Yearly Archives: 2011

Christen and Jay’s Log Cabin Wedding to Remember

Christen and Jay’s wedding was a very special one for us.

We didn’t know Christen at all before we met with her about shooting her wedding and by the time we left our very first meeting with her, we felt like we’d known her forever.

We definitely have a lot in common and have many shared passions, including our work with the Princess Program which you may remember from past blogs.  In fact, after that first meeting, we had a chance to watch Christen work with the Princess Program’s teen foster girls at one of their events that we photographed and let me tell you, both Scottie and I had tears in our eyes watching Christen work her magic helping these hardened girls soften up so they could have the night of their lives.

No matter how difficult, hurt, or shy the teen girl was that she was interacting with, Christen could get her to come out of her shell within minutes and it was like watching a miracle happen.  When we left that event, we both felt so lucky that we were going to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing girl.  Her love for people and her ability to connect to people from all walks of life is one of the many things that we love about Christen.

(As you can see, her parents -in the pics above and below- definitely played a major part in teaching her how to love).

Over the time that we worked with her while planning her wedding, our love for Christen grew with each interaction we had.  So much so that when we finally got around to meeting Jay (who wasn’t living in the same city during the time of the wedding planning) on the wedding day, both Scottie and I were pretty skeptical that there could be a guy in this world who was good enough for Christen.

We definitely felt protective of her and neither of us realized we felt this way until we actually met him and noticed how surprised we were when we discovered that he was perfect for Christen and we liked him a ton immediately!

As their wedding day drew on, we found ourselves liking him more and more and our initial assumptions about him were confirmed… he really is an amazing guy and he actually is good enough for the wonderful Christen!:-)

(You can tell he’s a good guy because he voluntarily rubs her feet for her!).

Every speech made about him, every embrace from one of her family members to him, told us that we weren’t the only ones in the room who felt this way.

Not only was this couple themselves super important to us, but their wedding itself had a lot of significance for us because it reminded us SO much of our own wedding!  Christen and Jay really love the outdoors and when Christen first emailed me, she was looking for venue suggestions of places that had trees.

Considering Phoenix is a desert, she was obviously having a hard time in this quest so I suggested that she do what we did and head up to the forest in Northern, AZ to have a sort of destination wedding (since Christen is originally from South Africa, for many of her family and friends this really was a major destination wedding either way!)!

She loved the idea and soon after, they found the perfect place in Heber, AZ.  It’s a personal vacation home for a family that Jay knows and it’s called the Legacy Lodge.

The Lodge was built in Canada and then all 21,000 square feet of it was transported to Arizona using 20 semi trucks to do it! It has survived fire and flood and continues to be a respite for the family who built it, as well as a place that they are kind enough to share with friends like Christen and Jay.  You can read about the Legacy Lodge here, there’s some very interesting tradition tied to it!

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

I have to say, there is just something about a mountain destination wedding that feels like no other kind of wedding to me.

Everyone is relaxed and in vacation mode, plus they’ve spent several days together and have already had a great time and made tons of new memories together.

There’s just an overall feel of relaxation and calmness amongst the guests at a mountain wedding, which are not exactly the first words you typically think of when you think weddings!

It’s a good thing that this was a relaxed wedding by the way, because you really have to be chill when the entire schedule gets changed around to accommodate for rain (which Christen handled very well by the way and everything ended up working out great!).

(Getting a little nervous as she looked out at the looming clouds… and all the people she was about to walk in front of!).

(Look at those rain clouds! We were able to pop out while the rain stopped for just a few minutes to get these outdoor shots!).

We picked up on this chill vibe as soon as we arrived at the lodge property and with the beautiful scenic view of pine trees and a lake, combined with the comforting smell of a wood cabin, Scottie and I immediately felt like we were transported back to June 4, 2005 on our own wedding day.

We felt at home.

Everything from the scenery, the attitude, the homemade details, to the fresh scent of pine made us feel sentimental and inspired.

We LOVED it!

Adding to our homey/comfortable feel, was the fact that we got to work with a wedding planner we’ve worked with many times before, Margie Walinski at Party Presentations (who did a fabulous job making this beautiful wedding happen by the way!).

(The little flower girl was smiling up at them like that throughout the entire ceremony! So cute!).

We were also surprised to find that our good friend Jay Worsley, from Everly Films, was hired last minute to be the videographer!  See the wedding video trailer here to get even more of the experience from this wedding day!

The entire wedding was beautiful and covered with personal touches!

There was even a little bit of South African food to top it all off and give us a taste of Christen’s homeland!

It seems to me that when you realize that you are better with someone than you are by yourself, you know you’re doing the right thing by getting married and I can definitely say I believe this is true for Christen and Jay.

They truly are the perfect team and I think their mutual love for people will prove stronger with them working together as a married couple than it would be if they continued on with their lives as separate individuals.

Thanks to the both of you for being such amazing, incredible people and for giving us the opportunity to work with you! We couldn’t have hoped to work with a better couple on a better wedding!  Thanks so much!  We can’t wait for you to see the pictures from your UNIQUE SESSION that we shot of the two of you the day after your wedding… I think you’re going to absolutely love them- we do!!  Coming soon!

Click to see the rest of Christen and Jay’s Mountain Wedding Photos.

Cute Couple Overload… Stephanie and Garrison’s Wedding

Stephanie and Garrison have quite a history with Radiant, so we were beyond stoked when they called us and asked us to be a part of the biggest day of their lives!

To make a long story short, it wasn’t until after we’d already established a relationship with both Stephanie’s family and Garrison’s family, as well as shot one wedding for each, that we found out that my mom went to school with one of each of their parents!

So of course, this means that Stephanie’s dad and Garrison’s mom also went to school together.  They did, but that’s not even how Stephanie and Garrison met! Their story’s even cuter than that!

Here’s how it happened… Stephanie took a job dog sitting next door to Garrison’s parent’s house. Apparently, the neighbor had previously informed Garrison that a really pretty girl was next door that he might want to find a way to meet… so he  took  the advice and did just that.

(Good thing he did too… I mean, just look at her!).

Garrison threw a frisbee over the wall on “accident” and had to go knock on the door to meet Stephanie and “get the frisbee”.  Genius isn’t it?!

It definitely worked and they spent the rest of her dog sitting experience that summer hanging out together.  It wasn’t until down the road that they figured out that their parents not only went to high school together, but were actually neighbors!  And of course considering that Stephanie and Garrison met being neighbors… this story just couldn’t get any more adorable!

As I mentioned, this was not the first Radiant wedding for either Stephanie or Garrison’s family. Before we shot their wedding, we had also photographed weddings for both Garrison’s sister and Stephanie’s sister!

So there were three couples at this wedding who are related who’s wedding we’ve been a part of.  How awesome is that?!

(Here are the three Radiant couples! The couple on the left, also has a baby but he was sleeping when we took this.)

So a chance to work with two of our favorite families again at the same wedding… in July in Phoenix when it’s 112 degrees outside… totally worth it. At least it wasn’t the day before which hit a record setting 118 degrees Fahrenheit!

I can’t even explain to you how much I love seeing two incredible families join together like this!  You should’ve SEEN that party on the dance floor.  Oh yes, everyone in both of those families knows how to have a good time and when you put that many fun people in one room together, you’re going to have one fantastic party!

(Stephanie’s sister and her husband entertaining the newly weds!).

I seriously was smiling during the entire reception because it was so much fun watching all these wonderful people that I care so much about having fun together and busting a move while celebrating such a beautiful thing as a wedding together.

As if these two families could get any cooler, I noticed one major thing at this wedding that really stood out to me and spoke volumes about the quality of these families.  All the in-laws for all the kids in these two families were present at this wedding.  That means that when one of the kids in either Stephanie or Garrison’s families gets married, their entire family adopts their new family in as one of their own.  Of course that’s what’s supposed to happen when two people get married, but how often does it really?  I thought that said a lot about these people!

(Garrison’s dad prepping the get away car with his son-in-law).

Now that I’ve gone on and on about their families, let me tell you about Stephanie and Garrison themselves!

(Like our Facebook page to tag yourself in some of the photos… including the photobooth photos!).

When I remember them on their wedding day, the first thing I think of is how freaking adorable they were together!

It didn’t matter what chaos was going on or what pressing matters there were for them to attend to, when they were together, nothing else mattered and all else faded into the background.

I was so glad they chose to do a reveal moment and see one another before the ceremony because as soon as they were together, the stresses of the day just seemed to melt off their shoulders… which is exactly how a wedding day should be.

I don’t think there’s anything you could say to convince me that these two aren’t madly and completely in love.

I think they had love coming out of their pores!  Along with the sweat that 117 inevitably brings!

To sum up…this perfect wedding day included a beautiful venue (if you haven’t been to The Clayton on the Park yet, put that on your to do list because it’s a must see!), 2 lovely families, a rocking party, and a head over heels in love couple… what more could you ask for on a wedding day?!

Stephanie and Garrison, thank you oh so very much for letting us into your lives on this special day and for being as wonderful to each other as you are. Just being around you two together makes me happy!  We love you both and we wish you the best!  Congratulations!

Click to see the rest of Stephanie and Garrison’s wedding photos (and the photobooth pictures!)!

The Jones Family…smiling pretty for their Carlsbad photo session!

Ah the Jones Family.

These people have been a part of my life since I (Breanna) was 12 years old. I was friends with Ryan back then and once I hit my freshman year of high school, his sister (Tara) became my mentor.

(Ryan on the right…)

(Tara on the right).

It wasn’t until a while into these friendships that I found out that their mom, JoAnn, had gone to high school with my mom!

So I have seen a lot happen in this family as Tara and Ryan have grown up, gotten married, and had kids.

Ironically enough, Tara became a photographer as well (no, she didn’t try to sway me in that direction when she was my mentor… we both did it independently!)!

So we have been following one another’s work for awhile now and when it came time to give her mom a mother’s day present, she decided that a family photo session with Radiant would do the trick!

The best part about it, was that I was once again enfolded into the lives of this fantastic family… and this time I got to be a part of family tradition!

(As you can see by this picture, we’re talking about a REALLY fun family tradition!!! Beach joy is the best.).

Every summer since JoAnn was a little girl, she has gone to Carlsbad, California for vacation. And once she married Doug, they began bringing their own kids to the same spot… and now they get to come along with their grandkids as well!

They stay at the Carlsbad Inn each time and they’ve become so regular with their vacations that they’ve become great friends with some of the other families that stay there every year too!

I am so impressed that they’ve been able to keep up this tradition for so many years… especially because it is one of the best family traditions I’ve ever heard of!

(Funny how it’s easier to get in the hole than out, isn’t it?!).

It was really fun to get to know the little ones in the Jones family now!  They all have such unique personalities and it was so fun for me to be able to spot certain parts of each kid that reminded me of both Tara and Ryan as I knew them when they were younger.

(Ryan, I’m not saying that you did, and I’m not saying that you didn’t, put sand in Tara’s mouth when you were little).

(She has always looked like Tara to me!).

(And this little one, actually reminded me of my own brother more than anyone else!).

(I love this slow motion one that starts out as a brotherly hug and ends with a hardcore belly bump into the sand!!!).

I was really glad that my husband got to spend some time with a family who was such a major part of my life growing up and that I got to get to know both Tara’s husband (Chris) and Ryan’s wife (Danae) better as well.

It was also so cool to watch these little siblings and cousins all play together!

Especially knowing that they are going to grow up coming to this exact same spot to play together for years to come and hopefully even once they all have kids of their own!

(I LOVE the way she’s looking at her dad in this one!!!).

(… and the way he’s cuddling up with his mom in this one!!!).

It’s so crazy to think that the children of these kids here will look back on these photos of their parents playing in the same spot when they were little.  Awesome.  And such a huge blessing for us to be a part of it all.

Thanks to all of you for taking a little time out of your vacation for us and for being such great models while trying to keep everyone together in one piece all at the same time!  It’s hard wrangling in such a big group for photos and you guys pulled it off perfectly!

We hope you love all the photos and we’ll see you all soon!:-)

Click to see the rest of the photos from the Jones Family’s Carlsbad photo session.

A day in their vineyard… Doug and Bobbie’s engagement session.

A wedding in wine country is something that photographers in Arizona can only dream about.  And we were some of those dreamers ourselves until the day we got a call from Doug and Bobbie asking us to shoot their wedding and engagement photos in Paso Robles, CA which is part of the central coast wine phenomenon.  Yay!!!!!

We were SUPER excited and when we took a trip to the area for Doug and Bobbie’s engagement session, our already sky high excitement level shot through the roof as soon as we saw the place!

(See what I mean?  It’s AH-MAZING!!!!).

The first thing Doug and Bobbie wanted us to see, was the winery that they are getting married at. So we headed over to Carmody McKnight Estate Wines to taste a little wine, see the beautiful sights, a take a few photos.

The location was even more incredible than we imagined!  I can’t wait to see what it looks like on the wedding day!!

What we didn’t expect, was the friendly family welcome we received when we arrived!! Carmody, McKnight, and family all came over to meet us and then rushed back to the house to prepare a DELICIOUS gourmet dinner for us to enjoy when we finished taking photos of Doug and Bobbie.

I felt like I was in a dream land as we sat around with this incredibly interesting family and heard about their lives. Gary Carmody was an actor who is well known for his role in “Land of the Giants” and is now an artist and creates the labels for their wines.

Marian McKnight Conway was crowned Miss America in 1957.  Their daughter Kathleen made us the incredible meal and also makes a great popular wine called “Kathleen Cabernet Franc”. Kathleen’s boyfriend Greg, is the very talented vineyard manager who has several viticulture partnerships going with major companies and universities worldwide.

As if that isn’t enough to spark great conversation for an entire meal, Doug and Bobbie are also quite intriguing people themselves with some great stories!

Doug used to be an Indy Race car driver and he once upon a time owned a surf company. Bobbie put herself through college while raising 3 kids and now works as a CFO for a non-profit organization that helps foster children.

They both spend a good amount of time traveling- Doug does a lot of worldwide hunting and fishing and they both love spending downtime in their surf house right on the beach in the British Isles. Oh yeah, and they have a really sweet dog!:-)

So there we were, hanging out with interesting, talented, and fun people in a stunning environment, while drinking the wine that was actually made by the people around us… it was just an amazing moment that we enjoyed immensely and will remember for a long time to come.

After a lovely dinner with a lovely family, we headed off to Doug and Bobbie’s vineyard (Last Frontier Vineyards), where we relaxed on their porch in the fresh air while looking up at the stars,  had some good laughs together, drank some of their own home grown wine, spent the night, and then got up early to take more photos around their property.

(Scottie took this one at night of the oak tree that stands right smack dab in the middle of their vineyard. Beautiful.).

Their ranch/vineyard sits on 160 acres that is just a site to see.  I couldn’t believe the variety of things they had on their property!

Everything from rolling hills of grass, to lakes, to boulders, to the actual grape vines. So much beauty to take in!

It was so fun to be out so far away from everything else and to know that everything surrounding us was related to their passion of farming.

Doug and Bobbie spend a good portion of their time out there and Doug works his fingers to the bone on the land during their busy seasons.

We hopped in the car and drove around to get a feel for what their lives out there are like and how we could best capture that in photos.

It was a difficult job, trying to contain all that beauty into a few measly photographs, so I hope Doug and Bobbie feel that we did the job!:-)

(Click here to see the full version of this photo!).

Thanks to everyone at both places who brought us in to your lives and extended so much hospitality to make us feel welcomed in your homes.  Doug and Bobbie, we LOVE your place and we are so happy that the two of you are getting married.  Scottie and I talked on the way home about how fun it is watching you guys interact with one another and how easy it is to tell that you are in love.

We think you guys are great together and we had such a fantastic time getting to know the two of you better.  We feel blessed to have you in our lives and we can’t wait to be a part of such a big day for two such wonderful people! Congratulations on finding each other!

Click to see the rest of Doug and Bobbie’s photos.

Beach Epicness in full force for Maricela and Russell’s Engagement Session!

For Maricela and Russell, one chapter ends as another begins, and we were there to capture this important transition for them.

The chapter that is ending in their life is their long distance relationship!  Hooray!

Russell grew up around Laguna, California and is now ready to make the transition to Phoenix, AZ to be with his beautiful future bride.

The chapter that is beginning is what the happy couple originally called us over to capture… and that is their impending marriage to one another.  In other words, this is their engagement session!

It just happens to be combined with a sentimental farewell to home for Russell.

Since Russell knows the area so well, he took us to the best of the best places in Laguna where we were able to get some happy beach shots as well as some romantic moments.

We found out during the session that Maricela and Russell have declared a Radiant photo war between themselves and their friends, Maureen and Matt, who’s wedding we shot this past spring!  Apparently, Maricela and Russell have decided that there is no way they can beat Maureen and Matt in the cuteness category (Maureen and Matt ARE pretty freaking cute!) so they decided they wanted to go for the gold in the “Epic Photo” category.  So”epic” was the theme of the day!

Of course, we discovered about 2 seconds into the session that Maricela and Russell severely underestimate their cuteness (watch out Matt and Maureen, they might give you a run for your money!)…

…and they seem to have a pretty good grasp on how to mix a little epic into their cuteness!

So we spent some time hanging out on, above, around, and near the beach in Crystal Cove and then we headed over to a great hiking spot to put on the final touches to the day.

Thanks to the both of you for putting the work into scheduling, planning, location scouting, and traveling (Maricela) for your engagement session!

Your effort was well spent and we hope you are as happy with the results as we are!  Good luck with all the final touches to your big day, we are so so so SO excited to get to be a part of it!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Maricela and Russell’s very epic beach engagement session!