best half

Last night we celebrated the end of 2013 and cheered to another new year!! While I thought this past year was a whirl wind….I already know that 2014 is going to be one incredible journey!! While most other photographers are posting their best of 2013 images (I’ve never done a best of recap, but maybe this year I will try it), today I’m going to post about one special lady that has quickly come to be my best half!! Without her…..well, I’d only be a half and not a whole!!

Meet my sidekick, second shooter, travel buddy, friend…my best half…Miss Emily. Many of you already know and adore her!!  It’s been a year since shooting our first wedding together and little did I know just how amazingly talented, creative, and sweet she was!!!  Emily pretty much was an unexpected gift that fell from the sky and just keeps on giving!!! She constantly keeps me grounded and always laughing {I have yet to meet anyone who has more random sayings and hysterical terms that I’m constantly asking for her to explain}.  Her eagerness to learn and her constant growth is inspiring….how far she’s come in her work truly blows me away!!

With lots of new changes happening this year, I’m excited for all that awaits and having Emily by my side!!

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Laura Sheltmire -

Love these! Emily is a very special person and friend! I know she is as thankful for you, as you are for her! You guys are awesome!!! 😉

Lori Grist Smith -

Love my Em, so glad you Found each other.

Marilyn Armstrong Sharum -

I have know Emily since she was just out of high school, and she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I have never known her to excel at whatever she was doing.

tangibly dear

Christmas came early this year.  A day early to be exact.  It came in the form of printed pages tucked in the middle of the latest issue of The Knot Florida!! Not realizing the issue was even out, I rushed out on Christmas Eve in search when I heard that Nina and Chris’ wedding in the new issue was hot of the press!  Words fall short in trying to explain what it means to see your work in print.  The exact instant a moment is captured, that moment is forever given meaning and purpose.  However, holding your printed work in your own hands makes it come alive and real…because you’re no longer just viewing those images on a screen.  For those in the images, those prints become tangible lasting heirlooms that tell their story.  For the photographer, it’s all of those things as well as a sense of encouragement and accomplishment, knowing that you’ve made a lasting memorable and treasured keepsake.  When work is printed in a publication for others to enjoy….it’s by far one of the most humbling and exciting honors to be placed in your hands!!!

While flipping through the pages, I finally stumbled upon Nina and Chris’ Seaside wedding.  Seeing their wedding took my breathe away and made me stop.  For 2 reasons.

1. everything about this couple and their wedding was beautiful.  Absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. and memorably sweet!  2. it took me back 7 years ago.  a wild walk down memory lane.

You see…I started my career in the wedding industry 7 years ago.  At that point and time, the biggest goal for me was to one day have a wedding printed in The Knot.  Granted at the time, I was a planner and not a photographer…and The Knot was pretty much the only well known wedding magazine out there {that’s still around today}!  That was my goal. My dream.  Over the course of 7 years, I’ve been humbled and honored by the opportunities given to me and to see my name in other Knot issues.  However…this wedding is different.  This is my first wedding to be printed in The Knot under my own name and business.  When I think about it all…it all blows me away.  I didn’t foresee myself being where I actually am today!  Needless to say, this precious couple, their wedding, and a dream come true…all hold a sweet and dear place in my heart!the knot-florida-dear wesleyannI could go on for many more paragraphs about Nina and Chris…but I’ll let y’all go pick up the current issue of The Knot Florida to read about the two of them, their story , and wedding day {page 90 to be exact}!!  However, I’m pretty sure the images tell the story of how beautiful their wedding day was and the adorable love they share!!!  Their Seaside wedding was dream in and of it self…put on by the fabulous Shelby Peaden EventsFishers Flowers, Townsend CateringBake my Day, and Gulf Talent Services.

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Sharply Determinted

Determination. It’s what I’ve got.  And I have about 8 hours before it’s officially Christmas Eve, with lots left to accomplish.  While I’ve become an accomplished Amazon Prime shopper this holiday season, I have yet to even begin the gift wrapping and baking debacle.  Up side to all of this….it can all be accomplished in the connivence of my own home and all in comfy clothes, UGG boots {I like to keep the a/c low to make it feel like winter…}, and  Christmas music.  Should I step outside in this Florida heat, I might forget that it’s actually Christmas time from heat exhaustion.

What else can you accomplish in comfy clothes?  Blogging.  And considering my blogging backlog is still dated for June, I have a lot left to do!!  With no “slow season” for the first time ever and none in the near future, it’s getting squeezed it while images are being downloaded, imported,  and exported.  So while we sip on hot chocolate and buried under blankets…here’s a bright and cheerful summer wedding sure to take you back to those warm summer days!  Randa and Jared’s Carillon Wedding® had it all…from the coral and aqua rustic ceremony and reception details to the tossing of colorful beach balls!  Even though my toes are cozy  in UGG boots, their destination wedding and all it’s warmth brings me back to having my toes buried in sand! Rather than sugar plums dancing in my head, I’ll be dreaming of Randa’s  Manolo Blahniks and all the love and joy that wedding day brought!!!  To Mr. & Mrs. Sharp and all my couples of 2013…may your first married Christmas be blessed, bright and full of cheer!!!!

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Carillon Weddings -

An absolutely gorgeous evening! I love these two wonderful families! It was an honor to be a part of Jared & Randa’s big day in Carillon Beach! xoxo, Avis

merry magic

My favorite month of the year has officially arrived!! How we got here so quickly…is something I’m still trying to wrap my head around! October and the scent of Fall is heart warming, but December {even amidst the holiday craziness} is magical.  I mean, if the Grinch’s heart can be transformed to no longer steal Christmas…that’s just proof of it’s magic.  If I somehow turn 29 again next December….well that’ll just be a plain miracle and I’ll forever believe in the miraculous magic that December brings {I’m secretly praying, as well as asking Santa, for that said miracle….}

Along with the holiday winter magic, comes reminders & memories of blessings, friendships, and loved ones throughout the past year.  While the rest of the country is probably buried up to their noses in a winter wonderland at the moment, here in Florida…it’s still hot. and humid. So while a winter wonderland is far from happening here, we’re only 11 days into December and I’m already overwhelmed with all the blessings from this past year!!

Katie & Spencer are one of those blessings….which actually is a blessing that is coming up on two years now!  From lighthearted novel emails, windy city strolls, beers & burgers, text messages, to wedding day memories…it’s been wonderful!  After a year and a half planning, their big day arrived.  Love, nerves, excitement and a high heat index all filled the first day of June in Rosemary Beach.  Upon my arrival, a few spoken words by Katie and Spencer would soon fill my heart.

After Katie put her dress on, slipped on her Badgley Mischka shoes, and took a final glance at herself in the mirror…her and I snuck out the front door and took time to get pictures of just her.  While walking she said, “I knew as soon as you arrived, my nerves would go away.”  Not long after, Spencer made the same comment.  As simple as those words were, they meant the world.  To hear they felt that comfortable and at ease when I’m around….even with the camera on them….was encouraging {not sure if it’s my magical touch…or just the heat causing such rambles…but whatever it was, I’ll take it!!} .  Small words….but a big blessing.

Even though Katie and Spencer’s wedding festivities are over and they have now celebrated their 6 month anniversary, great memories from their special day remain, as well as great friends!!  Katie, I promise to still find reasons for our emails!!!!

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sweet serendpity

From the moment Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack shared a tasty frozen hot chocolate tucked in a corner at the Serendipity Cafe, was the moment I fell for serendipity.   The movie and the word.  A fortunate accident.  While I have blonde hair,  a boring non-British accent, and probably a slew of other differences between Kate and I…we do agree that  in life there are no accidents.  Perhaps unexpected surprises.  Throughout life, I’ve personally come to believe that nothing is just by chance, but rather has purpose and holds meaning.  Even in the little things….

When Anna Lisa decided to scroll through the Style Me Pretty site a few years back…little did she know that a simple blog tile ad would one day lead to me capturing her wedding day!  When Anna Lisa’s inquiry came through for her May 25th wedding, which happened to be my only spring date I still had open, it was a pleasant surprise that I knew was meant to be!!  After our first phone date,  it was as if I had just finished chatting with a long time friend!!

Five months later, Emily and I were Tuscaloosa bound for Anna Lisa and Andy’s wedding weekend at The Oaks.  Meeting Anna Lisa and giving her a huge hug, hardly felt like it was our first time seeing each other face to face!!  Capturing such an important day for two very special people, made everything about that day an absolutely sweet serendipitous blessing!!

So, as I sit here closing out today’s blog post about unexpected surprise blessings….I just received an email saying that Dear Wesleyann is one of The Knot’s 2014 Best of Weddings Winner…all in part due to Anna Lisa’s precious and dear review she left…all because of an image she saw on a website years ago!  Talk about sweet serendipity!!!!

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Cassie Olimb -

Wow woman! These are incredible! ^_^

Donna Marticke Winward -

Oh my goodness! Stunning!!!

Angela Lee Davis -

Beautiful on the inside and the out!!

Wendy Avery -

Beautiful,

Ryn Tomlinson -

One of the sweetest, prettiest, most deserving ladies I know 🙂