As the saying goes, home is where the heart is. It's where your people are. Where LEGOs are spread out across the living room floor. Where beautiful art sits side-by-side with kid-created masterpieces. Where laughter and silliness and the craziness of family happens on a daily basis. Yes, I'd agree -- that's surely where the heart is.
This was a wedding I left and replayed so many moments over in my mind: the time her dad cried when he saw her for the first time in her wedding dress, and the proud look on her mom's face all day. The way the bridesmaids were so excited for Ashley, and made the day all about celebrating their relationship. Bryce's sweet and oh-so-happy reaction to seeing his bride. The priest's message on marriage. The K-State themes sprinkled throughout the day. Bryce's brother and best man's rap toast that had everyone laughing, but wiping away tears by the end (a true toast success -- and I've seen a lot of toasts). The couple's first dance, where they looked so happy and Ashley's elegance really shone through. And the gorgeous Kansas sunset over the hills at the winery. Such a good day.
They started and ended the day at Liquid Art Winery in Manhattan, Kansas. Their ceremony was at St. Isidore's Catholic Church. Special thanks to Meghan Tuttle for second shooting with me!
There is nothing quite like the first weeks of new parenthood. Everything changes, yet somehow quickly feels as thought this is what life has always been like. How you can't remember a time before this perfect little (yet sleep-depriving) human being lived in your home and heart. I love getting to document first-time parents in their home with their new little love. This shoot with baby Leah was so sweet, and she is one blessed little girl to be born into a family with such wonderful parents. I think they'd say the same about her.
Jamie and Calvin said their vows in the field right next to the farmhouse they've been working on, making it their first home. They were surrounded by a huge group of family and friends, and the whole day was obviously such a labor of love. Personal touches were everywhere, with so many hands working to make the day happen. From wooden structures that were handmade by Jamie's dad, to succulents carefully planted and ribbons tied by groups of women, to bouquets arranged, cupcakes made, and food prepared by family members and close family friends -- in every detail, the love everyone has for Jamie and Calvin was so evident. I loved capturing this day for such sweet people in such a beautiful and personal location. :) Added bonus: Jeff and the boys got to come and enjoy the party as well.
Congratulations, Jamie and Calvin! Here is a preview into your day:
While there's something so lovely about a great classic family portrait in a beautiful natural setting (and those have great value), I always think well into the future about what images are going to mean the most to my children when they're grown. I think it's the same kind of images that mean the most to be now that I'm an adult -- the images that transport me back to a place and time and a fleeting moment of family life. The images that tell a story of silliness, sweetness, fun, play, love, and home. When we photograph a family at home, it can sometimes feel a little crazy for the family -- and I know and love that about the process. I don't know about you, but my home is often a little crazy. Kids are running, playing, talking loudly. The treasure that lies in documenting a family at home is the ability to capture those in-between moments that we just can't do well with our iPhone (or don't have time to do in the busy day-to-day). I loved how much personality came out in this family session, because their kids were so comfortable in the environment -- their home!
I love photographing families in their homes. I feel like I say that all the time, but it's so true. I love it because of course, with all family photos, the people are special. It's especially fun to photograph those special people in a place that also has meaning. Where the walls hold their daily stories and the shelves house memories in the form of keepsakes, old photographs, and books. The place where the mundane meets the magical. Day in, day out.
I recently got to capture some sweet friends of ours in their home. A home they so lovingly have made their own -- every detail, every space becoming one that feels like them. It was such a treat.
Note: this story is not an easy one, especially for parents who may have experienced infant loss of any kind. However, it is a powerful one of miracles and hope.
On December 13, 2017, I got a phone call from Ashley. We had photographed and filmed her and Gustavo's wedding, and taken newborn photos of their daughter Belén. Most recently, we had run into them at Costco and heard they were expecting their second baby. On the day she called, though, it wasn't with news anyone expects. She was about 37 weeks pregnant and had lost their baby. Earlier that morning, she hadn't felt the baby move and she went in to the hospital to have things checked out. They told her there was no fetal movement and they couldn't find a heartbeat. Ashley asked if I would come to the hospital to take newborn photos after the stillbirth. I agreed.
Ashley then labored for about 36 hours. During that time, they grieved with their families, and planned a funeral. I arrived at the hospital the next evening and waited in the waiting room for them to call me back. A baby girl was born with no heartbeat and no pulse. A nurse placed her on Ashley's chest, skin-to-skin. About 10 minutes went by when the baby girl gasped for air. A natural reflex, they said. And then she did it again. And again. Ashley's doctor and nurse responded quickly, and felt a faint pulse. The respiratory team was dispatched and rushed into the room, resuscitating Ana Sofía -- a baby girl, fighter, miracle, gift from God.
The video below shares some of that story. It shows the moments in the delivery room right after Ana Sofía was rushed to the NICU. It shows her 3 days later, at Children's Mercy, undergoing therapeutic hypothermia to try and restore brain function after the lack of oxygen for so long. And it shows her a few weeks later, just after the new year, still in the NICU but obviously growing and exceeding expectations. And it shows her a few months later, at home with her family.
The road still holds a lot of unknowns. She has some hearing loss, but not the profound hearing loss they once believed. She will likely face cerebal palsy, but the effects are unknown. She is already moving, laughing, babbling, responding, and bringing light and love to everyone she meets. You can see it in her eyes. She is a light. A miracle. A gift.
Her dad, Gustavo, said something to me three days after her birth, while the prognosis was still very unknown, that I can't ever forget. About the future, he said: "I cannot be afraid, because I have seen God in my daughter."
Click the image below to play the video.
Marisa and Robby's wedding day in Kansas City was a chilly, cloudy early spring day -- but the mood was anything but dreary. All day, the excitement and anticipation was so evident. We loved how relationships were front and center throughout the day, and it was so obvious why: Marisa and Robby value people. From their nieces and nephews, to their friends, to their siblings and parents, to the family who traveled in to celebrate with them -- these are people who both love well and are loved well.
Marisa and the gals got ready at a lovely and historic Airbnb in midtown Kansas City. I loved the bay window and the soft light streaming through as she got ready. Then, she went to see Robby for the first time at the Nelson-Atkins Museum before heading to the church, Christ Community in Brookside. Their ceremony was officiated by their brothers-in-law -- one from each side of the family -- and it was so personal, special, and heartfelt. We loved watching them glance at each other all throughout the ceremony, and we loved hearing from people who know them so well (something we're so excited to bring to life in their video!). Their reception was a fun party -- full of kids and families! -- at The Beck Event Space.
Marisa and Robby, thank you for trusting us with your wedding day story. We are so thrilled for you!
Happiness. Just overflowing with happiness. That's what Maile and Patrick's shoot was -- it was absolutely obvious how much these two love each other and how much fun they have together. It's so evident in the photos, too. Maile and Patrick love the outdoors and being in nature (including hunting together), but also wanted to showcase the city they call home with a classic Kansas City skyline backdrop. We did both, and it was the perfect late afternoon session that extended just after the sun set over the city. Here are just a few of my favorites of these two lovebirds. We can't wait for their wedding next fall!
There are certain kinds of couples that have so much joy when they're together that nothing can dampen it. Summer and Peter are that kind of couple. When I met them, I instantly connected with their joy for life, the way they loved one another, how they spoke about their sons, and what they valued for their wedding day. They care about people. They care about recognizing the people who are part of their story. And they care about capturing authentic, real moments that help tell that story. So no amount of rain or chilly weather could affect their day, and I was so thankful to get to experience this with them.
I started the day with the ladies at the Ambassador Hotel downtown, which just so happens to have the same address (1111) as their wedding date (11/11). From the hotel, we walked -- in the rain! -- to the nearest streetcar stop and rode the streetcar to the River Market stop, which was just blocks from their venue, River Market Event Place. That walk in the rain will probably go down as one of the most memorable wedding experiences. Loved it (my hair, however, did not... ha ha).
They thought out all of their details so well and had the help of Events by Elle to pull off the coordination of the wedding. I loved the dictionary guestbook where guests searched for a word that described Summer and Peter and marked it in the book. I especially loved the time and thought that went into the couple writing every single guest at the wedding a note to explain why they were there and what they mean to them. It was one of the most thoughtful ways to show appreciation I've seen. And of course, I loved the energy and fun their sons brought to the wedding -- and enjoyed the challenge of watching for their personalities to shine through in candid moments throughout the day.
Summer and Peter, thank you for trusting me with your story. It's a beautiful one.
Jessica and Jake's wedding in her hometown on Manhattan, Kansas, was an overcast yet pretty fall day. Their ceremony at St. Thomas More Catholic Church was FULL of flowers by Steve's Floral. I'm not sure a church has ever smelled so beautiful! I loved the white flower backdrop to their vows. After the ceremony, we went to the Top of the World park -- Jessica said she wanted classic Kansas views, and that's what we got. :) Their cocktail hour and reception were at Colbert Hills and everyone enjoyed a really fun party! We loved the sweet family moments that happened all throughout the day. It is very apparent just how loved Jessica and Jake are! Congratulations!!
The Nelson is one of my favorite locations in Kansas City. Fall is one of my favorite times of year. And capturing a sweet family (even on a freezing cold evening!) in the fall at the Nelson couldn't be better. :) Here's a sneak peek of this family's shoot!
Sara and Ben's wedding at The Brass on Baltimore was such a great day. Although thunderstorms loomed all day, the rain held off until everyone was safely inside partying the night away! Sara and Ben had such an elegant day, surrounded by their family and friends. I loved how it was formal, but not too formal for people to enjoy themselves. Beautiful, yet fun.
One of our favorite details was that Sara's dress was made by her friend and bridesmaid, Jovana Mirabile. We were actually able to film parts of the dress process and will feature that in their wedding video once it's ready! We were so excited to get to capture this day in photos and video.
Special thanks to my photography second shooter for the day, Jenny Shipley. Enjoy this sneak peek of Sara and Ben's big day!
It may have been misting on us, but that didn't stop anyone from having a fun, personality-filled family session. :) Love this family and all of the personalities packed into one house. Here's a sneak peek from their foggy morning session at Lakeside Nature Center.
During his speech at the reception, Nate shared that he had looked around the room and leaned over to Megan during dinner, saying: "All of these people here love us."
It was so true. And for good reason. Megan and Nate are both people who draw others to them. I'm not sure Nate has ever known a stranger, because to know him is to love him. I've had the privilege of knowing him since he was a 16-year-old, and watching him grow into who he is today has just been awesome. He's loyal, kind, wears his heart on his sleeve, and cares so deeply about those around him, especially Megan. Megan is warm, thoughtful, heartfelt, quick to smile, and fun-loving. Their wedding reflected all of those traits, from the thought they put into the tiny details (like making so many things themselves by hand! Or not forgetting the kids!) to the big things like where they'd say their vows, and the place they wanted to have everyone celebrate -- her family's farm just on the outskirts of Emporia, Kansas.
It was a perfect day for two people who deserved nothing less.
Big thank you to my second shooter Jamie Montalto (who, in a funny turn of events, was also a sorority sister of Megan's. Small world!).
Enjoy this peek into their wedding day.
I love getting to see families over the span of years. I remember when these boys were so little, and I did a shoot at their old house where they showed me their favorite toys, we made Christmas cookies, and so many sweet things... they were probably around the age of my boys now! It's crazy how time flies by. These brothers are just as funny as ever, and I loved getting to capture their personalities. Here's just a sneak peek at their session!
This day was all about personal touches, historical details, and celebrating family. Aleigh and Paul thought of everything. Their one-year-old son, Joey (who is the cutest!) was wearing an outfit that belonged to Paul when he was a baby. They got married in the church where (I think) 7 other couples on Paul's side of the family have gotten married -- what a tradition! Their reception had a Beatles cover band, because Aleigh LOVES the Beatles! They served pie from Rye (the groom's side family favorite dessert) and Betty Rae's ice cream (a favorite of Aleigh's late grandfather). To honor their wedding location at Loose Mansion and the Kansas City history that comes with it, all of their guests were given "lucky pennies" (Loose made investments in copper) and Hydrox cookies at the end of the night (Loose invented them).
Special thank you to my second shooter Jamie Montalto for her amazing work on this day. Some of her images are below. My favorites are the view from the back of the church as Aleigh, her mom, and Joey entered the ceremony!
Senior year for someone as talented as Lauren is an exciting time! She's balancing a busy volleyball schedule along with college visits and dreaming about future plans. I loved getting to capture some photos of her that help show her personality!
It all started with sandwiches, and a side of kindness. Sarah met Trey on her first day on the job at Jimmy John's, when Trey helped her feel at ease with a joke about socks and his easygoing nature. Six years later, they gathered with family and friends to celebrate in a very Sarah-and-Trey way: relaxed, yet beautiful. Sentimental, yet fun. Personal, yet partying. It was a happy happy day, made even more special by my own relationship with Sarah and her family (our parents are first cousins).
Enjoy this window into Sarah and Trey's wedding at Brookside Gardens in Kansas City, Missouri. I am loving reliving this day through photos!
When I was in the midst of newborn stage as a first time parent, everything was a blur. I just remember thinking nobody had prepared me for this. I mean, they did...sort of. But more in the "see all movies now while you can!" or "sleep while you have the chance!" kind of way. The pretty unhelpful way. People said our life would change. People said time would fly by so quickly. People said it was the sweetest time.
Now, I think I'm one of those people. Because our life did change -- in a million good and beautiful ways. And time does fly by so quickly -- our oldest is now over four, and I'm pretty sure I was just pregnant with him. And newborn stage was the sweetest time -- when they need you for EVERYTHING. In the moment, it's exhausting. Looking back, it's when the bonding began.
I love seeing new babies and new parents now, realizing that they're journeying through those same first moments together that begin it all. The journey of everything good, hard, beautiful, frustrating, worrisome, delighting, and unforgettable... parenthood. :)