Category Archives: Weddings

The bride… the groom… and crazy aunt Zelma. Read about it all right here.

Maureen and Matt’s cute, classy, clever, Catholic Wedding.

Maureen, I can’t believe you’re married now!!!!

During our days of stressing about tests, traveling around the country with choir, and spending lunch breaks at that ghetto Mexican food place with the crazy loud mariachi music…. the idea of you getting married seemed so far off.

And now it’s here! Not only is it here, but it’s already happened!

Maureen and I (Breanna) were friends in High School.  We met our first week of Freshman year and saw each other almost every day after that for the next four years.  We experienced so much of life and growing up together during those times, so to be a part of another major milestone in her life was something I was so thrilled to do!

When Maureen called me and asked if we would photograph her wedding, I think I spent at least the next hour telling Scottie all about how amazing she is. Not only was I excited because Maureen’s amazing and I was getting to shoot a good friend’s wedding, but I was also psyched because Maureen is a HUGE Radiant fan as well!

She is constantly spreading our name all over Facebook and gushing over her favorite sessions that we’ve shot.

(Unbelievable color choices, Maureen… it’s absolutely stunning!).

So when you combine all those factors together, you could see why I was so excited for this wedding that I could barely contain myself!

(Like our Facebook page to tag yourself in some of these photos!).

Once Maureen and Matt did hire us for their wedding we got spend a little more time with the two of them up at Matt’s parents cabin where we shot their engagement photos.  I am very happy to say that I ended up deeming him very worthy of the marvelous Maureen!

So now you add a great groom onto this great event and my excitement grows even MORE!

(Here he is during their reveal moment, getting prepared to turn around and see his beautiful bride for the first time on their wedding day!).

So the big day finally arrived and it was so totally beautiful and so totally fitting for Maureen and Matt.  The ceremony took place at Maureen’s church…

…which was a very important factor to her and which I know made the entire wedding all the more special to her.

The reception was at Regency Gardens in Mesa and it was such a Unique place!  It was very “Disney, meets greenery, meets weddings”!

It had the perfect combination of being welcoming and mysterious, adorable and elegant.

It had white lights everywhere so it had me for sure!

It has also had plenty of the ladies to go around so it got this kid for sure too!  Ha ha!

(Ha ha ha, I’m still laughing about that photo above!)

(I love this shot of the longest married couple in the room with the shortest married couple in the room standing in the background).

Maureen and Matt added their own personal touches to the already very magical place.  Their reception was focused around the thing that they love doing together the most, and the thing that brought them together one memorable day…. traveling!

My mom makes fun of me for saying the word “amazing” too much, but can I just say that their wedding cake was AMAZING!!!!

It was the cutest thing ever with the little people and the little pieces of their travel memories together! So cute I could cry!

They also had travel post cards so their guests could write them personal messages on the back. So fitting for this couple!

Maureen and Matt, Scottie and I both loved being a part of this wedding with you guys and we are so grateful to have people as amazing as you in our lives.

I’m so glad that your wedding was so wonderful for you and we wish you all the best together and hope to see you lots from here on out!

Congrats!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Maureen and Matt’s cute, classy, clever, Catholic wedding.

Jeff and Laura’s wedding: a family affair

A wedding day is an entirely different experience for me (Breanna) when I’ve done each of the following with the groom…

1. Built a fort that in my mind rivaled the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse (though it was really like 2 planks of wood haphazardly nailed together with a dried up Christmas tree as the back wall…obviously it was the best fort ever.)

2. Played and pretended everything from house, restaurant, under water tea party (he was too nice to ever refuse an invitation from me and his little sister), office, cops and robbers, mermaids (don’t worry, I’m sure he was a “merman” or a crab or something), school, and over 1,000 rounds of Marco Polo and TV tag.

3. Created, directed, designed, and performed- in front of an audience- a full rendition of the Nutcracker Suite (costumes and everything) though none of the participants involved knew anything about ballet.  If I remember correctly, we did a great job of skipping, rolling, crawling on all fours, and sword fighting, all with pajamas and capes on…. you know, typical ballet stuff. We have a video of it somewhere, though I believe my dad got bored and turned the camera off after the first 10 minutes.

So as you probably can tell by now, Jeff and I grew up together.

He’s my 1st cousin and 3rd brother.  Meaning, he was my cousin who was around enough that he was like another brother of mine.  Oh and in case you were wondering whatever became of our fire hazard fort, the next generation of kids in our family somehow convinced everyone that a rotting Christmas tree wasn’t good enough for their fort and were able to enlist adult help (including my carpentery master of a husband) to make a full on real tree house! Kids these days… so spoiled!!  Since when is a molding fort with a bee hive next door not a good place for kids to play?!

As you can see, Jeff and I had a ton of fun growing up together.  The coolest part of this whole story is that Laura is way more fun than Jeff.

Just kidding, but they are at least even!  So now, the fun continues as we live our adult lives!  We’ve already made Laura perform in front of audience when we put on a family dance party one night to teach the next generation of kids how it’s done… and she totally stole the show!

She plays dress up really well too… if you haven’t seen their AH-MAAAAAZING retro airplane engagement session, you HAVE to check it out, she looks incredible (you do too, Jeff!)!!  I haven’t gotten to invite her to an underwater tea party yet, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it will happen one day.  In other words, she fits right in with our family!

I’m totally serious about that.  I love Laura and I was so so so happy when Jeff called to tell me he was going to marry her and make her stick around with us!

Due to their fun loving spirits, Jeff and Laura had only one condition to us being their wedding photographers… we weren’t allowed to do it if we couldn’t have fun while doing it!

It was really important to them that we enjoyed their wedding and didn’t view it as work.  Scottie and I both knew that we would enjoy the wedding more if we were shooting it… but we’ve also really missed getting to be a part of the celebration rather than just onlookers.  So our solution was that Scottie and I would shoot everything  that happened before the reception…

…and at that point, we’d turn over the photography responsibilities to other photographers we hired while we partied it up as guests!

So that’s exactly what we did!  In other words, all the awesome reception photos you see here- like the one above and below- are not ones either Scottie or I can take credit for!

Scottie and I love shooting weddings for people we already know well because it’s so fun feeling like we’re such a part of something so huge in the lives of people we care about.  It’s also so fun hanging out in the getting ready rooms with our friends!

Not to mention, it’s nice to be working with a couple who’s so comfortable with us.

It’s just fun all around!

So true to our word, Scottie and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves during the reveal moment…

(Ha ha, we could see both of them, but they weren’t allowed to see each other yet!).

…posed photo time…

…at the ceremony…

…and throughout everything in between!

(Praying).

Then we lifted all the responsibility from our own shoulders and passed it to Josh and Kelley Johnson while Scottie and I hit the dance floor!

(Look it’s us! We’re actually dancing at a wedding AND in a photo!!!).

Josh and Kelley are another married photography team in the Phoenix area (who also happen to be freaking cool people!!) and we’ve been semi/sort of mentoring for awhile now.  When we came up with the idea to have someone else shoot the reception, we immediately knew that Josh and Kelley were the people for the job!  And they did not disappoint!

They both have a phenomenal artistic eye, they excel at capturing real emotion, and they are hyper aware of everything going on around them at all times so they’re ready with less than a moment’s notice to catch anything that happens in front of their cameras!

This is not the only Radiant wedding that Josh and Kelley will be in on, so stay tuned for more from them in the future!

As you can see, Jeff and Laura’s wedding was amazing from beginning to end!  It was a fabulous day, everything went smoothly and there was just an overall feeling of joy in the air.

It couldn’t have been better.

Congratulations Jeff and Laura, I’m so glad the day was so great for the two of you and I’m so excited to have one of the coolest girls around as the new addition to our family.

(Another amazing Josh and Kelley creation… do you know how hard it is to get a good sparkler picture?!  Awesome job guys!).

Click to see the rest of the photos from Jeff and Laura’s wedding.

Mac and Amy’s wedding: a historical tour of Phoenix with mad style!

I have to admit that during our first meeting with Amy and Mac all we really heard was “The Icehouse”.  Sorry, guys… we thought you guys were cool too, but the word “Icehouse” just seemed to echo in our brains for a long time afterwards!;-)

We were so excited because we’d shot there once before and have been itching to do it again ever since!

I’m sure you can see why!

If the Icehouse sounds like a weird name for a wedding venue, it’s because it’s only recently begun to be used for weddings… it’s actually the place where they manufactured ice in 1910 to ship produce on railroads.  After that time, it was used for the police to store crime evidence (crazy huh?!). In the 90′s a couple of artists bought it and now it’s used for all kinds of events… including weddings like this one!

Needless to say, it definitely has some history to it!  And as you can see by the pictures… it’s sooooo cool too!

(The Groomsmen were psyched about their gambling picture!)

(Like us on Facebook to tag yourself in some of the photos).

Let me back up a bit and tell the story from the beginning.  The day began at the hotel everyone was staying, Hotel San Carlos, which is another historical building  in downtown Phoenix (this wedding was like a regular old history channel special!) that was opened in 1928.

It was the first air conditioned, high rise hotel in Phoenix.  If you’re an Arizona history buff (and don’t already know all this) there is plenty more for you to read up on and the info on their site is pretty interesting.

Oh and by the way, apparently this hotel is haunted!  One final fact about Hotel San Carlos that is particularly relevant to Mac and Amy’s story is that it was the first high rise hotel in Arizona to have elevators.  And Mac knew just how to take advantage of these elevators.  He wanted to see his beautiful bride for the first time as the doors slid open… and it worked out perfectly.

(They wanted their bridal party around for the reveal moment to cheer them on.  I like how you can see the bridesmaids swooning in the background!).

(They exchanged gifts during their reveal moment.  Amy gave Mac this pocket watch and he gave her diamond earrings. Both gifts were a hit!).

(Two of my- Breanna’s- favorite ring pictures of all time!).

After spending some time shooting at the hotel (and the bar next door to it as you can see in the picture below)…

…we loaded up on Ollie the Trolley (yes, that really is the name of it!) to drive around downtown Phoenix for some photo opps.

Of course, the first stop we made on our historical tour around Phoenix was at the gas station to get some beer for the road.

It was soon time to head over to the Icehouse for the main event of the day… the wedding.

Mac and Amy’s ceremony was positively stunning.

With the old bricks, wide open ceiling, and the many little touches they both made to the look and feel of the place… the beauty was just unreal and definitely unique!

After their ceremony of perfection, a little time for celebrating…

…and a little more time for photos around their amazing venue….

…the doors to the reception area were opened and you could almost hear an audible gasp from the guests by what they saw.  In standard Icehouse wedding tradition, there was a huge warehouse looking room that was contrasted beautifully with all kinds of stunning details.

The biggest difference between Mac and Amy’s wedding and a typical wedding at the Icehouse is that Mac and Amy handmade and customized so many little details.

They spent lots of time setting up the lights to fit the room perfectly. The manzanita trees that you saw at their ceremony and also behind their head table, were all hand picked (from nature, not a nursery) and potted by them, and well…. I could go on and on about all the amazing details there.  You’ll just have to see them all in the pictures!

Riette, who works with Downtown Phoenix Venues, is the go to person for all the events that happen in many of the cool venues around that area, did an amazing job setting up all those little details and enabling the entire look to come together just right!  Props to Riette and her team for making Amy and Mac’s vision come to life!

Oh and one more thing about the details of the day that I can’t forget to mention… Mac and Amy were each in charge of a cake. Amy handled the groom’s cake and did an excellent job having it done in full Ohio State fashion (The Buckeyes were a constant theme throughout this wedding… even Amy’s garter had their logo on it!).  Mac took care of the actual wedding cake and rumor has it, he made it himself!!!

Seriously, that is amazing, isn’t it?!

I don’t think this wedding could’ve been any more perfect for Mac and Amy.

(More bridesmaid swooning).

They put so much of themselves into it and the results were so worth the time and energy!  Everything was beautiful…

…including the bride herself of course…

…their party was amazing…

…and they were just so SO happy throughout it all!

Mac and Amy, the best of luck to you both.  Thanks for allowing us to be a part of this and for doing such a good job planning everything and giving us great material to work with! :-)  Congrats!

Click to see the rest of Mac and Amy’s downtown wedding photos.

The Reveal Moment… to have or not to have.

I’ve heard it many times before…. “WHAT?!  You’re going to see each other before the wedding?!  You’re going to put a curse on your marriage!”  Well actually, the reason behind the custom of not seeing each other before the ceremony on your wedding has less to do with superstitions and more to do with the realities of arranged marriages.  The reason a groom is not to see his bride before the wedding…. is to make sure he doesn’t run away.  Seriously.  Many of the traditions we have in fact, are there for the sole purpose of keeping a groom planted in place just long enough to get a firm commitment out of him to a girl he’s never met before.  Flowers… they hide bad smelling brides very well.  The veil… he doesn’t lift it until he’s promised his life away, remember?  And of course the whole “not seeing each other before hand thing”.  Keep your flowers and your veil traditions, I’m fine with those and they both add a little something to the wedding.  The hiding away from one another however, is a tradition I’d be happy to see go.

In case you’re thinking I’m just being a selfish photographer who wants more time with our clients, that is not at all the case.  I have thought long and hard about this and have experienced many weddings on both sides of the scenario.  And the final verdict from my voice of experience?  The reveal moment wins hands down.

Benefit of the reveal moment

So what are the big arguments for not seeing each other before hand?  Well there’s the whole keeping with tradition thing, which I think we’ve already decided is a bogus tradition that doesn’t really deserve our respect (unless you really are afraid that your groom will run away when he sees your face… then maybe you want to keep this tradition).  The other excuse of course is that you want to experience the moment of seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony.  I totally agree with this line of thinking… it is an amazing moment.  Which is exactly why I think it deserves to be given the thought, time, and attention that the reveal moment gives it.

wedding first look

The reveal moment (or what some call a “First Look”), really is a an actual moment… we make it a big deal!  It’s not like you’re just walking around on your wedding day high fiving one another casually in passing while only half your hair’s done.  It’s basically set up to be the ultimate “seeing each other for the first time experience”.  You can see in the pictures below what the set up looks like. The sneaking up of the bride…

…tapping on the shoulder (with a slight pause to torture the groom as he waits impatiently)…

…and then… tada! 

THE MOMENT!

The first lookReveal moment

But not just a quick moment, a moment that keeps on giving and giving.

Why a first look wedding

The reveal moment takes those few blurry seconds of haziness that you would experience during a ceremony first look (when your brain is flopping back and forth from “don’t trip”, to “don’t cry”, to “oh my gosh I have a wedgie”) and turns it into a time that has your true 100% focus when you are allowed to do whatever you feel like to express your true emotions…. cry…

…kiss, make out sick, pray (like the couple below is did)…

…or even just sit and hold each other.

You don’t get to do that at the ceremony.  In fact, you are spending so much energy trying NOT to cry in front of everyone that you could almost miss the moment entirely.

benefit of the reveal moment

Of course as you are expressing all the emotion you’d only wish you could express if this first look had happened at the alter, we are getting much better pictures than we would of that quick glance at the beginning of the ceremony.  Which brings me to the next reason why people are against reveal moments… they often want a picture of that happening during the ceremony.

Hawaii wedding

Well consider for a moment the fact that all your guests are standing up during this point in time (not all of us are giants like Scottie who can take pictures over everyone’s heads)… and that there really are only so many angles we can get the right shot from and lighting, ceremony set up, etc. affects that…. and remember that this moment only goes on for a few seconds.  Well, we will do our best, but you really can’t blame us if we miss it.  For the reveal moment, we pick the place (a private one with beautiful lighting where we have the freedom to move and shoot from wherever we want with nothing in our way), we also have as long as we need to catch what’s happening, and we have that one quick second of the initial look that turns into 15 minutes of adoring looks that only grow in emotion from that first second on.

the first look wedding

(All 4 of these pictures above and below are taken right at their ceremony alter… it just happened to be before the wedding started so we could actually stand wherever we wanted and light it however we wanted.  There’s no way we could’ve got a perfect kiss shot that close up during their ceremony because of the chair set up… but this was their first kiss on their wedding day and because of the reveal moment, they now have a better photo of it than if it had been during the ceremony!  Don’t worry, the actual wedding kiss is still a HUGE deal and we got photos of that one as well!).

Better pictures from that same moment at the ceremony?  Highly unlikely.

Seeing each other before ceremony(This is still one of my favorite pictures we’ve ever taken… and it happened at a reveal.  This shot wouldn’t exist had they not decided to do a reveal moment, because there’s no way we would have been able to get one this perfect during their ceremony… at least not without standing right in front of their parents throughout the entire thing!).

first look benefit

By the way, many of our couples who do the reveal, also have an amazing moment when they see each other at the ceremony for the first time… it’s a different kind of moment, because it’s more of a “we have a shared secret and I feel so close to you right now, kind of look”. This look is just as good as the first moment look, it’s special in it’s own way. The two pictures below were taken between their reveal moments and the ceremony.  This is the “shared secret” look I’m talking about…

Wedding emotion

Why do they have a secret between them at the ceremony?  Because they had time to bond together before heading into it.  They are walking in front of everyone they know, full of nerves, fears, worries, etc…. and they are the only two people there at that moment that are sharing those exact same feelings to that degree… and they have already laughed and cried about it together… now they get to just live it side by side.

There really is something to say for the magic that happens between a couple during the reveal moment.  Every single time we’ve had it, at least one of the two people involved, whether it’s the bride or the groom, goes through a transition that takes them from ” stressed out maniac” to “chill, in love, happiest person in the world” as soon as they see their love.  It is amazing, it’s almost like you can see the ton of bricks slide off their shoulders all at once into a heap at their feet.

Their entire countenance changes as they stop thinking about the hundreds of eyes on them, the missing bouquets, or the angry family members because all they can think about is that they are here to marry this amazing person in front of them.  All of a sudden, they are enjoying their day and they remember the importance of what it’s all about.  This same thing often happens with the ceremony first look, but it’s sad to me that they wasted so much of their wedding day NOT feeling like that when they didn’t have to.

As you can see, my advice to choose a reveal moment for your wedding day has to do with far more than just pictures.  It has made so many of our clients so very happy… so much so that as they are getting ready to walk down the aisle, they are going on and on to me about how glad they are that they did a reveal moment.  I’m not talking about just one of our clients raving about it on their very wedding day… I’m talking about most of our clients.  I also have had brides turn to me during a particular nerve wracking moment on a very stressful wedding day and say “I really wish we had done the reveal moment thing, I think I would feel so much better right now if I had!”.

The proof is in the pudding people.

You do have every right to disagree with me….and I am fine with that.  In fact, some of our clients do disagree with me and choose not to do reveal moments and I totally respect their choice and give them that right.  I just consider it my duty as their photographer to inform them of the options and to educate them on things I’ve learned in my experiences.  And just so you know, Scottie and I did NOT have a reveal moment at our own wedding, we did things in what we call “The Old School” way and I was fine with it.

BUT, had I seen the things I’ve now seen and known the stuff I now know, I would’ve done the reveal moment in a heartbeat because I know that even though my wedding day was totally fine the way it was and I don’t have any complaints, there is a pretty good chance that it could’ve been even better had I been more open minded about this particular tradition.  I’m not sad about it and my point is not to make anyone else sad about it.  My point is to fully educate those who still have this decision to make one day.

I know, I know, after hearing all this, many of you are still saying, “but it’s just not what I imagined!!”.  I know that is a big deal when you’re planning a wedding, especially if you’ve been planning it since you were like 5!  That is pretty much the one argument I can’t stand up against, because I know, it’s not what you imagined.  But I still implore you to make that one sacrifice for the greater good.  Those few seconds of the first look during the ceremony… the ones that might not even go the way you dreamed, that you are willing to plan your entire day around… are they worth losing out on all the other benefits for?  If so, then you have made your decision and more power to you, follow those childhood wedding dreams!

Despite the fact that I currently have a blog post here that is much longer than I planned on, I still have not even told you half the reasons I think a reveal moment is a good idea.  So here’s my short little summary of my points about this…

The Lesser Known Benefits of the Reveal Moment:

  1. The first time you see each other in a ceremony happens in the blur of a few seconds. The reveal takes that amazing moment and turns it into it’s own event which makes it more memorable and significant.
  2. You feel more like partners going into this together rather than alone… it is an amazing bonding experience to anticipate the moment together.
  3. Your emotions are more genuine when expressed in private, which is one of the many things about a reveal moment that will make the photos of the first time you see one another turn out better
  4. Your nerves calm down significantly when you see one another, allowing you to enjoy the first half of your wedding day more.
  5. Your schedule is more relaxed which will make your entire wedding day feel more relaxed.
  6. It feels more natural to do family photos before the ceremony because afterwards all you want to do is be together for a few minutes and then go join your party.
  7. You have more time for photos of the two of you alone and with the people you care about (30 min to 1 hr more!).
  8. Cocktail hour is shorter and your guests are happier!
  9. The reveal moment is all about relaxing everyone and making the day more enjoyable.  Every person involved in the wedding will be more chill and have more fun when the reveal moment schedule is used.
  10. Part of the reason our clients hire us is because they trust our experience and you believe we have their best interests at heart… and we fully believe they will be happiest experiencing the benefits of the Reveal Moment Schedule.

The final point of all time for why you should opt for a reveal moment on your wedding day?  Just look at all these pictures.  They are some of the most emotional moments we’ve ever captured… and they are moments that never would have happened if the couple hadn’t made the decision to include this time in their wedding day.

(to hear more about our wedding experiences or to see many more beautiful wedding moments, stay connected with us by liking Radiant Photography on Facebook!)

first look

Vanessa and Andy’s Beautiful golf course wedding

I can’t believe Vanessa’s all grown up and married!

I (Breanna) first met Vanessa when she was around 14 years old and as the years passed, I spent many hours talking to her as she came to me for advice about life… so I was very excited to find myself at her wedding this past month!!

(Obviously she was excited about her wedding too!!)

Not only did I go it, but I took pictures of it!

And I have to admit, it looks like my advice was good over the years since she ended up marrying Andy, who is a great guy and someone I am very happy to see Vanessa with.

There’s nothing better than seeing two people who belong together get married (*tiny tear*).

Vanessa and Andy’s wedding was a beautiful one.  I am still amazed how beautiful it is in AZ in January, and their wedding day was no exception to that.  A great day, a great girl, and a great guy… it doesn’t get any better than that!

(Getting ready to walk down the aisle with her dad!  Can’t you just feel the nerves?!)

They also had a few fun little touches to their big day.

(Vanessa always sees pictures of groomsmen with sunglasses on so she thought she’d put a spin on it and have the girls wear them instead…)

(… only hers were broken!!  ha ha!).

One fun thing they did that comes to mind is that they played a comedy video on all the TV’s in the reception hall to keep the guests entertained while we were out taking pictures during the cocktail hour.

But the main event when it comes to fun, happened during their first dance…they cut short the romantic song (pretending like it was an accident)…

…to bust into a choreographed dance they saw on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air!  The whole bridal party joined them on the dance floor to dance in unison to “Jump On It”. Have you ever seen a girl in a wedding dress doing this dance?!  Sooo funny!

(Like us on Facebook to tag yourselves in some of these photos!)

Vanessa and Andy, we loved being a part of your wedding and we’re excited to see where the future takes the two of you!  Congratulations!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Vanessa and Andy’s beautiful golf course wedding!