My weekend job is being a photographer and a dream watcher. I love to see people live out their dreams and to help them capture the moment to remember it forever. I even travel for the opportunity to do this… as you can see by my title: Longview, Texas! Longview is a long way from Austin in the Northeast piney woods, but Tara and Tyler were worth the drive!
Tara is my second 19 year old bride to capture. It doesn’t seem so young to me because I was 19 when I met my husband… but it is still hard to imagine that I have kids who are almost this age.
Tara and Tyler had a fairytale wedding with a modern, rustic, quirky, casual twist. I’m not sure if that makes it a proper redneck wedding, but it was a blast, either way.
Tara had five bridesmaids. That was a nice number. Three of them were her cousins; two of whom I consider my nieces even though we are not related by blood. The entire time I was shooting the wedding I was imagining having to take photos again and again for each of these girls… crying the whole time… and for my two teens.
It seems like yesterday when they all (my kids and these girls) were bouncing babies, playing together with toys on a blanket on the floor! How does it happen so fast? Time is a strange force. Slow when you are waiting, fast when you are having fun, and light speed when you are raising children.
Tara’s colors were coral and a seafoam green – which seem to be rather popular ones lately. She had the girls pick out what looked best and they all looked lovely walking down the aisle.
I went with the girls to pick out shoes for their dresses, earlier that day, too. Tara, however, didn’t want to wear any shoes. You heard that right. She went down the aisle and spent most of the rest of the day BAREFOOT.
She even danced barefoot at the reception!
As you can imagine at a 19 year old’s wedding, the guys were young and crazy. They arrived on the back of a pick up-truck and piled in to the tiny “red rooster room” at Miss Mary’s Place to get into their suits. This is what they looked like before getting ready:
And this was after:
They clean up nice, no?
Dress clothes or not, they were still going to be their cut-up selves. I’ll not mention some of the conversation between these best friends as I was trying to get this shot!
Tara wore her lovely rings and some borrowed jewelry from Aunt Paula. I thought that was a fabulous way to save money, rather than going to buy jewelry you might never wear again just for your wedding day. Tara saved a lot of money on the wedding by working with her sweet mama to plan the event and Aunt Paula and Johnnie did such a great job with everything!
Mom and dad really wanted Tara to have a special day, and I think it was fantastic and classy – even though the rustic and casual elements ran throughout the day: barn wedding, barefoot bride, and pizza as the main dish! Who doesn’t love pizza?!
I love weddings that have unique and interesting things for me to take photos of. I don’t know if I’ll ever have another pizza and barefoot wedding, but it was super fun! I guess not everyone is as laid back and COOL as Tara. She’s going to be a great mom – just like Johnnie (who was the mom whose house was the one every teen in the neighborhood flocked to)!
Tara’s wedding cake was simple yet elegant and the topper was cute. I got to capture the happy couple sharing their first bite of cake, and probably the very first fight of their married life. You know how most wedding cakes begin with a little bit of icing being smeared on someone’s nose? Well this went much farther than that. It was almost as bad as a Sesame Street Pie-in-the-Face episode. I thought she was going to kill him right then and there. I even considered deleting this image, since it isn’t very flattering, but it was a moment I’m sure she’ll want to keep – and remind him of when she wants to get him to say yes about something – for years to come!
It took them nearly fifteen minutes to clean her up before they could toast. To her credit, he’s still breathing. I am not sure my husband would have made it after a stunt like that.
Aunt Paula did a beautiful job of topping each table in the event barn with these chalk sign vase arrangements. I loved how they came together with the faux crystal beads they sprinkled on the tablecloths and the peach colored roses. Crystal beads and twinkle lights (like the ones Miss Mary’s Place string all over their grounds) make for lovely bokeh.
Another thing that made this wedding special was the fact that Tara wanted to do a first TOUCH instead of a first look. We had the groom blindfolded and brought her in so that they could stand on either side of a door and touch hands and pretend to kiss. Such a cute idea. I’m sure I’ll see a lot of this as time goes on in the wedding photography business. Even if you don’t let go of some traditions, there are other interesting ways to have special moments if you use some creativity.
Tara’s wall centerpiece for the mantle was an anchor. I thought that was very fitting. The decor was perfect. T&T was a perfect touch. I though it was sweet that Tara’s dad was the one who stayed up late painting and glitter-coating the T’s. Even guys can get their DIY on.
I captured a few perfect moments during the event as well (this one was a favorite). Mama moments make this mama’s heart break – considering how I’ll be the mother of a groom, and a bride for that matter, within the next few years.
I’m so glad Aunt Paula was able to get me on Johnnie’s radar for the wedding because I so loved being a part of the whole weekend. Paula is one of my oldest and sweetest friends. I love how she’s taken me in to her family. We have spent many holidays together and our kids have grown up practically as cousins. Friends are the family you get to pick!
Paula and Johnnie helped me learn about how much work goes in to organizing a wedding. I know photographers work hard, but they “take the cake”! It was a crazy, fun, and stressful time, but will always be such a happy memory for all of them… and for me. Note: Paula and Johnnie, you might want to get ready because I’ll be calling you when I have to be the one doing all the event planning in the future!!!
During the ceremony, a sign was set out in honor and memory of those who had passed away that weren’t able to attend. I thought this was one of the best wedding ideas I had seen – especially for those who have lost parents and grandparents in the recent past.
I tried out my new variable polarizing filter in some of the procession shots because of the harsh sunlight going down the aisle. I loved the way this one came out of cousin Anna and Frankie. He walked his cousin down the aisle at his sister’s wedding and left for boot camp the very same weekend. Talk about a lot to deal with for a mama’s heart in one weekend! I don’t know how Johnnie was so put together – she weathered it well.
Even though this wasn’t a photo of the bride, this is one of my favorite images from the entire day. This handsome little guy is Paula’s grandson – and I could just eat him up! He certainly had his pick of pretty girls to flirt with all day!
I can never tire of taking photos of pretty bridal parties, bridesmaids and flowers. This particular bridal gown really gave me trouble, though. Every chance it had in the shade, it seemed to turn blue. After a while, Tara had the tulle fabric of her dress full of tiny grasshoppers, too… and we finally gave up picking them out and let her go change.
The guys were antsy to get out of their dress clothes, too. Can’t blame them. It was a Texas late summer wedding, after all. It is a wonder all of us didn’t melt.
The last step was to make it official. Signing the marriage license with the preacher. He did such a good job officiating. I love old fashioned Christian weddings.
My grandma always said that the best thing about heaven was there would be no paperwork. After paying bills for all of my adult life, I think that’ll be better than the pearl gates or streets of gold.
Tara had planned for the guys to do a superhero reveal under their dress clothes, but they didn’t have jackets and it wasn’t working with the white shirts. The next best thing seemed to be to just have them all wear their t-shirts anyway and pose for a photo. Good luck getting boys to pose for photos after they’ve been cooped up in dress clothes all day. They would hardly stand still.
Tara was super-woman. She earned that cape for putting up with all their shenanigans.
Another sweet tradition that Tara’s family has is the grandparents giving a gift to the couple first. Tara’s grandpa gave her a photo of her that had been on their mantle all while she was growing up. It made it extra sweet to think that her little baby she’s planning for right now might look just like the little girl in that picture. I remember putting a baby picture of my husband and one of me on my desk while I was pregnant the first time. I was so excited to see what “our little person” would look like. I’m sure she feels the same.
Tara looked like a princess in her gown.
But it was the sign of a successful night when mama was finally able to help her out of it. Good memories made. Way to go, mama! What an awesome gift you’ve given your only daughter. I was so happy to be a small part of it. Can’t wait to see all these images and more in the photo book we created together this past few weeks!
Even the exit for the wedding was unique… Tara wanted glowsticks instead of sparklers. She wanted to make sure no one caught on fire and everyone had a glowing reminder of her and Tyler’s special night after they got in the getaway car and disappeared. Glowsticks are always a hit. We found plenty of good uses for them as we tidied up and finished off what was left in the chocolate fountain.
All in all, I’d say Tara and Tyler’s day was a smash hit! I loved taking pictures for her. I’m excited to do another wedding this weekend in College Station, Texas! Another barn wedding, to be exact. My senior daughter is backing me up as second shooter as part of her photography homeschooling credit. I can’t wait to have more pretty pictures to share with you all soon.
What was your favorite image from this set? I’d love to hear your pick and why!