Every once in a while, you meet someone (or two) who inspires you to be better just by being her - or him - self. Kirsten + Dakota are two of these people. They support and encourage each other, and even more admirably, they work together to improve the lives of so many others. In fact, they are heading to Ethiopia for a month right before their September wedding. Yes: instead of immersing themselves in pre-wedding festivities, they'll be serving an incredibly underprivileged population and I admire them so much for this.
Kirsten + Dakota are a beautiful reminder to put faith and service at the center of our relationships. Developing and encouraging a heart and mind for service in each other just seems like a great way to foster devotion and service to one another. Guys, I could go on and on about all the beautiful life lessons I took from these two, but I'll stop here.
Anyway, we had a beautiful evening, full of love, laughter, deep thoughts, a little wine, and a sunset we didn't think we'd catch. We had rescheduled this session several times due to the crazy, erratic Montana spring weather (okay mostly blizzards). Watching the clouds swirl all day, we were sure we'd have to either postpone again or forego the sunset they wanted so badly. Ultimately, we opted to go for it. The clouds hung low for most the session, but parted just in time to catch a little glow on the horizon. It was a great evening, indeed.
Venue: Yellowstone Club // Dress: Bash // Makeup: Kayelynn Belden at Bloom Studio // Hair: Amy Kelsey // Florals: The Flower Hat // Rentals: Montana Party Rentals
Autumn and Brock said "I do" on April 7 at Rainbow Lodge at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana. For those unfamiliar, the Yellowstone Club is nestled very literally on top of a mountain, and while the rest of Montana was mid-thaw, the Club was still beautifully blanketed with at least a foot of snow, which made for the most beautiful, serene backdrop for their day.
After getting ready, the valets took Autumn and Brock to the helipad for their first look. Surrounded by mountains, softly falling snow, and the grandeur of the Big Sky state, this spot made the perfect place for each to contemplate the day ahead of them for a moment before seeing each other for the first time. While waiting for Autumn, I asked Brock what he was thinking. He looked at me, then off into the distance for a moment before looking back at me and responding. Then he said: "You know, I've been with Autumn for a really long time. I'm just really looking forward to finally...being married. Yeah...it'll be really nice to finally be married." This simple sentiment was so beautiful to me: he wasn't thinking about the party that day, or what her dress might look like: he was simply looking forward to their life together after the day was over. I can't think of a more perfect response.
Their first look was similarly contemplative: a couple of long, tight embraces and a few quiet words between them. As a bystander, it looked like they were "home." So clearly each other's rock, this few minutes of peace and comfort before heading back to their friends and family seemed like the perfect way to embark on their day.
Twenty-five of Autumn and Brock's friends and family gathered to watch them exchange vows and celebrate with them. For those who know me, you know intimate weddings have my heart. As an introvert, I love seeing a couple surrounded by those closest to them, able to celebrate the start of their marriage together and intimately, rather than having to "host" a party (side note: there's no right or wrong way to do your wedding! For some, being able to celebrate with ALL their friends and family is the best way to go!). There was so much love in the room that day. So here's to a lifetime of health and happiness for Autumn, Brock, and their daughter Kamri!
Scroll on through for some highlights from their day!
Eden Strader Workshop, Pt. 2: you guys. I never, in a million years, thought I'd be a fan of studio bridal sessions. But I am. Eden put together this bridal session with nothing more than some pink paper as a backdrop. No epic views, no stunning bouquets. Just Alexa, a gorgeous haute couture wedding dress by Jean and Jewel, and some tulle and pink paper. And it was so much fun.
I'll always love the adventurous sessions that require boots and some trekking, but friends, there is something totally unique about capturing a bride with nothing else on which to rely. This opportunity forced me to think hard about creating visual interest without relying on the normal crutches. It forced me to think about her facial features: what did I want to draw attention to? The dress: how could I emphasize the way the layers move when there was no wind to catch the layers? And, perhaps most challengingly, how to get it all done in 5 minutes. That's right. We had no idea what to expect with these shoots: no idea about the location, type of session, props, lighting conditions - nothing. Then we were given 5 minutes each to direct Alexa and get our shots. Holy Hannah, guys. The student in me LOVED this challenge and now I'm mildly obsessed with studio bridal sessions.
So! Are you thinking about a bridal session, but not sure you want to dirty your dress before your big day? Let's do a studio session! Scroll on through for a few favorites from this session!