I always thought it was weird when people pinch themselves in movies to see if what they’re seeing is real. I mean, I’ve never thought to pinch myself when I’m in a dream and then said “well that didn’t hurt so I guess I’m dreaming”. But I take back my skepticism on the whole pinching thing because I was really tempted to do it several times during the week that we were hanging out with Katy and Shaun and all their friends before their wedding in Hawaii.
Let me start by saying this blog will be different than our normal posts. We usually write from the perspective of impartial outsiders who are there to capture a visual record of what’s happening around us.
But Katy and Shaun were cool enough to allow us into their circle of friends and invited us to be just as much guests as we were “hired help”, “vendors”, or whatever other cold and isolated word you could put on it. Throughout the week we were anything but isolated from this astounding couple and their equally wonderful friends.
So instead of writing this blog from the view of 2 photographers who watched all the amazingness happen from the outside, we’re going to write as 2 people who’s lives were affected greatly by Katy and Shaun’s and the beautiful people they’ve surrounded themselves with.
Scottie and I (Breanna) spent 2 weeks vacationing in Hawaii before Katy and Shaun’s showed up with their crew which signified the start of our official “job”. And yet despite the fact that we were working during our 3rd week in Hawaii, it was at least twice as fun as our first two weeks were! (This picture totally cracks me up. She decided to get her snorkel because she was getting too much water in her eyes. Genius!).
The factor that changed and made all the difference was that we were surrounded by a bunch of hyper-intelligent, creative, fun, and ultra cool people (aka Katy & Shaun and their wedding guests).
And really, I’m totally not exaggerating when I say that with the exception of our own wedding week, I think this past week was one of the best in our lives.
I turned to Scottie at least twice and said, “you know, I really can’t ever remember a time where I was happy at this ridiculously high level for such a crazy long amount of time before!” I know we were in one of the most beautiful places in the world, doing all kinds of fun stuff, but it didn’t turn into the best week of my life until we input the new relationships into the equation.
In order to understand why this was a wedding week instead of just a wedding day, you have to understand Katy and Shaun.
These are two people who’s lives revolve around their friendships. In fact, they are known in their group for their huge annual theme parties (which are amazing by the way) that they go through a ton of work to host… and they love every minute of it.
When we were meeting with them at various points throughout their wedding planning, the main thing we heard repeated over and over again with unending enthusiasm, was that this wedding was about the people involved in it all.
Katy and Shaun made painstaking efforts to do everything in their power to make sure that their guests had the time of their lives…
Now that you’ve had a glimpse into Katy and Shaun’s world back home and the people in it… lets talk about the Hawaii wedding chapter of their lives! Katy and Shaun rented a big house right on the beach to share with their bridal party…
…and a bunch of their guests rented other houses all along the same beach to share with one another.
To kickoff this week of heaven that Katy and Shaun put together, we had a potluck on the beach in front of one of the houses the guests rented.
Since our job was to capture the whole feel of the week (not just the wedding day), we got to join in on this party (and many others) and reap all the benefits that being guests at a Hawaii wedding has to offer!
For Scottie, one of these main benefits was volleyball. A bunch of Shaun’s friends (including Shaun himself) have either played professional volleyball at one point, or have played so well for so long that they might as well be professional.
This was great news to Scottie who has been looking forward to the day for awhile now where he could play with serious volleyball players again. So of course he saw his chance and jumped in for like a 4 hour or something volleyball showdown (that happened to take place in front of this beautiful mountain backdrop of course).
He held his own too I might add, I was pretty proud of him for busting out all his latent sporting skills (we’ve both re-discovered a lot of our forgotten skills since we’ve been out from behind our computers for over 3 weeks straight now)!
After Scottie played a game involving Katy he said “When she was playing all I could think about was that scene in ‘Meet the Parents’ where the bride gets hit in the face with a volleyball the day before her wedding.” Thankfully, Katy’s nose was still in tact by the end of the game… but I thought that was pretty funny commentary all the same!
Scottie also jumped into another event that I politely declined (more like bolted in the other direction and pretended not to hear as soon as the words “5:30 am” came out of Shaun’s mouth) and that was a spectacular sunrise hike.
Scottie didn’t escape as quickly as me and since Shaun is one of those people who could convince you to get up at 5 am for a root canal you don’t need, Scottie found himself lacing up his boots and heading up a mountain in the dark early the next morning.
For as good of a “motivator” as Shaun is, he proved to be every bit as honest because once they were at the top, Scottie saw as much beauty as Shaun had promised and more.
And yet, I can say in all honesty that I’m still glad I slept in that morning (am I lame or what?!).
Another thing I slept through (in this group you’d think I was a freak for needing to sleep EVERY night!) was golf day…
But that’s OK I’m holding on to my pride because of my volleyball shots… and just wait until you see my wedding pics!
We have a little healthy competition going on between us if you can’t tell. Good job Scottie, I’m proud of the freaking amazing pictures you took this week… and the next 3 photos are my favorite series from our entire trip.
Ha ha, those crack me up. :-) Oh and to end the story, don’t worry… brown shirt guy changed his shirt the next day and found he had friends again!
Anyways, I heard the golfing was a ton of fun and everyone came back with awesome raccoon eye sunburns to prove it!
So now that you all think I’m stupid and lazy for missing such cool morning events… I will say that I got my fill of late night activities! Starting with a “beach crawl” which is basically a pub crawl but with beach houses instead of pubs.
Each house that the guests were staying at had a different theme for their drinks and appetizers that somehow fit the story of Katy and Shaun (for example the last house was occupied by all Katy’s college friends so the theme was “college” and they served lots of beer, jungle juice, and pizza). The grand finale of the beach crawl was to end up at the bar where Shaun’s band was playing that night.
Shaun says that when he thought about what he wanted to do in Hawaii the week of his wedding the first thing he thought was, “well I’ll do what I love… I’ll play with my band”.
He told us this months and months ago and he’s been looking forward to it ever since.
There are no words to describe how much I loved this band.
(By the way, you can like our page on Facebook to tag yourself in some of the photos).
Lets just say that as I sat there listening to a particular song in which Max (one of the groomsmen) was smoothly rapping in Portuguese (at least that’s what language I heard someone say it was)…
…that was packed full of their friends swaying to the music and laughing…
…I had another moment where I considered pinching myself to make sure this incredible moment in life was really happening.
So even with all the amazingness that gushed out of these events, I’m still not done telling you about this week of wedding events. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you everything since including all of it would work better for a great book rather than one measly blog post and I know you are probably all reading this at work and are starting to get nervous that your boss might walk in…that’s right, we have analytics that tells us you all look at our stuff during work hours!
Scottie is actually going to write about the final event (so it will be much shorter!) which is the Groom’s dinner that was held on deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. If you do a quick scan of your brain to find your old high school history lessons (it’s right there past the lyrics to every Bon Jovi song ever written and the phone number to your secret crush’s parent’s house) you’ll find that this is the ship on which the Japanese soldiers stood 65 years ago when they signed the document of their surrender at the end of WWII. It’s a huge piece of history that most people tour during the day… but we got to party on it at night! Of course an experience like this doesn’t slip past us without some once in a lifetime photos coming out of it (and I didn’t sleep through this one!)! See the photos on our blog about the Groom’s Dinner HERE.
If I had to sum up all the events of this week would be to say that even If I decided to make up this entire blog with a fictional story about the week, I couldn’t have written this week any better than it actually happened.
The people, the places, the activities… all of it was just so so SO perfect!
Katy and Shaun, you were the incredible dreamers behind all this and I hope that it was all you wanted and more! We tried all week to tell you how much your wedding meant to us (and there is still so much to that story that we’ll have to tell you when we come visit you in Venice one day soon) so we hope this blog has helped at least give you some idea about how much we really do mean that!
We love you guys and we’re so excited to post the blog about your wedding day very, very soon!
(There are many more photos from all the events to view and purchase. Click here to see ALL the photos from Katy and Shaun’s Hawaii wedding week events!)
Scottie and I are at the age when everyone around us has babies… and second babies… and toddlers… and third babies!
And with all these babies comes baby pictures!
A lot of my cousins are having kids now and we’ve been doing a lot of photo sessions for them to capture this period in their lives.
We’ve been doing so much of it, that we’ve gotten behind blogging about all the sessions so I’d figure I’d catch us up all at once!
Madeline’s big brother Jack is having to get used to having a new baby in the house so we made sure to make him feel included in picture day and get a few shots of him as well.
Awhile later we did photos for my cousin Amy and her little girl, Tatum.
Tatum is the ultimate girly girl…
…so we thought a super girly tea party was the way to go for her picture day!
As you can see, Tatum LOVES the camera.
…and pretending to be a model so we got quite a few shots of her teaching her mom the runway walk.
I could hardly take the pictures I was laughing so hard!
Our whole family always tells me (Breanna) how much Tatum reminds them of me when I was little. I have to admit that I too was an ultra girly girl.
So of course as soon as Tatum and I get some camera time together, we take full advantage to have a little super model photo shoot.
Recently we did a session for our cousins’ Ashley and Tyler and their baby, Cayden.
We combined the session with our cousins’ Bethany and Brandon’s baby girl, Rylie.
We had people talking, kids yelling, dogs barking, and babies crying.
It was a mad house with so many of us there… but it was SO much fun!
We were so glad we combined the session because we were able to get photos of the kids together.
There is one family member left that we still have to schedule a formal session with (although we take plenty of pictures of her when we’re just hanging out)… that’s our niece, Kylee. Even though we haven’t done a session with my brother Paul and his wife Anna’s beautiful little girl, we have had our fun with her! We were testing out some of photobooth props one day awhile back when my (Breanna’s) mom happened to be over with little Kylee so of course we had to do a little experimenting with them!
In fact, there will be many more photos of all the kids as they continue to grow (at quite an alarming rate I might add!). We are so blessed to have a family that we love so much who all still live in the same city! We’re so thankful that we get to be around to watch everyone in this next generation grow up! Thanks for so many fun sessions guys!
When I got the email from James and Heather to do baby pictures for them, it took me a second to realize where I recognized their names from.
Oh yeah! We worked with them through Apartment Life awhile ago! If you haven’t heard of Apartment Life, well then just keep reading because I’m going to tell you about it! Apartment Life is an organization that trains up teams and pairs them with apartment complexes where the team lives and plans community events as a way to assist the management and get to know the residents, with the ultimate goal of extending help and care to the residents in whatever way they need it at the time.
We made so many good friends through Apartment Life and Heather and James are 2 of them! Scottie and I were a team at an apartment complex in Mesa and Heather and James were a team at the same time as us at a complex just down the road.
The reason we got to know them as well as we did is because their complex was very similar to ours (low income families) with similar challenges so we did a lot of idea sharing back and forth with one another.
Scottie and I fulfilled our commitment awhile back and the only contact we’ve had with Heather and James since then was in the Facebook realm (they’re big fans of Radiant’s page) so we were totally excited when we got their email asking us to take pictures of their newborn (whom we didn’t even know existed!).
Their baby was beautiful! She was a great little model too since she mostly just laid their all cozy on her blanket…
… with the occasional screaming.
Which is not a big deal because I’m pretty convinced that babies have a secret code of honor amongst each other that says they have to cry for a certain amount of time on picture day… it’s just the law.
I always like to sneak in a few photos of crying babies anyways just because that’s part of life and it’s something parents will never get to see again once their kids are grown up!
But for the most part, she was an angel…
…and she was even patient while we sat around in the middle of her session, talking with her parents to get caught up on life!
Heather and James, it was great to see you… congratulations on your new baby girl!
Click to see the rest of the photos of Heather and James’ new little addition!
As I waved goodbye to Maureen on graduation day, I knew I would see her again.
What I didn’t know was what circumstances it would be under!
Maureen and I (Breanna) were friends all through high school. We ate lunch together every day, walked to classes together, and watched each other stress out over tests, boys (all in vain of course since neither of us ended up with any of the boys we knew in high school) and all the normal high school stuff.
We lost touch for awhile after high school since there was once a time (though I know it’s hard to remember what it was like) when Facebook wasn’t around. Of course after Facebook’s world take over, Maureen and I found each other and Maureen also found Radiant Photography’s Facebook page (take a second to like our page if you haven’t already!).
She quickly became one of our biggest fans, commenting on new sessions we put up and sending every one of her engaged friends our way. So when the time came for Maureen to be the one with the ring on her finger she called us before she even set the date just so she could pick a day that we were available!
We met with her and Matt (and we loved him by the way!) and then we headed up to Matt’s family cabin in Payson for the weekend to do their engagement session in the cool mountain air!
Matt and Maureen treated us to a fabulous weekend in the pines, complete with elaborate home cooked meals and a very plush room for us to stay in!
We had a fantastic time relaxing and exploring with them. Not to mention Maureen and I took full advantage of our time together to catch up on all the “who’s doing what now” stuff from our high school (our men were both patient with us while we threw names of people they didn’t know back and forth).
To kick off our photo session, we shot a couple of photos around the cabin and then headed up to the rim.
As always the rim was stunning, and the post-rain feel made it even more beautiful than usual.
We took our time up there and shot photos until our trigger fingers couldn’t trigger anymore.
Then we headed over to Willow Springs lake to capture a little sunset reflecting in the lake.
Everywhere on the rim looks amazing after it rains and the lake was no exception.
The clouds were fantastic and the sun would peak out at just the right moments.
Not to mention the sunset looked more like a forest fire that day than just regular color in the sky.
This is one of those sessions where we’re just dying to take all the credit, but secretly we know it was all just our luck with the weather and the beautiful sky it brought.
Not to mention, Maureen and Matt were perfect together. We have so many great photos of them interacting together and having fun. Again, we can’t pat ourselves on the back for that one… it was all them. They just chose to relax and be normal in front of the camera, and it worked out in their favor for sure!
Thanks so much to you both for giving us such a fabulous weekend, you treated us like royalty and we milked every minute of it! We’re so so so SO excited to shoot your wedding! I can’t believe I get to not only see my old high school friend walk down the aisle, but actually be a part of the event as well. Thanks for connecting us, Facebook, I love you too!
Click to see the rest of the photos from Maureen and Matt’s beautiful Payson photo session!