Hello!! Oh man, what a title huh?! Long one, but necessary! You'll see why here shortly!
After a couple of weeks off to mentally reset and recharge, I am BACK! This month is by far the busiest month I have had since I decided to start this business on the side! With over 15 shoots just this month! Nick and Natalie started this month off for me, so this will be a long one. They spent so much time with me and it's only fitting that I take so much time to remember this incredible journey.
Sit back, drink your coffee (or other drink of choice if its a bit late!), and let me tell you about this excellent couple.
I have known Natalie for a while now, thanks to good ol' Bob Evans! We kept in touch through Kirstin, her roommate and one of my long time friends. Seeing each other here and there, reaching out for things like birthdays and plans for the weekend occasionally. I was beside myself with excitement when she reached out shortly after her engagement and asked me to be their photographer. We met over a drink to talk about the engagement session and the big day. It was so easy! They knew exactly what they wanted, and primarily that was... non traditional. They made this entire experience so inspiring and even more meaningful because this was 100% them. The ENTIRE process!
The engagement shoot was outdoors... in the rain! The leaves were gone, and there was a chilly bite in the air - but I wrapped my camera up, and we went exploring. Through trails, woods and they even took a minute to play in the river! We had a clear umbrella and an idea that we hoped would turn out to be oh so perfect. Here are just a few from the engagement session... oh yeah, she showed up with balloons (HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!).
They weren't kidding when they said they wanted to get in the water! This was just so much fun, I couldn't believe that a rainy day trying to please clients, turned out to be so much fun and full of laughter!
So as the session drew to an end... "OH! We can't forget the paddles!" Nick yelled as he took off towards the car, with a string dragging on the ground of popped balloons. He grabbed 2 ping pong paddles and expressed how much of a necessity these were. "It's what we do together, it's important to us."
Don't you love them already?! So there's your backstory. Ready for the big day??
I arrived at 8 a.m. per Natalie's request to hang out with the ladies as they prepared for the day ahead! I love this, because the day goes so fast for the bride and I love being able to help her look back and remember the morning of. To see the photos without feeling all of the stress and worry. They had hired these 2 talented women to do hair and makeup. Girls were swapping between them and staying true to the schedule.
I was able to grab Natalie on her down time before she was going to be sitting in the chair for another hour. Enjoying Panera and mimosas with mom, sisters, best friend, future sister-in-law and future mother-in-law.
Grandma and Grandpa showed up to give Natalie a ring from her Great Grandmother to wear for the day, it was so perfect. They even hung around afterwards! Talking and hanging out with everyone before the craziness began!
Natalie had bought the girls matching robes as a gift from her to them (off of Etsy of course!) and they were gorgeous! Each one specifically monogramed. What a great idea for bridesmaids gifts!
They all looked absolutely stunning and they weren't even in their dresses yet! While they finished up, I ran upstairs to grab some shots of this incredible dress with Natalie's awesome shoes!
Her sisters decided they should improvise while they hung out with me. So precious.
Take a moment to appreciate these beautiful, glittery, purple flats that Natalie ordered and received just days before the wedding!
Before we knew it, it was time to get the bride in the dress and get moving!
She. Looked. Stunning. You would never know what was actually running through her mind because she was so cool, calm and collected the entire morning! Look at that smile!
When we arrived at Highbanks Metro Park, we ran behind the Visitors Center to grab some shots of just the girls!
They all looked so incredible! The purple and pink went so well together for this outdoor wedding! She had to grab some with her sisters of course, having a great time and being daredevils BEFORE the ceremony.
With acorns falling all over the place, we made sure to keep everyones heads safe and get out of there as soon as we could!
When I arrived just 10 short minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to start, I was in awe of how beautiful the entire set up was! They were to be married under this tent and the shelter house was to my left. Easy for the guests and made for lots of options for photos!!
One of the coolest details I have ever seen at a wedding! Especially as a popcorn lover! "Please Enjoy A Snack During The Ceremony".
And can we PLEASE talk about the set up inside the shelter?? It was so great. Down to the last detail! Angela - from Red Letter Day Events, did an awesome job!
I immediately felt like I was not worthy of being such a big part of this day! I mean, HOLY MOLY!
But wait! There's more! The ceremony was brilliant. To the point, and beautiful.
The Groom and his Mother... and take a look at the phone! That would be Nicks's brother that is over in Japan teaching English! He couldn't make it, but they made sure he was a part of this glorious day!
The joy when you see your future husband... you just can't hide it!
And then of course...
The glowing newlyweds! On to take photos of the bridal party...
The dip, of course!
Natalie fell in love with the goldenrod across the street... so off we went!
Nick had to show off those awesome suspenders GQ Style! Couldn't help but laugh at how Natalie just smiles away, loving him for him!
As we headed back to the car, we had to stop in the middle of the road so Nick could be sure to grab a pose with a bouquet and Kirstin!
When we got back to where the guests were awaiting their arrival, we grabbed some family shots and I was able to catch how much Natalie loved her handmade bouquet! Isn't it gorgeous?!
Shortly after, the newlyweds were announced in front of their friends and family as Mr. and Mrs. Natalie and Nick Douglas! Upon walking in, they went straight the pie table and cut their cake. Didn't waste a second!
They invited everyone to feast, and help themselves to pie afterwards. The couple was able to eat without a worry, and once they were finished they were able to stop and say hello to their loved ones (Meanwhile, I snuck away with their rings!!). It was just so great. We were able to get away to grab some shots of just the two of them, and then of course I couldn't miss them taking time to play Ping Pong! When Natalie won, Nick sadly admitted "Well... Natalie has won this game and this marriage."
Couldn't resist using the Ping Pong paddles for a prop for the rings!
She was even able to warm up in the beautiful wrap her mother handmade for her!
Nick loved those suspenders! Can ya blame him? They are definitely the coolest.
As we finished up and the newlyweds said their goodbyes... it was hard to believe the day was over! Just like that!
They left in their private car that took them away, into the sunset.... okay. So the sun hadn't set just yet, but you get what I'm saying!
I am just so thankful for people like the Douglas'. With so much negativity and hate in this world, it is because of people like them that we get to stop for a second and see that there is still love. There is still pure happiness and it is so fantastic and addicting to be around such incredible vibes and energy.
It's hard to believe the wedding day has come and gone, but their life together has only just begun.
Congratulations Nick and Natalie! Thank you again, so so much for allowing me the privilege of photographing this chapter of your lives. I have no doubt you will have a lifetime of happiness together, so instead - I wish you both to win as many Pong games as you possibly can and I hope to hear the war stories the next time we meet. <3