As the years pass, wedding traditions change and become obsolete. The throwing/catching of the bouquet and garter is one of those traditions that we see less and less as time goes on. However, one beautiful January day, a newly wedded couple continued the tradition at their wedding reception and something magical happened. The old wives tale is that the single lady who catches the bride’s bouquet will be next to be married, as well as the single man who catches the garter. At Ethan and Bri’s wedding last year, Ethan’s best friend Hunter caught the garter, and Bri’s dear friend and bridesmaid Christina caught the bouquet. Until this day, Hunter and Christina were total strangers. They shared a short and casual conversation or two throughout the wedding day, but it was in this moment that the fairytale began.
Throughout the remainder of the reception, the two strangers started getting to know each other, and even shared a dance. The attraction was instant! They kept in contact after the wedding, and it wasn’t long before they knew they had found someone very special. Hunter and Christina began dating, and in the spring of 2017 Hunter asked Christina for the honor of being her husband! We’re not so convinced that the old bouquet/garter tradition is a wives tale 😉
Hunter and Christina’s fairytale continued, and they became husband and wife yesterday at a beautiful chapel on a gorgeous fall day! Avondale Chapel was the perfect setting for their timeless and intimate wedding. They shared their first look together, then later exchanged vows under a gorgeous Elm tree, accompanied by a soft breeze and their closest friends and family. Christina’s best friend and sister stood beside her as Matron of Honor, and Hunter’s best friend Ethan (the one who started it all) was Best Man. Their parents welcomed everyone, related or not, as family and made this day an absolute joy to be a part of. Friends and family drove hundreds of miles to witness the union of these two incredible souls and show their love and support.
One of our favorite parts of this day? FIVE of our brides were there! It was like an R&B Family Reunion! These girls have been best friends for years, and have all been in each other’s weddings! #bridetribegoals We were even blessed to have our sweet Makenzie Evans with us, who helped us tremendously with her mad photographer/family portrait director/dress carrier/water bottle monitor/chair carrier/everything else skills! Thank you SO much, Makenzie!
Hunter and Christina, you are two of the most thoughtful, loving, and caring people we know and we’re still in awe of you and your story! From two wedding attendants brought together in a storybook kind of way to husband and wife, you are in inspiration to all of us! Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Wolfe, and enjoy your honeymoon in paradise!!
Bride’s Dress Designer | Morilee
Bride’s Dress Shop | Mia’s Bridal & Tailoring
Groom & Best Man Attire | Haggar
Florals | Petal Chik Designs
Ceremony & Reception Venue | Avondale Chapel
Wedding Planner & Coordinator | Jeff & Leah Ecker, Avondale Chapel
Matron of Honor Dress | Adrianna Papell, Macy’s
Catering & Wedding Cake | Rick’s Bakery
Invitations | VistaPrint
On June 22, 2013 around 11:00 pm, our tired bodies collapsed onto a hotel bed in Texas. We hurt and ached in places we didn’t know existed, but somehow felt like we had more life in us than on our best days. We had just finished photographing our first wedding. Through the exhaustion and agony, we looked at each other and said “I think we found what we’re meant to do.”
There is no way to adequately describe how many lessons we have learned about the photography industry, being business owners, the wedding industry, and mostly marriage… the hard way. The last 4 years have been a radical evolution of two people in a broken marriage who wanted to photograph weddings, of all things. We hit rock bottom and God helped us rebuild into a couple that we never would have recognized. Marriage became a sacred gift that we guarded with our lives, and we wanted everyone to know about it. Being wedding photographers wasn’t this fun and creative thing to do anymore… it was a mission and a calling.
We wanted this little business to boom, and we wanted it fast. We threw money at every avenue we found to help us expedite the process, essentially skipping the fundamentals of developing our skills as artists and business owners. We put WAY too much weight into the advice and opinions of everyone else, and hardly any into our own. Social media became a place to see what everyone else was doing and try to emulate that. In hindsight, we weren’t being lazy and trying to take the easy train, we simply didn’t know. We didn’t know how to take the advice of those who had gone before us as just that… advice. We didn’t know how to find our own identity, how to be inspired without the green monster of comparison, or how to create something original.
Over time we have established that identity. (Turns out there is no such thing as a fast track) We know exactly who we are and what we stand for, but have still struggled with how to build a business around that. We are a husband and wife photography team, so we have to run this business as one entity, right? Nope. God created us to be two very different individuals, so why would we stifle that? That’s the turning point, folks. We are strong individuals who are even stronger together.
A year ago, we realized how desperately we needed a brand. Our entrepreneur friends understand what this means, but for everyone else, here is a little explanation. You are the brand. We are the brand. A brand is not color and a logo. A brand is an identity. It’s who you are when no one is looking. It’s how you treat people- customers or not. It’s the words you use and the actions you take. It’s your personality. It’s the “why” behind what you do… and what you don’t do.
“A brand is the “why” behind what you do… and what you don’t do.”
We reached out to a brand designer that we know and love and began planning. And then the news we had been praying for came along, our baby girl, and suddenly paying a designer was completely out of the budget this year. Something you should know about me is that when I get an idea I don’t let it go. And if circumstances tell me “no,” I figure out how to do it anyway, no matter how hard or how long it takes. So I decided that I’d do it myself.
I began the countless hours of studying the psychology behind visual branding and web design, self-assessment, taking polls, and writing pages and pages of notes in Google docs. I created my own extensive branding questionnaire and with every single answer I would ask “why?” If I couldn’t come up with a good enough “why” I would nix that answer and start over.
Once the branding phase was finished and our identity was painted clearly, I began the website design process through the incredible web host company, Showit. And I just thought the branding phase was hard! I went into this knowing absolutely nothing about designing a website. I started with a free template provided by Showit since I had no clue where to start, but as time went on and I figured out what to do, that template got torn apart and my own original design came to life. Again, with every decision I would ask “why did I put that there?” If it didn’t fit with the defined brand it was deleted and I started over.
Looking back over the last year, and especially the last 8 months since this project truly began, I see how beneficial it was that we couldn’t afford to hire a seasoned professional for this. It made us dig so deep into the “why” behind everything we do that we have grown exponentially in every aspect. Somehow that monster of comparison became (nearly) a non-issue because we finally understand and respect our own business too much. We can admire what others are doing without questioning why we didn’t do it too. It has given us a new-found confidence, and confidence is sexy 🙂 My favorite change, though, is that we can finally embrace our differences as individuals and find incredible strength in that. Our differences are what make us so powerful together. What a beautiful thing!
We are SO proud of this new beginning, and absolutely can not wait to debut the all-new Reid & Brittany brand in just a couple of weeks!! We will also be debuting a surprise project that we started exactly a year (yesterday) in Italy!! To find out when we launch, just follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
“I knew I was saving this ring for someone. Today I want to give it to you, and someday you can give it to our daughter.” The ring on Caroline’s right hand has been a symbol to her since she was a young teenager that God was preparing a perfect life companion for her. It has been a constant reminder that through the trials and changes of life, His plan will prevail and she could stay steadfast in that truth. She has allowed him to prepare her- heart, mind, and soul- for the man she would someday marry. On Saturday July 8th, she placed that ring in the hand of her soon-to-be husband.
As thoughtful, kind-hearted, patient, and loving as Caroline is, Joseph is too. He also has a laugh and a glow that lights up the world. He, too, has been preparing his heart for when God gave him his perfect life-companion. During their emotional First Look, Joseph said “You are more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.” He treasures Caroline as a rare and perfect gift.
Joseph also gave Caroline a wedding gift- a beautiful wall print of their new last name and all of the special milestones they’ve been through together so far. But then she turned it over… letters from everyone in her family were taped to the back of the frame, along with a USB drive. Joseph downloaded ever single text, email, and Facebook message they have ever exchanged so that they would never be lost! He thought that the gifts were over, but then Caroline said she had one more surprise for him. It wasn’t just a surprise to him, she kept it a surprise from everyone! With nervous hands, she sat down at the piano and played him the song that she wrote for him. Caroline is a brilliant musician and vocalist, so this was no ordinary song. She played and sang her heart to the love of her life while he watched and listened in awe in wonder.
Joseph and Caroline could have met while they attended the same college, but their paths just didn’t really cross. It wasn’t until after Caroline returned to the country from studying abroad, that Joseph started attending her church, and they connected over similar experiences. Most of all, they connected over their love for the gospel. The timing was divine and they knew almost instantly that they were meant to spend eternity together.
Joseph and Caroline became husband and wife in the same room where they first met, and where Joseph proposed. Their wedding was elegant, classy, and fun- which is exactly how anyone would describe them! Caroline wore the bracelet that Joseph had given her as a gift, and one of the most beautiful lace gowns we’ve ever seen! Her sweet and talented cousin designed all of the floral arrangements, and our good friend DJ Jellybean delivered an incredible reception experience. Joseph and Caroline’s friends and family were supportive, loving, encouraging, helpful, and SO MUCH FUN!
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Koon! We love you!
Ceremony Venue | The Bible Church of Little Rock
Portrait & Reception Venue | Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
Bride’s Dress Designer | Sottero & Midgley
Bride’s Dress Shop | Low’s Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | JJ’s House
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire | Jos. A. Bank
Floral Design | Justin Jackson
Invitations | The American Wedding
DJ | DJ Jellybean
Cake | Debra Brown
You’ve probably heard people say “it was a sign” dozens of times. When Carson first “met” Rachel, he received a sign that she was the girl for him… literally. We’re not talking metaphoric here, it WAS a sign! A Practice Plus sign, to be exact! Rachel had been asked to be one of the faces of Practice Plus’s new campaign, which she shyly agreed to. Her face was one on a sign displayed around Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, and it caught Carson’s attention. One day one of Carson’s coworkers, who was bound on finding him a girlfriend, asked him what he was looking for. Standing next to the sign, he halfway joked and pointed at the picture of Rachel and said “her.” What Carson didn’t know was that his coworker would “coincidentally” meet Rachel soon and begin playing Cupid. After Carson found out that his coworker had told this beautiful mystery girl all about him, he was SO embarrassed that he found Rachel on Facebook and messaged her a sincere apology. Rachel appreciated the kind gesture and shrugged it off as just a weird encounter. But somehow the messages slowly continued…
The beginning of their acquaintanceship was so odd that Rachel had a hard time accepting that Carson could actually be the incredibly kind, funny, and God-loving guy that he seemed to be. After some time of talking online, she agreed to go on a date with him. They chose a casual place, Tacos 4 Life in Conway, to meet and get to know each other in person. It turned out that he really was THAT guy, Rachel really was the “poster girl,” and the sign was really THE sign! You guys, you just can’t make this stuff up!
Carson and Rachel are two of the kindest, funniest, energetic, sentimental, and devoted people who could absolutely not be more perfect together. They were joined as husband and wife on Saturday surrounded by hundreds of loving family and friends, at the altar in front of a beautiful wooden cross which Carson built. Rachel paid tribute to her strong family heritage by wearing her great grandmother’s pearl necklace and bracelet. Having been in over 20 weddings between the two of them, it was FINALLY Carson and Rachel’s turn! In fact, Rachel and four of her bridesmaids have all been in each other’s weddings! And we’ve been privileged to photograph four of them! Now THAT’S a #bridetribe!!
Carson and Rachel, we are honored to know you and to have been able to share your (seriously) one-of-a-kind love story! Have fun at Disney World!!
Ceremony Venue | R&C Church of Christ
Dress Shop | Inverness Bridal
Veil | Veil Trends Couture
Bride’s Hair/Make up | Emily Tackett
Floral Design | Petal Chik Designs
Videography | Via Media
Coordinating | Diane Nichols
Groomsmen Attire | JC Penney
Reception Venue | Second Baptist Church, Conway
Standing in the driveway of summer camp, two months after their first introduction, Jackson and Sydney professed their love for each other. Almost three years later, standing at the altar in a chapel made of glass, they became husband and wife. Their first meeting was absolutely divine intervention. Sydney had taken a job at a summer camp in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she met the camp director’s son. They were total strangers, but something clicked. Before camp started, they got to know each other through talking on Facebook, and it didn’t take long! They went on their first date when camp started, and the fire was ignited.
Jackson’s mom told us at one point during the wedding day that she couldn’t have picked a more perfect bride for her son. What a treasure! A parent only wants the absolute best for their child, and to be able to say that… well, you just can’t ask for a bigger blessing. And we wholeheartedly agree with Mrs. Carter! We could tell from the minute we sat down with them in Starbucks last summer that their compatibility was on-point. And can we just brag on Sydney for a second? She is one of the most laid back, easy going, thoughtful, caring, and punctual brides we’ve ever met! And so were all nine of her bridesmaids! She was constantly making sure that everyone was doing okay, had everything they needed, and thanking them for coming to her wedding!
Our favorite part of the whole day was Jackson and Sydney’s first look. Sydney had planned an incredible surprise for Jackson by having his grandfather’s wedding band inscribed with the phrase “My Best Buddy.” Jackson and his grandpa were extremely close, and since he’s now in heaven, Sydney wanted to honor his memory and make him a part of their wedding day. She surprised Jackson with the ring during their first look. Jackson also wore his grandpa’s fishing lure pinned to his boutonniere, to keep him close to his heart.
Sydney and her girls spent the morning getting ready at a beautiful historic home in the heart of Hot Springs. The ceremony took place at the Anthony Chapel at Garvan Gardens, and the reception at The Porter House Club in Hot Springs. Their loving family and friends made the day incredibly special and just a whole lot of fun! There was nothing stressful about it! It was perfect in every way from start to finish.
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Carter! Enjoy Charleston!!
Getting ready venue | Private residence in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Ceremony Venue | Anthony Chapel at Garvan Gardens
Bride’s Dress | Oleg Cassini at David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | David’s Bridal
Floral Designer | Petal Chik Designs
Bride’s Shoes | Gianni Bini
Invitations | Minted
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire | Jos. A. Bank
Reception Venue & Catering| The Porterhouse and Belle Arti
Wedding Cake | Sweet Lavender Bake Shop
Reid and I have both been fascinated with Italy since we were kids. When we met, we found out that visiting Italy was on both of our bucket lists. In 2013, three years into marriage, we decided to make it happen, and devised a one-year savings plan to make the trip in September of 2014.
September 14th, 2014, we landed on Italian soil for the first time, completely overwhelmed that this life-long bucket list trip was actually a reality. Jetlagged and wild-eyed, we made our way around the Marco Polo Airport in Venice, trying to figure out what to do next. Our two days in Venice were absolutely magical! We left Venice very early that third morning, we’ll spare you the details, but the trip went downhill in a hurry. We spent two weeks in that beautiful country and to be honest, the trip was a bit of a disaster. We had never traveled internationally and made a lot of rookie mistakes, but also ran into a lot of issues that were out of our control. We visited 9 different cities in those 14 days (which is insane!) and made incredible memories!
A couple of months after the trip, Reid brought up how cool it would be to live in Italy and be on-location destination wedding photographers. Our dream has always been to shoot weddings all over the world (Europe most specifically), and that would give us the incredible opportunity to do it. I laughed (because moving to Italy was crazy!) and dismissed it. But he kept bringing it up. The conversations grew longer and deeper each time we talked, and I actually started entertaining the idea. That insane, daunting, and terrifying idea. Even though our trip was far from perfect, Italy had completely stolen our hearts. The people, the culture, the language, the food, the breathtaking beauty around every corner… our hearts ached to be back there.
For the next two years, we battled back and forth with the idea. We researched how to get Visas, find a place to live, find jobs, and healthcare. We looked at the financials and how long it would take us to be financially ready for the move. And we prayed. A lot. There was this big hang up, though, that we just couldn’t get past. There were many factors that would make us want to stay, but one thing loomed over us darker than the others. We wanted a family. Moving to Italy would indefinitely put having a child on hold, and we just couldn’t get past that. After months of hashing it out through tears, fear and frustration, and changing our minds countless times, we had a breakthrough. In May of 2016, God made it extremely clear that it was time to leave the decision totally up to Him, (which we should’ve done from the beginning!) and actually allow Him to tell us which path to take. Have a baby or move to Italy? His choice.
Last August, it really seemed as though He was pulling us toward Italy, and we decided to plan another trip there to move forward with the moving plans. We started telling our family and closest friends, some of the hardest conversations we’ve ever had, and asked for their prayers. We thought it would take at least until spring to save up the money, but when our trip to New York, planned for September, fell through and we were suddenly blessed with an unexpected and large amount of money from new wedding bookings, we picked the ONE available week left for the entire year! What’s ironic is that we landed in Italy on September 13th, exactly two years from our first trip! We had a whirlwind of a week (apparently that’s just the way we do things!) and although we hit a pretty major bump in the road on the first night, it went so much smoother than the first trip! After two years of dreaming of life there, we were a lot more prepared! We were very interested in the city of Lucca as a possible new home, so we spent a day there, as well as Modena. We felt like we were home. After two years of desperately missing this place, dreaming of what life would be like, we felt like we belonged there.
Then something weird happened. On the flight home, we both felt pretty sure that the decision had been made and that God giving us the means to go visit was His way of giving us our answer (that, and that we still weren’t pregnant). When we landed back in Little Rock, went home, and eased back into reality, something changed. Yeah, we missed Italy terribly, but suddenly the thought of possibly never having a child was devastating. And thought of not living in Italy was not. While we were in Lucca, we spent time with our dear friends (our wedding photographers and my mentors) Kari and Caleb, who moved to Strasbourg, France, and they said something that really hit it home for us. They said “to move overseas, you have to want it more than anything else in the world.” What we finally realized is that as badly as we craved the adventure of moving over there and starting this one-of-a-kind business, we wanted a child more.
That was the turning point. We were still open to wherever God called us, whether another city in Arkansas or another continent, but we would do it as a family. It’s absolutely no coincidence that as soon as we realized His plan for us, our precious baby girl came into picture 🙂 One of the places we visited on this last trip was Varenna (pronounced Vuh-ray-nuh), which is a small town on Lake Como. It is without a doubt the most beautiful, inspiring, and magnificent place we have EVER been. We only spent a few hours there, but it changed us. Its beauty is a miracle straight from the hand of God. Our daughter’s name is Ella Varenna Riggan. We haven’t met her yet, but she is the most beautiful, inspiring, and magnificent thing we have ever experienced and she has changed us. Her beauty is a miracle straight from the hand of God, and we are SO thankful that we chose her.
A few years ago, Michelle flew from her home in Hot Springs, AR to Chicago for her cousin’s wedding. From across the room, she spotted a familiar face. Jose looked a lot different than the kid she had a crush on in grade school all of those years ago. After she moved to Arkansas from California, she never expected to see him again. And she certainly didn’t expect what would happen next.
Jose may have missed it back then, but he definitely didn’t this time. The two exchanged phone numbers, then flew back to their opposite ends of the country. It started with some texting, which turned into phone calls, which turned into friendship, which turned into love. They lived almost 2,000 miles apart, but grew closer and closer every day. Jose knew that God had reunited him with Michelle for a divine purpose, and didn’t want to spend another minute apart. In the spring of 2016, while Michelle was visiting him in LA, he planned a romantic picnic at a lighthouse, overlooking the Pacific. While she was distracted taking pictures of the view, Jose knelt down and pulled out the ring. Obviously she said yes! 🙂
The couple chose Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas to celebrate their marriage. Dozens of family and friends flew in from California to show their love for these precious people. Michelle could’ve worn sweatpants to her wedding and still looked gorgeous, so when she finished putting on her wedding dress, jewelry, and veil… well, you’ll see Jose’s reaction! This sweet young lady was STUNNING! Jose pulled out all the stops with his three piece suit and gorgeous watch, which was a Christmas gift from his bride. As for the weather… I know that we Arkansans tend to talk about the weather too much, but seriously. No rain, little humidity, highs in the 70s, and a slight breeze in MAY! That just doesn’t happen! It was perfect! A fantastic team of vendors made Jose and Michelle’s day even more spectacular, so make sure you give them a look at the bottom of the post!
Jose and Michelle, we can’t thank you enough for trusting us to tell your love story. God is doing big things in your lives, and we are thrilled for you to start this new chapter together! Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Vasquez!!
Ceremony & Reception Venue | Garvan Woodland Gardens
Bouquets | Flowers & Home, Hot Springs
Reception Flowers | A Floral
Bridesmaids Dresses | Azazie
Invitations | Mixbook
Catering | Taco Mama
Cake | Ambrosia Bakery
Videographer | Micah Fairchild
“Who are you?” The memorable first words spoken between Shelby and Patrick won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Patrick was new at the hospital where Shelby worked, and her curiosity about this stranger sparked what would become a beautiful love story. Patrick introduced himself, and they went about their normal work days. Not much conversation was exchanged between the semi-strangers after that first encounter, until Shelby found herself in a predicament. She bought tickets to see one of her favorite bands, Kings of Leon, in Nashville on New Years Eve, but no one could go with her. Determined to not miss the concert, she tried to think of anyone she could take with her. That Patrick guy at work seemed like a nice guy, why not? Shelby asked Patrick a crazy question, and to her surprise, he agreed to go.
There is a popular song that says “If you trust your rebel heart, ride it into battle, don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled.” Popular opinion probably would have said to stay home. Don’t go, and don’t ask a practical stranger to go with you. Something in Shelby’s gut told her to do it anyway, to take that road less traveled. And it’s the best decision she could have ever made. In the hours Patrick and Shelby spent in the car to and from Nashville, they learned all about each other, and they were hooked. From that point on, they were inseparable… almost.
Patrick finished his time at the hospital and was offered at dream job at a hospital in Texas as an Anesthetist. This is what he had been working toward for years. He never imagined meeting the woman of his dreams in Arkansas. After Patrick moved to Texas, he and Shelby continued their relationship, which grew stronger every day, while the distance grew harder. Shelby was heartbroken, because she and her son needed to stay in Arkansas, but the man she loved was hours away. She wondered how it would ever work. A year passed by, and Patrick surprised Shelby with tickets to see Kings of Leon in Nashville on New Years Eve again, just like their first date. That night, one year after two strangers fell in love, Patrick surprised Shelby again, this time by asking her a crazy question. It turns out, his dream woman mattered a lot more to him than his dream job. And she obviously said yes 🙂
On Friday, April 21st, Patrick and Shelby vowed their lives to each other. “I can’t believe you came back to marry me,” Shelby said through tears as she read her promises to her soon-to-be husband. Patrick vowed to always love and take care of Shelby and William, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he will do just that.
Shelby and Patrick were married at the beautiful new Kindred Barn in Northwest Arkansas. Her stunning Calla Blanche gown from Inverness Bridal in Conway was unlike any dress we’ve ever seen and definitely stopped Patrick in his tracks! Shelby is an avid lover of the outdoors, and specifically chose this venue not just for its beauty inside, but the gorgeous land it sits on. The extended forecast, all the way up until the wedding day, showed between 90-100% chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms ALL day. We were disappointed for Shelby, but grateful for the beauty of the inside of Kindred Barn. And you know what happened? Despite the gloomy forecast, the rain completely stopped MINUTES before their First Look!! It wasn’t supposed to happen. It was supposed to be dumping buckets! They were able to have their First Look and all of their portraits outside in front of the barn and in the vineyard!! The raindrops started to gently fall just as we were finishing up to head in for the ceremony! You can even see the rain in the last few portraits!
This day, this couple, and this testimony to fighting for who you love should be an inspiration. We’re honored to have been chosen to share it! Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Oeder!
Venue | Kindred Barn
Florals | Kindred Barn
Dress Shop | Inverness Bridal Couture
Dress Designer | Calla Blanche
Wedding Cake | Natalie Madison’s Artisan Cakes
DJ | Brock Fortness
Catering | Woodshed Catering
Well, Hello There!
Wow! How do we even start? For the past year and a half we have religiously blogged our couples’ weddings, but have only shared a few sessions here and there. Personal posts? None. And to be honest, we MISS it!! Why did we stop blogging like we used to? That’s easy. We did it for us. We had buried ourselves so deep in work that our marriage and our personal health were suffering big time.
The Turning Point
Late one Sunday evening, Brittany was sitting at her desk in the office staring at a blank computer screen. Our Marriage Monday blog series had been going for several months and readers were loving it! It seemed like it really did offer encouragement to people, which was our goal! Reid walked in, looked at Brittany and said “I miss you.” We got into a somewhat heated discussion about how we hadn’t spent uninterrupted time together in weeks, and we were about to start over with a whole new work week. Brittany was frustrated because she was clueless on what to write for tomorrow’s Marriage Monday, and here was Reid distracting her. And then it hit like a big stack of Acme landing on top of Wile E. Coyote. Our marriage was suffering because telling other people how to have a great marriage was a bigger priority. HELLO! It was in that moment that we decided to take a look at what all we were giving our time to and why.
First, we agreed that Friday nights were date nights, and totally off limits to work. It’s hard when our work is fun, but we knew we HAD to make our marriage priority! We also examined our business, what is most important to us, and what is most important to our clients. There were many other tasks that were crucial to giving our couples an incredible experience, and blogging was just a little too far down the list. We continued to blog their weddings 3 days after the wedding, but all other blogging was put on hold.
After a year hiatus, a lot of planning for 2017, talking, and praying, we are nervous and excited to be bringing the blog back! So, why now? What has changed? WE have changed. We have grown tremendously as individuals, as a couple, as photographers, and as business owners. We are healthier, happier, smarter, and have a better grasp on time management. We also recognize that our blog can be a helpful tool for newly engaged brides who are being bombarded with ten thousand decisions. It can give inspiration for girls looking for engagement outfit, location, and wedding decor ideas.
As we have spent a LOT of time digging deeper into the “why” behind our business and what we want to accomplish this year, it was VERY clear. Your story. Without the story behind the photo, it’s just another pretty wedding photo. And that’s not good enough. A few months ago, Brittany got a message from a childhood acquaintance who explained that she was getting married and we were her first and only choice for photographers. The reason she gave? She loves our blog, she has a really cool story, and she wants US to tell it. It was in that moment that our “why” was staring us boldly in the face. Stories change lives. Our little blog can be a tool to change lives… HOW can we not be using that?! (FYI- that childhood acquaintance is now a dear friend!)
So, here we go!! But on one condition. We aren’t going to smother ourselves by creating a “schedule.” Our life is crazy right now (if you missed the announcement, we’re having a baby!) and putting the pressure of a blog schedule would just be unwise. We do, however, promise you this: we will share stories that can change your life. That’s what this internet journal is about. It’s not about a checklist, or a “photographer must do this to be successful” standard. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives. Because people are what matter.
Reid & Brittany
Photo credit: Ilona Barton
The dance started with all married couples. As the DJ announced “one year, five years, ten years, twenty years,” the couples on the dance floor slowly disappeared until there was only one couple left. Fifty-six years of marriage. Trent’s grandparents smiled timidly as they made their way over to the DJ’s booth. When asked “how do you make marriage work for fifty-six years,” she paused for a second, then gave a simple, but powerful answer. “It takes patience and learning to think like they do.” Trent and Rachel have been blessed with an incredible legacy of marriages who understand patience, and knowing your spouse inside and out. They understand that in order to have a thriving marriage, they need to think like each other. What makes Rachel feel the most loved? How does Trent feel respected? With the foundation they have already built, their marriage is destined for greatness.
Trent and Rachel are high school sweethearts, but their story actually starts all the way back in elementary school! They grew up in the same schools, then shared mutual friends in high school. During senior year, Rachel’s friend clued her in on the fact that Trent had a crush on her, so when he asked Rachel to prom, she said yes 🙂 Going in to prom night, Rachel was still a little unsure about her feelings for Trent. Did she care for him more than a friend? By the end of the night, she was sold. This guy was the real deal.
Trent and Rachel both chose Arkansas State University after high school, and that’s when the tables began to turn. Going in to college, they never imagined the changes that they would face. Once settled in to college life, they joined a campus ministry called Campus Outreach. God used new friends to completely captivate Trent’s heart. As Trent grew to love God and ministry more, Rachel’s love for Trent grew. They bonded in a way they had never experienced, and the future began to turn into a beautiful masterpiece. Senior year of college, Trent took Rachel to their favorite fishing pond where a picnic blanket, a basket of roses, and a scrapbook were waiting for them. His hands shook as he asked the love of his life to be his wife 🙂
Now here we are, celebrating the marriage of not just two incredible people, but two families who value the sanctity of marriage and are in love with our Lord. Trent and Rachel’s wedding day was everything that anyone could hope for. It was full of immense joy, grateful tears, supportive family and friends, and precious family heirlooms. Rachel wore her Nana’s diamond earrings, and a handmade garter with an incredible history. Her mom made the garter using Rachel’s grandmother’s handkerchief and lace from her great-grandmother’s sewing kit. Trent carried a pocket watch which belongs to his dad. During the reception, Trent and Rachel cut their wedding cake with a cake knife passed down from her great-great-aunt! All of Rachel’s cousins will use the same knife, and have their initials engraved. The guests enjoyed grandpa’s fudge recipe as they left the reception.
Oh, the details. Rachel put tremendous thought and TLC into choosing the details to include in her wedding day, with the help of her mom and sisters. We were in wedding photographer heaven!! As beautiful as everything was, the highlight of the day for us was the honor of witnessing one of the sweetest, most joyful and emotional First Looks we’ve ever photographed. Trent was completely blown away by his gorgeous bride, and held on tightly to her. In that moment we knew that this man is going to cherish and protect his wife with every ounce of his being, for the rest of his life. Rachel was loved, protected, and honored. This. This is a beautiful marriage.
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Rivers!
Ceremony Venue | Geyer Springs First Baptist Church
Bride’s Dress | Stephen Yearick
Wedding Dress Shop | Low’s Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | Tulle and Chantilly
Tuxedos | Men’s Wearhouse
Perfume | Coach
Florals | Events Rental and Floral
Reception Venue | Junior League of Little Rock
Cakes | Harps Bakery
Catering | Dinner’s Ready
DJ | DJ Jellybean of Central Arkansas Entertainment