Kyle + Sara :: An Intimate, Evening Wedding in Paterson, NJ

People might tell you that Instagram (and social media in general) is a waste of time, and that virtual friends aren’t real friends.
I don’t quite buy into that, because some of the sweetest friends I’ve ever made started out as virtual friendships!  Of course, it takes discernment … but I’m not going to talk about that in a post strictly dedicated to all things MUSHY LOVE STORIES and weddings. 😉

I would like to introduce you to Sara and Kyle, the sweetest virtual-turned-real friends. <3

 

Sara found me on Instagram because I shot one of her friends weddings, and I knew right from the start that we would be a good fit.  I was also walking through engagement at that time, so we were able to relate on many wedding planning issues!

It was such a joy to fly up to New Jersey and capture her and Kyle’s wedding day.  Enjoy a few of my favorite photographs!

I want to take a moment here to share a little bit of a photographers perspective!

Most photographers internally groan when they arrive to a session or a wedding, and find that the lighting is terrible.  It’s no different than any other job … there are certain key things you need in order to be able to provide the desired finished project.  However, the photography and wedding industry has played upon this need and created a completely unnecessary shaming factor.  Photographers are afraid to post an image on Instagram if it wasn’t shot in a white room with lots of natural light.  Somehow, it doesn’t meet the required “aesthetic.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I love a good white room with high ceilings and lots of windows! #swoon
However, I know that finding a venue like that isn’t a reality for most brides, and that shouldn’t change the quality of their finished wedding gallery!  Maybe the getting ready room isn’t bright + white + well lit, but that doesn’t mean that their story can’t be captured just like anyone else’s!

I shot several weddings this past year where there was little to no natural light, and frankly, I’m glad.  I don’t want to be a photographer who is only comfortable shooting images like 50,000 others in the industry.  What has happened to creativity?  What has happened to story telling?  As a photographer, my job is not to capture images that earn the worlds approval, but instead, to capture images that tell my clients story!  White or dark, colorful or pastel, classic or funky … I tell stories because I love the people behind the stories, and the different aspects of a wedding day just add to the charm.

No, I’m not saying hotel rooms are my favorite places to shoot.  Ice cream is my favorite, but I still love finding yummy ways to cook broccoli.  Get it?! 😉

Okay, okayyyyy … officially swooning!

This was my second time shooting at this venue, and I just have to say that I love it more each time!  There is a lot going on between all the glass and décor, but it gives everything such a natural and intimate feel.

Also, I LOVE that Kyle + Sara had games for all the guests to play together!  There were countless rounds of Jenga, with lots of laughter to match.  And look at that gorgeous chess set!!

Such joy!

Kyle + Sara, thank you for trusting me to capture your wedding and for sharing your little corner of New Jersey with me!  The weather might not have exactly cooperated, but that didn’t dampen your joy or love.  Congratulations again and here’s to many, many happy years together! <3

With a smile,
Olivia Marie

Conrad + Rachel :: A Woodsy Wedding in Half Moon Bay, CA

Conrad and Rachel are definitely kindred spirits.  The first time I met them, I kind of accidentally invited myself to Rachel’s parents house … well wait, let me start this story at the beginning. 😉

Last summer, I was visiting California to assist a friend with a wedding, and I found myself with two extra days, so I decided to look around and see who I could find in the Bay Area that would let me crash with them for a  few days and explore San Francisco.  It just so happened that Rachel’s sister-in-law, Taylor, was in the same online ministry group as me.  I had never met her, but I figured that if she loved Jesus she was probably safe to be-friend, so I messaged her and asked if it would be okay to stay with her and her husband.

Taylor and her husband Michael didn’t have a spare room, so they offered to let me stay with Rachel’s parents, who lived in the apartment above them.   Rachel’s parents made me feel right at home, playing board games together late into the evening and sharing their snacks with me.  During the two days I had there, Michael and Taylor invited Rachel, and her then boyfriend Conrad, to join us, and together we explored the West Coast, the Golden Gate Bridge, the official Ghirardelli store, Pier 39, and countless other places. Needless to say, we had a blast and I was so glad for my new found CA friends!

I was also privileged to hear Conrad and Rachel’s cute love story over In-And-Out fries.  The perfect mix 😉

Less than a year later, I saw that Rachel + Conrad got engaged and I was over the moon excited for them …. and immensely honored that they asked me to shoot their wedding!

What a joy it was to head back to California and spend a weekend with their family and friends!! We picked up right where we left off, and even though there were a few mishaps leading up to the wedding day, the beginning of their marriage could not have been more perfect.
I love you two!!

Here are a few of my favorite photographs from their beautiful wedding! <3

While I took Conrad’s and Rachels portraits, their family and friends played a couple friendly rounds of poker.  The winner had bragging rights, and all the cash went to the newlyweds honeymoon fund!  I was in love with this fun idea that is a win-win for everyone involved! 😉

 

Ending the day with a prayer that included all of the guests.  I can’t think of a better way to start a new marriage!

Conrad + Rachel –

CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN! I am thrilled for you two, and so honored to have been a part of your big day.

With a smile,
Olivia Marie

Conner + Emily // Engagement Session, Burlington, NC

Conner and Emily.  They are a one of a kind, head-over-heels-in-love young couple and I could photograph them allllllll day long.  Between their jokes and laughter, starry eyes, and adorable love story …

Emily didn’t like Conner, 
Emily still didn’t like Conner, 
Emily was sure she would never like Conner, 
Conner was determined to make Emily like him, 
but Emily still didn’t like Conner …

Emily was okay with Conner, 
Emily started confiding in Conner, 
Emily decided Conner could be her friend, 
Emily determined that Conner would be her best friend …

And Conner said “ABOUT TIME, NOW THAT I HAVE TO LEAVE AND GO TO BOOTCAMP.” 😉

They still debate over who said “I love you” first.  It was one of those hurried phone calls where they only had a few minutes to talk, and when they said their quick goodbyes, Conner swears Emily said “I love you” so he said it back.  Emily is sure that she only said “I miss you” and was shocked to hear Conner say “I love you” in return.

However, neither of them debate the fact that long distance relationships are hard. (I can attest to that!!!)  They wrote each other love letters every single day, even though Conner sometimes got in trouble for staying up late writing letters in the bathroom or under his covers.  Extra pushups didn’t deter him though! 😉

Conner and Emily brought some of their love letters to their engagement session and asked if we could incorporate them in some of the photographs.  I don’t think my fangirling was *obvious*, but it was intense. YES YES YES YES. Watching them crack up as they read mushy things they had written over the past year made my heart smile with joy.  Their love story is truly unique, and it has the goodness of God written all over it!

You know your clients are winners when they run – pun intended 😉 – with your wild ideas.

Even if that means falling into the thorn patch, and not letting that dampen the spirit of fun.

Real winners, you guys. <3

I often get asked if I encourage my couples to bring several outfit changes to their engagement session, and my answer is, “hands down, yes!”   I love it when my couples bring several of their favorite outfits.  You get several different looks and a varied gallery for such minimal effort, so what is there to lose?

Also.  Can we appreciate Conner’s humor? I had side stitches at times!

Would you just look at those adorable smiles!

Conner and Emily, you are true gems.  Thank you ever so much for your trust in me, and your sweet friendship.  Here’s to so many more memories, laughs, visits and years of celebration!!

Kris + Tiffany :: Dallas, Texas

These two look like newlyweds, but don’t be fooled! 

Let’s all face it … Kris and Tiffany are one of the most adorable married-for-eight-years-and-have-three-little-boys couple’s that you and I have ever seen.  If it wasn’t so cliche, I would definitely label them as “couple goals.”
I know that I am unable to talk from experience, but after witnessing my parents 28 years of wedded bliss, I also know that marriage is supposed to be fun.  Kris and Tiffany kept me laughing with their impeccable humor.  Well, actually, Kris was the one who kept making the jokes and dishing out the humor, while Tiffany and I laughed. 😉
 The way they related to each other was priceless, and I found myself once again so grateful for another beautiful example of Biblical marriage in my life.

I have decided that I am a huge – make that HUGE – fan of shooting at coffee shops.  And when I say “coffee shop”, I don’t mean your local Starbucks.  To be fair, I have spent many, many hours in Starbucks, editing and sipping my caramel macchiatos and that works quite well for a business woman.  But when I am shooting in a coffee shop, I look for the character and personality that only the locally owned, hometown coffee shops provide. Most of them smell amazing, and their vibe is perfect for my coffee-loving clients … and who am I kidding, me as well 😉

Speaking of personality, this coffee shop had enough charisma to pack a few punches.  When I pulled in, I noticed the string lights and ivy first.  I walked around the building, and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the old bus.  Even better, there was no rope or ‘keep out’ sign, HALLELUJAH. I immediately texted Tiffany and said,
“GOSH. GET EXCITED BECAUSE THIS COFFEE SHOP IS SO CUTE!!” 

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Kris and Tiffany had some good natured chuckles over my text, but when they pulled in, they too were blown away by all the cute options we had to work with!  And while I’m back home wishing I could be there shooting again, I am sure they will be visiting and smiling at each other over their coffee in my absence.  Totally understandable.  I’d be back in a hurry!

For those of you who ever visit Dallas, you should add Davis Street Espresso to your sightseeing list!

This photograph is one of my ultimate favorites.  Not only does the B&W make it feel so classy, but it also encapsulates all of my favorite things in life … laughter, love, tenderness, hearth + home, family, sunshine, and pure values.  Okay, maybe I am letting my imagination run a little, but I think J.R.R.Tolkien summed it up beautifully when he penned,
“If more of us valued food (read, coffee) and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

When Tiffany told me that their style was more hipster, and that they would love to have that kind of vibe in their session, I was over the moon excited. Their outfits were on fleek, and not only complimented each other, but their locations as well!

Never underestimate the power
of a black and white photograph.

It can turn just another beautiful photo, in a source
of tears, joy, and nostalgic memories for generations.

Upon seeing this cool wall, Kris immediately asked if we could stop and utilize his find.  I love their spontaneity.  They are by faaaaar one of the easiest couples I have ever worked with, and I could shoot their adorable faces every week.  Plus, they have three cute boys to boot, so we are working on getting them in front of my lens as well! I foresee another Dallas trip soon 😉

Kris and Tiffany, the pleasure is all mine.  Can’t wait to meet again, and talk oils, health, coffee, little boys, and all things love stories! Thank you for your friendship – you guys are one in a million!

XOXO, Olivia Marie