Justin and Emily had a beautiful farm wedding on Emily's family property. I loved everything about their day! (Especially the two of them!) Here are some favorites from the day!
The girls started the day with hair and nails.... it wasn't long before I realized we were going to have a pretty fun day ;)
Then time for couple photos! My favorite part of wedding days!
And the VOWS!!!! guys.... it RAINED. LIKE rainnnnnnned! And it was beautiful!
On to the reception!!! We even got to steal in a few more photos at sunset!!!
Thank you so much for asking us to be a part of your day Justin and Emily! I'm so happy I got to work with you guys, and for the friendship we have made! May God give you have a very blessed life together!!! I hope we see you both soon!!
Durrell and I had an great opportunity recently to travel with our friends to Laos. A family from our church is planning a relocation there soon, and we wanted to go see for ourselves where they would be living and the work they will be doing there. Here are some photos from the trip. (mostly taken with cell phones, but hey, carrying a backpack with all of my belongings in it made camera wrangling tricky sometimes) HA!
A little history: Laos is a landlocked country bordered by Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand to the west and southwest. It's one of only 5 remaining communist countries in the world, predominantly Buddhist, and home to over 160 different people groups. From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than 270 million cluster bombs on Laos during the Vietnam War. Up to a third of the bombs dropped did not explode, leaving Laos contaminated with vast quantities of unexploded bombs. Over 20,000 people have been killed or injured by UXO in Laos since the bombing ceased. The country side is still dangerous for those living there. Bombs explode everyday, some by teams attempting to slowly clear the land of the UXO's with special equipment and others by unknowing civilians with unfortunate footing. Even though it seems Laotian people wouldn't be out of line to hold grudges against Americans for our part in the ongoing tragedy, we were greeted by the kindest, open armed, and hospitable people. Even not speaking any of the tribal languages, we never felt unsafe or scared moving around. Being a Christian in a closed communist country was a concern for us at first, but overall it added more of an awareness to our situation than fear.
SO.... lots of flying to start the trip off. CLE > Dallas > Hong Kong. The flight from Dallas to Hong Kong was 17 hours. I have a hard time sitting still for a whole hour sooooooo the flight felt like an eternity. We spent a day in Hong Kong wandering around the city and catching taxis to places we wanted to see. We stayed at a little airbnb on the 62nd floor of a tower on the bay with a view of the mountains. Then back to the airport to catch a flight to Bangkok and finally our destination, Vientiane, Laos.
In Vientiane, We stayed at a cool little place right in town that made getting to the market and moving around pretty easy. We found ourselves pointing a lot at pictures to show people where wanted to go or what we needed. Honestly, at one point I think Steve made an "oinking" sound to a street food vendor trying to ask her if the meat was pork or not. She got quite a kick out of it. The further out of the city, the less people spoke English. Luckily, our friends were with us for most of the time we spent in Laos and they could communicate for us.
We were told before our trip that Laos has the best iced coffee ever and it was sooooo true! It was amazing! Lots of ladies had little stands on the street that we could purchase from. We always say we will avoid street food when we travel, but somehow we find ourselves eating it and then wondering what we just ate. HA But the coffee was great! It was served in a plastic bag inside a paper bag with a straw. There were monasteries on almost every corner and they were BEAUTIFUL! The monks would come in the morning and walk through the village collecting food and tithes from the residents and then in return they would bless the people and their homes. I felt kinda like the tourists that come to Holmes County and take photos of the amish! Nobody even looked twice at the long lines of boys dressed in orange robes with bare feet chanting in the streets, but there I was with my eyes glued and camera clicking. (discreetly of course ;) Another reason I used my phone camera a lot instead of the beast.
We were excited to get out of town and see a bit of the country side in Vientiane. I'm always more drawn to the rural side of places we visit. The mountains were beautiful and green and the river flowed through the villages full of fish and supplying water to the rice fields. Kids played in the creeks branching off the river. We stopped at a cool floating village on the river and had lunch on a boat as we floated down the river and saw the country side that way. Then we headed to a small school to visit and have dinner. Eating in Laos was a very different experience for us. Meal time always meant sitting on the floor "crisscross applesauce" barefoot and eating with our hands, or sometimes chopsticks. The food was amazing, but some of it was, well...... unconventional to American culture. BBQ Chicken feet, whole shrimp with the eyes starring back at you, and dare I say it.... dog with dog gravy. I won't even go into detail about how it's made or where the dog meat comes from. Duey got his share of Pho with alllll the hot peppers, and I carbed up on rice and noodles ;)
We visited a large park called Wat Xieng Khuan with over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. It was very bizarre but also interesting to see.
Then another short plane ride to Thailand and back to Hong Kong. We spent the last day in Hong Kong visiting an enormous bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. We traveled by a crystal bottom gondola trough the mountains to the statue located at Ngong Ping, on Lantau Island. The statue is sited near Po Lin Monastery and symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith. It is a major centre of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and also a popular tourist attraction. We toured the monastery and then hopped a bus to a nearby fishing village. At the fishing village we took a short boat ride in search of pink dolphins and to see the village from a different viewpoint. The shacks on stilts over the water seemed to be barely standing. Some of them leaned so far one way or another it looked as if the smaller wave or lightest wind would push them over the edge. The whole village smelled of fish and on nearly every clothes line hung childrens clothes next to fish parts drying in the sun.
Even though we had a 12 hour time difference to our littles back home, EVERYDAY they sent us the sweetest selfies to wake up to. We feel sooooo blessed to have grandmas (and Marilyn) that looked after Will and Abby when we were traveling. It's hard being away from them, but much easier knowing they are in caring loving hands.
Phil and Lexi had one of the most beautiful Winter weddings we have ever been a part of! Every detail was perfectly planned and thought out to perfection! The flowers were gorgeous, the venue was lovely, and Phil and Lexi are two of the most genuine and wonderful people I know. On top of that, there is nothing better than shooting a wedding for family! I'm not fantastic with words so let's just get to the photos ;)
The ladies got ready at RIG :) They were seriously the cutest ever in their Winter jimmies!
Then back to the Beachy's so the girl's could get their dresses on!
Then over to the venue! The Breitenbach Tool Shed is a great local venue with lots of charm! We started with first look and couple portraits followed by bridal party and family! Phil and Lexi got married on the shortest day of the year, so we had a tight timeline! Everything fell together perfectly though and we got all the photos in before the sky turns dark :)
Then it was time to get hitched! Phil and Lexi's adding felt extra special because they had friends and family in attendance from around the world. Phils groomsmen were all high school friends (plus his brother) that he made living in Senegal. It's a true testament to Phil and Lexi's character that they came from all over for the wedding. Even his family came from Canada (also Germany and New Zealand if I remember correctly) It was quite a special reunion for the Beatty Family!
Phil and Lexi's wedding was the perfect one to finish off your year on a fantastic note! The entire "photo experience" with them was one I will always remember. Traveling with them North for their engagement photos and seeing Phil in his element in the cold Canadian waters leaping off boats barefooted while the rest of us buried ourselves under blankets and winter coats and hats is not something I will soon forget. His family's hospitality as they hosted us at their cottage on the lake was heart warming and made us feel like we had known the Beatty's much longer than a few short days. (If anyone wants to peek at photos from their engagement session, it can be found on a previous blog post)
Thank you for everything you guys! We wish you many many blessings!
Duey and Jackie
This was such a fun wedding! Aaron and Anna were so fantastic to work with at their engagement session, so I knew photographing their wedding would be wonderful! Anna looked like she walked straight out of a bridal magazine, and even with the never ending rain, they both smiled all day long. It's not hard to see the kind of love they have for each other! We walked around Stan Hywett with umbrellas and made the best of the moody grey skies. Here are a few of our favorites from their day!
The girls started the day at Aaron and Anna's home.
We were really fortunate to be able to shoot the first look in the green house at Stan Hywett! It was nice to be able to put down the umbrellas for awhile and move around more freely. I LOVE this greenhouse. I could have shot in just that one place for a whole hour. BUT there were so many pretty places we wanted to see, so we didn't linger to long. This is one of the prettiest venues ever for bridal portraits.
The ceremony, which was planned for outside, was quickly re-planned for the patio under tent! It had such a cozy intimate feel.
The reception venue was the perfect atmosphere! The Akron Museum of Art allowed guests to visit the exhibits during cocktail hour before the reception which added a very cool feel to the night. The reception was held in the main lobby area of the museum with tall windows and interesting architecture. The whole day was planned so perfectly from beginning to end.
Congratulations Mr and Mrs Camerato! Your wedding was as amazing as the two of you! We were so happy to be a part of it! Thank you for conquering the rain with us <3
May the Lord bless you with many years of love and joy and laughter!
Love, Duey and Jackie
Phil and Lexi's engagement session weekend was awesome! I've been looking forward to haring a little bit about it.
People have asked "why Canada? why the Georgian Bay?" So first, a little background.... Shooting in Ontario wasn't a random choice. Phil's family has had a cottage in the family for many generations. While Phil was actually raised mostly in Senegal, Africa, his family would spend weeks and months at the cottage when they made trips home. The cottage and the islands around it have a very special place in Phil's heart. It is easy to see that Lexi has caught on quickly to the ways of remote lake life! She was jumping to and fro from boats to docks like she's been doing it her whole life. I'm sure they will make so many more amazing memories there together and with family.
Friday morning we were up bright and early and out the door at 4am. Duey and I picked up the other Beachy's (HA) Lexi, then Caleb and Brittany, and off we went! ROAD TRIP!
(be prepared for some not so fancy cell phone shots mixed in with the big girl camera images;) )
The drive felt quick! Once in Canada, we picked up Phil, who was still living there for another week before moving to the US. Then all aboard and on our way to the cottage! The cottages on the bay are built on big rock islands and the residents get to them by boat. So we unloaded our bags into the boat and headed across the bay. I don't really know how to describe the landscape. (Good thing for photos huh?!) Just imagine cold, crystal clear water, hundreds of rock islands ranging in size from a football field and larger to trampoline size. The shores of the islands were all different. Some were rocky and cliff like, while others eased slowly into the water like a smooth slide. The Beatty Cottage is nestled back in an inlet on top of a tall rocky shore overlooking the bay.
We were pretty excited to get out and start shooting. The weather was looking like rain off and on for the following day, so we wanted to get outside and start shooting and exploring right away! Brittany helped Lexi with her makeup quickly and out the door we went! We started right at the cottage.
THEN imagine my excitement when they came walking from the boat house onto the dock with THIS beauty!
Then we did a quick clothing change and hopped back on a boat and cruised out through the bay until we found the perfect island to shoot on! The blue dress Lexi is wearing is especially awesome because her mom maaaaaaade it! It was perfect for this location!
Then one more clothing change. Guys.... it was sooooo cold. Phil hardly noticed though. He was barefoot in and out of the water like it was mid-summer!
I mentioned before that the water was freezing. I was bundled up in my winter hiking boots, two pairs of tights, a vest over two long sleeved shirts AND a winter hat. The cold weather didn't stop these two crazies from jumping off the dock in their swimsuits! We quickly ran inside to huddle around the bog cozy fire.
The rest of the trip was documented through random phone shots. We ate amazing food, drank delicious wine, and fellowshipped with some very interesting members of Phil's family. We took canoes across the water to a nearby island and explored. We ate a bag full of chocolate figs, and Phil told us about the history of his family and the islands around their cottage.
We also made a quick stop at Niagara falls before crossing the border back into the states. I hadn't ever been there on the Canada side before!
We had such a fun and relaxing weekend. Thank you so much to the Beatty family for your kindness and hospitality! Thank you for sharing your cottage with us and for all of the amazing food and fellowship! We can't wait to see you all again in December! This time you will be in our neck of the woods! What did you say you want to do Esther? Go to the Amish Safari?! LOL around here we call it The Farm at Walnut Creek. :)