Katie & Eli - Golden Age Wedding

first… their wedding film!  be sure to watch it full screen in HD and then afterward scroll down to see our favorite photographs from their glorious day.  


they were married in a magical mossy land of tree houses adorned with hand painted whimsy (by katie, of course), wildflowers tucked into every inch, fig and honey drenched desserts on display, layered homespun attire, butterflies, vines and wild berries woven throughout, with a custom crafted signature whiskey (from eli's family's distillery) with the given name 'the golden age' which was also the theme of this glorious event. the rain poured down and they let it drip from their hair and lashes as they exchanged vows beneath the towering old growth forest, and as the day turned to night each guest put on their wild animal mask of choice and danced until the wee hours beneath twinkle lights and watercolored blooms. each detail was breathtaking but it was the warmth of the people present who made that chilly autumn day feel like the peak of summer. 'the golden age' is defined as: an idyllic, often imaginary past time of peace, prosperity, and happiness… oh, and it was.



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Michelle & Kellan's Wedding

“The garden where you sitHas never a need of flowers, For you are the blossoms And only a fool or the blind Would fail to know it” ― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolinmichellan

michelle is like blood to me. kin. a sister. the best way to sum her up in that she loves people well. she is the most thoughtful person i have ever had the honor to know up close. she began, years ago, as our babysitter, then assistant to me, office manager and has traveled the country to be by my side at countless workshops, becoming my confidant of every thought within the corners of my mind. she's seen me at my worst and loved me just the same. she gives openly. she does not judge. she never seems to think of herself and makes every person she encounters feel that they are the most treasured in all the world. these words seem insufficient and cheap even compared to how closely i hold michelle to my heart.

i didn't think it would be possible for any man to be worthy of a love like hers. but then we met kellan. she brought him to our home last year for us to meet him for the first time during our workshop reunion. it was a busy weekend but i watched from afar as he and michelle would giggle and kiss when no one was looking, he did dishes with a smile, he danced with michelle in our kitchen, just purely exuding sweetness. i realized that he was her perfect match… the same soul existing in two bodies. when i attended their wedding in round top, texas at rachel ashwell's the prairie last month, i listened to hundreds of their friends and family say almost the exact same thing about them. these two, they are pure joy. they are each wise and established on their own… they didn't need to find another person to be complete, however, they make each other so much more alive for being together. they are a blossoming tree. and each of us that passes by their fragrance is left better because of it.


“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.” ― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin

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Mia & Sean's Wedding - Valentines Day in New Jersey

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the snow flurries began at one in the afternoon on valentines day.   he toasted with his friends and she cried with hers and the snow fell silently, preparing the way for them to walk together, for the rest of their lives.  they met at the carriage house that almost felt like connecticut and a world away from manhattan; a place where new life would grow.  she was running late, she closed her eyes with intention and the snow gathered upon her lashes, and he took her hand, and they took in that winter air and exhaled deeply, as one.  it all seemed frantic until he saw her.  all the words were too loud until they stood in that falling snow in the silence.  their eyes smiled and his shoulders relaxed and she came alive.  their friends and family gathered and candles were lit and vows were promised.  the snow fell thick all around them, as if it all took place in a dream and they danced into the night like the only ones, free with abandon.  it was the valentines day her grandmother had once given her as a little girl and why this day of the year was the one choice to celebrate a love this sacred.

i haven't gone through nearly half the images from this wedding but i felt drawn to share these.  the anticipation feels like a first date and the newness of snow feels like a daydream, but it's the maturity of their love, the security and the strength you can feel as they stand beside one another that truly makes me love these photographs.  it's the standing still, trusting, being covered by love in a way that it can actually be seen and felt in the snow.  truly, that is all i can hope for my art.


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the ford family: a vow renewal.

fordweb4the vows... lucas to jayme:    "if i could rewind time right now and look back a little over six years, i come to a moment where i told the universe that i was ready.  ready for the one.  the woman i would spend the rest of my life with.  the response was swift and you walked right into my life.  it was less than a year later and we stood together in a circle not much different than this and declared our love for commitment to each other for the rest of our days.  today i've come to realize that in five short years, i have lived more with you than in all of the years before combined.  i never knew true love until the moment i met you.  i stand here in that circle again today to renew these eternal vows to you.  jayme, i'll always love you and encourage you.  i'll forever stand strong by your side, through the best times and the hardest.  i'll laugh with you and comfort you, i'll cherish every moment we share together until my very last breath.  so you be the icing and i'll be the cake, you be the sweet and i'll be the savory.  you be you and i'll be me and i'll see you right back here in another five years.  and another.  and another."

jayme to lucas:    "a love like ours happens once in a lifetime.  in you i found not only a partner, but my true best friend.  you are the one who was everything i had ever hoped for and then some.  you are a part of everything i think and do and feel.  you have found yourself quite a cozy spot inside my heart… which, by the way, locks from the outside so looks like you're stuck there.  you love me most during my worst.  through hardships and tests from the universe, you never falter by my side.  you are my strength and my support system and i am incredibly grateful for your love.  here's to all the places we've been and here's to all the places we'll go.  and here's to me whispering again and again and again… i love you so."




they traveled here from alberta, canada for the celebration.  the two of them, their three boys, and their immediate family.  they made it into a vacation and spent three days together (not far from our homestead) in a mountain log cabin just below mount baker, cooking and laughing and soaking it all in.  their only agenda was to be present in that moment and not worry about the fancy details.  they experienced some heavy years followed by so much healing in their marriage.  they wanted to celebrate the rebirth of hope between them and to marry one another again beneath a willow tree, just as her parents had done.  jayme wore her mom's wedding dress, and her mama and grandma were there to help her put it on.  they made her bouquet with dahlias picked from a roadside flower stand.  and his boutonniere was made from wildflowers and lavender from our garden along with a lego perfectly placed by jensen.  jayme's brother played the guitar for the ceremony and we had made sure to give our willow tree by the pond a lovely new knitted sweater for the occasion.  the boys all devoured the wedding cake at the end and there was plenty of laughter and hugging beneath that tree.  we adventured through the woods and the maple leaves were just beginning to fall, and the wet, calming weather just added to the soulfulness of the day.  that is what i love most about these images.  the intimacy.  i was able to be with them for an entire day start to finish.  i tried to narrow down my favorites but i still ended up with almost 200 (out of the final 1400 images, whoa), so i just went ahead and put my favorites into a little video. enjoy.

Laura & John - New York Wedding!

2014-09-18_0001.5i don't usually begin a blog with a photo, but goodness, i just felt like this one deserved it.  plus this is a really great story and i didn't not want to give you a hint of what's to come after these words. now let me tell you about laura and john's wedding.  so last year i received this email:

  • Hello Joy... first of all, I just want to say how inspired I have been by your photography. Not only in taking pictures, but just in seeing life in a new, beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air kind of way. My best friend Laura (who happens to be my sister) is getting married in 2014, and I was wondering first of all, if you travel for weddings. We live in Rochester, New York. If you do travel, could you tell me what the price is for all of that? It may be a little far-fetched for our measly little pockets, but I’d still like to get an idea. :]  Lastly, if you do not travel, or our pockets are hanging out in the Great Depression of ’13 ;] can you advise of any wedding photographers in Upstate NY that you admire?  Thank you for your time and help and for sharing your beautiful work and life through something as permanent as pictures.  God bless, Jocelyn


around the same time, without her knowing jocelyn had already written me, i received this email from laura:

  • Hi Joy,  Let me start by introducing myself, my name is Laura and I just got engaged on Thanksgiving to the man that makes my heart smile. We live in Rochester, NY and are looking to get married in the summer.  I absolutely love your work, I am a photographer as well and dream of being able to do what you do. Unfortunately, you live in another state and I am sure you are booked up. So the reason I am emailing you is to see if is there any chance at all that you have anyone that you would suggest or recommend in the Upstate NY area that shares your style? Please get back to me if you do, I would appreciate it so much! If not, thank you any way for reading this and for sharing your beautiful pictures with the rest of the world so we can all be inspired!  Thank you, Laura


so at this point i was interested.  we had been looking for a good reason to road trip to the east coast and that maybe it could work.  plus, i am a fan of a good story.  so i called jocelyn first.  the wedding was going to be small, intimate, beautiful, completely family focused... a big love on a small budget.  i fell in love with them instantly.  and long story short, her dad and jocelyn surprised laura and her fiance john with the gift of bringing me to new york.

we road tripped it to rochester, new york and bright and early on june 14th, i walked into the laura's childhood home.  i was greeted with huge smiles and even bigger hugs, a welcome to the family, the laughter of children and grown ups, and just the overall feeling of being home.  i wasn't provided a had-to-have shot list of photos, i wasn't even given much of a schedule.  but i was given a genuine appreciation for being present and just asked to shoot whatever i felt needed to be remembered.  what a gift.  and i am pretty sure this is my favorite wedding i've ever photographed.  i really think you can see my contentment through the images.  i am going to tell you the story of the rest of the day throughout the photos down below - just hang in there, because there are more than 100 photos.  ;)


this is the playhouse laura's dad built her when she was a little girl.  and that is her niece there on the front step.  and below, her mom putting the final touches on her dress. 2014-09-18_002.5 2014-09-18_0002 2014-09-18_0004 2014-09-18_0005she got ready in her parent's bedroom among all her lady friends, family and soon to be family.  i was tucked into her mama's closet to shoot these photos below, a place i'm sure she had hid many times as a little girl dreaming of this exact day. 2014-09-18_0006 2014-09-18_0007 2014-09-18_0008 2014-09-18_0009 2014-09-18_0010 2014-09-18_0011 2014-09-18_0012 2014-09-18_0013 2014-09-18_0014 this photo below is on my top favorite ever list.  this moment literally took my breath away.2014-09-18_0015 2014-09-18_0016.5 2014-09-18_0017this is john.  a very good man.2014-09-18_0018 the ceremony was at their sweet little church where the rest of the family had also been married.2014-09-18_0019 every detail of the wedding was simple, handmade and full of grace.2014-09-18_0020.5 2014-09-18_0020 2014-09-18_0021 2014-09-18_0022 2014-09-18_0023 2014-09-18_00242014-09-18_00252014-09-18_0026 2014-09-18_0027.5 2014-09-18_0027.6 2014-09-18_0027.7i developed quite a crush on upstate new york. 2014-09-18_0028 2014-09-18_0029 2014-09-18_0030 the whole wedding party was incredibly fun and hilarious without being inappropriate, which is a pretty rad way to be.2014-09-18_0031 2014-09-18_0032 2014-09-18_0033 2014-09-18_0034 2014-09-18_0035 2014-09-18_0036 2014-09-18_0037 you might have said i was experiencing photograph euphoria.2014-09-18_0038 2014-09-18_0039 2014-09-18_0040 2014-09-18_0041 2014-09-18_0042 2014-09-18_0043 2014-09-18_0044 2014-09-18_0045 2014-09-18_0046 2014-09-18_0047we photographed these photos at the christmas tree farm they had cut their tree down each year as children. 2014-09-18_0048 2014-09-18_0049 2014-09-18_0050 and then we headed to the little town of pittsford, ny.  i was obsessed with it.2014-09-18_0051 2014-09-18_0052 2014-09-18_0053 2014-09-18_0054 2014-09-18_00552014-09-18_0056 2014-09-18_0057 2014-09-18_0058 2014-09-18_0059 2014-09-18_0060 2014-09-18_0061 2014-09-18_00622014-09-18_0063 2014-09-18_0064 2014-09-18_0065 2014-09-18_0066 2014-09-18_0067 2014-09-18_0068 2014-09-18_0069 2014-09-18_0070 there was a storm coming in and we only had 5 minutes before we had to head to the reception but we ran out into a field...2014-09-18_0072 the i was just mesmerized by their dresses flowing in the wind so i asked them to spin.  it was a magical minute.2014-09-18_0073 2014-09-18_0074 2014-09-18_0075 2014-09-18_0076 2014-09-18_0077 2014-09-18_0078 2014-09-18_0079 this is jocelyn and laura.  it's a rare gift to love someone this much.2014-09-18_0080.1 2014-09-18_0080 2014-09-18_081.2 they were married on flag day.   2014-09-18_0081.5 2014-09-18_0081.6their legacy of love.  i just love these two side by side.  the freedom of a mature love and the giddy anticipation of a new one.2014-09-18_0086 2014-09-18_0087 2014-09-18_0088.4 2014-09-18_0088.5 2014-09-18_0088 jocelyn and her husband david wrote and performed the most lovely song i've ever heard for laura and john.  i am doing my best to convince her to record it for the world.  ;)2014-09-18_0098 2014-09-18_099.3 2014-09-18_099.4 2014-09-18_0099 laura's dad wrote her this card and read it to her during their first dance.  it says this on the back, "no matter what happens in life, you will always be my little girl, my laura, and i couldn't possibly be happier for you in this moment. love always, dad."2014-09-18_0100 2014-09-18_0101.2 2014-09-18_0101 2014-09-18_0102 2014-09-18_0103 2014-09-18_0104.6it was a really, really great day.  i am so grateful to be asked to be present on the days that are the most savored and  remembered.  i will hold this one close for a long, long time.


**big thanks to my friend tiffanie perry for keeping my company on that lovely day in new york.  love you.