Surprise Wedding Proposal :: Ashley & Will

Like most good conversations, alcohol played a major factor in my conversation with Will almost exactly a year ago.  It was chilly in Charleston, SC on the day of Paige and Colby’s wedding, but we were out on the dock baring the elements with vodka there to warm our souls.  Will and Ashley are good friends of Paige and Colby, so they attended the wedding as guests, and I was there to photograph the wedding.  I sat on the sofa, casually sipping a cocktail while I took a break from shooting, and Will… who had been maybe not-so-casually-sipping… sat down beside me.  He told me of his plans to propose to Ashley, and asked if I could make sure that I was involved so that it could be photographed.  We tried hard to curb our enthusiasm since Ashley was just a few feet away from us, but my photographer-heart was elated!   For one, I had never shot a surprise proposal before and for two, it was WILL & ASHLEY!!

Will and I texted for several months.  We worked hard to try to come up with a plan of how to surprise Ash, but everything was veto’d because of one major element of non-surprise… Ashley knew me.  If I “randomly” showed up at their nice dinner… or popped out of a bush while they took a romantic stroll, then Will’s cover would obviously be blown.  So, we got a little bit more clever, and decided to do the exact opposite.  We decided to make the photo shoot front and center.  The photo shoot became our cover.

I faked a story to Ashley and one of her best friends, Olivia, who is also one of my beautiful brides, about needing to shoot something pretty for fun.  I told her that I felt stifled and just needed something beautiful to photograph to get back into my groove.  From there, it was planned that Olivia and Jace would get dolled back up in their wedding clothes, and I convinced Ash that I wanted to do more of a full bridal party… so I twisted her arm into being part of the shoot, and then Ashley twisted her sister’s arm and made her be in the shoot, as well!

I remember that Ash texted me one day saying that she couldn’t believe that Will was so on-board for the shoot, dare she say… excited even!! She thought that he would hate being asked to take photos for no damn reason in the middle of the desert on his day off… as most boyfriends would be.  I quickly texted Will telling him that he needed to play the pissed off boyfriend card a little harder!  ha ha ha!!!  It was just so much fun to plan this proposal right under Ashley’s nose!!

There wasn’t a single hiccup in the plan.  Nobody stuck any feet in their mouths.  Nobody accidentally said too much.  It all started off just nice and easy… a pretty shoot in the desert, just as we planned all along.
las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0001 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0002 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0003

I absolutely died over this loose french braid that Your Beauty Call mastered on Olivia!!  I also remember whispering to Olivia that I was just stalling time because I wanted to make sure that I played the “styled shoot” gag long enough…. ha ha ha!! las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0004 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0006And then it happened.  The entire group and I had a key phrase for when we were going to isolate Will and Ashley.  I was going to say that I wanted to do some bridal party photos without the married couple, and told them that they could take a break.  As Jace walked by, I said… “Jace, do you think that you could grab me a water from the car?”  That was it!  That was the cue for them to beat it! :)las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0005

After a few shots of just Will and Ash, I told them that I wanted something different.  I wanted a photo where they would walk into each other rather than just be side to side.  So, I separated them and said that I’d count to 3 and then they could turn and walk before grabbing hands when they met.

And then WILL DID THIS!  ha ha ha!  So so so perfect.  It might be my favorite photo of the entire day!  So much excitement and anticipation was building for everyone involved… and then we got the thumbs up… it was go-time!las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0007 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0008

Will and Ash stood and talked for a moment… we couldn’t hear what he said exactly, but Ashley told us later that the first thing that he said to her was… “So, you know this isn’t actually a styled shoot, right?”  And then he got down on his knee and asked her to spend her forever with him.las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0009

And…. she said yes!!!   (Good thing, or this adorable card that She Paperie made for the shoot would have had to go in the garbage!!)las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0016las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0010 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0011 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0012 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0013 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0014 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-proposal_0015
A family photo with Charlie, their pup, and a group photo finished off the time spent on the proposal, but Will wasn’t finished.  He had another surprise up his sleeve!  He whisked Ashley away to a HUGE surprise engagement party in which so so so many people had flown in to celebrate their amazing day… I mean, childhood friends were popping out from behind walls, and tears were being share by the bucketful!  To say ‘amazing’ would be an understatement… ‘phenomenal’ too little of a word…. it was downright everything.  It was a fairytale.

The crazy beautiful florals and floral DOG COLLARS were created by the floral goddess herself, Layers of Lovely!!

Las Vegas Wedding Photographer :: Olivia & Jace

Hey, so remember the other day when I said I was gonna try to blog every day in December?  Well, I basically lied straight to your faces.  But, I’m doing my best… at least I’m showing up a little bit more than usual.

I don’t know a better way to kick off some blogging than with this wedding.  Olivia and Jace were and continue to be some of my favorite people in the world.  To work with them on their wedding was basically like being able to hang out with my friends and get paid for it.

Jace and Olivia met while working at Green Valley Ranch, so it was only natural for their wedding to be held on their beautiful grounds.  The only problem was that the weather forecast for their wedding day called for gale force winds and light rain to accompany their outdoor reception.  I saw Olivia the day before the wedding and she was devastated.  Her vendors and some of her family and friends were telling her that we’d need to move the reception into the ballroom.  Having been involved with this amazing couple during the entire planning process, I knew that this wasn’t the wedding that Olivia had dreamed of.

I told Olivia the day before her wedding that we could do this.  We could take the chance.  We could leave her wedding reception outdoors, as planned.  We needed to get a few extra blankets for her grandparents, and ask the florist if she felt as though the table arrangements could withstand the wind.  Luckily enough, she was using cement vases which were decently weighted.  Then, I told Olivia the most important part.

I said, calmly and nicely… if we’re doing this, then you have to be fully on board.  You have to embrace the wind.  The wind will now become an element of your wedding.  It is a detail that has been added at the very last minute, and should this detail cause more havoc than we anticipated; she had to take it in stride and not let it break her wedding spirit.  If anyone was able to make such a promise, it was Olivia.  She is, hands down, the most positive and wonderful person I know.  She is grateful and loving, kind and understanding.  She cares for others with her full heart, and she makes sure to say ‘thank you’ at every turn.  She is the epitome of a perfect bride.

We took on the day of the gale force winds, and we made her our own.  Ribbons twirled in the air and hair danced the day away.  This new detail added life to photos that would have already been stunning even without the wind.  The movement in their images gave Jace and Olivia a true memory of what their wedding day felt like, and with every breezy Spring day they are both reminded of how insanely perfect their wedding day really was.las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0001 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0002 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0003 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0004 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0005 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0006 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0008 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0009 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0010 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0012 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0013 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0014 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0015 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0016 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0017 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0019 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0020 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0021 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0022 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0023 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0024 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0025 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0027 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0028 las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0030las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0031las-vegas-wedding-photographer-olivia-jace_0029

Planning/Coordination: Open Invitation  :: Florals: Layers of Lovely :: Venue: Green Valley Ranch :: Hair and Makeup: Kristin Kowal :: Signage: Chrissy Makes :: Lighting: LED Unplugged

Redemption …or… Challenge (half-ass-ed-ly) Accepted. I Couldn’t Decide on a Title.

I’m obviously a bit more of a drive-by blogger than I am a marathoner… but… last December I attempted to blog every day for the 31 days of December.  I think that I only made it to day 13. I obviously like blogging just like I enjoy my vodka… in sporadic, yet rather large doses.

I’m going to give myself a chance at redemption, but seeing as how it is technically 1:21am on December 2nd… I have kind of already failed.  ha ha ha… Oh well… maybe I’ll aim for just blogging for 14 days and beat last year’s record.  Challenge (half-ass-ed-ly) accepted.

I’m winding down my 2016 wedding season this coming Saturday with my very last wedding before I fall into a deep dark slumber for the rest of December.  Yeah right…   who am I kidding… I have three young boys… slumber is never part of the equation.  I will; however, try my best to detach from the cyber world and get in a few more movie nights, a lot more cuddles, and be able to see pure joy on the boys’ faces almost every morning of this magical month.

This morning we introduced two new Elf of the Shelf’s to the boys.  Finding the correct way to make “Elf on the Shelf” plural was very difficult for me just now.  Elves on the Shelf?  Elves on the Shelves?  These stupid, fucking elves seriously ruin my life.  ha ha ha!

Our original Elf apparently decided that zone defense wasn’t good enough and he needed to bring in some reinforcements.  Since we didn’t get “newborn elves” the two brothers of Hiko, our original elf, already had names when they arrived.  Coincidentally enough, the elf’s names all start with the same letters as our boy’s names… funny how that happened.  So, of course, a hashtag needed to be created… because, well, because of millennials and their damn need for hash tagging everything… and because it’s just freaking fun.  So, we’re #HGBforLIFE – ing over here on #loveonlarkspur.  Gawd, that’s annoying.  It’s bad when I’m annoying myself on my own blog.

Anyway… the elf’s names are Hiko, Gilly, and Booger.  Us parents pronounced it Boo-ger, and thought the kids would get a kick out of the funny name… but the immature parents we are were disappointed when we heard Hudson pronounce his name “Boo-jurr”… which is obviously the Cajun pronunciation of his name and we quickly learned that Boo-jurr must have come from a seasonal job in Louisiana before heading to his forever home here in Nevada.  Now we know.

Our elves are of Japanese decent, a cowboy, and a Crawfish eatin’ Cajun.  Just call us diverse.

Happy December, Everyone!