Lauren + Nick | City View Loft Wedding

It was an incredibly beautiful and snowy day in Chicago for Lauren and Nick's stunning wedding. From the weather to their endless smiles, I couldn't get over how much joy there was! I think smiles are incredibly underrated. I love when a couple can't have serious faces because they are just so filled with laughter and joy from looking at each other! It's just so beautiful to see.

It's so refreshing to second shoot in between my own clients' weddings. (And not just because it's super fun and enjoyable to work with friends!) When you second shoot, you get to spend more time with the groom, usually, and I always gain so much appreciation for them. Some grooms party beforehand, some need their alone time, some are pumped for the day, and others are incredibly emotional or solemn. I really love being able to document the groom's side. Now I make it a point, even in my own weddings, to document the bride and groom equally, because it's just as special a day for him as it is for her. 

I captured this wedding day alongside my sweet and talented friend Alisha, from ATS Photography, and we couldn't have enjoyed ourselves (or danced) more!  

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Working with Alisha + Eric was so much fun!

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Venue City View Loft // Getting Ready Location VRBO // Video Eric Floberg // Hair Emily Grisso // Dress Sarah Seven // Suit Sarar 

Amanda + David Wed | Chicago , IL

I started the day shooting David getting ready at their Wicker Park flat (which is the best neighborhood, and I'm not just biased because it's my neighborhood too! Well, maybe I am.) Their vibrant personalities were scattered all over their two-story loft. Then I captured their first look alongside my friend and lead photographer Kat, from DeependImagery.

We wandered around some industrial areas of Chicago before heading to the venue, which is a renovated warehouse itself. Prairie Productions was the perfect blank slate wedding venue for these two lovely individuals! It's now a stunning, naturally lit space that just makes you want to shoot there over and over again. It's probably one of my favorite venues in Chicago. 

Needless to say, Amanda and David's night ended with the most lively dancing and tons of joy! That is always one of my favorite ways to end a wedding day. Celebrating love with those that you love! Cheers to another beautiful wedding in my lovely city!

And more Chicago wedding blog posts coming soon!!

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Michaela + Harris | Chicago, IL

These two are little bubbles of joy!

Separately, and even more so together! I was introduced to Harris, by my cousin, at a local favorite IPSENTO 606, where he works and makes sure the best coffee is being served daily! And it definitely is! And his beautiful wife Michaela, is a talented photographer as well at michaelaquan.com and has the best style in these parts! 

It was so much fun wandering around their neighborhood, which is just a few blocks from me, and finding the cutest walls, streets and alleyways! I love the way they interact and just being around them put a smile on my face! 

(Also, the belt Harris is wearing is a vintage FENDI belt from Michaela's dad! How cool?)

If anyone else wants to book a mini shoot for next week, I am running a special deal and you will have your images turned around in two days for those super last minute gifts! And Also starting off my year with a mini session special for the whole month of January! You can inquire via the contact button below! Either way, enjoy these fun images of these two precious individuals!! 

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Karla + Gabe | Chicago, IL

Karla and Gabe are one adventurous gem of a couple. I consider them Mrs. + Mr. Chicago. I enjoy hanging out with them weekly, but had such a fun time on my rooftop with the Chicago skyline in the background and capturing their personalities! They are mix a quirky and silly, total babes and are some of the most genuine and kind hearted individuals I've ever met. And I also have the pleasure of calling them family! Gabe...forever and ever, and Karla, just this past summer when they got married! 

Also, can we talk about how cool Gabe's tattoos are, incorporating a mix of Chicago pride, meaningful moments and hand drawn illustrations by his son.

Go check out more about what they are up to on Instagram. Both are the epitome of a Chicago creative and how to be musicians + entrepreneurs in a big city! Enjoy!

KARLA // @itsme_karla     GABE // @g_a_b_e__

To inquire about a portrait, engagement or family session contact me below to chat! 

Ruth + Mark | Isle of Skye

Ever since being introduced to Ruth (thanks Ian!) I knew she would become a close friend of mine. I appreciate her kindness, hospitality and just overall genuine personality. She is a gem and a firecracker at the same time. I was so grateful to spend this past weekend capturing Ruth and Mark's engagement photos on the Isle of Skye, where Ruth grew up. She had plenty of hikes lined up and plenty of food and drink to satisfy an army. Ruth's grandma also contributed with delicious homemade food multiple times, so I now know where she gets it from! 

Anyways, enjoy these images of our weekend...and always remember..."a couple that lunges together, stays together!" (see second to last image)

If you'd like me to come with you for an engagement or elopement weekend, contact me and we can work something out! 

Lowdown Coffee | Edinburgh, Scotland

A good word for Lowdown Coffee is 'consistent'. 

Lowdown Coffee has been one of my favorite shops on my last few trips to Edinburgh. I always make a point of working the majority of my editing-session days out of their lovely shop. Their coffee is not only carefully selected, it is consistently well-made and served by knowledgeable baristas. They also have tremendous customer service and people skills, which is important to me as an American. And they aren't just nice to me because I know them. I witness them being genuinely warm and welcoming to everyone that comes into their shop (yes, I love to people-watch, but who doesn't when you're sitting somewhere for hours at a time?). 

Overall, I would say the clean interior, the excellent cup of coffee (or delicious cake, sandwich or bagel that they also do very well) and their friendly faces are more than enough reason to keep me coming back for more. If they were at a different location, I would just as easily make my way to their storefront. But thank God they are located directly in the center of downtown Edinburgh, off of George Street! The perfect location for me to take walking breaks to stroll through all of the beautiful shops around town when I want a screen break. 

Thank you, Lowdown Coffee, for being a consistently calming (and delicious) part of my day. 

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If you would like for me to document your small business, please reach out to me! There is nothing more enjoyable than photographing a small business that is passionate about their craft for their website or social media use! Shopping local is something I will always fully support. Let's work together!

Iceland | A 36-Hour Layover on a Budget.

Iceland is a unique beauty.

Let me start by saying that if you can afford to stay for longer, I would highly recommend it. Iceland has endless sights to see, mountains to hike, beaches to stroll on and waterfalls to climb to the top of. This post is just geared towards those traveling from the States (Chicago) to Europe with a long layover (like I did), or those wanting a little taste of Iceland on a limited budget.

First, I flew with WOW Air. It was not sponsored at all. It's just a really good airline; new planes, friendly staff, new seats and the best prices around. $370 round-trip is the average price. Sometimes less! You just need to bring your own snacks and entertainment with you. For example, I edited on my computer and played games on my phone the entire time (when I wasn't sleeping). I'm very much into puzzle or problem-solving games where you can race against a clock. So it was between Sudoku, Crosswords, Unblock Me, Flow, and a new game I just started playing on plane rides called Disney Emoji Blitz (thanks to going to Disney a few weeks ago and my friends playing it constantly while waiting in line for the new Pandora ride at Animal Kingdom).    

And for packing, make sure to just put your clothes in with your camera bag because it's cheapest to have only one bag with you on WOW air. Your jacket, jeans and boots are all that are needed daily and can stay the same. Just switch up the undergarments, sweaters, scarf, tees and beanies for different looks. And basic knowledge...always wear your chunkiest jackets and shoes when flying if you must pack multiple. And don't forget a swimsuit and a towel! 

When I arrived in Iceland, Ross met me at the airport. His flight to Iceland from Scotland was even cheaper with WOW Air than mine was. Then we both flew back with EasyJet, which is another very inexpensive airline to cheaply travel around Europe.  

From the airport you must either take a bus to Reykjavik to hire a rental car, or just hire one from a closer rental company. The bus could be the price of one day of a rental car, so go with something near the airport. They all usually have shuttle services even if they aren't located directly in the airport, but nearby. Lagoon Car Rental was who we went with. They have such a wide range of vehicles for different price ranges. They have an airport pick-up service with someone waiting for you when you arrive with their logo on it. Like anything, the more people you go with, splitting a rental really helps cut down on costs. Another fun fact is that Lagoon Car Rental cars come with a wireless router for you to have internet on your travels. I never needed to use it though, because one... I was barely on my phone in the short amount of time I had to cherish the scenery, but two... I have T-mobile and I had fast 3G data the entire time I was roaming around iceland at NO extra charge (and every country I've been to thus far). So good job, T-mobile! It is seriously the best phone company for those who travel often, for work or for pleasure. (not sponsored...I've been with my family using T-mobile since I had my first phone with the Snake game on it and the t-9 buttons were memorized when I was 14).

For lodging, go with a rental that has seats that can lay down, or a tent attachment that comes with it. This will also save you from any additional lodging expenses and give you the freedom to park your vehicle anywhere (legally, of course) to wake up to the most beautiful views. You can also just drive through the night to see as much of the scenery as possible and keep switching drivers if you have an automatic (so you both can drive and rest equally).

For food, we headed to a local grocery store in Reykjavik for a ramen-like meal for dinner and oatmeal for breakfast. Both meals you just had to add hot water to, and it was the perfect amount of food. And from the plane experience, we already had plenty of granola and cereal bars in our bags as snacks. Ross brought the pot to boil water and we needed to find a small gas canister to heat up the local water you use or the large bottle of water you buy. One of the locals who worked at the tourist office told us to just go to a hostel or hotel and ask for one because tourists leave them half-full, since they can't bring them on planes. So you can start there to save a few dollars... or you can just buy one to save time. They really are not too pricey and the grocery store and camping store are both walking distance from Reykjavik Coffee Roasters (the original location), which is where we grabbed two cappuccinos before setting off on our long and beautiful drive across the south side of the country. 

For coffee breaks, we also brought an Aeropress so we could have some of our friend's coffee (locally roasted in Edinburgh), called Obadiah. And let me tell you, no coffee tastes better freshly ground on a cold morning in front of the bluest icebergs I've ever seen. 

Also, for anyone wanting to go to the Blue Lagoon, unless you are going on your honeymoon, it can be fairly pricey for the average traveler, so bring some all natural or organic face masks and enjoy them while soaking in one of the natural hot springs all over Iceland... for free. The views are all stunning at the hot spring locations that I've seen, and you'll be surrounded by way less people. And in some locations you will have the hot spring all to yourself! 

The main highway is the route we took in the southern region, as there are plenty of sights right near the road to maximize your time if you don't have very long. We were able to visit all of the places in the images below with under 24 hours of daylight and driving in the dark during the other hours. And it was all worth it.

I can't wait to go back and properly explore some more. So if you only have a little bit of time or a small budget... you can definitely visit Iceland! 

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Can you find the little yellow jacket roaming around? This waterfall was huge.

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That pipe on the bottom left is what heated the hot spring, as well as a light hot stream running off the mountain to the left into the pool. This pool is more warm than hot...unless you hang out by the pipe...like me. :)

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We, or I should say Ross, drove throughout the night for hours through intense wind and rain. It was worth it to see this as daylight arose. location - Jökulsárlón

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This sweater from Romwe definitely fit the surrounding. The color fit the natural tones landscapes, and the warmth was just enough to not need a jacket during midday. The lines on the sleeves are my favorite part. Buy here!

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Also, some may be amazed or not surprised, but the image above and the two images below this text were all taken by me standing in the same exact spot and just turning from side to side. location - Dyrhólaey

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Just remember, when getting close to Skógafoss, the smallest gust of wind will have your whole body soaking wet. And you will have to change and your hair will be drenched like you just hopped out of the shower. Memories. So only get super close if you have a change of clothes.

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Below is my "what would people on ANTM do" faces. Probably missed the mark, but the sunset on the black sand beach was the most beautiful one I've ever seen. 

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Gabe + Karla Wed | Love on a Farm in Wisconsin

Their love is a thing of beauty, storybooks + lots of laughter.

Gabe + Karla. Two of the most beautiful individuals I know, inside and out (and who I also get to call my family). When Gabe introduced her to the family I instantly knew I loved her. She plays and teaches music to little kiddos for a living (at Little Parade in Chicago), so I guess that bubbliness is needed! But even for adults, her smile is vibrant enough to make the whole room happy! 

They were both born + raised Chicago and are the epitome of city people. But for their wedding, they wanted to get away from it all, as we all do sometimes. They ventured north just over the Wisconsin border and found the most lovely little property called The Farm at Dover. Karla got ready in the pink house on the property, their ceremony was in the woods and their coffee hour and stunning reception was in the two-story renovated barn. The day was just perfect. The weather was overcast and the colors were perfectly romantic. Darker tones always tend to make me feel something from each image, more than vibrant colors. The tone of the day was somber and sweet and I'm so grateful I was able to capture the moments from the start of their new season together and Mr. + Mrs Lopez. 

Cheers to new beginnings! 

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HIS / HERS DETAILS

Shoes: bryr clogs / aldo

dress/suit: BHLDN weddings / zara

watch: komono

handkerchief: Una Mae's

caterer: Chef David's

car: vintage VW

donuts: krispy kreme

flower crown: pistil + vine 

table decorator: Sasha Kisiel, Mylene Raspado, Yolypix

coordinator planner: Divine delgado

coffee roasters: Ipsento

barista: Jeremy Mercado

Davide + Michela | London Love

Davide and Michela are two of the most beautiful individuals. They met in Italy (where they are from). She is an artistic and talented fashionista. He owns Press Coffee in London. Together they make the sweetest couple. I'm always abundantly grateful to capture a love like theirs. The memories spent with these two and their kindness will last with me forever. And on top of all of that, they came prepared for this photo shoot with multiple of the most stylish outfit changes! I'm thankful that I have the opportunities to meet people online and then have clients turned friends from all around the world. The internet really makes the world so small.

Enjoy these images of these two gems roaming around London a few weeks ago! 

Davide and Michela, you both are so incredibly precious. Never stop being passionate about each other. Your joy, your smiles, your laughs and just your unending love for life is so contagious. Appreciate you both so much! Can't wait to hang out in London with you both again soon! 

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Homies LA x @Melodyjoyco

I couldn't be more grateful for the season I'm in. For plenty of reasons I could go on about in person, but for this post we can just focus on this view of downtown Chicago. My flat is in the heart of Wicker Park and this skyline view just reminds me how small (but significant, and so are you) I am in this huge, beautiful world. I've never been more excited for the future and what God has in store for my life. 

So back to this view...I love to hang out on my roof with friends. From eating Chipotle with friends, to watching fireworks on the 4th of July with 360 views into all hours of the night. to many fun photo shoots and afternoons of grabbing some rays on my blanket and drinking coffee. This blanket from Homies, I take with me everywhere! From the beach to the park...but mainly on my roof is where it's seen the most sun, literally. If you're looking for a beautiful yet functional blanket to throw in your backpack for a fun day out, or even just any other kind of beautiful decor...check out Homies (and tell your homies)! 

Cheers to many more funny, sunny days in Chicago with this blanket! 

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Victoria + Theo Wed | Edinburgh, Scotland

This day was filled with so much beauty and stillness.

Victoria and Theo have a beautiful history of love that started when they met in Canada many years ago, then they both eventually ventured down to London to reconnect later in life and are now settled in Edinburgh with their incredibly adorable children. I love stories like these. Mainly because no two stories are the same. Every couple inspires me and I am so grateful to be able to not only capture wedding days but to genuinely celebrate their love alongside their family and friends (and maybe, quite possibly, sing and bop around a good bit during the dancing). 

And when I mentioned stillness, I meant that, with "The Fringe" happening in Edinburgh during the entire month of August, The Royal Mile is completely packed with tourists. But we found the most lovely nooks and alleyways for portraits, and plenty of quiet spots amongst the noise. It was so fun feeling like we were hidden away when there are thousands of people on the other side of the building. If anyone was concerned about getting married during festival season in Edinburgh because of the tourists, don't be. It was perfect! 

Victoria and Theo, thank you so much for choosing me to capture your day! It was such an honor. Wishing you many blessings on the many years ahead of you! 

 

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I am officially in love with kids in kilts. 

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Every dinner table was named after their most memory giving pubs in London. 

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I'm definitely a fan of men in kilts as well. Especially dancing! Way more entertaining. 

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Dress - Charlotte Balbier | Dress Boutique - Kudos Couture Bridal | Shoes - The White Ribbon | Hair - Ceri Sutherland | Makeup - Victoria Watson, Toto Makeup | Groom Kilt & Sporran - Kinloch Anderson | Jackets - Davison Kilt Hire | Shoes - Loake Inverness Brogues | Cufflinks & Tie - Gieves & Hawkes | Ceremony - City Chambers, Edinburgh | Reception - Osteria del Tempo Perso, Edinburgh | Champagne - Alfred Gratien | Flowers - Narcissus Edinburgh

Meryl + Hugh Wed | London, England

I now know that miracles do happen, because I met you...

 

Every wedding should start with coffee or champagne on a London balcony, and end with a beautiful room full of loved ones giving the most heart-warming speeches I have ever heard. Thank you for inviting me to shoot your wedding day, Meryl and Hugh. You two couldn't be more precious together and your story is so inspiring to me. Your day was magical to capture! Cheers to your beautiful journey of life together!  

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Hotel - The Connaught / Ceremony - Farm Street Church / Reception Venue - Spring Restaurant at the Somerset House / Makeup Artistry - Bethan Makeup / Wedding Dress - Riki Dalad / Tailored Suit - Thom Sweeney / Hair Dresser - George Northwood

Schwinn Bike Love.

I've never had the pleasure of living in a city where I never need a car for anything, besides when I'm overseas, and I have to say...I love it! Living back in Chicago has not only been life-giving and refreshing, but so incredibly fun as well! Riding the "L" train, hopping on my bike, or even walking most of the time (because I chose to live in a location where all of my favorite coffee shops are) has been so lovely. My block alone also includes a Jeni's Ice cream, Stan's Donuts and a La Colombe Coffee, talk about dangerous. A lot of my family lives closer to the Logan Square area and since I live directly in the middle of Logan and downtown, my bike is perfect for those quick commutes to see the family or go see a concert downtown, like the talented and soulful Gregory Porter or Ben Harper that I've been able to see this summer. 

This Schwinn Bike is also wonderful because of it perfectly fitting into my life's color palette. Neutrals are everything in my life, from my clothing, to my bedroom, to coffee shop interiors that I can work from and don't drive me crazy from too many vibrant colors.

The details on this bike are amazing. I recently rode some fixie bikes in Denver while visiting friends, and they were cool but I am definitely more interested in comfort and cruising, and this Schwinn Gateway 700c Hybrid bike is perfect for that. The seat is super cushioned so you don't have to buy a cover or another seat, the handles are also soft and never make my hands cramp, and the brakes and wheels are wide and smooth enough that I never fear of falling over (even when I have a squirrel moment). And one of the most valuable parts is the large utility rack on the back that holds my camera bag super securely with its clamp alone. Basically, this bike is perfect for cities and my aesthetic and I wouldn't trade it for any other bike in the world. 

Cheers to loving your ride! 

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Coffee + Love | Chicago Wedding

I love when a bride feels good about herself and you can see the excitement and joy overflowing in all of her motions. Twirling in her dress, making sweet eye contact with her love and nonstop smiling from ear to ear. Sometimes my cheeks even hurt after a wedding day from smiling so much. I also love that her tattoo says "Where there's a will, there's a way!"

This wedding shoot at Chicago Workshop is a perfect way to show you that you can have an intimate wedding (which I LOVE) and still have all of your favorite wedding vendors, minus the huge gathering. 

And what could be better than a couple getting married in a creative studio enjoying their favorite coffee and donut filled dessert bar? 

Cheers to couples in love! 

check out the wedding vendors listed below the images.

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photo: @melodyjoyco / planning: @graceniudesign & @alldeievents / styling: @alldeievents / venue: @workshopchicago / paper goods & calligraphy: @graceniudesign / desserts: @lovesugarandgrace / florals: @splendor_of_eden / rings: @ladyfayejewelry / hair & makeup: @trannguyen19 / coffee: @goodmanner_

My Favorite Office Space | Chicago, IL

I like to start my days working out of my bedroom. It's my favorite office space. Not only do I get to stay in my pj's for a bit longer, but it gives me to time to enjoy my favorite home brewed coffees in one of my favorite spaces. My bedroom is completely me. It's minimal in items and in color palette. I've also learned week by week as I get older that I am more like Monica from "Friends" than I realized. Coasters are key, always, and everything has it's particular spot at all times. 

In order to make my room more cozy I wanted to fill it with brands and companies that I love!

First, there is the Color Cord Company. Their simple brass cord and new "T-hook" that is coming out soon with some other new products, hangs so elegantly and beautifully from my high ceilings. It's simple design was inspired from the scandinavian culture and now are hand built here in America. I was so ecstatic when I learned that their offices were in Denver, Colorado. I was visiting one of my childhood best friends last week and knew I had to visit their warehouse as soon as I put two and two together. The owner is so passionate about his work and detail of design is everything with this company. If you're a small business(or large business) or just looking for an adorable light to complete your space, seriously, check out their website. They have so many colors and metals of every kind! It's an interior designer's dream, because they even do custom work. 

Next, there is this beautiful modern end table from Overstock. When I was searching for modern end tables I kept seeing ones that were super chunky or too thin or just overly designed. I like that this one was still simple enough, but had two drawers for storage for the important things(like notebooks, The Bible, my latest Archie Comic, Sudoku book, and Crossword book) but not big enough to cram a lot of junk in them and have things get lost in them (like my last nightstand). I also love this nightstand because it seems like all of my furniture from all of the different companies all had the same wood shade and that can be difficult to do. And it all matches my original hardwood floors as well. I like in a historic building and I have to say, I really do appreciate the details of this home...but more about the other rooms for a different post. 

Lastly, There is my "Bind my Wandering Heart to Thee" flag above my bed. It's always a beautiful and blunt reminder daily. I always find myself humming this hymn now more often than not while in my bedroom. Everyone needs one, and you can them at Charlotte's beautiful Etsy Shop, Wild Flower Eyes Co!

Some other little details of my room are this simple designed Modernica planter that I believe really "makes" the whole room with it's ceramic cylinder shape and perfectly matching wooden stand. I am also very impressed with myself for not killing this banana plant thus far, as I so easily do. Working on my nurturing side, in all aspects of life. 

And the rug that is the center of my room is from Rugs USA. It's fuzzy, white and feels amazing when I am barefooted in my room. So yes, I would say it's perfect and everyone needs one. The real inspiration was my niece Ella, who also has a similar white rug, and playing with her quite often I knew I needed one for myself. Inspiration can come from the most adorable places. 

I'm also going to be incorporating more of my lifestyle collaborations for interior design, coffee and fashion onto my blog as well as my usual wedding posts! So you all can see a little bit more about my editing process and life in between shooting the most beautiful weddings of the sweetest couples! 

So cheers to more blogging! x

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P.S. I've never owned a window AC unit before, but I have to say...this Frigidaire unit from Amazon is absolutely amazing! It's made working in my room an ice box dream. I love being cold!

A Highland Bride | Scotland, UK

        Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

( These are the kinds of individuals, artists, brides and humans I want to work with, and just live life with. )

 

Featured today on - Mrs. P & P Wedding Blog

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You can't beat pure joy, even when it's so cold out!

I can't get enough of shooting the unique details of a wedding day.


Location // It's a secret says the building owner, but I'll give you a hint...it's in Arrochar. 

Planner + Stylist Love Cat D Weddings & Events (Catrina Duthie) // Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Pinterest

Wedding Photography Melody Joy Co. // Website Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Pinterest

Floristry Posies & Pots //