Tag Archives: wedding

California in Pictures

Last weekend two incredibly close friends of ours, Sean (one of the best men at our wedding) and Courtney, got married in Santa Barbara, CA! And since my man was the best man, we flew out there to celebrate and enjoy some sunshine!

Our trip started with a flight from Detroit to LA, then picking up our rental and making the 90-mile-journey (read: at least 2-1/2-hour-drive-in-rush-hour-traffic) up to Santa Barbara. Our flight landed at 5 p.m, – worst time to try and navigate a six-lane highway in the worlds smoggiest, most disgusting city. However since we had the time, we took a slight detour, added another hour to our trip and drove up Pacific Coast Highway. And I am so glad we did!

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When we finally reached Santa Barbara it was kind of late in the night, but the bride and groom had rented out a vacation home near the beach, for the week! So the entire girls side of the wedding party (minus the brides sister/MOH) stayed there, the groom of course, REB and I, and some other friends! The house was gorgeous.

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The courtyard in the backyard where I spent most of my time. The formal dining was there in the back. There was also a heater when it got cold at night, and a huge bed/seating area for anyone who wanted to chill and sleep out there. The bride and groom actually did their “first look “photos out here by the fountain.

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Lemon tree! The backyard actually had apple, plum, lemon and fig tress. So wonderful!

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The guest cottage was up those stairs to the left, which is where REB and I slept during our stay here. It was super cozy but had a bed, bathroom and mini bar! It was also next to the chickens that lived in their own roost up and to the right. They were the cutest things ever and gave us some eggs each morning :)

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The next day, REB and I decided to meet up with his buddy Pat (the other best man at our wedding) and do some wine tasting! We also got to meet his fun girlfriend and explored the beach front/downtown area of Santa Barbara. It was a cute little city and all the wine tasting places were right next door to each other and on the same block. This makes it easy when you’re already tipsy by 1 p.m. ;)

REB and his best bud Pat Pat!

REB and his best bud Pat Pat!

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Municipal Winemakers

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Kunin Wines

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Kunin Wines

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Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

We eventually had to get back to the house because the girls and I were taking the bride out for her bachelorette party! We had a blast! We started the night back at Munci wines for some wine tasting and enjoying a bottle or two. Then we walked to the Fish House (which had some vegetarian stuff actually!) and then took her out for dancing and debauchery. It was too much fun.

The bride with all her bridesmaids!

The bride with all her bridesmaids, minus her sister/MOH was riding in front.

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Courtney’s getting married!

We had at least a box of wine we went through that night. We are not ashamed.

We had at least a box of wine we went through that night. We are not ashamed.

The rest of the debauchery photos, I don’t have, so I can’t share them. But trust me when i say the bride had a good time.

The following day was the day of the rehearsal dinner, but we had some time in the morning, so REB and I headed into town and checked out downtown Santa Barbara. We got some lunch at a cute little Danish cafe, walked to the historic, gorgeous courthouse which has a viewing tower, and walked around a little before getting ready for the BBQ on the beach!

View from the top of the courthouse

View from the top of the courthouse

La Arcada - a cute little alleyway/street with boutiques and restaurants.

La Arcada – a cute little alleyway/street with boutiques and restaurants.

Time for the rehearsal dinner!

Time for the rehearsal dinner!

Goleta Beach

Goleta Beach

Goleta Beach Pier

Goleta Beach Pier

Saturday was the big day! While the wedding party was bustling around getting ready for the wedding, I decided to stay out of the way and walked down to Shoreline Park and then down to the beach! Have I mentioned how much I love bodies of water, especially the ocean? I seriously could have walked up and down the beach along the shore, listening to the waves, all. day. long.

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Time for the wedding!

REB. groom, and Pat Pat. BFFs since freshman year of college <3

REB. Sean and Pat-Pat. BFFs since freshman year of college <3


The beautiful bride getting ready.

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First dance!

First dance!

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It was a busy, but incredibly fun 5 days in the golden state. I met some new people who will be lifelong friends, all while celebrating the love of two people who mean the world to us. I couldn’t be happier for them and thank them for those fun days and night in Cali and we hope we can visit them again soon! Thanks for letting us be part of your special day!




Over the weekend

What a busy weekend I had! Here I thought March would end up being a busy-weekend month for me, but April is proving to be exactly the same.

I welcome it though! A lot happened over the weekend including being able to cross yet another thing on my list.

I ran my first 5K! Finally! A year in the training (and making!) and it’s finally done. I did the Rear Saver 5K on Belle Isle in Detroit – a race to prevent colon cancer. I’m not really big on the cause and whatever, so I mostly just ran it “just because.”. It was a really flat course and on the track of the old race track on Belle Isle. So it was a good first race for me!

My friend Kat and I got there bright and early to pick up our bibs and race packets.


Then it was time to stretch, warm up and line up for the race! My friend Kat is amazing. Throughout my “training” or weekly runs up until Saturday, I had been doing a 5 minute warm up brisk walk, then running and sometimes stopping to walk, until I reached the 3 mile mark. Yeah, Kat wasn’t letting me off the hook that easily. She said we’re running the whole thing, I couldn’t look at my Garmin at all, and she kept encouraging me, telling me I was kicking ass and doing awesome which kept me going strong!

She was my rock and I couldn’t have had the confidence to run the entire thing without her! She’s training for the half marathon in Pittsburgh in May, so I think she liked having this 5K as a simple run for her to get in over the weekend before her long distance running during the week in training. Either way, Thanks KAT!!

I ended up finishing the race in 38 minutes. Not the best, but I’ll take it. I had told myself that I wanted to finish it in 45 minutes, so seeing that number as I crossed the finish line only boosted my confidence! I had been averaging 40-42 minutes during my weekly runs, and that included the 5 minute warm up walk and cool down walk.


Maybe it was adrenaline, excitement, or the fact I never gave myself credit, but I was determined to run that entire damn thing and I’m so glad I did! I can’t wait to do another race. I officially have the running bug and want to just continue to improve! I have a goal to increase my distance to 3.25 miles this week and gradually work on increasing speed as well. I’ve set a new goal for myself to try to hit the 5 mile mark by mid-summer. I hope to do this before that, but I know me. I want to give myself time!

So after the race, we made the trek back to Ann Arbor and had a much deserved brunch at Cafe Zola. The rest of the day was spent chillaxing and taking a long nap (I hate getting up early on the weekend!) which got me all revved up for the evening of fun! My brother-in-law’s (REB’s brother) birthday was March 31 and we didn’t get to see him for it then. So we had planned to do a group dinner Saturday night so we could celebrate it.

Saturday night outfit

Saturday night outfit

We met up at an Indian place called Mirchi, which some of my coworkers had been to when they were under different management. It wasn’t bad food! The service is another story, but overall, the food wasn’t horrible. We all ordered Thali plates. Thali is basically a large platter that has small dishes on it with all different kinds of things: curries, yogurt, a dessert, rice, a lentil dish, a soup-ish dish, etc.. It’s really the best way to try a bunch of Indian food and curries (both south and north Indian) when there isn’t a buffet!


I barely made a dent int it. So much so that we still have leftovers. It was seriously more food than I ever needed, plus I had eaten the righteous Turkish Brunch at Zola’s earlier in the day. But in my book, having leftover Indian food is a total pile of win.

The night ended with Scary Movie Night at my friend Amber’s house (becoming a tradition) where I got introduced to the amazing Bruce Campbell and Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. Truly a work a masterful art, lemme tell ya. Groovy, baby.

On Sunday before Sunday Funday and Game of Thrones night, Amber stopped over with one of her dogs and she and I took a long walk through our neighborhood with her dog and Gryff. Then we let them play in our backyard for a little bit.


I also uploaded a few sneak peek wedding photos on my photo FB page! Here are a few, but the rest you can find here!

All in all, it was a perfect weekend with beautiful sunny weather and fun! I have ended up with a cold, but it was well worth it. I already look forward to the fun this weekend will bring!

What did you do over the weekend?

Shooting my first wedding

I am extremely happy to be able to say I photographed my first wedding over the weekend!

My friend Jackie had booked this gig for us last year when she found out her sister-in-law’s mother was getting remarried. The only info I really had was that we were going to shoot this wedding together, it was a small wedding and it was the second marriage for both. So we knew it was going to be fairly low key. This turned out to be the perfect first job for us!


I have seriously never had more fun in my life. I could absolutely see myself doing this full time one day down the road. The whole mood of the day was happiness and joy and being able to capture that for this amazing, beautiful couple made me feel so happy and feel so honored! I learned a lot, and hopefully can take some of these lessons or thoughts and use them towards future weddings I may photograph.

In fact, another friend of mine has asked me to assist her in a few of her weddings for 2013 as her second photographer, so I’m really excited to get back to the wedding scene in a few weeks! I am always trying to better myself as a photographer, as this is something I take pretty seriously. I already know I will learn so much from her because she is such a talented photographer in all things.

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So like I said, I did have some takeaways*. Most of these things I already follow or try to follow with any session I do, but weddings are pretty different! I’m sure I’ll be making a mental list of things to always keep in mind when asked to photograph a wedding, but here are some things I wanted to share! :)

  • Have your gear prepped! I can not stress this enough. I always make sure my SD card is cleared before any session I have. I charge both my batteries, get my flash situated, have my camera bag packed with the lenses I need, props in order, tripod, etc. It’s so important to be prepared! I get everything packed, lined up and ready to go the night before.
  • Have a backup! Since this wedding was a two-person job, my backup was my partner in crime. On the off chance something did happen to my camera, I knew she would be able to get the shots I couldn’t! Having a second camera body ready to go, though, definitely doesn’t hurt.
  • BE EARLY. I’m always at least 15 minutes early for any session I have booked, but it’s essential for a wedding! This is their day, their time, their money. You definitely don’t want to be late. If they say “Meet us where we’re getting ready at 5.”, you get there at 4:45 or earlier.
  • Remember you’re a vendor. You aren’t there as a guest. You are a vendor providing a service. Try to wear all black or muted colors so you blend in and don’t stand out. Also make sure you eat! You may be shooting for up to 10 hours in one day and you will be on your feet for the majority of the time. Make sure you dress comfortably with comfortable shoes, and eat something. It’s usually customary that the bride and groom offer you a seat and dinner at their wedding reception.
  • Scope out the area beforehand. This was a bit harder for us, since it was such a low key wedding, but we did get to the city where the wedding was a few hours in advance so we scoped out the area then. If at all possible, make sure to check out the wedding venue (if it’s unfamiliar to you), reception area, possible photographing areas outside or down the road, a week or two in advance. It also helps to figure out the route and time to get to said location so you have an idea on that.
  • Communicate. This seems like a no brainer, but it’s so important to communicate with the bride and groom. Make sure you have discussed their wants and needs or what their expectations are beforehand, if possible. It helps keeps flow during the day and also ensures they get the photos they absolutely must have. Keep open communication with the planner or who ever is in charge of making sure the night has good flow. You’ll want to know when the reception begins, when the first dance is, when the cake cutting is, etc. so you don’t miss any moment of it!
  • Be in control. Yes, this is a wedding so it’s going to be somewhat chaotic at times, but you have to keep things rolling. We literally only had 40-45 minutes for photos between the time after the ceremony and the reception starting. So we had to keep things moving and ensure all the photos they wanted to have taken, were done. Family members were prepared to stand in and what not. The bride later thanked us for being in control since she found herself easily distracted by saying hi and hugging friends who would linger back after the ceremony.
  • Don’t forget candids. This seems like a simple enough thing, but some of the most fun pictures I snapped were the ones of people talking during the reception, the bride dancing with her grand daughter, the bride and groom sneaking a kiss here and there, or people taking photos of other people with their smart phones. It definitely helped having a zoom lens where I could stand in the back of a room to be able to capture said moments.
  • Have fun. Easier said than done, but if you’re at all stressed or worried, it will show in the pictures. Remain calm, have fun, keep things light!

I already know some things I want to definitely make sure of with future weddings. I also hope to have a bit more gear before the next one too. While I had rented a pretty awesome lens for the weekend, I definitely know which ones I want to add to my camera bag permanently so I’m starting to save up for those! I hope to get another camera body too.

The bottom line is I had so much fun. I can’t wait to share some of the photos. It will definitely take me a while to get through all these and then edit them, but that’s half the fun. Stay tuned!

*I’m not a professional wedding photographer (…yet ;)…), so these opinions and thoughts are my own! You will undoubtedly have your own routine, procedure or way of handling your photo sessions!

A Day To Remember

It’s had to believe that REB and I have been married for almost two months, but we have and it’s been absolutely wonderful. We just got back from our honeymoon (still in the process of editing those photos so stay tuned!) and getting back into the daily groove of things, but August 20 is a day I won’t ever forget. I married my best friend and love of my life and it was one of the best days of my life.

Our amazing photographer Nena Metcalf was there to shoot the entire thing. You might remember her. She’s the lovely lady who did our engagement photos back in April. She flew back up from Texas and photographed our wedding and once again she exceeded my expectations.

Enjoy, friends! <3

Getting ready...


With my mom <3 and my cousin :)


Right before "I do".. ;)


My girls and me :)


Sisters <3


Ceremony highlights...


Shoes. The girls didn't end up stealing the grooms' shoes, but it was a valiant effort!


Our wonderful wedding party AKA our best friends <3


My love and me :)


Speeches, cupcakes and a toast!


Stars Go Blue <3


This picture from his parents wedding day is one of our favorite pictures. We always joked that we wanted to re-enact this picture on our wedding day one day, so we did. I'm so glad we did too :)

She got moments of REB and me that I absolutely love. Thank you Nena for once again proving your talent and capturing a beautiful, memorable day for us!

**All photos by Nena Metcalf Photography. Re-production and re-use of any kind if strictly prohibited!**