Valley of Fire Wedding Photography :: Emily & Justin

I grew up in a small town in New Mexico.  There’s one main street that runs through the town, appropriately dubbed Main Street.  There wasn’t much to the town by way of shopping except for the Roswell Mall complete with JC Penny, Bealls, and Corndog 7… and for those of you reading this that live/lived in Roswell… cue the “Gotta get it… gotta get it… gotta get it at the Roswell Maaaaaall!” commercial jingle.  Anyway, I took my boys to Toys R Us this morning because the littlest ones have been begging for a toy vacuum.  Their future wives will thank me for suffering through Toys R Us to teach them such a valuable skill.  So anyway, while I was driving… and tuning out three screaming voices from the backseat… I was thinking about how much of a big deal it would have been to go to Toys R Us when I was little.  The closest store was in Albuquerque, a three and half hour drive away.  I remember getting the catalogs during Christmas time and turning, page by page, wiping my drool just before it dropped onto the gold plated magazine spread below me.  I also remember going to Albuquerque and seeing Toys R Us… gleaming from the highway… nestled into its beautiful shopping mall… parking spots were beckoning our car from the front of the store.  But, did my parents listen to the hypnotic chants coming from the front doors of Toys R Us?  Hell nah.  They just kept on driving.   Sometimes they were even mean enough to pull into the Toys R Us entrance, only to turn to the right so that we could go eat at Garduno’s.

My parents were either EVIL… or incredibly savvy.  Evil in my childhood mind, but yet so incredibly savvy, as now I understand the curse of Toys R Us as a parent.  I forgive you, Mom and Dad, for being so incredibly ruthless as parents.  It has taken 25 years and three children to understand…  but now I do… I completely understand.

But, if my boys got to enjoy their toy store this morning, then I… for damn sure… can step into my cyber-toy store this afternoon.  I welcome you to another #throwbackthursday… today the vault is opened from my birthday weekend last year to share with you Emily & Justin’s insanely gorgeous, light filled, golden wedding from Valley of Fire.

The sun, the blooms, the people… and now, welcome to Mama’s happy place…

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Emily’s hair and makeup was perfected by the team from Amelia C & Company, and the bouquets were so so so beautiful from none other than Catherine at Layers of Lovely.

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Emily’s brother created this amazing wooden altar for them to be married under, and the ceremony was conducted by the ever-fab Angie from Peachy Keen Unions.

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Emily and Justin held their reception at Vintner Grill in Summerlin.  The outdoor patio twinkled with endearing lanterns in the trees, and the tables were set with beautiful flowers by Layers of Lovely, tea favors for the guests, and hand made table numbers!

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Four Seasons Las Vegas :: Tiff & Scott

Early June in Las Vegas.  Early June in Las Vegas is beautiful.  The sun’s rays are just beginning to sizzle on your skin.  The feeling of summer is abundant, and Las Vegas… to put it mildly… is ready to party.  Tiff and Scott live in Dubai, yet they have traveled the world… lived in several countries… and have touched lives across the hemispheres.  So when it came time for them to plan their wedding, a central location was needed.  They had a long distance relationship with Scheme Events… who were their wedding planning eyes and ears.

The wedding day preparations began in Tiff’s suite at Four Seasons Las Vegas, and even though they were thousands of miles away, the feeling of home was palpable.  Warmth radiated from Tiff and her mother, Jane.  Her bridesmaids seemed to float through the room fetching details and helping in any way they could find.  One of the most amazing details of the day came from Tiff’s mother.  Jane had brought along her grandmother’s, Tiff’s great-grandmother, wedding ring to gift to Tiff the morning of the wedding.  With Tiff’s grandmother and mother already in the room, we had the chance to photograph four generations of wedding rings together.  The gravity of that moment is something that I will never forget.


Tiff chose a stunning Vera Wang gown to wear on her wedding day, and Amelia-C & Company were on hand to create a beautifully romantic look with her hair.

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Tiff decided to have a moment with her step-father before heading to the ceremony.

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Scott, his brother, his dad, and several other men at the party donned traditional Scottish kilts, and that made my camera very, very happy!

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The expression on Scott’s face when he saw Tiff for the fist time is absolutely priceless.

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Naakiti Floral is the mastermind behind Tiff’s beautiful purple bouquet!

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After a few photos on the grounds of the Four Seasons, this group of people from around the world were ready to party!  And, what a party it was!!
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Father’s Day, A Day Late

I procrastinated writing a blog about Dad yesterday.  To be honest, I sat at my computer, and the words didn’t come.  So instead of trying to force it, and lay down some generic version of a story which would only speak to the surface of who Dad is…. I decided to forego the blog all together.  As much as procrastination is usually a word that is used to define an undesirable characteristic… this time it proved to be beneficial.

I’m just getting home from taking Hudson to watch How to Train Your Dragon – 2… and yes, leave it up to Dreamworks to provide an epiphany during a children’s movie.  The main character in the movie said that he had spent his entire life trying not to become his father, but it is only now that he is realizing that it wasn’t because he didn’t want to be like his father, but because he never believed that he could become something as great as his father.

That hit me hard, ya’ll.

When it came time for me to leave home for college, I sprinted out of New Mexico.  Independence blazing a new trail.  I ran as far away as I could, and tried my damnedest to lead a life that didn’t resemble that of my parents.  And, at first, I succeeded.  I succeeded pretty well, actually.  There isn’t a bit of my “post-high school” life that looks anything similar to what my parents created.  It isn’t until now that I’m starting to notice the qualities that my parents engrained.  And maybe it is only now… now that I’m an adult… a parent… that I’m starting to see how great my parents really were.  And by way of this epiphany, I’m starting to realize that my parents are just people… they aren’t super-beings… or higher-powers that are immune to making mistakes, bad decisions, and they maybe don’t have all of the answers.

It has only been in the last few years that my relationship with Dad has taken a different course.  At some point I stopped thinking of him as my invincible Daddy, and started to see him as a person.  Our relationship has changed from Daddy-Daughter, Protector-Protectee, Mentor-Student…. into Friends.

And it is only now that I can see who he really is… and see what his intentions have been all along.  So, it is only fitting that I can begin to stop being terrified about turning into him (and my Mom), and I can strive to do exactly that.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad… a day late.




I also realized this Father’s Day that I have very few photos of Dad and Mom.  I hope to change that soon.