Mirror Lake Engagements: Alex + Andy

It started during a little weekend party in college. Alex and her friends had gotten quite good at scoping out the cute boys. Because when you go to a school that has about 1 guy to every 5 girls, you find the cute ones quickly. So Alex spotted Andy in a crowd of people, and conversation was made. Good conversation. Good enough, in fact, that they ended up hanging out together for the rest of the weekend, and Alex was completely smitten, as was Andy. Or so she thought… After what had seemed like the perfect weekend, Andy got back together with an old girlfriend the following week. And Alex was a bit crushed.

But she was also determined. There was something special about Andy. So she waited. She went on with her life, going to class and hanging out with friends, but she didn’t lose track of the cute boy who had stolen her heart at a weekend party.

And then, 8 months later, there was a text. They disagree as to who sent the first one, although Alex will pretty adamantly insist that it was her ;) Regardless of how it started, though, they made plans to hang out. And sparks flew again… but THIS time, it ignited a fire. A fire so strong that no previous relationship could even hope to extinguish it. It ignited their forever.

For their engagement session, these guys were awesome enough to take a mini road trip with me up towards the Uintahs!! Not only did we have gorgeous weather and a fabulous session, but I was also able to spend a lot of time chatting with them on the road. And I am SO excited for their Sundance Resort wedding next summer! Yes, because they are an amazing couple and I know their wedding will be so much fun, but also because TOAST IS THE RING BEARER. Who is Toast?? Oh, he was just my lap buddy for the ride and pretty much my new best friend. He’s their first dog, and Andy used him as part of his proposal, so it was only appropriate that he grace us with his presence in a few pictures ;)

The perfect little family! How adorable is Toast?!

Work it Alex!! You’re gorgeous! 

Toast tried to steal the show…

We headed into the woods a bit and the light was simply delicious, reflecting off of the lake… 

LOVE this.

Oh yes, these too.

Then Toast got jealous and wanted in on the action again ;)

SUCH a cute little family!!

Quick outfit and location change and we were right back at it, with Alex and Andy being as adorable as ever :)

Looove the way Andy looks at Alex, so sweet…

This one… love…

It got chilly quickly being that high up in the mountains, so Alex and Andy pulled out a blanket for the last few shots, which I thought was an absolutely perfect ending :)

Congrats again you two!!! I’m so pumped for your wedding next summer :)

Alex - September 17, 2012 - 9:01 pm

Omg you have an amazing memory! I love hearing our story in your words :) we had such An amazing day with you :)

Olivia - September 17, 2012 - 9:36 pm

Alex you and Andy show me what true love looks like and it shows in your beautiful pics
Love your sister, best friend, and maid of honor

Jessica - September 17, 2012 - 9:40 pm

Beautiful pictures Alex and Andy! You guys are so cute! And Toast is adorable! :)

Leann - September 17, 2012 - 9:54 pm

Your pictures turned out great! You guys are so cute! I can’t wait to meet Andy and I can’t wait to see you again Alex it’s been forever!

Michelle - September 18, 2012 - 12:10 am

Oh my gosh, these pictures are GORGEOUS!! I love that you included the story of how they met, I remember the day Alex told me all about it :) these pictures truly show the love they have for each other, I love them! Can’t wait for the wedding!

Kristin - September 18, 2012 - 12:17 am

Absolutely Stunning!! The only thing more gorgeous than these pictures is the sexy couple in them… and maybe Toast! I have so much happiness for you both, and loved reading the story <3

Jolie McTavish - September 18, 2012 - 7:15 am

Alex & Andy, absolutely darling photos! We are so happy to have you in our family, Alex!

Emily - September 18, 2012 - 10:53 am

I’m so excited for you both and I couldn’t be happier for you Alex! Even though I still haven’t met you yet Andy, I know you guys are meant to be from the way she talks about you and …clearly….these pictures! They’re all so precious and I love being able to read your guys’ story right along with it! “If there were a perfect couple this one qualifies!” (I’m loving by the way that Toast will be the ring bearer! I’m sure he’s so proud!) Congrats & Best Wishes to you both! Love, one of your Sonoma girlies, Emily! xoxo

Brittney - September 18, 2012 - 1:29 pm

You two are absolutely gorgeous!!! These pictures are amazing!!! Loved reading your story too, Alex, Do you remember you came to pick me up to go somewhere sophomore year, and you couldn’t whip the smile off your face, I asked you what was up and you said “Andy called me babe!” hahaha I’m glad that smile has lasted! So happy for you two! :)
<3 Brittney

Andy - September 18, 2012 - 9:42 pm

We had the best time in the world doing this, Carissa you are the best! Going to do this again sometime! Thanks Carissa

Cant wait to see the wedding pictures :)

Millennial Falls Wedding: Marissa + Zac

A few short hours before the ceremony, they still hadn’t decided whether or not they wanted to read their own vows or have them read by the pastor. Marissa was afraid she wouldn’t be able to get through them without slipping into a puddle of emotion. Because that’s the kind of partner she is. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and she loves Zac so much that trying to express it in words seemed overwhelming. “Whatever Marissa wants to do, I’ll do,” was Zac’s response when asked about it. Because that’s the kind of partner that he is. He loves Marissa so much that her happiness is key to his happiness, and he wants to give her the world.

They did end up deciding to read their own vows. Marissa devoted to always support and respect Zac, and never leave his side. She only gave in to a couple of tears while she read, but  Zac knew the depth of those tears, and the words that she spoke. Zac also sweetly committed himself to her alone, promising to always love and take care of her. And in that moment, I’m pretty sure he did give her the world….

Zac and Missy, your day was so incredibly filled with pure happiness and genuine love, it was an honor to be a part of it! Thank you for not only becoming good friends, but for treating me like family, too. I’m so excited for you guys and the new journey you’re embarking on :) Much love and congratulations!!!

I also have to give a big shout out to the wonderful Kelli Bramble for coming along and second shooting for me! Couldn’t have done it without you :)

Marissa began the day getting ready at Springhill Suites.

Love this shot of Marissa’s mom watching her daughter get ready… she was so happy for Marissa :)

Once all the girls were ready, it was time to head to Millennial Falls for the ceremony.

Her custom lace gown was STUNNING!

As Marissa was preparing to put her dress on, the skies opened up and absolutely began to pour… 

Rain or no rain, though, she would be getting married that day!

And fortunately, after a bit of waiting, it began to clear up into a gorgeous evening.

Sharing a sweet moment with her mom :)

Veil on, it was go time!

Two handsome men, if I do say so myself! (And yes, that is my dad with Zac :) This was the first wedding I’ve shot with my dad as the pastor, and it was pretty fun to do a wedding together!)

Sorry though, fellas, I think Marissa’s entrance beats yours…

And I think Zac agreed. SO precious :)

First married kiss!!

After the first kiss, they surprised everyone with a dove release. It was beautiful!

Marissa absolutely loves the beach, so they had a super fun beach theme for their decor!

Zac’s best man gave a hilarious toast!

And when Marissa’s dad stood up to say a few words, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

After toasts, we had just enough time to grab a few portraits in the fading light!

They were so happy, it was contagious :)

And Marissa, I don’t really think I need to tell you but… You looked AMAZING!

These last few are my favorites :)

Marissa’s gorgeous bouquet was filled with lots of her mom’s old broaches and jewelry. Um, SO cool!

First dance as husband and wife :)

I don’t normally show photos of the Father Daughter dance, but Marissa’s dance with her dad was just too sweet not to share a couple…

Love this.

After the first dances, though, it was party time!!

They did their exit in an awesome old car…

And glowing balloons!

Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Sessions Part 1- To Do, or not To Do?

When you first get engaged, engagement photos sound like a great idea! Who doesn’t want pictures of their love captured for the world to see?! Then, as planning sets in full swing, things tend to get very busy. Balancing life and work and planning consumes you, budgets start to get pushed, and time seems to evaporate through your fingers. At that point, it’s easy to think that skipping out on engagement pictures is a good way to save a little time and money. I mean, they’re just for fun. They’re not important, right?

Well, I’m not going to come at you with a big fat WRONG. (Or did I just do that?) Kidding. Seriously though, there are more reasons than you might think as to why engagement pictures are important! This summer I seemed to get asked that question a lot. Why should we do engagement pictures? So here are the biggest reasons why I think getting engagement pictures is great idea!! And fortunately I’m blessed to work with lots of wonderful clients who agree with me, so there are some pretty pictures to go along with it :)

1. It gives you experience in front of the camera! Some people are more comfortable being in front of the camera than others. But regardless of how comfortable you are smiling for a point and shoot at dinner with your friends, being in front of a camera where the focus is completely on YOU and capturing your LOVE, it can be a little nerve wracking! Engagement photos gives you a chance to loosen up and get comfortable being in front of a camera, without the pressures that come on your wedding day (a.k.a. time constraints and all your family and friends watching and snapping photos as well). Because the best photos come when you can just let go and simply be. Be in the moment, be in love together. If the first time you’re in front of the camera is on your wedding day, it can take a bit of time to get to that place and be comfortable. The problem is, by that point it’s usually time to get back for the ceremony or reception. If you take engagement pictures, you’ve already been to that place and it’s verrry easy to get back there, and get tons of amazing pictures on your wedding day!

2. It gives us time together! Getting to know your photographer plays a massive part in how your pictures turn out on the big day! For me personally, when I have that un-pressured time at an engagement session, I can really get to know who you guys are as a couple and how you interact, which in turn helps me figure out the best way to capture your love. And I come to your wedding with a better game plan :) It also gives YOU a chance to see how I work and get comfortable in front of ME! As I mentioned above, being comfortable in front of the camera is key in getting you the sweetest pictures together, and you’ll see how I work, which means you’ll know what to expect when portrait time comes during the wedding. Knowing what to expect always eases nerves, especially for those grooms who don’t exactly love being in front of the camera ;)

3. It gives you non-wedding pictures!! Don’t get me wrong, you want LOTS of lovely pictures from your wedding day, and we’ll be sure to get them! BUT, you’re probably not going to want to cover your house in only wedding pictures… Engagement pictures give you beautiful photos of you and your love that can fill in places where you might not want wedding photos, instead of blowing up and printing that underexposed iPhone photo you took on vacation a few months ago. I mean, no disrespect to the iPhone (I do have a bit of a love affair with mine), but there’s a reason professional cameras are more expensive ;)

4. It’s an awesome date night excuse! It’s SO easy during your engagement to get wrapped in planning. Anytime you guys have a moment together, it becomes a conversation about what color the linens should be or where Aunt Margaret should sit during the reception. Engagement photos are all about the two of you and your LOVE, not your wedding. Sure, we might talk a bit about your wedding during the shoot (because I love all things wedding), but on the whole my goal for engagement sessions is for you guys to disconnect from all the craziness of life and planning, and simply be. In Love. And have fun. Together. So going out to dinner, or grabbing take out and cuddling on the couch with a movie, and NOT talking about anything wedding for the rest of the night, is not a bad idea :)

Now, all of that isn’t to say that if you don’t get engagement pictures, your wedding day pictures are doomed! Haha. That’s not at all what I was going for. Because I know some people are just unable to do them, whether it’s a distance thing, a time thing, a money thing, etc. This is more to show why they are a good idea and, if you can do them but you’re on the fence about it, jump in and go for it!! You won’t regret it :)

Happy Wednesday!

A New Chapter

Last night we had our weekly family dinner. In one sense, it was no different than any other family dinner we’ve had. My dad suggested we take a family nap, because apparently we all looked a bit like walking zombies. And although everyone thought the idea of family nap time was hilarious, it was also seriously considered. (If there’s one thing Fines love as much as food, it would be sleep.) Everyone talked about their day, we laughed with each other, and of course ate copious amounts of food. And when my mom mentioned dessert, my cousin Alyssa and I headed straight for the dark chocolate in the pantry.

Not much different than normal. Yet at the same time, it was completely different…

You see, last night was a celebration dinner of sorts. A marking of the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Last night we gave thanks because my mom had her last radiation treatment, and she is now cancer free.

I feel like I need to say that again. MY MOM IS CANCER FREE!! I feel so thankful I could burst! She had an amazing team of doctors who took incredible care of her. I won’t get into a lot of detail, but I will just say that by the grace of God her doctors were able to get all of the cancer out in one surgery. She then had to endure 4 straight weeks of radiation, yesterday being her last day. We are very grateful for how minimally invasive it was, and how she was spared some of what could have been so much worse. And while she will still be feeling the side affects for a bit, it is a wonderful feeling to say that this painful chapter in our lives is coming to a close, and we can begin the next one with that much more joy.

So I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to any and all of you who supported my mom this summer. For those who prayed. For those who made meals. For those who gave their time, sent gifts of encouragement, or just lent a helping hand. And even for those of you who may not know my mom, but read my blog and took a moment to send up a little prayer or wish her good health and recovery. I truly believe everyone single one of you made a difference. So I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And I wanted to share with you the good news… My mom is cancer free :)

We picked up Cafe Rio for the dinner celebration!

Lots of pretty flowers for my mom :)

Of course I had to take a picture of my salad. One word: YUM.

It’s not the best photo (it was actually pretty dark out), but I wanted one of my mom and I, to remember this special day. And I’m so happy to have it :)

Love you Mom!!!

rooms - September 11, 2012 - 12:42 pm

I’m so glad to hear about your mom, Carissa. I love you guys! And I remember stuffing my face at Cafe Rio last time I was out there. Thanks for making me starving and miss Utah. :)

Brittany - September 11, 2012 - 6:30 pm

LOOOVE this post!! I am so glad your mom is doing well :) <3 it is such a blessing! Cancer free! wooh!

Kelsi Poole - September 12, 2012 - 8:08 am

Yeah! Hallelujah!!!!!!!! Praise God that is such a beautiful wonderful thing to hear! You both look fantastic!
Love you Carissa!

mom - September 12, 2012 - 9:58 am

Oh, Rissa, I love you, too!! And I also want to say thank you to all of you for your love and support through this chapter! God is so good, and I am so grateful!

Wheeler Farm Bridals: Jessica

Happy Monday folks! This morning I’m kicking off the week with a gorrrgeous bridal session of the beautiful Jessica!! She and Gavin got married on Saturday so I can finally share these lovelies :) I had such a great time on this session because not only is Jess an absolute gem and so fun to be around, but can we please discuss how breathtaking she looks?! Jess made this session everything I think bridals should be: soft, pretty, graceful… Enjoy some of my favorites!

Yep, you are just so gorgeous Jess!

I absolutely adored her dress… so soft and feminine. 

This one. LOVE.

One stunning bride, if I do say so myself!

The bracelet is from her grandma, and the ring is from Gavin’s grandma. Talk about some amazing heirlooms!

She wanted a few with her rockin’ sunglasses, and I was more than happy to oblige! 

Sunglasses, pockets, pretty Jess… I love this one :) 

We snagged a few more in the beautiful fading light as we headed back to the car, and they are some of my favorites!

I’ll finish with this, because Jess looks SO exquisite…

Can’t wait to share their wedding!!

Jessica Eckert - September 24, 2012 - 4:11 pm

AH!!!! I love these! I seriously can not wait for the wedding pictures!! You are amazing and i couldn’t have asked for anything more!