As a wedding photographer, sometimes I’m amazed by how quickly an engagement passes by. It seems like I just wrapped up Taylor and Taylor’s fantastically fun Kansas City engagement session, and now I’m scrolling through their wedding photos, reliving their awesome day image by image, moment by moment. It was a perfectly mild summer day, which is hard to come by here in the midwest, and an especially wonderful gift when you have an outdoor wedding ceremony.
Taylor and Taylor chose an incredible venue – The Aspen Room at The Stanley – in downtown Lee’s Summit, my beautiful hometown. Each time I have the joy of visiting good ol’ downtown LS, I relive so many moments, seemingly from completely separate lifetimes. I am taken back to my early childhood when my mom would pull my brother and me in a wagon to enjoy egg drop soup and fortune cookies from Grace, the wonderfully kind woman at our favorite (and long since gone) Chinese restaurant on 3rd Street. I’m taken back to high school, when my newly-licensed group of girlfriends would drive through the streets and see new stores and restaurants take shape as the area began the early stages of a much-needed and now incredibly successful revitalization. I’m taken back to my first studio space above Bike America – the first big step in my professional photography career. From sitting in the wagon to the freedom of driving, to the leaps of faith on a career path I am incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to take, downtown Lee’s Summit is a map of memories, a symbol of my beginning, and my path from that point. I’d say it has always held a place in my heart, but in reality, it is the place where so much of my heart is held.
That was a massive digression from the story of Taylor and Taylor’s wedding. But I won’t apologize. It’s worth noting that downtown Lee’s Summit is a wonderful and magical place. It’s the perfect place to begin a life together.
I joined the beautiful bride and her bridesmaids as they were working on their finishing touches with hair and makeup, then jumped right in to what is consistently one of my favorite parts of the wedding day: the first look. Taylor could not contain his excitement as he waited patiently to see his bride, and they were elated to finally see one another! We took that joy along with us as the wedding party joined us for formal photos around the downtown Lee’s Summit area. We were surprised to be invited into Third Street Social, a new restaurant along our path, for a complimentary champagne toast for the whole group. In my decade as a wedding photographer, that has never happened. It was a fun detour and made for a few cool photos I wasn’t planning on taking, which is always a treat for me!
As we returned to The Aspen room, it was time for some family formals on the rooftop, then the wedding party hid as the guests began to arrive. The ceremony was beautiful. It was personal, hopeful, joyful, and a great celebration of Taylor and Taylor’s love. The groom’s cheer as he walked his bride back down the aisle was priceless!
The party continued with an incredible reception of constant dancing. Well, let me correct myself; there were a few minutes when no one was dancing. That was when, as a surprise to his bride, Taylor brought out his guitar and sang “I Wanna Grow Old With You” to her. It was a cuteness overload kind of moment, which pretty much sums up this couple.
The perfect wedding day would not have been complete without an amazing sparkler send-off from their friends and family. Having photographed these several times, I’ll admit that it’s always a tricky lighting situation. Without getting too technical, it can be a challenge to photograph it with the right timing, to focus on moving subjects in low light, and to be sure that my lights don’t over- or underexpose the bride and groom as they move down the line. There’s very little room for error, and very little time to make adjustments once the sparklers are lit. I came up with settings and a lighting scenario that I thought would give me the best balance of all the variables, and I am pleased with the results. It’s always exciting when that happens!
I have sincerely loved working with and getting to know this awesome couple. I wish Taylor and Taylor a spectacular life together and I hope I’ll have the joy of continuing to work with them in the years to come.
Special thanks to my wonderful assistant Mark for helping me for this wedding. And special thanks to the crew at The Aspen Room for always being the very best people to work with!