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I could feel the blood draining from my face. Cold and hot at the same time—like chills. The feeling you get when something really terrible happens. Your body responds even when your mind is struggling to catch up.

My house looked….different. It’s like looking at a puzzle with some of the pieces missing. The tv goes there, my computer goes there….but where are they? I remember looking—actually looking around for them. Seriously, did my cats just knock over the tv? Was it somehow hidden behind the dresser? It’s funny how long your mind can stay in denial.

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I may be getting a little personal here, but this post has been a long time coming and so difficult for me to write.

Sometimes, life throws you a curveball. On July 8th, my home was burglarized. After making a hysterical call to the police, I went upstairs to find  jewelry, cash, laptops, and more missing. I found myself hoping that the plain black bag would still be there (by the bed). The one with EVERY bit of camera equipment I’d saved up for over the years. My work. My life.

It wasn’t.

I felt broken. The next few days/weeks I scoured Craigslist, pawn shops, jewelry stores—to no avail. I posted to my friends on Facebook and reached out to my local photography community—and that’s when amazing started to happen. One photographer, Shane Hunter, offered me his gear and lenses for my upcoming wedding so I wouldn’t have to worry about renting equipment (insurance takes awhile). Several of my current and former brides called to make sure I was ok and offered food, babysitting, and company. (Seriously guys—awesome!) I also had a MASSIVE amount of messages flooding my inbox—from strangers. My designer friend (and former bride) Tarra offered refuge in her home. (Stocked with strong drinks, snacks, and Glee) My boyfriend’s parents opened their guest room to us. It was incredible.

It was a week before I closed on my new home. My family pitched in and I was able to buy replacement equipment with money I’d put aside for the house.

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I guess the point is—yeah, sometimes life gives you lemons—big, sour, ugly things that you don’t know what to do with. I didn’t have it in me to be optimistic or hopeful. But others did. And somehow, the outpouring of love I felt from friends, family, and strangers—made lemonade.

 

These photos of me are the last photos taken with my old camera—captured by my sweet boy (and budding assistant). (And yes, I know I do weird things when a camera is pointed at me)

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Sometimes things happen that breathe life into you…Like cool tendrils of air filling your nostrils those first days of fall—your lungs fill up and you feel so refreshed.

 

It’s nice to have time. Time to think, time to breathe, and time to CREATE. Sometimes I forget how special that is. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE shooting weddings. I love the noise, the craziness, the mad race to work all those tiny details into one big, BEAUTIFUL story. It’s exhilarating.

But there’s something to say for quiet creation. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending a few afternoon hours with one of my brides—cool mountain air, gorgeous light, and an amazingly gorgeous gown!

 

 

Inez’s session took place at Burritt on the Mountain. I love the historic venue and the gorgeous mix between elegant and rustic! I can’t wait to share the wedding images!

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Inez is a bride after my own heart—she LOVES details. At her engagement session, I remember her gushing over the gorgeous J.Crew necklace she’d just gotten. For her wedding and bridal session, she wore a gold Kate Spade bracelet dainty J.Crew flats. LOVE!

Inez’s parents were married at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Huntsville–so that was our next stop. Inez wanted a special location, and this one was near and dear to her heart.

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  • Sindhu - Teresa Woodfill (Matthew’s Aunt) – Wow!! You’ll never find a more beautiful, enaeglt bride, or a more handsome, dashing groom!!! You captured these great moments with such ease and beauty. How blessed they are to have each other, and to have had you be their photographer!! God bless you for creating these memorable pictures!!ReplyCancel

Excitement. There’s something about wedding days that just make you excited. The twinkling lights, the dresses, the scent of flowers and perfume mixing in the air. As I walked through the doors to Huntsville Botanical Garden’s Arbor, I could feel it. And once I saw Erica I understood why.

She lit up the room.

Plain and simple.  As Meagan placed the finishing touches on her hair and makeup, I watched as her face filled with glee.  And as Ken said his vows to Erica, I watched his expression match hers.

 

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Erica & Ken,

I LOOOVE that you chose me to be a part of your wedding! From the engagement session to your wedding day, I’ve had the honor of seeing your love grow over time. You guys add SO much to the lives of those around you. (I know you do to mine) Erica, you’ve been a HUGE cheerleader for me and my photography over the years, and I’m so glad I was able to be there for your wedding day. (PS—did I say how obsessed I was with your bouquet?!!)

much love,

-Jessica

 

LOVE this gorgeous bouquet by 333 Designs! It’s probably one of my favorites to date!

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Meagan from Matti Lu’s Salon did a beautiful job on Erica’s hair and makeup!

Can you tell this girl was excited? I loved every minute of this!

I am DYING over these pictures! Huntsville Botanical Gardens has soo many places to shoot, I could have spent hours in the garden with them!

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Umm…hello GORGEOUS! I couldn’t help but pay extra attention to Erica—she looked AMAZING!!

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Don’t you love their personalized cake toppers? I thought this was the coolest addition to their cake!

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I love that despite the hustle of a wedding day, I can still get the chance to take a breath and look at things from another perspective. I love this cool silhouette shot of Erica and Ken!

Venue: Huntsville Botanical Gardens

Floral Design: 333 Designs

Videography: Ian McCalister

Dj: Justin Oleson

Rentals: All Needz

Hair & Makeup: Meagan at Matti Lu’s Salon

Nails: Golden Nails

Invitations/Napkins: The Paper Chase

Cakes: Peggy Ann Bakery & Star Market

Custom Cake Topper: I Do Cake Toppers

Dress/Alterations: David’s Bridal & Jean’s Boutique

 

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Grace and Jason shared a beautiful day. The lush gardens of Annabella at Cedar Glen created a magical backdrop for their ceremony and the skies were clear and blue.

Weddings are magical. Somewhere between clasping hands and exchanging vows the air becomes palpable. Softly spoken promises fill the air with a sense of hope and love, and by the end of the ceremony, I always leave feeling a little transformed. It’s like the Grinch, except my heart just feels bigger.

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Grace & Jason,

I’m truly lucky to be able to call you both friends, and I’m touched that you chose to include me on your wedding day. I hope you had an amazing honeymoon in Antigua! 

annabella at cedar glen wedding

Have I mentioned that I love the First Look? This was such a beautiful moment. <3

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Grace, you are STUNNING. I cannot get over these two photos of her? Isn’t she exquisite?!

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Thanks sooo much to all of you that have been following the blog and commenting in the past month! I’ve really enjoyed posting and I hope you guys will continue to follow in the future!:)

To the WINNER—Laura Kee : Just shoot me an email and I’ll get you set up with your awesome massage! YAY! I know you’ll love it!!

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