When we first got engaged there was one thing that we both agreed upon right away about the wedding - we need to do this for us and what we want for our day without blowing all of our finances to do it. it was also important that we got married with our closest family present for support and love. We had a few ideas on where we wanted to get married - we wanted small and simple. We had both agreed on the court house before realizing that wasn’t exactly practical for our family that we wanted present and changed our minds to Mount Vernon Gardens in South Omaha with our reception to follow at Sokol Auditorium.
I’ve photographed my fair share of weddings so we had a fairly good idea of where to begin after that - booking our most crucial vendors first and figuring out the rest as we go. As a photographer naturally I thought that was the most important thing to lock down first and we didn’t hesitate in reaching out to The Mullers to be a part of our wedding day. This turned out to be the smartest decision we made in terms of our wedding overall - they knocked it out of the park for us. Slow clap for The Mullers guys. I cannot say enough about both of these remarkable humans. Because we were working with a tight budget, we talked it through with Lauren and Dan about our options and decided it best to have Dan shoot it solo with us for the main events of our ceremony. Not only was Dan acting as our eye to forever remember the day by (personally such a huge undertaking in my opinion) - he was our extra pair of hands, our guide and loudest cheerleader. We cannot CANNOT thank you enough, you made the whole experience that much more enjoyable by making it easy for us to just be ourselves and revival in the moment as it happened.
After photography was decided we booked flowers by the amazing Blooms and Bouquets - a mix of Banksia Protea, yellow Ranunculus, and Eucalyptus - hair by my girl Jess Brown at Halo Studios, and figuring out what I was going to do about makeup. Thankfully I had met a supremely talented makeup artist through Kyle’s sister and knew I had to reach out to her for this. Jan’s style is very elegant and natural and that was extremely important to me. I don’t typically wear a ton of makeup and I wanted to be able to recognize myself afterward. She did just that and was nothing but the kindest saint imaginable having to listen to my makeup worries.
Next was figuring out our outfits and my dress guys - my dress. My dress was a whole process in and of itself. I didn't go the typical route of bridal shop try-ons. I knew the look I wanted which was modest and simple - no frills, no sparkles, no tulle that's just not me. I was on dress number three ordered online and returned when I stumbled upon this gown by Badgley Mischka on sale with only one left in my size. I immediately ordered it and when it arrived I knew it was the one I wanted for our wedding ceremony. It was perfect for what we wanted to do and it made me feel beautiful. Kyle wore a stark blue suit and I nearly fell over the first time I saw him in it. The vibrant blue color of it proved perfect for our crisp orange and yellow fall day.
People had a lot of advice and kind words for us while we prepared: it’s going to go by in a blur - soak up as much as you can, do what you guys want to do, make it your own day. It could have gone by as fast as a freight train and it wouldn’t have mattered as long as I had my husband there to hold my hand (and remind me to stand up straight). My husband, I say it now like it’s always been. My husband, my love. He’s my best friend, my real talker and my soul’s laughter. I am thankful for you every day. Thank you for going through this crazy and scary but fun as hell journey with me. Thank you for trusting me and loving me for the person that I am.
Big shout out to my girl and maid of honor Corrie who was so patient and understanding with me. I am so thankful for your tall giraffeness - without you decorating would have been so hard! But in all seriousness - our day would not have gone half as well as it did without you. Thank you for being my rock and telling me like it is when I needed to be told so. You're one of my dearest friends and we love you so much.
Absolutely NONE of this would have been possible though without our parents. Our parents are everything to us. We love you guys so much. I can still remember Kyle’s parents reaction when we told them, jumping up and down thrilled for us. It meant so much to me. And my parents man - my mother would of worked herself into the ground for me if I asked her to. She almost did making most of the food for our reception with help from several of her closest friends and Kyle’s mom Kim and Aunt. I feel like a hundred thank you’s wouldn’t be enough for how grateful we are for you. Thank you.
I'll wrap this up with some words of advice for future brides and grooms - this day really is going to by so quick, get a photographer you truly trust to capture the things you miss and the moments you'll never want to forget. Things are going to go wrong - don't sweat the small stuff - like half of your string lights not working or being dropped while dipped on a rooftop at sunset. It's not going to go exactly to plan and it shouldn't.. because life doesn't work that way. Just have fun and do you. That's all you can do! Now buckle up because there's still so much to see
Wedding Photos: The Mullers ☼ Wedding Reception Photos: Kelly Bentley ☼ Ceremony Location: Mount Vernon Gardens ☼ Makeup: Jan Gilsdorf of Reflect Makeup ☼ Hair: Jessica Brown at Halo ☼ Flowers: Blooms and Bouquets ☼ Jacket and Sign Calligraphy: Sharon Davis of Arbor Street Studios ☼ Ceremony Dress: Badgley Mischka ☼ Reception Dress: Dear Golden via Etsy ☼ Ceremony Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell ☼ Suit: Zara
There's so much to say about this place. Words or photographs, for that matter, hardly do it justice. I'll do my best to try and capture how it went. We decided to go for more of a traditional route with our honeymoon and leave pretty much right after the wedding. We talked about where we wanted to go and if we could drive there or not, and what was feasible. We ended up on Moab, Utah because of it's location to two national parks and it's driving distance from Omaha - that we split up into two days. The only problem was... Kyle was sick. He was really sick and he came down with it the week of the wedding, only getting a few days of rest prior to - giving him enough time to get into a better state for the wedding itself only to crash the night after. We ended up going to urgent care the morning we were set to leave for our honeymoon, only a day and a half after the wedding. The doctor loaded him up with medicine, gave us the okay to leave, and we set off towards Denver - me driving and Kyle sleeping the whole way. Podcasts and road snacks (thanks Kim + Stu) aiding our journey. When we arrived to Denver our friends Rob + Joe, again let us stay at their place. We are so grateful for you and appreciative of your continued hospitality - it was so nice to have a familiar room to rest in especially when Kyle wasn't feeling all too well. A day on antibiotics greatly improved his state though, and in the morning he felt somewhat normal. We stopped at our favorite Denver breakfast place Snooze and I had pumpkin pancakes the size of my face. After demolishing our plates, we drove over to see Kyle's good friend Rob at work and chat for a bit on his break before leaving town.
The drive from Denver to Moab was about six and a half hours - and we went through mountains a lot of the way. If there's anything that's apparent about my character it's that I do not do well with heights. One of my earliest memories is a family road trip from Omaha to California through Colorado and Utah - and that's when I realized I was terrified of riding through the mountains. Those steep slope drop-offs with just a guardrail to break your accident - no thanks. I asked Kyle to drive. We arrived to Moab just after dusk and settled into our airbnb before grabbing dinner. I had spoken to several people who had been to Moab before the trip, and the town exceeded my expectations. I had expected a town built along one single road, which it was to an extent - a town literally in the middle of nowhere surrounded by plateaus and stars. But there was more to it then I had anticipated and we were both impressed throughout our entire visit. We ended up on pizza that first night!
The following morning Kyle was feeling practically back to his old self so we decided to tackle a hike. The weather overall was gorgeous (what a perfect time of year to go), a cool array of mid 70s. Chilly in the early mornings and late evenings - slightly warm throughout the day when the sun shined the highest. After scouring the map we ended up on the delicate arch trail (pictured above), one of the hardest hikes in Arches National Park - which is to say not incredibly hard if you're prepared and aware of your surroundings / stop for water breaks and deep breaths. There's a point that you reach where you a walking on.. basically a rock - ascending up the trail with little shade, cairns every so far marking your way. I can only imagine how miserable it gets out in the desert in the dead of summer. Finally we made it to the arch, swarming with fellow hikers of all nationalities and languages - I swear we heard at least 6-7 different languages over the course of our trip. Such a melting pot for people who love the outdoors. Over the next few days we did different hikes across the park, trying to pick which ones we felt would let us see the most in the best use of time. There's just too much to see. We ended out our time in Arches with a guided tour from our friend Brooke, who took us through the Fiery Furnace - our favorite hike from the trip. We had to watch an 8 minute video and obtain a permit before entering, it's just that easy to get lost. Luckily Brooke knew her way well, and she was a great guide. Thank you again for taking the time to show us such a magical place. We spent the last bit of our time in Utah in Canyonlands, the other national park next to Moab. The sky goes on for what feels like miles and miles covering the brilliant aching canyon underneath. It's hard to describe the sheer vastness of the place.
We took a different route back and stayed in Colorado Springs. We picked an unusual lodge that aged of musk and mountains and we loved it. They greeted us with beers before even asking for available rooms. We made our way up to the Colorado Wolf Preserve before checking in, and saw wolves the size of tigers. I wanted so badly to breach the fences and stand close to them. Some of them were tame enough, but the extra cash to do was more than we cared to spare. We left in awe of the creatures but also feeling slightly unsettled about the visit. The drive back from Colorado to Omaha was flat - as always. Probably one of the most boring drives in the United States. Finally home, familiar and cozy like we had never left - we could hear Dibs meowing for the stairwell in excitement as we unloaded the car. The trip meant so much to us - those jagged mounds of colossal earth - thousands of years in the making. I can only liken it to seeing the ocean for the first time, feeling the power of something so innate to your life but completely out of your own control. Such a thing will be a hard to forget, at least here's hoping so. We so hope to see it again someday. Back at home - back to the grind, now as husband and wife - ready to take on the rest of what adventures 2016 still has in store for us and of course the many years ahead. There is no better person for me to share them with.
I think I will always look back at my time in New York with a lost sort of fondness. Something that resonates softly - almost like you can't remember if it really happened or if you just dreamed it. I can recall the first time I knew I wanted to go to New York - it was 1992-93, I was five or six. I had just seen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the first time and I was over the moon. I think even my brother was Shredder for Halloween that year. My eagerness to see it only multiplied as my love of film and music took me back again and again. But then when September 11th happened and the world stopped, my dreams of New York hallowed. A city we all know but can barely scratch the surface of - I caught but a mere glimpse. But even that felt enough for me, this cinch Midwestern girl who's never really been East or traveled alone. I built it almost into a pilgrimage. Get there, get around alone. See this, make sure you eat that. I did all of those things. And sometimes it was hard and I got frustrated but also I felt liberated. It seems a bit silly to say that about being in New York for only five days, but it was such a different experience for me. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I'd always thought I would. I met and spoke to strangers every day I was there but thought it too brash to ask, remarkable people that my mind's eye won't soon forget. I'm still trying to find my line with personal work.
I did see some old friends who I adore. Taylor who has always been a soul I've just immediately connected with - I admire her keenness so much. And Nayef who moved from Omaha to New York about two weeks before my trip there. His tenacity for life is unparalleled. And Matt and Murphy who let me stay with them and made me laugh like crazy. They introduced me to all of their friends one night in Hell's Kitchen, who days later hugged me goodnight after a rowdy night of drinking in Queens. I have a whole 'nother post dedicated to Matt & Murphy coming soon! And Bob, Bob I'm so glad you were there! We drank beers in Brooklyn and saw Rory Scovel at The Bell House.
I didn't get to do everything I wanted or see everyone I had reached out to and that I do regret that. There's just too much, especially when it's your first time. The Chelsea bombing happened while I was there, and the morning they caught the suspect was the morning I flew out. A rainy dreary day, with the previous events overshadowing the time I had left. I was just ready to be home, back to Kyle and the easy way of Omaha.
I am so grateful of the experience and how resilient it made me feel at times and humbling at others. I don't know when I'm coming back - I'm heading in the other direction. But if I return it will be like wading through an impressible memory of a city that can be anything you want it to be, and so much more.