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My wedding dress

11 Sep

(Did you miss Part 1 about how I met my husband slinging mud? Click here.)

 

 

I left off my story with a search for the perfect wedding gown. The show, “A Wedding Story” was on TLC during the day and I became an addict! “Say Yes to the Dress” wouldn’t be on air for a couple more years, but the producers of TLC were on to something as we brides-to-be stayed glued to the sappy romances of others in between classes. Everyone said that I would “just know” when I found  my dress. With friends in tow, we all headed to the mecca of all wedding stores.

Let me just say now, as a second-hand clothing junkie and lover of all things vintage: I never should have set foot into this store. But I was 20 and as I said, I still hadn’t nailed down my style or how to make my visions of vintage bliss come true.  The customer service was TERRIBLE and I was treated like scum because I hadn’t nailed down my wedding date exactly. We were waiting on a confirmation from our venue for a Friday or Saturday night wedding. Apparently, this wasn’t good enough for the staff of this mega store and they needed an engraved invitation to treat me like a valuable customer. Can you tell I am still bitter?

After this lack-luster experience, I decided to shop on my own at a local boutique. If you know me, you know that I LOVE to be around people. I am high-energy and get even more energized by conversations and laughter with friends. I mean, I am an actress after all. What would you expect? But for picking out my wedding dress, I decided to visit my second bridal store alone. It was liberating to not have the opinion of well meaning friends about the type of dress that I should purchase.

The little Lakeland bridal boutique (which has since closed it’s doors) was wonderful. I tried on many gowns and the owner could tell I wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted. She pulled out a ivory, spaghetti strapped gown featuring a detailed overlay on top of a structured bodice with a unique train and gorgeous scarf for me to try on. On the hanger, it wasn’t looking very promising, but it was a combination of what I was looking for, so I tried it.

 

It was perfect.

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I felt like a bride. It was unique and classic, with just a hint of my figure and a decidedly romantic charm. The train was my favorite part, as it reminded me of a little garden of flowers at my feet. With the gown came a distinctive scarf that could be worn in a myriad of ways. This strikingly different piece made me love the dress even more! I decided that the scarf would be for the reception, giving a cute transition in my appearance from one location to the next. This dress was very different from the style at the time and was moving me towards my vintage wedding.

Knowing that this was “THE” dress, I put down my payment, was measured for a custom gown since the overlay could not be altered in house, and left the store floating. No one else had seen it, not my mom, not any of friends, but I knew it was the dress for me. In this regard, I was fiercely independent and knew I made a wonderful decision.

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Months later, my Mom joined me at my final fitting. I was nervous as I stepped out of the dressing room, rethinking my certainty months before. Catching my breath, I stepped out of the dressing room and in front of the angled mirrors. As tears rolled down both my Mom and my cheeks, I knew that this dress had changed me from a little girl into a woman in so many ways. And that I had made the right decision for my wedding dress.

As a gift to my parents, my best friend borrowed her mother’s camera (her mom was a photo journalist), we bought a roll of color and a roll of black and white film and we headed to Hollis Gardens to take some bridal portraits. Yep, I said “roll” because digital cameras were not up to professional standards back then. Most people didn’t even own digital cameras and you definitely wouldn’t photograph something of importance with digital. For my shoot, we didn’t know what we were doing, but we had a great time and my parents loved the images.

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Almost 10 years later, I still like my gown. It was unique, classy and I purchased over half of it with my own money (Mom and Dad had a dress budget and this dress went way over!). It was my first grown-up clothing purchase and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve been thinking about doing a trash the dress session this summer in celebration of my 10 year anniversary. But I don’t know if I feel ready to let it go just yet.

 

(Stay tuned for a post about my photographer and the actual wedding day, the last in this 3 part series about my love story.)

Wedding Anniversary / Lakeland Wedding Photographer

23 Jul

Today I celebrate 7 wonderful years of marriage to my best friend! We were married here in Lakeland in the church we still attend.  It was a wonderful and an emotional day. I was only 21 years old, and it was the best decision I ever made! My husband still is my best friend and now he is a wonderful father to our two beautiful children.

In honor of this day, here are a couple of images from my wedding. The pictures were taken by my friend, Nicole Abong, who specializes in photo journalistic photography. Of course, at that time everything was film, so all of these images are SOC.

Lakeland wedding photographer

Lakeland wedding photographer

Lakeland wedding photographer

Lakeland wedding photographer

Lakeland wedding photographer

The pastor is still our pastor to this day!

Lakeland wedding photographer

Lakeland wedding photographer

Lakeland wedding photographer

The first look / Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

6 Jul

One of the privileges of being a wedding photographer is being privy to intimate moments between a couple.  Something I offer to my wedding clients are a session called “First Look.” The couple decides to see one another before the ceremony in a private, quiet moment instead of with hundreds of eyes witnessing the first time the groom sees his bride. It is a very special time the couple gets to be together on one of the best and busiest days of their lives. I have the honor of capturing those first looks, first hugs, first whispered words between the soon-to-be married couple. It is one of my favorite parts of a wedding day! I smile like a crazy lady behind that lens because I know what a special and intimate time this is for the two of them.

 

Lauren and Craig allowed me to take these precious pictures of them on their wedding day during their “First Look” session at the beginning of June. This is the first time they saw one another and I snapped away at a distance, allowing the couple to simply enjoy one another. To any couple considering having the “First Look” pictures as a part of your day, allow these images to sway you to do it. Thank you, Lauren and Craig for letting me be a part of this very special time!

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Downtown Trash the Dress / Lakeland Bridal Photographer

11 Jun

Andrea will celebrate 9 years of marriage in just a couple of days and one way she commemorated this wonderful occasion was to don her wedding gown for a fun downtown Lakeland trash the dress session. She wore her red lipstick, peep toe heels and fishnets with pride, because she knew she was lookin’ fine. We took many fun images, and you can view more here. Andrea, thanks for allowing me to recapture your beauty with that special dress. Happy anniversary!

Lakeland Wedding Photographer

Lakeland Wedding Photographer

Lakeland Wedding Photographer

Lakeland Wedding Photographer

Lakeland Wedding Photographer

Lakeland Wedding Photographer

Lakeland Wedding Photographer

June Wedding / Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

11 Jun

Tonight was a beautiful night for a wedding. The gentle breeze blew the brides veil just enough to be poetic. It was a wonderful celebration of love and family as the couple relaxed and enjoyed their guests. This evening I wanted to share some precious images of the bride and groom before my head hits the pillow. Congrats to Lauren and Craig!

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Lake Wales Wedding Photographer

Tea Length Bridal Gown / Lakeland Wedding Photographer

23 May

Jennifer made the perfect bride in her vintage tea length gown. She was up for doing anything, and didn’t run away when our location proved to produce grasshoppers living in between her layers of crinoline! Thank you, Sarah Carey for the amazing make-up, Angela Horn for the jewelry and Lakeland Community Theatre for the bridal gown!

Lakeland Bridal Photographer

Lakeland Bridal Photographer

Lakeland Bridal Photographer

Lakeland Bridal Photographer

Lakeland Bridal Photographer

Blushing Bride / Lakeland Wedding Photographer

21 May

A preview of things to come!

Lakeland Wedding Photographer