Amanda + Brad – A Wedding at The Estate on the Halifax

Bear with me. This is going to be a long one.

Because this was my best friend’s wedding.

Because each and every one of my fellow bridesmaids are among my dearest friends. Because this wedding was simply overflowing with love, between the bride and groom, between family and friends, between the couple and their Savior. So to simply say it was a beautiful day wouldn’t do it justice.

The morning began with all the girls in Agatha’s Cottage, getting pretty and watching some World Cup soccer.

The Estate on the Halifax Daytona Beach Daytona Beach wedding photojournalism Danielle, who shot with us that day, captured these next two. She was absolutely invaluable, and so many of her photographs were gems. wedding photography wedding photographer Colorful Florida wedding Daytona wedding photography The Estate on the Halifax Colorful Florida wedding photography Daytona wedding photographer wedding rings Amanda had specifically said she wanted a few moments alone with her mom to give her mom a card . . . but as it turned out, Gloria had forgotten her glasses and asked Amanda to read the card to her. I stayed in the room to capture the moment, and what happened next was so much better than if Gloria had read the card silently. It was like nothing I’d ever witnessed at a wedding before. Central Florida wedding photojournalism Wedding photojournalism Daytona Beach Florida Once Amanda was nice and emotional, it was time to get her into her gown. Daytona Beach wedding photojournalist Daytona FL wedding photographer Classic wedding photography Daytona Beach Florida I was so thrilled to be able to have Danielle take over so I could jump into some of the pictures and be a part of the behind-the-scenes wedding prep. The Estate on the Halifax wedding photojournalism This next series gets credited to Danielle, too — since I’m in them, I couldn’t shoot the bridesmaid portraits, and I love what Danielle did with them! Oh, and those flowers! After doing flowers for so many other weddings, Amanda’s mother put together a rainbow of florals that were exactly what Amanda had envisioned. rainbow bridal party wedding bouquets rainbow wedding party bridesmaid portraits Once we wrapped up the bridesmaid portraits, I grabbed my camera and grabbed the bride for a few minutes. After being a bridesmaid (or maid of honor) six times, Amanda was ready to be an absolutely gorgeous bride. Daytona Beach bridal portraits Bridal portraits The Estate on the Halifax rainbow bridal bouquet Daytona Beach We headed back inside for what has become one of my favorite parts of a wedding day: The father-daughter first look. father daughter first look wedding photographers Daytona Florida Wedding photographer Daytona Beach Florida Central Florida bridal portraits While all this was happening, Danny was over inside The Sunshine Express with Brad and the groomsmen. The Sunshine Express at The Estate on the Halifax Wedding photographer The Estate on the Halifax The Estate on the Halifax groom photos The Estate on the Halifax Sunshine Express Daytona wedding photographer groom portraits Daytona Beach wedding photojournalism The Estate on the Halifax The Estate on the Halifax groom portraits Daytona wedding photographer Then it was time for the groom to see his bride. A first look — something we do at about half our weddings these days. But Amanda and Brad wanted to do things a little bit differently. Taking their cue from the parable in Matthew 25, they set up their first look the opposite of how most first looks unfold: Instead of the bride walking up to her groom, this time the groom walked up to his bride. Amanda sat outside on the porch at Agatha’s Cottage, taking a few moments to read her Bible and pray. And that was exactly how Brad found her. wedding bible The Estate on the Halifax wedding photos First look The Estate on the Halifax The Estate on the Halifax first look Bride and Groom The Estate on the Halifax Daytona Beach wedding photographers Doesn’t it leave you smiling, and just a little breathless? The Estate on the Halifax wedding I love these next two. Daytona wedding photographers Daytona wedding photography The Estate on the Halifax wedding portraits The Estate on the Halifax wedding photographs
After a bit, the whole bridal party joined in. Wedding photography Daytona Beach The Estate on the Halifax Weddings at The Estate on the Halifax While Danny set up the traditional bridal party portrait, Danielle went for the unconventional angle. wedding photos Oh, peekaboo. Is there anything better than kids dressed up for a wedding?! Daytona Beach wedding photographer The Estate on the Halifax Daytona FL wedding photography Bridal portraits Daytona Beach Amanda had one request before the ceremony: She wanted everyone to pray over her. I’ve been a part of this numerous times. As the photographer. I’ve never actually been a part of the prayer circle, and I’d never been asked to help lead the prayer. These are some of the most incredible people I know, all together, all celebrating. There was laughter. And there were tears. Wedding photographer Daytona Beach Daytona wedding photojournalism And then there was a ceremony. outdoor wedding ceremony setup wedding photography details In the week leading up to the wedding, Amanda and her mom and several of the bridesmaid had hand painted and lettered the canvases that decorated the ceremony site. wedding details wedding ceremonies Wedding photojournalism The Estate on the Halifax Daytona outdoor wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding ceremony The Estate on the Halifax bridesmaids wedding ceremonies The Estate on the Halifax The Estate on the Halifax first kiss Married! As everyone filed out from the ceremony, Danielle followed the newlyweds when they slipped off for a quiet moment. bride and groom photos After the family portraits, we went back by the pond for the picture Amanda had dreamed of. . . The Estate on the Halifax wedding photographer . . . and to make the most of the glowy, romantic evening. Central Florida wedding photographer Daytona Beach wedding photography Classic wedding photography Daytona Beach wedding photography Daytona Florida wedding portraits The Estate on the Halifax Golden hour portraits Daytona Beach Florida Daytona Beach golden hour wedding photography Inside the Tavern, there was a reception ready to get underway, complete with more gorgeous florals arranged by Amanda’s mother. The Estate on the Halifax wedding reception The Estate on the Halifax wedding decor The Estate on the Halifax wedding reception decor And that colorful cake — it turned out exactly as Amanda had planned it. Betty Daytona FL wedding photojournalism The Estate on the Halifax The Estate on the Halifax wedding receptions First dances go by in an absolute blur of emotion.  The Estate on the Halifax wedding reception photographer The Estate on the Halifax reception Daytona wedding photojournalism The Estate on the Halifax Central Florida wedding portraits wedding photojournalism Central Florida Central Florida weddings wedding reception photographer Daytona Beach Florida wedding photojournalist Daytona wedding reception Daytona FL wedding photojournalism Florida wedding photojournalism The Estate on the Halifax wedding reception photography Daytona Beach Daytona FL wedding photographers Daytona Beach wedding reception photographer The Estate on the Halifax wedding reception pictures Central Florida wedding photojournalist wedding reception photojournalism Daytona Beach The Estate on the Halifax reception photography At the end of the party, the marriage begins. The Estate on the Halifax grand exit Amanda and Brad, we say it every time we blog a wedding, but it’s true: We couldn’t be happier for the two of you. Marriage is going to be joyful and difficult and exciting; it’s going to be one of the greatest encouragements in your life and it will also be one of your greatest, most character-shaping challenges. And it will be the most incredible adventure! We’re just so glad that you two are going to be doing life side by side, hand in hand.

~ Laura + Danny


Venue: The Estate on the Halifax – Tavern & Chapel In the Garden
Wedding Gown: Alfred Angelo
Bridal Hairpiece: David’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Hairstyling: Lakisha Rudnicki
Makeup: Tiffany Deegan
Flowers: Gloria Henson (mother of the bride)
Cakes: Betty’s Cakes
Catering: Aunt Catfish’s on the River
DJ: Mister DJ
Second Shooter: Danielle Magnuson of Danielle Nichol Photography
Photography: Laura Yang Photography

Annette Paul - July 30, 2014 - 12:10 pm

Amanda, you were ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! GREAT JOB Laura & Danny on capturing every moment of this joyous occasion!

Jules Moisant - July 30, 2014 - 8:52 pm

What an amazing day!! Love these photos. What a wonderful job you did Laura Yang Photography.

My Favorite Things . . . Right Now: Daydreaming, Pandora One, and Vanilla Chai Anything

It has been a really long time since my last edition of “My Favorite Things . . . Right Now,” so I decided this morning seemed like a good time to remedy that, while, as the header suggests, simultaneously drinking a vanilla chai latte, listening to Pandora, and daydreaming.

Okay, let me just put this out there: If you prefer a standard espresso latte to a chai latte, I don’t understand quite how your brain is wired! I mean, I love my pumpkin spice, I love my gingerbread, and I’m a fan of cinnamon dolce lattes, too. But vanilla chai is off-the-charts amazing. It’s cozy and spicy and my favorite way to start a day. Or to have a break in the middle of the day. Or end the day. Pretty much whatever time it is, I think it’s a good time for a vanilla chai latte. And so I’m always shocked when my local baristas still ask me what I want to drink, since my order is the same nine times out of ten.

Speaking of nine times out of ten — that’s how often I turn to my go-to Pandora station when I want to listen to music these days. I virtually never listen to all the music stored on my computer and phone now. It’s just always the Erin McCarley station on Pandora and has been for months. Erin McCarley, John Mayer, Regina Spektor, Coldplay, Switchfoot, Mumford & sons, Mat Kearney, Ingrid Michaelson, One Republic, A Fine Frenzy — it’s good stuff, and the soundtrack of my life this year.

And that brings me to the other thing that has absorbed so much of my time, thoughts, and energy this year: Pursuing the things that used to only be daydreams. But as I wrote a little while back, there comes a time when you have to stop dreaming and start living. But that doesn’t mean the dreams go away. It just means they have to exist in your physical, literal day-to-day life instead of existing only in your imagination. Making these things happen in 2014 has been the best thing about this year for me — yes, even better than my beloved Starbucks and Pandora.

~ Laura

Celebrating the Struggle

Somewhere along the way, we began celebrating our faults. At the outset, it sounds almost sweet, like we’re just embracing who we are. But it quickly turns into embracing negativity at the expense of pursuing progress, or in some cases, even goodness.

Think about it — we all know someone who has said, “I just have to tell it like it is” after making a string of unnecessarily biting comments to or about someone else. We all know someone who rationalizes, “I just don’t have any patience for _____” after lashing out at someone or something. We all know someone who can’t be bothered, won’t take the initiative, refuses to listen.

And more often than not, we find that that someone is us. Ponce De Leon Lighthouse Ponce Inlet I struggle to celebrate faults — but I’m working hard to celebrate the struggle to overcome them. Because pushing ourselves to be better people — whether in our personal lives or in our careers, photography or otherwise — is not only far more admirable but also far harder than flipping our shortcomings on their heads and renaming them something inoffensive, like “unique character traits” or “personality quirks.”

We’re all entitled to unique character traits and personality quirks. But if these traits and quirks hold us back from living a fuller, richer life that benefits not only us but other people, I think we’re also obligated to lean our shoulders into the struggle. To pursue the path up and over the obstacle.

I’m not yet the person I think I should be — in my day-to-day interactions with friends and family, in the way I manage my business, in the way I manage my time. I’m working on it, though, one little struggle, one little celebration at a time.

~ Laura

Amanda + Brad – An Estate on the Halifax Wedding Preview

On Saturday, we had the pleasure of watching one of my closest friends since childhood marry the man who absolutely swept her off her feet this past year. To say it was a beautiful day wouldn’t begin to describe it. The Estate on the Halifax weddings We love this new couple more than almost anyone else in the world. Amanda and Brad, whatever God has in store for you two, we are so excited to watch it unfold — and to experience it with you. Congratulations and much love.

~ Laura + Danny

Carleen + Robby – A Ponce Inlet Elopement

They wanted to get married in Florida, where Carleen had been vacationing since she was a teenager — since even before Robby had come into her life as her high school sweetheart.

They wanted to get married where they’d been vacationing together — since they reconnected, long after life had taken them their separate ways as young adults.

And so they came back to Florida from their home in Ohio, with Carleen’s daughter and a few of their closest relatives, and on a sunny, humid day in June, exactly five years after they’d become a couple for the second time, Carleen and Robby got married, just the way they wanted.
Ormond Memorial Gardens Ormond Beach Florida Ormond Beach wedding photographers Ormond Beach wedding photography Ormond Beach wedding photographer Their first look and ceremony were at Ormond Memorial Gardens, with the sounds of the waterfall bubbling like Carleen’s laughter behind them. Rachael Kasie Designs Ormond Beach photographer Daytona Beach elopement photography One of the most beautiful moments of the day was watching Carleen watch her daughter walk down the aisle ahead of her. Daytona Beach elopement Ormond Beach elopement photography Ormond Beach elopement Daytona Beach weddings
After the ceremony, we had time for a few family portraits, and a few of the newlyweds! Daytona Beach elopement photographer Daytona wedding photographer We headed down to Inlet Harbor for their celebratory dinner, and then as the sea breeze blew the worst of the day’s heat away, we headed out onto the beach for some magic. Daytona Beach destination wedding I love this next picture so much. Carleen’s expression says everything without her having to say a word. Wedding photographer Ponce Inlet Florida Daytona wedding photography Carleen’s rings were beautiful, but Robby’s was the one that really caught my attention, because I’d never seen a wedding band decorated with steel cable before — and I loved it. It was only fitting, too, since Robby’s jobs have always involved lots of steel cables and heavy machinery. Daytona Beach wedding photographer wedding rings Ponce Inlet wedding photography Can you tell, maybe just a little, that she was happy? Daytona Beach elopements Daytona Beach destination wedding photography Ponce Inlet wedding photographer Destination wedding photography Daytona Beach Ponce Inlet Florida photographer Just perfect, you two!
Ponce Inlet wedding Ponce Inlet destination wedding Let’s end off with another of my favorites from the day: Destination wedding Ponce Inlet Florida Carleen and Robby — and Carlee! — congratulations as you begin this new, wonderful phase of your life as a family!

~ Laura + Danny


Ceremony venue: Ormond Memorial Gardens
Restaurant: Inlet Harbor
Wedding gown: David’s Bridal
Flowers: Rachael Kasie Designs
Officiant: Glynn Ferguson with Sensational Ceremonies

Carleen Dotson - June 26, 2014 - 4:18 pm

Thank you Laura and Danny for making this such a magical day!!! You have given Robby and I the greatest gift ever, beautiful pictures that we will cherish always. I can not express how happy we are with the experience, you made it so easy. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!

Stacy Clement - June 26, 2014 - 4:48 pm

Beautiful pictures Carleen Dotson! Congratulations!

Mary Ann Abraczinskas Romano - June 29, 2014 - 12:31 am

Beautifully captured a love that obviously pulsed that day….beautiful couple and now family!