Before we dive into Tracy and Josh’s outdoor Houston Wedding, we have to tell you their about how they got engaged. Proposal stories are our favorite and it’s impossible to get sick of them. You’ll also learn that we tend to call every single one our favorite… but we aren’t lying! They really are all SO good that we have a new favorite every time we hear a new one! But here is one that just might top the list forever.
Josh and Tracy had been planning for a couple months to take Tracy’s mom to their favorite B&B. When they arrived, they were met by the owner who told them their room was undergoing some water work so, they put their things in Tracy’s mom’s room and went to dinner. Josh then asked if they could look in the suitcase because he asked Granny to hide a little surprise in there for them. Both Tracy and her mom were blindfolded and led to their surprise. (It’s important to tell you that Tracy’s mom knew what was happening but played along perfectly! She’s a rockstar like that!) As they were being led to the surprise, Tracy kept thinking Josh set up a special massage or a nice dinner. As Josh held Tracy’s hand, he led her down a path and then Josh whispered “I love you more than anything and you can see the surprise now.” Tracy took off the blindfold and before her were the most beautiful words floating on the pond that said WILL YOU MARRY ME? As Tracy quickly turned around, she found Josh on one knee, asking her to spend the rest of their lives together. With so much excitement, Tracy jumped up and down and said YES, almost falling into the pond in the process. Josh put the ring on Tracy’s finger and held her hand walking back towards the B&B, only to find out there was ANOTHER surprise! Josh turned Tracy around to find a full-blown parade of honking cars; all of their closest friends and family members were there to join them for a celebration!
If that isn’t enough to make you teary-eyed, we aren’t sure what is. The sweetness and love Tracy and Josh share together is so contagious and you just can’t help but be so incredibly happy around them. We ended up photographing their rehearsal on our very own Anniversary and Tracy and Josh surprised us with the sweetest, most beautiful custom cookies. They are beyond thoughtful and are constantly loving on others and blessing them in every way. It is so easy to see the impact that they have on their friends and family and we cannot wait to see the legacy they build together.
Their wedding day was full of nothing but happiness, tears of joy, hugs and laughter that every single detail was just a bonus. Their floral ceremony arch for their outdoor Houston wedding, their handwritten vows in their calligraphed vow books, Tracy’s Kate Spade bridal shoes, the floral bridesmaids robes, ah the list could go on and on, but I’ll just let you look at the photos!
We are so excited to share Danielle and Nick’s Austin engagement portraits today! Ryan has known Nick since MIDDLE SCHOOL, which I can only imagine how goofy they were playing basketball together as 9 year olds. Lucky for Danielle and me, they grew up into pretty great men, and they introduced us to each other! (Not that I don’t love ya Nick, but I’m pretty partial to Danielle, but I know you are too, so we’re really on the same page!)
It’s always exciting when you find gems in the most common of places. We photographed the first portion of Nick and Danielle’s engagement session at the University of Texas and found the most gorgeous greenhouse, smack dab in the middle of campus. Danielle lived in Austin her ENTIRE LIFE and Nick graduated from UT and neither of them even knew it was there! It is a new favorite place for sure!
We ventured over to the architecture building after the greenhouse and just had to utilize those gorgeous blue doors! If you know anything about me, Becki, I believe blue is the new black, and these doors were no exception! Just wait until you see our French Country Blue Door Editorial that will be published next month! Blue doors galore! But back to this gorgeous Austin Engagement Session…
Just before sunset we hopped in our car and drove up the back curvy roads to beautiful Mount Bonnell. If you have never been, especially at sunset, it is a MUST SEE. The greenery and view overlooking downtown was absolutely breathtaking. Adding Danielle and Nick to the mix just made it even more magical. The sweet looks, the giggles and the laughter, the special unplanned moments, that’s what it’s all about.
We couldn’t be more excited to share in photographing Danielle and Nick’s special day. If their engagement session is any indication of how their wedding at the W Hotel in Downtown Austin is going to be this spring, we’re all in for the most wonderful day ever.
Before we get into the exciting details of Melba and Josh’s intimate wedding ceremony, we should start with the story of how Josh proposed to Melba. It was Thanksgiving evening and they were baking in the kitchen. Melba’s mom was attempting her very first organic pound cake for Josh (its his favorite, and Melba’s mom LOVES Josh so she was excited to make something especially for him!). The cake went in the oven, and when it came out the only thing better than the delicious smell was how amazing it tasted! They cleaned up and Melba prepared to leave, but Josh wasn’t ready to go quite yet. He stood idle, talking about all of the fun they had that day, and how he “would like the fun to continue…” (Yes, Melba may be the only girl in the world who actually remembers what her fiancé said during his proposal!). At that moment, Josh got on one knee and pulled out a ring box he had been carrying in his shoe the entire day. Right there in the kitchen, with Melba’s mother by his side, Josh asked Melba to marry him!! Her mother screamed and everyone cried! It was the most special day of both their lives.
True to our Creative Non-Fiction style, we wanted to capture Melba and Josh’s wedding through their most important details. One thing we love about weddings so much is how unique they are to each couple, and this was especially true with Melba and Josh. When the bride-to-be and groom-to-be began planning, they sat down with all the traditions and completely threw out the ones that they knew weren’t for them. The result was beautiful: an intimate wedding ceremony with just their immediate families at the White Hall Houston, followed by an intimate wedding dinner with just 30 of their closest friends at Brennan’s of Houston. The moments shared were nothing short of remarkable. Everything flowed together so seamlessly and the moments were equally full of laughter and tears of joy.
Once Melba and Josh knew that they wanted the foundation of their first day as husband and wife was an intimate wedding ceremony and to be simply surrounded by the people they love, they dove straight into the details, something that Melba absolutely loves. The three most important things were the florals, the cake, and the color palate.
The florals came to life exactly in Melba’s vision with Megan of Lanson B. Jones on the team. Megan chose in-season blooms, which included the most beautiful blush garden roses that stole the show in Melba’s bouquet. For dessert, Melba and Josh chose a traditional white wedding cake, surrounded by their absolute favorite dessert of Chocolate Chip cookies and Milk; a dessert combination that was to die for from the amazing Whisk Bakery. And all of this pulled together the soft colors of blush, cream and Navy which Melba and Josh so perfectly selected. They permeated the day from the beautiful floral arrangements, her Mori Lee DRESS, and even their BHLDN vow books. One of Melba’s favorite things about their wedding was Josh’s custom tux made by Limitus Bespoke, which featured silk blush pink lining with gold piping and embroidery detail with their wedding date. He was pretty excited to show it off and we were just as excited to snap portraits of it!
Melba and Josh truly planned a day that brought two families together as one. There was laughter and many tears, and it is these moments that we hope their wedding portraits will always bring back the memories of. Those tender moments shared between two people in love and the family and friends that surrounded them. Melba & Josh, your love is infectious in the best way and we are so grateful you invited us to capture it.
Melba and Josh’s Creative Team was absolutely a dream to work with. Click Below to see more of their work.
Ceremony Venue: The Whitehall Houston
Reception Venue: Brennan’s of Houston
Florals: Lanson B. Jones
Cake & Cookies: Whisk Bakery
Bride’s Dress: Mori Lee
Groom’s Tux: Litmus Bespoke
Hair and Make-up Artist: Adorne Artistry
Linens and Chargers: House of Hough
When Ryan proposed to me almost FIVE years ago, I didn’t actually hear anything he said. It was a blur of him being down on one knee and a ring box and trees all around. All I really know is that it was the most exciting moment of my life; which seems like a weird thing to say about a moment I barely remember!
We called our parents and closest friends, made it Facebook official, and a few weeks later we started talking about the wedding. Oy. Vey.
I had NO idea where to even begin. We were doing a lot of googling, a lot of talking around in circles, and a whole lot of NOTHING when it came to actually planning. Eventually, we figured things out, found the perfect venue, and got back to actually enjoying our engagement, but I certainly wish I had a little more help in the beginning stages!
So for all you newly-engaged friends out there, we asked some of our favorite wedding vendors a few pieces of advice for getting started, and we hope that it helps you as you dig into wedding planning!
From Lindsay of Lean on Me Events on Choosing your Venue
Before searching for your venue you’ll need to have a firm grasp on your budget and guest count. It’s never fun falling in love with a venue that can’t accommodate your two main needs. After doing some online research to find the venues that meet your needs then, you should schedule tours at your top 3-5 choices.
Pro Tip: When you’ve found “the one” don’t dilly dally around – venues only host one event per day and book quickly, especially during the months of January-March, you’ll need to be prepared to reserve your date.
From Skylar of Chancey Charm on Picking the Perfect Wedding Date
Wedding season in Texas is a little different. Due to our hot summers, the season runs from March through the beginning of June and takes a break until late September where it ramps up for our busiest month of the year – October.” One tip for stretching your budget is planning your wedding for an “on-season.” This is especially helpful for booking your dream venue!
On Keeping your Ring Sparkling All the Way to Your Wedding Day from Brian Gavin Diamonds
Keep one to two ring trees in your house. Keep one in the kitchen so that you can easily take off your ring as you cook or clean. Keep the second tree in your bathroom or bedroom as I don’t recommend you shower or sleep with your diamond. Any soap or residue when you shower will stick to the diamond and only keep it dirty.
And of course, we can’t sign off without giving you a few tips of choosing the perfect wedding photographer! We’ve put together a PDF of the top 3 photography questions you should be asking! You can download it here: smithhousephoto.com/3-photography-questions
If you can’t already tell by scrolling through these engagement photos, Caroline and Eric are pure magic; they may even be brighter than the sun. They are truly the sweetest of couples, so of course they also have have the sweetest of proposal stories.
Eric proposed to Caroline on her birthday, which in 2017 fell on Easter. They planned to spend the morning with Eric’s family at his sister’s house. She lives across the street, so they walked over together. Along the way Erica had gone out early before Caroline woke up with a basket full of Easter eggs and set up on a blanket under a beautiful old tree in the yard. In the basket, among Caroline’s favorite chocolate bunnies and Easter candies laid a crystal egg with a small box sitting inside of it. Eric got down on one knee and asked Caroline to marry him.
When we began planning Caroline and Eric’s engagement session, Caroline knew two things for certain; the first was that she wanted to capture their true joy and the fun they share together everyday and the second, she wanted a timeless, classic engagement portrait in the tree lined streets of Houston. Of course, with how in love these two are and how much they make each other laugh, the first one was easy. And to make the second come to life, we headed to the Houston Museum District filled with the most beautiful oak trees and the gorgeous sunlight shining through. We truly could not have asked for a more beautiful day to share in capturing such beautiful moments with these two lovebirds.
Caroline and Eric are getting married next summer at the oldest Catholic Church in Texas, the Historic San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio, Texas and we cannot wait for their I-Do’s!
We don’t have favorites when it comes to weddings, but I think it is safe to say that if we fell into a Groundhog day scenario and had to relive and re-photograph Brooke and Ben’s wedding day over and over again, we would be just fine with it. And I guess our favorite international blog, B. Loved Blog agreed, because they featured Brooke + Ben’s beautiful outdoor Houston wedding today!
Brooke & Ben are exceptional human beings. They are kind, humble, and treat each person they meet with the utmost respect. Ryan and I were just a small part of the incredible vendor team they included in their wedding at The Carriage House, and Brooke and Ben treated each of us like a part of their family. We are truly grateful to have captured every moment of their day, and every detail that was so thoughtfully planned.
You can see the full feature here and you can scroll down to see some of our favorite images and moments from the day, as well as the incredible vendor team, spearheaded by Houston Wedding Planner, Garnished Event, that made it all happen!
We love the outdoor ceremony space at The Carriage House. The greenery arch is a staple, which makes your whole ceremony space look lush and beautiful.
Cocktail hour included french fries, sliders, and a specialty Bridal Cocktail; all of which is SO Brooke & Ben.
There was not a dry eye in the house during Brooke and Ben’s first look out on the Carriage House patio. <3
Brooke’s grandmother, who was an integral part of the planning process, passed away just a few weeks prior to the wedding. Brooke included some of the sweetest details, including wearing her vintage rings and having a space saved for her at the ceremony. Without a doubt, she was there with us.
The Ginger Snap Photo Camper is always a win. And how gorgeous are these greenery and floral church pew arrangements?
Mary from Gypsy Blooms blew the wedding florals out of the water. Brooke and Ben had a floral hanging installation in their greenery ceremony arch. And the bridal and bridesmaids bouquets were absolutely to die for. And boutonnieres are often overlooked, but these were absolute perfection so I had to include an image of them below!
Wedding Planner: Garnished Event
Wedding Venue: The Carriage House
Bride’s Dress: Brickhouse Bridal
Cakes: Whisk Bakery
Florals: Gypsy Blooms
Catering: Cafe Natalie
Linens + Rentals: Artistique Events
Hair and Make-up: Sunkissed and Madeup
Photobooth: Gingersnap Photo Camper
We wanted to hone in a little bit today on the getting ready part of your wedding day – and not just how it pertains to photography. If we had to sum it up in three main objectives, they would be:
Big Windows. Cushion Time. And at least ten square feet per bridesmaid.
But let me explain.
The hours leading up to your wedding ceremony should be relaxing, filled with excitement and anticipation. We believe this because your wedding ceremony is the single most important part of your wedding day, and arguable, of your life, and hours of stress and anxiety don’t seem like a good platform to head into the most important time of your life on.
So let me start with cushion time. When we build a wedding photography timeline, we add in extra time throughout each section of the day for “cushion”. But your photo timeline likely won’t start until the end of hair and make-up. So it is important to acknowledge and plan ahead for cushion time in your getting ready schedule. Even if you have the best hair and make-up artist (like our favorites over at Hey Lovely Make-up that somehow manage to NEVER be behind schedule) there are other factors to consider that will need cushion time; For instance, a late bridesmaid, lunch delivery, dress malfunctions, etc. We promise you, starting your day 30 minutes earlier will always be worth it when the extra time is needed. And if everything goes perfectly? You are finished getting ready thirty minutes early and have time to take a breather, capture some extra gorgeous getting ready images, or have a drink with your maids.
Second: Big windows. This may seem like it is solely for photo purposes, and it is true, we LOVE gorgeous window light, but the natural light a big window in your getting ready room will give you benefits far more than photography! Your hair and make-up artist will also LOVE it. While there are incredible light stands and set-ups that hair and make-up artists can use when a window isn’t available, natural light is always going to give the best perception of how your make-up will look once you walk out the door. Having that window also eliminates the need for those light stands, which can add clutter to your already bustling getting ready room.
Speaking of clutter… Number 3: At least ten square feet for every bridesmaid. This is not a precise number by any stretch of the mind, but think space, and lots of it. Girls come with lots of stuff. Bags, dresses, hair and make-up, hairspray, cell phones, chargers, shoes (probably 2 or 3 pair if they haven’t decided what they are wearing yet)… you get the picture. There is probably going to be food, wedding day mimosas, gifts, bouquets. Girls also take up space to get ready in AND just hang out in. Once you get all of your bridesmaids, and likely your mother, grandmother, aunt, etc. into a room, it will get crowded quickly. If you are getting ready in a hotel, consider a suite or multiple rooms. If you are getting ready in a venue space, think about having your girls limit what they bring to the venue with them to just the necessities.
Additional Getting Ready Resources
On-Site Hair and Make-up Artists:
Hey Lovely Make-up
(Seriously, they are ALWAYS on time!)
Wedding Day Snacks Everyone Loves:
(And won’t be too messy!)
I am obsessed with handwritten thank you notes. I believe there is power in snail mail for hundreds of reasons; but that will have to be for another blog post. (Because I would roll on and on and on and on and on and on about it.)
Because of my love of the good old USPS, it was a no brainer when Katie from Basic Invite reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in testing out their online card design system. Thousands of thank you notes at my fingertips? Absolutely.
Basic Invite, based out of Southern Utah (USA Based businesses for the win!), has gone above and beyond the “template” world of online ordering. They have hundreds of gorgeous designs that you can 100% completely totally customize to your liking. They have 180+ colors to chose from (and they’ll even mail you a handy printed color sheet!) and over 100 fonts which makes designing exactly what you want super easy.
So Basically, I have said goodbye to boring thank you notes. (“Basic”ally, see what I did there? 😉 )
And the best part for all of my brides out there, they have FULL wedding invitation suites! Save the dates, invitations, RSVP card, envelopes, accommodations, etc. So if you want a wedding invitation that is truly you, but don’t quite have it in the budget to splurge on an artist designed fully custom suite, Basic Invite is an amazing option! They’ll even mail you printed samples so you don’t have to guess from a computer screen how it will print!
I have already used every single one of my thank you cards (good thing I photographed them as soon as they arrived!) and can’t wait to order more. I am especially excited to try out their “Modern Clear” line which launched shortly after I placed my first order.
Basic Invite also sent custom notecards to all of the gals that went to Colorado with us. So obviously, I had to take a photo of my favorite one (because, coffee!) with the Colorado Red Rocks.
Katie was also sweet enough to share a discount code for all of you to receive 15% off your order! Just input 15FF51 at checkout!
Happy Snail Mail!
“She instills grace in every common thing and divinity in every careless gesture.”
A few weeks ago we teamed up with a few of our favorite Houston Wedding Vendors to write an article on Style Me Pretty: 3 Reasons to Combine Your Bridal + Boudoir Sessions
This was an especially exciting blog post for me to contribute to, because I LOVE bridal portraits AND I love classy, soft, and feminine boudoir images. But often our brides feel the need to chose between one or the other. Whether it is because busy schedules don’t allow two shooting days on the calendar, or because wedding budgets don’t allow for two portrait sessions, two bridal bouquets, two hair and make-up appointments, etc. our brides are often playing rock paper scissors to decide BRIDAL portraits OR BOUDOIR photography?
But truly, shooting them together is a win all around! Your hair and make-up is already absolute perfection, you are already at a beautiful venue, and your gorgeous bridal bouquet gets to be shown off twice as much! And thats just the tip of the iceberg! Hop over to our feature on Style Me Pretty and read the in-depth reasons we think you should shoot your bridal and boudoir photography on the same day! And of course, on Style Me Pretty and by scrolling down below, you can see a handful of our favorite images from Katarina’s boudoir session at Olde Dobbin Station!
How beautiful is this side-braided bridal hair-style by Hey Lovely? We love how the loose braid flows into Katarina’s soft curls! We also love this was a transitional hair-style! Katarina started with her hair pinned up, and then transitioned into her curls down on her shoulder part way through our boudoir photography session!