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Today we celebrate Veterans Day, and we thank the men, women, friends and family members who have fought for our freedom; past and present. We truly have heroes among us, and today, and every day, we thank you!

Colorado-Military-Wedding-Detail-Portraits Colorado-Military-Wedding-portraits Mountain Side BrideLaura Murray Photography
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Southern Weddings The Nichols Photography

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United With LoveLuke Eshleman Photography

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Erin Hearts Court

Again, Thank you to our Veterans, and the ones photographed here today!

In general, a wedding is a ceremony uniting two people together, and this in itself is a beautiful thing. This also creates new family relationships, in-laws, etc. But I love a wedding that unites nuclear families to create a new immediate family, and when there is such obvious joy about this new created family from all parties. This wedding is just that. The joy is pouring out of the bride and groom, their children, and their guests, and the reception is truly a huge celebration of this, complete with gorgeous flickering candlelight, stunning orchids, and dazzling black and white accents with pops of purple. Add in the crowd that won’t stop dancing and activities for the kiddos and we’ve got a spectacular party for an even more spectacular new family.

From the Photographer:

We had a beautiful sunny day for Susan and Shane’s wedding at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. The natural and bright lighting in Susan’s suite was perfect for her, her sister, and her mother to get ready in. With everyone in great spirits it was also a perfect space to toast with some champagne to the momentous occasion and gorgeous weather. Getting to know Susan and Shane’s family was a blast, but being there to see their 4 children witness their parent’s vows definitely tugged at the heart strings a little. Shane and Susan then danced the night away in a beautifully candle lit room surrounded by best friends, loving family, and cake fueled kids.

Photographer: Steve Koo Photographer / Flowers & Decor: Bukiety / Reception Venue: Waldorf Astoria Chicago / Bride’s Dress: Badgley Mischka / Band: Prophecy Productions / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo

One of the greatest struggles couples can have when planning their wedding is how to honor a lost loved one on their special day. Deciding how to acknowledge this person’s absence will be difficult – should you share it publicly for your guests to share or privately for you alone. I’ve been there – Saturday marked 5 years since my father passed away and today actually happens to be his birthday. (Happy 62nd Birthday Dad!) If you had read our real wedding post by Natalie, you would know that including him into our special day was a huge part of our wedding planning process. I wanted to remember him in a way that did not dampen the celebratory spirit of our wedding, but was more than a program mention. Wearing my parents rings around my bouquet, and having a memory arrangement with a special quote were just a few ways that I was able to include my dad on our wedding day. Below are just a few more ideas of how you can carry on the legacy of a loved one while you begin a new chapter of your own.

Mark Hawkins Photography

Memory arrangement from ceremony to reception

Mark Hawkins Photograph | Sequins and Candy Photography

Sew a piece of a loved ones clothing into your dress

Jessica Schmitt Photography | Jubilant Wares on ETSY | KCowie on ETSY

Bouquet charms with photos of loved ones

The Little Craft Closet on ETSY | jYOUlry on ETSY | Perfect Pendents Plus on ETSY

Bracelet: JoDene Moneuse Jewerly on ETSY | Photo via Sewwoodsy.com | Mr & Mrs Adams

Engraved jewelry, photo memory candles, reserving a seat for a loved one

 Family Attic on ETSY | Limited Lane on ETSY | Family Attic on ETSY

Special quotes and signage for ceremony or reception decor

Your Picture Story on ETSY

Memory quote photo frame for decor or as a special gift

The Cohens Photography | photo via First Coast Weddings

Personalized wedding favors – family favorite recipes, forget-me-nots

Left Photos via Bow Ties and Bliss | Right Photo: personal via Jen Wentz Meador on Pinterest

Photo displays of loved ones

 Suggs Photography via Iloveswmag.com

 Family heirlooms

There are a ton of amazing ways in which you can remember loved ones who are not present on your wedding day.  What special ways to you plan on remember your loved ones? 


The Pilot (Fiance – he requested I give him a better nickname than “FI”) and I are off to the wedding of his cousin Shannon.

They originally planned to get married two weeks after us, but Jeff ships out for basic training in January, so they had to rearrange their schedules.  I’m amazed at how quickly they have managed to get everything sorted out, including booking the church, reception hall and Shannon finding a dress!

I will actually be a photographer for their wedding, so I am thoroughly looking forward to being a part of their special day.

Congrats to you both, Jeff and Shannon! Wishing you lots of love and laughter in the years to come!

To all of our armed services who have sacrificed so much for our country, thank you.

For those that are currently deployed, I wish you a safe homecoming.

For those who are back home – I wish you the best in readjusting to civil life and thank you a million times over for your service.

Happy Veterans Day

That’s right folks, a surprise wedding. No, I’m not talking about myself.

A business friend sent me the link to this post a while back, as it involved a few co-workers of hers (and a former co-worker, as their photographer).  Then last week, a former co-worker of mine, sent it to me, and completely reminded me that I needed to blog about this.  So here, you go.  A surprise wedding.

The couple, a close friend and their photographer are the only ones who knew about the “surprise” wedding.  Their parents did not know, no family members, no one. And to prove it, here are their parents’ reactions.

Priceless, right?

The at-home ceremony and reception was intimate and beautiful. And, if I had gone this route (who am I kidding, I’m a good secret keeper, but there is no way I could keep this secret), this is how I would want it to turn out.  You can feel the love in these pictures just by looking at them.  It is so heartwarming.

All photos courtesy of Hoffer Photographer

Would you ever have a surprise wedding? Or do you want the whole big shebang?

This garter, as featured on the Pretty Bride blog, is a fantastic family heirloom, with a lot of history.

Pretty Bride

It was made for her mother’s wedding 32 years ago, and has pieces from several family members’ wedding dresses on it.  After each bride wore the garter, they added a piece to it from their wedding dress and then passed it along to another lady in the family.  All-in-all, twelve brides have worn that garter at their wedding.  To me, that is so much more meaningful than, say, wearing your mom’s wedding dress (but kudos to you brides to do).

It makes a great “something old” and a “something borrowed” since you’d be passing it along after your wedding.  You could even add a touch of blue to make it a “something blue.”

I think I am going to start this tradition after my wedding.  We aren’t doing a garter toss, but I will wear a garter purely for this purpose.

In honor of one of the FI’s cousins getting married today, I am sharing this lovely quote!

You’re Beautiful

Congratulations Derek and Sara! Wishing you two lots of love and happiness!