Alex is a high school senior at West High and we lucked out this past week with not just the perfect timing for fall colors, but also a beautiful, crisp morning outside! He plays both football and baseball so we started the session at the high school and then went to Kent Park for the majority of the time. Alex says he’s pretty down-to-earth and I definitely got that vibe from him while I was photographing. He’s easy-going and we had a great time chatting. At one point, I commented to his mom that I just can’t quite wrap my head around having a senior in high school or her ability to just go outside for a walk by herself (haha) and she reminded me that time does go really quickly and it wasn’t so long ago that she was exactly where I am now. It was a good reminder for me to enjoy these moments with littles because, as I already know with my almost 6-year-old, it’s like a blink. Somehow the days can drag and the year is over.
On August 6th, Taylor emailed me to let me know that after a lot of tears and research and hugs, they were going to reschedule their wedding to next year because of the coronavirus. But then in her next paragraph, she said, “September 26, 2020 date has such a special place in our hearts and so much meaning so we are going to still be married that day! We have not decided where or how, but we’re going to work on that this weekend and we will let you know ASAP!”
And this is how, in just seven weeks, they planned the most beautiful backyard wedding at Stanley’s parent’s property in Parkersburg. I was so honored to be part of their wedding day this past Saturday and am equally excited to be part of their rescheduled, larger wedding next year!
The weather was perfect for an outdoor wedding day. It was a bit breezy, but cool with the sun dancing in and out of clouds. It rained all day following their wedding, but as for Saturday? It remained dry and clear!
We started the day at Taylor & Stanley’s home in Cedar Falls, where we were lucky enough to have a whole room open and clear for detail photos. While the bridesmaids mingled and chatted and snacked and got their hair and makeup done, we were able to set up shop, as it were, in another room where we could stay out of the way.
After Taylor got ready, we all headed over to Parkerburg for her and Stanley’s first look (my favorite!) and the rest of the day. As an aside, I love a good outdoor, tented reception, but they are, admittedly, a lot of work so I don’t have many of them. You have to think of power (generators), restrooms, and literally every detail that needs to be brought in to create a reception space out of a plot of grass. Thankfully, Taylor & Stanley had an incredible support team of family and friends and vendors and this, THIS, was pulled together in 7 weeks.
They met six years ago in downtown Iowa City on a football game day. Mallory was looking for a friend and Edo, seeing her looking around, asked if she needed help. It was the beginning of their forever. That day, they ended up grabbing some drinks together, exchanged numbers and, after that night, “he kept calling me asking to hang out and I never turned him down. Eventually, we became inseparable.” Their first official date was a low key treat at a local Dairy Queen that sits right next to the Iowa River that flows through the center of the city. “I suggested that we sit somewhere outside to watch an eclipse that was supposed to happen that night. We lived in apartments fairly close to each other so we agreed to meet and walk to Dairy Queen. We sat at a picnic table and talked for hours. I remember having such good conversation that I think we forgot all about the eclipse.”
They had been dating for five years when he asked her to look at rings. She remembers telling him that they “weren’t there yet.” She says she doesn’t make any decisions lightly and she wanted to be 100% sure he was the one. Less than 2 months later, however, it hit her: “I can’t and don’t want to ever live without him in my life. A few weeks later, we went to look at rings.” Edo says, for him, it was after dating a few years. “I realized how much we love and support each other.”
This past August, a few months after looking at rings, Edo proposed. “We were canoeing on a lake on the border of Minnesota and Canada that day,” Mallory says. “We stopped on shore for a bite to eat and to walk around. I started to walk around the island and he followed me, saying to me, ‘I love you’ over and over, about twenty times. I thought he was acting weird and about ten seconds before he proposed, I realized that’s what he was going to do. He got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I couldn’t control my tears at all! Finally, I said, ‘Put that ring on my finger!‘”
When I ask them what they admire most about the other, Mallory says it’s “his dedication to do the right thing and his intense interest in always learning more.” Edo says, quite simply, that he admires “everything about her. She is loving, supportive, and always honest.” They love to travel and, most recently this year, have gotten into hiking and love spending time outside. “He loves to cook and I love to eat,” so there’s also that perfect yin yang.
These two are a joy to hang out with and we had so much fun together this past Friday evening! I’m so excited to share some of my favorite images from their session.
There’s a bit of discrepancy as to when they first met. Amanda says it was in Indianapolis when the Iowa Hawkeyes were playing in the Big 10 Championship, but Tyler says it was in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. Tyler was friends with Amanda’s older brother, who lived in Santa Monica at the time, so a group went out there for a long weekend. “I had been friends with Amanda’s brother, Mike, for several years prior to this, and the rule always was that no one was allowed to talk to her because he didn’t want his friends dating his sister. Fast forward to the game where he had the tickets and he sat us next to each other. We spent the game chatting and the hung out for a couple days after. We were both living in Iowa City at the time so she messages me after we got back and we went on our first date…without telling Mike we were seeing each other.” (Mike is going to be a part of the bridal party so one could say he’s on board now!)
“We had been talking about marriage for a little while (I even had the ring already) so I felt like I was ready to propose, but I had no idea how to do it. We were living in Salt Lake City and I worked up in the mountains. One morning when driving to work I saw a hot air balloon and knew that would be an awesome way to propose. I contacted a company and scheduled a sunrise flight on Labor Day weekend and told Amanda I would like to get up early and drive up into the mountains. (Hilarious side note, she knew I was up to something, but assumed I wanted to watch the sunrise in the mountains. Our balloon ride was scheduled for 45 minutes after the sun was up, so she was grumpy that I wanted her to get up early and we had already missed sunrise.) We got up to Park City and pulled into the parking lot and she saw the vehicle with the balloon on the back and started crying! (We had talked about how fun it would be to do a hot air balloon ride.) I had the ring with me the whole time, but the basket was kind of cramped and I was nervous I would drop the ring. So we had a fantastic balloon ride, and after they landed it in the field, I asked the other passengers if they could get a picture of us in front of the balloon before it got deflated, and I proposed.” (Amanda says she thought he was going to propose during the balloon ride so really, the surprise was in the suspense!)
I had so much fun with these two during their session! We hit it off immediately and, with just a few more weeks left before their wedding day, I know we are going to have so much fun all over again in October! They are funny and genuine and caring and watching the love between them is such a treat.
It’s mid-September and the weather has been absolutely perfect; crispy in the mornings and evenings and comfortably warm during the days. This past Saturday was just that, a dream of weather cooperation. We got to the church prior to the bridal party so we were able to scope it all out before things really got busy, which is always the best way to start a wedding day. It was just cool enough that I remember briefly thinking that I should’ve packed a sweater. (I forgot about it once things started rolling!)
When Sara and her friends arrived, we quickly shifted into details mode and, as wedding days go, once the gears start moving, time flies! Sara and Josh were married in this beautiful brick church on a gravel road in the country, a church that Sara attended as a child and that other family members have been married in. And though 2020 hasn’t brought about much in the “easy” department for wedding planning, Sara and Josh tackled every curve in the road, including actually, moving their ceremony to this church, with grace and determination. Sara’s dad joked later in the evening in his toast that they had a long engagement and could’ve gotten married last year, but, no, Sara wanted to wait until 2020 and, well, look at how that turned out. But really, it did turn out perfect. Maybe not in every way they had dreamed of–one of Sara’s bridesmaids couldn’t attend due to a positive COVID-19 exposure and it was heartbreaking–but in many of the ways that matter, it was perfect.
When Sara and Josh first began talking, she was going to grad school in Lincoln, Nebraska and he was working in Columbus, Nebraska. “I remember him saying he was from Iowa and I couldn’t believe our home towns in Iowa were an hour apart!” Sara was really busy in grad school so they continued talking, but didn’t go on their first date for another two months. They ate at Applebee’s–both say it was the best restaurant option Columbus had–and then went back to his place to watch a movie because “my home theater system was better than the Columbus Theater,” Josh said. They discovered early on that they both love watching movies and still, six years later, say they do a lot of dinner-and-a-movie dates, which probably works out well with social distancing, I suppose. Dinner to go and a home theatre? Winning!
Brendan’s mom, Becky, is one of my good friends and when she asked if I would consider shooting his senior photos, I was so honored!
Brendan is a senior at West High and plays both soccer and golf (and likes to play basketball just for fun). We lucked out with the most beautiful afternoon after 6 days of constant rain. As far as senior sessions go, this was the most relaxed one I could imagine. Neither Brendan nor Becky had any particular preferences when it came to Brendan’s senior photos so I was given full creative control, which was really fun. I had a ton of nooks and crannies in mind around downtown Iowa City and so it was fun to just walk around and explore and be able to to stop every time inspiration struck.