Andy & Amelia | A Cheerful Walk in the Park Ames Engagement

Hey hey! It’s a good day, isn’t it? Not only is it Friday and beautiful outside, but we have lots of pretty and happy here on the blog as well!  Andy and Amelia are just so cheerful that you can feel the happiness exuding from their images.  These two were highschool sweethearts who thrived through several extended periods of long distance and are about to be separated once more before they marry!  I have a lot of respect for such endurant relationships and loved hearing how Andy traveled to visit Amelia in Peru and proposed atop a mountain!  :)

We began the session by exploring some of the less traveled, yet lovely streets of Ames and found such wonderful colors and textures!  We then ventured around to a few different parks and it was so fun to see these two relax and enjoy their time together while I photographed the whole beautiful scene. :)

*It should be noted that I may or may not have made up the word ‘endurant.’ ;)

Andy & Amelia_001Andy & Amelia_008 Andy & Amelia_004-2 Andy & Amelia_010 Andy & Amelia_013This may be my new favorite building in Ames! What a gem! :) Andy & Amelia_014Andy & Amelia_031 Andy & Amelia_018 Andy & Amelia_019 Andy & Amelia_023 Andy & Amelia_030Love that adoring look! :)Andy & Amelia_026 Andy & Amelia_033 Andy & Amelia_043So much joy. :) Andy & Amelia_045 Andy & Amelia_047 Andy & Amelia_049 Andy & Amelia_052 Andy & Amelia_053Love!!!! Andy & Amelia_054 Andy & Amelia_066-2 Andy & Amelia_070-2Andy & Amelia_061 Andy & Amelia_072-2Andy & Amelia_077 Andy & Amelia_075Just a walk in the park and a dance on the path. Too fun. :)Andy & Amelia_079-2 Andy & Amelia_078-2 Andy & Amelia_081-2 Andy & Amelia_082 Andy & Amelia_087 Andy & Amelia_091 Andy & Amelia_092 Andy & Amelia_095 Andy & Amelia_098 Andy & Amelia_100Andy and Amelia- You two are so much fun! What a beautiful relationship you have that has clearly stood the test of time and distance!  As you go into another time of separation, I wish you the absolute best and can’t wait to be there for the day that marks an end to your time apart! :)

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Dan & Anna | A Charming Bellevue State Park Wedding

Good afternoon to my wonderful Monday readers!  I’m so excited to finally be able to share the wonderful wedding of Mr. & Mrs. Oswald with you today!  You heard a little bit of their charming story with their engagement session this past Spring and today you get to witness a new milestone in their relationship, the wonderful Summer day when they said “I do.”  :)

Dan and Anna were married in Anna’s hometown of Bellevue, Iowa, which is just so adorable and full of character!  Anna prepared for the day at her parents’ lovely country home and met Dan for their first look where Dan had knelt down on one knee just months before.  It was a beautiful day full of memories, laughter and loving smiles.  Rachel and I loved spending the day together with these two, capturing their love at its best and are thrilled to share those moments with you!

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Joy. Pure joy.Dan & Anna_056 Dan & Anna_059 Dan & Anna_060

One of my favorite aspects of their day? The fact that Dan would tote Anna around over his shoulder.  Definitely his fireman skills coming out! :)Dan & Anna_064Dan & Anna_077 Dan & Anna_070 Dan & Anna_073-2 Dan & Anna_076-2 Dan & Anna_078 Dan & Anna_081 Dan & Anna_083 Dan & Anna_087 Dan & Anna_089 Dan & Anna_097 Dan & Anna_105 Dan & Anna_113 Dan & Anna_120 Dan & Anna_123 Dan & Anna_125 Dan & Anna_138 Dan & Anna_141 Dan & Anna_207

I love this flying ‘V’ that Rachel captured during portraits. So great. :)Dan & Anna_210 Dan & Anna_219 Dan & Anna_220 Dan & Anna_226 Dan & Anna_251 Dan & Anna_259 Dan & Anna_266 Dan & Anna_284 Dan & Anna_291Dan & Anna_278 Dan & Anna_297 Dan & Anna_321 Dan & Anna_326Dan & Anna_396 Dan & Anna_345 Dan & Anna_346 Dan & Anna_351 Dan & Anna_352 Dan & Anna_357

Isn’t she lovely?Dan & Anna_362 Dan & Anna_366

Love this next set of Rachel’s images…beauty. :)Dan & Anna_371 Dan & Anna_375 Dan & Anna_379-2 Dan & Anna_402 Dan & Anna_411

It should be noted that Dan built this cross and Rachel painted that lovely sign! Love it! :)Dan & Anna_413 Dan & Anna_415Dan & Anna_420 Dan & Anna_416 Dan & Anna_436 Dan & Anna_454 Dan & Anna_469 Dan & Anna_473

Their reception had so many fun games and playful elements that Rachel captured beautifully!  How much fun are these!? :)Dan & Anna_493 Dan & Anna_497 Dan & Anna_498Dan & Anna_425 Dan & Anna_510 Dan & Anna_524Dan and Anna- you had a wonderful celebration and Rachel and I couldn’t be more happy for you as you start your life together! Happy and loving wishes are being sent your way! :)

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ps…be sure to keep up with Rachel on her shiny new blog! :)

Website & Blog Launch | Ember Grove Photography

Hello friends!  Today I have happy happy news for you!!  Not only am I ridiculously excited about these incredibly beautiful fall days (and all the sweet treats they bring!), but today the new Ember Grove Photography site goes LIVE!!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! :) Seriously, Eva Black is ah-mazing!!  She designed the Ember Grove logo and created the entire site in all its watercolored glory! :)  Jump over to the Ember Grove site and take a look at my pretty new internet home!  I’m starting out with a delicious giveaway, so make sure you see the blog!

With my site live and Val’s soon-to-be, we’re both giddy about our happy new web homes (or homes to be!).  Don’t worry, we’ll still be collaborating on lots of beautiful projects and will be sending tons of gorgeous images your way! :) So go ahead, check out the shiny new Ember Grove site!

And as always, stay lovely!
Rachel

http://embergrovephotography.com/

Kevin & Korie | A Relaxing, Post-Elopement Just Married Session

Happy Happy Friday everyone! What a whirlwind of a week it has been! Mark and I sold two vehicles and purchased two new (to us) cars, my wonderful mother visited for a quick dinner, we started connection group up for the semester and I’m going to my first high school football game in years tonight!  And that’s just a few of the highlights! :)  To top it all off, today FEELS LIKE FALL! If you can’t tell….I’m a bit excited! :)  I had a wonderful pumpkin white mocha this morning with a dear friend while sporting my brown boots with a scarf and cardigan.  What a perfect start to my day and the weekend!

But really, I’ll stop ranting about how much I love Fall and get to the good stuff! :)

Meet Kevin and Korie! These two eloped to Spain this summer and after they returned to Iowa, we spent a little bit of time capturing their newly-married status on the homeland.  We started the evening at The Continental, where they had their first date, over a glass of wine, which happens to be their favorite way to wind down and relax together.  We then ventured through the ever-lovely East Village of Des Moines and just had a great time chatting and exploring! :)

Enjoy!

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Love love love this! :)Kevin & Korie_25 Kevin & Korie_26 Kevin & Korie_29 Kevin & Korie_31 Kevin & Korie_34

A little waltz to set the mood. :)Kevin & Korie_35 Kevin & Korie_40 Kevin & Korie_41 Kevin & Korie_45 Kevin & Korie_46 Kevin & Korie_49 Kevin & Korie_52 Kevin & Korie_54 Kevin & Korie_55

Korie, you’re gorgeous!!Kevin & Korie_57 Kevin & Korie_65Kevin & Korie_62 Kevin & Korie_66 Kevin & Korie_68

Steve & Melissa | A Beautifully Classic Eastern Iowa Wedding

Hello friends!
Thank goodness the weekend is here…it’s been a crazy roller coaster of a week!  Derek and I went to the Western Dubuque High School game in Maquoketa last night and watched the Bobcats roar to a victory!  I love the atmosphere of the games, there’s such a great excitement beneath the field lights.  It’s wonderful and almost makes me miss the carefree days of high school.  Almost.
Today I’m bringing you a few previews from my latest wedding – Steve and Melissa!  Remember their beautiful Mines of Spain engagement?  Melissa is a WDHS grad while Steve is an alumni of our school rival, Beckman.  Talk about how opposites attract! ;)
Their wedding was gorgeous – they said their vows at a stunning Catholic church near where they both grew up.  Surrounded by friends and family, their wedding celebration was classic, timeless, and just an all around good time.  Enjoy a few previews from our day together!
Stay lovely,
Rachel
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Kyle & Tammy | A Gorgeous and Intimate Galena Wedding

Hello and happy Wednesday!  Today’s sky is incredibly beautiful – bright blue with giant puffy marshmallow clouds – I love it!  I hope you all had a gorgeous weekend – I had a lot of firsts this weekend.  It was my first double header wedding weekend, my first time warming cookies in a toaster (successful!), and my first time helping roof a house.  Follow me on Instagram for a better look into some of those adventures! :)
Derek and I photographed two amazing couples this weekend and today I’m going to share a few pieces of our Friday wedding with Kyle and Tammy!  These two are outstanding – despite blistering 97 degree heat, they rocked their portraits and enjoyed every moment of their celebration with their closest friends and family.  Their ceremony was at the Little White Church on the Hill  near Galena, Illinois, and every element of their day was thoughtful, intimate, and BEAUTIFUL.  Their four adorable kids were their groomsmen and bridesmaids, how great is that?!  Oh, the day was just wonderful. :)
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Kyle’s reaction to seeing Tammy for the first time that day was so great!
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And the bridal party – cutest kids ever! :)
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Congratulations Kyle and Tammy – thanks so much for the honor of photographing your love story!!
Stay lovely,
Rachel

Scott & Josie | A Backyard Horseback Engagement

Well hello there! Welcome back to reality after the long holiday weekend.  Hopefully this Tuesday that feels like Monday is treating you well.  It’s actually incredibly beautiful today here in Iowa with a bit of crisper air that almost feels like Fall!  Oh, and Starbucks released their Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which makes life all the better. ;)  I’m even wearing some new brown boots today with anticipation that Fall will come…..it will….despite the 100 degree weather as of late…

So, today, in celebration of the return of PSLs and the oncoming of Fall, I get to introduce you to an adorable couple in the comfort of their backyard, surrounded by their personality-filled animal friends.  Meet Scott and Josie.  A pair in love with their land who plan to make a home for themselves and grow old together right here where we shot their images.

This was an especially fun engagement session also because Rachel and I got to shoot it together!  There were so many giggles shared as we watched the horses nudge at Scott and Josie and their kitten chase along demanding attention.  I have a feeling you all will enjoy the many frames where the little fur ball is popping his head (or tail) in.  We sure did! :)

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I love this moment where Scott and Josie took in the beautiful view of their property and chatted about their future plans and dreams with the land.Scott & Josie_044 Scott & Josie_047 Scott & Josie_048 Scott & Josie_057 Scott & Josie_067 Scott & Josie_070 Scott & Josie_076

Just LOVE this little guy! Such a personality! :)Scott & Josie_078 Scott & Josie_080

Hello gorgeous! :)Scott & Josie_088 Scott & Josie_095

Love these next few images shot by Rachel – the horses interacted so perfectly! You can’t make this stuff up! ;)Scott & Josie_096 Scott & Josie_106

Love, love love this! :)Scott & Josie_115 Scott & Josie_108 Scott & Josie_119Scott & Josie_116 Scott & Josie_126 Scott & Josie_128 Scott & Josie_135Scott & Josie_142 Scott & Josie_140

As Rachel and I drove away from the beautiful evening, the sunset caught our attention and we had to stop to capture the beauty.  What an artist God is!Scott & Josie_153

Scott and Josie- you two have a beautiful home and a wonderful “family” to keep you company!  Here’s to many years of happiness inhabiting your property and growing old together!  So looking forward to your wedding this month! :)

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Taylor & Ashley | An Inspiring Celebration Farm Wedding

There are those people in everyone’s life who, without even trying, inspire and challenge those around them.  For many, Taylor and Ashley are those people.  They love God and they love people in a way that is radiant and infectious.  Recently, I was able to hear Ashley give a maid-of-honor speech at another wedding and I can almost guarantee that every woman in that room was inspired to deepen and grow their friendships.  From day one, Taylor has been incredibly respectful of Ashley and has lead their relationship with God at the center.  Their commitment to Christ and purity was beautiful and challenging.

All of the wonderful details of their relationship played out like a beautiful symphony on their wedding day as the joy, commitment and love exuded through their every moment.  Every detail was personal and carefully planned to provide their guests with a meaningful, beautiful and enjoyable experience!  I was so blessed to document their day and I’m beyond excited to finally share it with you!

Taylor and Ashley decided to start their wedding day with time in the Word and prayer.  Similar to their engagement session, what a beautiful testament it is to what matters most!

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What a good lookin’ group! :)Taylor & Ashley_297 Taylor & Ashley_304 Taylor & Ashley_305 Taylor & Ashley_314 Taylor & Ashley_359 Taylor & Ashley_362 Taylor & Ashley_371

Ashley, you are just beyond gorgeous.Taylor & Ashley_377 Taylor & Ashley_380

Lookin’ good yourself, Mr. Miles!Taylor & Ashley_382 Taylor & Ashley_387 Taylor & Ashley_391

Love the moments of prayer throughout the day.  Especially this one.  Right before the ceremony. :)Taylor & Ashley_397 Taylor & Ashley_403 Taylor & Ashley_407 Taylor & Ashley_408 Taylor & Ashley_426 Taylor & Ashley_458 Taylor & Ashley_477 Taylor & Ashley_486 Taylor & Ashley_499

So. Much. Joy.

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The Celebration Farm is just beautiful and smells of fresh cut wood…it’s pretty amazing. :)Taylor & Ashley_521 Taylor & Ashley_528Taylor & Ashley_046 Taylor & Ashley_532 Taylor & Ashley_538 Taylor & Ashley_552 Taylor & Ashley_553 Taylor & Ashley_554 Taylor & Ashley_567Taylor & Ashley_610Taylor and Ashley had a ring toss competition for their guests – so fun and such a genius idea! :)Taylor & Ashley_601 Taylor & Ashley_606

Their first dance was That Girl by Justin Timberlake, which by the way, might be the best first dance song I’ve heard.  Every time I hear it, it just makes me smile and want to groove.  Listen to it, I promise you won’t regret it. ;)Taylor & Ashley_640 Taylor & Ashley_644 Taylor & Ashley_654 Taylor & Ashley_667 Taylor & Ashley_689 Taylor & Ashley_700 Taylor & Ashley_720 Taylor & Ashley_722 Taylor & Ashley_737 Taylor & Ashley_738 Taylor & Ashley_760Taylor & Ashley_774 Taylor & Ashley_775 Taylor & Ashley_782

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Miles – You’re wonderful and such an inspiration! Thank you for the blessing of photographing your story!

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A Note of Encouragement to the Beautiful Bride

Hello dearies!

Today I was going to compose a Lens Perspective post, diving into the ever-exciting world of weddings again and discussing the wisdom of hiring a wedding photographer that you trust.  A photographer that you can relax with, share your dreams and aspirations with, laugh with…a photographer that you would consider a friend.  Oh, it would be a lovely post, and it will most likely come down the road sometime.  But instead, I want to share a note of encouragement today.

To the beautiful bride to be:
Planning a wedding is craziness.  Yes, it can be a fun and crafty whirlwind of prepping for the most beautiful flowers, adorable cake toppers, darling signs, pretty paper, and the best food.  But it can also be a draining and overwhelming venture, especially if you’re taking on the plans alone.  Seriously – planning a party for 250+ guests can be absolute madness, especially when you’re striving to make your celebration a picturesque and memorable beauty.
So today, I want to encourage you all to be present in this very moment and to cherish the beauty that surrounds you.  Step AWAY from the wedding plans, take a deep breath, seek out the beauty around you, and find strength and encouragement in relationships.  Go on a date with your fiance, enjoy a sweet drink with a friend (go for the chai!), sketch out your dreams, giggle over a memory, and just be.  While the wedding will be one of the most wonderful celebrations of your life, there are incredible life moments to be enjoyed during and after wedding planning.  Take a moment to love on those around you and to thrive in the now; I promise it will be worth it.

“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
-Vincent Van Gogh

Stay lovely,
Rachel
_MG_8649Image thanks to Shannon Lee Miller Photography