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I’ve decided Jasper in Canada is my favorite place for an exploration session. If you are wondering what that is, it’s like an engagement session for destination weddings. Half my clients get married far from home so we meet up a few days before the ceremony and explore the area together. It’s always fun but this one was the best. Ever.

 

Michelle and Hollie found me in Hawaii. We met at Steve and Kirstie’s Maui wedding and instantly fell in love with each other. These two lovebirds were engaged and already had a photographer, whom they fired just so they could hire me. Until then, I had never experienced simultaneous guilt and elation.

 

We spent a year texting, emailing and skyping. And we didn’t stop talking for the entire six hour drive from Calgary to Jasper’s Sawridge Inn.

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Oh Canada, you are so fricken lovely!

 

During our road trip and our exploration session we pulled over so many times I lost count. It was glorious. The weather was perfect, the views were breathtaking and we never saw any bears. I was kinda hoping we would but since I don’t run very fast, it’s a good thing we didn’t.

 

However, we were greeted by Jasper’s proud pride flags on every street lamp stretching from one side of town to the other. A sight so heart warming, it nearly brought me to tears.

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An hour after our gorgeous session ended, the sky’s opened up into a nearly solid white out just as we were leaving for the outdoor rehearsal.

 

I couldn’t believe it. The trifecta of happiness – clients I adore, a mountain wedding and snow. Quite possibly the happiest day of my life.

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I find it weird to leave a wedding and be back at home before a pizza can be delivered. But about once a year I shoot a wedding in Panama City. Besides sleeping in my own bed, one of the best benefits is getting to work with my favorite local vendors. And this Panama Country Club Wedding had lots of them!

Christy and Jon are two of the nicest people I have ever met. I fell for them immediately. Besides getting me hooked on Homeland, it’s been wonderful seeing them around town. Like when Christy, Terri and I had a froyo date. Cause that’s what you do during a Florida winter.

After our Rosemary engagement session, I knew their Panama Country Club wedding was going to be fantastic. It didn’t disappoint! Between the hilarious photo booth and the stellar wedding party, it was a night to remember.

Many thanks to Irwin Funes for second shooting with me and saving us from a large aggressive squirrel stalking us at the country club. For realz, he was Rambo Squirrel.

Ceremony Venue: Lynn Haven United Methodist Church

Reception Venue & Catering: Panama Country Club

Florals: Clay Keels

DJ: Michael Peters

Makeup Artist: Christina Engman, MAC

Hair Stylist: Kelli Webb

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If you had to pick a time for everything to go wrong, it wouldn’t be during your wedding. Ashley and Justin certainly didn’t, but that’s kinda what happened. Decorations couldn’t be delivered in time. That sucks, but it’s fine. Ashley is hospitalized with a 104 fever two days before the ceremony. Then they lost the caterer. Weddings can be crazy but this had the markings of a total disaster.

Mere mortals would have responded with tears, a bottle of jack and some very heated words. But Ashley handled all of this – and more – with an upbeat attitude. Which is undoubtedly one of the many reasons Justin loves her so much. I adore them both myself and I’m extremely grateful to have been a part of their wedding. I’m also extremely grateful for Betsy with White Sand Weddings because without her, I don’t know what would have happened!

These two have been in love for years and know each other so well. They have a daughter, Knightly, who can make the sun shine with her adorable smile. Both of them light up when they talk about her. But when I catch Justin or Ashley looking at one another, they can’t stop the dreamy look on their face as if they are just realizing they have fallen in love. Then again, Knightly just turned one, so maybe that’s sleep deprivation.

In the end, the wedding turned out to be pretty fabulous. They rented a three story home in Miramar Beach with huge balconies, a view of the water, a pool, a fire pit and what felt like a never ending staircase. With the girls on the third floor, the guys on ground level and the reception in the middle, the house accommodated everyone. The ceremony took place on the beach just before sunset and the reception stretched from the pool to the kitchen upstairs and back again. Later in the evening, both dads made a heartfelt speech which opened the flood gates to nearly a dozen more toasts – each one funnier than the last. I can’t recall any specific roast toast, but I remember simultaneously laughing and crying. Which subsequently, I did again while editing.

It was such a fantastic day. With everything that went wrong, you’d expect me to say there was a horrible storm or the police showed up (which they did) but everything just fell into place. Little disasters continued to strike, but it didn’t matter. Ashley and Justin had each other, their daughter, their families, their wildly fun friends and a little cake in the face. Even I, their brilliant yet clumsy photographer, managed not to fall in either the pool or the fire pit. Realistically, that alone made this wedding a success.

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