bright-eyed cheer

Some days you just need a bight and cheery pick me up!  Last Monday…I started my day ready to tackle one of my busiest weeks of the year with great expectations.  2 weddings, 5 shoots, 2 sick kids, 3 doctor visits, 121 emails, 2 editorial deadlines met at the 11th hour, a birthday, a 5 year old Mario Kart party, an amazing husband and 1 me…all quickly turned my intentions of great success to just mere survival! My box of 80 keurig coffee k-cups barely survived last week either.  Yet somehow…we did it. Together.  That right there folks….is real life.

This blog post was also started last Monday.  And finally finishing it today…8 days later…is the exact bright cheeriness I needed to wake up to!  With a little help from my coffee companion and rain {rain is my greatest tool of productivity when a day at my desk is on the agenda}, we’re tackling today….hard.  These vibrant colors, a giggling bride, and a couple’s sweet love have propelled full force smiles!  Jessica and Kenny’s Rosemary Beach wedding  may have had more than a few rain drops, but it was of no deterrence…and gave us an excuse to pop open an umbrella!

If my long to-do list ends up full of check marks today…I may be putting on rain boots and popping open a umbrella for my own rain dance!! I’m tipping my coffee mug and cheering to to a bright-eyed day of productivity to all of you as well!!

Wedding Coordinator | Carillon Weddings®

Ceremony & Reception Venue | Rosemary Beach Town Hall

Florist | Events by Nouveau Flowers

Cake | Confections on the Coast

Caterer | Townsend Catering

Entertainment | Gulf Talent Services

Make-up | Robin Klag

Carillon Weddings -

Love love LOVE these! What a perfect evening! Jessica & Kenny were so much fun, and their wedding really reflected just that! Thank you for your beautiful images Wesleyann! xoxo

Rules of Engagement #4 | Be Happy

I began writing this post a few days ago to post today…and have since scratched it all!  I don’t think I could come up with a more perfect couple for today’s rule of engagement.  They hold a special spot in my heart!

Rule of Engagement #4 | Be Happy

Every couple spends months doing everything they can to plan the “perfect dream wedding.”  After 7 years in the wedding industry, I’ve come to realize that “perfect” is what you make it!  Life throws fast unexpected curve balls that you barely see coming sometimes, but we learn to run with it!  While running, a smile on our face is probably no where in sight, but once home is reached for a win….it’s smiles all around {I suppose I should’ve used a football analogy rather than baseball….but it’s the best I’ve got.  Sorry Bill!}  Sometimes those curve balls come in the shape of circulating clouds, heavy rains, a nasty eye and are the most unpredictable of them all.

Rewind to 2011.  I first met Blaire when she was a bridesmaid in her close friend Anna’s wedding here in Rosemary Beach.  Fast Forward to today. Today Blaire is the bride and Anna is one of her bridesmaids!  Rewind to April 12th.  When Blaire emailed me that she was engaged and was searching for a photographer for her Alys Beach wedding, I was so excited.  With dates, SEC football schedules {we here in the south take our SEC football very seriously}, and conflicting schedules, it looked like Blaire and I might not work out.  Fast forward 3 weeks.  When things are just meant to be…it will happen one way or another!  After things literally coming full circle, I heard through a string of photographers that Blaire was still searching for a photographer and her wedding date had changed…and it just so happened to by my only open fall date left, so I immediately emailed her to let her know the good news!  We were officially meant to be!  Blaire’s letter of excitement and happy tears was an email every photographer hopes to get from their clients…it warmed my heart beyond words!!!  While her search for a photographer started out grim, it ended in happy &  high spirits!

Fast forward to yesterday.  So here we are 2 days away from Blaire and Bill’s Saturday wedding.  And here comes Tropical Storm Karen.  Here’s a little message for Karen….Love never fails and conquers all.  Even Tropical Storms and Hurricanes.  While  things may not have been looking all that ideal for a Saturday wedding, thanks to Blaire and Bill’s willingness to be flexible and an unbelievable wedding planner {Shelby Peaden} who managed to turn an entire Saturday wedding into a Friday wedding {in less than 6 hours mind you}…..this amazingly sweet & dear couple will be tying the knot this afternoon!!!!! Despite the unforeseen circumstances, the upside is that these two, at the end of today, will be husband and wife….and an extra day early!  Not only that…but the sun is shining ever so bright today!!!

On that happy ray of sunshine, it’s time for me to go get ready so I can capture these two gettin’ hitched!!!  Happy Wedding Day Blaire & Bill!!!! xoxo

love & happiness wins. karen lost. TOUCHDOWN!

Lorraine Gayle Travis -

Beautiful photos!

Laura Duke -

LOVE!!

Rules of Engagement #3 | Be in Love

So here you are months into being engaged to your best friend and planning the perfect day that represents the two of you and your families.  Most likely you’re up to your hair follicles in to-do lists, guest lists, seating charts, shower dates, thank you’s, a million different shades of green and pink and trying to pick the perfect one, playlists, cake flavors…it’s like the song that never ends…wedding planning just goes on and on and on.  Before you know it, those drowning follicles have now become split ends because you “haven’t even figured out what color Etsy bow tie Scruffy will wear!  EEK!”.

stop. breathe. remember. smile.

Remember that moment when the person who made you light on your feet, heart skip a beat, weak in the knees, and took your breath away…and you knew they were the ONE?  your meant to be. your forever. your love.  

While your dog Scruffy’s bow tie is special and adorable, there’s something else to remember…

Rule of Engagement #3 | Be in LOVE.

Let’s talk for a minute about why you’re planning this happy day in the first place.  Love & Marriage.  Forever.  Planning your wedding is exciting, but planning for your marriage is essential.  Enjoy your wedding….but love your marriage!   So many times, couples get caught up in all the wedding details that they forget the most important detail and entire purpose of the actual wedding.  If you find yourself more concerned with outdoing that pinner in Utah who has THE perfect table number idea than on creating a happy, healthy marriage…then feast your dear little eyes on some tips to shift your thoughts on the things that really matter.

Love isn’t just a tingly feeling and an emotion.  Marriage is working on keeping the tingles of love alive while cultivating a life of love. I read this quote last night…”to love a person is to learn the song in their heart and to sing to them when they have forgotten.”  Unconditional love.  Lets just be honest and real for a second…there are plenty of days while I may {unconditionally} love my husband…once differences {or snoring} emerge, sometimes I don’t necessarily like him.  Love grows and becomes stronger with time, but start investing in that love now!  Remember when you first met…and all those cute little in-love things you’d do for each other that came naturally and effortlessly to let the other know you cared?  Keep doing them!  Forever.  It’s important!!

While you pin away on Pinterest for inspiration {emphasis on inspiration…not imitation}…pin for love!  Pinterest in brilliant {although some out there might need to be put in pinners anonymous classes}.  In the mix of amazing fashion only a handful of people could pull off, dream homes that have impeccable organization, and gourmet dishes only Food Network chefs should attempt….there’s fantastic ways to use Pinterest to keep your relationship thriving, exciting, and full of love!!  Put down the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, wedding magazine, and Sports Illustrated….and go do something that teaches you new things each other!   Talk about your future, goals, and dreams as husband and wife – a team and as individuals!

Arielle and Chris are a couple that come to mind when thinking about rule #3.  These two who met in college, became best friends, knew they were meant to be…now live a life of genuine love and laughter as they prepare for marriage and forever!  Love these two and can’t wait for their big day in May!!

Enjoy this engaged time in your lives…and make time to be in love and to plan for forever!

Erin Braley -

the confetti one is my favorite~but they are all amazing!

Arielle Warner -

You are too sweet Wesleyann Knetzer! Thanks for the blog post 🙂

Linda Warner -

Love these!

Linda Warner -

Beautiful work Wesleyann! Can’t wait to see all the wedding pics, you are simply the best!

Rules of Engagement #2 | Be Friends

I‘m almost convinced the earth has slightly tilted off it’s axis.  In the last 24 hours I’ve written a blog post, been in bed before 8:30PM, read a hardback book, woke up early and went to the gym, and now I’m writing another blog post and listening to a One Direction song.  Things have officially gotten crazy.

Things may be crazy…but not nearly as crazy as I am about this adorable couple.  Meet my “mini me”, y’all.  but with red hair.  Haley is my baby sister and the youngest of us 3 girls.  This coming May, Haley will walk down the aisle to meet main squeeze, childhood best friend and love of her life and say her “I dos.”  I saw this coming. Years ago. vise I made my claim for the record sitting in my parent’s house over Christmas break back in 2005 when Haley walked into the house with a blanket {s Snoopy blanket to be exact} that Chad had made her for Christmas in hand.  After heading my advise Christmas 6 years later….Haley finally admitted that she had fallen head over heals for the boy who has been her absolute best friends since 4th grade.  All those years of playing on the play ground,  hour long phone calls, running through the woods, rope swinging into lakes…and that old snoopy blanket.  Yeah…they’re just too cute for words.  But they are the perfect example for today’s #2 Rule….

Rule of Engagement #2 | Be Friends

Remember what your relationship with your significant other was like before you crossed that friend to love threshold? Life and relationships were created to develop, progress and move forward…but there’s something incredibly genuine and nostalgic about those early days of friendship.  Carefree, effortless, real, and typically full of fun and laughter.  Because of those things, that was probably what first attracted you to each other!  Being engaged is always such an exciting time as you start planning your life together, but remember to make time for fun and laughter! Llife will always be moving forward….once you’re married, then there’s careers, babies, kids, dirty dishes, messy houses, sleepless nights. you get the picture.  All new and exciting seasons of life….but always knowing where you began and getting back to those real roots is essential….no matter what stage you’re in.

While I was back home in Pittsburgh visiting my family, I bunked in my old bedroom with my now two babies {who aren’t really babies anymore}.  Talk about nostalgic.  Only thing is, my old bedroom is now Haley’s room.  One morning after my countless nights of not sleeping {me+2 kids +1 room=no sleep}, I woke up and in front of my face on Haley’s night stand was a coffee mug {presumably with a cat on it.  She will inevitably end up an old ‘cat lady’} stuffed full of letters written on notebook paper.  Even though I’m quite possibly the most curious person ever, I didn’t read the letters…mainly because I knew exactly what they were.  They were years and years of letters Haley and Chad had written each other over the course of their friendship.  I woke up that morning with a smile on my face.  Even though these two aren’t married yet, they reminded this married gal of 7.5 years, the importance of being best friends with the person you spend forever with.  Haley and Chad have been engaged now for almost a year and they still find time to do the things they’ve always done and enjoyed together…wether it’s passing folded up notes on notebook paper, riding bikes, or exploring old abandoned buildings.

This couple right here means so much, because this little lady means the world to me.  I’m trilled that my little sister and best friend gets to marry her best friend and love!!  While her and I are total opposites we both share a passion for photography and by next May, we will both have married our grade school best friends and loves!

Jennifer Polk -

They are just so adorable! And what a deja vu! ♥ She takes after big sis in more ways than one!

Jodi Armstrong Van Oss -

Stunning photos of you two cuties!!!

Rules of Engagement #1 | Be YOU

Fall wedding season has been kicked into high gear and diamond rings are flying out of glass cases to be slipped onto fingers. It’s that time of the year!!!  With all the engagement and wedding bliss in the air,  I’m crazy-excited {the good kinda crazy} to unveil a super-fun blog series featuring my engagement sessions.  Y’all … get ready.  This isn’t just any old blog series: You, my dears, are going to be given a tiny crash course in the ‘Rules of Engagement’, courtesy of Yours Truly.  Think of it as your very own little Dear Abby advice column, only, my name’s not Abby, and the advice is, well, basically unsolicited.  But useful and fun and awesome nonetheless.  And planning your wedding as well as for your marriage… it should also be awesome and fun!  So, without further ado, I present to you the first of this sweet series, featuring two of THE most fabulous girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Rule of Engagement #1 | Be YOU

Y’all, meet Taylor & Ashley!  I couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate couple to use in highlighting the importance of being yourselves.  I feel like these girls have set the bar pretty high as far as planning their nuptials around who they are: incorporating books {Pride and Prejudice was actually used in their engagement proposal!}, an intimate gathering of their closest family and friends {think toes in the sand + backyard shindig + a high likelihood of dancing on tables with a glass of bubbly}, and unique details to fit their individual personalities {you’ll just have to stay tuned after their October fete before I divulge anything else.  My Pinterest-stalking efforts are at an all-time high, and quite frankly are falling a little behind, with these two .  Plus, their wedding planner fills me in on all the top secret tricks they have up their sleeves}.  While Pinterest has been a huge source of inspiration for all the pretties coming their way, Taylor & Ashley truly bring meaning to just being you.

For their engagement session, we ventured on out to Seaside with a few cute little details in tow – first stop: Sundog Books, of course!  From the ‘Mrs. & Mrs.’ mugs {yep…adorable!}, to their gorgeous engagement rings {each as unique and fitting to their personalities as everything else}, to an abundance of belly laughs {have I mentioned how much FUN these girls are?}, and a sweet little touch of ‘XO’ {fitting and sweet and always our closing email salutations}, this session truly reflects the importance of being yourselves while you’re planning your wedding.  “Why so important, Wesleyann?”, you ask?  Because, well, it’s YOUR wedding, and trying to incorporate every. single. wedding trend from Pinterest, or something just because your best friend’s cousin’s great-great aunt {let’s face it, she’s probably really old and wants Jordan Almonds anyway.  Um, no.} said it’d be a great idea, is going to cause you an unnecessary state of frazzled-ness.  And there’s just no need for extra frazzle.

Make it fun.

Make it easy.

Make it about the two of you.

Taylor & Ashley, you girls have this figured out and I couldn’t be more blessed to be a part of this fabulous time in your lives!  Y’all are truly ‘mint to be’ and I adore you both!  xo

 

Lynn Rodgers Dubrow -

These pics are fabulous!!