

Ashlee and Jason went with the vintage theme… as well as completely contradicted it! Ashlee chose some of my all time favorite bridesmaid dresses for her girls to wear that were so creamy beautiful that they were quite risky considering the dirty, I mean “rustic” feel around them! Such a worthwhile risk though because just look at the contrast these dresses provide with the background around them! Gorgeous!

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Of course Ashlee’s dress was incredible as well! I found out later that my favorite part of the dress (the brooch and ribbon) were additions that Ashlee and her mom made to the dress… good call I’d say! They just make the dress, don’t you think!?

As I mentioned in the final title, the feel of this wedding was elegant, elegant, elegant. But of course because the elegance was set up with the rustic background, it had the perfect level of elegance without being too stuffy. Classy and chill elegance is what it ended up being. Enough to be stunning yet fun, gorgeous yet personable.

And of course there was plenty of fun there!

The lantern send off that night was one of my favorite fun AND elegant moments!

(time elapsed photo of the lantern send off)

If you can’t tell already…. I loved the overall feel that Ashlee and Jason were able to pull off by combining all that Tubac had to offer with their own personal style.

It was all such a perfect combination. Which reminds me a lot of 2 people I know…. hmmm…. who was that again?! Oh yes, Ashlee and Jason themselves!

Like their wedding, these 2 are the perfect complimenting team! We’re so happy you two found each other. We hope the rest of your marriage is as beautiful as your wedding was! Congratulations you two!!!

Click to see the rest of Ashlee and Jason’s elegantly rustic wedding here.