Ben + Chelsie {A Christmas Proposal}

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Watching Ben and Chelsie’s love story unfold has been nothing short of a joy. Their intentionality in their relationship with first- Christ, and then each other, has been the glue that has held them together through their final years in college.

I can specifically remember Chelsie lamenting about the difficulty of being single, then eventually embracing it. Until, of course, Ben came into her life. Ben is the exact opposite of Chelsie in all of the best ways. One is strong willed, creative, and critical. The other is bubbly, distractable, and outgoing. Both have incredible strengths and their weaknesses are made stronger by each other.  I have no doubt that they will do amazing thing with their lives.

Last Christmas, Ben asked me to photograph him as he asked the love of his life for her hand in marriage. As I snuck behind a bush. I captured these sweet photos.

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After the ring was set and of course she said yes. I could capture the excitement a bit closer.

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What you don’t know is how meticulous Ben was in planning. I think I met with him at least 3 times and had multiple phone calls and text to make sure it was just right. Chelsie adores Christmas – seriously- she planned her whole wedding around this glorious season. And Ben knew that Old Town St. Charles would be perfect with all of the incredible decorations.

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Chelsie and Ben share the strong love of coffee and I was so excited when they wanted to incorporate that into their session. From one coffee lover to another, these photos are everything!

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Ben and Chelsie, you are so close to your big day full of love and excitement. I know as the days get closer things get more stressful but I encourage you to relax and smile in one anothers arms knowing that soon you will be husband and wife.

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Wedding Day Detail Photos Checklist {Tips}

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The actual wedding day is filled with a flurry of emotions, stress, and fun. As a bride, you are surrounded by the women who love you most. The excitement of seeing all of your beautiful items and people come together is at times overwhelming. So I created this little checklist of items that I will ask for you to set aside so that I can capture all of your beautiful details while you are finishing getting ready.

  • Wedding (and engagement) rings- please include any boxes you might have as well
  • Any Jewelry you are wearing – please let me know if anything is a family heirloom
  • Invitation Suite & Program- if you used a calligrapher, please include a mock-up
  • Veil, shoes, & dress – if you have a particular place in mind you would like me to take this photo in or around the ceremony site, please let me know
  •  Something old, new, borrowed, & blue – not every bride does this tradition
  • Garter – both the one that is kept and thrown
  • Florals – bouquet (both yours and a bridesmaid) and boutineer
  • Gifts – including any gifts to bride/groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen & to parents
  • Groom details – tie/bowtie, cufflinks, cologne, shoes, cologne, etc.

Not every bride has all of these details, and that is totally okay! Every wedding is unique and personalized to your desires!

Creve Coeur Camera Photopalooza {Workshop Recap}

Over the past few years I have been amazed at the way incredible photographers come around others and share their gift and knowledge. I’ve seen this through the Rising Tide Society (2016 Styled Shoot) and recently through Creve Coeur Camera’s Photopalooza. I was honored to sit in on the sessions with Stephanie Cotta and Trent Broglin.

Bridal Posing with Trent Broglin

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Trent’s Tips for posing:

  • When you ask your bride to laugh- laugh with her!
  • You can do every pose without making the bride move her feet.
  • Always elongate your bride. Be mindful of her body and her angles.

Our model was gorgeous (as they always are) and she was a brave woman as it was hot! Did I mention it was 107 degrees this day? She rocked that dress.

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Outdoor Child Photography with Stephanie Cotta

Now this was a session I was looking for, however I’ve mostly seen her name around Newborn Photography. While she might specialize in newborn, but she wowed us in child photography as well. And if I could be BFF with anyone it might be Stephanie. She is super down to earth and answers questions with honesty, humility, and with a laugh.

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Stephanie’s Tips for Child Photography Posing:

  • Bribery always works – bring smarties!
  • Also bring a few key props- something with movement and a seat (bench/chair/etc.).
  • Get in a pose and then add a simple movement to it.
  • Little kids need to be guided on where to put their hands. Pockets are great for boys and girls can hold on to their dress or parents hand.

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If you attended photopalooza this year, tell me your favorite session in the comments. Some suggestions for people who attend it next year:

  • Make sure you sign up for the sessions early!
  • Go with a friend. You will meet a ton of wonderful photographers but it is nice to go with someone you know. I would encourage you to go to different sessions and compare notes during breaks.
  • Plan food options. There are a ton of local restaurants to check out.
  • Take advantage of the great discounts that day. Go in with a list of items you are looking to buy and price things out while you are there. You might get a really great deal.
  • Talk to the vendors there. Want to know what new products Nikon is putting out? More than likely a representative might be there to chat up.
  • Bring a notebook. These sessions are top notch and you will take in so much, so bring something to write down all of the tips they share.
  • Network with your session leaders and other attendees. St. Louis is smaller than you think so go meet your fellow photographers and remember that #communityovercompetition is key!

Favorite St. Louis Locations {Tips}

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We love everything about St. Louis (minus the humidity!). Seriously, the lists could go forever: toasted ravs, a ton of FREE museums, Cardinal baseball, etc. And so we are blessed to have a ton of great locations to shoot at. Clients are always asking about our favorite spots, so here they are and we will share some of the things you will see.

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Outdoor:

  • Forest Park – Iconic spots, open fields, old trees, water options, classic buildings, contemporary buildings, flowers
  • Tower Grove Park – Classic brick building, ‘ruins’, water options, colorful buildings, old trees
  • Lafayette Park – Classic brick building, open fields, black iron fences, water options
  • Concordia Seminary – Classic brick building, old trees, courtyard with seating
  • Creve Coeur Lake – water options, wooded trails
  • Faust Park – Rustic houses, open fields, old trees
  • Malcom W. Martin Memorial Park – Iconic spot, water option
  • Carondolet Park – Classic brick buildings, water option
  • City Garden – Water options, Iconic spot, colorful scultpures

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Indoor:

  • Jewel Box: Lush greenery, flowers, bright
  • City Museum: Classic brick, unique items, dark
  • Missouri History Museum: Contemporary building, bright
  • Ameristar Casino: Classic brick
  • Central Library: Classic building, Contemporary, bright, gold iron door

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If you know of any great places, let us know and we will work on updating our list!

Andrew + Elizabeth {Married} . Salem Lutheran Church

There are few things sweeter than two people fiercely in love. This wedding showed that not only are Andrew and Elizabeth devoted to one another, but they are also devoted to their family, church and friends. These two are loved by all and desire nothing else then to love others.

Elizabeth and Andrew grew up at Salem Lutheran Church in Affton, MO, so there was no doubt that friends and family would surround the two with prayers and excitement as they started their life together.

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They chose a beautiful color selection of deep blue and yellow.

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Elizabeth’s dress was absolutely stunning with intricate detail of beading and lace. Her illusion straps were the perfect touch. And her mother, not only made her veil but also made dresses for some of her special attendants.

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Andrew and Elizabeth chose to not see each other before the wedding and so when Andrew saw his bride, you could see the smile come across his face. That smile may or may not have also turned into sweet tears of joy.
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Elizabeth was concerned that her father may not be able to walk her down the aisle. In fact, the decision was made day of and was one of the most emotional parts of the day.

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After the big kiss the guests went down to a cake and punch reception which was followed by family and bridal party photos. And boy, was the bridal party fun!

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At one point Sarah Marie took the girls to take photos and Jonathan separated the guys for photos, however the gentlemen thought it would be a great idea to photo bomb the ladies. This photo was before, and you will have to ask the bride to see the after!

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Andrew and Elizabeth enjoyed a few moments alone, before it was time for their reception.

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The real fun was to be had at The Christy, and the venue was absolutely perfect to celebrate your first few hours as husband and wife.

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See, I told you that the wedding party knew how to have a good time! Now an entrance really isn’t an entrance with out glow sticks!

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While the first dance was beautiful and elegant, the father-daughter dance had every eye filled with tears. Tears of joy, tears of thanksgiving and tears of a beautiful happily ever after.

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The guest enjoyed a wonderful meal and incredible cake, but the best part was the dancing! My favorite part of dancing is during the slow dances in which you can see the love of marriage young and old.

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We are so excited to see two amazing people love and support each other in the good times and bad. Hold each other close in the good times and closer in the not so good times. Thank you for including us on your special day.


The Amazing Vendors:

Brides Attire: David’s Bridal | Groomsmen’s Attire: Mens Warehouse | Hair and Makeup : Capricorn for Hair | Transportation : St. Louis Limousine Inc. | Cake : Wedding Wonderland Cake Shop | Rings : Shane Company | Ceremony Venue : Salem Lutheran Church| Reception Venue : The Christy

Jeff + Julie {Married} . Bluffs on Broadway

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If I had four words to describe the wedding of Julie and Jeff it would be these : uniquely gorgeous family affair.

When we first met Jeff and Julie they kept on going on and on about the beautiful location where their wedding would take place. We couldn’t stop their excitement when they described The Bluff on Broadway, the loved the breathtaking view of the Mississippi River and the handpicked pieces of art. So we knew we were in for a treat when we arrived at the location.

Julie was tucked away and got ready with her beautiful daughters.
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One of the great things about weddings is that you get to meet a ton of great officiants. We love when the have an action plan, and this one knew exactly what she wanted. So much so, that she requires all of her grooms to keep their back to the bride until she is right behind them. We loved the reactions we captured.

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Julie and Jeff chose to have their children and grandchildren as their wedding party. Which was simply beautiful and showed their deep desire to keep family close to their hearts.
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Julie and Jeff wrote their own vows and I’m fairly certain there was not a dry eye after they shared their deep admiration for one another.
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The reception was at the same location, which was transitioned quickly to an exquisite dinner upstairs. Followed shortly by a quick cake cutting and first dance. Then the guests could dance, mingle and stare out at the beautiful view.
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Nicole + Daniel {Married} . Chester, IL

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If I could pick one word that could capture this whole wedding I would choose (without even thinking) – traditions. But not in the sense of stuffy or traditional. As Nicole and Daniel, added so many touches of whimsy – I mean they had a cake that had a Lego cake topper. I mean traditions, as deep-rooted love for how they were raised and the love of family. Every detail had a meaning, and I believe that is what wedding are all about – bringing the traditional roots into a new beautiful marriage.
We were so excited when we were asked to travel to Chester, IL to photograph this beautiful wedding. Not knowing much about Chester, we did a bit of research and learned that this place is poppin with Popeye (yes, the cartoon) memorabilia. The town is also beautifully set on the Mississippi river and if you are looking for some small town charm, I would highly recommend it!
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Some of the traditional pieces that I mentioned before was Nicole’s dress and bracelet. Both were her mothers. Yes, both Nicole and her mother wore the same dress down the same aisle on their wedding days.
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The entire day was filled with tender moments, including this one with the bride and her mother.
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Who can resist a beaming groom, especially when he signs I love you to his beautiful bride!
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Since the ceremony was filled with tradition and memories. The reception had to be filled with fun and laughter! The Bride and Groom trained for months on their first dance- and they did not disappoint!
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The Best Man also planned an exceptional Blues Brothers toast – dance moves included.
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A day full of tradition and whimsy made it the perfect day for Nicole and Daniel.
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Dress Alterations : Fancyworks |  Groomsmen’s Attire: Hooker’s Mens Store | Hair : Fashion Flair | Makeup : Sabrina Jeremiah | Florist: Forget-Me-Not Florist | Cake : Gordon’s Cakes | Rings : Wicker’s Jewelry | Ceremony Venue : St. John Lutheran Church | Reception Venue : American Legion Hall

Alex + Ryan {Married} . St. Charles, MO

Joy.
No matter what the situation, Alex and Ryan, radiated joy not only on their wedding day, but every time I interacted with them. Joy in their love for one another, joy even when it was burning up in the bridal suite and joy as they thanked every single person who played a key role in their lives at the reception.
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That little penny might seem just a marker to symbolize the date, but it was actually a something “borrowed”. Two of her bridesmaids used or will use this penny their something “borrowed” as well. I love when traditions unite friends!
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The ceremony was at the beautiful Zion Lutheran Church . And as the sun streamed in, Alex and Ryan said their I do’s.
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After the announcing of man and wife, I whisked the two away for a few moments to embrace.
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The rest of the day was filled with excitement, but don’t worry things didn’t get too rowdy since we had Official Ring Bearers keeping the peace!
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After few group photos at Fort Zumwalt Park we then spent the rest of the evening at The Christy.
Both the Maid of Honor and the Best Man had some interesting speeches. But being it was the fourth of July is was wonderful to see the flag come out!
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I love seeing people on the dance floor, this dance floor didn’t let me down. What do you get when you mix tap shoes, a ladies man and a little guy who liked a bird’s eye view? An epic dance party!
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Ryan and Alex, we wish you the best in your adventures of marriage!



Groomsmen’s Attire: Mens Warehouse | Hair and Makeup : Vanity Hair Studio | DJ : Excellence Entertainment St. Louis | Cake : Wedding Wonderland Cake Shop | Rings : Shane Company | Ceremony Venue : Zion Lutheran Church | Reception Venue : The Christy

50th Anniversary {Event + Family}

Marriage is hard. So when I see couple who have been married for many years is an inspiration to me! Say hello to this lovely couple who have weather through the good and the bad for 50 years!
50th Anniversary 014The best part of this photo is that the couple is surrounded by their incredible family! Want to see some more of their beautiful children and grandchildren?
50th Anniversary 02650th Anniversary 04750th Anniversary 037There was no doubt that this family was full of love and laughter. Seriously, the entire time was teasing each other and joking around. It was a true joy to photograph this family! We wish you many more blissful years!
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The Scanlan {Wedding}

Friends, this is the marathon, and not a race. So stick with me and enjoy some of the most lovely photos SSMP has taken!

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Now we met Jessica at her cousins wedding. Do you remember her? Here she is…

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Well shortly after this wedding she contacted us to photograph her wedding! And we had such a great time!

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She radiated joy even while getting her hair done. What a beauty!

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And then how could she not be happy when this is the man that was waiting for her at the end of the aisle. And he was so excited see his bride!

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Andrew and Jessica picked out the finest people to stand beside them.

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And now on to the party!

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Please tell me that you can see the bridesmaids cover the flower girls eyes! Priceless.

Here are a few final ones to make your day brighter.

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Congrats, Mr and Mrs Scanlan. Best to your marriage!