Lyndsay and TJ had planned the most perfectly romantic Florida elopement: Gorgeous locations dripping with Spanish moss, sunlight, and sea oats, an ethereal champagne colored wedding gown, and a toast to their marriage as they watched the sun set at the beach. It couldn’t have been more beautiful if it had come straight out of a storybook.
Whenever I tell someone (who isn’t part of the wedding industry) I’m shooting an elopement that’s been planned for months, their first reaction is to look confused. Aren’t elopements unplanned? A spontaneous decision by a couple to skip town and get hitched without any fanfare? Well, that’s how they used to be. These days, elopements are usually tiny weddings — no guests, or very few, but there’s usually still a wedding gown, flowers, a photographer, and stunning portraits involved. Elopements are intimate celebrations, but they’re just as much of a celebration for the couple as a large-scale wedding. See for yourself.
They exchanged their personal wedding vows under the grand old Fairchild Oak at Bulow Creek State Park.
It felt like the sunlight was celebrating right along with the newlyweds!
And, Lyndsay, you were flawless. I think TJ knew he was the luckiest guy in the world.
In place of a wedding reception, they shared a wedding picnic on a quiet stretch of pristine beach.
I love this moment!
Lynday’s Essense of Australia gown, from Bridal LTD Gallery., was just the right mix of romance and elegance, and it looked easy and breezy enough for the beach!
Again, Lyndsay — just gorgeous! And TJ, you were looking quite dapper!
The watercolor sky and sea were the perfect ending to a perfect elopement.
Lyndsay and TJ, I was so grateful to be there to capture the start of your marriage, and I wish you two the very best in your life together!
Yesterday was day 14 of what started innocently enough as a 7-day vegan cleanse.
Disclaimer: Yes, I know the salads below aren’t vegan. They include cheese. And yes, for two weeks, I’ve eaten no cheese, no meat, no fish, no milk, no eggs, no butter, no dairy of any kind. In short, I’ve eaten nothing that didn’t grow out of the ground. It has been fabulous.
After the Pursuit Conference, with buffet after buffet of delicious Southern fried goodness, and then a weekend with relatives that involved lots of yummy pizza and pub food, I knew I needed to reset my system. For a week last spring, I ate vegan, and I decided I would do it again at the end of September/beginning of October. Over the past few years, as I’ve experimented with food and sought to make healthy eating a top priority, I’ve learned that I feel best when I’m eating a low fat diet built around plant-based ingredients. I just didn’t realize how well I do with that kind of diet.
In two weeks of eating a vegan, whole food diet (the only processed ingredients I’ve had have been a few soy vanilla chai lattes at Starbucks, and I had gluten for the first time in over two weeks when I baked a dessert last night), here are a few of the things I’ve learned about how my body reacts:
- I’ve had just as much if not more energy, and no mid-day “crashes.”
- I’ve felt full more quickly, but wanted to snack between meals — thus eating proper portions and maintaining my blood sugar throughout the day.
- I’ve dropped several pounds while I haven’t been exercising, which tells me those were completely unnecessary extra pounds.
- I haven’t felt like I’ve been missing out by not eating meat, dairy, eggs, or processed foods. It’s true. I haven’t craved any meat, or even cheese, and I love cheese! And it’s been about three weeks since I touched soda, and already my stomach revolts at the thought of all the high fructose corn syrup, modified vegetable oils and artificial colors.
So what does this mean for me? It doesn’t mean that I’m going to stick to a vegan diet permanently. There are too many foods I want to be free to enjoy . . . such as when we head to EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival this week. But I think I’m going to stick to a vegan diet about 4-5 days each week.
And I would encourage anyone who has been considering making adjustments to their diets — just do it! If you know your diet is adversely affecting your energy levels, your mood, or your overall health, cut out the things you know are unhealthy and start focusing on whole foods that you love and make you feel great.
Back in July, we shot engagement portraits with my cousin Christine and her fiance Greg in Rockville, Maryland — and we promised there was more to come. Engagement Session 2.0 happened this past weekend, when we headed to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with them for some pictures in the little beach town where they had their first date on July 4, 2005, where they’ve celebrated their anniversary every year since, and where they’ll be getting married next summer, on the tenth anniversary of that first date. It couldn’t have been a more perfect place to continue their story.
We started out wandering around town and along the boardwalk . . .
. . . and then after a quick outfit change, we headed down to the beach during the delicious early autumn golden hour.
Love this next one! And even though I’m from a beach town, I love visiting other beach towns, especially ones farther up the coast. There’s just a different feel to the beach in the Mid Atlantic.
My favorite reason to photograph engagement sessions: I love getting to see how much couples love each other. Not just on the wedding day, but when it’s quiet, when it’s just the two of them.
A little beach bunny decided to crash our shoot.
Remember what I said about the delicious light? Christine and Greg, you couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful evening!
As the sun dipped behind the horizon, the sky over the ocean turned all the shades of cotton candy.
Christine, you looked beautiful — I can’t wait to see you on your wedding day!
I really, really can’t get over Christine’s ring. And it’s perfect for her!
Christine and Greg, thanks for having us back for a second engagement session — and we are so excited for you both!
~ Laura + Danny
One week ago at this moment, I was on a hillside in Georgia, surrounded by some of the most beautiful hearts I’ve ever been blessed to know.
We sat together on sunny lawns and wandered around the lake, just soaking in the first warm, tip-toeing hints of autumn. We sipped tea and coffee late into the night as we mustered up the courage to whisper-share our big dreams. And we sang with abandon inside the dim chapel, and later asked each other what it was we felt God calling us to do with our lives, with our gifts and talents, our time and our passions.
For the third year, I went to the Pursuit 31 Conference at WinShape Retreat, and for the third year, I felt as if I were surrounded by long-lost soul mates. Over the past three years, and again last week, these women have hugely impacted the course of my life, and the way I want to live my life.
Here’s just a little peek into it all, thanks to the incredible TréCreative Film & Photo.