Sessen + Jordan | Urban Engagement Photographer

Meet Sessen and Jordan. For those Memphians who hang at Avenue, you know this duo. In fact, you probably knew them before they were a duo. I met Sessen in passing at Avenue Coffee. Immediately I knew she was such a encouraging and high-spirited personality. In full 901 fashion, I also met Jordan at Avenue. We had some pretty nerdy camera gear chats! Seriously, when I found out these two were dating, it was a fo’sho thing.

And now!!! – After hanging out for a whole evening, it’s fo’sho a  FO’SHO thing. They compliment each other beautifully. I can see how comfortable and joyful they make each other. It’s evident through even the photos that they feel comfortable to be themselves together. I mean, long story short, Jordan and Sessen killed their shoot. I’m honored they chose me to capture this season of life- all the excitement, new love, and anticipation. The wedding is going to be a freakin’ awesome. Enough chat, just scroll!

 

And for your own humor. Or maybe for ours… I’ve included the behind-the-scenes below! OFFICIALLY, y’all are the freakin’ best, Sessen and Jordan. Let’s see what we can manage to pull off come wedding day! Haha

Emily + Brian | Interracial Memphis Wedding

I feel like I start every wedding blogpost with “Where do I begin?” But this time I’m serious. I wish you could have been there. Emily and Brian’s day was sheer celebration. The uniting of two incredible people who have seen each other’s flaws, and embraced them. Who have witnessed each other’s strengths, and only empowered one other to continue using them. Who have catalyzed growth in one another. Who are in pursuit of Christ individually to glorify God together. EEK. Y’all, I could go on. And it isn’t because I idolize Brian and Emily (like I do Kristin Bell and Dax Shepard..ehm..), but because they have welcomed wisdom, counsel, and mentorship. They have not hidden struggle for the fear of losing respect or integrity. In fact, by practicing transparency, they have only gained respect and integrity. It was a full house March 10th, let me tell you. If I hadn’t been behind the camera, my hands would have been red from clapping as they swept back down the aisle as Mr + Mrs Holmes! But I really am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the morning.

Emily was joined by some of the most wonderful ladies from every season and home of her life. The house was oozing with laughter, fruit, hairspray, and dresses. After an incredible brunch, Emily passed around some sweet letters. Mrs. Gluntz invited the  women for prayer together over Emily and her marriage, and followed with a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness and teaching through her own marriage. We all dispersed to corners of the house piling hair on the tops of heads, curling stray ends, and making funny faces in the mirror while layering mascara (we’ve all been there.) Emily chose to go minimal on her route of makeup. It was a true EmG move, and the lipstick was just the match. I hurried back from hanging with Brian to capture the most beautiful moments of her mama and aunt buttoning up the dress Eliana, her maid of honor, made over the last few months. It fit like a glove, made just for her silhouette. There were tears from all directions (including mascara draining down my cheeks as I TRIED to direct her. LOL). Brian’s best man’s daughters peeped around the corner bursting into squeals. 

Down Summer Ave a few blocks, at their soon-to-be home, Brian pulled out some fresh new shoes and his hand-made tie. Surrounded by his best friends, B greeted me at the door with a huge smile. It was THE day after all. In the living room cards were being played and jokes passed around. I pulled Brian into the kitchen for a quite moment as he opened Emily’s letter and gift addressed to her “future husband.” (If you are disgusted by how gushy and adorable it is, you need to stop now, I might put you over the edge.) Out came some awesome “nooo way, oh my gosh!”s and laughs trying to keep the tears in for later. “No she didn’t!” Inside was a book started nearly in the beginning of their story. Prints, memories, and notes of their journey so far together, followed with some incredible writing in her card (I’m sure!).

We got all the guys into the kitchen for their “groomsman” gifts. Aka, learning how to properly tie a bow tie. Not going to lie, by now I had gotten a text that Emily was ready to get her dress, so I didn’t stay for the full struggle that was going down. But rest assured, I know there was lots of blind leading the blind, lots of laughs, and of course, eleven properly tied bow ties at the end!

Em and B wanted to save their first look for down the aisle. So I took the guys to Overton Park. The nicest security guard let us snap photos and goof around in Memphis College of Art. These guys were awesome; I think you can agree, they killed it!

Next up were the ladies. Em was the only one with the traditional bouquet. She and her ladies spent the morning before wrapping and gluing eucalyptus to hoops for their “bouquets.” It looked stunning with each of their unique dresses and looks. I love all the personality and joy oozing out of these photos. The final countdown was on. We had roughly 15 minutes to get to the church when we left MCA. 

We got Em to the church just in time to have a quick prayer with her ladies. The chapel was filled with excited faces and friends greeting each other with handshakes and hugs. Everyone settled as the bridesmaids came through the doors, followed by precious flower girls, and a wagon of ring bearers pulled by one of Emily’s little sisters. We all rose as Mr. Gluntz came through the doors, with his arm linked with his eldest daughter. Em was stunning. Her elegant dress, huge smile, and swept back hair joined her down the aisle. Brian awaited his bride at the front. I’m not sure about tears between the two of them in that moment, but there were enough tears between friends and family, haha. Brian and Em wrote their vows; they had each other choking up and bursting out in laughter. It was perfect. Their mentors and parents gathered around them for a time of prayer, while the guests lifted up their own voices to the Lord.  Then they were announced Mr. and Mrs. Brian Holmes. We all went wild as they danced on stage before walking down! 

After many hugs, family photos, and all-around joyful cheers, we headed to the Brooks Museum with the wedding party. What a fun crew! Even though we were all ready to go jam at the reception, they made these photos so fun and full of memories!

Now it was time for Em + B’s portraits. The sun was setting quickly, so we only had about 10-15 minutes. We stayed in front of the Brooks for the whole time as it was the brightest spot, and just looked gorgeous with them in front! I love these photos so much. So much happiness to just be together, in each other’s arms. You can see the joy in each laugh and kiss. I love it. I love them!

My favorites. They are pretty much models at this point. 

And as the sun set, we drove to their beautiful reception where over 200 friends and family awaited the new Mr. + Mrs. Holmes! I could just gush for lines, but I’ll try to keep it short. There were beautiful details in corners, apricot jam drizzled over goat cheese, and sparkling cider for each table. After toasts and dances, the floor was open. And when I say we got down, I mean we got DOWN! There was so much freestyling and laughing going on, it was hard to keep up. Every time I turned there was an epic moment going down. Just keep scrolling!

Everything was winding down as we hustled outside! Right before Em + Brian headed into the night, they shared a last dance together. There were empty chairs, shoes spread across the room, and only a few cookies left in baskets; the room was used and loved well that night. I cherish the moment of capturing this dance so dearly. It was a timeless dance.

Emily, it was an honor to photograph your wedding. I love you guys so much, and will count it as a beloved memory forever. I cried, laughed, danced, and was so merry! I’m blessed to know y’all, and to call you dear. To many many more years of Mr. + Mrs. Holmes!

Just wanted to give a huge shout out to Jessica Lauren, who drove down from St. Louis in the midst of her own wedding season and hustle and bustle of life! Jessica, you made shooting Em and B’s wedding a dream. You were there before I even asked, you were one step a head fixing dresses, loading cars, and driving boutonnieres around. Its been an honor to get to know you better, and have you by my side. You are dear friend to Em, and I’m so thankful you got  to be here for this day.

Bridals in Lyon, France | Kelly Ford

Kelly, just a babe in Lyon, dressed in her wedding dress, gallivanting through the city with a photographer. So thankful for Kelly’s giggles, and her excitement for this shoot. Props to Kelly for getting back in her beautiful dress from her wedding I also shot back in 2015. She was as radiant this day as she was that day.

I wanted to share from Kelly’s perspective and she was so gracious to write up just that:

“So your friend and wedding photographer is coming for a visit and she asks you if while she’s there you’d be up for getting back into your wedding dress to take some pictures. Obvious answer: “um…HECK YES!”

I knew that it was tucked away in the guest room, having made the trek across the ocean still carefully wrapped up in the box from the dry cleaners that I hadn’t touched since getting it back after the wedding. Thankfully I could still wriggle into it, despite now living in the land of delicious baguettes!

“Honestly, I’d anticipated feeling a little funny being all alone in front of the camera – not being a part of a pair, having someone to interact with – but rather just me, alone and exposed. But that was not the case at all! I’ve loved watching through social media as Emily has been learning, growing, honing, stretching her craft, and I’d already been able to experience it on her visit as I played being her “assistant” while she did shoots with some friends of ours. And her skills were equally evident as she guided me and put me at ease for this solo night —

Our wandering shoot itinerary was taking the funiculaire up the hill to the Roman amphitheatre, playing there for a while, walking up to the Notre Dame de Fourvière basilica, playing there for a while, walking down the hill through the gardens and stairways, playing along the way, and strolling home through Vieux Lyon’s cobblestone streets. And “playing” is the best word I have to describe the night – just climbing onto and off of and into and around all sorts of old stone pieces at the amphitheatre; twirling and running around the courtyard of the basilica; smacking myself in the face after trying to look artsy with some branches…it was all just such fun, playing and laughing with my friend – who, by the way, was giving me great guidelines/instructions/suggestions so that I could know what to do instead of getting lost in that “alone and exposed” funny feeling that I’d anticipated but that never materialized.”

“I didn’t have bridal portraits done before our wedding – just wasn’t really my thing or something I cared to do – but I will say that, whether or not you did portraits beforehand, I highly recommend something like this after the fact! Now we have all of these beautiful photos of me that involved doing all sorts of things that would certainly not have been as fun and playful if I’d been thinking about keeping my dress clean or unmussed, etc. Heck, my dress still has a tear in the floofy-under-dress part from the grand ol’ time I had at our reception 😉 What a joy it was to get to wriggle back into this dress full of great memories and then play in it to make some more, worry-free.

And, certainly, it’s something that is to-each-their-own, but I kind of love looking through these images and seeing the differences from the wedding day itself… We didn’t do everything exactly the same – my hair is cut so it is different, we decided not to worry about my turquoise heels and some of the jewelry, it was chilly so we added my leather jacket…

You can see the passage of time and, for me, even more so the passage of life: that night was in a different piece of the world than our wedding, I spoke a different language to the people we bumped into, I had different things on my mind…

“So I am grateful to have had this fun silly night with Emily, and now grateful to have these images. Time is passing, life is changing, I now own a leather jacket(!)…but I am still Dave’s bride, covenanted to him in joy, dancing and twirling that night before an audience of only the One who witnesses each of the moments of our marriage when Emily isn’t around to document them…

Just precious to have these images to remind me that, while I don’t wear my wedding dress every day (alas!), I am daily a bride – to my Dave and to the Lord.”

NASHVILLE, TN | ROOMIE ROADTRIP

It is something I could have never prayed enough for, nor known to pray for, but having two of my favorite people in the world be my roommates is beyond a blessing. It is life giving. I thank the Lord these two are in my life every day. Figuring out adulthood with them, taking care of a home, and growing up together has been crazy!

I am so proud of Hope and Kat. We took this Nashville day trip to celebrate the seasons of life we are all in separately. I’ve never known two girls to work so hard and hustle so intense then them. I love how they see the world, how they work for what want, their goals, and their love for the Lord. I’m so exciting for what God has in store for the three of us for the rest of the year. Also HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Hope that weekend!

For this trip, we drove to Nashville for about 10 hours. Fast-track Nash, if you will. By no means did we see it all, but I loved the strange selection of things we did and ate. We weren’t allowed to talk about work for the whole day. It was actually pretty hard for all of us. I also got to wear Amelia, the travel skirt, that is circulating through the nation to different girls. I had Amelia for a week, and got her the night before our day trip! Perfect time to take her on an adventure!

First stop was Pinewood Social for brunch. SO GOOD. Oh my word. We got pancakes, waffles, eggs. It was incredible. HIGHLY recommend

Second Stop: Parked at Nissan Stadium for a good view of downtown. 

Went to the little walkway one of my couples showed me during their engagement session here this spring. <3  Third Man Records.

Barista Parlor.

12. South

Little Octopus for dinner.

Good day in Nashville. <3 Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Solo Travel | Experiencing a City

Experiencing a city is a challenge. Especially when time is short. So why put the pressure on yourself? Why feel the need to be the tourist who sees all historical sites, the instagram-worthy modern coffee shops, the infamous restaurants, and the classic tours.

Forgetting to sit still on a trip can make it all a blur. Kind of like your wedding day. Unless you stop and breathe it in, you will likely say “I can barely remember anything! Still the best day of my life!” Which in the long run isn’t a bad answer, but personally, I LOVE remembering the details, the random excursions off trail. I hope on my wedding day, I can have moment memories that build the day, not flashes of events.

So when you take a weekend, a week trip, or longer, I challenge you to pick and choose what is most important to you. Do you ACTUALLY want to see _____ or do you just want a photo in front of it. Often, I find myself saying “i don’t know, i feel like i’m SUPPOSE to go there cause like I’m HERE?” When in England, I stayed in a northern city with close friends. London is a 5 hour drive from their home. I spent a bit of time asking myself if I should ask to go. I mean, I was in England (right!?) , and 5 hours isn’t even that far! I opted not, because I knew I would MUCH rather spend hours in their home, drinking tea, exploring their stomping grounds. I would much rather make memories laughing while attempting golf, getting brunch down the street, and going to a high tea room in an old hall. Don’t get me wrong, London would be amazing, but this trip, it was just me. I began to lose the sense of urgency to SEE IT ALL.  I plan to go back. I’ve been twice in the same calendar year, so why try to see it all and not take a breather? I hope I can continue to travel often in my lifetime, and I expect I will go back to England with a friend or friends one day who will want to take London on!

There is something so special about not using a map after a few days in a city. I spent around 6 days in Lyon, France this April. I had a European phone plan with quite a bit of data left, so I face timed some friends while around the city. After the first two days, I had gotten to know the area, the short cuts to the rivers, my favorite bridge or two to cross, my favorite spot to sit and read. It was so exciting to virtually tour my best friend around a city that now felt like a new comfortable home.

So my top “planning” tips to visiting a new city:

  1. Instead of booking a trip with the intention to see as many cities in 3 weeks that you can, consider taking on 2 cities and a town maybe. Spend a longer time in one place to truly experience the culture, the set up of the city, the food, and of course, the people!

2. Prioritize your MUST see tourist attractions, and eliminate the ones that you are going to simply out of obligation. Its YOUR trip, right?

3. Consider wandering around the city without a map (also have a note of your address… and maybe a off-line map app to get home. haha)

4. Read and write where you want to – on a step, on the ground, by water where ever you just want to be. Don’t feel guilty for that time. Allowing yourself to stop and take in your experiences will let them sink and hold. Take note of the little things. Weather, smells, sounds, people you see.

I have loved the trips I remember LIVING in the city, not simply touring it. Take the challenge, give yourself elbow room on your next trip.

Get lost in the city, try some crappy coffee you spent a little too much on, dangle your legs over a river, breath in the fresh air, and let the city settle in your memory.

Sunday afternoon after church exploring the local market for a smoothie.

One of my favorite nights in Lyon. I had eyed a spot on this one bridge a few days in a row. The weather was perfect. I just scooped myself up there and read my travel journal. The bustling city around me while I wrote in more memories I made that day.

Taking an evening off exploring and doing some well needed Friends night. Everything is so new and sometimes just a lot, its nice to have something familiar like netflix.

Take selfies. Haha you won’t regret it. Its the solo-travel way.

Snack away.